The Pirate Closedowns of 1988 – The Evening of December 31st

The 1988 Pirate Radio Closedowns in Ireland
The 1988 Pirate Radio Closedowns in Ireland

As we entered the final evening there were just six hours left until the new Bill became law. Many stations had gone, never to be heard again. There were many still to go.
Again, in chronological order according to transmitter switch-off, these are the stations who switched off between 6pm and 8pm…

The New Year’s Eve festivities had started but Limerick was about to lose a few more of her pirate stations.

Radio Munster


Limerick City Listen on Radio Retro December 31st, 18:00


In the heart of Limerick’s city centre, Radio Munster closed down at 6pm with Mike Hogan having the unenviable task of saying goodbye.

Unfortunately, we do not have a copy of this station’s closedown. If you can help complete this history please get in touch

Radio Vera


Limerick City Listen on Radio Retro December 31st, 18:15


Having closed down Radio Munster, Mike Hogan popped next door to Radio Vera, who were based in the same building. Following a station statement, news and farewells from all the staff, the owners pulled the plug at 6.15pm.

Unfortunately, we do not have a copy of this station’s closedown. If you can help complete this history please get in touch.

We head back to the west to a station based in Mayo…

Twin County Radio


Ballina, Co Mayo Listen on Radio Retro December 31st, 18:15


Twin County Radio, was based in Ballina but was aimed at Mayo and Sligo – hence the name. Very late to the scene, it was a very young station when the Act forced it off the air.
During its short life, it was plagued by technical difficulties so it never really took off but it had a very powerful FM signal in the midwest at the time.
.

We join their countdown to close at 5.30pm

Limerick pirate radio stations

Some more stations from around the country said goodbye around 7pm, including one that was very unique and easily the shortest-running to close…

Limerick pirate radio stations

Independent Radio Limerick


Limerick City Listen on Radio Retro December 31st, 19:00


Grab your transmitter, pop around to your mates and stick it on air and proceed to broadcast to the city for the day. Unlicensed radio wasn’t quite that simple but sometimes it felt like it was, and then at other times – like in the case of this special one-off broadcast – it was actual.
IRL was a chance for some broadcasting mates to get together, play some music, and reminisce. Involved were Francis Jones, Barry Sullivan, Ger Watson plus others.
The ‘station’ started broadcasting at midday but we join the broadcast at just after 6pm with just an hour left.

This is the station’s final hour of broadcast from 6pm.
If you’d prefer a longer version we have the final 90 minutes in our Radio Retro section here


We head back up to Monaghan again for another station closing…

Hometown Radio


Monaghan Listen on Radio Retro December 31st, 19:00


Hometown Radio was run by Jimmy Toal, who was also responsible for originally setting up Big M.
Hometown Radio ceased transmissions at 7pm.

Unfortunately, we do not have a copy of this station’s closedown. If you can help complete this history please get in touch.

Another long-running station was closing in Kilkenny…

Kilkenny Community Radio


Ballycannon, Co Kilkenny Listen on Radio Retro December 31st, 19:00


Kilkenny Community Radio’s final minutes as broadcast leading up to their scheduled closedown time of 7pm.

This recording is by very kind courtesy of Kevin Branigan

And next we take a short hop across to Carlow…

Carlow Community Radio


Carlow Listen on Radio Retro December 31st, 19:10


Carlow Community Radio was formed as a result of a split from Carlow Local Radio, which was run by the Griffin family. This meant that two brothers were pitched against each other trying to win over local listeners.
Éamon Griffin originally planned to close in the afternoon but the station twice extended their deadline due to a phenomenal response to a fundraiser in aid of the Ballyragget Fire Disaster.
£400 was collected in one two hour period, with the station eventually closing at 7.10pm.

Unfortunately, we do not have a copy of this station’s closedown. If you can help complete this history please get in touch .


The capital had surprisingly few radio stations left at this stage, and another departed as 8pm struck…


Class Radio


Harcourt St, Dublin Listen on Radio Retro December 31st, 20:00


On air for just over two years when the axe fell, Class Radio – formerly KLAS – was a somewhat unique listen. Broadcasting an easy listening mix of mainly classical music it proved, perhaps surprisingly, quite popular with Dubliners.
A huge gathering had built up outside the station as the day progressed and a few presenters from now defunct stations also dropped in to pay their respects.

We join John May on air at 7pm for the last hour of their final show.
The full two hours of the final show and 30 minutes of David Baker’s programme from 5pm can be heard in our Rado Retro section here.


And so, the deadline is almost upon us.

As the country’s citizens prepare to indulge in New Year celebrations, tomorrow’s hangovers, and Tuesday’s return to work, will ram home the lack of choice facing a nation who had become accustomed to so much choice.

On the next page we follow the stations still remaining on the air…but, before that, a mention for a Cork station.

North Cork Community Radio

NCCR’s closedown night finished prematurely when Pat O’Connor, a former presenter and station shareholder who was in their studio in Gouldshill in Mallow for an interview with presenter Jimmy Reidy, took ill and died. There was one other person in the studio, John Cahill, who was doing sound.

Pat O’Connor

45-year-old Pat was nationally-known as he had presented his own show on RTÉ TV after he moved on from NCCR. He had been reminiscing in conversation with Jimmy, who then went to a song. As the first verse was ending, Pat had a heart attack and collapsed onto the Desk. Jimmy moved him onto the floor and both he and John tried to save him but he had died just as the song was coming to an end.
Jimmy had to compose himself, return to the mic and announce that the station was closing earlier than planned due to unforeseen circumstances.
Emergency services arrived 15 minutes later and a doctor pronounced Pat dead.

The Pirate Closedowns of 1988 - Radiowaves.fm

The Evening Newspapers for December 31st

December 31st Midnight Strikes

The Pirate Closedowns of 1988 - Radiowaves.fm

In Memoriam:

3CR;
ABC Radio;
Big M;
Boyneside Radio;
Boyneside Radio Navan;
Boyneside Radio North;
Bray Local Broadcasting;
Breffni Regional Radio;
Carlow Community Radio;
Carlow Local Radio;
Cavan Community Radio;
Centre Radio;
Class Radio;
Community Radio Fingal;
Donegal Community Radio;
ERI;
Erneside Radio;
Galtee Radio;
Heartbeat FM;
Hometown Radio;
Hope FM;
ICBS;
Independent Radio Limerick;
Independent Radio Longford;
Kilkenny Community Radio;

Kiss FM (Monaghan);
Kiss FM (Tullamore);

Kiss 106;

KITS;
KLFJ;
KTOK Radio;
Liberty 104;
Midway Radio;
North Cork Community Radio;
North Dublin Community Radio;
Power 98;
Pulsar 98;
RadioFax;
Radio Munster;
Radio Nova;
Radio Snowflake;
Radio Vera;
Rainbow Radio;
Raidió Luimní;
Signal 106;
Tallaght Community Radio;
Telstar Community Radio;
Treble TR;
Twin County Radio;
WABC;
Waterford Local Radio;
West Coast Radio
West National Radio 3;
Westside Radio International;
WKLR;
Zee 103;