Hans Knot's International Radio Report - September 2007
Wonderful to see that
the long edition of end August got such a massive response. Thanks for
that and a part of the mail you’ll find in this issue, the other part
has been answered personally.
For all who loved the landbased pirate radiostation Radio Jackie Mike had great news: ‘There is a fascinating new 218 page slide show at www.radiojackie.com You can set whatever speed you want to view. As the 1967 offshore era is marked and Ofcom considers its Future Of Radio consultation (Jackie encouraged non-conglomerate ownership and noted that copycat music policies may explain falls in total non-BBC audience share) there is a new slideshow of early Jackie history. I regularly listened in the early days in the late 60s and early 70s in Surrey, originally it was only Sunday mornings. Mike Terry.’
Thanks Mike and the next one was sent to me from Canada and it resulted in that I had a 5 minutes long laugh after watching the next video which was sent to me by Keith Hampshire. And don’t forget after the commercial had ended it only starts! www.atomfilms.com/contentPlay/video.jsp?id=morning_guy&ratingBarExcl
There is a possibility to sign a petition to get the Pirate BBC Essex on the air on a yearly base: I have just read and signed the petition: "Pirate BBC Essex - make it a yearly event!" Please take a moment to read about this important issue, and join me in signing the petition. It takes just 30 seconds, but can truly make a difference. The people behind the idea are trying to reach 100,000 signatures - please sign here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/121078786
Once you have signed, you can help even more by asking your friends and family to sign as well. I know 100.000 is a lot. I was an early signer and the first 100 were almost there, way back on August 17th.
What about two new names in the long list of female deejays on offshore radiostations? For Radio Nord off the Swedish Coast two names can be added which are Anita Byström and Monika.
Alan Milewczyk has written the next lines: ‘Hi folks I've finally done my write up of the Radio Academy event and this, together with photos is now on my site at http://soulman1949.com/offshoreradio.html
Best wishes, Alan. ‘ So go and have a look!
A nickname can be added to the long list as it was mentioned twice in an old show from Robbie Dale in 1966: ‘Uncle’ Bill Hearne, ‘your lovely fellow’. By the way, just recently Martin van der Ven updated the list of nicknames which can be found at: www.hansknot.com
A regular in the report is Bob LeRoi from Whitstable:
‘Welcome to the September Update. This month in Scrapbook: Red Sands Radio - Part 2: The supply runs, equipping the Fort ready for broadcasting after a 40-year gap! Another auction this time for the last Red Sands Radio Posters. Red Sands Radio supported the Whitstable Oyster Festival; we bring you pictures and ask what the future holds for the quaint harbour? The Morris Minor Club were exhibiting at the event again this year, we've a 1963 Morris 1000 Saloon for sale ready for restoration. In "One Subject One Link" several contributions on the Radio Academy Pirate Radio Day. And announcing the release of the 2nd part of the Radio Essex Documentary, which is now available on CD to purchase
Finally last chance sailing dates for the Barge, one of our RiB's or the Pilot Vessel before the season closes: Enjoy your visits www.bobleroi.co.uk
An e mail from Ian Damon with a surprising photograph: ‘Good to meet you in London. My son Bruce has uploaded a scan of the shot of Graeme and I whilst at 2RG Griffith in 1956 to the web. There are also some other shots from our reunion (!) and my Big L 1395 programme on the following Sunday. My voice was sore that weekend as you can imagine after not seeing him for over 47 years! http://www.flickr.com/photos/anderidamedia/sets/72157601282960254/
Happy for you to use them in your report. Best regards. Ian (Wombat) Damon
Ian Damon (As Ian Davidson) with Graham Gill (as Graeme Gilsenan) whilst at Radio 2RG Griffith New South Wales Australia 1956.
Ian and Graham Gill in 2007 Photo Bruce Davidson
Mail from Steve Anderson: ‘Dear Hans, I love your website; please keep up the good work. As an original listener to the offshore broadcasters - and as a recently-retired daily newspaper journalist - I felt I had to write a tribute to August 14th, 1967. I've published a 500-word feature about 270, London, Caroline, etc. in the latest issue of the Goole Times newspaper, which circulates in the East Riding of Yorkshire. My piece (apart from the first paragraph, which has been omitted in error) is reproduced on the newspaper's website. You have my permission and that of the editor, Peter Butler, to copy it in full to use on your website. Alternatively, I can arrange to send you a copy or a scanned image.
73, Steve Anderson (amateur radio call sign G0 EAT).’
Well wonderful Steve and indeed in the meantime he did sent me the article, which is this issues main feature: “Short-lived, but much-loved” was a fitting epitaph for Radio 270, East Yorkshire’s first local commercial station, which was silenced 40 years ago this summer. Former Goole Times reporter Steve Anderson looks back at a glorious era in broadcasting when pirates waived the rules.
‘I remember meeting the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, one-time record-breaking athlete Christopher Chataway. He’d just been speaking at Snaith School and I particularly wanted to seek his views on commercial radio.
Three years earlier – in 1967 - Harold Wilson’s Labour government had signed the death warrant for Britain’s fleet of offshore stations by introducing the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act, a deeply unpopular piece of legislation which outlawed Yorkshire’s very own Radio 270 and a host of other so-called pirates.
Perhaps Mr Chataway, whose Conservative Party was now in power, could offer some hope that Radio 270, Radio London, Radio 390 and, of course, Radio Caroline would be allowed a legal return to the airwaves? But the former ITN and BBC journalist, who had won the first-ever Sports Personality of the Year award, was in a hurry for his next political engagement and an interview with the Goole Times was not on the Minister’s agenda. He managed a brief “must dash” comment – appropriate, I thought, for an Olympian who had held both the 5,000 metres and three-mile world records – before being ushered away from Snaith by two plain-clothed police officers. It was not long afterwards that the Minister, one of the most famous faces in Edward Heath’s government, was busy working on proposals to introduce legalised independent local radio to Britain.
The likes of Radio Hallam in Sheffield, London’s Capital Radio and a host of other commercial upstarts were eventually given the go-ahead, the first of them being launched in 1973.
It was to be two decades later before the first national commercial licences were issued (for Classic FM, Virgin and Talk Radio UK, now TalkSport), but none truly resembled their offshore forefathers who had paved the way for a broadcasting revolution. Radio 270, Radio Scotland, “Swinging” Radio England and more than a dozen other “pirates” had transmitted from ships and wartime forts around the British coast, 270’s programmes emanating from a 139ft former Dutch fishing vessel called Oceaan 7 which spent its 15-month radio career anchored in international waters off Scarborough or, occasionally, Bridlington. The station, which had cost about £60,000 to launch, was an instant hit with an estimated four million listeners, mainly along the east coast but also on the near continent and in Scandinavia, and companies ranging from garages to nightclubs were eager to pay for advertising spots.
Radio 270 was a good career move for such disc jockeys as Philip Hayton, who was later to become one of the BBC’s top television news anchormen, and Paul Burnett, who would one day find greater fame with Radio Luxembourg, Radio 1 and, of course, Top of the Pops.
Phil Hayton (Archive Pirate Hall of Fame)
Radio 270’s principal backers were a group of Yorkshire business executives led by Don Robinson – who later went on to become chairman of Hull City - and supermarket entrepreneur Wilf Proudfoot. Their venture, in common with all the other 1960’s “pirates” except Caroline, was to be silenced in a storm of controversy.
Opposition to the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act was immense. There were public rallies around the country, petitions, and speeches in parliament, but it was all to no avail. The offshore operators had enjoyed as long as three years afloat and, despite the weight of public opinion against them, MPs decided that enough was enough. Ronan O’Rahilly, the mercurial Irish founder of the two most famous stations, Caroline North and Caroline South, knew what he thought of the British establishment. He announced that his ventures would continue broadcasting after the legislation came into effect on August 14th, 1967, and, true to his word, “The Lady” lived on until mounting debts forced the closure of the entire operation the following year. Caroline would later return to the airwaves, initially from the North Sea and later via the internet and satellite, but the other “pirates” have never resurfaced in their original form. Radio 270 closed down to the sounds of Land of Hope and Glory and, ironically, the National Anthem. Most of the other stations had pulled the plug in the previous few weeks and months, although Radio London undoubtedly had the largest audience share when its final hour began at 2pm on the 14th.
I remember that show as though it was yesterday. One of the station’s best voices, presenter Paul Kaye, who had also opened the first programme on Radio London when it started in 1964, brought tears to millions of eyes when he spoke those momentous words: “Big L time is 3 o’clock and Radio London is now closing down.” Paul later became well known as a continuity announcer on Yorkshire Television and as a presenter of jazz shows on independent local radio in the West Riding and north-east of England. He died in 1980. “The days of offshore radio were marvelous while they lasted,” Don Robinson told me. “Radio 270 was with us for less than two years, but it built up a massive and loyal audience in the United Kingdom and abroad. “I sometimes listen to the old recordings and, I have to say, they bring a lump to the throat. “Before the era of offshore broadcasting, very little pop music was to be heard on the radio in Britain, but 270 and the other stations revolutionised it all. They led directly to the setting up of Radio 1 and the scores of other local, regional and national stations that we have today.”
Ten things that you probably didn’t know about the world of “pirate” radio:
• Radio 270 should have started broadcasting on April 1st, 1966, but its opening transmissions were delayed by technical problems – and bad weather – until two months later.
• The Marine Broadcasting Offences Act closed down most of the offshore stations in 1967, but it didn’t deter everyone. Two of the most successful “pirates” of all time, Radio North Sea International and Laser 558, broadcast from ships in the following two decades.
• Many former offshore disc jockeys are now a “fixture” of BBC and independent local radio stations. Chris Arundel, Radio Humberside’s Bridlington reporter, used to work on the Voice of Peace anchored off the Israeli coast. Radio York’s Jerry Scott, meanwhile, is a veteran of Radio Caroline.
Chris Arundel on the Radio Day in 2005 (Photo Martin van der Ven)
• Not all unlicensed stations in the 1960s and 1970s operated from outside Britain’s territorial waters. Pupils of Goole Grammar School once built a low-powered medium-wave transmitter whose signals could be heard as far afield as Swinefleet and Bubwith. The perpetrators were never caught.
• Radio Caroline’s most famous vessel, Mi Amigo, sank in 1980, but its name lives on. A bungalow in Holme-on-Spalding Moor is called Mi Amigo, while one in Reedness is named Laissez Faire after a ship that hosted two stations, “Swinging” Radio England and Britain Radio.
• A letter addressed to Radio 270 in October, 1966, and popped into a post box in Foggathorpe, near Holme-on-Spalding Moor, claimed that a limpet mine had been attached to its ship, the Oceaan 7. But the crew found nothing suspicious.
• Comedy actor and writer John Junkin, who had family connections in the Goole area, was one of Radio Caroline’s first-ever disc jockeys, although he never actually broadcast live from the North Sea. John, who died last year, recorded a number of early Caroline shows at a London studio.
• Radio Caroline’s last broadcasting vessel, the former Grimsby trawler Ross Revenge, is presently being preserved as a floating museum devoted to the offshore era. A team of loyal volunteers is working on the ship at its private mooring in Essex.
• An offshore radio supporter embarrassed “Auntie” in the early 1970s by ringing BBC Radio Humberside’s “Swap Shop” programme and telling the flummoxed presenter that he would “like to swap your station for Radio North Sea International”. He was promptly cut off!
• The Goole-based Boothferry District Citizens’ Advice Bureau was mentioned on Radio Caroline last year. One of the CAB volunteers e-mailed the station asking for a dedication – and, unlike the 1960s when letters to Caroline often took weeks to arrive, modern technology meant that his record request was on the air within 15 minutes. Progress!’
Copyright Steve Anderson 2007.
Thanks a lot Steve for this long contribution and feel always welcome to share with us. He mentioned that there were houses mentioned after Radio ships and I know there are more people who did so. For instant near Whitstable is a house called ‘Red Sands’. The same with the use of frequencies, names of stations in e mail addresses. Well readers who know more on this subject please reflect at Hknot@home.nl
Let’s talk about the photographs: you can find a lot of photos taken in the period 1985/1986 aboard the MV Ross Revenge, housing Radio Caroline and Radio Monique during those days at www.hansknot.com
In our postal box arrived from Whitstable in England a brand new cd excellent produced by Bob Le Roi, called ‘Radio Essex part 2’. It’s the second part of a documentary filled with memories in words and sounds about one of the smallest of the offshore radio stations, which were on the air in the sixties. And also one of the few radiostations aboard the army forts in the Thames Estuary. More than 40 years ago the station was heard in areas of Kent and Essex, although on very good conditions the signal good spread a little bit further. Although the conditions on the fort were dreadful the former technicians and deejays still have the most exciting memories – which are partly (like Bob recalls) a bit misty too.
It’s the story of how people succeeded to bring the station, irregular, on the air and loved to make radio. Working together with several people involved in those days, like the ones of Roger Scott and David Sinclair, Bob Le Roi not only brought back the story of Radio Essex but also the story about the Tongue Sands and the plans to start Radio Kent and Eros. I can say, although I knew only the radiostations from a few recordings made by others, the story is amazing to listen to. Price of the cd is only 5.99 British Pounds and you can order your personal copy at www.bobleroi.co.uk
Now we go to Kent and a contribution from Martin Kayne: ‘Thanks for the latest International Radio Report, your reproduction of the Marine Offences (Broadcasting) Act suddenly made me realise what penalties there were after 14th August 1967, particularly if you had a UK passport. At the time when I was on Caroline North I traveled to the UK each time I came on shore leave, I was only partly aware that I could receive a heavy fine or have 2 years in prison, I was probably too busy enjoying myself. Having said that I only came ashore 3 times in the 6 months of so called illegality. I arrived at the ship on 14th August, had 2 weeks ashore in October, I was at home for my birthday, I next came ashore at Christmas arriving, due to heavy seas at Dundalk in the Irish Republic on Christmas day. Three of us, including Jason Wolfe and myself managed to blag ourselves into having Xmas lunch at a posh Dublin hotel that had been booked-up for months...we only mentioned the words Radio Caroline! The next, and final time ashore, was just days before the ship was towed away, I was at my mother's flat at Camberwell in London and saw the dreadful news on TV.
While on RNI in March 1971, I came to the UK, got married at Dover, flew to Interlaken (Switzerland) for a weeks honeymoon, flew back into Gatwick and then caught the Dover ferry to Ostende and the train to The Hague in Holland. Clearly the authorities were not seeking to arrest radio staff, but hoped the economic sanctions would do the trick, which it did for Caroline but not RNI. As it happened I had renewed my passport a year previously whilst with Radio Essex, however in those days passports showed the holders occupation, clearly I had no idea what the future held as mine became changed from Government Official (HM Forces) to Radio Announcer. So if I had been arrested I don't suppose I would have had much of a defence in court. Best Wishes Andy (Martin Kayne).’
Martin Kayne 2007 Photo Hans Knot
Thanks a lot Martin for bringing us your memories from those hectic days. Really it was far more difficult to get regular breaks for the people on the radio ships after the MOA came in. That is for the stations off the British coast of course. In the early seventies is was still possible to tender from Holland without problems. Only after August 31st 1974 it became difficult from there too. Suddenly the shifts on the Mi Amigo for the Radio Mi Amigo as well as Caroline deejays became longer too.
News from the friends at OEM: We now have a photo gallery, with nearly 100 pictures from Pirate BBC Essex at:
click on the link above, or copy and paste to your browser
Chris Edwards www.offshoreechos.com
From Chris in Hanwell to Colin in Leeds is a short step in the Hans Knot International Radio Report: ‘Hi Hans, Thanks once again for a superb News Letter, and for starters please find attached pictures at Harwich at Pirate BBC Essex, one of me with Johnnie Walker. Whilst at Harwich I did manage to speak to Roger Day and Keith Skues who did say this type of radio i.e. Pirate BBC Essex should be made permanent, both of them said that there is no radio for our age group i.e. 50's to 60's, Today’s radio is aimed at the younger generation, nothing for our age group, even Radio Two is fasing out 60's music.
Johnnie Walker and Colin Wilkins
In reply to Geoff Baldwin in which by the way made interesting reading, I also agree in what he says. I did notice as well that Pirate BBC Essex didn't play many Turntable Hits which they could have done, I can name many myself. Pirate BBC Essex was excellent and the BEEB should take note of what people do want to hear from their radio sets. Today’s local radio BBC and ILR just tend to play the same boring songs all the time, that’s why my radio is switched off also, apart from listening to a local radio station near by which has been on air for nearly a year now does play lots of turntable hits and records/tracks that no other radio station in our area plays, its Tempo FM in Wetherby run by the author of many Offshore Radio Books Bob Preedy, and he's made a good job of it too. Any one who may be in the Wetherby Area should take a listen, its on 107.4FM Any one into internet radio- one station I listen to can be found at www.radiobop.com plays lots of 60's gems. I will be at the Radio Day Hans in November, so look forward to seeing you once again. Best Wishes, Colin Wilkins.
However Colin is not the only one to give his view on the really splendid article by Geoffry Baldwin. Here’s another one: ‘Hi Hans. latest edition is a good read and covers some interesting issues regarding the Beeb / Pirate BBC Essex. In particular how Pirate BBC Essex co hosted by a mix of original old Pirate guys and BBC Essex presenters. No question that the effect of throwing the rule book away livened everyone up and gave a real lift to the regular BBC Essex presenters. That is were I would like to throw in my two pennyworth. I did a two hour show on Pirate BBC Essex that was as daft as any I had done during the pirate days. (I'm not pretending it was any good!) After returning to the UK from Radio Luxembourg I joined ILR stations and had my love of radio completely sucked out of me. I was no longer a DJ, I was a Presenter with all the formality and worthiness that goes with it. Somehow, as part of its attempt to reinvent something that had proved to work very well, the pompous bosses of ILR deemed the term DJ as something to be ashamed of. Well this old Radio DJ is fighting back! Lets be very clear what the difference is between a Presenter and a Radio DJ. A presenter is someone who fills an interlude between the records, while a Radio DJ is the fireworks between records. I am proud to have been the latter. Never call me a presenter. With the greatest respect to Tim and the Guys of BBC Essex without whom I wouldn't have rediscovered my love of radio. Ex Radio DJ: Mark Wesley.’
Thank you so much Mark. And another Pirate BBC Radio Essex deejay was also attending the Sugar Reef event early August. Gerry Zierler, former Radio 270 and more deejay Guy Hamilton, came in with the next e mail: ‘Hans - Many thanks for your Radio Report. Very interesting stuff! It's amazing just how much interest the UK pirates' 40th anniversary events stirred up. The Radio Academy and the BBC Essex events, both of which I was involved with, were enormously successful and lots of fun to do. I've met and talked to old colleagues - and bosses - I haven't seen for all those years. Even this weekend, we have another get-together of ex-Knock John Fort veterans, down in Kent. And next week we're doing business with one of the more famous ex-pirates, so it's certainly been useful. Keep in touch! Silly picture attached. Regards
Gerry Zierler at BBC Radio Essex 2007.
Next Rob Kievit from Holland: ‘Hello Hans, Thank you for your Report of 25 August. Geoff Baldwin's article on the BBC and the 'offshore effect' (my term, not his) was very interesting, and prompts me to make a few remarks. One point Geoff makes, about presenters suddenly seeming to come alive when they're out of the BBC straitjacket, reminds me of my feelings when I was one of the morning shift newsreaders on Veronica 828 in 2004. This was an RSL to commemorate 30 years since Veronica's demise as an offshore station. In the afternoon, right after my newsreader duties among the Veronica people, I would cycle to the public broadcaster where I work (RNW) and do an evening shift as news editor. The contrast couldn't be greater. After all the dynamism and hectic goings-on of the morning at the revived offshore station, entering the public service building was like entering a crematorium, despite all the sympathetic noises and real co-operation I got from colleagues there. So staid, so muffled, so regimented. Yet, the Veronica people were all around 60 and the RNW people 40-ish! Obviously, producing lively radio is not just a matter of age.
Another point that Geoff raises is that it's hard finding something on BBC radio that's interesting to a mature audience. Hang on, what about Radio Four? I am in the happy circumstance that here in The Netherlands I'm receiving BBC Radio 4 tolerably well on LW, and it satisfies my need for intelligent talk radio, at times when I want to hear it. They even had John Peel on Saturday mornings, who had matured just like we all have, broadening his radio scope from music to life as a whole. Matured just like most of us, the original offshore listeners, did. Peel is sadly missed. - Familiarity breeds contempt, and maybe it's because Geoff has known the Beeb all his life, that he doesn't realise how good they are. Believe me, there is nothing as intellectually demanding and satisfying similar to Radio Four, here in the Netherlands.
And finally, Geoff sings the praise of publicly financed Dutch Radio Five on 747. Agreed, it is a convincing music radio station, aimed at the senior citizen, and created as a coherent entity, rather than the usual ragbag of interest group broadcasters that most of the other Dutch public stations are. But the programming leaves much to be desired. In the evenings, 5 is no alternative to the television, since it's given over to special interest broadcasters whose output is geared to minority groups. The daytime music format is interesting - 50s and 60s MOR with far more Dutch, French and German language music than the other public stations have. But the music format is also limited. A sizeable portion of the target audience enjoys jazz music. It's not there. And at a mere 50+, I may be a bit too young to be the ideal Radio 5 listener, but I would love the occasional distorted guitar or moog synthesizer on Radio 5. Not so, Geoff.
I'm afraid that the ongoing development of technology will ultimately put an end to public music radio. We'll program our own music streams on Yahoo!Launchcast, or listen to narrowly targeted internet stations. Public radio will just be one news and talk station per country. Why this sad conclusion? Well, music radio as we remember it used to have presenters, deejays, hosts, that made the radio station interesting and human, but they no longer fit into the business model. What an irony: commercialism gave us the greatest radio stations ever, but taken to its logical conclusion many years later, commercialism also killed personality-driven radio. My two cents' worth. Rob Kievit, Hilversum
Keep up the good work!’
Thanks Rob and I forwarded your mail to Geoff, like I did with all the longer responses to his article and here’s what he wrote back to me: ‘Hi Hans, Thanks for the latest report and publishing my article in it. Thanks also for forwarding the response from readers. I'm glad it has made some people think! I will let others have their say in the next report and make a further comment later on if necessary or, alternatively, I may cover some of the points raised in my next (and last) article of 2007 (i.e. for your report) which is meant to follow on from arguments about PBBCE and look at what the future holds for the type of radio we like. Regards, Geoff'
Another interesting one comes from Sven in Norway: ‘Hi fellow historians, Just found a picture of what seems to be the Mosken/Cheeta II as VDS ship (Vesteraalen Steamship Co) which I am sending right over. The year is unknown but maybe the ship was on its maiden voyage 1924? It seemingly has a sort of wire aerial, I think this is for the radio telephone service/ship to shore, a much smaller power than the Continental tx brought over from the Mi Amigo. Unknown photographer and copyright. Svenn in Norway
One of the many ‘Rob’ readers in Holland wrote the next item: ‘What was told about Pirate Radio Essex in the last newsletter was very interesting to me. Some comments. The biggest shock was the mentioning that it was far much better to start your own ‘music station’ using your MP3 player. Of course no problem as there are very small transmitters for sale to receive the sound of your mp3 player on for instant your car radio. However officially nowhere is mentioned that you’re not allowed to use these mini transmitters at home. Of course the best way such a station should sound better in AM Quality. In Holland we had for instant Radio 192. A station built on the same idea: try to copy the Dutch Offshore Stations from the seventies but don’t make the same mistakes. Well I’m really idealistic and thought it was better to start an own radiostation. And after two years of hard work ‘Radio 199’ is the result of my idea. Although the transmitter is on very low power the station gets listeners response. Why I chose for Radio 199. It had to be something with offshore radio. Many of your readers will remember that RadiO Caroline used the name Radio 199 during a short period from 17 December up till December 30th 1972. For the rest there is no resemblance at all with Radio Caroline. The format is chosen around the Top 40 of 40 years ago, like Veronica did in those years. And again there is no other resemblance with that station. So at the moment the music of 1967 is central on our station. In those years we hadn’t a Tip Parade in Holland but there are enough books of references to do more than only playing the Top 40.
Questions raised like: ‘Why were ‘White rabbit’ and ‘Somebody to Love’ from Jefferson Airplane in 1967 doing nothing at all and why was the song ‘Don't go out into the rain’ by Herman's Hermits hit nor tip? When you mention for instant Jefferson Airplane you get listeners writing in that we were wrong as it was a song from 1970. Of course will live in another decennium than the sixties. Mistakes are made, of course.. How small the station is, there is not time to sit back and relax. We’re continuous busy to make several improvements. What I meant to say is that it’s possible to put such a station on the air not being sentimental but with an identity that brings happiness. Maybe a historical station in today’s clothes. For those who listen to the programs from Red Sands Radio as well as Pirate Radio Essex know what I mean. An above all Red Sands could be received in some places in Holland better than one of the BBC Pirate Radio Essex frequencies. On the other hand we had in the North of Holland ‘Radio 0511’ which relayed the Pirate Essex programs, a truly real way of ‘pirating’. Rob Veld’.
August 19th the owner of a pub in Scheveningen, Kees Toetje (51 years of age), was killed in front of his pub ‘Het Snuitje’. During his youth he was co-responsible for illegal tendering of the MV Mi Amigo off the British coast. Crewmember Teun Visser from the MV Mi Amigo remembers: ‘Kees Toet was the son of Maarten Toet, who was nicknamed ‘Maarten de Snuit’. Together with his sons he tendered several times illegally the MV Mi Amigo from Scheveningen harbour. Also during the oil crisis period in the seventies and when Caroline was in severe financial problems they really cared that the program tapes would be in time on the ship as well as water, oil and provisions. Caroline deejays like Tony Allan, Graham Gill and others have played several times at the disco in ‘The Flamingo’ , which was the beach pub at Kijkduin and which was owned too by the Toet Family. At the funeral many people appeared including former Mi Amigo crewmembers Jaap de Haan, Hans Roos and myself’ (Class of 74) . Teun Visser.
Thanks Teun for sharing this sad news with the readers. In the meantime Dutch police arrested an Englishman, from which is thought that he is responsible for the killing.
MV Scheveningen 11 alongside MV Mi Amigo
(Photo with thanks to Teun Visser)
1984 was the year we heard for the very first time from the American female deejay Jessie Brandon. She came all the way from Florida aboard the MV Communicator to the North sea to work in international waters for Laser 558. Before that she had studied communications as well had already gained experience in American Radio. Her trip to Europe made her also work for stations like Capital Radio and Radio Luxembourg. She went back to the States and has promised to visit in the future a radio day to meet and greet and see back former colleagues. Well her brother Bruce has made a blog on internet about Jessie her ways through radio and more….
Thanks Bruce and also Jessie for sharing this with us. Hope to see you one day in Amsterdam to join us at the Radio Day!
March 1980 seems a long time ago and we all remember the moment the last four crewmembers had to abandon the Caroline ship MV Mi Amigo as it was making a lot of water and went down in the Knock Deep. The hydrographic service of the Port of London recently did a search for the radio ship with modern sonar equipment. The results can be found at the next internetsite:
We go to an e mail from Ian Bigger with some of his summer memories as well as questions. And maybe one of you has the answer(s).
‘Hi Hans, I hope that you are having an enjoyable summer. Unfortunately I did not attend the events in London or Harwich, but did visit Frinton in July to meet up with Graham and also Chris Cortez came down for the day. The weather was good so we were able to sit at Walton with views of Roughs Tower, the Gunfleet Lighthouse and, in the distance, what we believe was Knock John. That coupled with the fact that Red Sands Radio was on the air made it an enjoyable radio weekend. Chris Cortez asked if you could include a request in your report. He is looking for recordings of a 15 minute sponsored programme that Caroline broadcast in the early days. It was called ‘Down Memory Lane’, presented by Anne Shelton and sponsored by Finnon Salts. If any reader can help that would be great. (I’ve looked in my archive but couldn’t found it. Hopefully a reader will reflect at HKnot@home.nl)
Again Ian: Enjoyed the piece on www.hansknot.com you did about reception reports to RNI. ‘For example you wrote: ‘It was William P.Kilroy in Washington USA who thought he already heard RNI on 1562 kHz, as he wrote to the station's Swiss address (RNI Box 1136, CH 8047 Zürich in Switzerland) a long letter: 'I would like to inquire if your station on MEBO II is yet commenced broadcasting. Early this morning, I made a tape of a station on 1562 kilocycles, January 26, 1970 at 8.50 AM Central European time. The program format consisted of many popular music tunes mostly US Songs of current popularity'.
You are obviously right in saying that it was not RNI, but it would be Radio Veronica would it not?’
Of course Ian, you’re quite right. And the story which Ian is talking about can be read at www.hansknot.com and have fun!
Last thing from Ian is another question: ‘I am also looking for old schedules of Radio Caroline International from August 1967 until March 1968 to build a picture of who was on at what time. For example I have a recording from what I believe is early January 1968 where the schedule is given as;
0600-0900 Roger Day
0900-1200 Carl Mitchell in for Robbie Dale
1200-1500 Herb Oscar Anderson (another name for Chris Cary)
1500-1800 Stevie Merike
1800-2100 Glenn Adams
2100-0000 Johnnie Walker
0000-0200 Carl Mitchell
Also the last full day on March 2nd was (as far as I know)
0500-0530 Non Stop
0530-0900 Roger day
0900-1200 Andy Archer sitting in for Robbie Dale
1200-1500 Johnnie Walker
1500-1800 Roger Day in for Stevie Merike
1800-2100 Bud Balou
2100-0000 Johnnie Walker
0000-0200 Andy Archer in for Carl Mitchell
Well anyone who has a daily schedule from the period between August 14th 1967 and March 2nd, please sent it to the regular address: Hknot@home.nl
Earlier on we were successful to work together in sharing information to get as much as possible the Caroline Countdown of Sounds of the Sixties together, so here’s another possibility to score again!
Carl Mitchell appearing on stage
(Hans Knot Archive)
Another one from England: ‘Hello Hans, Today, August 31st, we listened to the Veronica commemorations on 675 kHz and thoroughly enjoyed the old and live programmes. Listening to Radio Veronica from England, we were often confused by some of the items broadcast in those days, and they continue to puzzle us, so a "What was that?" section of your newsletter would be very helpful for us confused old Brits who must have misheard everything! For instance: what was... Robot Soup? Or "Grease for Dealers"? And why, every tea time, were we exhorted to "Brick Up The Clock"? Paul Bailey, Basildon.’
Well Robot Soup must be written as Rob Out Soup, as he loved the soup. And ‘Brick up the clock’ must be ‘blik op de klok’ or in English a look at the clock, followed by the correct time. ‘The Grease for Dealers’ remark I’ve forwarded to Robbie Dale, but so far no answer yet.
Jon at the Pirate Hall of Fame next:
Just a quick note to let you know that I have just updated the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame. August 2007 was a busy month for fans of offshore radio and, as you would expect, there is extensive coverage of both Pirate BBC Essex and the Radio Academy's Celebration of Offshore Radio; there is also another page of Radio Caroline photos that Robbie Dale rescued from the bin-men when the station's Amsterdam office was closed in March 1968; and we have a great picture of Caroline North's “Ugli” Ray Teret with The Beatles. As of this morning 34,097 people have visited the PRHoF during August alone. I can't be certain but I suspect that is a record. My thanks to everyone who has helped make the site what it is and, in particular, those who have supplied photos for this month's update. All the best, Jon The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame
Congratulations not only for the excellent update Jon but also with the record! More updates can be found on the site of Mary and Chris Payne, including their story and many photographs taken at the Pirate BBC Radio Essex event at:
Well here’s a question for all those who have worked on the Olga Patricia in 1966 or 1967. It’s Stuart who wrote to me: ‘I have just been talking to Ron O'Quinn, and he mentioned the names of two ‘cabin boys’ on board the Olga Patricia. Their names were Eamonn and Ian and he wondered what became of them? Have you any idea? Thanks, Stuart Aiken.’
So anyone who knows anything of the two or recalls other names of crewmembers, feel free to write to me at Hknot@home.nl
Now time for the one not too miss in the report and he’s so happy to have met me. The Emperor Rosko wrote to me: ‘ Hi Amigo, Nice meeting you at last (face to face), shame the Academy was so crowed and frantic. The next one must be built for more chat! I have just returned to L.A. sorry to be so late answering you but it was as the old song says "30 days on the road" la la la and out of my suitcase to boot. The Song is doing well (Turn on the pirates) and I am putting in place our "*Hall of fame mix "* which includes a salute to every pirate of the 60's, who sailed, transmitted or farted on air! It should be, if the cyber gods are kind found on Q records.co.uk etc. listed as that mix. If your name is missing I will .................errr I will apologize! I used the Internet for my research and we all know that they are spotty from time to time! Nice Picture you used, as we say in the biz, Hans, Keep on top!! EMP.’
Thanks Emperor! good that you're back and save in the USA, not that I wanted you back there, but I was and am still anxious to be on air in a flight. Never the less just heard Robbie Dale on a one afternoon stand doing his program (August 31st) and wishing you all the best. He will be on the Radio Day in November with Roger Day and Johnny Walker and many of the other stars. 29th year in a row is The Radio Day so you're very late Emperor to show yourself at the most prestigious radio event of the year in Western Europe.’
Rosko came back with a short message that it could be that he plans to come next year with the 30th celebration. More news on the Radio Day and how to book an hotel room can be found at:
Over the the other side of the Big Ocean and time for a message from Elaine Parks: ‘Hi Hans! Very interesting piece from Geoff Baldwin, but for us North Americans, what is an "anorak" type person?’
Hi Elaine, well one day during the spring of 1973 a boat filled with offshore radiofans went to the radioships off the Dutch coast. At that stage RNI, Veronica and Caroline were there on air. On Radio Caroline there was a life report with Graham Cooke and Andy Archer, in which they told the listeners that some 50 people went out to the ship, giving small pieces of paper with request, a bunch of flowers and so on. It was Andy Archer who told that most of them were, due to cold weather, wearing Anoraks. Those warm coats were really 'in' in those days. From then on ‘Anoraks’ was a mutual name for people who loved free radio.‘
Have to mention two nicknames this time. From 1968 and Caroline International (North) Freddie Bear, your teddy bear. On RNI it was newsreader Crispian St. John mentioning at the end of the news that the program ‘You never gonna believe this’ would follow, presented by Tony Allan ‘the man with the crystal ball’.
Time again for an email plug: ‘Dear radiofriends. Apart from the usual transmissions, The program 'Rainbow' can be heard on Saturdays on Laserhothits, 6275 kHz. You will hear several Rainbow programs every 45 minutes during daytime,8-17 UTC. Laserhothits can be received every week with a good radio in western Europe. (U.K. to Poland, Sweden to France, and further with good conditions.) You might need a good shortwave radio and a shortwave antenna with a length of 6 or 12 meters, depending on your location and the conditions. With this, it’s no problem at all to receive the station every week in that area. Laserhothits has got programs for free radio lovers, original recordings of old offshore radio stations etcetera. If you love radio, you should listen to this radiostation. Check also this new site, made to help us;
Phil again from Sydney Australia: ‘Thanks Hans once again for a very interesting monthly report. Geoff Baldwin's article set my mind to thinking positively for the future. I think he is exactly right when he talks about that "certain" sound that the pirates had, and I agree that we shouldn't think it has gone forever. I've heard Peter Moore say that "Caroline doesn't really need a ship", in the sense that, to offer that magic that enabled the pirates to draw audiences of 20 million listeners, it wasn't just that Caroline was at sea, but that Caroline (and others) offered freedom and choice in radio, underpinned by spontaneous program delivery which listeners knew was free from state control. This did not lessen professionalism, it increased it, proved by BBC's Radio One hiring the most popular personalities it could find...nearly all ex pirate DJs. Now, I'm not just being nostalgic or trying to live in the past here, but building on Geoff's argument, I began to wonder what a re-launched free radio station actually be like in 2007, and how would it sound? Let's first picture a scenario where some rich benevolent "baby boomer" (and there are plenty of them!) decided that, instead of spending $20 million to fly in space for a few days, decided to fund a radio station in the spirit of the pirates, on the understanding that it might or might not be a commercial success. In other words, he or she was prepared to take a risk knowing it might not work out, but was worth the risk.
Then about Geoff’s questions: (Read them back in August 2 edition of the Hans Knot International Report).
Question #1. Where would it be?
The station needs to reach the high population centres in England, Netherlands, France, and Belgium. The chance of being able to set up the station on land legally without government controls is zero, so I reckon it's back to the North Sea. And whilst not essential for the "sound" it does give the station an added bit of intrigue, and a captures the Anorak & Romantic Baby boomer market.
Question #2. What would be the platform?
A fixed "oil rig" structure would be perfect, and maybe when the North Sea oil/gas runs out, there may be opportunities there. But right now I think it has to be a ship. But it's going to have to anchor farther out in rougher seas, so it has to be strong, and I'm afraid the Ross Revenge wouldn't be the choice. I reckon it has to be twice that size for stability alone, but also for reasons of less frequent refuelling, and a stronger antenna structure. Times have changed since the 1960's and the crew and staff will expect better facilities, more privacy (mixed sexes), and a helipad for frequent and reliable exchange of stores and people.
Question #3. How would it sound?
I believe it would have to deliver a range of programming throughout the day. Breakfast might be the modern sound of two announcers with news and traffic updates covering the EU audience range, including international airline and train delays etc. Mornings could move into the 30-55 age range music with phone-ins, afternoons could feature artists and music documentaries. A standard drivetime program could segway into a classic album format for night time. My point is that the sound would need to be contemporary, fresh, and relevant, and be delivered by DJs with e.g. 3 hour programs that they could really build an audience with. News could feature morning and drivetime, otherwise omitted. The world is globalising fast and most of the big firms have offices everywhere (e.g. Aldi supermarkets). They could place adverts from Australia if needs be. Advertising is a must for the overall sound and viability. The station will need fresh jingles, and please, no amateur DJ's or the ship's cat filling in. We're talking professional entertainment here.
Question #4. What frequencies?
The primary decision maker is range, and this has to mean medium wave at least. If the antenna is high (say 300') then VHF/FM is possible but the band is packed around Europe. Internet streaming would be good for listeners farther afield. AM broadcast quality is quite good these days, and it means access to everyone, so I reckon Medium wave is the deal, perhaps on two channels, beamed East & West for maximum use of signal power.
Question #5 Funding & Support.
Here's where I struggle without direct knowledge. The station would need a landbased administration office, but as modern telemarketing has shown, this can be virtually anywhere. In practice it's probably going to be somewhere like the Channel Islands for a host of reasons. Supplies will need to come from a sympathetic nation and maybe Spain can still oblige. But more regular visits by helicopter from nearer shores could be used for personnel changes and small stores and records. Sealand maybe the pressed into service as the staging post. Back of the envelope calculations show the running costs (assuming 30 staff) to be about $5 million per year, including fuel. Maybe the advertising income could build up to match this. But of course this does not include the set up costs.
Now, you may think "he's got it all wrong! Long wave is the way to go, and his costs are way too low." I don't care. Tell me your thoughts and let's have a little fun. Maybe some rich person will read these ideas and think "what if I were to really do this?....." All the best, Phil Crosby.
Well Phil: thanks a lot for your response and long answers and good ideas. Who’s next with his ideas?
A very nice e mail came in from Rick Crandell, who worked as Rick Randell in radio versus the e mail box at Martin van der Ven: ‘Please convey my fondest regards to the other Radio England / Britain Radio participants with whom you appear to be in contact. As you may also be aware, after our London event last year, my future bride and I enjoyed a visit with Rob Oltof, Hans Knot and Graham Gill in a brief conversation over coffee in an Amsterdam cafe that remains one of my most pleasant memories of the whole trip. It will be great to see them, and the rest of my former comrades...not to mention some of my other new friends like Svenn Martinsen, Chris and Mary Payne, and especially Steve England...again. I also look forward to meeting you, Stuart Aiken, and the rest of the Radio Day people who continue to nurture the memory of the pirates and the entire off-shore radio community. It was a privilege and great pleasure for me to be a small part of it. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to share those memories with you again this November.’
Thanks Rick and I hope you both had a splendid wedding day. We will see you in November. I had Graham Gill on the phone from Amsterdam the other night as he wanted some assistance as he had mail problems. He asked me to put the next thing into the report: ‘You know Hans, most of us are retired old deejays and we can feel lonely sometimes. I want you to know that taking time and reading your report does many wonders!' Also thanks sharing the remarks from Rick Randell and I can assure you that the day we met after so many decades, last year in Amsterdam, was one never to forget too.
Some of my radio contacts had already received from me the next internet site. It brings the sad news of the broken up of the MV Communicator, once the home of Laser 558.
Which brought Chris Edwards in Hanwell writing the next: ‘I Had seen this. Always rather sad to see a ship being broken up, especially one with such a history as the Communicator. It does make you wonder what the fate of the Ross Revenge will be, unless someone comes up with some plan for its future - and of course more importantly money. Best wishes, Chris.
Thanks Chris, next time we have a long contribution from the main man at Radio Caroline and the Ross Revenge, Peter Moore. So look out for the second September edition of the Hans Knot International Radio Report.
Next e mail come also from England: ‘Glenn the old Laser 558 Anorak here again! I've noticed recently that some of the old 'Laser' habits are hard to break even for some of our National Land -based radio stations in the UK, (or are they just stealing from a winning formula?) For example, on the Steve Wright show on BBC Radio 2 in the weekday afternoons, the oldies section is always announced by the famous Laser 558 'K' ('I want to communicate') signal - sounds very familiar! And a few months ago on 'Smooth Radio' (another UK FM station) the presenter played 'Thank you for the Music (ABBA) in dedication to 'Charlie Wolf, Jessie Brandon, Tommy Rivers and all' (His words!) I wonder which radio station was on his mind at the time?! As they say here in the UK, if you can't beat them, join them! Regards, Glenn Arnold’.
Well that’s all for now till the end of the month and I wish you all the best. As always you can send your contributions to Hknot@home.nl
Offshore Deejays' Nicknames
Female Offshore Radio Deejays
Radio London Commercials
Offshore Radio Programme Names - Programmanamen Zeezenders 1958-1990
Read Hans Knot's former report