Interview: Gareth O’Connor (KITS)

Interview: Gareth O'Connor (KITS)
Gareth O’Connor in the KITS studio in 1988. Thanks to Gareth for the photo.

We interview journalist Gareth O’Connor about his memories of KITS (837 AM and 101 FM) in Monaghan Town in 1987 and 1988. KITS came on the air towards the end of the pirate era and, like other border stations, gained listeners and advertisers both north and south. Gareth tells us about how he became interested in radio and how a decisive Christmas Day phone call launched his broadcasting career. He also pays tribute to station owner the late Frank McCarthy and discusses the impact of the pirates on Monaghan and further afield.

Gareth went on to work as a journalist with many broadcasters including Northern Sound, Century Radio, RTÉ, 98FM, Today FM, East Coast FM, LMFM and Radio Nova. He has also contributed to temporary station Walk in My Shoes Radio and is a regular on Christmas FM. Gareth currently works as an Executive Producer at Virgin Media Ireland.

You can listen to KITS jingles here.

Jingles: KITS

Jingles: KITS
KITS car sticker (courtesy of DX Archive).

KITS was one of the many ‘border blasters’, stations which popped up along the border during the 1980s and beamed their signals north in the search for advertising and listeners. KITS went on air towards the era of the pirate era on 19th December 1987 and broadcast from Monaghan town on 837 kHz AM and 101 FM. The station closed on 31st December 1988 in line with new broadcasting legislation.

Although less powerful than its audacious neighbour KISS FM – which aimed unashamedly at the Belfast market – KITS had its own strong following on both sides of the border and marketed itself as ‘Ulster’s favourite music station’. Here is its jingle package from our own collection. Listen to an interview with Gareth O’Connor about KITS here.

Interview: Gerry Reilly, transmitter man

Interview: Gerry Reilly, transmitter man

On October 20th 2018 over 100 radio anoraks gathered in the Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin. The purpose was to meet and record oral history of the pirate radio era.

In this interview, Walter Hegarty talks to Gerry Reilly, a radio engineer from Co. Cavan. Gerry worked on transmitters for almost 50 stations including Kandy Radio, Galway District Radio (GDR), Hometown Radio, Big M, Erneside, NWCR, CCR, Breffni Radio, Midwest Radio. East Coast Radio (Louth), Melvin Radio, Radio North, Riverside Radio, Boyneside Radio, DCR Letterkenny, Radio West, Rainbow Radio, Star Radio, North Star, KISS FM, KITS, North Atlantic Radio and many more.