Pat Courtenay was a familiar voice on many 1980s pirates including the Portmarnock-based station Sunshine Radio. This recording from summer 1985 features him on Sunshine’s breakfast show. It’s a Monday morning but Pat promises to drag listeners into the working week with the usual blend of music and chat. News at the top of the hour is read by Bob Powell (the headlines at half-past are cut). There are the customary agency adverts and commercials for businesses around Dublin and a promo for a £1,000 giveaway as part of the Sunshine Summer Lotto. Pat Courtenay continues to broadcast on radio in Dublin and Bob Powell went on to become a journalist with RTÉ.
The recording was made from 100.5 FM from 0657-0740 on 15th July 1985 and is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.
This recording of Radio Nova offshoot Magic 103 was made in the new station’s first week on air. It features the end of Morning Magic with Bob Gallico (RIP), including a promo for the new Nova Boutique at 144 Upper Leeson Street where the studios were located. The main lunchtime ABC Network News is read by Bob and Mark Weller and is followed by an afternoon talkshow presented by Jenny McIver and Linda Conway. The show includes interviews with guests in studio and promises to bring listeners news and views from around Dublin.
The recording was made from 103.5 FM on 1st May 1985 from 1242-1328 and is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Radio Skywave International was a 1980s shortwave station operating from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.
Radio Sandymount was one of several pop-up community radio stations run by the Community Broadcasting Co-operative (CBC) in Dublin and surrounding counties between 1982 and 1988. Set up by Dave Reddy, Radio Sandymount was the first such station and proved so popular that the idea was replicated in other parts of Dublin as well as Wicklow and Meath. The CBC stations coincided with local community festivals and were a regular part of the radio scene on the east coast during the 1980s. Another CBC station was Radio Snowflake, which came on air at Christmas.
Radio Sandymount broadcast each year during the Sandymount and Merrion Community Week in late May or early June. This recording features the last day of the station’s run in 1984 . On air is David Baker, a familiar voice on the CBC stations and on numerous other pirates throughout the decade. There are plenty of requests, competition winners and references to local talent competitions and dinner dances – local radio at its finest!
The recording was made from 103.3 FM on 28th May 1984 between 1048-1135. Radio Sandymount also broadcast on 1116 kHz during the same period. The tape is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.
Magic 103 (103.5 FM and 1521 kHz although AM was never announced on air) was set up by Radio Nova in 1985 and was one of many examples of Chris Cary’s innovation in splitting AM/FM services to expand programming. Magic was a mostly easy-listening and talk service in contrast to the chart music format of Nova. Its first full day on air was April 29th 1985.
‘ABC Network News’ was broadcast on both Nova and Magic, and the journalists also presented programmes on Magic. These recordings of the opening day begin with the segment above from 0900 with the shared news bulletin, followed by the first hour with Dave Harvey who describes Magic as the ‘new chat and information station for Dublin’. He invites listeners to call in and give their opinions on joyriders but the callers are often off topic and some of the conversations sound staged. There’s a news bulletin on the half-hour and a round-up of British news, strange for a station that was aimed at Dublin.
Part 2 below runs from 0945 and includes news with Bob Gallico (RIP) and then Bob’s own show, ‘Morning Magic’ from 1000. He promises chat, easy listening music, racing news, recipes, features, film scores and news about events around town. The first two segments are from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.
Part 3 below is of the evening programme with Shane Mac Gabhann from 1823-1909. Listeners from around town send in their good wishes but one caller describes the musical selection as ‘ancient’ and wants more Lionel Ritchie. The main evening ABC Network News is read by Bernie Jameson and Mark Weller. Shane Mac Gabhann is now a newsreader on RTÉ, Mark Weller (Costigan) would become political correspondent on licensed national commercial station Today FM and Bernie Jameson continues to read news today. This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection and there is some breakthrough in the background, due either to a problem with recording or deterioration of the cassette.
The final snippet is an undated airchecked recording of an evening show in the first few days of the station. Dave Johnson (aka Andrew Hanlon, later head of news at independent station TV3) is both presenter and newscaster. A listener in Co. Down says Magic is coming in ‘crystal clear’, evidence of how far the FM signal travelled on a relatively uncrowded band. Sound quality is variable on this recording (it may have been recorded from AM), which is from the Pirate.ie collection.
Magic 103 was short-lived and closed at the end of September 1985, citing financial difficulties. Its closure led to the worsening of a bitter dispute between the National Union of Journalists and Radio Nova that contributed to the main station’s demise in 1986.
Smile FM began broadcasting from the suburb of Ballyfermot in west Dublin in January 1987 and continued until the pirate closedowns at the end of 1988. It was set up by former Radio Dublin manager Brian Paige and first noted around 94 FM by Anoraks UK in its Weekly Report of 11th January 1987. The edition of the following week reported that an easy listening format was planned originally but that Smile FM had opted for Top 40 music instead.
In this recording from about six weeks before the closedown of Smile FM, we hear airchecks of Saturday morning and evening shows. First up is Rob Davis from 10am with chart hits, adverts for small local shops and businesses and a community noticeboard. An announcement advises about the impending closedown of pirate radio and invites listeners to express their support for Smile FM. A promo is aired for a Sunday Anoraks Programme about the radio scene, a feature on various pirate stations of the era. Links from the drivetime show with Graham Turner are heard towards the end of the recording, featuring a more easy listening format. Station idents are voiced by Seán Ashmore.
This recording was made on 12th November 1988 from 94.3 FM by Kieran Murray, who is mentioned by the DJs. It is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.