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 me.
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
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
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 partnership...
"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!
As 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
to presenters page