That’s Pirate Radio Part 1 – Radio Dublin 253
This is the first post in a series about a bizarre decade in Dublin – the pirate radio era from Radio Dublin, A.R.D. and Big D in the 1970s to Sunshine, Nova and Q102 in the 1980s. It was a craze without rules, where anyone with enough nerve and a half-decent record collection could make up an exotic ‘DJ name’ and defy the law.
During my final years in secondary school, I started listening to crackly signals from Radio Dublin on my new portable radio. I soon joined thousands of teens in a protest march, calling for the pirates to be legalised. Then I started visiting Radio Dublin, at first answering the phone and taking requests. >>>
For an hour every Sunday evening my friend Aidan Cooney became ‘Aidan Jay’ and ruled the capital’s airwaves from Studio One of Radio Dublin 253. Well, okay then, from the front room of a small terraced house in Inchicore, with the carpet and wallpaper heavily patterned in high-quality kitsch.
Aidan sat facing a microphone, a mixer, two vinyl record decks and a net-curtained window looking onto the front garden. There was a cassette tape deck to his right for playing ads; and to his left a domestic fireplace and a chipped statuette of Jesus, presumably to protect us from evil.
The transmitter was hidden in an upstairs bedroom, and the aerial was on a large pole in the back garden. As Aidan played the music, I sat in a cramped back room scribbling down requests phoned in, mainly by giggly schoolgirls, to 758684.
We were protected from police raids by a CCTV system at the front door, a reinforced steel door inside, and the fact that the only policeman I ever saw near the station wanted a request played for his girlfriend Deborah.