Radio Nova

The Radio Nova Story

My greatest achievement? Founding Radio Nova, taking it to No 1 position and keeping it there for five years.

Chris Cary

Radio Nova fitted perfectly into a city that had already given birth to U2, Thin Lizzy and the Virgin Prunes.

Sybil Fennell

Listen to a jingle

I’ve often wondered whether Chris Cary, being the technical wizard that he was, added some sort of subliminal mind control signal to Radio Nova’s broadcasts. It obviously wasn’t the case although it did seem like overnight that everybody had retuned their receivers to Radio Nova. That’s no exaggeration for effect by the way. Shops, factory floors, every home you’d visit, all had Radio Nova permeating the air. At one point you couldn’t move in the city without knowing what was happening on Radio Nova.
Most of those receivers would only face retuning when Nova decided – or were forced by a very scared government-sanctioned broadcaster – to move.

Whenever I think of Radio Nova it goes something like this – Dublin in the late 70s and the turn of the decade was a dirty, grey, depressing place (through no fault of her own). Unemployment and the ravages of emigration affected every Dub in one way or another. But, when I think of the years when Radio Nova was at the top of her game then Dublin, in my mind, is a colourful, sexy beast of a place and outsiders knew it, desperate as they were to tune in the station from remote locations. There was nowhere else like it on earth.

Emigration affected me too, on a personal level. I moved to London in the summer of 1984. I lasted six months, desperately homesick for friends, family and the familiar. In those days, long before instant gratification via the internet, it was extremely difficult to find anything from home. I often tried in vain to tune to Nova on MW – an impossible task. One night however, very very faintly in the background of a mishmash of signals, I heard the soothing sound of a Radio Nova jingle and was instantly transported home in my mind. I remember that moment as vividly as anything else in my six months in a wonderful city – unfortunately, the racism I faced is as vivid.

I’ve often asked myself why…why did I almost permanently listen to Radio Nova. My musical tastes veer from the alternative, underground, to the sublime. The kind of music that never got an airing on Radio Nova – nor would I have expected it to. But when I listen back to the recordings we have archived at, the reasons are as obvious now as they were back then. In-studio were a bunch of men and women who were supremely talented at what they did and who loved their job…and like any activity which is enacted by skilful people who enjoy what they’re doing, it becomes a pleasure to behold just for the sheer sake of it.

To everyone who sailed the good ship Nova, I salute you. I still hear many of your voices to this day, emanating from my speakers on other radio stations. Talented as you all are there was something about your voices when they came from a Radio Nova frequency. What was that about subliminal mind control?!!!

As always, for me, when writing about Radio Nova what was meant to be a few words turns into a novel. I apologise!

This happens in conversation too, which perhaps explains why I’m a loner. Not to worry, I have my Radio Nova recordings for company!

Disclaimer – I obviously do not believe there was a subliminal mind control signal added to Nova’s broadcasts – as if that were even possible…

John Fleming –

Listen to a jingle

What made Nova so amazing to us was the difference between what we were used to and what we got.

John H Dalton

Radio Nova blew the shit out of anything else that was going on in radio in Ireland or GB at the time.

Denis Murray
Radio Nova: Introduction