Sunshine Radio was established by Robbie Robinson and Chris Cary, two major names from the UK pirate scene. The two spotted the potential to set up a major independent station in Dublin following a tv documentary on the blossoming local pirate scene.
The station’s first test transmissions were on September 14th 1980 but they were not able to recommence broadcasts until September 28th due to the mast being sabotaged. The station launched with regular programming on September 29th
After some early teething problems, which included the mast sabotage, Cary pulled out (and later formed major rival Radio Nova) leaving Robinson to go it alone.
Sunshine was unique in the sense that it retained a sense of community despite being highly professional. They broadcast from a portacabin at the grounds of the Sands Hotel in Portmarnock in north co Dublin. Inside was the main studio, a second studio, a news section and an office.
It broadcast on 531kHz, and later 91.6MHz FM. It first appeared on 101.0Mhz in July 1982 with 91.6 ceasing in August that year.
A government crackdown took Sunshine off the air on May 19th 1983. It took them many weeks to return, but during the following year the station had even greater difficulties as a result of a jamming campaign by state broadcaster RTÉ.
Of the superpirates that became Dublin’s market leaders throughout the ’80s, Sunshine – more than the others – could claim to be the most local. That is, until they hired the services of Bill Cunningham in 1986 who overhauled the station’s output turning it into a Hot Hits format. The station lost its community appeal, selling out to become the undisputed number 1 in Dublin.
It ceased broadcasting at 6pm on the 30th December 1988 in compliance with the new broadcasting wireless and telegraphy act.
1980 September 28th – Robbie Dale & Chris Cary test transmission (Listen)
1980 September 29th – Chris Cary test transmission (Listen)
1980 November 10th – Peter Madison & Chris Cary (Listen)
1980 November 22nd – Chris Cary (Listen)
1984 April 9th – Robbie Dale (Listen)
- 1987 April – 100.5MHz; 100.1MHz; 101.5MHz (AUK)