Crystal City Sound was one of the 1980s pirates broadcasting from Waterford city. It came on air in October 1985, emerging from the ashes of Suirside Radio which had been on air since February 1979. Crystal City stayed on the same frequency as before, 1332 kHz. The station is listed on AM and FM in Anoraks Ireland reports from 1986 and 1987 but by April 1988 the name had changed to NCR. Crystal City saw itself as offering a broader range of programmes and more specialist music shows than the other major Waterford stations, WLR and ABC. Unusually for the commercial Irish pirates of the time the station was managed by two women, Gracie Sheehan and Sandra Penkert.
This recording was made from 97 FM on the 6th of December 1985 from 7.07pm. The presenter is Joe Patricks who told us that he got touch in touch with Crystal City Sound after being invited to a wedding in Waterford. He then came to Ireland on the boat from Liverpool and did a few shows in Waterford before returning to the pirate station KFM in Stockport in Manchester. See also DX Archive for more audio and here for an interview about the background to Suirside Radio. This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.
In 1986, three large pirate stations – Sunshine Radio in Dublin, ERI in Cork and ABC in Waterford – co-operated to jointly organise a 250-mile maxi-marathon between the three cities.
Here are two promos – the first from ERI and the second from ABC – voiced by Mark Byrne of Sunshine Radio. They are fascinating on so many levels: co-operation between pirate stations, a campaign backed by big commercial sponsors and funds raised going to a major charity, the Central Remedial Clinic.
This is a good example of how the archive can give us a more global view of what was happening in the 1980s. Listeners to each station did not know that all three stations were involved but the archive can tell us that. The level of co-operation surpasses what exists today between stations in the same large radio groups.
It also reminds us that despite often fierce local competition, stations from different parts of the country were willing to co-operate for charitable causes. No doubt they also had an eye to the impeding legalisation and wanted to position themselves as socially responsible.
ABC Radio broadcast from 1982 to 1988 from Tramore near Waterford and was one of the southeast’s most popular pirates. It began broadcasting on 729 kHz and later moved to 1026 kHz, using a 1 kW transmitter. This recording was made from 1715-1749 on 26 March 1986 and recorded from AM. The presenter is Tony Morrell and the segment includes news, ad breaks and weather.
This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.
On October 20th 2018 over 100 radio anoraks gathered in the Ballsbridge Hotel Dublin. The purpose was to meet and record oral history of the pirate radio era.
In this interview Eoin Ronayne talks about his days at Suirside Radio and Waterford Local Radio (WLR) and describes his path to professional journalism and RTÉ Radio 2. WLR was one of the few former pirates to obtain a license in 1989. The interviewer is John Walsh and this was broadcast onWireless on Flirt FM in November 2018.