Oldies on Galway’s Coast 103

Oldies on Galway's Coast 103
Coast 103 car sticker from 1987 (Anoraks Ireland Collection).

Coast 103 was a successful station broadcasting from Galway from mid-1987 until the end of 1988. It later merged with Limerick pirate Hits 954, rebranded as Coast Hots Hits and covered the west and mid-west region from Galway to the outskirts of Cork. One of the two big Galway stations at the end of the pirate era, Coast played mostly chart music but also had some specialist programming outside peak times.

One such programme was the ‘Hitback’ oldies show presented by the late Carl Turner (aka John Steele) on Sunday mornings. This recording was made from 103 FM in stereo on 3rd April 1988 from 0900-0945 and features an eclectic mix including rhythm and blues, swing, rock and roll, country, soul and folk rock. John Steele had an impression collection of vinyl and also ran his own hobby pirate Swinging Radio Impulse late at night from his home in Galway city centre.

This recording is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.

Twiggs FM from Galway

Twiggs FM from Galway
Twiggs FM 1988 calendar (Anoraks Ireland Collection).

Twiggs FM was a short-lived pirate station from Galway broadcasting for about six months at the end of 1987 and beginning of 1988. Called after a nightclub of the same name in Salthill, it was set up by local man Shane Martin and Alan Russell from Dublin who had established another Galway station, Atlantic Sound, in 1984. Alan was also a founder of Dublin station Capitol Radio (1975 and 1978-1981). When Twiggs FM was wound down, DJs either moved to other Galway stations such as County Sound and Coast 103, returned to Dublin or emigrated.

Twiggs FM from Galway
Handwritten cassette label from the Anoraks Ireland Collection.

This recording from 11th November 1987 is of a morning show presented by Mike Richardson, apparently in the middle of a storm (Twiggs FM was located on the promenade facing the Atlantic Ocean). A founder of Big L Radio in Limerick, Mike provided the transmitter and studio equipment for Twiggs FM and did shows when he was in Galway. The recording was made from 98.2 FM in stereo from 0912-0937 and is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson. Thanks to Alan Russell and Shane Martin for background information.

Closedown of Galway’s KFM

Closedown of Galway's KFM
KFM flyer (courtesy Ian Biggar).

KFM was the longest-running of the later Galway pirate stations, broadcasting from November 1986 until the end of 1988. It was first based in the village of Moycullen in Connemara and later moved into the city centre before returning to Moycullen towards the end of its run. The high transmitter site gave it good coverage over a wide area of Galway city and county.

This is the final hour-and-a-half of KFM on 31st December 1988. The show is presented by Shane Keating, who was well-known to local anoraks because he presented a DX programme during the final months of the station. There are farewell messages and live requests phoned in by listeners and one of KFM’s founders Maureen Browne pays tribute to DJs, advertisers and supporters. It’s a low-key closedown compared to some other stations and KFM leaves the airwaves at exactly midnight following the national anthem.

The recording above is from 2238-2325 and the final 35 minutes are heard in the recording below. They were made from 95 FM in north Clare, outside the core reception area, so the signal is fair at times. Thanks to John Breslin for the donation. For a comprehensive account of the 1988 closedowns, see the Radiowaves site.

Final 35 minutes of KFM.

Closedown of Galway’s Coast 103

Closedown of Galway's Coast 103
Coast 103 staff at the closedown (courtesy Shane Martin).

This is the final 90 minutes of one of the more popular and successful Galway stations towards the end of the pirate era, Coast 103. Launched in mid-1987, by 1988 it had merged with Limerick station Hits 954, was calling itself Coast Hot Hits and could be heard on a string of AM and FM transmitters covering an area from Mayo to Cork.

The final evening on 31st December 1988 was broadcast from Richardson’s Bar in Eyre Square, Galway and featured various people dropping in to share their memories of Coast 103. Seán Costello is heard first and is followed by closedown host Barry Williams who is joined by Tommy Kelly, Tom Cuffe, Shane Martin, Brian Davis and Keith York (RIP). The first recording above is from 2232-2318 and the second below from 2318-0004. Both were recorded from 102.47 FM and are kindly donated by John Breslin. Thanks also to Shane Martin.

Final 45 minutes of Coast 103.

Fossett’s Circus on Galway’s Atlantic Sound

Fossett's Circus on Galway's Atlantic Sound
Atlantic Sound studios (photo courtesy of Alan Russell).

In the first half of 1984, Galway pirate Atlantic Sound broadcast a varied schedule of music and original speech programming. This is a clip from station founder Alan Russell’s magazine programme from May or June 1984. Seán Costello interviews Annie, a South African trapeze artist with Fossett’s Circus at Fairgreen in Galway city centre during a visit by the circus to town. It was recorded on a Marantz Superscope machine. Below is a longer interview by Seán with the late Teddy Fossett who provides a brief history of the circus before taking the opportunity to share some grievances about the circus industry. Seán attempts to wrap up the interview after 15 minutes but Teddy is in full flight about the competition with Circus Hoffmans from the UK.

Atlantic Sound interview with Teddy Fossett, 1984.
Fossett's Circus on Galway's Atlantic Sound
Atlantic Sound studios (photo courtesy of Alan Russell).

The photos were taken in the Atlantic Sound studio at the end of 1983 when the station had begun testing. A full schedule began in 1984. Pictured are a Canary 12- channel mixer, Technics decks, a JVC cassette deck, Sennheiser headphones, a Shure mic and the news reader’s desk. We thank Alan Russell for the donation. In the second half of 1984 after his departure, the station was re-launched as a ‘hot hits’ format.