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Atlantic 252 closed down 20 years ago this month

  • 13-12-2021 5:59pm
    Registered Users Posts: 88 ✭✭ JJKC

    Does it really feel like 20 years since we last heard pop music on longwave ?



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,644 ✭✭✭ Declan A Walsh

    That's right - it was Thursday the 20th December 2001. The actual anniversary will be next Monday. Atlantic 252 provided valuable radio experience to many Irish, British and even North American deejays. Many of them had come from pirates, both offshore and onshore. Some have left Ireland completely, especially the non-Irish staff, but some are still involved here with radio.

    Who went through Atlantic 252 at one point or another and are still on Irish radio? Here are some:

    Liam Coburn, aka Batman Gomez - Dublin's Q102

    Rick O'Shea - RTE Radio 1

    Steve Hayes, aka Hollywood Haze - Cork's 96FM

    Mark Whelan, aka Dickie Bow - Limerick's Live95FM

    Al Dunne - RTE Gold and probably a producer elsewhere on RTE

    Charlie Wolf, an American who came from British offshore pirate Laser, used to present on Cork's Red FM, but is now based in Britain. Henry Condon, aka Henry Owens, was the chief executive of Red FM, but sadly passed away a few years ago. Mark Byrne presented on a number of Dublin-based stations, but then left to pursue a career as a pilot, returning for part-time radio for a while. I last heard him two years ago on Christmas FM. Paul Kavanagh went on to be DG of Monaco-based Radio Riviera. Enda Caldwell had involvement with the latter and continues to be connected to a number of different stations around the world, including "New York's Only Dance Station" Pulse 87  - look him up!

    Just a taster - there's a lot of ex-Atlantic 252 plying their radio trade outside Ireland, particularly the UK!

  • Registered Users Posts: 920 ✭✭✭ medoc

    Who owns the rights to the Atlantic 252 name and other copyrights? It would surely be very popular if it reappeared online. Lots of online “jukebox” stations out there but I think the 252 of the mid 90’s would make a great addition. The music and jingles etc would attract people reliving their youth. Maybe even some live programs from time to time from some of the former dj’s.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,569 ✭✭✭ corsav6

    Woah, this brought me back. I have good memories of falling to sleep listening to LW 252.

  • Registered Users Posts: 88 ✭✭ JJKC

    All such copyrights were owned by "Radio Tara Limited" the parent company, However that company was dissolved 10 years ago

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,127 ✭✭✭ ford fiesta

    Al Dunne only has one weekend show on RTE Gold, he does not work for RTE. He has his own Media company: Unique Media

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,644 ✭✭✭ Declan A Walsh

    I hinted at it there with certainly some of the presenters I mentioned in my earlier post, but I think the station will be remembered also for the funny names that many gave themselves. As well as some mentioned above, there was Jo King, Cliff Walker, Desperate Dan, Bam-Bam, Robin Banks, Sandy Beach, Wayne Scales, Pizzaman, Lois Lane, Cousin Brucie and of course Dusty Rhodes!

    Post edited by Declan A Walsh on

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,569 ✭✭✭✭ Losty Dublin

    RTL hold the rights to the name and branding of the station and they were fairly possessive about use of it at one point. There was an attempt by some well placed folk to set up a bona fide online tribute station some years ago but it was politely if promptly nixed by the suits in the Grand Duchy before it even got off the ground.

    There is a stream on Tunein these days calls itself's Atlantic 252. It plays out a few of the old jingle's between a diet of 252 style 90's pop hits; a busy enough public tribute facebook helps keep the old spirit alive as well.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,644 ✭✭✭ Declan A Walsh

    Radio Tara was basically a joint venture between RTE and the RTL Group/Radio Luxembourg and the trading name of Atlantic 252. Pat Kenny was chairman of the station at one stage. Jeff Graham, one of the original presenters of Atlantic 252, left it to become PD of Radio Luxembourg and oversaw the latter's move from its legendary 208 metres on MW to the Astra satellite.

    It must have been very annoying for all Atlantic 252's Irish competitors that the 20% rule for news did not apply to Atlantic 252 at the time.

    Post edited by Declan A Walsh on

  • Registered Users Posts: 124 ✭✭ irs

    It's hard to imagine a Dance/R&B station on Long Wave as late as 2001. I had mainly switched to BBC Radio 1 by the spring of that year but I don't remember the sound quality being that bad in 2000 but I lived not far from the transmitter and it must have unlistenable for people living in Britain which was most of the stations target audience.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 124 ✭✭ irs

    The station would soon be replaced by the sports station TeamTalk 252 which lasted about six months which included the 2002 World Cup which 252 had "unofficial" commentary. There was a phone in one night after the Ireland-Saudi Arabia game where they were talking about Rivaldo being suspended and nearly every caller was acting a bollix.

  • Subscribers Posts: 38,349 ✭✭✭✭ sydthebeat

    Didn't they use to do "the love shack" on Atlantic 252?

    I used to have one of those massive headphone / radios which is put on at night as I'd fall to sleep listening to dusty Rhodes and the lads

  • Registered Users Posts: 88 ✭✭ JJKC

    Atlantic 252 had 1.3 million listeners in the UK when it closed in 2001, some national dab stations in the UK today have less than half that amount of listeners. The current Chris Evans breakfast show on the latest version of Virgin Radio has 950k listeners

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,310 ✭✭✭ KildareP

    For LW, it did sound very nice albeit very heavily processed.

    The transmitter was on significantly more power back then than it is now for RTÉ Radio 1, and it was 100% modulated due to it being music driven so cut through.

    I remember listening to it one year while the folks took us on holidays to the north of France as our young innocent ears weren't allowed listen to local French radio since they played the uncensored English versions of songs 😁

    There are some recordings made by someone in the UK of airchecks from the 2000-era on Youtube which sound extremely clean.

    Somewhat ironically, when played through a typical modern smartphone speaker they don't sound far off a lot of full bandwidth, stereo radio stations do today... Capital FM London immediately springs to mind!

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,644 ✭✭✭ Declan A Walsh

    That was the last rebrand of the station as it now had a lot more competition from other radio stations, particularly in the UK, and people were not listening to Long Wave as much. In it's first year, Atlantic 252 used to have Classic Rock Sunday!

    Post edited by Declan A Walsh on

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,874 ✭✭✭ apache

    God I feel so old...

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,998 ✭✭✭ RINO87

    Charlie Wolf and the Pizzaman..... Loved these guys as a kid. Atlantic 252 was a staple in my mams Mk 2 fiesta, no FM there!!

  • Posts: 533 ✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    I only ever remember it being on in the background. Maybe I'm slightly too young to have been aware of it at peak, but it's still remarkable that a long wave station, given the audio quality limitations of the technology, managed to be a major music station in the 1990s.

    An interesting era of broadcasting history. I doubt we'll ever hear anything like it again. It was very much the last hurrah of classic radio.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,851 ✭✭✭ messrs

    Used to love listening to love letters in the sand!! Then fall asleep to the soppy songs after

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,569 ✭✭✭✭ Losty Dublin

    I would wager that DAB and other operators combined costs are less than it takes to run 252LW.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 88 ✭✭ JJKC

    Is it true that Atlantic was originally going to housed at the RTE radio centre but due to the anger about the mast in Clarkstown, RTE thought that by putting the studios in Meath, people would be more accepting if the radio station created a few jobs locally ?

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,127 ✭✭✭ ford fiesta

    I was an avid listener and follower of Atlantic 252 from 1989 to 2001.

    I used to love when they played a song that was not on their playlist, like hearing a song from the 70s or 80s on Classic Rock Sunday, Our Tune, Love letters in the sand etc.

    I remember I heard Bob Dylan "lay lady lay" one night and it sounded great on big LW.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,377 ✭✭✭ cute geoge

    Used dusty rhodes come as guest dj to Banna beach disco ,the likes of maxi ,Jim o neill all used to guest dj there ,the place used be hopping .My youth spent listening to Athlantis 252 up on my Leyland 272 bombing down the road at silage and hay ,bare bith of skid in the brakes just dont know how I was not killed off that tractor she was super fast tractor with the radio blaring

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,644 ✭✭✭ Declan A Walsh

    The music selection on Classic Rock Sunday was not a million miles away in content from what (current) Radio Nova's music selection was like in its first year or two of broadcasting.

    Gary King was the first presenter on the station when it launched September 1st 1989. I think he might have been the first to leave as well! He went on to BBC Radio One at the time. A lot of of the UK presenters on Atlantic 252 used it to give them that boost they needed to further their radio career.

    Two of the more surprising British voices to hear on the station:

    • newsreader Andrew Turner (Atlantic 252 used to have news headlines), who used to be involved with BBC Radio One's news service and then went on to offshore pirate Laser. A number of staff had come to Atlantic 252 from Laser.
    • Simon Bates presenting "Our Tune", which I thought was a syndicated program. I just checked and it turns out he had revived on Atlantic 252 a feature of a show he used to present on BBC Radio One! What brought him to Atlantic 252 is a bit of a mystery!

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,127 ✭✭✭ ford fiesta

    not forgetting James Whale

    Also Jeff Graham - was the final presenter on old Radio Luxembourg in Dec 1991

  • Registered Users Posts: 88 ✭✭ JJKC

    It wouldn't have been cheep in those days for Jeff Graham to be flying from Luxembourg to Dublin and back every weekend.

  • Registered Users Posts: 340 ✭✭ TheBMG

    Seemingly one of the reasons Trim was chosen (apart from the nearby TX!) was its accessibility to Dublin airport.

    Its also fair to say that several British jocks (perhaps used to larger cities) didn’t realise that Trim wasn’t a suburb of Dublin … until they landed!

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,644 ✭✭✭ Declan A Walsh

    I mentioned Jeff Graham in one of my previous posts in this thread.

    He left Atlantic 252 for Radio Luxembourg as its PD - he wasn't flying into Dublin from Luxembourg!!

  • Administrators, Computer Games Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 31,520 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭ Mickeroo

    I seem to remember a phase where they became "your real music station atlantic 252" and only played indie/alternative/rock music for a while. Did I hallucinate this?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 88 ✭✭ JJKC

    No but it was a pretty short phase, March to December 1999