Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The end of the Irish pirate era 25 years ago

The introduction of the Irish wireless and telegraphy act 25 years ago brought to an end the free-for-all on the Irish radio spectrum.

Radiotoday.ie marks the occasion with an article called "The day the music died" which includes a RTE news report from the time (including footage of raids on Nova and Sunshine) and several press cuttings.

The article begins: "A number of pirate radio stations closed 25 years ago today (Dec 30) and tomorrow, including WABC in Donegal and Sunshine in Dublin as the new broadcasting wireless and telegraphy act was introduced. The super pirates KISS, Q102, Radio Dublin, Sunshine Radio, Radio West, ABC, Coast 103 and more were silenced as the then Minister for Communications Ray Burke introduced new legislation aimed at suppressing the stations."

The 1980s saw Irish pirate stations take over the FM, medium wave and shortwave bands. A far cry from the situation today where there are only a handful still active. The only pirate from Ireland still on shortwave is Premier Radio, which can be heard regularly on 6910 kHz.

To read the article go to:

There's a lot more about the 1980s Irish pirates at: irishpirates.com


Anonymous said...

Here in Bristol we never really received any of the Irish "super-pirates" terribly well. I could pull in Sunshine Radio on 531 kHz just about, with some adjustment of my radio set. It was a fun time to be growing up and pirate radio stations were a great education in music. I do remember being on holiday in Cornwall in 1987 and hearing lots and lots of Irish stations.

Some of the Irish free radio stations defied the 1988 law and for some years seemed to be left alone. I lived in Wales for a time in the 1990's. I was homesick and depressed for a while, and stations like Dun Laoghaire Local Radio (DLR) and Radio Dublin kept me sane, along with Caroline's SW service.

I don't know why there are not more pirates coming out of Ireland, as experience suggests that the authorities are relatively relaxed compared to the UK. Perhaps the Irish just do not have the radio bug like the Dutch seem to!!

Thanks for sharing the memories. Sunshine, Nova and the rest changed broadcasting in Ireland and Great Britain. They are fondly remembered.

uk dxer said...

Thanks for your comments. I remember tuning into the Irish stations on shortwave during the 1980s.

You can hear audio clips of some of these stations on my Pirate Memories site at: