I'm Bob Gallico, and this is a subsite to irishpirates.com in which
I would like to share with you my many experiences on Irish Pirate Radio
right through the 80's. On the left panel you can see "60
and "Spycatcher". These are three
series written, produced and acted out by myself and many very talented
people at Radio Nova, Q102 and Energy 103. You can hear about 16 audio
clips on these pages. I'll be adding more content to this page on a
regular basis, so keep coming back.
Below are some of my recollections of the Irish
has their own personal recollections of Nova, as well as their own personal
views of it. It depends, I suppose, where you are looking at it from
- inside or outside. The view from outside has been expressed by Nova's
army of dedicated listeners over the years and needs no comment from
Ground-breaking, a broadcasting revolution, the greatest
Irish radio station ever, some of the sobriquets applied to Radio Nova
- it never seemed like that while I was there. But it WAS challenging,
exciting, and with the freedom to be creative. And it gave me the happiest
working years of my career to date.
So where did it start for me...1981...working as a Sales Manager for
Weatherglaze - picked Nova up on my car radio one day. The voice of
Jason Maine - didn't know where it was coming from - it didn't sound
like a pirate station - great signal - very professional. Logged it
in on the number one button. Gradually found out details and usually
listened when in the car and occasionally at home.
Radio has always been (and still is) my first love. Previous to Nova
- 2 years in network affiliate radio in Augusta and Savannah, Georgia.
Then got sidetracked by acting career. Always wanted to be back in radio
- fantasised about it - a station like Nova? absolutely professional
- but of course, no chance - steady job - show-biz given up for economic
reasons - family to feed and all that - but what if?
"Think you have a good voice?"
And then the fateful day when I was in my car in Dublin one morning
at 9.30 - a highly unusual circumstance, given my work schedule with
Weatherglaze - radio switched on just at the moment when for the one
and only time on the Job Spot - Nova advertised for a newsreader. Ken
Hammond was leaving. "Think you have a good voice? Can you write
news? CAN YOU TYPE? Make a cassette tape and submit it to Radio Nova,
19 Herbert Street etc..." Well, I was pretty confident about the
typing bit, so what the hell - lets do it for the crack. Wrote up a
few news items out of the Herald and Press that evening, spake them
to my recorder and called to Nova the next day.
Door was answered by the Elder Lemon, Mike Edgar. Gave him cassette.
And that, so I thought, was that. Three days later came a letter from
Sybil Fennell saying she'd like to talk to me. Rang her and said I'd
come in that afternoon. And that afternoon turned my life around. I
started with a weekend news gig, while I gave notice to Weatherglaze
and then went full time on the breakfast shift. The rest, to descend
to cliche, is history. Happily, I'm not yet.
"And as the old bollux knows
I wish him the very best"
Early Nova days - I joined as a newsreader, but never had any pretensions
about making news my career. I am not, nor ever have been, a journalist
- the news was my point of re-entry into radio. Right from the start,
I had intended to develop my dormant presenting and comedic skills and
in Nova I found the freedom to do it. I got to know Tony Allan at this
early stage - and it laid the foundations for some of my most creative
moments in Nova - others have their own opinion of and experience with
Tony - mine were nothing but joyfully creative and fun. We are still
fast friends - and as the old bollux knows, I wish him only the best.
Right - the arrival of Declan Meehan - at this point we are ensconced
in the Portacabin in Nova Park, because of the jamming of RTE. The start
of the Bob and Dekkie Show. Well, technically the Declan Meehan Breakfast
Show, or "Brekkie-Trekkie", but this is MY piece. It was one
of those partnerships that just happened - the right people in the right
place at the right time - we just clicked. Dekkie is another of nature's
gentlemen and a total professional. His easygoing style fit into my
style perfectly and it just worked. It was the happiest time of my radio
working life and for the first time, despite the undesirable getting-up
time of 5am, I would look forward to Mondays.
1983 - I had been back to the United States for a holiday and on return
settled back in to Herbert Street - a couple of weeks later - the closedown
and a day I'll never forget. Enough has been written about it. All I
can add is that I can still vividly recall the rollercoaster of emotions
I went through. Then three days later - business as usual.
Declan brought out the best in me - both of us subscribed to the dictum
that you're only as good as your last broadcast and we always strived
to make each one the best ever. Occasionally we succeeded, but I like
to think that we were never merely adequate.
"The Brekkie-Trekkie ranks No.1
for me for sheer fun"
Dec and I didn't invent the two-person breakfast show - but we did pioneer
it on Irish radio - it was the first and according to a few people whose
opinion I respect, still the best. I've had a good number of breakfast
show partnerships over the last 20 years - all good and creative, but
the Brekkie Trekkie ranks No.1 for me for sheer fun. The Gallico/Courtenay/Moore
line-up with NRG was, perhaps, more comedically creative - but that's
another station - and another story.
Couple of years with Dec - embracing Novacare, "Busy Line",
gigs on the Isle of Man, the closedown, the giveaways, the blags and
freebies (though I never got to go to Los Angeles), the move to Rathfarnham
with the station being built around us as we broadcast, the day I had
to get to the station in 9 inches of freshly fallen snow and just managed
to get out of Greenacres at 1pm...and then...Dec went to London for
6 weeks...and then another 6...and then...
The breakfast show with John Clarke - the funny bubble competition -
with Terry Villiers drawings of our heads on billboards - our Andy Warhol
15 minutes of fame - the the Zoo Crew, with Colm Hayes back in the driving
seat along with Dave Harvey, the lovely Kathy Quinn and our occasional
scriptwriter Dick...weird and wonderful...then...*"60
second theatre" - a wonderfully creative time with Tony Allan...and
then...well things got a bit ropey, then, didn't they? - the NUJ - the
pickets and all that shite...out of which came Magic 103...for me the
Nova Breakfast with John O'Hara and then haring down to Leeson Street
for Mid-Morning Magic with Peter Madison...and that was another fun
"Thank you Chris and Sybil -
for being there"
And then suddenly - it was over...I heard about it over the airwaves
at 6pm. QED. NOVA was gone...but not forgotten - ever - I owe it everything
I am today. Thank you Chris and Sybil - for being there. And thanks
to all those professional people I worked with during that time...in
addition to those already mentioned - Andy Archer, Tom Hardy, Tony Gareth
(nee O'Callaghan), Jason Maine, John Lewis, Laurence John, Greg Gaughran,
Tony McKenzie, Denis Murray, Dave "Jingles" Johnson (need
Andrew Hanlon), Mark Weller (nee Costigan), Brian Dobson, Ann Cassin,
Ken Hammond, Siobhan Purcell, Roland Burke, Aiden Sheeran, Bernie Jameson,
Paul Cotter, Jenny McIvor, Linda Conway, Shane McGowan, the Edgar Bros.,
all the gang at Bay City and anybody else who knows me and whose name
has dropped out of the overstuffed information centre up top.
IT WAS GOOD TO BE THE KING!
mentioned previously, the partnership with the brilliant Pat Courtenay
on Energy 103, along with Finoula Sweeney, (Lisa Moore in dem days)
and occasionally John Sharkey, was wonderfully creative and many, many,
many laughs. Of all the loony things we did, I've picked out two little
series to put on audio- "Starsick" and "Spycatcher".
Both came originally from Pat C.'s fertile brain, and gave us some of
our finest and funniest moments. So, thanks Pat - these are for you.