Radio Carousel

Louth

Radio Carousel

Photograph Notes 1 – Kieran Murray:
This is the very first transmitter used by Radio Carousel, Dundalk. It was a hurried job so the engineer (Billy Ebril) did not have the time to place a proper crystal in the transmitter.
This transmitter had a Variable Frequency Oscillator [that’s the gold-coloured square unit to the top right of the photograph] which tended to drift after a number of hours. The result was that during the hours of darkness, when the European radio stations were audible in Ireland, a slight ‘whistle’ or ‘hum’ could be heard on the output from the transmitted carrier.
This was later corrected and a crystal was installed.

Co Louth’s Radio Carousel was the result of a split within the ranks of a station that hadn’t even launched yet. Radio Dundalk had a planned launch date of May 20th 1978 and ran tests for a couple of weekends leading up to this date. However, Hugh Hardy decided to go his own way and with an original planned title of Borderside Radio, he set about launching his own station.
As a result, Radio Carousel appeared from Dundalk on 265 metres at 8am on May 20th 1978. FM was introduced in the latter half of 1979.

The name came about during a phone call to Kieran Murray who spotted a record called ‘Carousel’ in Big D’s library whilst on the phone. Murray’s was the first voice on air and the station ran a range of programming including music, news, information and features. Topics covered included religious, children’s and educational.

Radio Carousel’s head office was located in the Penthouse of the Dundalk Shopping Centre, with a mast erected on the roof of the building. When they first moved in they cleared out junk from a small storeroom in order to install a wooden bench, a set of disco decks and a microphone, with just enough space left for the presenter! From those very basic beginnings, the complex developed into three studios, a large record library, and a range of administrative offices.

It was raided twice in Summer 1978 (June 1st & July 7th) but was quickly restored to air. The station built up a large listenership and was responsible for a number of sister satellite stations in other areas – the first station to do so.

In January 1987, Radio Carousel were visited by officials from the Department of Posts & Telegraphs who ordered the station to close as a result of alleged interference. As a result, on January 23rd, Radio Carousel in Dundalk closed down, seemingly for good. Hugh Hardy redirected his attentions to KLAS in Dublin.

In February 1987 the medium wave frequency lit up again with continuous music and eventually reverted to a relay of the Northern Ireland service. The studio and transmitters had been relocated to the Fairways Hotel, the former home of Radio Dundalk – the station which was the subject of the original split.

The service never really returned to its former glory and both the Dundalk and the Northern Ireland service eventually left the airwaves early in 1988.

Station Brochures

1980
1981
1982

See below – all by kind courtesy of DX Archive

Anorak Focus

  • Telephone number was (042) 31164/31165

The Radio Carousel Network

The Radio Carousel Network styled itself as a new concept in local radio. Along with the main station in Dundalk, three other stations broadcast from different areas across the north-east. (Another – Radio Carousel Monaghan – was very short-lived)
Each of the four stations operated on a completely independent and self-supporting basis, for the most part broadcasting a minimum of four hours of local broadcasting daily – local content, local news, local presenters and special advertising rates for local advertisers.
All of the stations joined for the 9am, 1pm and 6pm News bulletins as well as Hugh Hardy’s hour long Country Call each lunchtime.
The Radio Carousel network effectively covered 29% of the country. Tap on a station name to go to the associated page.

Radio Carousel (Dundalk):

Launch date: May 1978. This page…

Radio Carousel Drogheda:

Launch date January 1981

Radio Carousel Navan:

Launch date October 1981

Radio Carousel Northern Ireland:

Launch date 1982

Radio Carousel Monaghan:

Launch date 1982

Photograph Notes 2 – Kieran Murray:
This is the transmission antenna for Radio Carousel, Dundalk, which was situated on the roof of the Dundalk Shopping Centre. The mast was 90 feet high (27.4 m) and transmitting on 1115 kiloHertz (announced on-air as ‘265 meters medium wave’)
Other reports I have logged are that the antenna was 100 feet high (but what’s 10 feet between antennas!)

Jingles

This collection of jingles for the Dundalk and Navan stations were kindly donated by Kieran Murray, who explains:
Radio Carousel’s Managing Director – Hugh Hardy – had great vision for the Network and was a broadcaster like no other. However, no matter how much I asked him, Hugh would never agree to purchase radio jingles for his network of stations. He just could not see a reason or purpose for them – and argued that such jingles would have no place on his twice-daily ‘Country Call’ programme.
He had no objections to me, or anyone else, spending our OWN money and purchasing specially sung Radio Carousel jingles – and that’s exactly what we did!
The Radio Carousel sung jingles you hear here, were all purchased by myself and other Carousel staff members, out of dedication and loyalty to the radio station we worked for. We firmly believed that radio station jingles were an essential part of the entire radio station. The jingles ‘completed’ the overall sound and marketing position of the station.

Advertisers’ brochure

Radio Carousel provides a very wide range of programming including educational, religious, informational, childrens’ and other minority programmes which give truly balanced listening for everyone.
The programming is spontaneous and flexible, so that urgent information can be transmitted without delay, and of course they are uniquely local so that they can broadcast information which is totally relevant to their own area. 
Radio Carousel has acquired the reputation as “the place to turn” – individuals, local authorities, police and emergency services know that Radio Carousel can respond at a personal level to the problems of individual listeners, and at community level to local cries. Help or information is just a ‘phone call away.
Radio Carousel’s local identity is an important element in attracting such a substantial and diverse audience.
As they described themselves in an advertising sales booklet

Radio Carousel on DX Archive

For much more information and images, tap here.


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