Aircheck: Radio Donnybrook (Dublin)

Aircheck: Radio Donnybrook (Dublin)

Radio Donnybrook was one of three temporary community stations which broadcast in the 1980s to celebrate local festivals in Dublin. Radio Sandymount, Radio Ringsend and Radio Donnybrook were all set up by Dave Reddy and broadcast on 981, 1116 or 1134 kHz as well as low power FM. This is a loop recording from 981 kHz on the 10th of June 1984 of David Baker announcing the imminent opening of Radio Donnybrook.

There’s another short recording of Radio Donnybrook here and you can listen to an interview with Dave Reddy about Radio Sandymount here.

Full recording: Capitol Radio (Dublin)

Full recording: Capitol Radio (Dublin)
Flyer for Capitol from c. 1985. Pic courtesy of Alan MacSimoin (RIP).

There were several stations calling themselves Capital or Capitol Radio in the pirate era, the best-known being the station that was on air from 1983 until the end of 1988. This Capitol became more specialist as time went on, playing first album tracks and then indie and alternative music. On the 1st of July 1986 Nitesky 96 was launched as a sister station from 6pm each evening with its own niche shows. The station was a strong supporter of the lively Dublin band scene of the 1980s, broadcast a weekly listeners’ Alternative Top 10 and held its own ‘Alternative Night’ every week.

This recording is from 96 MHz FM, begins at 9.15am on the 3rd of February 1984 and features the final 45 minutes of the ‘Daybreak’ show presented by George Long (Henry O’Donovan) who went on to work with Radio Nova and Energy 103. George also reads news also 9.15, 9.30 and 10.00 (quite a workload!) before handing over to Conor Brooks. There’s also a promo for a holiday giveaway giving the station’s address in Milltown, Dublin 14. At this time Capitol also broadcast on 1017 kHz but left AM at the end of March 1986 after reportedly selling the transmitter to the new Liberties Local Community Radio. Capitol-Nitesky 96 continued on FM until the 31st of December 1988. It was one of our absolute favourites and is still sorely missed.

This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

Jingles: Dublin Community Radio

Jingles: Dublin Community Radio

Dublin Community Radio (DCR) was set up as Downtown Community Radio by long-time radio enthusiast Joe King in 1979 in the YMCA hall in Ringsend, Dublin 4. It moved to a shed at the back of his house in Lower Grand Canal Street where it was renamed Dublin Community Radio and later switched to a larger premises in Gardner Street in the city centre. Radiowaves.fm reports that it was the first true community radio station in Dublin. DCR dealt with issues in various communities, recorded programmes around the city and did live broadcasts from community events. According to Joe King, the station had specialist shows including one presented by the Dublin historian √Čamonn Mac Thom√°is. Some of the early voices included Bernie Jameson and her brother (DJ name Graham Talbot), Paul Caffrey, Paul Doyle (RIP) and Niall McGowan. DCR broadcast on 963 kHz, announcing as 312 metres.

Joe King’s DCR closed in 1982 but a second, unconnected Dublin Community Radio began broadcasting in 1984 and became KISS FM in 1985. Both these stations’ idents feature the voice of Tony Allan. The announcement of 105 FM at the end of the recording is from the second DCR. Tony’s voice was everywhere during these years and the fact that he spans the two separate DCRs is as confusing as it is interesting. This 1982 recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

Jingles: Radio Leinster (Dublin)

Jingles: Radio Leinster (Dublin)
A flyer advertising Radio Leinster from c. 1983. This was donated by Alan McSimoin (RIP).

Here is a selection of jingles, promos and idents from Radio Leinster in 1983. The sound quality isn’t great as the recording is from AM (738 kHz) but it gives a flavour of the station in its heyday. Radio Leinster was one of the easy listening and talk-based stations serving Dublin in the 1980s. It closed suddenly on the 19th of March 1983 as panic spread among the pirates following raids on the bigger stations. You can hear a recording from that day here.

This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

Full recording: KISS FM (Dublin 1)

Full recording: KISS FM (Dublin 1)
KISS FM compliments slip, courtesy of Ian Biggar.

There were so many pirates called KISS FM that it’s hard to untangle all their stories. We’ve done our homework on this one but as ever we welcome corrections and additional information. The origins of this KISS FM were in Dublin Community Radio which began in 1979. KISS started testing in May 1985 and eventually settled on 1116 kHz AM and 94.8 and 104.1 FM. The station was owned by two German businessmen based in Cavan and located in the impressive sounding ‘Kiss Broadcasting Centre’ in Dublin 1. Well-known Dublin radio presenter David Baker was the manager but remembers how run-down Foley Street was at the time. Over St. Patrick’s weekend 1986, KISS organised a Disco Dance Marathon in the nearby North Star Hotel in aid of the Irish Association for Autistic Children with the help of the Radio West outside broadcast unit. Later that year the station introduced an easy listening format using former presenters from Radio Leinster. On the 3rd of October 1986, KISS was the first pirate to be raided for years when officials from the Department of Communications arrived in Foley Street complaining about interference. There’s a detailed account of the raid in Peter Mulryan’s book Radio Radio (1988). KISS never recovered and is not listed in an Anoraks Ireland report from November 1986.

We visited KISS in Foley Street in 1986 and remember a studio on a mezzanine level with a window in front of the DJ’s console looking down on an empty factory. This recording is from the 24th of June 1985 (6.35-7.20pm) and includes an announcement that KISS had just returned to 105 FM. There are ads and professional jingles and the music sounds great after all those years!

Thanks to David Baker for help with details and to Ian Biggar for the image. This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.