Capitol Radio was a ’70s Dublin station broadcasting on 220m MW. Around four weeks of test transmissions commenced in July 1975 with the station’s launch taking place on August 2nd at midday.
First voice on air was Chris Barry (known as C.B.) who announced: “this is Capitol Radio on 220 metres medium wave and this is the Ed McDowell Show”.
The station broadcast for three hours on Sundays and Fridays and quickly built up a decent audience, but it was to disappear quite suddenly during Chris Barry’s Show on December 21st of the same year.
Capitol Radio proved extremely popular with listeners of all ages. However, not with the authorities, because, during the C.B. Show on December 21st December 1975 at 1pm, the station was raided by the Dept of Posts and Telegraphs.
The following account of the raid by Chris Barry is provided courtesy of the FRC Newsletter:
“The Post Office did not get what they were looking for. It took them three hours to find our studio location and another 35 minutes to break our studio door down. All that was left for them then was our studio equipment.
During the raid I was asked by the P.O. ‘Where is it?’
I replied ‘What?’
P.O. ‘The transmitter’.
I said: ‘What transmitter?’
Then the P.O. said: ‘We’re not leaving until we find it.’
I said, ‘Fine, I’m having a cup of coffee!!!’
The P.O. left without the transmitter…
With all equipment returned, Capitol was back on air a week later, on the 28th, to explain the sudden disappearance to their listeners and to say goodbye.
They then went missing for a lengthy period before making a return with a test transmission on May 16th 1976 at just after 12.30pm. Ed MacDowell announced they were testing “….on 220 metres on the medium wave band, broadcasting to Dublin city, this is the return of Capitol Radio, a free, local, independent station.” He went on to state that they were testing their equipment for a planned return the following week,
Unfortunately they didn’t return until they were one year old – in August. Then they were back to see in the New Year.
It was 1978 before they returned to regular broadcasting.
Programme Guide for this station as published by the Free Radio Campaign Newsletter in April 1976:
Midday Ed McDowell
12.40 CB Show
1.20 Alan Russell
2 Kenneth Murphy
Midnight: Ed McDowell
12.30 CB Show
1 Alan Russell
Information source:- FRC Newsletter