Radio Sandymount was the first of several pop-up community radio stations run by the Community Broadcasting Co-operative (CBC) in different parts of Dublin between 1982 and 1988. Set up by Dave Reddy who had been involved with the earlier ARD, it and other stations such as Radio Donnybrook and Radio Ringsend were regular summer features on the Dublin airwaves during that period. In an interview with Pirate.ie, Dave said that the first such station was in Sandymount in 1982 but proved so popular that other community groups wanted their own version.
Radio Sandymount broadcast to coincide with the Sandymount and Merrion Community Week in late May or early June. This recording is of a test transmission on 29th April 1984 made from 270 metres/1116 kHz from 1135-1220. Among the presenters mentioned are David Baker, a well-known name on the Dublin pirate scene, John Murray and Charlie Sheehan who was a postman in Sandymount.
The recording also includes part of a simulcast of the 78s Show on Radio Galaxy, presented by the veteran pirate broadcaster Tony Boylan and his wife Fran. In 1945, Tony had set up one of Ireland’s earliest pirate stations, the Colleen Home Service, from his bedroom and continued to experiment with transmitters after the war. In the late 1960s, he set up Radio Galaxy on 199 metres/1512 kHz and specialised in playing his large collection of 78s records every Sunday for a few hours.
The 78s Show was very different to most of what was offered by pirate radio at the time and Tony and Fran’s engaging style and deep passion for the music earned them a loyal following. In 1986, they retired to the Isle of Man and became involved in setting up community radio there. Fran Boylan died in 2007 and Tony passed away in 2010.
Peter Mulryan paid tribute to Tony Boylan in his 1988 book, Radio Radio: ‘Tony Boylan’s pioneering broadcasts were amazing feats of personal and electronic achievement, and they were well ahead of their day. While Tony proved that pirate radio was technically possible, it would take younger men another ten years to prove its economic feasibility, and they were still at school’. Broadcast historian Eddie Bohan inducted Tony into his Alternative Irish Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2015.
This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.
Radio Donnybrook was one of three temporary community stations which broadcast in the 1980s to celebrate local festivals in Dublin. Radio Sandymount, Radio Ringsend and Radio Donnybrook were all set up by Dave Reddy under the banner of the Community Broadcasting Cooperative and broadcast on various frequencies such as 981, 1116 or 1134 kHz as well as low power FM. This is a loop recording from 981 kHz on the 10th of June 1984 of David Baker announcing the imminent opening of Radio Donnybrook.
There’s another short recording of Radio Donnybrook here and you can listen to an interview with Dave Reddy about Radio Sandymount here.
In this interview, Dave Reddy recalls his involvement in ARD (Alternative Radio Dublin) and Radio 257 at the end of the 1970s. Dave would go to to establish what would today be called ‘pop-up’ community stations, starting with Radio Sandymount in 1982.
Radio Sandymount went on air as part of a community festival in that area and Dave Reddy explains that the model was soon to be requested by community groups elsewhere, leading to similar short-term stations in Ringsend, Donnybrook and Wicklow. Dave was also founder of the first Christmas station Radio Snowflake, which is now run by David Baker who himself broadcast on the 1980s pop-up stations and many other pirates.
The interviewer is Eolann Aitken. You can listen to recordings of Radio Donnybrook here.
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. They were all affiliated with the Community Broadcasting Co-operative.
David Baker, who worked in a variety of Dublin stations in the 1980s, was also involved with the CBC network. 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.