Drivetime on Big L from Limerick

Drivetime on Big L from Limerick
Big L logo (courtesy DX Archive).

Big L was one of the longer-running pirates from Limerick City, broadcasting from 1978 until 1985. It was set up by English DJ Mike Richardson and Hayman Harris (a nephew of actor Richard Harris) and based in Ellen Street in the city centre. The station was raided shortly after its launch in June 1978 but returned to the air and consolidated its audience and advertisers over time. The station occupied various frequencies towards the top end of the medium wave band and later added FM. An article in the Limerick Echo in August 1984 claimed that with four transmitters, Big L covered an area of a quarter of a million people in Limerick, Clare, Kerry, Tipperary and Cork. However, by April 1985 Big L had closed down, bringing almost seven years of broadcasting to an end. A more detailed station history written by Mike Richardson is available here.

Drivetime on Big L from Limerick
Big L studio photo from 1984 (Anoraks Ireland Collection).

This recording of Big L was made in the run-up to its final Christmas in 1984 and features part of the afternoon drivetime show with Liam Ahern. Music is a mixture of chart, oldies and ballads and adverts from Limerick City and surrounding towns are heard. There are some technical issues during the programme and crackle is audible on the FM reception.

Drivetime on Big L from Limerick
Original inlay from Anoraks Ireland cassette

The tape is from the Anoraks Ireland Collection and was made from 1605-1650 on Wednesday 12th December 1984 from 102 FM. A log from around the same time listed Big L on 1560 kHz AM (off-channel) and 91.7, 98.3 and 104.2 FM.

Lunchtime on Radio Phoenix from Limerick

Lunchtime on Radio Phoenix from Limerick
Radio Phoenix studio in December 1984 (Anoraks Ireland Collection).

Radio Phoenix was a small Limerick station broadcasting in 1984 and 1985 and linked to other later similar pirates in the city. In a report by Tony Donlon for Contact magazine from the World DX Club on 28th January 1985, Radio Phoenix is listed on 99.4 FM with broadcasting hours from 0730-0000. Tony wrote that the station had previously operated for around eight months as Radio Ormond in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary (November 1983 to end of September 1984). Radio Phoenix went through several name changes over the years including the Limerick Broadcasting Corporation (LBC), Munster Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and Stereo Radio Munster. In his list of 18th April 1986 in Contact, Tony Donlon includes LBC on 95.5 and 98.5 FM with an address at Blackboy House, Mulgrave Street, Limerick. In a letter to Ian Biggar on 2nd August 1986, Tony wrote that the Munster Broadcasting Corporation had a notorious habit of changing name, previously calling themselves LBC, Nova Limerick and much earlier Radio Phoenix.

The man behind all of these stations was Bernard Rooney, who called himself Will Rogers on air. This recording of Radio Phoenix was made from 99.3 FM on Wednesday 12th December 1984 from 1310-1355 and features Will Rogers himself in his usual lunchtime slot. An AM frequency of 1560 kHz or 190 metres is also announced, but this was in fact the spot claimed by rival Limerick station Big L at the same time. There is no log of Radio Phoenix on anything other than FM so the claim to be on AM also may have been wishful thinking.

This recording is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection. Thanks to Ian Biggar for background information.

Late night requests on Radio Vera from Limerick

Late night requests on Radio Vera from Limerick
Radio Vera compliments slip (Anoraks Ireland Collection).

Radio Vera was a Limerick station broadcasting towards the end of the 1980s pirate era. Launched in late 1987, it was linked to an existing city station, Radio Munster with which it shared a building in William Street. Radio Vera aimed its programmes at the 15-34 age cohort, featuring pop music, chat, news, sports and local interviews. It claimed to be one of the few Limerick stations available over a 50-mile radius around Limerick City and its advertising brochures included maps covering most of the southwest of Ireland. Radio Vera closed at the end of 1988 along with other pirate stations.

Late night requests on Radio Vera from Limerick
Advertising material with claimed coverage map (Anoraks Ireland Collection).

This tape was made from 97.7 FM on 14th November 1988 from 2230-2307 and features Jeff Graham with a late-night requests show. News at the top of the hour is read by Edwina and adverts cover Limerick and north Kerry. The recording is of fair reception quality as it was made outside the core broadcasting area. We thank John Breslin for the donation.  

Summer sounds on Munster Broadcasting Corporation

Summer sounds on Munster Broadcasting Corporation
MBC advert in Phoenix Magazine, 1986 (courtesy Eddie Bohan).

The Munster Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) was one of the smaller Limerick pirates, broadcasting in 1986. Despite the gradiose name, the station was situated in a tiny loft room on Catherine Street in the city centre. It claimed coverage of counties Limerick, Clare and Tipperary on various FM frequencies, but most of the advertisements were from Limerick City itself. This recording from July 1986 features the lunchtime show with current pop hits presented by Will Rogers, who had one of the stranger mid-Atlantic accents of the pirate era. He also features on many of the adverts. MBC was relaunched as Stereo Radio Munster in 1987.

The tape may have been recorded from one of the Limerick City frequencies, 95.9 or 98.6 FM. There is no date but Part 1 above runs from 1304-1349 and Part 2 below from 1351-1437.

Part 2 from 1351.

The tape is from the Anoraks Ireland Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.

Limerick’s Sound Channel at Christmas 1988

Limerick's Sound Channel at Christmas 1988
Sound Channel logo (courtesy Andy Carter).

Sound Channel broadcast from Limerick City from November 1986 to December 1988 and quickly gained a reputation as a professional operation. A rebranding in summer 1988 introduced the tagline ‘Power 98’ but in this recording both names are used, which seems to dilute the station’s identity. The DJ is Stuart Clark, formerly of the Voice of Peace and ABC in Waterford, who notes that a listener is ‘taping for posterity’, a reference to the fact that the 1980s pirate era was coming to an end. There’s mention of the Radio Nova satellite service from midnight, which was carried by many pirate stations overnight in 1988. News is from Independent Radio News in the UK and a £500 shopping voucher is given away during the show. Sound Channel/Power 98 closed down on 30th December 1988 in line with new broadcasting legislation.   

Limerick's Sound Channel at Christmas 1988
Original cassette label from Anoraks Ireland Collection.

Our tape was made from 98.7 FM on Thursday 20th December 1988. Part 1 above runs from 1412-1457 and Part 2 below is from 1459-1544.

Part 2 from 1459.

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