That’s Pirate Radio Part 7 – Radio Nova

June 13, 2007 at 4:13 am 8 comments

Chris Cary’s new Radio Nova had a powerful FM signal, a ‘clutter-free’ music policy, and novel shows such as Casey Kasem’s American Top Forty. Its DJs spoke very sparingly, in an accent that was soon labeled as mid-Atlantic. Declan Meehan fronted Dekky’s Brekky Trekky with Bob Gallico. And, in another American touch, Dublin suddenly became ‘the Bay Area’. >>>

£M Turnover

Nova had offices in Herbert Street and a country club in the hills of Rathfarnham that also hosted the Nova Disco, to which a ‘boogie-bus’ brought Dublin revellers. Its annual turnover soon hit the million pound mark, four times more than the more community-focused Sunshine. Ireland now had two illegal radio stations that paid wages, tax and PRSI, and employed almost fifty staff each.

Election Radio

This being Ireland, the country’s biggest political party also ran its own pirate radio station. Fianna Fáil illegally ran Election Radio 1982 from their campaign headquarters. As a bonus, Fianna Fáil also promised to legalise local radio!

However, once elected, Taoiseach Charles Haughey had more to worry about than keeping such frivolous promises. In the Dáil, Labour TD Barry Desmond asked Haughey how he could ‘reconcile his Government’s preoccupation with the problems of law and order with the constant appearance of members of his Cabinet on illegal pirate radio?’

Haughey replied simply, ‘I do not know how anyone can appear on pirate radio.’ His fellow legislators chuckled appreciatively, one muttering ‘that is rather slick’, and the debate was over.

Next Post in Series: A.R.D. Closes Down
Previous Post in Series: Sunshine Radio
First Post in Series: Radio Dublin 253


Entry filed under: Culture.

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ScaryGirl  |  June 13, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    Radio Nova / C’est la musique pour toi / Radio Nova Internationale …

    I’m going home now.

    PS Didn’t they have a cash “giveaway” (£5,000?) that was so hyped up in recession-stricken Dublin that when they eventually played the three songs in a row the city’s phone system collapsed under the strain?

  • 2. Michael Nugent  |  June 14, 2007 at 12:32 am

    That’s right. It was just after RTE had been forced to stop jamming the signals of Sunshine and Nova, and Chris Cary was – as usual – upping the ante with massive levels of hype.

  • 3. Twenty Major  |  June 14, 2007 at 10:37 am

    To be fair the hype was backed up with content and it really was a brilliant sounding station.

  • 4. Michael Nugent  |  June 14, 2007 at 11:46 am

    I agree with you about the station. I think Cary’s problem was that he didn’t know where to stop – the plans to broadcast into the UK, the attempt to start a television station etc. In some ways, he was almost forcing the authorities to close him down.

  • 5. Twenty Major  |  June 15, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    Yeah, when you look back on it now he really was ahead of the game. TV, the LW station which was the precursor to Atlantic 252 and the overall sound of Nova was just too much.

    It’s a real shame he was overlooked when the first round of licences were issued by the IRTC.

  • 6. Michael Nugent  |  June 18, 2007 at 12:44 am

    As he said to the IRTC at the time, ‘It’s young people who turn radios on, and old people who turn them off’.

  • 7. Peter J  |  November 15, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    Hiya Michael Just saw this .Can it be 30 years of radio???????

  • 8. El Briano  |  September 15, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    As in most matters in this banana republic of ours they (the government) had to be dragged kicking and screaming into letting us have some alternative to RTE 1 and 2FM. Unfortunately for both Chris Carey and Robbie Dale (Sunshine Radio) their respective faces did’nt fit in with the relevant ‘cronie’ in charge of licence issuing ….


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A blog by Michael Nugent

Welcome to my blog about living in the maddest country on earth. Please feel free to leave a comment.

I also write Bionic Bohs, a blog about following Bohemians football club in the 1970s.


Bionic Bohs

As mentioned above, if you like Irish football and/or cultural nostalgia, I also write Bionic Bohs, a blog about following Bohs in the 1970s.

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