While much has been written of Ireland’s ‘Super Pirate’ radio stations like Radio Nova and Sunshine Radio, and some stations like Phantom have made the great leap to respectability, there is a whole hidden history to Irish pirate radio that has gone largely unexplored. The earliest pirate radio stations in Ireland were schoolboy efforts which the state wished to suppress quickly, and which in some ways were ahead of official broadcasting.
For its February ‘Reality Bites’ series RTE showed a documentary on Ireland’s Rappers that hurled a version of Irish rap into the laps of the licence holders countrywide. Viewing figures for it were good but not as good as a rival station repeat show on gangland Ireland. RTE also focused on the so-called working class side of things. The resulting look at “a highly creative and dedicated subculture’’ was not welcomed outright either inside or outside the portrayed community. Paul Tarpey digs deep.
In a world where Fade St and The Hills masquerade as reality TV, we need to deliver a sharp kick up the hole to the lifestyle choices and cultural values purporting to represent common lived experiences on RTE.