Hans Knot's International Radio Report - April 2008
Hi to you all and
welcome to another edition of the Hans Knot International Radio Report.
I hope all is well with you. Thanks for all your e mails and as usual
the interesting ones are getting a mention.
First over to a former BBC presenter, Chris Baird: ‘Dear Hans, hope you are well and that all parts are bearing equal strain. Just a short note to tell you that I have retired from the BBC. I'm now living near Felixstowe and most days look out towards Walton and Clacton, and gaze at the waters three and a half miles out. Nice to be by the coast after 30 years in land and near the home of offshore radio. Are you in touch with any old DJ's who were with IDA in Copenhagen in the early seventies, it would be good to swap stories of those wild days. Last May I went back to Copenhagen on a sentimental visit to see if an of the old clubs were still there. Sadly they have either been pulled down or like the Circle Club is now being converted to up market city centre apartments.
Cheers for the present, Chris Baird.
Thanks Chris, well it must be very interesting to wake up every morning. Anyone who has or had contacts within or with the IDA in Denmark please contact Chris via Hknot@home.nl
Next one is from William Shimmin: ‘I’ve been reading your radio report for a very long time and have never emailed to thank you for it. Recently I was clearing out my attic and came across this photo which I took of the Oceaan 7 in Whitby harbour shortly after the MOA. I thought you might like to add it to your collection. Regards, William Shimmin.'
That’s a wonderful picture which brought me to the idea to share it with all my readers. Talking about Photos it was Marcel Poelman who sent us the next internet link whereby ‘grensbewaking’ stands for border guard. Photos from the Aegir as well the MEBO II can be found: http://grensbewaking.atspace.com/pics%20GBfoto/fotoboek7/fotoboek7.htm
A second internet address he sent to us is about a English shortwave pirate: http://www.geocities.com/wnkr_sw/
Another link came from Phil in Sydney, Australia and got me back to very good memories as not only the book mentioned is the best there is ever published on Offshore Radio, but I also had very good time with the author Rob Chapman, who’s also a reader of the Hans Knot International Report:
News from the friends at Offshore Echos: ‘The largely forgotten pre-war, ancestor of free radio broadcasters, since Fécamp and Louvetot, in the heart of the Country of Caux, France. It broadcast to Paris, London, Boston and even... to Japan! It was the most listened to "station" that even broadcast overnight in English at night and on Sundays! The Offshore Echos website has now updated it pages, with more pictures, audio and documentary material. The Radio Normandy story has pages in both English and French language.
|RADIODAY 2008 SATURDAY
Just a bit more than 6 months before we get together again, that is the readers who decide to come over to Amsterdam. It’s 30 years ago we had our first annual event and so we like to invite you all to the Radio Day which will be held on Saturday November 8th. Soon Martin van der Ven and I will go out for a day to enjoy ourselves with a visit on the Waddenzee to the radio ship from Radio Waddenzee. During this May 3rd visit we will discuss the possibilities for guests we want to invite in November.
Like other years it’s possible to pay on forehand with reduced price. The Foundation for Media Communication asked me to inform that Dutch and Belgian visitors who want to visit the annual Radio Day with reduced rate can pay 7 Euros to postal account 4065700 of Mediacommunicatie Amsterdam:
IBAN NL 37 PSTB 0004 0657 00
For anyone outside Belgium and Holland please contact Media Communication for reduced prices at Rob@mediacommunicatie.nl
Samferdselsnostalgi 2: Norske passasjerbåter 1959-1985
Arne Tvedt from Norway did sent a very interesting report about his search for more about former Cheeta II: ‘Here is the story of “Mosken” (”Cheeta II”)
1924: July Delivered from Trosvik Mek. Verksted, Brevik. Norway as ”MOSKEN” to Vesteraalens Dampskipsselskab, Stokmarknes. Norway. 410 gross tons 149, 6 (oa), 140, 6 x 32, 1 x 16-10. Triple expansion 429 ihp 10 knots.
1957: Mars. Sold to Sivert Bakke, Bergen renamed “Habat”
1960: Sold to Radio Mercur.
”Mosken” in Bergen 1930 in The Hurtigruten, Bergen - Kirkenes (postcard)
”Mosken”(Cheeta II) illustrated by Baard Kolltveit. From the book Lokalbaaten (Local steamer).
Well Arne that’s realy very interesting and wonderful illustrated too. But Arne did sent more:
And her is the story of M/V”Mebo” taken from: http://www.warsailors.com/homefleet/shipsb1.html#Bj
(Source: Ofotens og Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskab ASA fleet list, Finn R. Hansen). Other ships by this name: The company later had another Bjarkøy. This ship was originally contracted for Namdalens Aktie-Dampskibsselskap, Namsos in March-1939 to be delivered by A/S Trondhjems mek. Verksted in July-1940 with the intended name Herlaug, but she was seized by the Germans and launched as Heimdal on May 27-1941, rebuilt to fit their purposes in June that year. At war's end she was taken over by Direktoratet for Fiendtlig Eiendom (Dept. of Enemy Property). Sold on Aug. 2-1946 to Erling Sannes, Bodø, rebuilt in Sweden Oct.-1946, fitting out completed at Risør 1947. Completed in Aug.-1948 and sold to Troms Fylkes Dampskibsselskap, renamed Bjarkøy, 347 gt, 135 passengers. Sold on June 4-1969 to MEBO Ltd. Telecommunication, Zürich, registered in Panama, renamed Mebo - in use as floating radio station in the North Sea. Renamed Angela I in 1982, still in service 1990's.
Her is a picture taken from:
Mv Bjarkøy in route Steinfjord -
Gryllefjord, ytre Senja. Norway
Many thanks Arne for sending us this very interesting information and also the fact that the MEBO I was still in use in the 1990’s. If you as a reader have something to share don’t hesitate to do so by sending in photos and other material to Hans.Knot@gmail.com and just the memories to Hknot@home.nl
March 19th was the funeral of Chris Cary and it was Don Stevens who sent me a report: ‘I have just returned from a wonderful day, celebrating the life and the man, our friend, Chris. Friends are still with Sybil and Family, celebrating a good life, well spent, and rich in endeavour. The Service at Christ Church, Esher was enlightening, full of Tributes and Memories of the 20th Century's most colourful and enterprising broadcaster and innovator. Johnnie Walker gave a warm and detailed tribute to Chris on the Caroline, during the dark months of 1967, when Chris went out to serve the cause of Free Radio. Tony Prince detailed Chris in the 1970's, Radio Luxembourg and all that fun, and did so in a very inventive manner. John Clarke made a profound and sincere tribute to the Chris Cary of the 1980's and Nova, his words were full of passion and affection, and gave an insight into the man we all love and know.
Dobie Gray 'Drift Away' and The Eagles 'The Best of My Love' featured, as did an audio memory produced by Tony Currie, Mike Knight and Enda Caldwell (featuring excellent quality recordings from the 60's to the 80's) with the equipment for playback brought in from Luxembourg by Mike and Enda. Chris left the Service to the Mike Post and the 'Theme from Hill Street Blues' and he and the family left for a private burial. The rest of the celebrants went on to The Gathering at the Hilton Hotel, Cobham and enjoyed food and refreshments and a superb photo display in the main room. Glasses were raised to a Great Man, now, safely away to a new journey. Some tears were shed for the loss of a friend who would not phone again, or share a joke, but these tears were more for a loss of the company of the man. For they also were tears of happiness, for another great adventure undertaken by Chris. Later, back at the family home, more fine thoughts were shared and glasses raised again for a man who never gave in, who strove for adventure and success in equal measure, who shared his good fortune.'
Thanks Don to share this with us.
The people at Rainbow see theirself as ‘illegal pirates’: ‘Hi Hans, on 3935 Khz is 24 hours a day a illegal pirate radiostation with a number of ex offshore deejays still active in 2008 and others, and old offshore recordings. Its Radio Rainbow and laserhothits working together to keep this dream alive ! Please promote this site and forward this information.Thank you!
Last month I wrote, by many other things, about Bill Rollins. One of the readers in Belgium read it and wrote me how cold memories he had visiting Mellow 1557 together with his late mother. Also he advised to visit the next internet site: http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Academy/1557/mellow.html
Next one comes from Veronica technician Ad Bouman: ‘Hello Hans a small reaction on one of the articles in your report. You can see I read everything (well almost everything). About DJ King I can reveal after many years that it was Jaap de Groot who did record the songs and not Stevie Gee as you wrote in your last report. Jaap de Groot played guitar for a long time in ZZ and the Maskers and later became deejay with NCRV Radio. In 1970 he also worked as a clubdeejay in the Kings Club in Amsterdam. The mentioned songs were co written by Jaap de Groot and Stevie Gee and I did the production in the Sound Push Studio. On the record Little MA Production is mentioned. M A stood for the two first letters of the name from my little son Marcel, who was very young at that stage. We chose this production name to prevent trouble with the Veronica owners that I had produced the songs.’
Thanks a lot Ad for sending the information. And so after many decades step by step we learn more about Stevie Gee and his Dutch connections.
Remember our special Elderly Home ‘Radio Amigos’, as mentioned in the last Hans Knot International Radio Report? Well some knew some didn’t but it was realy a first of April joke. Martin van der Ven, Rob Olthof and me spent a very remarkable evening on August 4th last year, a very warm summer day at a terrace next to a pub in Paddington. There all the ideas came together. Well from the many e-mails we got on the plan a special internet page has been made. Do enjoy it please!
This forthcoming summer it’s 50 years ago that the big boom in Offshore Radio in Europe started. In August I’ve a guest writer in the report who will focus on the way that Radio Mercur was started and the inspiration from the Danish "pirate" to other offshore stations. It’s the author of the book ‘Pirater I Aeteren’, Henrik Noorgard, who will be the guest writer. He had also some other news in his e mail: ‘By the way a Danish film company is planning to make a movie based on the story of Mercur, but it is not likely to be ready until quite a while after the "birthday".
Really great news, Henrik and we look forward reading your special story. In last issue I mentioned Border Radio and Paul from Basildon suggested to have a listen to a special on BBC Radio Four in the archive to be found at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/borderblaster/pip/61vfg/
Edward Waterson offered a few reports back his newspaper cuttings to the readers. He came back with the results: ‘Gentlemen, given the fact that we're all anoraks in this together, I thought it might be useful to record who got what from the cuttings. Chris Dannatt took the bulk of it. He has the Flashback'67 exhibition. Hans Knot put in a claim for the Radio 270 folder, which I'm holding
till Paul Rusling has been through it. Paul's hoping to do a comprehensive book on the station. Phil Crosby (in Australia) wanted RNI period in particular. Richard Walker is making a detailed study of Caroline from 14/8/67 - 3/3/68, so he's got that file. Please get in touch with each other if you want to know exactly what's in the pickings. I hope you'll share it and that it's not going to end
up on Ebay. I've not asked for any money for the stuff but if you feel like it, give something to a local charity, or send me a cheque and I'll forward it to the York Minster Appeal. Enjoy! Edward Waterson.’
Really a good idea to share it Edward and to avoid someone is making a lot of money of it by selling the package on Ebay.
Here’s another internetpage where you can see a video which shows a trip to the former REM-island
Talking about the REM island, the main part still lies in the harbour of Scheveningen but lately some newspapers brought the news that it will be taken to the former Amsterdam Houthaven where it will be renovated and become a restaurant. Owner Nick hopes to open the doors in the summer of 2009.
Ricardo van Liere from Philippine took this photograph in Vlissingen
Clive is next with: ‘Hi Hans, I expect you have already been informed already, but Mike Brand, a regular Anorak contributor from Israel, was one of seven staff of Ram fm, arrested by the Israeli authorities on Monday 7th April when they raided the Jerusalem studio and silenced the Jerusalem transmitter of the English language station licensed by the Palestinian Authority. Mike and his colleague Arda present the 12hr-15hr Lunchtime show. The authorities claim that the station was operating illegally but this is just not the case and the events are likely to be taken to court by the station owners. The station continues on air as normal from the Ramallah studio (without Mike of course) and on their main 93.6 frequency. Mike and his colleagues were held by the police overnight and placed under house arrest for 7 days and not allowed to make any contact with the station or other colleagues. Regards Clive Roper.’
Thanks Clive and yes due to the fact I also write for a few media magazines I do have a few contacts in the Middle East who did inform me on the action of the Israeli Authorities. More everyone can find on the next internetsite: http://un-truth.com/israel/seven-ram-fm-radio-staff-released-but-still-under-gag-as-police-investigation-continues
Let’s hope Mike is strong enough to fight the battle!
Mike Barraclough reminds us about Radio Fax: ’It is the 20th anniversary of the launch of Radiofax, the ground breaking Short-Wave radio station. Listen again to the first four test transmission broadcasts from the 1st to 4th of April (Easter weekend) 1988:
http://www.radiofax.org/audio_1988.html or Podcast feed http://www.radiofax.org/podcast_1988.xml
More about the station and it's campaign to get a UK shortwave licence: http://www.radiofax.org
But Mike had also another interesting item about two videos posted to YouTube:
A 8 minute TV news magazine report on offshore radio including visit to Caroline North where Roger Gale is interviewed, interview with Ronan, visit to Manx Radio:
More footage of Caroline North, interview with speaker of the House of Keys 17th August 1967:
Kenny Tosh also put some interesting videos on the internet:’Hello Hans, A few personal videos that I've been putting on you tube of Don Allen:
Thanks a lot to the both of you Mike and Kenny!
Next an email from Frank from Great Britain: ‘I am a lifelong fan of the Wonderful Radio Caroline, ever since the beginning. Two weeks ago I met Charlotte Ribbelink in Amsterdam and she gave me your e-mail and website address. It is a delight looking through the old photos and reading stories and information about the people and boats that made so many millions(billions?) of listeners so very happy. If a song was played on Caroline you knew it would be good music. I have enclosed a picture from 1974 (I think) when we came to the boat from England -great day! I have some more somewhere , but it will take some searching. I am very keen on photography and travelling, so I have masses of memories dating back to the sixties and before. May I please say that in my opinion the Radio Caroline birth and transmissions totally changed the music world for the better. Thank you for that! And all the DJ's too!
I have some websites myself and include the details here. Please feel free to look www.babafk.co.uk
I wish you all the best and will be looking through your website much more (so much to read! greetings from Frank (babafk).’ Well Frank thanks for the nice words and sharing the photograph. Feel always free to send more with best greetings Hans.
One the day the last report was send out sad news came in: ’Hi Hans, I’m bringing more bad news for you to report. Phil Mitchell, Radio Caroline deejay 1975 died yesterday, he had suffered a stroke some years ago and never really did recover. I served with him on the Mi Amigo and also run WFRL with him in London. He was a good friend, a sad loss. Robbie Duke.’ Also Colin Lamb came with the same sad news. It was January 3rd 2005 the news of the stroke came in and Phil was brought into Colchester Hospital. In the three years gone by sometimes there was a little step forward but he, unlucky enough, had no change to recover. Next to Colin and Robbie it was Don Stevens who worked together with Don and sent in the next:’ Memories of Phil, yes, I have loads, mostly pre-offshore radio Hans. Phil ran a Big L 'homage' radio station in London, a pirate, naturally, for many years in North London. Callsign, WFRL (Wonderful Free Radio London). He was the first pirate to use tower blocks to get his signal out there, and he used AM kit, so, his signal was excellent, sounded powerful and had range.
That is how I got know Phil, we became good pals, and I was often in his studio in Tottenham, London to swap jingles and programme ideas. When I was prevented from returning to Caroline in Summer 1975, I suggested to Oonagh that Phil would be a good replacement for me (I was under house observation by the Home Office) and later Phil joined me in Israel on The Voice of Peace. Phil was a good bloke Hans, passionate about Big L, his family and I used to be very close before I left for Israel, at least he is in a better place. I'm thinking of 'Big Lil', Phil would have liked that, Don’
A shot on board The Peace Ship. Left to Right, James Ross, Don Stevens, PHIL MITCHELL and Richard Jackson. Taken sometime in 1977 0r 1978, we were chilling out on the hatch covers. (Archive Don Stevens).
Thanks Don for the nice words. As a memory to Phill Mitchel I would love to republish a chapter from the book "Wet and Wild History of Radio Caroline”, which I edited and was published in 2004. The chapter has been written by Phil Mitchell, who not only worked for Radio Caroline on the MV Mi Amigo, but also did a lot of experience on land based pirate stations; not forgetting in international waters off the Israeli coast on the famous Voice of Peace, which was set up in the late 1960s from a former Groningen coaster, called the MV Cito by Peace-fighter Abe Nathan.
To say I was excited
would be an understatement by any stretch of the imagination. Sure, I
had worked on plenty of "land based" pirate radio stations in the past,
WFRL, Radio Kaleidoscope, NOVA and a number of others I'm not quite so
proud of and would rather not mention. But this was altogether
different; it was the big one. The job that other deejays would only
ever dream of: the very radio station that influenced my teenage years.
I had been offered a job on Radio Caroline. It was a chilly autumn
afternoon in October 1974 when three of us, Simon Barrett, James Ross
and I, met Ronan O'Rahilly in a pub on the Kings Road, Chelsea. He
furtively furnished us with hastily scribbled details of contacts and
addresses necessary for our trip out to the "Mi Amigo" and then left in
a hurry for a meeting with, we were later informed, George Harrison. It
was all so wonderfully cloak-and-dagger in those days. In later years I
often have a little laugh to myself when I recall the extreme lengths we
went to keeping the details of our departure secret. The majority of the
travel arrangements were left to us: passports, tickets for the ferry to
France, negotiations with the tender Captain and so on would all become
second nature in time. But for the time being, this was all new and
exciting to me. Within the short space of a two or three days, we landed
in France, each of us heavily laden with large, dark blue "British
Airways" bags, crammed full of albums for Radio Caroline's record
library. After traipsing around for a couple of hours, we eventually
found the tender Captain in a bar in the waterfront area of Boulogne,
where he was enthusiastically consuming vast amounts of red wine.
Although we had only disembarked from the ferry a few hours before, all
of us were keen to put to sea again and get out to the ship. I will
never forget our looks and feelings of disappointment when we enquired
about our departure. He muttered something to the barman, which none of
us could fully understand, but contained a fair amount of French
expletives and seemed to be a subject of great hilarity between the two
men, and then glared at us through his heavy, bloodshot eyes, before
slurring bluntly: "Non, not today!" Dismayed by his decision, but
undeterred we left the bar after arranging to meet him the next day.
We managed to scrape together just enough money between us to spend our first night in a small fleapit hotel in the town, but for the following three nights we were forced to sleep rough on the tiled kitchen floor of a benevolent Frenchman's house who was sympathetic to our plight and a Radio Caroline fan. We sustained ourselves on sticky buns of questionable origin, sweets or dried fruit and French sticks and cheese, until the Captain was sober enough to make a rational decision regarding our departure. I had been informed that the tender journey usually took about eleven or twelve hours in good conditions, but could take anything up to twenty-four hours if the weather was bad. This in itself was a daunting prospect, but despite our disappointments and hardships of the previous four days, we were all eager to get underway. It was 2.00 a.m. when, carrying fishing rods to disguise our actual reason for being at the quay at that time of the morning, we finally boarded a very small, smelly fishing boat and put to sea. Despite the discomfort of the sparsely fitted boat, we were ecstatic to be on our way at last. The sea was a little choppy, but that didn't worry us and our spirits remained high until we passed Cap Gris Nez and the weather changed for the worse.
Phil onboard the MV Mi Amigo
The little boat shuddered unnervingly, made horrible creaking noises and was tossed and buffeted until I felt sure it would fall to pieces beneath our feet. The Captain ignored our communal retching sessions over the side, apart from shouting at us to improve our aim when we threw up. He resolutely hung on to the wheel with one hand, while swigging wine from a bottle with the other, which he also used to bash a sticking compass from time to time. We had endured a nightmare roller coaster ride across the North Sea for around twelve hours, when suddenly, the clouds lifted, the wind dropped and the sun began to shine. The sea almost instantly calmed and we found ourselves surrounded by a low swirling mist, which rose eerily from the millpond sea. Our stomachs felt raw and the violent tossing of the boat had exhausted us, but even through all that, we felt like brave pioneers who had fought long and hard against the elements.
The Captain started to express doubts whether he could find the MV Mi Amigo in the mist, even suggesting at one point that we should turn back and try again tomorrow. But we were having none of it, and determined that we should not give up, particularly after enduring that awful, sick making, sleepless night. I suddenly remembered that I had a radio in my bag and insisted that with this invaluable piece of equipment, I could easily find the ship by direction finding. The Captain mumbled incoherently to himself for a while and then began swearing at us under his breath, before reluctantly agreeing to give it a try. If truth were known, I had no idea whether or not I could actually do it, but I had seen it done and I thought. "What the hell! We've come this far by what seemed to be the seats of our pants, how hard can it be?" The Captain glanced at me dubiously as I clambered up onto the bow, tuned the radio to Caroline's frequency and then rotated the radio until I found the null. "That way," I announced authoritatively, waving vaguely ahead, "Caroline's over there." Quite honestly, I had absolutely no idea whether the Mi Amigo was in front or behind us, but it seemed to me that someone had to make a decision and I was it.
More by luck than judgment, we successfully navigated our way around the sand banks of the Knock Deep. Then, more than three hours later, it appeared. Like some monstrous monolith, the sixty-metre antenna mast of the MV Mi Amigo loomed above the mist. It was the most wonderful sight when we finally broke through the mist and breathed a heavy sigh of relief as we saw the little red and white ship rolling steadily in the gentle swell. Once alongside, I jumped aboard the Mi Amigo into the arms of Captain Donald and began imparting the horrors of our journey to the deejays we were replacing. To my initial surprise, they were singularly unimpressed by our ordeal. But they were all old hands at dealing with what I eventually named "The Radio Caroline Dis-organisation." Once on board, I just couldn't contain myself. I just had to see absolutely everything. Here I was on the very ship that had defied the government almost continuously since 1964. "This is the stuff dreams are made of," I remember thinking as I hastily stowed my gear in my appointed cabin, which was a dump, but that didn't seem to matter at the time, and began exploring the ship. It was exactly as I had seen it in magazine pictures and photographs from the 1960's. Maybe not quite as glamorous as I had imagined; but that didn't seem to matter, I was there!
Later that evening, at 10 p.m., as I opened the door of Radio Caroline's main "on air" studio to begin my first live program, I felt that I had hit the big time at last. I couldn't wait to explore the Mi Amigo; I wanted to see every nook and cranny. This was the little ship that had defied the Government for so many years, disappeared into oblivion when the Wijsmuller Company snatched it in the late 1960's, then reappeared like the proverbial phoenix in the early 1970's. I had closely followed Caroline's fortunes throughout the years with such zeal that from the moment I stepped on board, I felt that I knew it inside out, but it took me a few days to figure out why everything about the station had an uncanny familiarity about it. Finally I twigged; it was because virtually nothing had really changed that much since the 1960's. The studio, built in the 1960's on the upper deck behind the mess was still controlled by an old valve operated Gates, four channel sound mixer, which, during warm weather, produced so much heat it made the studio feel like a sauna. But despite the oppressive heat, you really had to keep the porthole shut while you had the microphone switched on, otherwise the listeners could hear the continuous drone of the generators in the background.
The turntables were Garrard 501's, I think the 1960's originals were 401's or older. Wonderful old reliable clunkers they were, in fact, I still have one at home, which I keep purely for sentimental value. But, they were ancient technology, even in the 1970's. They took a good turn and a half to reach full speed and once they got moving, could rip your arm off if you made any attempt to stop them. However, it was the old open topped Spotmaster cart machines that gave us the most trouble. These machines were cranky at best. Held together with chewing gum and string, they seemed to be intent on thwarting any attempt at smooth programming rather than do the job for which they were designed. I remember hearing Simon Dee once waxing lyrical about these things. He said how wonderful it was to have this facility of being able to bring up jingles or commercials instantly. But by now these almost "Jurassic" era machines were old, worn out and I rapidly began to suspect, possessed by some fiendish radio station gremlin. They seemed to defy any sense of rationality. If you were lucky, they would merely play the tape at completely the wrong speed, making the jingle sound like a manic Donald Duck. At their worst, and usually at a my most unprepared moments, the damn machine would grab the tape, wrench yards of it from the cart, proceed to devour it, then spew it out over the studio floor at an incredible rate. Only the occasional bouts of bad weather could cause worse problems, but having said that, we were only ever forced to play pre-recorded program tapes once because the weather was too rough to continue live programs. During very high seas, the waves would often wash over the deck and soak the undersized insulator, which connected the transmitter to the antenna. This would cause the transmitter to arc, which caused a crackling sound on your radio. However, if a large amount of water hit the insulator the transmitter would completely shut down, which would send us scurrying for the engineer to reset the controls and fire it up again. Despite these little problems, life aboard the Mi Amigo was everything I expected it to be. Food was good, beer plentiful and as many ciggies as you could smoke were free. I was, for the most part, happy. Simon Barrett, James Ross and I had a good, professional working relationship and although I say it myself, we produced some good programs and original promotions
I had been on board for about three weeks when the Dutch tender arrived with food supplies, fresh water, diesel fuel and a new crew. Among them was Peter Chicago, who was then the chief transmitter engineer. I had wanted to meet him for some time, as I knew of his reputation and had great admiration for his work on aboard the MEBO II. I can't say I was disappointed; he was a brilliant and inventive engineer, although he could sometimes be a little abrasive and pompous. That was just his way and to be fair he was under a lot of pressure, but on his better days he had a wicked sense of humour. We would break the day-to-day monotony by carefully planning and carrying out the most outrageous practical jokes on each other. Some of which, I have to say, were so disgusting that I couldn't possibly reveal them here — or anywhere else really, you just had to be there. However, one of the more harmless, but nevertheless cruel practical jokes took place late one night.
A certain deejay, who shall remain nameless, had often delighted in watching me squirm as the recipient of his twisted sense of humour, decided to feature the Rolling Stones on his program and play half an hour of their music, non-stop. When Chicago and I heard this, we secretly cued a tape of more Stones music in the Mi Amigo studio, then waited patiently for him finish his feature. That half an hour passed very slowly, but our patience was rewarded when at the very moment he opened the microphone to back announce the feature, Peter switched studios and started the tape so that the listeners would be unaware of what was about to happen. As the poor unsuspecting man began his announcement, I burst into the Caroline studio pretending to be drunk. I will never forget the look of sheer horror on his face when I grabbed the microphone and began slurring obscenities into it, or the panic that crossed his face after he'd managed to wrestle the microphone from me, push me to one side and hastily start one of the turntables. But I was not content with reducing him to a shambling wreck, oh no! I scraped the stylus noisily across the record, removed it from the turntable and walked out of the studio with it. He was sweating profusely, frantically trying to explain to his non-existent listeners what had happened and cue another record at the same time, when both Peter and I returned laughing our socks off to tell him that he wasn't on the air anyway. It took a little while for the penny to drop, but I think he saw the funny side of it, eventually. Nevertheless, the very next day he insisted to anybody who would listen that a bolt should be fitted on the inside of the studio door. I don't think he ever really forgave me for that one.
After months of only being able to broadcast in the evenings, we were excited to learn that we were to begin broadcasting on two frequencies. Caroline was to be on 389 metres during the day and on both 259 and 389 metres in the evenings, from seven in the evening when Radio Mi Amigo closed down. At last, we assumed that we were going to be able to begin restoring Radio Caroline to her former glory as an all day music station. Chicago was in his element as he beavered furiously, building the diplexer to connect two transmitters to the same antenna and after a few weeks, he was ready to begin testing. These tests were initially performed at night when both radio stations had ceased normal programming, but very soon after, we were running both transmitters during the day. Radio Mi Amigo on 259; and non-stop music from Radio Caroline on 389. Despite our repeated pleas, Peter would not let us begin programming on the new frequency. None of us could understand why until we returned to England, only to find that the ancient 10-kilowatt transmitter used for 389, could only just be received on the south east coast barely eight or so miles away. The experiment at this time was a complete failure and tests were abandoned soon after and any ideas of daytime programming shelved, as parts necessary to get the transmitter working properly were either not available or not affordable. We were at our lowest ebb at this point. All Chicago's work seemed to have been wasted and our efforts and plans to make Caroline an all day station were, at least temporarily, dashed. The following year, after I had left Caroline to join the Voice of Peace in Israel, Chicago did eventually get the 389-transmitter going at somewhere near full power, and some worthwhile transmissions were made, but I was long gone by then and sunning myself in the hot Mediterranean sunshine on the MV Peace. I want to finish this chapter commenting on the remarks being made regarding my arrest: I was not actually arrested at Dover customs, but stopped and questioned for an hour or so until I insisted on having a solicitor present if I was to be questioned any further. I was quickly told I could leave at this point and I asked, hypothetically: "Why are you making all this fuss about a simple radio station that doesn't seem to be doing any harm?" The answer came from the Home Office official: "Why? Because we can't have these people cocking a snook at us!" To which, as I made my exit, I replied politely: "Seems more like they're cocking a leg at you, sir."
So far the chapter which the late Phil Mitchell wrote for the book ‘The wet and wild history of Radio Caroline. Forty years of Radio Caroline, 1964-2004.’
I had send the chapter on forehand for republishing to Robbie Duke and he came back with the news: "The deejay who was playing the Stones and shaken up, insisting on a lock on the studio door was me! I was a novice then and I think it was my first or second show, and it took me a week to get my nerves back together after that incident. Bless him. Thank you again. Cheers Robbie Duke."
Robbie Duke sent another e mail on another subject too: I don’t know if its worth a mention. I’ve just done a cameo role, with Kevin Spacey, and a few old pop stars in a new film called "Telstar" It’s about my old boss Joe Meek, Details are on my site with photos: www.myspace.com/robbieduke2
Also this month issue has some nicknames we didn’t mention before. First on Radio London ‘Michael’ Mike Lennox. Klaas Vaak als used ‘music lovin’ Klaas Vaak on Veronica. And one we also forgot till now is Bob ‘Purple Haze’ Lens on Radio 227.
Just around March 20th the news broke that the most important record shop in the seventies, Boudisque at the Haringparkersteeg, was closed down for ever. Although some 240 kilometres away from my hometown Groningen I regularly visit the shop as they had such an interesting import records, you couldn’t find anywhere in the Netherlands. The complete serie Cruisin was bought there and is of course for many people the first time they heard American Radio. One of the deejays on the Cruisin serie was Jack Amstrong. In the same week Boudisque closed down also the news came in that Jack Amstrong died. I asked our reader Howie Castle to write his memories about Jack:
Jack Amstrong died
Ask anyone of a certain age in American radio about the all-time greatest radio personalities and the name Jack Armstrong is sure to come up. Jack, born John Larsh, passed away on March 22 at age 62 at his home in North Carolina. It was a loss felt by many and the radio message boards and blogs have been filled with tributes. Jack had enough energy to light up a whole city and his signature "your LEEEEEEEEEEE-DER" was the stuff of legends. In 1971 he was entered in the Guinness Book of Records as the "world's fastest talking human".
Like many presenters, he started as a kid, working part-time at a couple of small stations before landing a fulltime position at WCOG, Greensboro, North Carolina. From there it was on to WAYS in Charlotte, and finally his big break came in 1966 at WIXY in Cleveland. The station gave him the name "Jack Armstrong" and the rest is history. He dominated his night time slot for a year before being hired away by struggling cross-town rival, WKYC. It was there he really made his mark, as the huge 50,000 watt signal allowed Jack to be heard throughout much of the eastern US. It was there that I first heard him. I couldn't believe my ears! It was positively breathtaking! I had never heard anything like him. It had a profound influence on me and I began to pattern my own style on his. This could be heard during my "Bud Ballou" days on Radio Caroline. But there was only one Jack Armstrong. The rest of us were just pretenders.
After Cleveland it was on to WMEX in Boston and CHUM in Toronto in 1968. He wowed 'em at WPOP in Hartford in 1969, and finally went to work at big-signal WKBW in Buffalo, where his career took on legendary status from 1970-'73. Later, he was instrumental in making 13Q (WKTQ) in Pittsburgh a success and then moved on to WIFE, Indianapolis, where I had the privilege of working with him. In '78 he went to Los Angeles, where he worked on KTNQ, then later went to KFRC, San Francisco. He returned to LA to work at KFI and and, in '84, to KKHR. Finally, after a couple more moves, he returned home to North Carolina in 1997, where he hosted the breakfast show on "Oldies 93", WMQX, for 6 years. He left in 2003, but voice-tracked nights on WKBW in Buffalo before the station switched to a talk format in 2006.
Like many in the radio business, Jack was dismayed by the current state of radio, but firmly believed a place for him in it existed. Sadly, time ran out.
Jack was unique. A pioneer. A one of a kind. A legend. What a great loss for radio. You can find airchecks of Jack Armstrong on the internet. Listen and be amazed. Howie Castle ("Bud Ballou" on Radio Caroline).
Another monthly update on Bob LeRoi his internet site: ‘Welcome to the April 2008 Update. Another double issue "Scrapbook" the Laser Hot Hits tale continues with recently uncovered material from this controversial station. We’ve our own special tribute to Chris Cary in words, pictures & audio. "One Subject One Link" stays glued to the flat screen again this month with Kent TV under scrutiny. "Auction" Lot 8 is open for bids, it's a Voice of Peace record up for grabs, the song by Joni Mitchell failed to chart in the UK but was much played from 'somewhere in the Mediterranean'. It's with sadness we report the death of Phil Mitchell one time jock on Caroline during the Mi-Amigo days". Announcements" has the detail about this years WWII Weekend at Whitstable Castle, the event just gets bigger every year. And to wrap up this month the more Compilations for sale with some MoR classics & the 1st of a series of 16 CD's from Hollands Yesterdays Gold Label. Enjoy your visits. www.bobleroi.co.uk
The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame was born in March 2000 which means the site is now eight years old. And so the news from the webmaster: ‘I have just carried out the monthly update. New this month: We look back to the aftermath of Radio Caroline's 1968 closedown and the attempt to relaunch the station from the mv Oceaan 7, forty years ago this month; there is a fascinating interview which Colin Nicol carried out in the eighties with an offshore pioneer, Radio Atlanta's General Manager, Richard Harris; and there has been more audio added to the page covering the brief period in April 1966 when there were two ships broadcasting as Radio Caroline South off the Essex coast. Since the last full update I have also posted a tribute to the late Chris Cary (a.k.a Spangles Muldoon) who sadly died on 29th February. My grateful thanks to everyone who has contributed, helped or supported the site over the past eight years. I couldn't have done it without you. All the best, Jon. www.offshoreradio.co.uk
We can add to more female deejays to the list, which can be found on www.hansknot.com Both worked for Radio Nord: Monica Hylinga and Frida.
Old German Wireless History is a site which I recommend to visit: http://www.oldradioworld.de/history.htm
‘Hi Hans, Ray Teret here. Thanks to your brilliant newsletter, I had over a hundred emails and msn contacts at www.Manchesterradioonline.com between 14.00 and 16.00 on this Sunday Yourself, Mike Wright and Kenny Tosh all had mentions. This show is now getting more hits and listeners than any other UK online show according to the stats. The Rock n Roll DooWop formula is great to do and thanks to you now circulating the world. May your Blue Suede Shoes always be Moving. My request contact at Yahoo or Msn is email@example.com and email firstname.lastname@example.org every Sunday from 14.00 to 16.00 hours for dance and romance. here is a more recent picture of me to prove I am still Ugli. Regards Ugli Ray Teret
With Eastern there was a special reunion from deejays working for Radio Caroline during the period 1977/1979. They all came to the Ross Revenge in Tillbury Photos are on: http://www.schriel.nl/radio/fotoalbum/easter/
Marc Jacobs was one of the people on the Caroline reunion and when he came back to good old ‘Groningen’ he wrote me: ‘It was a very special happening. In no time we got the same atmosphere we had on the MV Mi Amigo. The same sort of jokes, warmth and understanding. It was coming home again. Very special, especially as one knows that we didn’t meet in this way during the past thirty years. The atmosphere was so very good that it was very frightened to look through the porthole now and then to see we were in harbour in stead of on the International Waters. A very special sensation.’
Remember Kas van Iersel, who once was Kas Collins on the Voice of Peace? Kas became this month the new station voice on Sky Radio 101 FM. The arrival of Kas is part of the new sound on Sky Radio which can be heard from the end of this month. Next to Kas his voice also new jingles will be introduced on Sky Radio.
Also Veronica will get a new voice over. It’s Erik de Zwart who, from April 28th, will be the new voice over in promos and spots. In the eighties Erik de Zwart presented radio as well as television programs with Veronica, like ‘The Top 40’ and ‘Countdown’. In 1979 Erik started his radio career on Radio Caroline as Paul de Wit.
Erik de Zwart in 2008 (Photo:
Next e mail brings us to a former Radio 270 deejay now living in Amsterdam: ‘Hi all, I've just launched a new site: www.the-html-book.com I would appreciate any comments and/or suggestions. Thanks Mike.’ Of course there is also another site run by Mike, including his memories to Radio 270 days, which can be found at: www.mike-hayes.nl
Peter Adgate was sharp by reading last issue of the Hans Knot International Report: ’Hi Hans, it was Dave ‘far out’ Owen on Radio Atlantis not Dave Rogers! I think Dave Owen is still involved with Radio Jackie in London.’
Thanks Peter and now to Steve Roberts: ‘hi hans, many thanks for your recent radio report it was great as usual. I often give you a plug in my show on offshore music radio. Could I ask another favour? Daffy Dan Allen used to play two particular country and western songs all the time on RNI. Because they were so very popular: Do you or your readers have copies of ‘big fanny’ by Neil Ray and a song called ‘the balled of Wiltshire Bert’? Both were comedy songs and I like to share them again with my omr listeners thanks: Steve Roberts www.offshoremusicradio.com
And for anyone who has these requested songs Steve Roberts can be reached at Bgstv23@aol.com
Mr Anonymous wrote: ‘Hi, please share this information: Someone in Poland has recently made a website where you can ** download 24 programs ** and read more about Radio Rainbow International, the Voice of Peace, the biggest free peace station on the planet! click on the 'Radio Rainbow Int. button on the site. http://www.foton.e90.biz/
When you plan a short trip to Holland, for instant from Harwich with the Ferry to Hook of Holland, it will be fun to visit the exposition on Offshore Radio which will be held in Hook of Holland up till July 26th. A lot of former equipment from Veronica days can be found including the last used ‘on board studio’ from the MV Norderney completely restored. Reader Douwe Dijkstra visited the opening of the exposition, late March. He has written about it on his weblog www.albatrosstudio.nl On this weblog are more short stories about offshore radio. Also on the museumsite more info is to found including many photographs: www.rockart.nl
Some weeks ago the following e mail dropped in my mailbox: ‘I am a curator at the Manx Museum in Douglas in the Isle of Man. I’m presently working with Andy Wint, who I believe you know, to put together an exhibition this summer on the subject of Radio Caroline North. I was wondering please if you might have any photographs or memorabilia, or any particular memories of your time with Radio Caroline which you might be willing to share with us for the exhibition? Any photographs could be copied and any objects or memorabilia would be safely returned afterwards. If you could help us in any way, we would be most grateful to you. If you are still in touch with anyone else from your Caroline days, we would be pleased if you could pass the word on. Thank you very much, Kind regards, Matthew Richardson Matthew.Richardson@gov.im
Well I promptly replied and have sent several photographs, posters, and other objects to the Curator Social History on Manx and we hope to take a visit to Manx in August. But the question was of course not only meant for me but also for the readers. So don’t hesitate to contact Matthew as he want as much on display this summer.
A rare Don Allan video was uploaded by one of the readers in Northern Ireland by Kenny Tosh:
Part One: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=X2Rreob2yT8
Part Two: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=yDO3ZG33GrQ
Next one is from Richard Sharpe: ‘Hi Hans, some friends and I have been discussing the broadcasting history of the above vessel, There seems to be a gap around about 1962. It is possible that some tests were made from the ship as a station identifying itself as Radio LN was heard about this time on 306 metres. The project was stalled, however, due to the events surrounding the closure of Radio Mercur which scared off the financial backers and the ship was forced to sail to Ostende. Do you know if these tests took place and do you have any more information regarding this project?’
Well Richard for all info about the gap period I would love to send you to the next internet address where a long article, I wrote on this period, can be read.
Richard went on with a second question: ‘Also I wonder was it Radio LN or possibly Radio Ellen? Best regards as always Richard Sharpe’
As far as I know Radio Ellen was never really realised as a Radio station from international waters. It seems the ship was to small for a radiostation and parts of the ship still are somewhere in Essex, as I remember near Gravesend.’
Colin Nichol is a guy who always thinks for us and this time he found a pirate radio movie on the internet: http://www.fandango.com/pumpupthevolume_v39658/summary
David Alexandre Winter one time scored the charts in some countries with a song called ‘Oh Lady Mary’. Under the name John van Doorn he was for some time deejay on the Laissez Faire for Radio 227. After his success with the music he went to French and one day it was told in one of the gloss’s that he played suicide. Many, including myself, believed it. Even in one of my books, Five from the Laissez Faire, in mentioned it in the eighties. But surprise decades later David Alexander Winter is back with a lot of thanks for the research to Look Boden (another shipmate from John van Doorn: http://www.david-alexandrewinter.com/en/Home.asp
Then an e mail from Ton van den Hoeven who wrote: ‘Next to the offshore radio stations I listened a lot to other shortwave and medium wave stations. Due to certain reasons it always fascinated me to listen to the news bulletins from Radio DDR. Probably to hear the contrast with the free western news programs, or to taste the atmosphere begin the Iron Curtain in those days. Often I listened around midnight. Just before the news there was always the East German Anthem played, mostly two minutes before midnight. But just before the Anthem there was always another instrumental tune. I would love to know who knows the title of the instrumental as well as who played it. Above that I would love to have a mp3 copy.’
So who could help Ton with the instrumental can sent it to Hans.Knot@gmail.com
Tim from Kent send information about a new book: ’Hi Hans, not sure whether this book is of interest to you, to mention in your next report.
Mike Barraclough comments on last issue of the Hans Knot International Radio Report with: ‘I can add to Clive Warner's memories of the Harold Wilson tape. It is true that there was black propaganda spread about Harold Wilson by some members of MI5 and others, this, and several other matters, was investigated, at Wilson's behest, by BBC journalists Barry Penrose and Roger Coutiour who wrote a book about it, there was also a documentary based on more material they unearthed on BBC2 in April 2006 reviewed quite extensively here:
However in all this no mention of the BBC tapes of the David Dimbleby interview being black propaganda. I remember hearing some of the Harold Wilson tapes Clive refers to on a 1975 Private Eye flexidisc Farginson: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_Eye_recordings#Farginson
I have now dug out the flexidisc and made an mp3 file of the Wilson recordings on it, had to place various coins on the centre of the flexidisc to achieve this! Just uploaded it to my Sendspace account:
They do also turn up sometimes for sale on Ebay. Perhaps you could let Clive have the link, if its become inactive when he wants to upload it, Sendspace deletes files after 7 days with no one downloading them, I can easily upload it again or send it him direct if he lets me know.
I was talking to someone this weekend who has worked in broadcasting for 35 years about blooper/privately circulated tapes and without me mentioning Clive's query he brought up the Wilson interview which he
said he had heard in full at the time and that it had been passed to him from someone at the BBC. Thank you for all the work you put into your reports, always read them on the web. Mike B’
Thanks a lot Mike for your additional information on the secret tapes. Help from our readers to complete the history on several subjects is always most welcome.
In the May - June Horizon Magazine:
Easter 2008 The Reunion - Featured four page colour spread of 1970`s Caroline reunion broadcasts and news of a DVD of the Easter Broadcasts for sale in our Caroline web shop. Clive Thomas features in The Caroline Interview. Dell Richardson`s Good rockin` Tonight. News of Caroline in The Movies. Southampton Support Group News. Ross Revenge Restoration Update and the Origins of The Caroline Movement Part Two. What`s Hot in Pandora`s Box plus all the usual news and views. Caroline and Free Radio, Past Present and Future.
Every issue we bring you news, memories and great photos. Horizon is run by volunteers, all fans and supporters of Caroline and her Radio Ship Ross Revenge, currently berthed in closed dock at Tilbury London on the River Thames.
If you have news, photos, memories or comments on Caroline or Free Radio please do get in touch regards, Bill Barnes for Horizon Magazine: Wvbarnes@aol.com
I always look forward to your monthly newsletter, a chance to reminisce the golden era of radio. I happened to stumble across another internet station using a "pirate" name, PlanetCaroline at www.planetcaroline.com. They also have a cache of domains from various countries pointing to the same site, such as http://www.radiocaroline.se They have a FM outlet in Tenerife, which leads me to question whether it's the same people that once operated MiAmigo in the Canaries. I'm not sure what the folks at the "official" Caroline in Kent make of it, given the fact that they are using the bell logo as well. Best wishes, Dee Coombes (South Wales, UK).’
Thanks for the information Dee, always welcome! By the way, the Mi Amigo on the Canaries is not run by the same people at the Caroline one on Tenerife.
April 17th saw Ferry Maat, now working for Veronica and in the seventies on RNI, honoured by the Dutch queen with an official Knighthood ‘Oranje Nassau’. This as he was qualified as a person who has done a lot during a longer period for Dutch Society in a very stimulating way. Ferry Maat has been presenting the Soul Show, which started in 1973 for 25 years and made it possible for many artist to break through all over the world. He received the medal from the mayor Frans Willem Gils from Maat’s hometown Huizen.
Ferry Maat and mayor Gils photo Veronica
Well good friends this is ending the April edition of the Hans Knot International Radio Report. Not forgetting to congratulate reader Ferry Maat with this knighthood. For all contributions you can use Hknot@home.nl and photos and other things please use Hans.Knot@gmail.com
Till next month
All the best from
Offshore Deejays' Nicknames
Female Offshore Radio Deejays
Radio London Commercials
Offshore Radio Programme Names - Programmanamen Zeezenders 1958-1990
Read Hans Knot's former report