Gem 88FM have bowed to ODTR pressure and decided to pull the plug on their operation today. The decision was made by the station themselves and was not influenced by their site landlord. The Dublin-based automated oldies station had occupied 88.1MHz since just before Christmas last year.
Gem Radio are planning to return to Dublin’s airwaves. Attention from the ODTR led them to a decision to close recently. The alternative non-stop oldies station had been available to Dubliners on 88.1MHz since last Christmas.
However, the station’s planned return may cause problems as a result of Mix FM’s planned frequency shift from 87.6MHz to 88.0MHz. A spokesperson for Gem Radio has told Radiowaves News that they have contacted Mix FM but the latter have stated that their intention is still to broadcast on 88.0FM from next Monday.
Gem FM are back on air on 96.0MHz in Dublin. The non-stop oldies station with the alternative slant stopped broadcasting a few months back following problems.
Gem FM will be off the air on 96.0MHz from April 28th until June 1st to accommodate the temporarily licenced station from Ballyfermot which will run for the month of May. At present they have no plans to use another channel for the period, and according to sources close to the station, they will use the break to work on improvements to their audio, adding new music etc.
Automated oldies station Gem FM is now operating all day, every day on 96.0MHz in Dublin. After the Black Tuesday raids in May, the station originally returned on weekends only before introducing a weekday nighttime service.
Dublin’s FM band was totally clear of unlicensed activity today for the first time since last year’s May ‘Black Tuesday’ raids. Every Dublin-based pirate station was off the air, the vast majority for precautionary reasons.
The unlicensed community have been fearing the worst for the past couple of weeks, and most stations decided not to take the chance of having their equipment confiscated.
ComReg visited some mountain sites today, but it is thought that this was simply to warn landowners of the possible threat of court action for allowing unlicensed broadcasts to originate from their property. However, they have been seen taking photographs of station’s sites in the recent past – usually a precursor to obtaining court warrants in order to enter the property – and this has sent panic through the radio community.
Dance music station Club FM were the last pirate broadcaster on air today. They stopped transmissions at just after 1pm this afternoon. At this stage, every other station had already turned off.
Rhythm FM, who broadcast on 105.7MHz FM, switched off their transmitter last night, as did those behind the carrier on 88.1MHz FM. Other stations had already switched off in the past few days, and those that were left turned off their equipment this morning.
Amongst the stations off the air are: UCB relay on 87.6MHz FM; Jazz FM (90.3MHz); Sugar FM (91.0MHz); the unidentified station on 91.6MHz FM; Ministry FM (93.2MHz); Hot FM (94.1MHz); Nova 947; Gem Radio (97.8MHz); The Vibe (99.4MHz); & Sun FM (101.3MHz).
Today, the only pirate station audible around Dublin city was Passion FM, beaming in on 91.6MHz FM from Kildare. However, by this evening, the usual batch of low-powered stations were back on the air from various locations around the city. Included were: Galaxy 105.3, who have been running live programming tonight; Energy, running automated dance music on 107.6MHz FM; and XFM, the long-term alternative music station who were broadcasting on their usual 107.9MHz.
ComReg have been very active in other parts of the country recently. However, Dublin’s pirates have been relatively free from Comreg interference since the massive attacks of May 20th last year – commonly referred to as ‘Black Tuesday’. Many feel that ComReg are preparing to strike again whilst the memory of last year’s actions are still fresh in the minds.