Full recording: Westside Radio (Dublin)

Full recording: Westside Radio (Dublin)
Advertisement for Westside Radio in Irish Radio News (1983), courtesy of Ian Biggar.

Westside Radio broadcast on 290 metres (1035 kHz) and began its life as Double R Radio in Inchicore in the house of the late Seán Day (Murphy). It migrated between various hotels and pubs in the city. In early 1983, Gerard Roe reported in Irish Radio News that Westside had tested on a number of occasions on 290 metres from a site in Mulhuddart in the northwest of the city with a strong signal and good audio quality. They were later reported to have run into legal trouble and were told to vacate the pub in Mulhuddart from where they were broadcasting. This recording was made on the 18th of March 1983, the day of the raid on Radio Nova which led many stations to close down temporarily. Westside returned but not for long because Anoraks UK reported in July that it had closed down ‘due to interference with a computer’. According to Offshore Echoes in October 1983, one theory circulating was that as the station was based on licensed premises, the pub owner didn’t want to jeopardise their forthcoming licence renewal.

Westside merged with ABC Radio to become Radio Annabel, which began testing by September 1983 on 1035 kHz and 98 MHz FM. Some of those involved in Westside set up Blanchardstown Community Radio in a near-derelict building on the main street in the west Dublin suburb. The second undated clip below is also from 290 metres, although the very start is clipped. It is an advertising promo for Westside voiced by Gerry Marsden who took over management of the station in 1983 and would later work in Radio Dublin. There is no link with the long-running shortwave pirate Westside Radio International. Thanks to Ian Biggar and Paul Shepherd for additional information.

This recording is from the Skywaves Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International was a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

Aircheck: ABC Radio (Dublin)

Aircheck: ABC Radio (Dublin)
A photo of the studio courtesy of abcradio-dublin.com – location unknown.

ABC Radio was one of the smaller Dublin stations in the early 1980s, on air from November 1st 1981 until the end of May 1984. It was an offshoot of Radio Dublin Channel 2 and began broadcasting from the Ivy Rooms Hotel (now the Gate Hotel) on Parnell Street. The frequency was 1386 kHz (announced as 1385 or 217 metres) but there were problems with another pirate on the same frequency. In April 1982, ABC moved to 963 kHz (312 metres) but was again jammed by another pirate operator, causing a further move to 981 kHz although 963 continued to be announced. ABC was one of only two stations to remain on air following the raids on Radio Nova and Sunshine Radio in May 1983 when it began 24-hour broadcasting in response to listener demand. Anoraks UK reported that it was raided itself in June 1983 due to a harmonic signal in the marine band.

There is a tribute site to ABC with more history and some images but lacking in audio. Recordings of the station are not widely available so we’re glad to bring you a selection of station IDs and promos from 1981-3. Sound quality isn’t great, reflecting poor AM transmitters and old cassettes, but the IDs feature the voice of Tony Allan and the aircheck includes Radio Nova’s news bulletin which was being rebroadcast by ABC for a while – a pirate pirating news from another pirate! ABC closed in May 1984 following an unsuccessful move to the disused State Cinema in Phibsboro. The station merged with another small station Westside Radio to become Radio Annabel, which also broadcast from the Ivy Rooms Hotel.

This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.

Aircheck: Radio Annabel FRC

Aircheck: Radio Annabel FRC
This image is of part of a letter sent by Gerard Roe in 1985 to Brian and Dónal Greene, after they loaned him a tape to use on the FRC programme.

This is a great recording of the popular Free Radio Campaign programme hosted by Gerard Roe on Dublin station Radio Annabel in the early 1980s. The first part is from May 20th 1984 and was recorded from 1035 kHz AM. It includes an interview with Kenny Everett from a BBC documentary about the offshore pirates, information about the new offshore station Laser 558, news about Radio Caroline, Gay Byrne celebrating 50 years of Radio Luxembourg and the 6th anniversary of Radio Carousel. The second part, probably from a week or two later, features Big D Radio and London pirate Thameside Radio. We’ve done our best with the sound but the AM signal was a bit over-modulated.

There’s another recording of the Radio Annabel FRC here.

David Baker discusses the pirate scene on Radio Annabel

David Baker discusses the pirate scene on Radio Annabel

Several temporary community stations came on air in the 1980s to celebrate local festivals in Dublin. Radio Sandymount, Radio Ringsend and Radio Donnybrook were all set up by Dave Reddy and broadcast on 981, 1116 or 1134 kHz. David Baker, who worked in a variety of Dublin stations in the 1980s, was also involved. In this recording from June or July 1984, David chats with Gerard Roe of Radio Annabel about the Dublin radio scene in 1984. Audio quality is poor as the recording is of a weak AM signal received in north Dublin on 981 kHz but recordings of these community stations are rare.

You can hear separate recordings of Radio Annabel here. There’s an interview with Dave Reddy of Radio Sandymount here and with David Baker here.

Aircheck: Radio Annabel FRC

Dublin station Radio Annabel featured a popular weekly Free Radio Campaign programme presented by Gerard Roe. This recording from 1985 features an interview with Chris Cary taken from Radio Nova in which he criticises the notion of community radio. It is followed by a reference to a newspaper article about one of the failed attempts to introduce legislation to regulate the radio sector during the 1980s.