That’s Pirate Radio Part 11 – We’re Jamming

June 19, 2007 at 12:27 am 2 comments

With the radio raids finally beaten, an ebullient Chris Cary lured more listeners that summer with an even bigger attraction than clutter-free music: effort-free cash. After Nova played a specific three songs in sequence, the fiftieth phone caller to the station won £6,000. >>>

RTE Jamming

That Christmas Cary went into Icarus mode, launching a pirate television station, Nova TV, which was raided and closed within a week. Finally in 1984 RTE found an effective way to hurt the super-pirates. The State station illegally jammed Nova’s signal, following it around the FM band like schoolboys playing tag

Union Disputes

Cary responded by sacking staff, triggering two years of union disputes.

RTE then jammed Sunshine, who dedicated a song to them: the Bob Marley hit We’re Jamming. RTE eventually relented under political pressure; its illegal jamming was interfering with both RTE itself and official shipping frequencies.

Nova again infuriated official Ireland when another phone-in give-away, this time for £5,000, caused an overload that closed down a quarter of a million telephones.

Nova Closes

In 1985 Nova leaked even more staff to a new super-pirate, Q102. The biggest defection was ad manager Mike ‘Mickey Joe’ Hogan, who re-branded Q as Super Q and relayed traffic reports from an Eye-in-the-Sky helicopter.

Meanwhile Sunshine re-branded itself as an upbeat ‘Hot Hits’ music station.

Under pressure from all sides, a frustrated Cary closed Nova in March 1986. As if by magic, it instantly returned as Zoom/Energy 103, a ‘new’ station whose assets were safe from the Nova receivers.

Next Post in Series – Rambo’s Law
Previous Post in Series: the 1983 Raids
First Post in Series: Radio Dublin 253


Entry filed under: Culture, Politics.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Twenty Major  |  June 19, 2007 at 8:56 am

    Didn’t Nova launch another station around this time. An MOR sort of thing called Magic 103? Or was that earlier?

  • 2. Michael Nugent  |  June 19, 2007 at 9:27 am

    Yeah, it was in 1985. When Cary closed it down and let the staff go (which included most of the Nova news team) he created another battlefront by enraging the NUJ. Never a man to make things easy for himself.


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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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