Radio Dublin rings in New Year 1978

Radio Dublin rings in New Year 1978
The Radio Dublin transmitter at Christmas 1977 (photo courtesy of Bill Ebrill).

Radio Dublin was the only Irish station to ring in the New Year at midnight on Saturday 31st December 1977. The Evening Herald reported that RTÉ Radio had to scrap its planned New Year’s Eve special programme, to be presented by Pat Kenny, because of an industrial relations dispute. The state broadcaster would close down at 11.45pm, leaving the airwaves to Radio Dublin. This was an important period for the pirates as it marked the shift from hobby to full-time broadcasting. Radio Dublin stayed on air for 300 hours over the Christmas and New Year period 1977-1978 and began full-time daily broadcasting on 2nd January 1978.

This recording is of Radio Dublin staff saying farewell to 1977 and ringing in 1978. Running from 2312-0040, it features station owner Eamonn Cooke along with DJs John Paul, Shay West, DJ Sylvie, Mike Eastwood and James Dillon. There are plenty of requests from listeners and thanks to businesses for advertising with the station during the year. At midnight a recording of bells is almost scuppered by a faulty cassette tape. This is followed by the DJs singing Auld Land Syne and a message from the Lord Mayor of Dublin Cllr Michael Collins. Eamonn Cooke urges listeners to lobby the government for a licence for Radio Dublin and also thanks Prince Terry (Roger Lloyd) for relaying the broadcast on the shortwave frequency of Westside Radio International. This recording was made locally but there is some night-time co-channel interference and that characteristic Radio Dublin hum throughout. We thank Ian Biggar for the donation.

Radio Dublin rings in New Year 1978
Early Radio Dublin letterhead (courtesy of Ian Biggar)

However, the exuberance of New Year’s Eve did not last and in April James Dillon led a walk-out of most staff following allegations that Eamonn Cooke was involved in child abuse. Dillon formed a breakaway station, the Big D, which lasted until 1982. Radio Dublin closed down permanently in 2002 following Cooke’s conviction for sexually abusing children. He was jailed in 2003 and again in 2007 and died in 2016 while on temporary release. If you require support with this issue, you can contact the organisation One in Four.

Dr. Don closes Radio Dublin in 1976

Dr. Don closes Radio Dublin in 1976
The late Don Moore pictured in the Sunday Press on 04.02.1979.

Under the direction of the late Don Moore, Radio Dublin began night-time broadcasting in 1976, expanding the station’s presence on air beyond the usual Sunday afternoon slot. However, the extended hours drew the attention of the authorities and Radio Dublin was raided on Wednesday 15th September 1976.

This recording was made from 227 metres medium wave on Friday 17th September and was the station’s final night-time broadcast for the foreseeable future. A subdued Dr. Don opens the half-hour broadcast, which contains plenty of pirate-themed music. There are also recordings of other DJs such as Dave C., Paul Downey and John Walsh (nothing to the John Walsh of this site!).

Listeners are urged to join the Radio Dublin club to support the station. It would be another year before Radio Dublin began periods of full-time broadcasting in September 1977, prompting the transition from the pirates as hobbyists to more serious stations. This recording was made originally by Kieran Murray and was kindly shared by Ian Biggar.

Dr. Don and Prince Terry on Radio Dublin

Dr. Don and Prince Terry on Radio Dublin
L-R: Eddie Caffrey, Ken Harley, Brian Greene and Don Moore at the Pirate.ie meet-up in 2018.

This recording features two of the early pioneers of Radio Dublin, Dr Don (Don Moore, RIP) and Prince Terry (Roger Lloyd). It was made from 253 metres on Sunday 22nd February 1976 from about 2pm and is airchecked. Don is his usual flamboyant self and the canned laughter and Tarzan sound effects only add to the atmosphere of anarchy. Other DJs who get a mention are ‘Cool Enough Seamus’ and ‘Jiving Joey’ and we hear a few links from Seamus whose real name is the less exotic Des Byrne. He is followed by Roger Lloyd who is very happy to have received 10 letters during the week. The postal address given is 90 Ranelagh, Dublin 6.

Thanks to Ian Biggar for sharing this recording, which was made originally by Kieran Murray.

The Pirate.ie Podcast #9: Our audio tribute to Don Moore (RIP)

The Pirate.ie Podcast #9: Our audio tribute to Don Moore (RIP)
L-R Ian Biggar, Roger Lloyd and Don Moore at the Pirate.ie meet-up in October 2018.

It was with sadness that we learned recently of the death of Don Moore, one of the early pioneers of Irish pirate radio in the crucial period of the mid- to late-1970s. Dr Don, as he was known on air, was the operator of Radio Westside, a shortwave station later called Westside Radio International. He became involved in the early days of Radio Dublin before moving on to its great rival, ARD which he developed into a professional station around the turn of the decade.

In episode #9 of the Pirate.ie podcast, Brian Greene and John Walsh interview various people who knew Don, either in person or over the air, and get their assessment of his influence on the development of Irish radio: Roger Lloyd (Prince Terry), Derek Jones, Declan Meehan and Ian Biggar.

Don Moore (RIP) on Radio Dublin

Don Moore (RIP) on Radio Dublin
Don Moore in 2015 (courtesy of Don’s Facebook page)

It was with sadness that we learned recently of the death of one of the early pioneers of pirate radio in Dublin and Ireland, Don Moore (Dr Don). Here is an early recording of Don on Radio Dublin on Sunday 28th December 1975 from 1400-1630. Don bemoans the fate of another Dublin pirate, Capitol Radio, which had been raided on 21st December and returned to the air on the 28th for a farewell broadcast. Clips from Capitol’s final broadcast are heard, featuring Alan Russell and Ed McDowell, and Don advises listeners to write to the newspapers and the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs to complain. He also refers to Radio Mi Amigo on 252 metres, and says that Radio Dublin is blocking reception of their signal locally. Later in the recording, Prince Terry (Roger Lloyd) reads out some letters from listeners including one in Irish which is translated by Dr Don. Skywave interference from Mi Amigo is heard towards the end of the broadcast.

We thank Ian Biggar for donating this recording, which was made originally by Kieran Murray.