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.
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
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
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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