Pirate.ie in three minutes – transnational radio

Pirate.ie in three minutes - transnational radio
Boyneside Radio North AM mast just on the border (courtesy of Eddie Caffrey).

This three-minute clip includes highlights related to the transnational nature of Irish pirate radio in the late 1970s and 1980s. By accident or design, stations were heard beyond the borders of the Irish state on FM and especially on AM and there were also part-time shortwave operators aimed at international DXers.

Pirate.ie in three minutes - transnational radio
Constitution Hill in Aberystwyth where Leon Tipler recorded Irish radio (photo by John Walsh).

The first segment is of Arklow Community Radio as heard by the late British radio enthusiast Leon Tipler on FM in Aberystwyth on the Welsh coast on 13th August 1983. This is followed by a night-time recording of Radio Nova playing a request for Leon at his home in Kidderminster in the English midlands on 17th September 1982.

Pirate.ie in three minutes - transnational radio
Radio Nova sticker from the 50 kW days (courtesy of Ian Biggar).

The third segment is the iconic top-of-the-hour ident of Radio Nova recorded on 17th July 1984. This is voiced by station boss Chris Cary who stresses that Nova broadcasts from and not to Dublin on 738 kHz. The AM transmitter was using 50 kW at the time in order to reach the British market.

Pirate.ie in three minutes - transnational radio
KISS FM sticker (courtesy of Ian Biggar).

The fourth segment is of KISS FM, a high-powered FM and AM station based in Monaghan on the border and aiming its signal at the lucrative Belfast market. This was recorded in Scotland on 13th June 1988. The firth extract is an advert on the Louth station Boyneside Radio promoting a céilí in an Irish centre in Lankashire. Although recorded in Ireland, it is evidence that Boyneside had listeners across the Irish Sea. The final extract is from August 1985 and features one of the many Irish shortwave stations that aimed at international audiences. Radio Rainbow International broadcast on 6240 kHz but this is a studio recording.

Pirate.ie in three minutes - transnational radio
Radio Rainbow letter from 1986 (courtesy Ian Biggar).

These recordings are from our various collections and are discussed in more detail in our podcast focusing on the transnational nature of Irish pirate radio.

Pirate Pioneers: late night Channel 70

Pirate Pioneers: late night Channel 70
Channel 70 QSL courtesy of Mike Barraclough.

Channel 70 was one of several Irish pirate pioneers in Dublin in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Although short-lived hobby stations with irregular hours and low power, they paved the way for the next generation of full-time pirates from the late 1970s.

Channel 70 was one such station, broadcasting regularly from Monkstown in Co. Dublin between 1970 and 1972. Operated by Jack O’Carroll, it broadcast on 1320 kHz (announcing 227 metres) using 100 watts into an inverted L. The station was heard over a wide area and was popular with DXers. It was usually on air around midnight on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

This is an undated recording (probably from 1971) of Channel 70 featuring ‘Gary Logan’ (aka Jack O’Carroll) on his regular soul music programme, beginning at about 0015. There is also a reference to the British offshore pirate Radio 255, which was heard in Dublin. Many thanks to Bill Ebrill for the donation.

More Stevie Dunne on Sunshine Radio

More Stevie Dunne on Sunshine Radio
Early Sunshine compliments slip (courtesy of Ian Biggar).

This recording is of veteran English DJ Stevie Dunne (Stevie Gordon) on Sunshine Radio from 1410-1456 on 12th February 1981. Stevie did stints with the offshore stations Voice of Peace and Radio Caroline and was the last voice to be heard from the Mi Amigo before it sank in 1980. After coming to Dublin, he used the radio name Stevie Dunne to avoid confusion with another English DJ, Steve Gordon, who worked with Radio Leinster and also presented on Sunshine and Radio Nova on a stand-in basis. Stevie Dunne went on to work at Nova and South Coast Radio in Cork before moving to Scandinavia. He is currently Programme Director of Radio Seagull, which broadcasts on AM in the Netherlands.

There is co-channel interference on this recording, as it was made in Scotland by Ken Baird, some distance from the transmitter on 531 kHz. We thank John Breslin for the donation.

Declan Meehan and Stevie Dunne on Sunshine Radio

Declan Meehan and Stevie Dunne on Sunshine Radio
Declan Meehan in the Sunshine studio in 1981 (photo courtesy of Ian Biggar).

This early recording of Sunshine Radio features two big names in the radio business since the 1970s, Declan Meehan and Stevie Dunne (Stevie Gordon). Made from 531 kHz AM (announcing 539 metres) from 1323-1410 on 12th February 1981, Declan’s lunchtime programme includes the Call and Collect competition based on a car registration number and various adverts, including one for the Sands Hotel in Portmarnock where Sunshine was based. Declan is followed at 2pm by Stevie, who had previously worked at the offshore station Radio Caroline. He would go on to work in other Irish pirates such as Radio Nova and South Coast Radio in Cork. Listen here to an interview with Declan about his radio career from his time at Sunshine.

There is some co-channel interference on this recording as it was made in Scotland by Ken Baird, outside the core Sunshine AM area. Thanks to John Breslin for the donation.

More shortwave DXing on Galway’s KFM

More shortwave DXing on Galway's KFM
KFM rate card from 1988 (courtesy of Ian Biggar).

This is another selection of undated excerpts from the DXers’ programme on Galway pirate KFM in the final months of 1988. Presenter Shane Keating chats to contributor John Breslin from north Co. Clare about shortwave DXing. John lists DX clubs and shortwave stations he has heard recently including Radio Budapest, Transworld Radio, Voice of Ethiopia and Radio Finland. Shane provides addresses of European stations so that listeners can request QSLs.

Shane Keating also presented a Saturday morning children’s programme on KFM and there are excerpts of this including phone calls from young listeners. The recording ends with Shane signing off for the last time on 31st December 1988, the day that KFM closed and the Irish airwaves fell largely silent.

We thank John Breslin for his donation of this recording, which was made from 95.99 FM in north Clare. Reception is variable as it outside the core KFM coverage area.