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From 1990s Dublin Pirate Coast FM to Licensed Radio

  • 04-05-2022 9:16pm
    Registered Users Posts: 5,648 ✭✭✭ Declan A Walsh

    Coast FM broadcast from its owner Simon Maher's family garden shed in Ballybrack, with a transmitter in the Dublin Mountains, from September 1991 to February 1996. Quite a number of people passed through the station before ending up on licensed radio. Simon set it up after leaving Sunset FM, which was starting to evolve from being an album station to a dance station!

    Let's start with main man Simon. His on-air name throughout his time on pirate stations was Pete Reed. Coast FM did have various specialist shows but it was largely dominated by a mix of adult rock, adult pop and alternative-oriented music. Coast FM was succeeded by mainly alternative-oriented Spectrum which turned into alternative rock pirate Phantom FM and the rest is history - getting two temporary licenses and eventually getting a permanent license. These days he operates online, and sometimes temporary licensed, He also has turned up as a contributor to arts/media shows on RTE Radio 1.

    Here are more names.

    Ger Rowe, best known on-air for presenting The Anorak Hour - arrived to Coast via a merger with Melody FM. He stayed with Simon's subsequent pirates, ultimately becoming Chief Executive of the permanently licensed Phantom.

    Jack Hyland came from related alternative pirate Alcatraz to Coast FM in its latter stages (I did not know about his Coast involvement until very recently!) - Like the previous, he went all the way with Phantom. Jack (real name Moss Breathnach) was part of the original management team of legal Phantom. He has worked in various capacities in radio in recent years. I most recently heard him a year or so ago standing in on Radio Nova.

    Aidan Lynch, aka Paul Clarke - Aidan actually left Coast FM to form pure alternative offshoot Alcatraz. When Simon started Spectrum, it had a mixture of Coast FM and Alcatraz presenters, including Aidan. Aidan, like the others above, went all the way with Phantom and was also part of the management team. He was the original presenter of an Irish-only show on Phantom. Aidan left to concentrate on his other non-radio career.

    John Walshe, aka John Deal - Like the others above, he went on to Spectrum and Phantom the pirates. He left then to present a rock show on FM104 and resurfaced on Phantom when it got its permanent license. He has spent much of his time since then with his online magazine State, but did turn up briefly on 2FM with an alternative rock show.

    John Duggan - I read before that he started on Coast FM. He is best known these days for his involvement with Off the Ball in Newstalk and Today FM.

    Paul Prender? - His on-air name was Paul Wilson, not to be confused with Mr. Easy Radio! He got involved with community radio, starting I think with Anna Livia (now called Dublin City FM). I think he was also involved with West Dublin Community Radio.

    Incidentally, his mate Simon Maher got his first licensed radio experience (AFAIK) with the latter, and was later to turn up on Anna Livia, while still involved with the pirate scene!

    There were a number of presenters who turned up on Coast FM that were also involved with other pirates with different music styles during the 1990s, particularly dance-oriented ones. The non-Phantom side of the house! Those that ended up in licensed radio include:

    Barry Dunne - 98FM

    Andy Preston (at least once as a guest presenter!) - Q102

    Chris Murray - LMFM

    Tracey Lee - used to be on Today FM, after CKR and South East Radio

    Ronan Scanlan - did a stint on South East Radio

    Al Gibbs - FM104

    Dec Pierce - Today FM

    EDIT: I thought of another! John Quigley, aka Simon James- He had in fact been with a number of legal stations from the late 1980s until the mid 1990s before rejoining the pirate scene. Like Ger Rowe, he came to Coast FM after a merger with Melody FM. After Coast FM, "Simon" turned up on oldies pirate Flash FM. He then got back into licensed radio behind the scenes, involved with outside broadcasts for Wicklow's East Coast FM and the station on 106.8 (don't know what it was called when he was involved - now called Sunshine 106.8).

    Any more examples?

    Post edited by Declan A Walsh on


  • Registered Users Posts: 342 ✭✭ TheBMG

    John Duggan was there (as Mike Anderson?)

    The Coast FM Paul Wilson was Paul Pender who briefly did work in Radio Dublin .. as Paul Wilson! No relation to the Easy Radio Paul Wilson though.

    BTW before Coast Simon briefly ran a station called Fresh which operated on very low power and used an old mixer (with rotary controls!) that had previously been used by Prince Terry.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,648 ✭✭✭ Declan A Walsh

    The name Mike Anderson rings a bell with me. Was John involved with any other pirate - possibly Spectrum?

    Paul Pender - thanks! I thought I had read somewhere before about his brief involvement with Radio Dublin alright (as Paul Wilson!). The other Paul Wilson (of Easy Radio fame) was also on Radio Dublin - hopefully not at the same time! Simon Maher started his radio experience with Radio Dublin in 1990 and I'm guessing that Paul Pender was there around the same time. I think Paul had been on Sunset in its early days too and left for Coast when Simon was setting it up. Yes, I read before about Simon's station Fresh. I believe it was a bedroom-type operation! I think I possibly read as well that it was before the summer of 1991, i.e. before Sunset. Was Paul Pender also on Fresh? I did not know about the Prince Terry connection with the equipment.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,648 ✭✭✭ Declan A Walsh

    I just learnt from another thread that Tony McNamara, aka Tony Mac, who was a guest presenter on Coast FM, is a presenter on, and he also did a stint some years ago on student station Tallaght FM. He was another of those radio presenters that turned up on different stations, including dance stations. Incidentally, he returned to the pirate scene briefly two years ago with Pirate FM.