By John Walsh
The arrival of Eddie Bohan’s pirate radio exhibition in Limerick in August reminds us how the Treaty City really punched above its weight in the golden age of pirate radio prior to 1989. There is some good material online about the Limerick stations, including a blog about Big L, Liam Byrne’s radio site and of course the DX Archive Limerick pages. I knew Limerick fairly well as a kid because myself and my sister stayed during the summer with our uncle and aunt who lived there. Once I became interested in radio, the visits were a chance to check out the lively local scene. In the summer of 1986, the most listened to station was Raidió Luimní headed by the quirky John ‘the man’ Frawley, but I wasn’t particularly interested as it was aimed at listeners much older than my teenage self. I visited the leading station for younger listeners, City Centre Radio which played chart music and had its own jingles. CCR was located in ostentatious offices on Parnell Street, a reminder of how pirate radio had well and truly left behind its underground phase.
I also called to the tiny attic studio of MBC – the Munster Broadcasting Corporation – on Catherine Street, an altogether more modest set-up despite the ridiculous name. A corporation it wasn’t, and it certainly didn’t broadcast to the whole of Munster, although there were some ads from Tipperary and they claimed to have three FM frequencies covering Limerick, Clare and Tipperary. There was nothing remarkable about the music on MBC – it was the usual diet of the Top 40 – but it was a presenter calling himself Will Rogers who really made an impact. He did a lunchtime show and also voiced most of the ads and jingles in a strange mid-Atlantic accent that gained cult status in our household for years afterwards.
We’ll have an interview with Liam Byrne about pirate radio history in Limerick on the September edition of Wireless on Flirt FM. This recording of MBC is from the end of June 1986.