Phantom FM

Phantom FM November 27th 2000

From November 27th 2000 this is the story of two debuts on Phantom FM, the alt-rock Dublin-based pirate station.

In this recording, former Caroline jock Steve Conway makes his first appearance as a presenter on the station’s first ever live breakfast show.

Picture: Steve in the Phantom FM studio

As broadcast:

Airchecked:


The background story of that debut morning is described by Steve in his new book 'Unsound - Anything I Know About Radio I Learned By Screwing It Up' which will be released next year.

At 7am on Monday the 27th of November 2000, I spoke my first words as a presenter on Phantom FM, an occupation that was to last far, far longer than either I or they could ever have expected, taking me right through the decade that followed and up to the beginning of 2011, nearly 11 years later.

My very first words on the station, as part of the 7am news bulletin, was to confirm to its audience that according to the latest court ruling in the United States, the election results in Florida were valid, and therefore George W Bush would indeed be the next president of the USA.

After reading a bulletin of around 4 or 5 stories, which I had prepared earlier, I finished with a weather forecast and went into what would be the first of many thousands of records that I was to play on the station during my long association with them – the Greenday song “Minority” from their new album “Warning”. The track itself was currently on Phantom’s A-list, and I simply couldn’t think of a better track to kick off my new era as an alternative rock pirate than one about a person who decries authority and wants to be in the minority. And, lyrics aside, a cracking great tune.

As I started my show on that November morning in 2000, I thought back to the years spent with Radio Caroline, and some of the lessons that I had learned over the years, either through hard experience, bitter disappointment, or post-fact regret. I had had the most wonderful time of my life with Caroline, but there were many things I realised afterwards that either I or they could have done differently, better, or simply more of. I was determined to take every lesson, every setback and every regret I had encountered in my broadcast career so far and use the knowledge of them to make my time with Phantom even better still, and to make of the 2000s a decade the enjoyment of which would rival even the astoundingly brilliant time I had had in the 1980s. 

During my time on board the Ross Revenge I had read close to ten thousand news bulletins, yet I didn’t have a single one of them recorded on tape for posterity. It was something I was always going to get around to, but I never did, as there was always tomorrow…

And so, sitting in the studio in Phantom FM in Dublin that very first morning, I knew what I had to do, and I did it. 

I determined that no matter how long my stint with Phantom lasted, I would enjoy it to the hilt, I would squeeze every last possible iota of effort into it, and every drop of excitement and happiness out of it. 

And so, as there was not a bus from Ballinteer to get me in early enough in the mornings to be able to prepare properly for the start of the show at 7am, I would come in the night before, and sleep on the studio floor, with a cushion as a pillow and my coat over me for warmth, so that I would be there early enough to give the programme and the news the attention it deserved. I came in each evening on the last inbound bus from Ballinteer, with a fresh set of clothes in a bag for the morning. I woke at 5am on the hard floor and prepared for my show, at the end of which I would travel across to eastpoint by bus for a full day’s work, getting home at around 8.30pm, with just time for dinner and an hour of rest before getting the late bus in again. I didn’t care.

There was no effort spared, and nothing held back, I gave Phantom my all, and it repaid me handsomely, giving me a decade-plus of rich and fulfilling times that I will remember to the end of my days.

For Radio Caroline, I am, and will always remain, profoundly grateful, for it showed me the value of the now, the need to seize and hold and enjoy life, and thus it gave me the keys to Phantom .

The greatest lesson I ever learned in radio was this: 

do it, 

do it now, and

do it like you will never get the opportunity to do it ever again.

The above extract from Steve Conway’s forthcoming book ‘Unsound – Anything I Know About Radio I Learned By Screwing It Up’ is with very kind courtesy of Steve.
The new book adds more background to the Radio Caroline material from Steve’s previous book ‘Shiprocked: Life on the Waves with Radio Caroline’, and has a few chapters on the Phantom saga. 

Published in 2009, the excellent Shiprocked: Life on the Waves with Radio Caroline is still available to buy by clicking here.


Radio Retro: archiving Irish radio broadcasts since 2002
This recording has been added to our Irish Radio Recordings Archive with thanks to Steve Conway


Phantom FM December 3rd 2000

Dublin indie pirate Phantom FM off 91.6MHz from December 3rd 2000.

The recording starts at 9.05pm and first on air is ‘Mark’ making his Phantom debut and he’s followed by The Two Pete’s Talk Rubbish.

Phantom FM December 25th 2000

This is Steve Conway live on a Christmas morning on Phantom FM, the alt-rock Dublin-based pirate station.

This is Steve Conway recorded live on a Christmas morning on Phantom FM, the alt-rock Dublin-based pirate station.
Steve in the Phantom FM studio

Recorded on December 25th 2000, this was the first time the station experimented with live programming on the big day at a time when even the big licensed stations were running pre-records.

Steve recalls that first show: “This is the first-ever time that pirate Phantom had a live show on Christmas day. When I offered to do it, they said I could if I wanted to, but that it would be very quiet. It turned out quite the opposite – tons of people were listening, and I was quickly deluged with requests by text and phone.
Sinister Pete was so impressed listening to the show that he decided to come in after me and do a live afternoon show too!

“One other feature of the recording is hilarious to me now – my accent. I was not long back in the country after 16 years living in the UK, and I sounded very English.

“Also, during the time I had been away from Ireland, there had been a big change in children’s names. In my era girls were Mary, or Gráinne, Orla or Deirdre. There were no Aoifes – a name you will hear me mispronounce spectacularly on more than one occasion, along with other more modern Irish names.
Which, of course, just made me sound even more English!”

From 8.58am


Radio Retro: archiving Irish radio broadcasts since 2002
This recording has been added to our Irish Radio Recordings Archive with thanks to Steve Conway


The Anorak Hour #369

This is edition number 369 of Phantom FM’s iconic programme presented by Ger Roe and Pete Reed as broadcast over the station’s webstream on July 20th 2003.

In this week’s show, there’s a follow-up to last week’s Radio Nova Zoo Crew feature with a sample of the launch of the new Dublin’s Country Breakfast Show featuring Dave Harvey and Bob Gallico, two of the presenters from the Nova version.

Next, there’s a recording of the satellite version of Radio Caroline featuring Sarah Miles from August 1999.

Then it’s back locally to Dublin with the Oldies Show from Freedom 92FM, one of the stations who have failed to return following Black Tuesday.

The next recording features an old favourite of the airwaves, Simon Young, in his early days with Big D, followed by a later clip from July 1999 with his 2FM Oldies show.

Then it’s back to 1988 when all the pirate stations closed and indulged in nostalgia, including Treble TR. This clip features Aidan Cooney on-air with station owner Jim Smith.

Next, there’s another station who failed to reappear following the infamous ComReg raids in May. This recording samples The Deep End on Jazz FM.

Then we go across the Atlantic to New York with WQHT, Hot 97FM from 1989.

Final archive is an airing for the Big D song.

The show finishes with a look at this week’s news.

Phantom FM October 31st 2006

From Hallowe’en 2006 this is the licensed launch of Phantom FM, the long-running alt-rock Dublin pirate station. We join the pre-launch countdown with ten minutes to go to the midday commencement of live programmes.
We have every minute of the day’s live programming for you to enjoy.

The Phantom team just before the station launched.
Front row (left to right) Jack Hyland, Peter Vamos, Simon Maher, Brian Daly, Ger Roe, Neil Austin
Photo with thanks to Steve Conway

11.50am Pre-launch; launch with the Phantom team; Simon Maher with Louise Byrne on News


From 3pm Sinister Pete is let loose on the airwaves again. Emer McLysaght is on News. Listen as broadcast….

…or with the music stripped out


From 6pm Darragh Brophy takes over. Listen as broadcast….

…or with the music stripped out


From 8pm John Walshe is in the Phantom studio and Sinéad Ní Mhordha is at the launch party. Listen as broadcast…. 

…or with the music stripped out


Radio Retro: archiving Irish radio broadcasts since 2002


Phantom FM November 1st 2006

Day two for the licensed version of Phantom FM. This is every minute of live programming from their second day on air on 105.2MHz in Dublin.
The day starts with Sinister Pete serving Breakfast from 7am.
Then Coffey is served from 10am with Neill Austin serving up lunch from midday.
Simon Maher is on from 2pm; and then Jack Hyland from 5pm.
Spiral Stairs is on from 8pm and the final live programme of the day starts at 10pm.


7am Sinister Pete with Pure Morning

From 10am Edel Coffey with Access All Areas

Neill Austin from midday

From 2pm Simon Maher takes over.

At 5pm it’s Jack Hyland

From 8pm it’s Spiral Stairs

And finally from 10pm

The press covered the station’s launch…

Day two for the licensed version of Phantom  FM. This is every minute of live programming from their second day on air on 105.2MHz in Dublin.
The day starts with Sinister Pete serving Breakfast from 7am.

Radio Retro: archiving Irish radio broadcasts since 2002


Phantom FM November 4th 2006

The first Saturday on the air for the licensed version of Phantom FM. This is every minute of live programming from their fifth day on air on 105.2MHz in Dublin.
The day starts with Cathal Funge from 8am.


8am Cathal Funge starts the day

From 11am It’s Nadine O’Regan with Kiosk

Richie McCormack from midday

From 2pm it’s Stadium Rock with Richie Ryan

Next from 5pm

At 7pm Sinéad Ní Mhórdha presents The Archive

And finally from 10pm, it’s Amber

Hot Press covered the station’s weekend programming…

The first Saturday on the air for the licensed version of Phantom FM. This is every minute of live programming from their fifth day on air on 105.2MHz in Dublin.

Radio Retro: archiving Irish radio broadcasts since 2002


Phantom FM November 5th 2006

Three programmes from the first Sunday on the air for the licensed version of Phantom FM off 105.2MHz in Dublin.
First there's 3 Rock Census from 6pm.
From 7pm it's Steve Conway.
And then the return of Two Petes Talk Rubbish from 9pm.

Three programmes from the first Sunday on the air for the licensed version of Phantom FM off 105.2MHz in Dublin.
First there’s 3 Rock Census from 6pm.
From 7pm it’s Steve Conway.
And then the return of Two Petes Talk Rubbish from 9pm.


6pm 3 Rock Census

From 7pm Steve Conway is back

At 9pm the return of The Two Petes Talk Rubbish


Radio Retro: archiving Irish radio broadcasts since 2002


Phantom FM November 10th 2006

From November 2006 this is a recording of the Powerhouse with John Caddell on Phantom 105.2, the licensed alternative rock station for Dublin.

From November 2006 this is a recording of the Powerhouse with John Caddell on Phantom 105.2, the licensed alternative rock station for Dublin.


Radio Retro: archiving Irish radio broadcasts since 2002


The Anorak Hour #L08

The eigthth edition of the licensed version of Phantom FM’s media industry programme presented by Ger Roe as broadcast at 9am on December 24th 2006.

If you have any old cassettes or digitised recordings that we can add here, please get in touch – radiowavesfm@radioanoraks.com or use wetransfer to the same address.

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