The Pirate.ie Podcast #10: Interview with Gerard Roe

The Pirate.ie Podcast #10: Interview with Gerard Roe
Gerard Roe at Phantom FM in its licensed days.

We’re delighted to bring you an interview with Gerard Roe, one of the most respected voices in Irish pirate radio circles from the 1980s to the 2000s. Gerard presented weekly Free Radio Campaign (FRC) shows on various pirate stations in Dublin, bringing the latest free radio news and industry gossip to fans of the medium in Ireland and further afield. Gerard’s first FRC aired on Radio Dublin Channel 2 in 1982, a specialist offshoot of the original Radio Dublin. A recording was carried on shortwave station Westside Radio International on Sunday mornings, bringing the FRC to a wider European audience.

The Pirate.ie Podcast #10: Interview with Gerard Roe
Radio Dublin Channel 2 studio (courtesy Gerard Roe).

Poor technical standards and unreliable coverage prompted Gerard to move to new station Radio Annabel when it was established in autumn 1983, where he remained until its closure in 1985.

The Pirate.ie Podcast #10: Interview with Gerard Roe
Part of 1985 letter from Gerard Roe of Radio Annabel to Brian Greene.

FRC-style programmes on 1990s pirates run by Simon Maher also benefited from Gerard’s input and expertise. He contributed to the Anorak Hour on Coast FM (1991-1996), Spectrum FM (1996-1997) and Phantom FM (1997-2003). Gerard became CEO of Phantom when it was licensed as a full-time alternative rock station in 2006.

The Pirate.ie Podcast #10: Interview with Gerard Roe
Gerard (second from right) at the launch of Phantom FM’s licence application in 2004.

In this interview with Brian Greene, Gerard reflects on his long career in radio from the pirate years of the 1980s and 1990s to the licensing and eventual demise of Phantom FM.

Closedown of Westside Radio International

Closedown of Westside Radio International
Westside Radio International QSL (courtesy Ian Biggar).

This is a recording of the closedown of the long-running shortwave pirate Westside Radio International on December 31st 1988. Westside was set up by the late Dr Don (Don Moore) in 1975 and broadcast on Sunday mornings before Radio Dublin came on the air. It was taken over by Prince Terry (Roger Lloyd) in 1977 and remained a stalwart on the 49-metre band every Sunday for the following eleven years. Westside embodied the pirate spirit and was popular with anoraks because of its regular updates about radio in Ireland and abroad.

This airchecked recording was made from 6280 kHz between 1200 and 1348 on New Year’s Eve. Prince Terry and Gary Lewis present music and discuss the radio scene as the new legal regime was about to come into effect. There are hints that Westside may return in 1989 and in fact the station was heard again under various guises in 1989 and continued to broadcast as Ozone Radio for many subsequent years.

Reception is poor and is of DX standard in places but but this gives a sense of how many shortwave listeners experienced the closedown of Westside Radio International. We thank John Breslin for his donation.

Prince Terry on Centre Radio

Prince Terry on Centre Radio
A home-made Centre Radio flyer from the days on 92.5 FM.

Centre Radio was a small FM-only youth station broadcasting from Baldoyle and Bayside in northeast Dublin from 1986-1988. It is especially important for us because it played a big part in our teenage lives: Brian Greene was one of the founders and a regular DJ and John Walsh had his own show also. Centre began broadcasting on 19th December 1986 and was heard during school holidays only. From February 1988, it moved to Bayside and broadcast every weekday evening and all day long at the weekends. It was one of the last stations in Dublin to close at midnight on 31st December 1988.

Prince Terry on Centre Radio
Prince Terry (Roger Lloyd) on Westside Radio International c. 1987.

This recording was made from 94.2 FM on Sunday 13th March 1988 from 1630-1800. It begins with pirate veteran Prince Terry (Roger Lloyd) presenting a once-off show. Prince Terry was the operator of Westside Radio International, a long-running shortwave pirate and indeed this show was recorded to be broadcast on shortwave the following Sunday. The music begins with oldies but later changes to heavy metal in line with Roger’s taste!

Prince Terry on Centre Radio
Dave Evans (Eamonn Roe) in Centre Radio on 31 December 1988.

Dave Evans (Eamonn Roe) takes over at about 1740 with more music and community news. The recording was made by Roger Lloyd and is courtesy of DX Archive.

The Pirate.ie Podcast #2

The Pirate.ie Podcast #2

We’re delighted to announce episode #2 of the Pirate.ie podcast which explores themes covered in our growing archive of Irish pirate radio.

AM broadcasting, widely used by the pirates up to the end of the 1980s, allowed radio signals to travel far and wide beyond the borders of the state. Even small stations could be carried long distances thanks to the magic of night-time AM propagation but dozens of pirates along the border deliberately beamed their signals northwards. With 50 kW of power at its peak, the Dublin super-pirate Radio Nova aimed specifically at the northwest coast of Britain. Ireland also had many hobby shortwave pirates which could be heard thousands of miles from home.

In episode #2, John Walsh and Brian Greene explore how AM spillover, both accidental and deliberate, brought the Irish pirates to a bigger audience.

Full recording: Westside Radio International

Full recording: Westside Radio International
Prince Terry on air in Westside Radio International c. 1987

Westside Radio International was one of the longest-running shortwave stations from Dublin in the pirate era. Westside was originally operated by Dr. Don (Don Moore) in 1975 and 1976 at a time when he and Prince Terry (Roger Lloyd) were also involved with Radio Dublin on medium wave. Westside returned to the air on 25th September 1977 on 6210 kHz, this time operated by Prince Terry. It moved to 6280 kHz where it was a permanent feature on Sunday mornings until the end of 1988 when the new radio legislation came into force.

Full recording: Westside Radio International
An early QSL from Westside Radio issued in 1977 (courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive).

Our recording was made on Sunday 21st July 1985 from 1140-1225 and features part of Prince Terry’s FRC programme with his trademark rock music and news about the free radio scene. The programme gives a great sense of pirate radio on both sides of the Irish Sea at the time, delivered through the unique audio experience of shortwave. A panel discussion involving both Prince Terry and Dr. Don can be heard here.

Full recording: Westside Radio International
A leaflet outlining the early history of Westside Radio International (courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive).

For more information about the shortwave pirates see the DX Archive and Pirate Memories websites. This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.  

Full recording: Westside Radio International
Westside QSL on its last day of operation in 1988 (courtesy of Ian Biggar/DX Archive).