Relive the glory days of pirate radio in Athlone
Photo: Pete Casey.
There’s a trip back to the buccaneering days of pirate radio in Athlone courtesy of a fantastic new documentary on Athlone Community Radio - ‘Heartland Pirates’ airs on 88.4FM on Monday, November 2 at 5pm.
Are you old enough to remember Signal 102 and Radio Carol Ann? Then this is the ultimate nostalgic trip back to the glory days, told through the eyes of those who were right there at the coalface, legendary figures such as Pete Casey, TR Dallas, Noel Lackey, Roy Jennings, Peter Mooney, Geraldine O’Sullivan, Barry Flynn, Val Beaumont, and Gerard O’Reily.
A decade and a half after Radio Caroline thrilled the kids and shocked the prudes across the water, Athlone enjoyed its own radio revolution. Back in those days, kids who wanted to listen to rock had two choices: what was then Radio 2, or Radio Luxembourg. Along came Athlone’s radio rebels, and the landscape was changed forever.
Many of today’s regional stations and best-known presenters had their starts in the anarchic days of pirate radio, and there’s one thing they all agree on: it was the best fun ever.
"It was fun then, I think the fun is gone out of radio," notes one contributor. Another says: "The friends that people make in pirate radio, they are still there, it’s fantastic and I don’t think radio will ever be the same."
It’s an absolute treat for local listeners of a certain vintage. Feel those memories flooding back as you hear clips and jingles from Signal, Radio Carol Ann, Uptown, and Midland Radio.
It’s a hearty nod back to a time when the only rule was that there were no rules, and things felt a hell of a lot freer. Not forgetting, of course, the music which brilliantly evokes this special time.
‘Heartland Pirates’ is the brainchild of award-winning producer and editor Irena Djak Cvetkovic, it’s scripted and narrated by the 'Golden Voice' of the era himself, Pete Casey, with input from Seamus McKenna and Colin Burke. Sound and Mastering is by Jonathan Callaghan with artwork by Frank Sammon.
The programme is supported by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the TV Licence fee. Don’t miss it!