The Pirate Closedowns of 1988 – January 1st 1989

New Year’s Day 1989 and radios were turned on across the land with listeners greeted to the sound of white noise. There were radio dials that had been stuck on the same frequency for weeks, months, and in some cases, years. There was now only RTÉ to retune to.
Other well-worn radio dials, used to flipping from station to station, were about to become stuck on a single frequency – the many and varied stations that once greeted the station-hopper were no more.
The range of radio stations across the country, from the highly professional to the downright amateurish; the wealth of radio presenters, from those guaranteed jobs when the new stations came along to those who should never have spoken whilst a mic was switched on, were all now consigned to history. A rich and very varied history. Books have even been written. Tribute websites are a plenty. There have even been ‘tribute’ pirate stations put to air.

Thankfully we have much more than just memories. We hope you enjoyed this special presentation. The facts are as accurate as possible but we are, of course, open to correction on any fact, big or small.

To finish here are a selection of newspaper clippings from the first day of 1989, the first day of a new era in Irish radio. Paraphrasing a famous rock band who were helped in their very early days by exposure on pirate radio – it was New Year’s Day and far from all being quiet, the air was full of static.

Sunday Independent – Tap here to enlarge

Some of the pirates, or the consortium they formed part of, were successful in their licence applications. Most weren’t. Some even eventually returned to air, frustrated at the process. They were never the same as before 1988. The radio landscape had changed.
As mentioned three stations never went off in the first place. Radio North in Donegal returned on January 4th.
The pirates which were successful with their applications came back, again, as different stations. With regulations now controlling what they could or couldn’t play; indeed, what they could or couldn’t say, they could never be the same again.

Ironically, the station that to this day is still talked about in the most revered tones wasn’t even one of those that made it to 1988. Radio Nova, of course. Chris Cary, the station’s founder, was one of those who applied for the new national licence. As ever his thinking was way ahead of everyone else. The other applicants proposed piggybacking on RTÉ’s network for distribution. Cary believed that satellite was the way forward, and considering the subsequent problems for the eventual winners, Century Radio, his was a sensible idea. Not that RTÉ would’ve ever agreed to have anything to do with Cary!

We have worked on this Closedowns Special in close collaboration with DX Archive. Their closedowns special section can be found at 1988 Closedowns at DX Archive.
We have also ensured that all closedown recordings are available at both sites.

The Pirate Closedowns of 1988 -

December 31st Round Up

In Memoriam

3CR (Dublin)

Big M Radio (Monaghan)

Boyneside Radio (North)

Capitol Radio (Dublin)

Cavan Community Radio

Centre Radio (Dublin)

Connemara Com R (Galway)

Donegal Community Radio

Galtee Radio (Limerick)

Hometown Radio (Monaghan)

Independent Radio Longford

KFM (Galway)

Kiss 106 (Dublin)

KLFJ (Cork)

Liberty 104 (Dublin)

NCR (Waterford)

NWCR (Donegal)

Premier Radio Int (Ireland)

Radio Mi Amigo (Ireland)

Radio Nova (Donegal)

Rainbow Radio (Louth)

Roscommon Radio

South West Radio (Kerry)

Tipperary Community Radio

Viking Radio (Wicklow)

West National R3 (Westmeath)

WLR (Waterford)

ABC Radio (Waterford)

Boyneside Radio (Louth)

BLB Radio (Wicklow)

Carlow Community Radio

CBC Radio (Tipperary)

Class Radio (Dublin)

County Sound FM (Galway)

ERI Radio (Cork)

Glencoagh Radio (Donegal)

Hope FM (Dublin)

Independent Radio Mayo

Kilkenny Commmunity Radio

Kiss FM (Monaghan)

KTOK Radio (Donegal)

Midway Radio (Westmeath)

NCCR (Cork)

Power 98 (Limerick)

Q102 (Dublin)

Radio Munster (Limerick)

Radio Vera (Limerick)

Riverside Radio (Ireland)

Smile FM (Dublin)

Sunshine Radio (Dublin)

Treble TR (Dublin)

WABC Radio (Donegal)

Westside Radio (Ireland)

Zee 103 (Louth)

A.M.S. (Kilkenny)

Boyneside Radio (Navan)

Breffni Radio (Cavan)

Carlow Local Radio

Centre Radio (Cork)

Coast 103 (Galway)

CRF / Pulsar 98 (Dublin)

Erneside Radio (Cavan)

Heartbeat Radio (Dublin)

ICBS (Dublin)

Kerry Local Radio

Kingdom 102 (Kerry)

K.I.T.S. (Monaghan)

Laois Community Radio

Midwest Radio (Mayo)

NDCR (Dublin)

Premier County R (Tipperary)

Radiofax (Louth)

Radio North (Donegal)

Raidió Luimní (Limerick)

Roscommon Community Radio

South Coast Radio (Cork)

Telstar Radio (Louth)

Twin County Radio (Mayo)

WCR (Kerry

WKLR (Cork)