Radio Star Country is distinctive from the few pirates that venture on air these days in Ireland. As well as its longevity, it stands out for its musical style – Irish and American country and gospel music – and its daily religious content. The station was sold on by Gerry Byrne in 1992 and after three further changes of ownership was taken over by Dr Albert Chambers from Portadown in Co. Armagh, founder and director of religious organisation World Vision for Christ. A letter from WVFC to a Swedish DXer in 2006 referred to Radio Star Country as ‘our radio station in Ireland’ and said that, as well as playing country and gospel music, ‘the major programmes are the Christian broadcast messages given by pastors of various denominations’. Dr Chambers himself was listed as presenting programmes on Monday and Thursday evenings.
The Radio Star Country website lists daily religious programmes including Showers of Blessing, Let the Bible Speak, New Life in Christ and Foundations of Faith, the latter presented by Albert Chambers. World Vision for Christ is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, whose website states that its ‘aim is to promote Biblical Christianity’ by a number of means, including radio ministry. Its income increased from £57,000 in 2017 to £114,000 in 2021.
This recording begins with the 15-minute religious programme Let the Bible Speak presented by an evangelical minister from Co. Tyrone. It is followed by a music show with Patsy Jordan (McDonald, RIP) who reads out requests from over a wide area including Antrim, Armagh, Cavan, Meath, Monaghan, Fermanagh and Tyrone. Long adverts for businesses in Monaghan, Armagh and Fermanagh are also heard. The tape was made in Troon in Scotland from 981 kHz from 1002-1048 on Monday 16th May 2005. Thanks to Ian Biggar for the donation and for background information.
More than a decade after the new broadcasting laws came into effect, pirate radio continued to be heard across Ireland, although not on the scale of the 1980s. The Monaghan pirate Radio Star Country was among those stations that carried on broadcasting into the new millennium, continuing to attract listeners and advertisers on both sides of the border. In this recording from 2001, there are plenty of commercial breaks and requests from Belfast, Down and Derry as well as nearer to home. An advertising promo gives a number in the North and news from IRN in Britain refers to the foot and mouth crisis that was raging at the time. There is evidence of increased religious influence on Radio Star Country with gospel and religious music, notices for religious businesses and a guide to daily gospel programmes including one by station owner Albert Chambers.
This recording was made from 981 kHz in Scotland on 24th October 2001 from 1105-1205. The DJ is the late Patsy Jordan (McDonald). Thanks to Ian Biggar for the donation.
This recording of Monaghan border pirate Radio Star Country features one of the station’s best known presenters, the late Patsy Jordan (McDonald). It was made on 19th February 1993 from 0857-1030 and features Patsy on a long shift from early morning until 1pm. Patsy, who was from Newtownbutler in Co. Fermanagh, was a country musician whose band, Patsy Jordan and the Blue Train Line, gained huge success in the 1980s. In an obituary in Enniskillen newspaper The Impartial Reporter, it was stated that on the back of the band’s popularity, Cavan pirate station Erneside Radio invited Patsy to present his own show. That was very popular with listeners so it was natural that Patsy would continue to be heard on Radio Star Country after other pirates left the airwaves at the start of 1989. He died in 2016 and country musicians and radio colleagues were among those who attended his large funeral in Clonmaulin close to the border with Co. Monaghan.
On this tape of one of Patsy’s shows, there are copious adverts from Down, Tyrone, Armagh, Cavan and Antrim including Belfast. Plenty of requests are received from both sides of the border and even from the Isle of Man and various local country music singers are promoted. The recording was made from 981 kHz AM in Scotland by Gary Hogg of DX Archive. Thanks to Gary for the recording and to Ian Biggar for assistance with the text.