Updated May 26th 2003

It's all about quality, my friends!

Well, it appears pirate radio just won't go away. It's strange that 20 years on we are getting stories of the Irish Government closing illegal radio stations. I am somewhat amazed that these stations get to broadcast at all, considering there are not the excuses of outdated radio legislation to back them up. Perhaps someone could explain this to me?

Thing is, back in the 80's there was professional radio broadcasting there. And you only have to hear Dublin radio now to realise the authorities made some pretty big mistakes when choosing who was to get a licence. Nova, Sunshine and Super Q were stations that proved to the world, that from a small country, there came some of the most professional radio in Europe at the time.

What happened in 1988 is a mystery to me. How could something that worked so well go so badly wrong? The authorities in Ireland issued licences for radio stations in 1988, and it was all downhill from there. The owner of Nova Chris Cary applied for a licence, but oh, no. They couldn't give him a licence. That would be far too sensible.
I remember one newspaper reporting that Cary did not get the licence because "he would have been too professional. The others would not be able to compete". How stupid is that? Bob Geldof please remind us: Banana Republic.

Oh yeah, and the IRTC changed their name to BCI (Broadcasting Commission of Ireland). That should help a lot. Phantom FM had to close it's doors when the Government in Ireland decided to raid the pirate stations just over a week ago. It was a swift, calculated affair. Very efficient indeed. If only they could do positive things that efficiently. They used the police force aswell. Police that could have been doing their real jobs - you know, like keeping the peace. Phantom FM in Dublin plays rock and indie music to a not-so-small audience of dedicated music lovers. They have applied for a licence more than once and have been turned down. They went off the air for 6 months while in application. Still they got hit in the face. No wonder they broadcast without a licence. The BCI saw better fit to assign a licence to a country music station largely dominated by RTE Crimeline presenter David Harvey (Hi Dave). Nothing wrong with that. Truth is they should BOTH have been given a licence. Let market forces control who broadcasts.

Here in Australia, commercial radio is all but as horrid as that in Dublin. 2DAYFM is soley aimed at young office girls with disposible incomes - so they can flog everything from bad music to cosmetics. Then there's TRIPLE M (owned by the same people - AUSTEREO), which targets young "traditional" men, who are still bopping along to ZZ Top while they're fixing cars or digging up roads - you know the kind, they whistle at girls in the street and read Hustler. How much Meatloaf can you take? Recently a new station arrived on our horizon - NOVA 969. It's fractionally better. At least they play decent hip-hop. But gee, you need to be under 18 to follow the rhetoric. It's like playschool for radio. If you're reading this from Dublin, just go to Spin 1038 and you'll know what I'm getting at. But there's a difference in Australia. We also have GOOD radio. TRIPLE J is Australia's "youth" station. I always find that term funny because in fact, it's one of the only stations that doesn't patronise its listeners. And many of it's listeners are my age (40). Go listen to them! They're great. And they are 100% Government funded too. There are numerous community stations here that don't offend the intelligence of their audience with dribble. I personally feel that we should have the American approach to radio. FREE FOR ALL. Yes, anyone who has the money to start a station, let 'em do it! As long as they're not causing planes to crash, or affecting emergency signals. I was in San Francisco about a year ago. I listened to a 24 hour Jazz station. Fabulous stuff.

Enough of me waffling on. It's time you went to TRIPLE J on the net and listened to some decent radio. Hell you're not going to get that in Ireland!

The views expressed on this site are not necessarily those of it's owners. These views are expressly my own.
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