That’s Pirate Radio Part 8 – A.R.D. Closes Down

June 14, 2007 at 12:23 am 1 comment

In the early 1980s, as a college student, I was presenting weekly film reviews on A.R.D., getting in free to the Savoy to watch such epics as Airplane and Escape to Victory. I then produced the Dublin Today show with Victor Ryan, before presenting my own mid-morning show after Chris Barry moved to Nova. >>>

The Big Three

Of the original big three Dublin pirates, Big D had already closed down. Radio Dublin was still broadcasting the same mix of music and requests, and A.R.D. no longer had the same financial resources after Bernard Llewellyn had left, believing that the government were about to legalize local radio.

A.R.D. had now moved from the Crofton Airport Hotel to above Waltons music shop in North Frederick Street. Not being super-pirates, none of us got paid. Most of the time, we were happy to play our favourite records, dedicate them to strangers at the other end of a phone line, and fill in any dead air with inane chatter.

Dublin Today

But we also tried to include community content whenever we could. Here’s a typical schedule for the Dublin Today programme that Victor Ryan and I put together on Mondays to Thursdays from 6-9 p.m.

  • Community Noticeboard (6.30, 7.15, 8.30)
  • Community Interview (6.45)
  • Television Tonght (7.45)
  • Phone-in Competitions (8.15-8.45)
  • Career Interview (Mondays 6.45)
  • Comedy Spot (Mondays 8.00)
  • Youth Club Feature (Tuesdays 8.00)
  • Community Problem Spot (Wednesdays 8.00)
  • Theatre Reviews (Thursdays 7.15)
  • Weekend Film Reviews (Thursdays 8.00)

Doctor Don and Dave C

Meanwhile the station’s owners—the legendary Doctor Don and his new partner ‘Dave C’ Cunningham—seemed to exist like royalty without ever spending any money. They had contra-deals with advertisers who supplied them with free meals, petrol, furniture etc., leaving them free to pocket any surplus of actual cash revenue.

When needed, they would enhance an ad’s value by quickly ringing the advertiser, enquiring in a fake accent about the great ad they had ‘just heard on A.R.D.’

An Offer I Could Refuse

That summer Doctor Don and Dave C asked me to manage A.R.D. I declined, as our rebel dinghy was by then fatally holed by the super-pirate battleships. Also because the offer contained none of the terms traditionally associated with such offers, for example getting paid. Soon after, the station quietly closed with very few people noticing.

However, I’ve just rooted out the letter in which they made this offer.

Bizarrely, the letterhead describes A.R.D.—a small, illegal Dublin radio station—as being ‘Members of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc.’ This may refer to Channel D, a short-lived pirate television channel on which Doctor Don had broadcast fuzzy soft-porn B-movies at night from a studio in Phibsboro.

Next Post in Series: Nova Northside
Previous Post in Series: Radio Nova

First Post in Series: Radio Dublin 253


Entry filed under: Culture.

Why the Green Party Landed on Planet Bertie Catholic Archbishop Fails Bible Test

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Richard Logue  |  July 25, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    Now I remember Channel D well – they only ever seemed to broadcast one film – No. 1 of the Secret Service – and the same magazine programme over and over again.

    “Now you may have seen ‘The Sussed’ written on the back of a bus seat”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

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.

%d bloggers like this: