Sunshine Radio’s first test transmissions were on September 15th 1980. The station 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.
After some early teething problems, one of which seen the station’s mast being sabotaged, 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.
Sunshine 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 in 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 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.
It ceased broadcasting at 6pm on the 30th December 1988 in compliance with the new broadcasting wireless and telegraphy act.