Hans Knot's International Radio Report - November 2007


Hello everyone and welcome to this edition of the report with a lot of e mails and photographs, which have been sent in by the readers. Also the last report before the Radio Day and all the latest information of the program for coming Saturday can be found at http://www.offshore-radio.de/radioday/
You will see that we have made some final changes to the program. You can find there which personalities will be there and I can tell you that maybe some last minute ‘surprises’ will appear too. Hope to see a lot of you people on the Radio Day in Amsterdam. Now we go to the emails:

First of all an e mail from a former Big L deejay and who is still active in the radio world, Dave Cash: ‘Hello Hans, Thanx for the newsletter. Excellent as always. Regarding the Gary Walker/LV18 videos: I have the full set of videos on my site www.davecash.co.uk plus a full range of funky pictures on the ‘Pirate BBC Essex’ page. Hope all is well with you and yours. Cheers Dave.’

Well Thanks a lot Dave and I know for sure the readers will find their way to your site too!

Next one is from another former offshore deejay: ‘Hans -Thanks for the latest HKI Radio Report. Some fascinating stuff. All good wishes for a successful Radio Days event. I shall be drinking on your health from the deck of a jazz cruise ship in the Caribbean! (Someone's got to do it...). Regards Gerry Zierler and his mate Guy Hamilton.’

Well thank you Gerry and on Saturday we surely will have some fun at the Radio Day. Have a nice trip in the Caribbean and enjoy yourself!

Hans: The write-up regarding the Galaxy's antenna length was interesting. I don't have the answer, but just as an aside, I met Tom Danaher (one of the Radio London founders) in Dallas back in 2001 and we spoke at length about the logistics of bringing the ship over from Miami. I got this info directly from Tom ‘The antenna was erected on Galaxy after it had made its journey across the Atlantic (which makes sense). I think Tom said it was erected while in the Azores. Then the ship sailed up and into position off the Essex coast. Unlike other radio ships, Galaxy's hull was not poured with cement to create a counterweight for the antenna. Tom very carefully established the ship's exact center of gravity and that was where the antenna mast was positioned. Keep up your great work! Kind Regards, Paul Mustill, Dallas, Texas.’

Thanks for the information Paul, good to hear you had a long chat with Tom some years ago. Keep enjoying radio and the report!’

Another cartoon, this time sent in by Robbie Dale. Both Harold Wilson and Mrs Mary Wilson happy after they won the battle against the Pirates in 1967.

Another person reflected on the Big L mast too. Here’s Paul Graham: ‘Hi Hans
Ian is quite right the Big L mast was about 180 feet in total with some 150 feet above deck level, the claim of 212 feet made by the station at the time was more of a publicity stunt than reality much the same as the 75KW claim when this was only possible on positive peaks from the RCA transmitter a maximum of 50 KW was generated into the mast. One of the old Big L engineers told me the real height some years ago. Regards Paul Graham.’

Peter Albronda originates from the Netherlands and wrote: ‘Hi Hans, thanks for you ‘real radio’ report. Very nice to see all those memories back. What a lot of romantic or is it that I’m getting to old or is this a qualification of ‘sound and presentation’? Never forget Peter that you’re as ‘young’ as you feel!

Time for an update on internet, this time Bob Le-Roi: ‘Welcome to the November Update. In conjunction with the release of our latest documentary CD “Life Live on Red Sands Radio” a live look at the Forts Southern Gun from sea level to platform top. Scrapbook has the 3rd part of the Red Sands Radio feature. We’re forced to re-erect the antenna and just about make everything good for testing on Friday 13th. ”One Subject One Link” visits Ireland and finds out Radio’s lost it’s sparkle and isn’t much different to here these days. Following on from our last Laser 558 feature, look out for more coming, we launch another on-line Auction this time for a very special framed photograph and the actual Laser 558 kHz transmitter crystal. We also have opened a tribute page to Dave Turner who sadly died recently. Better known as Dave the Fish he was perhaps the most courageous and colourful of Caroline’s supply skippers. In Equipment Sales you’ll find a neat little mixer, in the Offshore Shop new posters and the Radio Essex Gift Set. Enjoy your visits: www.bobleroi.co.uk

Ever dreamed to play the BBC Radio One jingles with jingle machines? Go to the following site, click on the carts and get them inserted in the cart decks. Then play them and switch them around.

For those who remember that Radio City’s first name was Radio Sutch here an internet site where Lord Sutch his discography can be found:

Björn Quäck sent the next message: ‘I’ve read an article in the Leipziger Internet Newspaper in which was told that a puppet theatre would have a play about Offshore Radio. ‘Skurril! "Rust", Green Ginger is a Rock Musical about two Pirate Offshore Radio Stations transmitting from international waters off the South West Coast from Wales. The play was part of the 16. International Festival for Puppets Plays and was held on October 26th. See more on the next internet site. http://www.greenginger.net/rust.html

Eric time in the report: ‘RTI LIVE video RTI has a LIVE video service on www.rti.fm. Click on the Live image, you can interact as a guest with RTI. RTI Radio for tomorrow, today! http://www.rti.fm I expect chat messages tonight after 8.00pmCET (7.00pm UK).

Wouter Verbaan has made a search in his loft and found many rare photos he wants to share. In a few weeks time all will be published on www.hansknot.com
Some of the photos are in this report. Wouter wrote:’ A second search at the loft was very successful. I found photo’s I once got from Maarten van der Harst, he was a friend of my late brother Hans. After Hans died in 1988 I kept contact with Maarten. He worked on both radio ships from Veronica between 1960 and 1970. He didn’t make the photo’s himself but got them from other people through the years.

Anchor chain inspection Veronica vessel, one of the many from the Wouter Verbaan archive.

I’ve forwarded the photos to some of the former Veronica people and here’s what Tom Collins wrote: Hi Hans, very nice to see the photo’s again. Some summer pictures others with weather under severe conditions. The photo’s with me were taken in the end of the sixties when I was reading the news on 192. Very nice to see the pictures as they’re bringing back a lot of memories. More lofts have to be cleaned. Greetings Tom Collins.

Tom Collins in the messroom Norderney (Archive Wouter Verbaan)

Then Martin van der Ven who spoke on the phone to Wolfram Bender, who still is a fanatic follower of everything related to Radio Northsea International. Just lately he spoke to Edwin Bollier, who celebrated his 70th birthday on November 4th. He’s still going strong and most of his time he still worked on the Lockerbee Affair ‘to do everything he can to prove’. He’s his own internet site on the subject: http://www.lockerbie.ch/
Also he’s still very friendly and interested in the history of radio. Since a few years he is remarried to a woman from Iran and was converted to Islam some 20 years ago. In business he still has a lot of contacts and in Libya his cooperation with Gadaffi’s son seems to be very special. The Lockerbee process will be reopened and following the words from Bollier is seems clear that the man from Libya is innocent. His Swiss companion in MEBO Ltd., Erwin Meister, lives already for many years in Singapore.

Time for another e mail, this time from Steven Allan and one reflecting on a question in last issue: ‘Thanks for your last report. In it, you mention a request from one of your readers, namely Ulrich Mittag from Wuppertal in Germany, for the words of ‘Man's Fight For Freedom’ by Johnnie Walker. There are probably quite a few readers of your report whose first language isn't English, so I have put the words on line for a few weeks.

In combing through it all, to make sure that I had got every last detail correct, I was doing something which I had never done before and consequently, after all these decades, I noticed a strange thing which smacks of a mistake or a hurried bit of writing. Firstly, Johnnie Walker refers to Robbie Dale, himself and Ross Brown leaving for the ship on 14 August. Then he says 'These three men'. Okay so far, but in the next paragraph, when he wasn't even talking about any men, he inserts the words 'These two men sound happy, but underneath they are sad'.
Perhaps he isn't including Ross Brown who, I think, was just the newsreader? Perhaps Johnnie Walker reads your report and can answer this query. Anyway, for the benefit of Ulrich Mittag and anyone else who is interested, here is the link : http://www.stevenallan.plus.com/Mansfight.html
Best Wishes, Steven Allan.’

Well Steven thanks a lot and ‘yes’ Johnnie Walker is reader of the report and maybe he can reflect on your questions. Here’s the complete text:

Man's Fight For Freedom, written and narrated by Johnnie Walker MBE

This is the story of man's fight for freedom. The beginning is in the past. The middle is now. The end is in the future. It is a story of sadness and of triumph.

August the fourteenth, as disc jockeys Robbie Dale, Johnnie Walker and Ross Brown leave Liverpool Street, London, spurred on toward the sea by the hundreds of cheering people. See them now as they stand on the tender. There are tears in their eyes as their families, their homes and their loved ones are left behind.

Three O’clock on this Monday afternoon and on two six six, Big Lil is heard for the last time. Caroline is alone. These three men prepare for midnight for, in a few hours time, they are to challenge the might and the power of the British Government. They will become criminals.

Midnight approaches. It is August the fifteenth. Johnnie Walker announces that Caroline belongs to you, that she loves you and she will continue. The Beatles sing 'All You Need Is Love'. These two men sound happy but underneath, they are sad, for they now know that they have passed the point of no return.

They are not sad for long. They are joined by other men who also gave up so much to fight for freedom. The seas are rough and cool. Life is hard but, as each day passes, the moment of triumph draws nearer. The British people rally round. They send food, they send comfort and they send their love.

'All You Need Is Love' and love overcomes. The British Government relents. Caroline raises her anchor and heads for England. See her now, majestically and proudly, sailing up the river toward the capital that has welcomed so many victors in British history, but none as victorious as these men. They stand on the deck, waving to the millions of people who line the Thames. This time, the tears flooding from their eyes are tears of happiness. The insurmountable odds have been surmounted. They reunite with their families, with their friends, with their loved ones.

We are near the end of our story. London's skyline has a new landmark pointed toward the heavens - Caroline's aerial, at last beaming out its love and music to a free and peaceful nation. We have overcome. The battle is over. Free radio becomes a way of life, but never taken for granted, for no man will ever forget Monday, August the fourteenth, nineteen hundred and sixty seven.’

I love historical radio programs. Thousands and thousands of hours are in my archive, to relistening and sharing with other radio friends. But there are people who have other interest in the media. Have a look on the following interesting site. www.marcelstvmuseum.com/

One we won’t see at the Radio Day, is our good friend Nigel Harris as he has other commitments during that weekend. He wrote me an e mail some days ago: ‘Hello Hans. Just to let you know we went to Dave’s funeral today in Sittingbourne. As well as his family, there were many of his offshore radio friends there too. Some had come many miles to be at the service. Caroline Martin, Coconut, Nick Jackson, Jerry Wright, Peter Chicago, Steve Masters and Maria, Bob Mower, Peter Moore and Mel, Bob le Roi, Fiona Jeffries, Albert and Georgina and so many more. Dave would have been so proud to have seen so many of his friends there to support his family. Sadly, I cannot be at Radio Day this year due to the fact I am busy at work that weekend, and it’s Remembrance Sunday in the UK and I have two big services to play for in church too. I will really miss it! But, hope to see you all soon, Nigel.’

Indeed a pity Nigel that you won’t join us. But we will see each other early 2008 at another occasion. Enjoy playing the organ and take care, Hans.

Another dive in the Robbie Dale archive learns us the next: A Record Mirror poll from November 1967. The Beatles were at the top the Male Groups and Songwriters. And the top Jock was Jimmy Savile again. But Pirate Jocks took twelve of the top twenty positions in the poll.

Thanks to Robbie Dale for this poll

Radio Caroline has left the old studios at Maidstone and have a brand new studio at a private place. Johnnie Lewis has taken some photos which can be found to go to his site and scroll down to see the latest pictures.

Updating again, this time for Jon at the Pirate Hall of Fame, who wrote:
I have just updated The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame. New this month:
• Radio City's chef shares his photos, memorabilia and memories;
• Radio London's Marshall Mike Lennox visits Australia:
a radio production company is looking for memories (and recordings, if possible) of gigs at the Chislehurst Caves, a regular venue for the Caroline Night Out events during the sixties. Can you help?
• and we have a sad update on Radio Scotland's Eddie White. http://www.offshoreradio.co.uk/

Another picture from the Wouter Verbaan archive:
Captain Arie de Ruiter, José van Groningen and Maarten van der Harst

Also Tom Mulder was reflecting on the fact I sent him the old photographs: ‘Thanks for the nice ‘old’ Veronica photos. I think many of them are taken during the period 1968 and 1969. In thoughts I see the chops in to fat juice. And afterwards as a sweet there was a plastic bucket filled with whipped cream. Just as there was so much boredom we could eat all day. Of course that was when you had the ability not to get seasick. Bull Verwey thought there had to be always enough to eat and drink on the ship. When I got the job as deejay on Veronica I asked, just to get the thrill of ‘how to work on a radio ship’ Bull Verweij if I could get out to the Norderney. Lucky enough he thought it was a brilliant idea.‘

Jan Sundermann from Germany has a story and a question related to the MV Emma, once used by the ill fated project Radio Condor. ‘Hallo Hans, in July 1974 I was on a sailing vacation in Enkhuizen. In a local discotheque one evening I thought to hear a familiar voice ,when the deejay was on. I later gave him some requests and talked with him, frankly asking if I might know his voice from the radio." Which station do you think?" he replied. " I think on WMR" , and then he turned his Spotmaster cassettes around, and on the backside was printed WMR. It was Theo Verstraaten ( Boekel), the operator of WMR , that was raided a year earlier. Later in the week I could visit his home one evening, it was on the way to Schagen in Nieuwe Niedorp. There was his studio, and the former transmitter location. Among the photos he showed, was also one picture of some WMR people on board the former Condor ship, when lying in summer of 1973 in the harbour of IJmuiden. So station WMR was also one time interested in that boat for coming back with transmissions in the 49 m band. But as with many enthusiastic projects, they probably found soon, that it was not financially of a realistic chance. I saw Theo Boekel some weeks later in Scheveningen again, just before August 31st 1974. I was in the 1990s again in the area of Schagen, and a lady from the neighbourhood said, that she believed Theo had moved to New Zealand . Maybe he is nowadays a reader of this report? Jan.’

Well thanks a lot Jan Sundermann and surely one or more readers can tell you more about today’s world of Theo Verstraaten as few of the former people involved in World Music Radio are reading the report. Everyone can reflect by writing in at hknot@home.nl

Caroline’s Office ladies from the seventies were Kate and Elija. The latter one wrote to me: ‘Hi Hans, we had a small reunion and was in the Hare and Hounds Hotel in Westonbirt, Gloucestershire on the 3rd of November, I attach pictures. I have a signed menu by Andy Archer, Johnny Jason, Robin Banks and Robb Eden and would like to raffle it off for the memorial fund if I may, I might be able to get Johnny Walker etc to sign it too and raise even more money that way for the Tony Allan fund at the Radio Day in Amsterdam!’
Surely there will be some space in the program to do so!

Robb Eden, Johnny Jason, Elija van den Berg, Andy Archer, Robin Adcroft

More photos to come this time from Stuart Clark: ‘Hi Hans, thought you might appreciate the attached photo of (L To R) Tom Hardy (ex-Caroline, now PD at Today FM Ireland); 2XM's Mark McCabe; Chris Cary; and RTÉ's J.P. Coakley. The occasion was the 'Future Of Radio' debate, which took place as part of the Music Ireland '07 event run by the magazine I work for, Hot Press. Chris was in excellent form, suggesting that: "What I would like to see abolished is automated radio and music schedulers. Let the presenter/producer select the music-for-the-moment." He also said that, should the right opening present itself, he'd consider going back into radio as long as it was either digital or internet.
I also had the pleasure of interviewing Tony Blackburn a couple of days beforehand who said it's his ambition to programme a digital oldies station. He also mentioned that he's still waiting for Ronan O'Rahilly to pay him the £100 he promised him in the '60s for climbing the Radio Caroline mast! All the best, Stuart Clark’

Tony Blackburn and Stuart Clark

Do you remember a readers e mail in the early August edition from a lady who’s ambition was to get into radio. I met her at the Sugar Reef in London at the Convention of the Radio Academy and published her e mail. She’s back with a follow up: ‘I am really looking forward to it and of course Radio day too. I have been meaning to write to you for some time but have been so busy recently with Radio work. Last weekend I was away again on the Ross Revenge, I'm now part of Alan Beech's regular work party that goes out there every 2nd weekend. It's hard work but great fun too. I was also asked to submit a 2nd demo for Radio Caroline. I wonder if you heard me on Radio Caroline last Saturday evening. I did a little guest presenting which seemed to go well and it was mentioned that I may be joining Radio Caroline. I am also doing work for other radio Stations. I have enclosed some photos of me at work on the Ross Revenge and more can be found on... http://www.geocities.com/woodleyuk/index3.htm
I am sure you must be very busy at the moment but I just wanted to say thank you for your regular reports, which I always find interesting. I will be leaving on Wednesday for Amsterdam, travelling with Elija and Mark Dezzani and have received a charming email from Don Stevens saying he is coming to the Radio Day too and I met many other Caroline people on the Ross who told me they will be travelling over, so I don't think it will matter that Nigel is not attending, I suppose he must have some other commitment. Greetings, Mandy

Mandy on her way to the paint roller on the Ross Revenge

Another person I was meeting for the first time in my life was a deejay who I used to listen to in the sixties on ‘242’, Ben Healy: ‘Hi Hans: It was nice meeting you in London, I would liked to have spoken to you for much longer but time did not allow, I know Rosko likes to be mentioned in your newsletter but that is not the reason I am writing this. I was at Rosko’s party in London and I like most other deejays from the pirate days have always admired Rosko as a DJ but to my pleasant surprise he is a genuine nice person and went out of his way to be nice to Kenny Tosh and myself. I have had my picture taken with George Bush Snr, I have had my picture taken with Irelands prime minister Bertie Ahearn, Mick Jagger, John Lennon and many other big names but my biggest thrill was my picture with Rosko. He is The Man. All the Best, Ben Healy, Radio Scotland

Emperor Rosko and Ben Healy toasting in London

Well thanks a lot Ben and maybe on another occasion we do have more time to share memories. This was, by the way, for the first time in three months, Emperor was on a photograph in the report. Maybe an early winter sleep for the Emperor?

Next and last update in this issue is for Mary and Chris Payne: ‘Dear All, the presentation of the USS Density bell to the Nimitz Museum on September 21st was a very special and moving occasion. I'm pleased to say the reunion pages are now finished and on the Radio London website for the world to see.
Best wishes, Mary’.

That ends up this early November edition of the Hans Knot International Radio Report. All news, memories, questions and so on 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