The working conditions in the early days of pirate radio during the 70s and 80s in Limerick were, to be honest, very basic in some stations.
I remember as a presenter in a certain Radio Station that is still broadcasting, but from a better location, being highly embarrassed by having to escort down safely four flights of unlit stairs, a very well-known Irish singer. The manager would not even buy a torch and this poor girl followed us nervously down dark creaky stairs as the manager lit a match every few feet. God knows what she must have thought!
The studio was generally freezing and the end came for me one day, when the presenter on before me, who was just finishing his shift, rose, rubbing his shoulders and complaining about the cold. No wonder; above where we sat there was an open ceiling and the wind whistled down on you from the rafters.
Using the electric fire was frowned upon and the last straw was when the plug was taken off it. This was lunchtime and the thought of coming back that night to do a four-hour show in arctic conditions was too much. So, after doing thankfully only a ten-minute sports spot and avoiding frostbite, I told the manager to do it himself and resigned my position, much to his surprise and shock.
I remember an ardent fan of my show pleading to be allowed to come into the studio to see where all this magic was coming from. I had to put her off, saying that she would not get past security (laugh), as she would have been terribly disillusioned by the state of the place.
In another station there was a gas fire that emitted fumes strong enough to knock you out; that was when there was gas to get it going in the first place!! Sometimes there was no lead for the electric kettle; sometimes there was no kettle! Sugar, tea, coffee and milk were rarities and one night for three hours I survived on water alone. Trying to do an entertaining show when you are deprived of even a cup of tea is not, to put it mildly, easy.
Ah, what you’ll suffer just to be broadcasting!
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