Sunshine 101 was the first Super Pirate radio station in the Republic of Ireland and we
started broadcasting on September 9, 1980 from a studio base on the grounds of The Sands Hotel
in Portmarnock, County Dublin. Sunshine 101 was the longest operating of the major stations.
Sunshine closed down for the very last time on December 30th, 1988.
We enjoyed many wonderful, eventful years and achieved the highest ratings of any Dublin
radio station to this day.
Our head office was in JWT House in Baggot Street in the heart of the city's commercial district.
Sunshine Radio was set up by well known former Radio Caroline men Robbie Robinson, aka Robbie
Dale, Chris Cary aka Spangles Muldoon aka “Harry” and ex-BBC broadcast engineer Jimmy
White with some financial support from one of Radio Caroline's partners Phil Solomon.
*It had been Robbie Dale and Johnnie Walker who took Radio Caroline into illegality aboard the Mi
Amigo on 14th August 1967.
Shortly after making its first test transmissions Sunshine’s main aerial tower was vandalised and
subsequently collapsed. Chris Cary and Phil Solomon backed out of the venture and sold to Robbie
Dale only weeks after the station opened. Sunshine Radio started on 531 kHz (announced as 539
metres) medium wave, adding an FM service a year later on 91.6 FM initially.
Sunshine initially was a full service ILR styled radio station and provided music and family
entertainment, with hourly news updates to Dublin city and county. The Superpirates were raided
only once, in 1983, leaving Nova off the air for less than a week and Sunshine a little longer because
it waited for the District Court to order the return of its equipment confiscated in the raid.
Sunshine Radio put a good signal into South and Western Scotland, as well as NW England on their
531kHz frequency, announced as 539m to rhyme with Sunshine.
There were no VHF transmissions in the early days of Sunshine Radio, although before too long a 91.6
stereo transmitter came on the air. Originally Robbie had wanted to use 88FM, so that anyone
switching between AM and FM should have been close. Nova however jumped on the frequency first,
after Chris Cary left Sunshine and went his own way.
It was not until Radio Nova had been on the air and became very popular, that it became well
known to the public that FM reception was clearer. Sunshine was at this stage still running from 03:00
to sign off at 21:00. This was at least an extension on the initial 18:00 sign off when we first on air.
In 1986, Robbie Dale hired Bill Cunningham from the Omaha, Nebraska in the United States, a
radio ratings and format expert. Sunshine 101went from being almost a community station from
Portmarnock, to Dublin's number 1 station, by a large margin. Phase one began by playing the same
record over and over again, followed by phase 2. Remember "Mr Robinson Coo Coo Ca Choo", the
generous manager, "The Big Kahuna", and "Don't say hello".
Sunshine 101 stayed at the top of the ratings till the closedown in 1988.
We’d like to bring back some of the music, the sounds, the pictures and the great memories of The
Station The Belongs To The People of Dublin – Sunshine 101 FM.