It’s always bizarre to reminisce about life in the 20th Century. It is so common for us all to now take to the internet in search of any information that is required. Access is at your finger tips should you wish to find out about music, stamps, food, news, sport. Heard there is an uprising in Egypt? Take to twitter and see what the participants are saying.

As with anything that is current it is hard to imagine a time that was different. Dublin in 1992 sure was different than 2012 (and a lot different to 1972 life in the capitl City). Radio was the starting point for many people to be turned on to new music, radio and hanging around record shops. For the punks it was more a case of hanging out in Freebird or Comet Records to hear the sounds doing the rounds. There was little on the airwaves to satisfy our punk craving. Some stations were dipping their toe in, capital radio had a twentieth century promised land show which I had helped out on. I had applied to some stations looking to put a show on that championed local bands and those on independent labels. Most of my responses were thanks but no thanks.

And then came Radioactive 101fm. On July 12 1992 it broadcast its first show from a flat in Dublins North Inner City (now officially known as an apartment). It quickly became a mouthpiece for those involved in alternative culture across the city. It had an ethos of no advertising and was collectively run. DJ’s paid subs weekly which paid for the station and no-one got paid. I had the privilege of having a show on air for a good while. As I was involved with Hope promotions putting on gigs at the time the show was originally titled “The Hope Show”. I had the Saturday evening slot from 6 to 8 so would get the football results off the tv and read them out over the airwaves and chat about upcoming gigs as well as playing tracks from punk rockers like Chumbawamba, The Ex, Fugazi, NoMeansNo and plent of irish bands too. I would get bands in and talk football and music and politics. It was a real labour of love. We were trained in the art of evading raids and where the transmitter needed to be thrown in the event of being visited by the powers that decide who broadcast what. It was exciting and refreshing and it felt like we were part of something positive. Life eventually got in the way for the hosts but it ran for 4 happy years all on 101fm on the radio dial (of those who lived close enough to be able to receive it).

But now, 20 years later, we were treated to a reunion night which we dj’d at. Of course some of us where there with the same vinyl that we had played 2 decades previously but the discussion on the night featured the advent of internet radio. Where we used to talk about becoming the media we now can share our thoughts and music on line AND not have to worry about a transmitter needing to fly into the air and vanish. So all the grey haired dj’s are getting lessons in how to put together a radio show on a computer. Most of us need to become familiar with the art of mp3 but we still have the enthusiasm we exhalted in the early 90’s (and we can always ask out kids for tips now!!!!)

Radioactive 101fm led the way for many in Dublin and put together an eclectic bunch of people and hopefully these people can come together once more as we have plenty still to say abot this city and the way we live our lives.


niall hope

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