Breakfast on Galway’s Coast 103

Breakfast on Galway's Coast 103
Coast 103 sticker (Anoraks Ireland Collection).

Coast 103 was a popular Galway station broadcasting from the middle of 1987 until the end of 1988. Run by Keith York and Steve Marshall who had been involved with previous Galway stations Atlantic Sound and WLS, Coast later merged with Limerick station Hits 954 and eventually claimed to cover a large area from Galway to the outskirts of Cork City. This recording was made towards the end of Coast’s run and features Ger Sweeney’s upbeat breakfast show, sponsored by the Happy Spud. A promo refers to Coast being heard in Limerick, Tipperary, Kerry and Cork but all of the adverts are from Galway. Ger must have been in a rush to leave as there is continuous music at the end of his show before Shane Martin takes over.

Breakfast on Galway's Coast 103
Original cassette label from Anoraks Ireland Collection.

The recording was made from 102.95 FM on 8th November 1988 from 0836-0924. It is from the Anoraks Ireland Tapes Collection, donated to us by Paul Davidson.

Closedown of Galway’s Coast 103

Closedown of Galway's Coast 103
Coast 103 staff at the closedown (courtesy Shane Martin).

This is the final 90 minutes of one of the more popular and successful Galway stations towards the end of the pirate era, Coast 103. Launched in mid-1987, by 1988 it had merged with Limerick station Hits 954, was calling itself Coast Hot Hits and could be heard on a string of AM and FM transmitters covering an area from Mayo to Cork.

The final evening on 31st December 1988 was broadcast from Richardson’s Bar in Eyre Square, Galway and featured various people dropping in to share their memories of Coast 103. Seán Costello is heard first and is followed by closedown host Barry Williams who is joined by Tommy Kelly, Tom Cuffe, Shane Martin, Brian Davis and Keith York (RIP). The first recording above is from 2232-2318 and the second below from 2318-0004. Both were recorded from 102.47 FM and are kindly donated by John Breslin. Thanks also to Shane Martin.

Final 45 minutes of Coast 103.

‘Galway’s Super Q’: Quincentennial Radio

'Galway's Super Q': Quincentennial Radio
Quincentennial Radio was based behind Paddy’s Bar near Eyre Square in the city centre (photo by John Walsh)

This is the second of two recordings of Quincentennial Radio, the short-lived Galway pirate that returned to the air on 2nd January 1989 in breach of the new Wireless Telegraphy Act. The law came into effect at midnight on New Year’s Eve and silenced most of the country’s pirates including Coast 103, one of the two big Galway stations. However, Quincentennial Radio was essentially a reincarnation of Coast involving many of the same people including engineer Keith York (RIP) and DJs Steve Marshall, Tony Allan (RIP) and Shane Martin. It was located behind the Gallows bar (now Paddy’s Bar) on Prospect Hill, just off Eyre Square in the city centre, where Coast had been located for its final few months.

The recording is of Shane Martin’s show from 1827-1912 on 13th February 1989. It includes liners and promos voiced by Tony Allan, including one that cheekily compares Quincentennial to Millennium Radio in Dublin and Cork Local Radio, both local RTÉ services. There are also community announcements, a letter from a listener criticising another unnamed radio station and a crackly Valentine’s Day phone call from London.

We don’t have an exact date but it appears from Anoraks UK logs that Quincentennial Radio closed down sometime in March 1989 after a warning from the authorities. We thank Ian Biggar for his donation of this rare recording and Steve Marshall and Shane Martin for background information.

Galway’s Quincentennial Radio in 1989

Galway's Quincentennial Radio in 1989
A wintry Eyre Square in Galway near where Quincentennial Radio was based (photo by John Walsh)

Quincentennial Radio was a shortlived Galway pirate that broadcast for about two months at the start of 1989. It consisted of ex-Coast 103 broadcasters Steve Marshall, Shane Martin and Tony Allan (RIP) as well as engineer Keith York (RIP). According to Steve Marshall, Quincentennial – named after the 500th anniversary of Galway City in 1984 – started broadcasting on January 2nd 1989, just a day after most of the country’s pirates left the airwaves. The studio gear was formerly used by Coast 103 and consisted of Gates B77 turntables with Gray Research tonearms, an Alice 828 mixer and a pair of Accessit compressor units for sound processing. Quincentennial Radio began by just playing music and liners by Tony Allan and the first live voice was Shane Martin. Shane remembers that it didn’t have the same feel as Coast 103 as there was no money, no paid ads and no competition: ‘It just felt very empty. The buzz was gone’. The studio was located at the back of the Gallows Bar (now Paddy’s Bar) in the courtyard of Prospect House near Eyre Square, where Coast 103 had been based.  

The Anoraks UK Weekly Report of 18th February 1989 mentioned Quincentennial Radio on 98.4 FM, a frequency chosen to match the city’s quincentennial year in 1984. It was on air 24 hours a day broadcasting a variety of music. The station was logged throughout February and into March but on 22nd April, Anoraks UK reported that the authorities had ‘instructed Quincentennial to cease broadcasting some time ago which they duly did’. After the station closed, it became a training facility for DJs.

Galway's Quincentennial Radio in 1989
The Quincentennial bridge was built in 1984 to mark Galway’s 500th anniversary (photo by John Walsh)

We bring you the first of two recordings of Quincentennial Radio from Monday 13th February 1989. Today’s recording was made from 1738-1824 and features the end of Steve Marshall’s programme. Tony Allan’s voice is heard on liners and there is one ad just before 6pm when Shane Martin takes over. A phone number for requests is given out and the station is referred to a few times as ‘Galway’s Super Q’. We thank Ian Biggar for this rare recording of a short-lived station which defied the new laws in 1989. Thanks also to Steve Marshall and Shane Martin for background information.