- Sugar fm
Sugar FM was an unlicensed radio station broadcasting chart, dance and R&B music to Dublin. It launched in October 2003 and ceased broadcasting in July 2004.
Background to Sugar FM
Sugar FM was effectively a re-incarnation of an earlier Dublin pirate station, Freedom 92FM. It played a similar style of music and was staffed by an almost identical set of DJ's.
Freedom launched in 1995 and survived on air for eight years, broadcasting a highly popular mix of chart, dance and R&B to the capital's youth. However, the popularity of the station was to be its downfall. Faced by pressure from the city's licenced stations, the radio regulator ComReg swooped in May 2003 forcing the station off the air. Freedom's listeners discovered that there were few alternatives to meet their taste, and a gap was left in the airwaves that many hoped would be re-filled.
The early days
Sugar FM commenced test broadcasts on 92.0MHz FM in mid-October 2003. The test broadcast consisted of a 13-hour mono loop of non-stop music, primarily chart, dance, R&B and trance.
It was to be three full months before the first live voice was heard. In mid-January 2004 at 10am, Al Murray appeared live on air unexpectedly to present his first "Urban Grooves" show. From that point onwards, live broadcasts were sporadic until the full launch took place at 9.20pm on March 1 2004.
The official launch
The official launch night of Sugar FM involved an unveiling of the voices that would go on to be heard on a daily basis. Many of them were familiar from Freedom (including Al Murray, Jason Dee, Elaine Kane, Louise Scott and Mike O'Brien). Others, like Jason McKay and Ivano Cafolla, were well-known in the Dublin club scene. The prospects for the station seemed bright.
However the problems weren't over yet. Within a few weeks the station discovered that a temporary licence had been granted for Phantom FM to broadcast on 92.1MHz. This necessitated a move to avoid interference.
The station initially set up home on 93.8, but were forced to move again when they discovered that another pirate, Ministry, had been using the frequency for low power broadcasts. They next tried 98.4MHz, but a nearby licenced station on 98.1MHz, 98FM, complained within a few hours. A home was finally found on 91.0, where the station remained for the rest of its life on air.
Potential never achieved
Sugar FM only survived four months as a fully operational station. During this time, they broadcast 24-hours a day - live from 10am to either 10pm or 1pm, with automated music outside these hours.
The station built up a reasonable audience during this time. However they never fully recovered after moving from their original frequency of 92FM. The new frequency was not very clear, and the station could not be heard beyond a few miles of the city centre.
Sugar ceased broadcast at the end of July 2004, when the government regulator raided a number of stations across the capital. Despite hopes of a return, they have not re-surfaced, although some of their DJ's have made appearances on other unlicensed stations.
The Sugar FM website at www.sugar.fm was acquired and will broadcast news on the sugar and ethanol market.
ugar FM liners
"Dublin's Sweetest Music Mix"
"While the other stations tell you what you like - we ask you what you like!"
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