Updated February 23rd 2003

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Well, believe it or not there were pirate radio stations before Nova, Sunshine and Q102! And they weren't half bad either! Radio Dublin started in the late sixties going through to the late seventies and beyond, while the likes of Radio Caroline was surfing the waves in every sense of the word. I was a kid, but you know, I woke up in the morning, and the first thing i did was check that my favourite radio stations were still on the air - because often they were not! Seizing of transmitters in the late seventies was a common past-time of Ireland's Posts and Telegraphs, who were the folks responsible for stopping illegal broadcasting, and people having fun on the commercial airwaves.

Lets look at what was on the airwaves of Dublin in, say, 1978. There was Radio Dublin on 253 Metres MW, ARD on 257MW, a station that broke away from Radio Dublin. Then there was Big D on 273MW, another breakaway from radio Dublin. There were other numerous stations, but these were the big three. Captain Eamonn Cooke was at the helm of Radio Dublin, which really started it all. He called himself Captain Cooke, which I found amusing since he was, after all, like a pirate. He relished in it, and the scene was all but set on the high seas!
I recently spoke to someone who was around before the superpirates, a DJ on ARD (Alternative Radio Dublin) called Stephen Rhodes. Steve gave me my first break on air - at the tender age of 16. This was on ARD 257MW. The year was 1977. Gee, but was I pleased to be allowed onto what was Dublin's biggest radio station, to present some songs on the air. Steven left before the Superpirates for a legal job on BRMB Birmingham. He now works for the BBC. There were many well known presenters who started their professional life BEFORE the Superpirates. People like Declan Meehan (Eastcoast FM), Mark Storey (RTE) John Clarke (2FM) to name just a few.

Indeed, if Chris Cary and Robbie Robinson had not arrived in Dublin in 1980 to start Sunshine and Nova, the landscape would have been very different in terms of the history of Irish radio. Would ARD or Big D have become superpirates? Would any Irish businessman have had the guts to pump money into illegal stations? Well, I guess we'll never know. But we should remember that without those "shoestring" stations back in the '70's the Superpirates may never have come into being.

George Long
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