NSR 105

Autumn 1993

In the autumn of 1993, Alan Hunter set up a station from the Radio City restaurant in Rathmines. Called Radio City, it was a rolling-advert radio station that featured advertising from the Rathmines area. Hunter was well known in radio circles and had fallen out with Radio Dublin before setting up Radio City. NSR came to an arrangement that it would relay Radio City on its transmitters during weekday hours in exchange for payment.

NSR was limited by its studio location, limited in transmission power and was still only able to broadcast at weekends – the situation was far from ideal. It was the only one of the larger Dublin pirates that was still operating on weekends only, almost two years after it launched. It was becoming clear to NSR’s owner that it was impossible to compete with other stations with a poor signal and weekend-only programming and he began to examine other options for the future of the station.

One of these was to move the station to a location in Stillorgan village - while this would have involved financial outlay, at least the station would be able to broadcast from 7am to 1am seven days a week and would be in a position to take advertising revenue to pay for these additional costs.

It was becoming clear that the very factor that had worked in NSR’s favour for most of its existence – its format had begun to work against it. There was a conflict at the heart of NSR’s music policy – we didn’t consider ourselves to be a dance station and didn’t want to be considered a dance station. Yet we had specialist dance shows and we played lots of dance music - but we also wanted to play the gem oldies favourites from the 70s and 80s.

Sunset, meanwhile, had no format or formula for the jocks to follow – the station was fed by a free form of jocks and presenters who were working in nightclubs and knew what was working on dance floors around town. While we were snobby about what we played (most of the time!), Sunset had no such snobbiness and very quickly, Sunset had become the hottest thing in town. It had developed a personality of its own and found itself at the forefront of the dance revolution in Dublin. Dance had become more mainstream and Sunset had good radio jocks on during the day and harder dance shows on at night and it seemed like everybody was listening to it. NSR was still popular, but it just didn’t have the edge that Sunset had - and it was clear that decisions had to be made.

Eventually, it was decided that it would be better to make a clean sheet and set up a brand new station. We felt that that the basic original format idea behind NSR – chart and dance music – was still a huge niche in Dublin and that a new station, with some money behind it, would work. It was time to move on.

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