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Atlantic 252 What happened?



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,508 ✭✭✭its_steve116

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,522 ✭✭✭ford fiesta

    Its not just the desk operation that's skillful, but each of those inserts were on different cart tapes !!

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,120 ✭✭✭squonk

    I know technology has changed a studio layout now and tech is probably taking over a lot of the mundane work a DJ has to do in their show. I m sure it’s possible now to pre prep segments in advance and that’s fine but the beauty of that clip is that he’s performing live. Nobody is there to see it but the live energy comes across all the same. There just isn’t that much energy going these days. Even the Hit List on 2FM back in the day had an urgency about it. DJs these days seem to be like a dog at a table, dying for WhatsApp’s and posts to have the craic. I know Pizzaman was looking fur callers but his energy was great. Maybe that style of radio is dead but having grown up in the 80s where radio had characters and it was appointment listening if you liked a personality, radio now is very bland.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,522 ✭✭✭ford fiesta

    "Even the Hit List on 2FM back in the day had an urgency about it"

    100% correct ! Tony Fenton with 26 records and some cart tapes with live phone requests coming in on paper. Nothing prepped or pre-recorded. As his jingles went "More hits in one hour than any other radio station"

    It's crazy to think that the above clip of Pizzaman on 252 from 1995 came from a big georgian house in Trim, Meath !!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,204 ✭✭✭funkey_monkey

    Was there a thing with funny dj names?

    Cliff walker

    Dusty Rhodes

    Rick o'shea

    Any more?

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,060 ✭✭✭Declan A Walsh

    Not all the time, but certainly a lot of the time!

    Sandy Beach

    Batman Gomez

    Wayne Scales

    Dickie Bow

    Desperate Dan

    Cousin Brucie

    Robin Banks

    Jo King

    Bam Bam

    Annett Curtain

    Dan the Hitman

    Hollywood Haze

    I suppose you could add Nails Mahoney, although he had already been using that name prior to his time with Atlantic 252!

    Incidentally, there are plenty of threads about Atlantic 252 on Boards. Examples:

    And that's not all of them!

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,522 ✭✭✭ford fiesta

    I'd never heard of Annett Curtain, not sure who this was ?

    There were only a handful of female presenters on 252, even in latter years. A US lady, Mary Ellen O'Brien was on the original schedule and regularly comments on the Atlantic 252 memories Facebook page.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,060 ✭✭✭Declan A Walsh

    Actually, Annett Curtain could have been as a result of a misread of old post somewhere! Forget that one - all the others are right though!

    Other female presenters included Becky Chippindale and Lois Lane (Katherine Orman).

    Mary Ellen O'Brien is an example of presenters from the early days that were linked to '80s offshore pirate Laser. Most of the presenters that came from Laser to Atlantic 252 were American and also included: Charlie Wolf, David Lee Stone and Andrew Turner. The latter was the exception, being an English newsreader.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,522 ✭✭✭ford fiesta

    In early - mid 90s I actually used to think Al Dunne was a fake name (was unaware of his pre 252 days at the time), for the term "all done"

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,572 ✭✭✭RINO87

    My point exactly!! The last "mainstream" jock that ran the desk themselves and knew how to use it to good effect was probably Ronan Collins.

    Also, folks that mentioned the energy being missing from radio these days are bang on. You had to be switched on and wide awake to put on a Performance like the Pizza Man in that clip!! Contrast that with the amount of times I've heard Aifric mention being hung over on 2fm and thanking her producers for getting her thru the show!!

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,060 ✭✭✭Declan A Walsh

    I first heard Al Dunne on Atlantic 252 in its first couple of years. He was one of the presenters of "Classic Rock Sunday", along with Paul Kavanagh and the aforementioned Mary Ellen O'Brien. He also did some "on location" news - essentially entertainment news. I was not aware of him before either - it was only some years later I found out that he had a lot of pirate radio experience! I missed the potential fake name aspect until you mentioned it!

    That brings me on to another angle - Atlantic 252 presenters that you had heard previously on the radio.

    My list would include Nails Mahoney, Mark Byrne, Enda Caldwell, Liam Coburn (Batman Gomez - I don't believe I actually heard him on Atlantic) and Andrew Turner. I knew the latter from presenting Newsbeat on BBC Radio 1!

  • Registered Users Posts: 819 ✭✭✭alzer100

    Atlantic 252 under the direction of PD Paul Kavanagh, the radio station used the "HotHits" format which was used successfully on radio stations in America's mid west states during the 1980s and it was implemented exactly the same way on 252 as on Sunshine 101. A very aggressive and tailored type of CHR. It's new music content was mainly sourced from the top 40 of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and then adding that new music with new music especially selected from the current UK Top 40. Unlike regular CHR in Ireland today, 252 did not use the UK Top 40 as its main source of new music. Any new music selected from the UK top 40 was very likely to cross over successfully to the US. Like Sunshine 101, Atlantic 252 had an "Overall sound" that appealed to young people especially teenagers. A lot of the new music was exclusive and some would of had to be imported. Because new music from the US Billboard chart took weeks and sometimes months to cross over to the UK Top 40 and vice versa you would hear mainstream pop/rock chart hits first on Sunshine101/Atlantic 252 before hearing on 2FM etc. Combined with a very tight presentation, it was CHR taken to the next level. Although we in Ireland had been accustomed to this format through radio stations like Sunshine 101 and Super-Q102, it was new to the UK.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,060 ✭✭✭Declan A Walsh

    No surprise then that Paul Kavanagh had previously been with Sunshine 101. Other Atlantic 252 presenters that had previously been with Sunshine included Dusty Rhodes, Nails Mahoney and Mark Byrne. There is also a Q102/SuperQ connection with Al Dunne and later Liam Coburn, aka Batman Gomez.

  • Registered Users Posts: 819 ✭✭✭alzer100

    Al Dunne was Super-Q102's breakfast show presenter during latter half of 1988.

  • Registered Users Posts: 86,320 ✭✭✭✭JP Liz V1

    Was it that station DJ Simon Bates had sad love story and song?

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,060 ✭✭✭Declan A Walsh

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,522 ✭✭✭ford fiesta

    Steven Cooper (now with I-radio) was also on 252, I think he had a fake name there for a period, maybe "Desperate Dan ??". Here he is in studio finishing Overnights in 1998, with Pizzaman who was presenting Breakfast.

    Steven is probably the only presenter (past or present) on the Irish regional stations (Beat or I-radio) who was on 252.

  • Registered Users Posts: 819 ✭✭✭alzer100

    The Super-Q connection would also include the late Henry Owens.

  • Registered Users Posts: 819 ✭✭✭alzer100

    99.9% of the PD's, MD's, management and staff of Irish radio stations now flatly dismiss the format, linking style, tight format and high rotation of powers a-list and recurrents as "Old hat and living in the past". Then they criticise the audio quality on AM or get petty regarding jock names.

    The fact is Atlantic 252 was successful when there was very little else and provided good competition for BBC, IBA ILR's across the UK, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, not to mention they stole audiences from RTE AND IRTC stations from 1989 to 2002. If it had not been any good with all that going against it, then it would have failed after a year or two. It didnt, it went on to have 4 million maybe more listeners in a highly competitive UK RAJAR market. Figures for which many groups like Global and Bauer would blow their trumpet about if you handed them Atlantic's Q 4. 1994 results in the morning.

    Yes, the station did decline when it went Alternative in 98/99 but was building an audience again back up to the 1.5 to 2m market in '00 and '01 with John O'Hara's Rhythmic CHR "12 in a row" relaunched format. It had plans to be on DAB, Sky and other freeview platforms as well as FM in London but the sale by RTL stopped that progress in its tracks.

    RTL were tired of RTE and losing money - they wanted their ROI to invest in a Polish TV network (which later failed) and so they wanted a quick sale. They pushed it through and TEAMtalk 252 lasted 9 months (8 really) and then RTE sat on their hands and let the 252 mast lay dormant like a dog in the manger for 2 or 3 years. Then they fired it up - realising the cost from before but believing they could sell ads in the UK, THAT failed and then it became a millstone for them. They were trying to shut down their own 252 LW TX for years before it fell silent. Does anyone miss RTE Radio 1 or Team talk? They do miss the fun station - Radio Tara LTD. Atlantic 252.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,120 ✭✭✭squonk

    Would that tight format work today? I remember enjoying it and, while different, Mike Moloney’s Music 1 Ireland rekindled my enthusiasm for personality driven programming. I’m talking about people skilled in radio presentation with a great on-air persona and/or a particular style of music they played that let you into their interests and taught you a few things about music. I’m not talking about Doireann, Ros etc who have a bajillion insta followers and got on air because of that. Maybe I’m going OT but those of us remember G Ryan’s Lambo incident which was completely fictional but made for great radio. Same with A252. Great presenters with funny names and cracking music you weren’t getting here at tge time, certainly listening to Clare FM and 2 FM. I remember going on college tours in the early 90s when I was in 4th year in secondary and A252 was the default station on the bus. I do think they were trying to be a bit different.

    Post edited by squonk on

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,120 ✭✭✭squonk

    On another note. I don’t remember noticing the LW sound being particularly bad in the early 90s. The music made up for it. At the time there were still a lot of cars around with LW and MW and even the average FM radio hadn’t the greatest speakers. Most run of the mill Bluetooth speakers now are much better.

  • Registered Users Posts: 819 ✭✭✭alzer100

    What if we look at it from this angle. The format used on Atlantic 252 was not much different and is accepted as the standard carried on local CHR/HotAC radio stations in the United States. THEY don't see it as "Old hat" so why should we? It's not an Ireland thing, it's a radio snobbery thing. We are definitely poorer because of that attitude IMO.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,414 ✭✭✭Tork

    The only thing it had going for it was that the signal was clear. But seriously, do you think it sounded better than any of the FM stations? I wasn't listening to radio on anything fancy at the time but even so, a good FM signal was miles better than the dull mono of Atlantic 252. It only sounded half decent in the crap car stereos that were around at the time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 819 ✭✭✭alzer100

    Enda Caldwell was station VO for Beat102103 from 2009-13 and hosted shows there in early '00s 2003/2004. He also presented the last show or slot on 252.

  • Registered Users Posts: 444 ✭✭eastie17

    Doesn’t Spin do some of this today, “12 Spin hits in a row”, very little chat or banter and when they do it’s fast and onto the next 12. My teenage kids love it and it’s the only radio station they’ll listen to over Spotify in the car. I don’t get a choice just get told the destination

  • Some nice shots of the studio in trim. Now a boring council office. also mentions a London studio.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,120 ✭✭✭squonk

    No, FM was definitely better quality but really what I’m trying to say is that we weren’t as picky about sound quality at that stage. 90% of my music collection was copied tapes from friends. Some were copies of copies so ropey really. The average little kitchen radio had tinny sounding little speakers even if it got FM. Things are way better these days and LW Definitely sounds poor but tbh I’d still listen in based on a quick listen to that clip. A lot of the draw was the music. And the format. I certainly wasn’t listening to FM on medium wave. You always aimed for the best Reception you could get.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,060 ✭✭✭Declan A Walsh

    It wasn't nine months! 1989-2002. Teamtalk which was allocated that frequency afterwards was 9 months!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,313 ✭✭✭Antenna

    not a hard and fast rule, but LW (& MW) audio quality was generally better on older dial-tuned(analog tuned) radios, than later radios with digital tuning (where it could often be quite muffled sounding)

    In the early years of A252, there were plenty of older sets that sounded better on LW/MW still in use in cars and homes, but of course diminishing as time went on.