“Don’t Say Hello…”


I went to look up something just now on Youtube or even Google it and there’s an astonishing lack of clips and information about it on the web.

Nonetheless *dusts off his anorak and puts it on temporarily*

This evening I got a text from a mate telling me to put on 100.3 if I was near a radio as someone was running a temporary pirate broadcast. Not usually of interest to me to be honest, I’ve never been a hardcore anorak as a lot of people in radio of all shapes and colours are, but this was different.

You see 20 years ago yesterday the Dublin Superpirates of the late 1980s finally all went off air in advance of the government finally issuing licences for local commercial radio in Ireland, and some head the ball was putting out all the closedown tapes back to back.

The Sunshine 101 one was of particular interest to me.


Disclosure time. I was 15 in 1988 and I had entered a “DJ for a day” style competition called the Big Kahuna that summer. Not out of any great love of radio you understand (I don’t know if I’d even listened to them before I saw the poster in the window of my local Xtravision) but there was £50,000 worth of prizes up for grabs to the winner, and, in those days, that was enough money to buy a small country. Say, Belgium.

I entered, got through the qualifying, the semi-final and the final and….. I lost. To a pig farmer from Meath. Never mind. It’s how I stumbled into all of this nonsense…

They closed at 6pm on Friday December 30th that year and I’d gotten very attached to them in the interim, as loner kids do. I was standing in the dark, with hundreds of others, outside their portakabin studio in Portmarnock that evening when they shut down and the tape that was rerun yesterday evening was a little piece of history I’d almost forgotten.

A little piece of cultural flotsam that reappeared, reminding me just how old I am, just how long I’ve been standing in front of microphones, just how one short trip to the video shop altered the course of my life.

7 thoughts on ““Don’t Say Hello…”

  1. this post is melancholy for some reason.. but also heart warming.

    but.. you were 15 in 1988? that gave me a good cry 🙂 (i was starting my carpentry career end meeting my husband to be in 1988.

  2. Tony Wall was the pigfarmer from Meath who became the Big Kahuna. In 1987 there was a lot of press coverage about it being the 20th anniverary of the Sgt Pepper album. I remember my dad getting all misty eyed about the thought of it; to me twenty years was like a million years.

    Its twenty years on from the closedowns. Dad I know how you felt!

  3. Dublin’s Great in ’88! I thought that was cool the way they put that on the milk bottles 🙂

    I missed DLR something rotten. There was something soothing about the monotone Sallynoggin accents they had.

  4. great post. Really heart warming.

    I was still in nappies, probably learning to walk in 88.

    and yes, I would of gone for Belgium also.

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