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KISS FM

Kiss FM was a 90s pirate radio station which was set up by Tony G, known on air as Mr Techno. It broadcast from 1992 to 1993 from the town of Castlebar in County Mayo. It was an energetic ball of fun which had huge appeal with younger listeners. In effect it was a bunch of mates having a laugh.

At first it was available on two frequencies: 95MHz (10watt) and 100MHz (10watt). Later they introduced a 250w transmitter on 102.7MHz.
The first two transmitters were purchased from the late Tommy Murphy in Ballina who had used them on Twin County Radio and as a relay in Ballina for Independent Radio Mayo in the late ’80s.

Kiss FM also experimented with a homemade 50watt AM transmitter, built around a set of PL519 valves. Kiss FM played an eclectic selection of dance, alternative, ska and rock music mixed with prank phone calls, comedy sketches and bogus news reports.

The station used a jingle package from Kiss Los Angles and offered merchandise (such as car stickers, mugs, jackets, T-shirts etc), which was obtained from Kiss 100 in London. 

It first appeared in the summer of 1992 with a studio set up on a kitchen table in a house. It then returned to air for two weeks over the holiday period at the end of the year.
It appeared again in the summer of 1993 and the final stint was at the end of 1993.

Although Tony G originally had no intentions of selling commercial airspace, in its final few months on air Kiss FM started accepting advertisements from local businesses. This became a means to an end as it helped to buy new studio equipment and upgrade the transmitters. 

According to Tony G: Kiss FM Castlebar would often poke fun at the national and local services by using catchphrases on air such as “I’d rather be a pirate than a cowboy.
“It was at times chaotic – but that was the appeal. In one hour you might hear Nirvana, Pragha Khan, Soundgarden, The Prodigy, an obscure Drum and Bass white label, and then the theme tune from Chitty Chitty bang bang being rapped over by ‘Mr Techno’.
“Hardcore you know the Score – Spacious!


Newspapers

Extract from a November 2007 Mayo News interview with Keith Cunningham

Keith has travelled a long and circuitous route through Irish radio to the stage where he is now one of the most sought-after young DJs on Irish radio. Stints of work at home in Mayo, Galway, Dublin and then Cork have seen him build up a wealth of experience that belies his age, but it all started out with pirate Castlebar radio station, Kiss FM, back in the early ‘90s.
“There was a great buzz around the town, we all loved listening to this ‘illegal’ radio station and I had always had an interest in DJing so I was determined to find out where the station was located. I knew Anthony Gallagher, who was a few years old than me, was involved so I rang his house and pretended to be one of his friends and his mother told me he was at Kenneth O’Brien’s house. So I knew that’s where I was to hang out and eventually Anthony, who is still one of my best mates, showed me around the ‘studio’.”
Keith admits he was immediately ‘bitten by the broadcasting bug’ and was fascinated with how it all operated.
“It was Killnaskully FM stuff really, it was bottom of the barrel basic, two turntables and a mixer and a bit of a microphone and that was it. But it was the best craic.”
With communications equipment not quite so sophisticated back then, the Kiss FM ‘management’ employed innovative ways of playing requests for their loyal listeners.
“What we’d do is we’d have a fella on a racer at the phone-box beside the Post Office in Castlebar and he’d write as many requests down as he could and then cycle back to the station with them. However, sometimes he’d be booted out of the box because some oul one would want to use the phone.
“Or, what we all did was got listeners to drop their requests in a box in Casey Jones’ chipper and we would pick them up the next day. It was worth it, it was the most talked-about buzz thing that was happening in the town at the time.”



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