1983 RAIDS - AUDIO DOWNLOADS
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25 years on and in this section we have trawled through the old dusty boxes of cassettes and reel-reels (many of which have not survived intact) to try and piece together a collection of recordings related to the May 1983 raids in Dublin. The extracts form the story in chronological order, to give an idea of the upheavel and uncertainty which shrouded the development of commercial radio during those few days in May 1983. Included are the actual raids themselves, showing how listeners first heard about the sudden closedowns. Also there are news bulletins from both RTE and fellow free radio stations, as well as related extracts from other stations. Recordings we still have from other stations around this time are also included, and finally, there is the re-opening of Sunshine Radio several weeks later.
Saturday 14th May 1983
Sadly, Sunshine Radio never got chance to raise any money on their 'Auction of the Air' the following weekend, as they were raided and closed on the Thursday.
Wednesday 18th May 1983
After closing Nova, the authorities then continued up the hill to Three Rock Mountain, where Nova sister station, KISS FM had it's transmitter. This was switched off some time after Nova. Unfortunately we have no recording of this in our collection.
News reports of the raid were heard throughout the day on many stations, and included the following which were all recorded in Blackpool. The South Coast Radio is poor quality as it was recorded some 300 miles away from the 10kW transmitter.
Radio played on, and the 11:30am news headlines carried the news of
the raid on Nova. Listen to the programmes of Sunshine Radio through
lunchtime on the link below.
Thursday 19th May 1983
South Coast Radio news bulletin was accurate, and with a borrowed
AM transmitter and low power FM signal, Radio Nova had returned by
breakfast time the following morning, Thursday 19th May 1983. The
signal was surprisingly good, but seemed to be off channel on around
818kHz causing a 1kHz whistle. This first extract was recorded in
Leeds, Yorkshire, hence the whistle on the signal, approaching 7am
and features Declan Meehan after the news commenting to Bob Gallico
about being back.
The news was quick to reach Radio Nova, and across on 819kHz, here are several clips starting a few minutes after Sunshine Radio left the air. Firstly, Declan Meehan gives out a cryptic message about the sun going out in Portmarnock.
quick tune down the band to Radio Leinster on 738kHz shortly after
1pm, found them announcing they were leaving the air. Initially this
was thought to be as a precaution against a raid, but sadly it actually
turned out to be their final broadcast. Interesting on these recordings
is that Anna Craig ends the 1pm news announcing the next news as at
3pm. Minutes later, Radio Leinster' owner was suddenly announcing
In Cork City, shortly after the raid on Sunshine Radio, both Radio ERI and South Coast Radio decided it was in their best interests to close voluntarily , if only temporarily.
Radio West had more to lose than most, as they had an expensive 10kW transmitter. As well as covering a large part of the Irish Midlands, their signal travelled into the UK, and at night into Europe as well. This gave European listeners a chance to hear what had been happening on the the Irish radio scene.
With all other staff in the studio, and with much reluctancy, station owner Sean Coyne makes the closedown at midnight.
Friday 20th May 1983
On Friday 20th May 1983, and with the two biggest stations raided, everyone turned to support Radio Dublin as it was expected to be hit next. These recordings of Radio Dublin which were made in Blackpool from 1188kHz / 253m, are between 9:30am and 1:40pm. They feature the end of the Mike Baron breakfast show and then Chris Jackson, with Tracy Evans starting at mid-day. Listening to this, you can hear plenty of listener support for the proposed radio march, on the phone line. Also at lunchtime, the station was visited by some Nova jocks as well as staff from other stations. Unfortunately the recording quality is not good, especially during some of the telephone calls which were very low level, and was not helped by some adjacent channel interference from the stronger Telstar Community Radio near Dundalk who were on 1197kHz. Boyneside Radio were one of the oldest and probably the largest station by coverage area at the time. Here is a promotion heard on Friday 20th May for all their transmitter powers, locations and coverage areas.
Sunday 22nd May 1983
After two days off the air, Radio Nova transmitters were again active on Saturday night 21st May, and programming was underway by Sunday morning, 22nd May,although the news service was still absent. Here are some recordings from Rado Nova, along with some other stations heard that day. The Southside Radio heard on that day was thought to be South County Radio under a slightly different name. Sandymount Community Radio was one of the local community stations which operated at festival times from various areas of Dublin during the year. On Radio Dublin, Captain Eamonn Cooke did an expected marathon broadcast.
Monday 23rd May 1983
Programmes on Radio Nova were almost back to normal by Monday 23rd May 1983. Some of the day's output can be heard in the following downloads. The recordings were made in Blackpool whilst the station was still on a temporary low power transmitter and suffer from some interference. The recommencement of broadcasts from Nova, also brought most other stations who had closed, back on the air. Sadly, Radio Leinster was not one of them.
Friday 27th May 1983
1st June 1983
We were surprised on 1st June to find that 819kHz was silent. However Radio Nova could now be heard on
828kHz. We wondered why the frequency had been changed, but found that under the European frequency allocations, 828kHz was already allocated to Ireland for use up to 1kW. So the change may have been
made in preperation for any future license application. There was further evidence for this more local approach as the 'on the hour' announcements also changed from 'Broadcasting from Dublin on 819kHz', to ' Broadcasting to Dublin on 828kHz'. Whilst the channel was nice and clear in Dublin, many listeners in the North of UK now found it impossible to receive, due to Radio Aire on this channel.
Radio Nova stayed on this frequency until sometime at the end of September. The recordings below were made in Blackpool, showing that even on the coast, Radio Aire could be heard clearly underneath.
3rd June 1983 A report from the Evening Herald regarding the future of 'pirate radio'
is read out during the afternoon on Radio Nova.
8th June 1983 A debate on local radio was held in the Irish Parliament on 8th June. Amongst other stations, Radio Nova
advertised this heavily. Sunday
12th June 1983 Sunshine
Radio made an official re-opening on Sunday 12th June 1983. Whilst
the AM transmitter on 531kHz gave a stronger signal than the ones
taken during the raid, the modulation was initially somewhat distorted,
and the transmitter was eventually switched off during the week. The
station remained on FM however until a replacement MW transmitter
was installed. Here
are some complete recordings of the return of Sunshine Radio. They
were made in Leeds from 531kHz, and feature the test announcements
up to mid-day and then shows until around 4:40pm that Sunday, as well
as the breakfast show the following morning with David Lyons. OTHER
3rd June 1983
A report from the Evening Herald regarding the future of 'pirate radio' is read out during the afternoon on Radio Nova.
8th June 1983
A debate on local radio was held in the Irish Parliament on 8th June. Amongst other stations, Radio Nova advertised this heavily.
12th June 1983
Sunshine Radio made an official re-opening on Sunday 12th June 1983. Whilst the AM transmitter on 531kHz gave a stronger signal than the ones taken during the raid, the modulation was initially somewhat distorted, and the transmitter was eventually switched off during the week. The station remained on FM however until a replacement MW transmitter was installed.
Here are some complete recordings of the return of Sunshine Radio. They were made in Leeds from 531kHz, and feature the test announcements up to mid-day and then shows until around 4:40pm that Sunday, as well as the breakfast show the following morning with David Lyons.
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