Part 4: …AND START AGAIN
In the very early hours of Thursday, May 19th, Radio Nova returned to the airwaves. Utilising a borrowed transmitter donated by Joe Jackson, formerly of Sonic Independent Radio, the station was on much lower power than listeners had previously been used to.
Meanwhile, over in that portakabin in Portmarnock, the morning of May 19th started just like any other. Everyone at the station was looking forward to their annual fundraiser in aid of the CRC, which was due to happen that upcoming weekend.
The sense of foreboding, however, will have hung heavily in the air, not helped by the morning’s newspapers.
Today’s Front Pages
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Robbie Robinson had agonised overnight over whether to keep Sunshine Radio on the air or to stop broadcasting, thus saving the station’s very expensive equipment from being confiscated. Even though the Minister was making lots of noise about further raids, the general feeling within the radio community was that the raid on Radio Nova was as a result of them themselves, rather than their illegality in itself.
After all, Chris Cary had never been shy about future plans and it was felt that his latest project – to place a 50kw transmitter on the air to beam into Britain – might have been a step too far for the authorities, especially as he was openly talking about it to the media.
That 50kw transmitter formed part of the massive haul taken from Nova Park the day before.
On the borrowed transmitter Declan and Bob were back on air.
THE SUN WILL GO OUT
Back at Sunshine Radio David Lyons was on the air with his breakfast show. At 9am he handed over to the news team and Robbie Dale started his show straight after.
Taking Sunshine Apart
Photos above and below by courtesy of Anoraks UK, Gary Hogg and Evening Press
The scenes outside the portakabins at the Sands Hotel as the P&T work away
The raid on Sunshine Radio which removed around £45,000 worth of equipment, instantly put over 40 people on the dole.
Robbie Robinson commended the Gardaí and P&T officials for their politeness and accepted that they were just doing their job, a job it seemed to him that they were unhappy about having to do. He didn’t see them as the problem; he had already vented his anger at the people who deserved it live on air minutes earlier.
Some of the station’s listeners were not so diplomatic, however. As they started to gather outside the studios, abuse was shouted at the workmen and scuffles threatened to break out. It was Robinson himself who managed to calm the situation.
Robbie had always stated his intention to comply with any legislative procedures that may be introduced as part of a process to get licensed independent stations onto the Irish airwaves. Government Ministers seemed to indicate that fair warning would be given to allow stations to wind down. No wonder he felt betrayed.
So how did the rest of the nation’s stations react?