Dublin pirate station Radio Vanessa launched on September 29th 1970 on 197metres using a transmitter bought from Tony Boylan of Radio Galaxy. This had followed a summer of test transmissions emanating from Ernie Melia’s house in Tolka Estate. Ernie had a very long garden for a full wave and half-wave antenna.
The first shows were recorded in Declan Meehan’s bedroom in Shanliss Drive and then broadcast from Ernie’s house. In time the transmitter would move between Ernie’s and Declan’s houses.
Broadcast hours were Sundays between midday and 1pm. Sometimes Declan Meehan and Robbie Irwin would do midnight shows.
The name came about when Robbie Irwin became involved.
Declan Meehan explains:- “Opposite his house lived Vanessa O’Callaghan…and yes we young fellas thought she was attractive!”
Probably not for the first time, nor the last, a radio station was named after a girl that the operators fancied. Indeed, the personnel involved with Vanessa went on to bigger (and arguably, better) with the formation of Radio Milinda.
Ceasing in August 1981, Radio Vanessa returned for a few sporadic broadcasts in early 1974.