Hans Knot's International Radio Report - December 2007 (1)


Hello all out there. It has been some weeks ago that the annual Radio Day took place in Amsterdam but still e mails are coming in from people who have been there. It was very nice to see so many personalities and their fans together to talk about their love for radio. On Martin’s Pages space has been made for photographs, e mails from people as well as the soundtracks of the interviews, which have been held at the 29th Year in Radio Days. Next year celebration time as it will be 30 years on! On Martin’s pages also all news about which persons have won the very first Radio Day Awards, which is from now on a bi-annual event. Go to www.offshore-radio.de and click on the logo ‘Radio Day 2007’ to find out more.

Next a big thank you again for responding to last issue of the report. Something must have gone wrong with my mind when mentioning in last issue the people who where on the cartoon sent in by Robbie Dale. I told that the lady was ‘Queen Elisabeth’, which was wrong of course. It seemed that a whole bunch of Queen admirers were there to point out that I was wrong. How could I bring such stupidity to the readers as underneath the cartoon it was mentioned that it was Mary, the wife of the then Prime Minister Wilson. Sorry for that lads! By the way, here’s another cartoon sent in by The Admiral Robbie Dale.

E mail time for Steve Marshall, who wrote in on November 8th, It was just two days before the Radio Day event: ‘Hi Hans I hope all is good with you, really interesting report this month with some nice pictures, including my old friend Stuart Clarke who nowadays is all over the television and radio in Ireland as well as being a well known part of Ireland's premier music magazine ‘Hot Press’. I got an amazing e-mail from him the other day we haven't communicated for something like 20 years, since we both worked on Coast 103 in Galway but plan to meet up soon, for a few pints of Guinness, probably somewhere in Ireland! While on the subject of meeting people, looks like this year's Radio Day is going to be quite an event:) Sorry I can't make it busy with work and stuff! But the SRE line up looks amazing, especially with people like Ron O'Quinn etc attending, Larry Dean was my all time jock on SRE. And he's one of the reasons I got into radio over 25 years ago, and I had a wonderful e-mail from him a couple of years ago, after I mentioned the fact. I heard him on the station he now works on in the States. Still a great radio man. Great to see Roger and Robbie and all the post MOA Caroline guys are coming too. Looks like it's going to be quite an event. Warm Regards and many greetings, Steve.’

Thanks Steve and a pity you could not come to Amsterdam. Another Radio Day event is next year of course. Just a couple of days before November 10th we also learnt that Larry Dean couldn’t come over from the USA due to private things. Next is regular responder Eric: ‘Hi Hans. Something that might be of interest to your readers. Now I know some laugh, but FaceBook is a growing thing and the radio groups seem to spring up almost on a daily basis - reminds me of stations springing up throughout 1965/66. Groups on FaceBook now includes:
Album Zone, 300 Track Radio Is Boring, UK Radio People, I started my career at Bedroom FM, Laser 558 - All Europe Radio!, Tony Blackburn is a broadcasting legend! We love TB!, Radio Caroline, and more. Lots of Watery DJs now have there Face For Radio showing on FaceBook. Nice thing is it is free! Regards, Eric. That'll be Eric Wiltsher, when you search FaceBook’.

Wonderful article received by normal mail from Andrew Emmerson from Northhampton. Also a dedicated follower of radio since the sixties and a steam train lover too, like many of us. The article came from the ‘new century news maker’ and featured Pete Waterman talking to Andy Milne. Seems that Pete, who was and still is part of the famous trio producers ‘Stock, Aitken and Waterman’ has also a great love for steam trains. But most surprisingly was his love for radio as he told Andy: ‘I set up an audition on a pirate radio station, Radio City. Only the owner, Reg Calvert, was shot dead before I could do it! The station based on a fort in the Thames Estuary shut down. Pirate Radio itself was outlawed in 1967.’ Further on in the article it was mentioned that he made it into radio at a later stage at Radio City, the landbased ILR station in Liverpool where he did his own rock show.’

Well Andrew thank you for sharing with us. Still remember you sent me decades ago a copy of a letter you sent in to Radio 390. Will see if I can’t find it in my files to republish it one day in the Hans Knot International Radio Report.

In my postal box another production from Bob Le Roi, this time called ‘Life live on Red Sands Radio.’ As we all know in the several special broadcasts remembering Offshore Radio in 2007 Red Sands Radio was ‘a first’. The first test transmission was on Friday July 13th on low power on 235 Medium Wave. The test and later broadcast were made from Red Sands Towers, once used in the sixties by Offshore Stations Radio 390, Invicta and KING. Although on very low power the signal even made Holland, where several people listened in to get back the memories from the sixties. I had expected they would bring a more Radio 390 related format. In my ears too much today’s music was played but the life reports from the tower made me and other listeners a lot happier as the presenters told a lot about their experiences on the fort.

Even a nice round tour gave us a good idea how in the sixties the fort was used. A dedicated crew also brought a lot of ‘local’ information including the famous Whitstable Oyster Festival. At the end of the year there’s the possibility to relive this special broadcast as program director Bob Le Roi produced a 56 minutes documentary which gives a bright light on those special broadcast in the pre-summer of 2007. To order your own copy you go to www.bobleroi.co.uk to find the details to order as well to see which other products you can order with him. By the way, around this time his site has made his monthly update too.


By the way also updates of other befriended sites are made around this time so don’t forget to have a look on this three sites too:

The last issue for 2007 of the ‘Horizon’ has appeared. It’s the issue 116 for November and December. In this issue more about the Ross Revenge Restoration and the way you can help with donations and materials. An article about Radio Waddenzee and the technical involvement from Caroline people. Also an interview with Jim Richman, who worked during 1965/1966 on the Fredericia as a technician. Of course Peter Moore with his story about the future on Caroline and news about the Pirates and Beer For Harwich Festival, which will be held in the Kingsway Hall in Dovercourt on December 6th,7th and 8th. For further information you can contact Richard Oxborrow on (044) (0) 1255 240601.

For more info on Horizon you can write to John Knight and his website is www.horizonmagazine.co.uk

Dear Hans, And again thanks for another fine newsletter. Last weeks I spent a lot of time on searching for "tips" from 1965 till 1969 (thanks to book Hitddossier). An awful job, till I saw a name of some kind of artist who's name is often wrote in your last newsletters. I found out that Robbie Dale had a tip with "Soul mama", way back in 1969. I was really surprised. From now on its fun to look out for another surprises to me. A short reaction, but I must let you know this. Keep up the good work Hans! Rob Veld.’

Well Rob in the meantime you’ve already the mp3 file of the song. More songs by offshore deejays can be found in the online journal for media and music culture run by Ger Tillekens and me on www.soundscapes.info
Just click right on ‘Zeezenderdiscografie’ and go for the item singing deejays. By the way anyone interested in Robbie Dale’s Soul Mama just send an e mail to Hknot@home.nl

A self proclaimed "radio anorak" is attempting to get into the Guinness Book of Records for having the biggest collection of radio station mugs in the UK. Richard Stuart from Belcoo in Northern Ireland now has over 117 mugs from different radio stations across Britain but needs many more! Affectionately known as ‘The Mug Man’, he is now appealing to radio stations everywhere to send him a mug to help him get into the record books. If you have a mug you’d like to send Richard, get in touch. The more mugs the better! Richard's quest first came to light when Freelance Journalist Rodney Edwards interviewed him for the Impartial Reporter in County Fermanagh. http://www.richardsmugs.com

I got an e mail from Colin Nichol in Australia who thought that Graham Gill just stayed in Europe for the Radio Day after he visited the London August gig too. I wrote to Colin that it was not true as since 1967 Graham lives in Amsterdam. And this is what Colin wrote back: ‘Hi Hans - and thank you for the information. Now you remind me, I did know Graham was established in Holland - just had forgotten. There is a lot to remember of everyone - you are so good at remembering everything! Somewhere, I have at least one letter from him. It will turn up. By the way, I might mention: There is currently an exhibition on my early career, here in the capital city of Perth. It is in the Museum of Performing Arts at our major theatre, His Majesty's Theatre, in the heart of the city. I didn't know they were to do it until it opened. I had sent material to them long ago for their archives and thought that was that, but now have had to come face-to-face with myself and with what I did in music and radio, before I even left for Europe. It is, I feel, quite impressively displayed and covers only my work in radio and promoting and presenting live shows etc, not my acting period and goes just to my starting at Radio Caroline, so is just a section. There are photographs, posters, newspaper stories and other cuttings, various documents etc. I have now sent them the remainder of my material covering that period, including my Western Australian Hall of Fame Award - they may as well have it all. I am still sorting out the rest of the last 50 years since I started in radio (June 1957). Much material has gone to and been accepted by the: State Library of Western Australia, Music Library of Western Australia, State Library of South Australia, Girl Guides Association (!), Sound and Vision Museum, Fremantle City Library, Museum of Performing Arts, National Archives and so on. It must all find a home and I am wondering who might most appreciate my piles of pirate press cuttings, photos and memorabilia. I am trying to put as much as I can on-line first, but that is taking time, with everything else I am doing here. An afterthought, which occurred to me when I had just now signed off. It struck me as amusing that, at my age, I should end up on display in a museum! How appropriate. Call a taxidermist!

Another thing I'm involved with here, is a documentary on the early days of rock and roll here in Western Australia. I'm only indirectly involved in that I have given information, contacts, leads and a good deal of material. I don't think they will be using me directly. It is being put together by a young group, so that means they think that rock began in the Sixties or even Seventies and I have been doing my best to point out that if they want to focus on AC/DC and Bon Scott (a local group from here in WA) and others of that period, they need to look at how it all began and how the ground was laid from about 1955 onwards. However, it is very difficult for them to understand. I have done my best! If they send me a copy of it, I'll endeavour to get it to you, but can't promise anything just yet. Colin.

Staying in Australia there came an e mail from Phil: ‘Hi Hans and thanks for another great report. I know you must be so busy with Radio Day, so I’ll be brief. This information probably isn’t of interest to your newsletter readers, but since you published the story of our landbased stations (Thames Radio/Radio Britannia – the only middle-of-the-road London station 1969-1975), I was inspired to dig out some old stuff from the loft. I attach;
• A newspaper cutting from early days that mentions the MOA and Trafalgar rally.
• A Press Release from Conservatory Party member about “free radio”
Paul Bryan was a distinguished gentleman who was decorated for his great war service. As an opposition Member of Parliament in the late 60's he was pro-commercial radio, and was keen to support landbased pirates who expressed an interest in getting a licence and we met with him in the House of Commons.

After Edward Heath became Prime Minister, Bryan served as Minister of State for Employment until 1972, when he returned to the backbenches with a consolatory knighthood. Despite his loyalty, Bryan was one of the first Conservative Party MPs after the Labour victories of 1974 to suggest openly that it was time for Heath to go. After Mrs Thatcher's election as leader, Bryan alternated his business interests with work on backbench committees. After politics, Bryan was, at various times, director of Granada TV Rental, Granada Television, Granada Theatres and several insurance companies. He was chairman of Croydon Cable Television from 1985. He died in 1994.

Anyway, cheers Hans, and all the best. Phil Sydney, Australia.

Well Phil of course also landbased history is part of the game and most interesting to see back for the readership in my report. So thanks a lot for sharing.

Not much later Phil came back to me with more: ‘Hi again Hans, A story published today in our Australian weekend newspaper. It mentions Caroline's attempt to use Roughs Tower as a base. But I think this is wrong. My understanding is that they did consider using the old fort, but decided against it. Not because they were forced off. Do you agree? Cheers Phil.

Thanks Phil and yes there was an attempt by Caroline people to get the fort. I know it’s all history but it’s also the truth. Thanks for sending the article which of course can be enlarged by the readers. If you, as a reader, have anything to share don’t hesitate to send it in to Hknot@home.nl (for the news and memories) and www.hans.knot@gmail.com for the jpg’s

Recently I saw another article about Bart van Gogh, who’s a very successful producer in jingles in Holland for many decades. After his career in radio he went to work for To Format Productions in Haarlem, which was once owned by Ren Groot – who had an offshore background himself. It reminded me to the short period Bart worked in offshore radio. It was in the month of February 1977 that he went, under the name Eric Beekman, on board the MV Mi Amigo – then anchored off the British Coast. On the radioship where in those days two radiostations, Radio Caroline as well as Radio Mi Amigo. The later one was a Dutch language station which brought programming partly from cassettes, recorded by on land staff in Spanish Playa de Aro. Another part of the programming was presented live and Eric was only twelve days on the radioship as he got in severe problems during his first stint and was taken off by a life-boat. Let’s see what I found back in my archive on this accident, more than 30 years ago.

An excellent coverage was given to the event by the local newspaper The East Anglian Daily Times on March 1st: "Riddle of sick youth taken off pop pirate ship” Mystery surrounds the Dutch youth, who was brought ashore seriously ill early yesterday by the Walton-on-the-Naze lifeboat from the pop pirate ship Radio Caroline moored 12 miles off the Essex coast. After 17-year-old Bart van Gogh, a crewman on the pop ship was landed at the sea end of Walton Pier he was pushed by ambulancemen the three-quarter-mile length of the pier in a wheeled stretcher and was then taken by ambulance to Essex County Hospital at Colchester. A spokesman for the hospital said last night they were not allowed to give any information about him. When the lifeboat drew alongside Radio Caroline he was lowered into the lifeboat by disc jockeys, crew, and two young British girls. Walton-on-the-Naze lifeboat coxswain Frank Bloom said: 'One of the girls wanted to accompany the youth but I refused to take her.

The late Frank Bloom

When we arrived back at Walton she could have been arrested, normally no ships are allowed near to pirate radio ships unless it’s a question of saving life. The boy had been ill for more than a week. He was very frightened and naturally did not want to come ashore dreading the consequences. The youth collapsed twice during the day and the crew feared for 'his life'. The lifeboat was forced to make a 50-mile roundtrip to negotiate treacherous sandbanks and was at sea for more than six hours. Because of the boy's condition the coxswain had offered to reduce the speed of the lifeboat. Coxswain Frank Bloom received a telephone call last night on behalf of members of the Free Radio Association thanking the crew for bringing the boy ashore. The incident poses the question of whether the youth is contravening the Marine Broadcasting (Offences) Act 1967. The Dutch Government also introduced legislation similar to that of the United Kingdom on September 1st 1974. Under the Act anybody who assists in the operation of a pirate radio broadcasting station is liable to three months' imprisonment or a fire of up to 400 Pounds or both. A Home Office spokesman said last night prosecution is not a matter for them but for the police. He said they will insist that when the boy is discharged from hospital that he leaves the country although there is no indication that he will want to stay. An Essex police spokesman said no action had been taken at this stage". Some days later Eric Beekman, aka Bart van Gogh, was taken to Holland accompanied by his mother, he flew over from Holland. Of course in my readership there a others who have been taken from a radio ship due to illness or other problems. If you do recall this and want to share this memories too, please tell us our story at Hknot@home.nl

Elsewhere in this issue of the report I told you already where to go to see the enormous amount of photographs taken at the ynnual Radio Day. This year for the first time the bi-annual Radio Awards were presented and one was given to Bull, Hendrik, Verwey, the 98 year old legend from Radio Veronica. First his eldest son Jan Jaap would come to Amsterdam to get the Award in name of his father. Unlucky he was as he couldn’t come due to sudden illness. However granddaughters Maaike and Dorien drove to Amsterdam to bring the Award for Outstanding Performance in Offshore Radio to Bull later that evening. Some days later I had a phone chat with the former Director (together with his brothers) of the offshore radiostation Veronica and he stated that he was very happy to have the award at home and above that it was a good sign so many people still love the old Veronica above what they call now ‘Veronica’ in Holland. “ “This shows that there is still respect for the hard working people within my team in those days.“

Another Photo from November 10th shows what was happening during the evening hours. Some 70 people, guests, former and nowadays radio people, as well as some personal friends of the organisers went to a Chinese Restaurant for the Radio Day Dinner. It was well organised by Rob Olthof and he went to several restaurants during the summer, to taste their kitchen. Now you now why Rob was so much thicker as in 2006. On the photo you see Ron O’Quinn, Roger Day and myself Hans Knot.
(Photo taken by Stella Robinson)

An e mail from someone who missed the boat to Amsterdam to join us at the party is next: ‘Hello Hans, since that day in August at Sugar Reef in London, I've been very pleased to be receiving your reports. I assume that that is as a result of having met Martin van der Ven, and exchanging cards with him. I find your reports fascinating, and have learnt several things that I was not aware of back then in the mid -sixties. I have been forwarding your report to Dave Gillbee who was for a long time on Britain Radio / 355 as Dave McKay. It would be good if you could add Dave to your mailing list, to make sure that I don't forget to send him a copy one day. Originally, we had both hoped to be coming to your Radio Day, but in the end it was not possible for either of us. Perhaps next time.
All the best, Hans, keep up the good work. Woolf Byrne.'

Well thanks a lot Woolf, I’ve added Dave and maybe Martin and I will have something special in mind for next year's Radio Day for the first thoughts how to program that day have already exchanged between the two of us.

Here you see another photo which I took during the Radio Day. It shows a very young John Ross Barnard as well as today’s young happy man! The old photograph was taken as a promotional picture in the days he worked for Radio Invicta. A listener from those days brought the picture as well as many original letters from several stations with him to Amsterdam.

Next an e mail which shows there’s still interest outside Holland, England and Belgium in the newspapers for the subject Veronica. It’s Journalist Bert Alting from Holland who was interviewed by an Italian newspaper about his favourite radiostation from the past. Have a look on:

Listening tip came in from Amsterdam to tune in to an internet station which plays a lot of soul music. It originates from German and calls itself the most sexiest station in the world. It’s also to receive on Astra satellite.

During the last few weeks suddenly the former Veronica ship, which has been used during the past 15 years on several locations in Holland and Belgium as a party ship, is back in the news. First it was Jelle Boonstra from Zwolle who sent me a press report from the town government of the city, in which was announced that the owners of the Veronica ship have asked for permission for a permanent place at a quayside in Zwolle. The mayor and his right hands are positive for the idea as the ship is an icon in Dutch pop history. But first there will be a hearing with the people who are living around the potential place for the ship. Within two weeks the Algemeen Dagblad brought an newsflash that there was also a possibility that the Veronica ship would get a place in the historic harbour. People, including Klaas Kooistra and his companion Joop ten Cate say they’ve found enough backers to finance the plans. Already more than three years ago Joop ten Cate was in the news several times with his plans. Maybe there’s more news in the Christmas edition of the Hans Knot International Radio Report. When you’ve something of interest for this edition please don’t hesitate to sent it in to Hknot@home.nl It could be you were on a radiostation in international waters or elsewhere doing special radio programs. Sit down and take some 20 minutes to write down what your memories are about that special occasion.

Then an e mail from Burkhard Nowotny in Germany who is also interested in radio for many ages. He advises to have a look at the next link on internet. And Burkhard as ever, thank you so much

Next we go to Australia and one from the former SRE people who did not attend the Radio Day due to personal circumstances: ‘Congratulations on your spiffy new Radi Award in Amsterdam.. I've promised Hans I'll get to one of those things (hopefully 2008). Then I’ve an holiday gig. Well a couple years after my pirate days I found myself being Santa Claus on the radio in San Juan, P.R. doing a bilingual (Feliz Nadvidad-Merry Christmas) North Pole call-in with Puerto Rican children. And today, the Big Guy is back red suit and all in Adelaide's celebrated Magic Cave, the most noted Santa venue in the country. Now I know how Hans felt labouring under all that stuff for so long. Cheers and Ho Ho Ho for now, Jack (aka Father Christmas) Curtiss.

Santa ‘Jack Curtiss’

Then another listening tip. On Sunday December 13 20.00 hrs CET there will be a documentary from Guido Meyer called ‘The history of Radio Luxembourg’. It will be presented in German on SWR2 http://www.swr2.de

We learnt versus Martin van der Ven the next about Keith King: ’Good to see your site static and original as ever on the web. I do not know if I mentioned but in May I had a heart attack, resolved by medication which is working well. It is a genetic problem and I am having regular cholesterol checks. Feeling great in myself and as active as ever. I have just moved from adsl to cable and hence a change of web address to http://wirelesswaffle.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk - I was hoping for the Virgin media web address but they say I have to use the blueyonder server. Keith.

Well Keith in name of the readers hopefully all will be going upwards with your health and keep enjoying the radio hobby!

Sometimes it takes month before a nickname appears in the report. This time we have three. In a show on Caroline International we learnt that Mark Sloane was named ‘Misses’ Sloane. In a 1970 program presented by a then very young Crispian St. John I heard him talking about Alan ‘Wireless Waffling’ West. And Graham’ Grasilda’ Gill was on the phone for a long chat and he reminded me that the best memories he had was working for Radio 390. There, he told me, was also David Sinclair, who was called ‘Sinkers’. For the long list of nicknames I can advice you to have a look on www.hansknot.com where also a lot of old issues of the Hans Knot Radio Report are published.

Martin van der Ven scooped another interesting internetsite. Here you find from the air the Ross Revenge, the Caroline radio ship, in the harbour of Tilbury.

Earlier on we brought the story of the rescue of Eric Beekman, who was taken off the Mi Amigo, way back in 1977 by a team from the Walton on the Naze coastguard. It reminded me on the endless publications in British as well as in Dutch newspapers through the decades about offshore radio stations which were interfering on communications between coastguards and rescue vessels. I went upstairs and had a look to find out when the first message was in my archive about this subject. And I can reveal that is from the very early days of British Offshore Radio. On Monday March 30th 1964 The Daily Mail reported the next in a news story written by Michael O’Flaherty: ‘Coastguards protested last night that pop music from the floating radio station Caroline could hamper life-saving operations at sea. Their warning came after a day of interference with communications between coastguard stations and light ships around the south and east coasts. Radio Caroline is at present based at six miles of Felixstowe, outside territorial waters. The station a 763 ton converted passenger ship has been transmitting from 6am to 6 pm since Saturday in practice broadcasting. Full relays are due to start in a fortnight. Men in the lightships heard non stop pop music as they contacted the shore. A coastguard said last night: “The frequencies used by Deal in Kent and Walton on the Naze Essex are very close to that used by Radio Caroline. Lightships are effected today. Tomorrow it could be lifeboats, as these frequencies are very close too. Coastguards at Walton and Deal protested to Trinity House, which has overall control of rescue operations by lifeboats. Trinity House it to take up the matter with the Postmaster General Mr. Reginald Bevins. The Post Office said that the pirate broadcasts had been causing fairly serious disruption of ship to shore communications from the station at North Foreland in Kent. As spokesman added: “We regard these broadcasts as contrary in International regulations. It is difficult to get them stopped while the ship is outside territorial waters. But the Council of Europe is shortly to consider some way of preventing this type of broadcasts.”

So far the story I found back from March 30th 1964 and what a luck that it took a long time the same Caroline was brought to an offshore end. On the other hand it’s since 1990, some 17 years ago, we heard proper offshore radio on our transistor radio.

When I was searching in the archive for the above mentioned newspaper clip from late March 1964, a lot of other interesting material took my attention. This was including a leaflet which was sent out to those who became a member of the Caroline Club in. During the period 1964 and 1967 three different leaflets were sent out, all having the same idea but other names mentioned as it turned out there where changes within the deejay team. The first issue names included from the presentation staff were Chris Moore, Simon Dee, Doug Kerr, Carl Conway, Tom Lodge, Gerry Duncan, Jerry Leighton and others. All info about those guys can be found back on Award Winners site The Pirate Hall of Fame. One name however I couldn’t find. Also in my hugh audio archive the name is not listed, so no recording of him is available. So here we go, who has more information on Tony Jay than the info I’ve got: ‘Tony Jay was a friend of Jimmy Seville. In 1964 he was 25 years young and a former school teacher and born in Glenamman, which is in South Wales. He was educated at the university in Bangor. His first experience in broadcasting was when he appeared in a BBC program, still being a schoolboy at the age of 11. After leaving college he became a teacher at Eastbury School in Barking Essex. After a year he left school to earn his money as a deejay in a ballroom in London. Also several clubs in the country hired him for a one night stint. He came to Caroline after sending an audition tape to Chris Moore. ‘

Tony Jay (Caroline Archive)

So the big questions are: Who ever heard him on Caroline and who knows his present whereabouts. All answers can be send to Hknot@home.nl

Well this is ending the early December edition of the Hans Knot International Radio Report. And don’t forget I want a lot of memories for the next Christmas edition. So what was your best radio Christmas. And that does count for the deejays as well as their listeners. Please do all sent your memories by e mail to me before December 15th. Thanks a lot on forehand

Hans Knot



Offshore Deejays' Nicknames


Female Offshore Radio Deejays


Radio London Commercials


Offshore Radio Programme Names - Programmanamen Zeezenders 1958-1990


Read Hans Knot's former report