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Cavan Community Radio

Cavan 1983-1988

Cavan Community Radio



Cavan Community Radio launched in December 1983 and lasted until the mass pirate closedowns of December 1988

Cavan Community Radio (CCR) began broadcasting in December of 1983 on 747kHz from a small two-roomed building situated on Farnham Road in Cavan.

The studios were situated quite close to the transmitter site, so there was no need for an FM transmitter to link the studio to the transmitter. The music format was a strange mix of pop and country music.

Initially, broadcast hours on CCR were from 8am until 8pm, although broadcast hours were later extended to 8am to 12 midnight. The CCR telephone number also incorporated the frequency and was (049) 32747.

On Friday 24th January 1984, CCR moved into new premises above the Music Land Record Store on Main Street in Cavan. The station then linked to the 747kHz transmitter with a low power FM transmitter on 98.1MHz. In mid-1984, Radio Nova in Dublin moved frequency from 828 kHz to 738 kHz and as a result, CCR began to experience severe interference due to the transmitter output power of Radio Nova. CCR then moved to 819kHz, a channel that provided excellent coverage of counties Cavan, Monaghan, Fermanagh, Armagh, Leitrim, Sligo, Longford and Meath. 819kHz did provide excellent coverage until Dublin station Q102 decided to move from 828 kHz to 819kHz in early October 1985.


On Thursday 4th April 1985, CCR began broadcasting promos for their £2000 Holiday and Prizes Give-away. Four records, “You Must be Joking” from Lucky Numbers; “Baby Don’t Go” from Sandy Kelly; “My Own Native Land” from Pat Woods; and “Breakaway” from Ann Breen, would be played in that exact order, only once, between Thursday 4th April and Friday 26th April. On hearing the last beat of the last record, listeners had to phone CCR on (049) 32747 and, if they were the tenth caller, they would win a holiday for two in Spain.


At 8am on the morning of Thursday 11th April, the FM tuner at the medium wave transmitter site, which was situated about one mile outside Cavan town and picked up the 98.1MHz signal from the studios at Main Street in Cavan, drifted off channel. CCR returned to the correct frequency at around 9.40am, but it proceeded to drift again, and it was not until 11.28am that the station was back on its correct FM frequency.


The four singles in the CCR Holiday for two in Spain Give-away were played in their entirety and without interruption on Thursday 25th April between 5.18pm and 5.43pm. The tenth caller was announced at 5.45pm and she came from County Fermanagh.

On the first three days of May 1985, CCR were present at the Home & Leisure Exhibition in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. Interviews, requests and dedications were broadcast live over the airwaves of CCR via telephone lines.


In late May 1985, the CCR FM link on 98.1MHz began to be heavily jammed by person or persons unknown. The FM link frequency was then changed from 98.1MHz to 98.7MHz.

On Thursday 16th May 1985, CCR began broadcasting promos for their Trip to Lourdes Give-away. Listeners had to nominate a person who they thought deserved to go to Lourdes. All nominations had to be sent to CCR headquarters in Cavan, where four community workers would study and then select whom they thought deserved the prize. The winner could bring a companion with them.


On Tuesday 11th June 1985, the FM link frequency was changed again, this time from 98.7MHz to 102.7MHz. The frequency was then changed back to 98.7MHz on Saturday 15th June, but not until the receiver at the medium wave transmitter site had relayed Radio Nova for some little while.

In August 1985, competition from Breffni Radio and Erneside Radio was causing CCR some problems. Both Breffni and Erneside broadcast country music, whilst CCR broadcast a mixture of pop and country.


In September 1985, the night-time signal from CCR on 819kHz was experiencing quite severe co-channel interference from BBC Radio Scotland on 810kHz. It was around this time that daytime reception of CCR on 819kHz was possible in Perranporth in north Cornwall in the south west of England.


In early October 1985, Q102 in Dublin moved frequency from 828kHz to 819kHz. Reception of Q on 828kHz was poor despite the fact that this channel was one of many allocated for use in Ireland. It was now thought that CCR in Cavan would move frequency from 819kHz to 801kHz. This latter frequency would provide adequate signal coverage if the signal was not directed northwards, as BBC Radio Foyle in Derry occupied the adjacent channel of 792 kHz.


In late October 1985, CCR moved back to their former studios in the two-roomed building on Farnham Road because of continuing jamming problems. Don Allen named this person ‘Wammer the Jammer’ and even recorded a comedy song about him, which he used to play over the airwaves. With this move of premises, the FM link frequency was now lost and CCR became one of only a select few to broadcast only on medium wave.

Because of Q102’s move from 828kHz to 819kHz, the CCR reception area became drastically reduced. Q102 could be received on 819kHz as far north as ten miles outside Cavan town.


Severe storms in January 1986 caused CCR to be off the air for a number of days when their transmitter hut was hit, resulting in damage to the transformers. CCR went off the air on Wednesday night 8th / Thursday morning 9th January 1986 and didn’t return to the air with a decent signal on 819kHz until Saturday 11th January.

CCR experienced further problems with audio on 819kHz on Sunday 19th and Monday 20th January, which resulted in some lost transmission time.


Ollie Clarke (With thanks)

In March 1986, Philip Hilton left CCR and went to work for Radio West in Mullingar. The CCR weekday Breakfast Show was then hosted by Brian O’Reilly.
Ollie Clarke hosted his final programme on CCR on Tuesday March 4th 1986 and then went to work for Channel 2 in Kilnaleck, County Cavan (Breffni Radio’s short-lived pop music service), before joining Erneside Radio in Belturbet, County Cavan.


Outside broadcasts were the order of the day on St. Patrick’s Day (Monday 17th March 1986) with commentary on the parades. It was at this time that increased transmitter output power was evident on 819kHz.


In April 1986, it was reported that the Q102 signal on 819kHz was quite low in power. It was stated that the fact that CCR were on the same channel didn’t exactly help matters, as once one left Dublin, depending on reception conditions, one, the other, or both radio stations, could be received, which did not exactly help anyone.


On the night of Sunday 1st June 1986, continuous music interspersed with jingles was heard on CCR after the normal closedown time of 12 midnight. Continuous music after 12 midnight was heard every night after this. At this time, plenty of commercials were being aired and the station was announcing itself as “…professional radio throughout the midlands and the northwest, this is CCR on 819kHz”.


In early July 1986, transmitter maintenance resulted in a better signal on 819kHz. It was also at this time that the station introduced a radio bingo game called “Liney Five”. This radio bingo game was run in conjunction with Donagh Football and Social Club in County Fermanagh, where special bingo cards were on sale (for £1.00 Sterling).

In August 1986, CCR were experiencing severe interference to their signal as a result of BBC Radio Scotland on 810kHz and Q102 on 819kHz. It was thought at the time that a change in frequency was the only answer, as Q102 appeared to have increased both power and audio quality on 819kHz.


Severe storm conditions affected much of Ireland in late August 1986 and, as a result, the CCR transmitting mast collapsed. The station was off the air for three days. Upon its return, the CCR signal on 819kHz was much improved. Q102 was now not as evident on the channel in much of County Cavan.


Daffy Don Allen left CCR in Cavan and moved to Radio West in Mullingar, where he hosted his first programme, the weekday Breakfast Show, on Monday 15th September 1986.

CCR on 819kHz went off the air on Wednesday 5th November 1986 and returned a short time later with a much-improved signal.

In February 1987, the signal from CCR on 819kHz was reported as being quite good in the primary service area of the north midlands and the northwest. Of course, as you travelled towards Dublin, interference was noted on the channel from Q102.


In late March 1987, in order to advertise their new telephone promotion, CCR presenters were wandering around Cavan town, dressed up as monkeys, handing out leaflets, telling people to answer their telephone with “I listen to CCR, the big one”. £50 was at stake for repeating this phrase when answering.


In September 1987, it was reported that the Q102 signal on 819 kHz was quite strong in the Dublin area during the day and only suffered slight interference from CCR. At night, the signal was quite good and was even stronger when Radio Sud in France closed down for the night.

In late October 1987, it was reported that Q102 could be heard on 819kHz in Kilnaleck, County Cavan by simply turning your radio receiver around. This was despite the fact that the CCR transmitter was located some ten miles away.

In February 1988, it was reported that reception of CCR on 819kHz was quite good in Blackpool in Lancashire, England and that the Cavan signal was stronger than that of Q102 broadcasting from Dublin.

In late March 1988, the signal output from Q102 on 819kHz was reduced considerably, with the result that CCR often had the edge, signal-wise. At the time, while travelling from Cavan to Dublin, the Q102 signal on 819 kHz would not be evident until you had reached Navan. However, by early April 1988, the signal output from Q102 had been increased to such an extent that the CCR reception area was drastically reduced. In the north west of England, Q102 could be clearly heard on 819kHz with quite a strong signal.

In early May 1988, the Q102 signal on 819kHz was very distorted at times. On Wednesday 18th May 1988, Q102 underwent a format change and was re-launched as Super Q102 FM. During the afternoon of Saturday 11th June 1988, Super Q102 went off the air on 819kHz. As a result, CCR could be heard over a wider area than usual.

Super Q102 FM returned to 819kHz on the evening of Sunday 12th June. However, further technical problems were encountered on Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th June. A stronger signal from Super Q102 FM on 819kHz was noted on Wednesday 15th June 1988.


Cavan Community Radio (CCR) left the air on 819 kHz for the last time at 3.05pm on Saturday December 31st December 1988

CCR story written by Seán Brady

Studio photo by kind courtesy of Jess Codd

Sample Schedules

March 1985

November 1985

7am Don Allen
10am Seán Brady
12pm Ollie Clarke
3pm Tony Brady
5.30pm Owen McConnell
7pm (Mon/Weds/Fri) Don Allen’s C&W Jamboree
7pm (Tues) Nigel Pratt [Am Country Music]
7pm (Thurs) John Campbell [Folk Music]
8.30pm (Thurs) John Tierney
9pm (Tues) Irish language
10pm Seán McManus

8am Don Allen
10am Lynsey Shelbourne
1pm Tony Brady
4pm John Tierney
5.30pm Phelim Cox
8pm Nigel Pratt
10pm John Campbell

9am Tony Brady
11am John Campbell [Folk]
1pm Macra programme
2pm Sponsored programme, 2.30pm Non-stop music
3pm Phelim Cox
6pm Hugh Smith
8pm John Tierne

7am Don Allen
10am Tony Brady
12.30pm Ollie Clarke
3.30pm Philip Hilton
5.30pm Owen McConnell
7pm (Mon/Weds/Fri) Don Allen’s C&W Jamboree
7pm (Tues) Nigel Pratt [Am Country Music]
7pm (Thurs) Martin Donoghoe [Irish music]
8.30pm (Thurs) John Tierney
10pm Seán McManus

January 1986

7am Philip Hilton
9am Daffy Don Allen
12pm Tony Brady
3pm Ollie Clarke
5.30pm Owen McConnell
7pm (Mon/Weds/Fri) Don Allen’s C&W Jamboree
7pm (Tues) Nigel Pratt [Am Country Music]
7pm (Thurs) Martin Donoghoe [Irish music]
8.30pm (Thurs) John Tierney
10pm Seán McManus

April 1986

8am Brian O’Reilly
9am Daffy Don Allen
12pm Tony Brady
43pm Paul Cox
5.30pm Owen McConnell
7pm (Mon/Weds/Fri) Don Allen’s C&W Jamboree
7pm (Tues) Nigel Pratt [Am Country Music]
7pm (Thurs) Martin Donoghoe [Irish music]
8.30pm (Thurs) John Tierney
10pm Seán McManus

May 1986

8am Daffy Don Allen
11am Tony Brady
3.30pm Paul Cox
5.30pm Owen McConnell
7pm (Mon/Weds/Fri) Don Allen’s C&W Jamboree
7pm (Tues) Nigel Pratt [Am Country Music]
7pm (Thurs) Martin Donoghoe [Irish music]
8.30pm (Thurs) John Tierney
10pm Seán McManus

Frequency Logs

  • 747kHz: December 1983 (Launch)
  • 819kHz: September 1985 – December 1988 (Seán Brady) 2019

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