Feature: Radio Carousel history

Feature: Radio Carousel history
Radio Carousel staff in 1981. Information below (photo courtesy of Ian Biggar).

This is a feature programme about the first five-and-a-half years of the Radio Carousel network, broadcast in December 1983. It was compiled by Kieran Murray who was the first voice to be heard on the station on 20th May 1978. There are also interviews with station founder and owner Hugh Hardy, information about listenership surveys and extracts from shows featuring presenters such as Dave Scott (Joe Reilly), Mike Ahern (Richard McCullen) and Tina Anderson. Kieran describes the satellite stations in Navan, Drogheda and on the border and there are also extracts from news programmes and outside broadcasts. Hugh Hardy’s interview with BBC Radio Ulster following the 1983 raids on Radio Nova and Sunshine Radio is included. The programme also includes a flavour of Radio Carousel Dundalk’s 5th birthday on 20th May 1983 and of Radio Carousel Navan’s 2nd birthday on 22nd October 1983.

Feature: Radio Carousel history
Kieran Murray in the original Radio Carousel studio in 1978 (photo courtesy of Eddie Caffrey).

Kieran Murray announces the programme as a two-hour special but this recording contains only one hour so is presumably an edited version. A full version of the station’s theme tune ‘Don’t stop the carousel’ by Roy Taylor and the Nevada is heard at the end. We thank Eddie Caffrey for donating the recording.

Full photo information

Back row: Richard Crowley, Kieran Murray, Shay Breslin, Ray Stone, Hugh Hardy, Dave Scott, Mike Ahern, Frank Mitchell.

Front row: Shane Mullen, Hugh Sands, Penny Palmer, Tony Farrelly.

Full recording: Radio Carousel (Dundalk)

Full recording: Radio Carousel (Dundalk)
Radio Carousel letterhead courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive.

This is another recording of Radio Carousel Dundalk made on two consecutive days, 30th and 31st May 1985 from 101 FM. First up is a segment from the evening show presented by Dave Scott (aka Joe Reilly, RIP) from 2240 to 2325 on the 30th. The classified ads at 2300 include Bruce Springsteen tickets for the forthcoming concert in Slane, various cars for sale, a JCB driver for hire, roofing services, Kerr’s pink potatoes for sale and a BBC colour television aerial!

This is followed by part of the next day’s breakfast programme presented by Mike Ahern (aka Richard McCullen) from 0815 to 0900 on the 31st. It sounds like a one-man show at times as Mike’s voice can be heard on several ads and he also reads news headlines at 0830. However there is no shortage of advertising and there are requests too, including for children on their way to school.

Full recording: Radio Carousel (Dundalk)
Radio Carousel’s aerial at Dundalk Shopping Centre published in Swedish magazine DX Gnisten (courtesy of Ian Biggar, DX Archive).

Richard McCullen went on to work in the local licensed station LMFM. Joe Reilly (using that name) went on to work at ERI in Cork and later licensed station Radio Kerry. We thank Gary Camblin for this recording.

Full recording: Radio Carousel (Dundalk)

Full recording: Radio Carousel (Dundalk)
Mike Ahern (aka Richard McCullen) in the new Carousel studio in Dundalk Shopping Centre (photo courtesy of Ian Biggar).

This is another early recording from Radio Carousel made in Dundalk itself on 3rd January 1979 from 1330-1403. Mike Ahern (aka Richard McCullen) is finishing his lunchtime programme and hands over to Eric Vaughan (aka Eric Griffin) at 2pm. The station was announcing 265 metres (1134 kHz) at this time and had moved to a better studio in Dundalk Shopping Centre. There are adverts for the shopping centre voiced by Mike Ahern himself, an ad for a business in Warrenpoint in Co. Down and a request from a listener in Drumiskin south of Dundalk, giving a sense of Carousel’s core coverage area at the time. Both Mike and Eric worked in Carousel and Boyneside during the pirate era and continued in licensed stations afterwards as Richard McCullen (LMFM) and Eric Griffin (C103).

The tape is a bit wobbly in places but has withstood the passage of time relatively well and the signal is strong having been recorded locally. The recording was made by Kieran Murray and was donated to us by Ian Biggar.

Panel: The Louth Pirates

Panel: The Louth Pirates
John Walsh interviewing (L-R) Eddie Caffrey, Michael Hughes and Richard McCullen in October 2018 (photo courtesy of Eddie Bohan).

Co. Louth was an important county in Irish pirate radio history, with several successful commercial stations often beaming their signals across the border. In this panel discussion on the Louth pirates, Richard McCullen, Michael Hughes and Eddie Caffrey share their memories of the county’s lively pirate scene. Stations featured include Radio Dundalk, Radio Carousel and Boyneside Radio. The interviewer is John Walsh and the discussion was recorded on the 20th of October 2018 at a special event held in Dublin to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the closure of the pirates.