Hans Knot's International Radio Report - February 2007 (1)
Hi and welcome to this
years second edition of the Knot International Radio Report. Of course
thanks for all the response and the memories which you want to share.
Last report was only out half an hour and the first to respond (he knows
also to play the game) was Luc from Belgium, who wrote: Dear Hans,
Thanks for your report. To be sure the
Emperor is mentioned at
least once in next month's Report, here is a link to a short video of ER
Kind regards from Belgium, Luc Masuy.’
Dave Windsor, years known from BFBS and also from Caroline, is an avid fan of the music from behind the Dykes. Although a born Britain guy he succeeded to speak and write the Dutch language quite well, mostly due to listening to his favourite stations like Radio Mi Amigo in the seventies. He succeeded in building up a hugh collection of Dutch language records. But he’s still seeking for rarities, mostly from Belgian Record Companies. And as we know they will be hard to find, we hope there’s some reader who has one of the forthcoming titles and can sent it to Dave Windsor:
De Hamma – I do it all over again
Sandy Jones – Goodbye good times
Mac Kissoon – Surprise surprise
Helga – Loop nooit voorbij dat huisje
PS I Love you – Mac Duffs Dimension
Benny Scott – Sweet Kentucky girl
De Elegasten - Zoveel
So anyone who can help him please take contact with Dave Windsor at: Dave.Windsor@bfbs.com
Dave Windsor (Photo Leen Vingerling)
Steve Pregnall sent a link to an internet site. A bit weird, sponsored by the British Council, but really a link into pirate radio: http://www.greenginger.net/stageshows.html
A response on a Rosko contributions follows: ‘Hi and Hello Hans - I've just read this months excellent report, and was most surprised to see The Emperor Rosko sending me a greeting through its pages. The ‘Soul King of Yorkshire’ thing came about after a gig that we performed together in my home town of Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire - sometime around 1994. At the time I was holding a job as commercial production sound engineer for a local radio station. This station had an AM version which broadcast a Gold format, and part of my job was to edit Rosko's "California Connection" show, which arrived every week on a Digital Audio Tape (DAT). Unfortunately, most weeks, this tape was over length, so I had to make decisions as to where to edit out some of the music to bring it into time for broadcast. I don't think Rosko ever knew about this, so I'd better offer my apologies right now! I was offered a disco gig at a local Hotel, and as Rosko was in the UK at that time, his agent and I organised a "Golden Oldies" night, where we expected to get around 400 music lovers to come along and see the main man!
Rosko and Chris Dannatt (Archive Chris Dannatt)
Although we advertised it for weeks on the Gold station, and in the local press, only around 150 people came on the night. What a disaster! We were both very disappointed, but as they say "The Show Must Go On" - so we did it anyway.....and we still laugh about it all these years later - He signed my Keith Skues book - "Pop Went the Pirates" with some comment about that night too - something like "I hope we are still talking....."....But we still are talking, and it's nice that we are both still "in the business". Enclosed is a picture of Rosko and myself on stage that night. Best Wishes - Chris Dannatt’.
Thanks a lot Chris and once again I can say it’s a ‘small radio world’.
Next we go to Sweden and Ronny Forslund: Hello Hans, My best wishes to you for the New Year and many thanks for your latest report. Great reading, as usual. According to the publisher of Paul Harris' book 'When Pirates Ruled The Waves' the book is now out and further info can be found on their website http://www.kennedyandboyd.co.uk/ I went to the presentation of the Radio Nord film at the Technical Museum of Stockholm on Dec. 13th and amongst the guests were some former members of the station staff: Sewe Ungermark and Björn-Fredrik Höijer from the news section, studio manager Pelle Lönndahl, DJ Sten Hedman and technician Kenneth Agehed, who was on the ship on the last day of broadcasting. As for the ship, a man in Norrköping, Sweden has plans for building a Radio Nord museum and he claims having bought the Mi Amigo ship with plans to re-float it in order to house the museum. Deadline for this project is the 50th anniversary of the start of Radio Nord. The film was very interesting although in its present form it is more like a Power Point presentation, with lots of text information in the film. However, that will be changed for the final film. Further information about the project can be found on http://www.radionord-story.com All the best from Sweden and keep up the good work, Ronny Forslund.’
Thanks a lot for all the information Ronny, which I believe was already a reader of the Pirate Radio News in the early seventies, just after I started writing about the subject radio. Yes 37 years ago!
We know here from Radio Monique and other radiostations and this months it has been 26 years ago she started her carreer. Still she’s doing fine. Elly van Amstel has her own weblog, although in Dutch I like to mention it too: http://www.ellyvanamstel.web-log.nl/
Some questions came in from Graham Jones:’ Hi Hans. Thank you for the Radio Report which I will read in detail later. This is just to wish you a happy and prosperous 2007 and may the radio spirit continue. Have you listened much to Big L? .... there is something of the old spirit but not too much unfortunately! I was interested to see the picture of Veronica vessel Norderney on tow - was she broken up or what? Also are there are pirate stations around the Netherlands I should be listening too? Yours Graham (Jones).’
Another Norderney photo without mast taken in 1992 at the Oosterhamrikkade Groningen (Photo: Hans Knot)
Well Graham Big L tries to bring back the memories from which we are longing for in so many years but also tries to attract the normal radio listener. This with sounds you normally don’t hear on computerised stations. Of course it’s impossible to be a 100% copy of the 60’s Big L. I don’t think it ever was the aim to be that.
On the question about the Veronica vessel I can only tell you that the photo was taken 7 years ago when it was on tow. It’s always possible to lower the masts and so it was done before going on tow. The subject on the Dutch pirates is to be answered by: Try to listen on your location to AM, as reception on your place should be totally different from my reception. Next to that I only listen to Dutch Radio 2 and Radio 5 by radio. For the rest I’ve a massive radio archive as well I do a lot of internet listening. Maybe a question to be answered by Henk de Boer or Naud Nellissen?
Well Henk de Boer came back to me within 5 minutes after asking him. He advised to tune in into the medium wave between 1670 and 1620 kHz and on the shortwave between 6200 and 6540 kHz and certainly you will catch up some Dutch Pirates during the weekends.
An e mail from Ian Smith: ‘Dear Hans, thank you for January Radio Report. I well remember the Samantha case and I remembered the text of the report word for word, it raced ahead in my memory faster than I could read it off your pages. The photo of Ellen was nice. Also the photo of Buster Pearson. I wrote to him years ago and I still have his hand written replies. I don’t remember ever seeing his picture before. Live Long Hans, You do such a good job. Love, Light and Peace. Ian.’
Thanks Ian. Yes, Buster was a very warm person who kept in contact with a lot of radio people as well as radio fans. This all from his home in South Benfleet. I had a lot of contact with him too, although I never met him personally. I shared a lot of info for his magazine from the Dutch scene. After he died, yes already 21 years ago, I visited South Benfleet a lot of times to meet with Don and Jean, who cared a lot for Buster. Together with those too we succeeded to write for Monitor Magazine for some more years. Don and Jean are now living in Wales and are readers of the International Knot Report too!
I think it’s around 14 months ago we talked about Kitty Black and her very early work in Offshore Radio. Colin Nichol brought us the sad news she died on December 26th: ‘Kitty was a key player - really one of the earliest instigators of pirate radio. How important she was, is illustrated by the fact that Ronan O'Rahilly probably didn't know her - of if he did, only slightly. Kitty was the queen of British pirate radio. Colin Nichol.’
Colin also sent us the next, Originally written by Kitty Black for the publication ‘The Author’ and published in Autumn 2005. This version adapted by Miss Black for Colin Nicol.
‘A Pair of Golf Stockings or Kitty the Radio Pirate.’ ‘On a warm Sunday night in June about forty years ago, a tug slipped her moorings in the London docks and headed down stream. There was a motley collection on board - apart from the crew, twenty riggers, three Trinity House pilots, a lone business man named Oliver Smedley, and one female who described herself as the cook - but as Big Alf the foreman of the riggers said later, "We soon found out she was no cook". The pilots and the riggers were temporarily unemployed, as London Docks were on strike, so as the tug continued on her way, she passed literally hundreds of riding lights from the ships anchored in the fairway waiting for the strike to be resolved, creating an effect not very different from the naval review at Spithead during George V's Silver Jubilee when the BBC announcer got carried away and declared "The Fleet's lit up".
The late Kitty Black
The object of the exercise was a strange destination. Following on the creation of pirate radio ships, various groups had installed themselves on the derelict forts that had protected the Thames Estuary during WWII. Some genius had come up with the idea that as territorial waters only extended three miles offshore, some of these forts could technically be considered as being in international waters. The pirate radio ships had taken advantage of this same point to launch their activities, and according to maritime law were not liable to pay royalties on any music performed. One of these forts had been taken over by Reginald Calvert, a trumpet player, who called his station Radio City, while another, Radio London, was directed by a businessman of the name of Albeury. Calvert had accepted but never paid for radio equipment to the value of ^10,000 from another organization known as Radio Atlanta and was now planning to sell his interest in Radio City to Radio London. The curiously assembled group of passengers on the tug represented the interests of Radio Atlanta and were intending to take over Radio City in a surprise raid and so prevent the sale. This is perhaps the moment to explain that I was the female involved. I had supported Radio Atlanta from its beginnings, and had watched with dismay as Radio Caroline and its Irish-born director Ronan O'Rahilly, had gradually ousted our interests until they were dominated by Radio Caroline.
This last piece of chicanery on Calvert's part was the final straw, and we felt we had to do something to retrieve at least some of our money before it was too late. The Trinity House pilots had passed the old forts in the course of their normal duties and had noted that there was no security on any of them. Access was via perpendicular steel ladders which led straight up from the water and should have been closed by a hatchway, giving access to the gantries where the radio equipment was installed, but these hatches were never closed and it would be a simple matter for our storming party to climb on board and put the radio equipment out of action.
Like the hero of the play Crime Passionnel by Jean-Paul Sartre, one of his plays which I had translated, I had never taken part in any direct action, so it was an easy matter for the Trinity House pilots and my friend Oliver to persuade me to come on the trip. (Up till then, all I had contributed to the action was to guarantee the bank overdraft.) I was on holiday in Norfolk at the time and tools the train down to Liverpool Street to join Oliver and the rest of our supporters. Knowing that we had at least 8 hours of travel ahead of us, I did as I always used to do during dress rehearsals having equipped myself with wool and knitting needles, as soon as we were under way I cast on the stitches for the first of a pair of golf stockings I was making for a friend. I have always found this exercise fascinates the onlookers as the pattern slowly emerges and heels and toes take shape, and the clicking needles seem to settle tempers when in the small hours irritation threatens to interrupt the proceedings. After a suitable interval, we arrived at Radio City and the boarding party climbed up the ladder and took over the fort. DJ's and technicians were all asleep when we arrived but as they came tumbling out of their beds blinking and yawning they were quickly persuaded to hand over the crystal which operated the radio station. The atmosphere was entirely friendly, punctuated by cups of tea and although some papers said the raiders were armed, I know that nothing more dangerous than an electric torch had been carried by our team. Eventually the pilots, and Oliver and I embarked on the tug leaving the riggers to maintain control of the station. We were delighted with ourselves during the return trip and before we landed in an early dawn I had finished my golf stocking.
Next morning, we arranged a meeting with Reg Calvert in which we explained the situation and I have never seen a man look so angry. He had been planning to go away on holiday with his wife, and frustration must have added to his initial rage. He embarked on a series of threats saying he had a friend who was the best shot in England who would help him, and he himself produced an object like a fountain pen, which he claimed was a gas gun. He boasted he had sufficient technical knowledge to set up a lethal cloud, which could overwhelm the riggers on Radio City - though made no mention of what effect this gas might have on his own personnel. Eventually he stormed out of the meeting without making any concessions. I went back to Norfolk with a friend who was the widow of a well-known politician/crime writer, and arranged to ring the office the following morning to find out what progress had been made. But when I made the scheduled phone call, Oliver's manager answered and said "Calvert's dead. Oliver is in prison accused of murder, and the police are looking for you."
Anyone living in Norfolk now complains about the lack of police presence, but it was no different 40 years ago. There was no police station in my village. What had been the nearest station two villages away had recently been closed, and the next establishment was 10 miles in the other direction. But when I presented myself there they had no knowledge of any raid and directed me to Bishop's Stortford as being the nearest station to the scene of the crime. After some difficulty, I arrived at my destination and told my story to the sergeant on duty. In true constabulary manner, he listened carefully and then asked me to repeat the story while he took it down in longhand - at which point I demanded a typewriter, paper and carbons, and typed the whole thing out in triplicate with my usual speed and skill.
Duncan Johnson, Oliver Smedley and unknown Photo: Martin Stevens
Fast forward to the scene in the magistrate's court where Oliver was to make his first appearance. To my amazement, I had been cited as a witness for the prosecution and although I tried hard to explain I was Oliver's partner, so was entirely on his side, this carried no weight. I had to remain outside the courtroom while the initial proceedings were carried out. Another friend had been able to attend the trial from the beginning and told me the details later. Apparently Oliver had gone home in his usual way after office hours to his cottage in Wendon's Ambo, which he shared with an attractive young woman, Gail Thorburn, who acted as his secretary and had at one time looked after his children. At about 8 o'clock, he heard car noises outside the house, and looking out saw Calvert and a strange man whom he correctly identified as "the best shot in England". Leaving Gail behind, Oliver slipped next door to ask the help of his neighbour, who was in bed with flu, but well enough to promise to ring the police as Oliver was sure Calvert's arrival spelled trouble. Once back in his own cottage, Oliver picked up a shotgun and went back to the living room where he saw Calvert apparently about to clobber Gail with an object he was holding above his head. Coming down the stairs was Calvert's friend who shouted when he saw Oliver "There's the b... now". Calvert swung round and threw what he was holding at Oliver, hitting him on the arm. The gun jerked up, Oliver fired, catching Calvert full in the stomach. Calvert spun round and fell to the ground. After making him as comfortable as they could, Oliver tried to telephone for an ambulance, but the phone had been ripped from the wall and it took a few minutes to realize that the extension upstairs was still working. The ambulance arrived ahead of the police but too late to save Calvert. When the Bill arrived, they decided the scene represented a real life Crime Passionnel, and the two men had been fighting over the girl. Nothing Oliver said would convince them otherwise, and they arrested him for murder. His sporting friends said Oliver couldn't possibly have meant to shoot Calvert as if he had aimed he would have missed.
Giving evidence in court was not nearly as frightening as I had expected, as I was so enraged by the stupidity of the police - only equaled by the stupidity of Calvert's death - that I found myself offering evidence that had not been requested, and having to wait for council for the defense to tell my full story. Calvert's marksman friend, quite obviously deeply nervous of his own position in the affair, did his best to explain what he was doing in Oliver's house, and only succeeded in making the whole case for the prosecution even more absurd. A magistrate's court has no authority to grant bail to a man accused of murder who must stand trial by jury in an assize court, but as the police had obviously been proved wrong, this no longer applied to Oliver who was released, and we all had to wait for three months until his case could be heard. This proved a mere formality, and the jury didn't even retire to consider their verdict, but found him not guilty, and all lined up to shake his hand as they filed past the dock.
There were one or two odd sequels to the story. One of the French evening papers had unaccountably managed to get hold of a studio picture of me, which appeared on the back page, where it was seen by a friend of mine who was on holiday in Cannes. It was also seen by Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, who promptly contacted their lawyer and prohibited the use of any of my translations of his plays. Ted, later Lord, Willis cancelled my appointment as secretary of one of the translators' committees, and the government brought in litigation as an effective stop to all the pirate radio activities. None of us made the expected millions we thought we would, but at least we opened the airwaves to the performance of non stop pop music by the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Elvis Presley, which the British audience demanded as their right. The careers of DJ's such as Tony Blackburn, John Peel, Keith Skues, Simon Dee and Colin Nicol prospered. The second golf stocking was duly completed in more normal circumstances, and the pair presented to its grateful new owner.
Kitty Black, who died at the age of 92 was also a distinguished play agent and translator of continental plays who eventually became a leading play agent.‘
Kitty Black in 1939 – From Úpper Circle by Kitty Black Methuem Press.
Very special to have this in the report as a memory from and to Kitty Black, of course with many thanks to Colin Nichol in Australia.
Next issue will bring more Atlanta memories, then from Daytona Beach in the USA.
In last issue Larry Tremaine mentioned and greeted a lot of former colleagues from early (1970) RNI days. It’s Andy Cadier reflects on Larry’s contribution: ‘Hi Hans, thanks for the latest International Radio Report. Larry Tremaine was clearly unaware of Alan West's situation. Also, by all accounts, Steve Merike has not fallen off the face of the earth, but presents a Sunday morning show on Saga Radio 106.6FM. How close that is to him actually blasting off into the outer stratosphere I have no idea. This is from the Saga Radio website -
Steve Merike: Began radio career in the RAF, then Radio Caroline and the Breakfast Show on Radio 1. Has a great interest in news and current affairs. Actually he’s a news junkie. During the week is a lecturer at New College Nottingham teaching media and multimedia. Lived in the East Midlands since 1977 in various locations but now considers Loughborough as his ‘home town’.
Loves include travelling, amateur radio, a good curry, and warm weather. Favourite song: Pretty Ballerina by Left Bank. Favourite film: The American President with Michael Douglas and Annette Bening. Favourite hobby: Flying Thing he’d most like to learn: How to use the Sky channel changer! Regards Andy Cadier.’
Thanks Andy for the additional info about Steve, which brought to me another memory. Strange enough in the Saga info no mentioning on Steve Merike and his working for RNI. I think it was so he was dismissed at one stage with the BBC and the station had a brand new package of wonderful PAMS jingles, from which Steve had a dub. We’re talking about 1971 and he was back on air soon the same period, this time on 220 metres medium wave and RNI. And the station, like a real pirate, soon had a brand new customized jingle package too! By the way, some years ago I asked Steve to come to the RNI reunion in Amsterdam but he very honestly told me that nowadays work is more important than the past. Steve is a regular reader for the International Knot Radio Report too!
Ingo Paternoster from Southern Germany sent a link for those who don’t admire today’s music: ‘There is a great Website at http://www.tropicalglen.com/ that plays the top 20-30 songs from each year. Even if you don't play them, it's fun to scroll through the lists to remember who sang or played what in any particular year. Bye, Ingo’.
Still the reuniting of people, after November’s reunion of the Voice of Peace goes on. On January 15th the next e mail came in: ‘My name is Frans de Wolff and I worked on the Voice of Peace as a DJ and many other things in 1975. Joining the ship in Marseille we motored to the Suez Canal in the attempt to be of the first ships to sail through after it had been reopened which you would know to well. The reason for this email is the other day whilst surfing the internet I came across your recent Radio Day function and saw a picture of Avi Bar, a person I befriended while in Israel and he came and stayed with me at my Grandmothers home in Hilversum sometime in 1976. I lost contact with him and would like to catch up to talk about old times so I am hoping that you have a contact email or if you could pass on my details to him it would be very much appreciated. Many Thanks and Kind Regards Frans. PS I have quite a few photos somewhere of the people and of the VOP at the time if you would like copies. I can tell you some interesting stories as well. Frans de Wolff Goodwood Australia.’
Frans was mentioned a few times in the book, which came out early November, but till recently we didn’t succeed in tracing him. Anyway, I wrote him back and told him how to contact Avi and believe me or not, within 24 hours an amazing other mail came in from him: ‘Hans, thank you for passing on my email to Avi. We have had a long chat by phone about life as it was some 30 odd years ago. I will scan the photos I have and get them to you and please feel free to pass my email on to anyone that may wish to contact me. How is Bill Danse, hope is not as grumpy as he used to be we all mellow as we get older hope he has. LOL!’
From Scandinavia the
next question came in from Sven Martinssen: ‘I am looking for the
whereabouts of the Bon
Jour/Magda Maria/Mi Amigo since the R Nord close down in 1962.’
Well Svenn I think this will be the longest answer ever given on a question in the Knot International Radio Report as I’ve written a special chapter on this subject in one of my books:
‘Radio Nord was a part of radio history in Sweden when it beamed on 495 metres from international waters a commercial radio program 24 hours a day from 21st of February 1961 till June 30th 1962. Always in publications it’s mentioned that the radio ship Bon Jour, which was used by the Radio Nord organisation, left the Baltic Sea and was next heading out for the North Sea. Also mentioned is the the ship was arriving in El Ferror in Spain, August 2nd 1962. But was there more to be told about the whereabouts of the radio ship later that year? The answer is here and can be found in my own publication from 1993 which was called: ‘History on Offshore Radio 1907-1973. About Pioneers, Failures and Thumb suckers’ published by the Foundation for Media Communication in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Early October 1962 Dutch newspapers mentioned there was another radioship anchored not far away from the Borkum Riff, the then radioship for Radio Veronica. It was painted with a new colour in soft green and seemed to be the former Radio Nord vessel Bon Jour, which stopped her programming off the Swedish coast, due to a law brought in against 'offshore radio'. Research done at the time brought also the news that a new registration was made at Lloyds offices in London under the name 'Magda Maria'. One journalist was with a small ship near the Magda Maria and wrote that there were nine persons on the ship, a Swedish radio technician and 8 people from Poland. The captain told the newspaperman the ship was only temporary anchored off the Dutch coast and would steam up for New York soon. In no way, this Polish captain, wanted to give information about the identity of those on the radio ship.
Borkum Riff and MV Bon Jour near to each other off the Dutch coast 1962. (Veronica Archive)
Rumours were floating as another newspaper wrote that not only a party of Belgian businesspeople were interested but also from Holland. The transmitters on the former Radio Nord ship were not used off the Dutch coast and the Dutch authority PTT announced that as long as not transmitter was on not an official visit would be taken to the ship.
A few days later the newspapers mentioned that the vessel would probably be used as a television ship for the Veronica organisation. Veronica director Verwey however mentioned there was not any contact with the Swedish owners and also no plans for television transmissions from the North Sea. 'If we would like to start commercial television we would need a far much bigger ship than the Bon Jour.
Reason he wanted to be ‘in silence’ was that he worked under a British certificate and he disliked the idea to be in problems while working on a former Offshore Radio Ship, from which the future was for him and many more still a miracle. But the journalist was a professional one and went on with a lot of questions. Captain X told him that at least one person from Holland showed interested in the ship and had been aboard the Magda Maria with the aim to purchase the former Bon Jour. “He hadn’t too much information about the ideas his backers had to buy the ship and we kept our mouth as much as possible, as we promised this to our bosses. Our shipping agency is Mr. Dirkzwager at Maassluis and he can eventually deal with people interested.”
More news followed on October 18th 1962 some Dutch newspapers came with a totally other story as it was mentioned that the ship was sold to the government of Cuba with the aim to transmit propaganda programs off the American coast. One of the newspapers asked the interested Dutch interested and anonymous person for comment: “It’s ridiculous, I’ve been on the ship just days ago and told the owners I’m very interested to buy the ship, rebuilt it as a competitor to Radio Veronica. And if not successful I would do a second try off the British Coast.’
The Dutchmen also told that he had contact, versus Mr. Dirkzwager, with the owner of the former Bon Jour. I was mentioned a name of a person in Germany and the guy told me the ship was for sale, completely with transmitter and equipment, for 350.000 Dutch guilders. I told by phone that this bid was too high and we were willing to start a cooperative station with the owner. ‘
A day later, October 19th, owners gave the captain order to leave the anchor position and to head for Spain. This as the radio ship got too much attention in the press. But just two days later a local newspaper from Ostend in Belgium mentioned that the Magda Maria entered the harbour of the town. Also they told the ship had transmitted a few years long radio programs to the people in ‘Denmark’ but the owners were too afraid for Swedish authorities and a law became active to take action against the station.
It lasted almost a month before again the newspaper in Belgium wrote about the project. November 16th it was mentioned that a mysterious phone call came in that within four weeks the Magda Maria would be the house for transmissions aimed at a Flemish public and TV transmissions would follow in February 1963. The journalist from the newspaper found out that versus shipping agency Ruys and Company in Zeebrugge the owner became known as Deco Company from Liechtenstein. A spokesman from this mentioned that no proposed plans would be mentioned to the press and that the Polish captain as well as the crewmembers got the order to be silence as much as possible.
Again days later Dutch press brought the news that a Dutch and two American people got interested in buying the ship whereby two names, ‘Weaver’ and ‘De Jong’ were published. The later one mentioned that the ship’s papers would be ready in a foreign country within weeks and the ship would anchored off the Flemish coast. Transmissions would start at FM as well as AM with 605 on the dial as the first to start. ‘The radioship is in a very good condition and it can find a position off the coast on own power. We have a lot of American money involved and the new station can be a hugh European success.’
Two days later an other Flemish newspapers denied the report and stated: ‘An international agreement tells that every ship, whether it is a radio or normal cargo ship, should get an overall maintenance every two years. Therefore this was the only reason the Magda Maria was in Ostend. ‘First it was tried to get the maintenance in Hamburg. There was no place then in the harbour and above that the prices were too high.’ Strange enough Dutch newspaper Telegraaf mentioned that due to financial problems the owners would possible go for the option scrap in Spain, as the future was economically to unsafe.
Going more and more in depth regarding what had happened to the former Radio Nord ship I can tell you that next early December the same year it was written that the former Bon Jour, then Magda Maria, would be heading for America where the radio ship would be used as a base for a radio station called KRKU in Houston. But a day later ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ (The latest news) mentioned the radio ship would be anchored off the French coast to start transmissions on December 18th. ‘The station can be received within a radius of 360 kilometres. The ship has now 2 AM transmitters, each 10 kW and the aerial system is 42 metres while the Magda Maria is now registrated in Panama.’
Bob Thompson (Hans Knot archive)
Earlier mentioned company Deco from Liechtenstein was run by Mr. Thompson from Texas USA. When a journalist contacted the company a spokesman once again brought the journalist in astonishment by telling him the ship was sold to a very rich Englishman, Mr. Burmann, who had paid 15 million Belgian Francs for the radio ship, including the equipment. It would be the same guy who was co owner of Radio Normandy in the thirties of last century. He has signed the Convention of Copenhagen in those days, which – so wrote the journalist from newspaper, was enough for him still to use legally a frequency.
From that last message it all felt silence and no more news was brought about the ship off the Dutch coast. It appeared later that the ship had left to sail the Atlantic to the USA. It took almost a year before more was heard about the radio ship. Late 1963 the first short messages about the Bon Jour (Magda Maria), renamed MV Mi Amigo appeared in which was told the ship would go to the harbour of Greenore as it was bought by a British organisation, headed by Alan Crawford. After rebuilding the ship would became Radio Atlanta.’
Of course there are in my archive several newspaper cuts and an official rate card regarding Radio Atlanta. On April 28th 1964 it was the Newcastle Evening Chronicle, which mentioned: ‘Radio Atlanta, the new commercial radio ship which has taken up station off Frinton-on-Sea Essex, expects its transmissions on 197 metre band to reach as far north as Durham and New Castle. It will be beamed particularly on an area from Bournemouth to the Wash. The ship, the MV Mi Amigo, has a Dutch skipper. She was fitted out in Greenore Ireland and has a Panamanian flag. She is in fact the old Radio Nord, which was banned by the Swedish government under a law which say the sponsors of the present venture has since been deemed unconstitutional. Soon a team of disc jockeys will be broadcasting to 14.000.000 listeners in Great Britain, it is claimed. Eventually transmissions throughout 24 hours a day are planned. ‘We have talked to lawyers here and abroad’ said Alan Crawford, managing director of the company. ‘And they also say isn’t not illegal to listen to us and that, in their opinion we are not unauthorised.’ The Bon Jour made it versus Magda Maria to MV Mi Amigo and housed for some months Radio Atlanta. Then a merger took place with the Caroline organisation and the rest is history. ‘
Next the subject ‘today’s transmissions from Radio Luxembourg’. The e mail comes from Dick Offringa, an avid fan of the old ‘208’. ‘A lot of my friends are listening to the English Service of Radio Luxembourg nowadays. It’s transmitted with DRM on Shortwave. Next to the fact the reception is far from good – with a lot of so called drop outs, I can tell you that in my opinion the broadcast are from a low level. Although they transmit from a very modern new radio studio the also use a lot of voice tracks. This way there’s no interaction at all with the listeners. They only are on shortwave between 9 and 17 UTC, for the rest of the ’24 hours a day’ they can only be listened versus internet. When programs started at first I was very enthusiastic but now I think the station won’t be successful at all. Even I won’t be astonished at all when soon will be decided to stop transmissions’. I heard from people who have worked for the station in the past that they find it a disgrace the way the station sounds in 2007!’
Thanks Dick and anyone who has a comment on this subject, please feel free to write to Hknot@home.nl
Maybe some of the readers of the Knot International Report at Luxembourg Headquarters could tell us what the real future is?
Dick has a wonderful internet site on the memories to Radio Luxembourg, which is on: http://www.offringa.nl/radioluxembourg.htm
Nickname time again: ‘Hi Hans. Hope all is well with you and yours. On the subject of nicknames, Stephen Bishop (or Johnny Lewis as he is perhaps better known) was heard to refer to Tom Hardy as ‘Cuddles’ on his 29th Oct 1979 show. Thought you might like to add this to your list if it's not already there. Best wishes. Chris Faulkner.’
Thanks a lot Chris and no it wasn’t on the list yet! Next a very nice mail from Jan Sundermann:
‘Hello Hans, I have just finished reading your latest book about Abie Nathan’s work and the VoP. It’s a very special story of one of the longest lasting offshore experiences at all. The different periods are well to separate for the reader. Every author made his own different experiences there. Only from the last period, there is nearly nothing said about the upcoming other offshore broadcasters (so far they really have been such, or merely "Potemkin - Village" - like ones?), and any rivalry or even inter-connections. The sinking of the MV Peace finally was the most strange decision to me at all. And here it is clearly said, Abie finally regrets to have made that decision. In summary, it is a book I can recommend to anybody interested in broadcasting and in the 20th century history of the middle east. Best regards, Jan.’
Thanks a lot Jan for the compliments. From the very first chapter we had the plan to avoid writing about the competitors at the end of the VoP period as we thought it would be a book totally about Abe and his Voice of Peace project.
For those who still want to order their own copy here’s how to order: During the past year a lot of work has been down to research not only the history of the Voice of Peace but also the various humanitarian jobs Abe Nathan has done through the past 4 decades. With assistance from people next to Abe, deejays and staff of the station in the past, Hans Knot has succeeded in writing a 250 pages book. In the book are many exclusive photographs, but as there were hundreds of photos sent in by many people, a ‘photo cd’ will be included. The book, which will be officially presented at the Annual Radio Day in Amsterdam on November 2006. The book can now be ordered from the publisher. The price for people in the Netherlands will be 30 Euro, including postage and packing. For people outside the Netherlands the price will be 33 Euro or 25 British Pounds. You can sent in your money by sending it in an envelope to SMC, PO Box 53121 1007 RC Amsterdam. Also you can pay your money to Giro account 4065700 on the name of Mediacommunicatie Amsterdam. Don’t forget to mention IBAN number: NL 37 PSTB 0004 0657 00 BIC: PSTBNL21. This to avoid high costs.
Next an e mail from Paul in Basildon: ‘Hello Hans, hope all is well. I have been reading your web site for some time but this is the first time I have written to you. Back in 1965 I was still at school and a member of a tape recording club. I didn't have much money for replacing tapes; so had to rerecord on them all. I had mentioned my interest in pirate radio and Radio Veronica to a man called Ken Toms in Guernsey, and he gave me the name and address of someone in Derby, England who could tell me about Radio Veronica. That man's name was Roy Patrick. Roy Patrick was a keen radio listener and often contributed reception reports to the UK radio magazine Practical Wireless. He also sent a weekly news letter on tape to Radio New York Worldwide which often featured news and recordings of the pirate radio stations. I got to know Roy very well by sending a tape back and forth between us. One day I received a tape from Roy and it included a recording of Roy on the air, broadcasting an English language record programme from the forerunner of Radio Veronica, which I understand was called CNBC or similar. Roy said that the recording was made in the year 1960 but he could have been wrong. Have you ever heard of Roy Patrick broadcasting in the English language from the ship? Because if that was so, he would have been one of the first British people to broadcast from one of the 60s pirate stations. Roy had a slight speech impediment and could not say Veronica. He always pronounced it ‘Vermonica’.’
Thanks Paul, well the only two matches I have with Roy are that his name is mentioned in an old edition of the Danish DX News as well as on the list of members of the Benelux DX Club. I’ve followed the programs from CNBC, which were only for a short period to be heard on Veronica due to the fact the man responsible for getting advertising in the London area (following the words of director Bull Verweij) was more to find in the cinema than finding commercial money. Nowhere the name of Roy is mentioned in the list of people who worked for the station. So anyone knowing Roy Patrick from the past or present, please let us know at Hknot@home.nl
But I see Paul has more to mention: ‘We listen to Radio 5 on 747 here - many of the records were played on Veronica in the early days. I used to listen to Veronica on my transistor radio at home in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, where the reception was quite good in the daytime.’
Well very good to see someone in Great Britain has found that Radio 5 now brings a very good format, which is aimed at the 50 plus audience during daytime on weekdays. Surely a good idea to have a listen! Where to find? Well just go to www.omroep.nl then choose Radio 5 and enter ‘luister live’. Good luck.
Well that ends this time the Knot International Radio Report and I can tell you that there will be another issue this months as there is many more to tell you.
Till then all the best greetings from Groningen.
Offshore Deejays' Nicknames
Female Offshore Radio Deejays
Radio London Commercials
Offshore Radio Programme Names - Programmanamen Zeezenders 1958-1990
Read Hans Knot's former report