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.

More Radio Nova as heard in Cumbria

More Radio Nova as heard in Cumbria
Tom Hardy on the day of the Radio Nova raid, 18th May 1983 (courtesy Joe King).

This is another recording of Radio Nova as heard in Cumbria on 828 kHz AM from 0915-0945 on 30th June 1983. Tom Hardy is on air and features include the Nova Jobspot advertising current employment vacancies around town. The late Bob Gallico reads news headlines at half past the hour. There are plenty of agency ads and promos for the Radio Nova Puma 10K race and for a Nova news hotline which has just been launched. Reception is fair but Nova was operating on reduced power at this time following the raid the previous month.

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

Radio Nova as heard in Cumbria

Radio Nova as heard in Cumbria
Colm Hayes at the Nova raid in May 1983 (courtesy Joe King).

Radio Nova courted listeners on the west coast of Britain throughout its five-year existence from 1981-1986. By the spring of 1983, it had a 10 kW transmitter in operation on 819 kHz, with a 50 kW rig ready to go into service. Expansion plans were set back by the infamous raid of 18th Mary 1983, and when it returned to the air, Nova operated on lower power for a while and switched frequencies between 828 kHz and 819 kHz.

This recording was made from 828 kHz AM in Cumbria on 29th June 1983 from 2045-2115. Colm Hayes is on air announcing AM only, because Nova’s 88 FM frequency was at this time used for an specialist service called Super Nova every evening. News is read by David Malone. Reception is reasonably strong but noticeably weaker than in other periods and it would be autumn 1983 before Nova resumed high-power broadcasting on AM.

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

Robbie Robinson closes 3rd Sunshine charity auction

Robbie Robinson closes 3rd Sunshine charity auction
Letter from Valerie Goulding of the CRC in the 1985 Sunshine Review (courtesy DX Archive).

This is the final section of the 3rd annual Sunshine Radio charity auction in aid of the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC). Station owner Robbie Robinson (RIP) auctions one of that year’s big prizes, a holiday to Portugal donated by Joe Walsh Tours. He then calls the founder of the CRC Lady Valerie Goulding to tell her that Sunshine has raised over £22,000 that year. As the letter above indicates, by 1985 the auction had brought in over £100,000 for the CRC, a considerable amount for the time and evidence of Sunshine’s commitment to charitable causes.

Another item of interest in this recording is a advert placed by the Association of Independent Broadcasters in Ireland, a group formed by some of the commercial pirate stations to represent the sector. News at 9pm is read by Caroline Callaghan.

This recording was made from 2054-2132 on 11th April 1983. It is from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated by Steve England.

Live on-air bidding at Sunshine’s 3rd charity auction

Live on-air bidding at Sunshine's 3rd charity auction
Sunshine Radio CRC badge (courtesy DX Archive).

The third Sunshine Radio charity auction for the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) was held in 1983 and continued to build on the success of earlier years. This is the final part of the first day’s 12-hour auction programme, presented by the late Robbie Robinson. There is live on-air bidding for the Sunshine Extravaganza, an evening gala concert with music, food and drink, all profits from which went to the CRC. News is read by Emer Dolan (Woodfull). Within a month, Sunshine would be put off the air when the station was raided by the authorities in a crackdown on pirate radio.

The recording was made from 2053-2139 on 9th April 1983. It is from the Leon Tipler Tapes Collection, donated to us by Steve England.