Pirate radio was a phenomenon in the 1970s and 1980s in Ireland. Until the latter part of the 1970s there was only one radio station in Ireland licensed to provide programmes. This was the state broadcaster Radio Eireann or RTE Radio1 as we now know it.
There were many gaps that could not be filled by the national station so that gap was filled by the pirates. Across Ireland pirate radio stations sprung up in most towns and villages and set about offering programmes and music that was listener specific. The pirates gave their listeners what they wanted to hear.
It is probably fair to say that most people over the age of 45 who work in radio in Ireland in 2018 cut their teeth on their local pirate station. The pirates were silenced on 31st December 1988 as the process was in place for station owners or other interested parties to apply for a licence to broadcast. Operators could not apply to the then Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC – Now the Broadcasting Association of Ireland – BAI) if they were still broadcasting illegally.
During the time these pirates operated many people gathered recordings and memorabilia such as advertising rate cards, photographs, car stickers, flyers and much more. One of those “Anoraks”, as these enthusiasts were called is a man called Eddie Bohan. Eddie spent decades collecting items from the pirates, including some homemade transmitters and he has presented these to Dublin City University (DCU) School of Communications.
Dr. Mark O’Brien from DCU School of Communications joined Ger Sweeney on Live on Eire to talk about the archives presented to the University and to talk about an event happening on October 20th in Dublin. The event is happening at the Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin from 2pm. This event is billed as an oral history of the pirates in Ireland and some of the memorabilia will be on display.
Hear Dr. O’Brien’s interview with Ger Sweeney
Former pirates and listeners are invited to attend the oral history on October 20th and are invited to bring along any pirate recordings or memorabilia that could be added to the archive. Copies or photographs can be taken or the original material can be donated. Further information on the event is available HERE