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FRC Newsletters & Sounds Alternative Magazines

Both the FRC Newsletters and Sounds Alternative were edited by Kieran Murray of the Free Radio Campaign Ireland, and were an excellent source of information about Irish free radio.  The Newsletters were produced during 1976 and 1977.   Sounds Alternative was the follow up from mid-1977.  They were published every two or three months, with the last edition being in Spring 1981.

This section of the Irish Era includes scanned images of the original magazines. The missing copies in our collection were kindly supplied by Kieran himself.  Click on the relevant issue to view the cover, and subsequent pages.

Beware if you are downloading through a modem. In order to preserve legibility each issue is between 4 to 6 meg in size, as a pdf file.

FRC Newsletter     Issue 3   (October 1976)  
FRC Newsletter     Issue 4   (January 1977)  
Sounds Alternative  Issue 1  (August/September 1977)
Sounds Alternative  Issue 2  (November / December 1977)
Sounds Alternative  Issue 3  (February / March 1978)
Sounds Alternative  Issue 4  (May / June 1978)
Sounds Alternative  Issue 5  (August / September 1978)
Sounds Alternative  Issue 6  (November / December 1978)
Sounds Alternative  Issue 7  (February / March 1979)
Sounds Alternative  Issue 8  (August / September 1979)
Sounds Alternative  Issue 9  (November / December 1979)
Sounds Alternative  Issue 10  (February / March 1980)
Sounds Alternative  Issue 12  (August / September 1980)
Sounds Alternative  Issue 13  (November / December 1980)
Sounds Alternative  Issue 14  (February  /  March 1981)

Issue 14 was in fact the final edition of Sounds Alternative. Between the FRC Newsletter and Sounds Alternative, the story of Irish free radio in those developing years during the change from the Sunday 'hobby' stations to full ' 24 hour commercial radio' was fully documented and forms an important part of Irish Broadcasting History. During this period, many of the deejays who were part of these early full time ventures were poached by RTE for their new pop music station Radio 2. The formation of RTE 2 was a direct result of the 'pirates' proving there was a huge audience for a daily diet of pop music and local information.

The demise of Sounds Alternative in 1981 made it difficult to obtain written information on the still developing radio scene in Ireland. Occasional news sheets and updated station lists were sent out between supporters. Some of the many free radio magazines which appeared in the 1980's also had occasional articles. Enthusiasts Barrie and Ruth Johnston who had been supplying lists and stickers became known as 'Anoraks UK', and following the raids in 1983 began producing a 'Weekly Report' which attempted to cover Irish, UK and Offshore radio news. This continued through legislation and finally ceased in August 1989. An 'Anoraks Ireland' was formed by Tony Donlon and also produced occasional newsletters and supplied tapes and merchandise from its base in Dublin. An 'Airwaves' magazine was also produced for a time in the late 1980's.

On the radio, free radio news continued to be found on many stations. Kieran himself had hosted an FRC Show in Dublin during the late 1970's. This continued on Southside Radio with Mark Boland into late 1981 but then disappeared. Other free radio shows appeared during the 1980's on various stations, including Gerard Roe on Radio Dublin, Bernard Evans on Tallaght Community Radio and Kieran Murray on Radio Rainbow International. There were also shows on most of the shortwave stations which operated out of Eire, giving free radio information to listeners across Europe. Possibly the most intriguing and indeed controversial of all these programmes was on Radio West from Mullingar. This started in 1986 and almost without fail continued each Sunday morning, for an hour, until legislation finally closed the station in December 1988. As well as including news and phone calls from 'anoraks', the show had many 'heated' debates between owner Sean Coyne and other operators, on the radio situation. It was this show that many other operators also appeared to listen to. Because of the large coverage area of Radio West (the transmitter was 10kw), they were able to mount a campaign to produce a 'one-off' high quality magazine about Irish Radio before legislation closed everyone down. Despite many people supplying information, the magazine sadly never appeared, probably due as much to lack of time as finance.

The only book known to have been published to cover the development of independent radio in Ireland was issued in the Summer of 1988 by Peter Mulryan (see below). It was an excellent time to write, as less than six months later only Radio Dublin would be left, along with on or two stations down country.

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