Following a £90,000 studio upgrade, what do you do with the redundant equipment – especially when it itself is top-notch? In Chris Cary’s world you set up a new station.
Kiss FM launched in September 1982 and in a nod to Los Angeles’s Kiis FM, the station that Cary so admired, he set it up on 102.7MHz. With the Christmas advertising market fast approaching, having a second channel also meant that they would be less likely to have to turn down business.
In many ways, Kiss FM was more like Nova than Nova itself. With more and more specialist and newsy programmes running on the main station, the sister station was able to return to basics. Clutter-free music with top presenters – indeed some of Nova’s best-known names migrated to the new station, which was also based in 19 Herbert Street.
Listen to a promo
Kiss FM announced itself into the public consciousness the following March with a competition that gave away £5,000 to one lucky listener who was caller number fifty after the station played a particular three songs in a row. Unfortunately, the station was silenced in May and had a prolonged absence off the air.
The action that caused that silence was, according to many in the radio community, tied in to rumours that Cary was planning to put a new 50kW transmitter on the air in order to target Britain. At the start of the year talks were held with the view to siting the transmitter at the Mosney site on the east coast. Those talks hit a snag, delaying the plans somewhat. What exactly those plans were we will probably never know thanks to the events that occurred on May 18th 1983.
Above: Newspaper advertisement
Listen to a promo
November – December 1982
Election fever took a hold in November and the ban on politicians appearing on RTÉ should they dare to engage with the pirates was hitting hard. Despite this, some politicians were happy to appear on Radio Nova but one programme had to be abandoned when, despite the confirmed appearance of a Fianna Fáil candidate, representatives of other political parties pulled out. Responsibly, Nova said it wouldn’t be right to go ahead with the broadcast as it would have been politically unbalanced.
Fine Gael promise to shut down the pirates if they are returned to power.
The band Moving Hearts, who sang a lot about ‘freedom’, issue a groveling apology to RTÉ after one of the members of the band gave a quick interview to Radio Nova.
A survey of car radio listeners conducted by Lansdowne Market Research revealed that, whilst RTÉ Radio 1 was the runaway leader in Dublin with 53%, Radio Nova were top of the music stations with a 30% share of listenership. RTÉ Radio 2 had just 24% and Sunshine Radio had 15%.
Plans for a long wave service are ‘shelved’ for now.
A newspaper report reveals that a pirate station is in talks with the owner of the former Butlins site on the east coast at Mosney with a view to placing a high-powered transmitter there. Although not named it was quite obvious which pirate station was being referred to.
More rumours surface in relation to the talks about high-powered transmissions from the Mosney site. It is reported that Radio Nova has bought the rights to the name Radio Caroline and plan to use that name at the Mosney site. What is more likely is that Chris Cary plans an ‘international’ version of Radio Nova.
On February 20th on RTÉ Radio 1’s main lunchtime News, the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs says that the pirates will be gone by the end of the year.
With Breakfast television now up and running in Britain, Chris Cary admits he has gone off the idea of launching a Nova TV service. “It’s something we thought about very strongly,” Cary said, “but frankly, the idea frightened me.” It is thought that the reason is not to stir up unnecessary controversy considering the smooth running of Radio Nova, which – if true – makes his plans for Mosney seem a little bit wild!