If you thought the golden age of pirates on the west coast went out with Grainne Mhaol. Then you were wrong. Rascal Radio are bucking the trend and are determined to get back on the air after a visit from the man.
rabble: ok, so give us the background on the station and what you are at?
Rascal radio is simply non-stop anti-pop. We don’t run adverts and we don’t get paid for any kind of sponsorship. In our opinion this is what kills most pirates. We didn’t get onto the galway airwaves until july ’09. We lasted only two months until the transmitter was seized from the derelict house where it was installed. We continued to stream on the net but it wasn’t until july 2010 that we managed to return to galway radios.
rabble: why did you opt to set up a pirate radio station? Are you lot not just romanticizing the medium or does traditional radio have a reach that podcasts don’t?
We are doing both. In a way one could say we are romanticizing it but the fm is what creates the whole buzz for all involved and for all who listen to us on fm. If we weren’t on fm we’d just be another internet station. We do get a lot of galway people listening online when they could just turn on their stereo which is a shame but that’s just the way things have gone in the digital age.
rabble: would none of the existing stations not give you a space to do the sort of thing you wanted to do and does city really need an alternative radio station?
Galway has needed an alternative station for a long time. The amount of culture, arts and music that galway has is phenomenal and we feel that we are integrating into it quite nicely. Sure, we could have done radio shows on one or two other stations but with our own station we have complete control. We can broadcast whatever we want, whenever we want! At the moment we have live shows on every evening from 6pm til midnight as well as midday shows at the weekends. If it’s alternative and we like the sound of it, we add it. We also run original music showcase gigs in muddy maher’s in galway city once a month. We record these to be aired on the radio the following week.
rabble: have you any idea how many people are listening into the station? Like do you have much audience interaction going on over social media and how is the city responding to what you are doing?
We don’t really have any idea how many people are listening to be honest. We do get a lot of interaction from listeners through sms, email and facebook both during live shows and during the day when we are on autopilot. We are finding it hard to keep up with the number of people wanting to get involved which is great! Because our whole infrastructure is internet-based this means that djs can do their show from their own house.
rabble: so tell us how comreg ended up catching wind of you and what’s next?
It is quite easy for comreg to find out where a broadcast is coming from. It only takes simple triangulation techniques. The cops are only involved as a “law presence” so they haven’t a clue what’s going on. We weren’t expecting it at all as we aren’t stepping on anybody’s toes in galway, we don’t make any money from the station and we are providing a great service that wasn’t there before. We are very determined to get back on air and will continue to do shows for our online listeners. Next time it won’t be so easy for them to shut us down! There’s no way that we’ll get our equipment back even though most of it was just dj gear that was in no way illegal.