The Irish scene.
In the early eighties there was a sudden explosion of activity in Eire. A few low power, amateurish stations had been broadcasting without being closed down due to a loophole in irish law. If you could clain that your transmitter had another purpose, such as heating the room, then it couldn't be shut down!
As always, click on the image for streaming audio and the text link for "download and play" . D & P helps if your accessing the page via a firewall. You may need the free G2 player. Available here.
Robbie Dale (the "Admiral" of Caroline fame) and Chris Carey (Spangles Muldoon) saw the opportunity and decided to set up a "super station" with a professional sound and a good signal. Sunshine Radio was born in Dublin. Soon Carey and Dale fell out and Carey left for America.
Sunshine Radio broadcast on 531kHz, the very bottom of the medium wave band, which gave its' signal long range in spite of the modest power of its transmitter. The following recording was made in Birmingham late one afternoon. You can hear inteference on the signal but it was quite listenable....
Hear Sunshine Dublin.
Recorded in 1984. We hear the 5pm News here, preceded by an advert for an hotel, the one they broadcast from! Caroline Callaghan read the news and then it was back to the music.
Sunshine is raided
All good things must come to an end and the explosion of stations filling the FM band in Dublin forced the Irish authorities to act by raiding stations and confiscating equipment. This is Robbie Dale explaining the situation and signing off.
Sunshine continued to be sucessful without Carey but he thought he could do better. Returning from America with loads of top-quality broadcasting gear, including a stereo FM transmitter, he set up what was to become the biggest land-based pirate station. Radio Nova.
Carey wanted the station to make an impact. He set up the equipment and started broadcasting with a crystal clear FM signal and a big MW transmission that beat Sunshine into England. They went on air with no adverts, just music and slick presentation, until the advertisers were clamouring for some of the action. The station went to number one in Ireland in about 6 months.
Here we hear the slick presentation and rock-solid signal of Nova one Saturday afternoon in 1984. This was also recorded in Birmingham.
A little later we get a flavour of the music they're playing and an impressive list of all the frequncies in use. At one point they even put out a Long-wave transmission on 254kHz. That must have given Atlantic the idea....
So many frequencies meant that they could try out other formats to see how popular they would be. Here's a trailer for "SuperNova" a night-time service. They also ran a seperate FM service called KISS FM.
Nova FM jingle
This is one of Nova's jingles. Taken from a cart, it sounds great.
Nova closing down.
As with Sunshine, Nova was eventually raided and here is Chris Carey making the farewell announcement. He ends with "It's good to be the King" by Mel Brooks....
They all sign off.
Are you sitting comfortably? This is a long one... The jocks all had the chance to sign off and a big gathering took place around the Herbert Street studios the evening the station closed down.
The idea of a well run land-based pirate station appealed to a group of enthusiasts and businessmen in Shropshire. They set up their own version of Sunshine radio. The station covered the whole county and beyond with FM transmitters on a local high spot and a medium wave transmitter in a lake!
They're listening now!
The station carried lots of local adverts and made money. It broadcast 7 days a week and sounded good. It was so well regarded that the current, legal, local station has called itself "Sunshine 855".
Back to the Captain's lair