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.