Big D station idents

Big D station idents
Big D poster from c. 1979 (courtesy of DX Archive).

We’ve already covered the fascinating story of the first pirate jingles in Ireland, the American package used by Radio Dublin from the early 1970s. The jingles, made by a company called SPOT Productions in Texas, referred to ‘WDEE – The Big D’ and at that time, Radio Dublin used the Big D tagline. It was probably the first of many cases of a station calling itself after whatever jingle package it could find.

Of course, the infamous split in Radio Dublin led to a separate station calling itself Big D, which came on air in April 1978. The SPOT jingle package surfaced again and can be heard in this selection of idents for DJ Bryan Lambert, voiced by the legendary Tony Allan.

We thank Kieran Murray for his donation of this recording.

‘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 Telegraph 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.

Liberty 104 jingles

Thanks to Kieran Murray who has edited jingles from Liberties Local Community Radio (LLCR) on Pirate.ie along with images of the station into a video on his YouTube channel. LLCR broadcast from the Liberties area of Dublin from April 1986 until the end of the 1988 and went through several incarnations and name changes. It was known variously as Liberty Radio, Liberty 104 and Gold 104. This jingle sweep contains many well-known voices such as Tony Allan and Gerry Moore.

Kieran worked at Liberty in 1987 and you can hear his memories here. For more recordings of this station in our archive, click here.

Launch of Radio 257 as covered by Radio Rainbow International

Launch of Radio 257 as covered by Radio Rainbow International
Ian Dempsey at the Crofton Airport Hotel (photo courtesy of Dave Reddy).

Radio 257 was the new name for Alternative Radio Dublin (ARD), a pioneering station of the late 1970s that itself had broken away from Radio Dublin. Radio 257 was launched on 4th January 1980 and based at the Crofton Hotel near Dublin Airport, but reverted to the former ARD name at a later stage. Household names of the future were among the early ARD/Radio 257 crew, including John Clarke, Mike Moran, Tony Allan (RIP), Paul Vincent and Ian Dempsey. The station closed in 1982, a casualty of super-pirates Radio Nova and Sunshine Radio, which had come to dominate the Dublin radio market.

Launch of Radio 257 as covered by Radio Rainbow International
Tony Allan (RIP) in ARD before the relaunch as Radio 257 (photo courtesy of DX Archive).

This recording is of edition #47 of the Free Radio Campaign show on Radio Rainbow International, presented by Kieran Murray on 5th April 1987. It begins with a 5-minute jingle sweep, followed by a recording of the launch of Radio 257 at 12 noon on 4th January 1980. Dave C is in the chair and the launch includes an interview with new breakfast DJ Ian Dempsey and the iconic Tony Allan 257 jingles. The show ends with a weekly round-up of free radio news from Ireland and abroad.

Launch of Radio 257 as covered by Radio Rainbow International
Radio 257 sticker (courtesy of DX Archive).

Radio Rainbow International was a hobby station set up by Boyneside Radio engineer Eddie Caffrey from his home in Co. Louth. It broadcast every Sunday on shortwave, AM and FM for three years from 1985 to the end of 1988. As well as the weekly FRC show, Radio Rainbow also leased airtime to British pirate stations at risk of being raided. We thank Eddie Caffrey for sharing this recording.