Irish Examiner View: A legend of pop music industry - The late Ronan O’Rahilly

Irish Examiner View: A legend of pop music industry - The late Ronan O’Rahilly
The waves that O’Rahilly started took longer to reach our shores but finally landed in 1979 with the creation of RTÉ Radio 2, marking a sea change in the broadcast of pop music here.

What Irish individual has had the greatest influence on popular music in Britain and Ireland over the past 50 years?

Bob Geldof? No, but close. Bono? More rock than pop. Dana? Hardly. Daniel O’Donnell? Unlikely.

The answer is Ronan O’Rahilly, a name that is probably not familiar to many of his fellow countrymen and women.

It was he who founded the notorious/famous Radio Caroline that popularised pop music on British radio initially, later influencing the biggest change in direction for RTÉ since it first came on air.

He died this week, aged 79, leaving a unique legacy in the music industry.

Part of the swinging London scene of the 1960s, O’Rahilly circumvented radio licencing laws by acquiring a former Danish passenger ferry, anchoring it in the North Sea off Felixstowe, and broadcasting from there.

The result: Millions of youngsters in Britain and Ireland, and further afield, tuned in. Radio Caroline and the ship on which it was based made waves in more ways than one.

In the UK, the BBC went from broadcasting two miserly hours of pop music a week to the creation of Radio 1 in 1967.

The waves that O’Rahilly started took longer to reach our shores but finally landed in 1979 with the creation of RTÉ Radio 2, marking a sea change in the broadcast of pop music here.

We salute a legend of the pop music industry.

More on this topic

Scene & Heard: New TV shows and old bands Scene & Heard: New TV shows and old bands

Tom Dunne: Ennio Morricone, my father-in-law, and me Tom Dunne: Ennio Morricone, my father-in-law, and me

Joy Division: Forty years on from 'Closer'Joy Division: Forty years on from 'Closer'

Question of Taste: Dónal ClancyQuestion of Taste: Dónal Clancy

More in this Section

Barry Cowen sacking: What really happened behind the scenesBarry Cowen sacking: What really happened behind the scenes

Paul Hosford: In an extraordinary year, Barry Cowen's sacking marks an extraordinary dayPaul Hosford: In an extraordinary year, Barry Cowen's sacking marks an extraordinary day

Jayati Ghosh: Even during a global pandemic there's still no care for our healthcare workersJayati Ghosh: Even during a global pandemic there's still no care for our healthcare workers

Darragh O’Loughlin: Covid-19 crisis provides a chance to improve patient outcomesDarragh O’Loughlin: Covid-19 crisis provides a chance to improve patient outcomes


Lifestyle

The world is in chaos and fascism is on the march. But enough about 2020 – what about America in 1940?The Plot Against America: Sky Atlantic series shows a parallel history that has echoes of today's world

Ubisoft has given us a look of some of their upcoming releasesGame Tech: A glimpse of Far Cry 6 and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Exfoliating cleansers are the first step in upgrading your skincare routine.The Skin Nerd: How to get active when it comes to cleansing

The arrival of the new baby has led to a tricky family dynamic in the Cork-set show, writes Georgia HumphreysBaby's arrival leads to more adventures as the Young Offenders return

More From The Irish Examiner