This is a full account of JRRI and my interest in radio, and pirate radio and then as one of the operators of JRRI. My name is Joe Vincent – DJ, founder, operator and QSL manager at JRRI.
We are a free radio station, we are classed as pirates of the airwaves, because we do not have a licence to broadcast on short wave. We fly the Jolly Roger flag, hence Jolly Roger Radio Ireland. In recent years we use call letters only and we are known as JRRI or simply JRR International.
I always had a great love for listening to radio stations back in the 60’s. Especially distant ones. Then myself and my late brother discovered pirate radio stations such as Radio North Sea International, Radio Caroline etc. and one night I was listening to a small transistor radio in my bed. I was tuned into Trans World Radio and I always found their programmes interesting, and they were quite close to Radio Luxembourg on 208 meters MW. One night TWR closed down and on came a new station, this was Radio Geronimo, they played great music, I remember they played Desolation Row from Bob Dylan’s album, this was over 12 minutes long, and this was how I found Bob Dylan. I now have over 50 albums of Dylan. Anyway at Radio Geronimo they cursed and swore just to prove that they were liberated. This was much more exciting than listening to TWR at night time. Alternative Radio was very attractive to me from this time onwards.
Then many pirate stations started to operate in Ireland and even locally, which was great stuff. My favourite station being ABC Radio on 1026 AM and they were later to be heard on FM as well. There were some real exciting and English DJs on ABC such as Richard Staines, Clive Derek, Dave Windsor, Andy Ellis, Dave Hunt, John Lewis and they all had a history of pirate radio, having worked on The Voice Of Peace, Radio Caroline and well known short wave pirates as well, including Radio Zenith and Superclan Radio.
It was then I was introduced to my favourite DJ Richard Staines and we got talking about short wave radio and home made transmitters. I then discovered that ABC Radio were now on SW every Sunday. After some time he gave me a small SW transmitter and I relayed ABC Radio from my home. This was great for some time, but with the transmitter so close to my house, I could not listen out for other SW pirates at the weekend. I then recorded my own show and my ID was Riverside Radio International. About a week or so later I had a bundle of letters at Post Box 39, Waterford, Ireland. Riverside Radio International was now a new pirate station and was logged every week in the Anoraks UK newsletter. This station lasted for a few years. It was 1988 that JRRI was formed and it has been on the airwaves on a weekly basis since then.
Down the years JRRI and all the DJs are most thankful to Roger Davis and Jayne at Britain Radio International and Edwin Borg at Laser Hot Hits, who have supplied us with transmitting, audio and technical help, they are only a phone call away if anything goes wrong. Only for them there would not be a JRRI. There is quite an array of equipment in the studio, including several CD players, Mini Disc recorders, double take decks and a mixer, record decks, as well as a radio scanner. We also have a stand-by transmitter in case of technical problems.
We do have a team of dedicated C&W DJs namely –
- Ted Clark [ECMA award of 1999], Holland,
- Eddie Russell, Texas, USA,
- Bjarne Christensen, Denmark, and
- Big Bill Harris, Nebo, North Carolina, USA
- And the late Chuck Wilson, Ireland who passed away in 2006.
– all of whom have won various awards for supporting the indie artists, and not forgetting myself. I record or do live shows every week on JRRI and sometimes those go out on Riverside FM as well. There have been many guest DJs as well down the years, including Roger Davis, Richard Staines, Richard Grahame, Johnny B., David Dew, Nicholas Sharp, Ron D. Heney etc. We specialise in C&W, folk and non main-stream music. Some programmes also feature new world and ambient music. We are grateful to all those record companies that send us new material every week. We hope we can keep their songs and music on air for as long as we possibly can, and we hope that you the listener will support them as well.
JRRI was born in November, 1988. During this time all the radio stations that operated in Ireland on medium wave, FM and short wave were closing down voluntary in the hope of obtaining a licence to broadcast. Over 100 stations closed down and only about 20 licences were granted.
JRRI has been heard in seven continents direct from Ireland. Thanks also to our friends in Europe, North and South America, as well as the Pacific region for various relays on short wave and FM. We will facilitate relays of other free radio stations at any time. We have a selection of colourful QSL cards and you have a chance of getting a different one for various reception reports.