On January 12th Radio Nova International appeared before the IRTC making their case for running the new national radio service.
Less than a week after the presentation, the IRTC announced that the new national licence had been awarded to Century Communications.
Chris Cary did not think that his pirate past or the NUJ dispute had been a factor in Radio Nova not receiving the licence.
Chris Cary admits that he would still like to be involved in radio in Ireland and said he would strongly consider any offer to become a shareholder/director by an applicant for one of the new local services.
A few days after the licence announcement a report in the Irish Press suggests that Chris Cary had sold Radio Nova to rival Richard Branson. Although this did not happen, nevertheless Radio Nova ceases to broadcast.
In March 1989 Chris Cary tells a team from Anoraks UK at a satellite convention in London that Radio Nova will be back, quite probably on the Astra satellite located at 19East, which is now carrying dedicated direct to home domestic services for the UK and Ireland.
The station does not make a return until the summer of 1990, as expected on the Astra satellite using the audio subcarriers of the Lifestyle TV channel.
The Nova Night Network is no more, the evening and overnight hours are taken over by ‘Club Music’, another Cary initiative which supplies a dedicated music feed to clubs and bars delivered by satellite.
Later in 1990, during a chance encounter with Kevin Branigan in the Stillorgan Park Hotel in Dublin, Chris Cary was upbeat and bullish about his current plans. He had just launched Club Music and, while confident about his current ventures, he commented (almost lamented) that satellite radio wasn’t as much fun as the old pirate days.
According to Kevin, he was in ebullient form and was eager to chat.
The station makes it to March 26th 1991 but closes down with three months of leased transponder space remaining, this time for the final time. Nova had failed to take off, even on the smaller direct-to-home domestic dishes with Cary even telling a story that the cable to the uplink had been cut accidentally at one point and no one had noticed Radio Nova was off for a day.
Following Radio Nova’s closure, Chris Cary utilises the transponder space by playing pre-recorded Radio Caroline programming until 6pm each day and this lasts until April 12th 1991 when Chris pulls the plug once and for all – but not before an infamous on-air phone call from Spain with Caroline staff discussing Caroline’s future.
Later in 1991, Chris Cary makes a failed attempt to take over Horizon Radio, one of the licensed stations serving Co Wicklow. With the service in trouble, Cary hoped to buy it, use it to bring back Radio Nova and turn the antennas around and point them towards Dublin.
Cary makes another foray into legal radio by buying Buzz FM in Birmingham in 1992 but is hampered by technical and licensing restrictions.
The ‘Final Chapter’ was compiled with huge thanks to Tom Colgan and Kevin Branigan. If you can fill in any of the gaps please get in touch at RadioNovaStory@radiowaves.fm