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Behind the Scenes...Spotlight / New Spotlight / Starlight Magazine

Although now just a distant memory, Spotlight magazine (renamed New Spotlight and then Starlight) initially provided a monthly and eventually a weekly update on all things "entertainment" in Ireland and across the world between 1963 and 1979. It advertised itself as "Ireland's No. 1 Young Entertainment Weekly" and was a source of news about your favourite Irish acts.

John Coughlan was the Managing Editor of the magazine and it was published by The Creation Group who also published Woman's Way and started the Sunday World in Ireland. In 1975, the company was liquidated and John bought the rights to the magazine and it was published for another five years as Starlight magazine. 

The magazine started life in April, 1963 and for a the next four years it was
a monthly publication. However, on May 24, 1967 the magazine became a weekly publication.   

A search of the Internet today has turned up no information on the magazine or its history except for quotes from articles such as we have here on our site. One of the most interesting columns in the latter years of the publication for bands was "Boyd's Eye View," a weekly travelogue compiled by Julie Boyd. It was not uncommon to find Julie thumbing a lift from one dance to another or bump into her almost anywhere in the country as she traveled around writing about the band scene in Ireland.

In the early 70's, Spotlight reported weekly sales of over 47,000. In a June 1973 advert, the figures it reported were: July-Dec, 1970: 38,400 / July-Dec, 1971: 42,082 / July-Dec, 1972: 44,496. and June, 1973: 47,000. 

For the most part and in the early years, Spotlight was mainly about the Irish showband scene, but it also embraced rock, folk, ballads and cabaret as these entertainment genres flourished in Ireland in the late 60's and 70's. In 1973, the magazine shifted away from it's Irish roots and began featuring International pop acts more and more. Whether this was a conscious decision for the magazine to "move with the times," or a response to the wishes of its readers, is unknown, but one thing is for certain, it was the beginning of the end for Spotlight.

Within two years, publication of Spotlight was halted and Managing Editor John Coughlan bought out the magazine from its owners and kept the magazine going under the Starlight banner. It limped along for another five years, but like the ballrooms on which it had depended for its life blood in the showband years, the magazine eventually folded and disappeared.

Regular contributors to the magazine included Pat Egan (beat and then rock), Larry Gogan (single reviews), Shay Healy (folk and ballad scene), Donall Corvin (interviews), and Julie Boyd (Boyd's Eye View). Regular photo contributors to the magazine included Roy Esmonde, Liam Quigley and Michael O'Reilly. 

We invite you to step back in time and check out the covers of the magazine stretching back to its first issue in 1963. We are working on a major project concerning Spotlight which we hope to roll out in the coming months. Because of this, we invite you to check back often as these pages will be updated regularly as we work through the project.    

More to come.......

Covers By Year:
Pre 1966 / 1966 / 1967 / 1968 / 1969 / 1970 / 1971 / 1972 / 1973 / 1974 / 1975 / 1976 and beyond

    


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In Loving Memory of Grant Gallagher: Sept. 21, 1990 - Nov. 18, 2006