George Long
Henry O'Donovan - A.K.A. George Long

When I was in boarding school in Limerick, I would sneak out at night and go play records on Limerick's pirate station LBC.

Despite these antics I was made head boy, which empowered me to spend a lot of time at the station. I was obsessed already with the stations operating in my own town, stations like Radio Dublin, Big D and ARD.

At 16 I was interviewed on ARD by Stephen Rhodes who did the breakfast show. Thats when I was smitten. I just HAD to work in radio. Living in Dun Laoghaire Co. Dublin it was obvious I start on Southside Radio, run by Andy Ruane.

My favourite station was Magic 103. It was a very atmospheric station, and had lots of programming that no other pirate station would risk doing, like classical music with Bob Gallico, and my own show from 7pm to 1am where I would play music from the fourties and also had half an hour of irish music.

Previous to Magic 103, I was working for Q102 and Nova. At one stage it seemed that I was switching stations every week! Having become entwined with the NUJ (National Union of Journalists) young and naive newsreaders like myself and Dave Johnson were put in the very awkward position of whether we should go into work or not. We were on strike for quite a time, along with Jenny McEiver, Chris Barry and Peter Madison. Some greasy looking guy called Barry McCall could not wait to get us out with our little plaques. What a load of bullshit it all was!

I have strong memories of Nova Park since that's where I got my first job on Nova. Disconova was hilarious. At one stage myself and Bernie (Jameson) and the others were having to read the news from downstairs in the bar area! Once while I was doing this a drunnk started walking towards me and I had to speed up the bulletin so I would be finished before he got to my microphone! Does anyone else remember this brief period of us having to read news "live" from the bar? [email]

I have a couple of memories of Nova that stick out a little:

I was the newsreader on duty doing 7pm to midnight news on the night of the 5 thousand pound giveaway, when the telephone system in Leinster became so overpowered by people trying to call Nova's hotline, that the whole phone network collapsed! The three records "in a row" were played just after 6pm I think. The atmosphere in Nova's studios is hard to describe. The listnership to the station that evening must have been staggering.

Another poignant memory is when, at three minutes to news, the space shuttle Challenger blows up and all crew on board are killed instantly. Myself and Gary Hamill were on duty when this happened. We had CNN on in the corner and could not believe our eyes. The news report that followed was virtually ad-libbed as it was too soon even for info from the press wire. Later we just said "shit, did that really happen, and were we the first to tell Dublin?!

Going back to Southside Radio in Dun Laoghaire. One of the hardest news bulletins I ever had to read was when I went in there on a cold morning at 7.30am to do the news. There were two guys asleep on the floor and a very tired DJ at the consol. I started reading the news, and one of the guys asleep on the floor was directly under my chair. I was reading fairly serious news, about Northern Ireland, and he started snoring...It was extremely hard not to start laughing, but the content of my news involved death so I had to exercise much control!!!




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