The last 100 days of Kilkenny Community Radio

The last 100 days of Kilkenny Community Radio
Cover image from a 1981 KCR magazine (courtesy of DX Archive).

Kilkenny Community Radio (KCR) broadcast for almost a decade from May 1979 to December 1988 and was one of the eleven stations affiliated to the National Association of Community Broadcasters. It operated on 1386 kHz (217 metres) for many years but with several other pirates in the south of Ireland on the same frequency, co-channel interference was a problem. FM frequencies were 99.9 and later 97.4 MHz. A new AM rig bought in 1987 allowed KCR to move to 1395 kHz where it remained until it closed, along with the other pirates, on 31st December 1988.

The last 100 days of Kilkenny Community Radio
KCR’s AM rig (courtesy of Bill Ebrill).

KCR was based on a community co-operative structure and was chaired in its early years by local priest Fr. Gerry Joyce. A programme committee of shareholders and listeners updated the schedule regularly and the station’s slogan was ‘By the people for the people’. A 1981 magazine For the Record produced by KCR gives a flavour of the philosophy and the wide range of programming, with plenty of input from local voluntary groups. The station was featured in Leon Tipler’s documentary ‘The Irish Pirates’ in 1983. KCR was licensed as Radio Kilkenny in 1989 and continued to broadcast until 2003 when it lost its licence after a reorganisation of the franchises in Counties Carlow and Kilkenny. The present Community Radio Kilkenny City has links with the original pirate station and the 40th anniversary of community radio in Kilkenny was celebrated in 2019.

This recording is of Pat Maher with an easy listening programme from 1414-1502 on Saturday 17th September 1988, during the station’s ‘last 100 days of broadcasting’, as announced by the presenter. It was made from 97.4 FM and was kindly donated by John Breslin.

Documentary: The Irish Pirates (Volume 5)

Documentary: The Irish Pirates (Volume 5)
Just some of the hundreds of cassettes in the Leon Tipler Collection (photo by Brian Greene)

Part 3 of Leon Tipler’s documentary ‘The Irish Pirates’ is entitled ‘Hello Again’, and features a return visit to Ireland in September 1983. In this episode, Volume 5 of the 8-part series, Tipler begins with a bandscan of Irish AM and FM from Aberystwyth on the west-Wales coast in August 1983. Returning to Dublin a month later, he comments on the improved sound of Treble TR before boarding a train to Kilkenny and Waterford. Kilkenny Community Radio and Suirside Radio are featured in depth and as usual there are several interesting bandscans.

This recording is from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated to us by Steve England.

Index to Volume 5

00:00 Irish bandscan from Aberystwyth August 1983
00:30 1983 raids
01:23 ERI
02:00 Radio West
04:10 South Coast Radio
06:00 FM DXing from Aberystwyth
07:00 Arklow Community Radio
08:31 Radio West
09:05 Kilkenny Community Radio
11:00 September 1983 visit
12:00 Treble TR
15:50 Radio Carlow
16:30 Visit to Kilkenny
17:15 Kilkenny Community Radio
27:45 Visit to KCR – community radio ethos
41:00 Visit to Waterford
42:05 WLR
42:50 Suirside Radio
43:25 ABC Tramore
46:00 Suirside Radio
48:30 Visit to Suirside Radio