Hans Knot's International Radio Report - August 2008


Welcome to the August edition of the Hans Knot International Report. Many memories and other bits and pieces were sent to me. Some of them will be used in this report, others another time. Also some longer stories in this issue as well as answering the first e mail, which came in after the July 1st report came out. It was not the Emperor wining this time but Clive from England. Strange enough Clive was responding on a subject the Emperor Rosko brought in last time: Clive: ‘Hans replied to Emperor Rosko: "Thank you Emperor. A pity those guys went broke but nowadays it’s possible to publish books on low scale and so low budget. Ordering for instant 200 copies and do a 100 reprint when the first edition is sold. In that way it’s for many people a responsible way to publish their own story. Just think about it."

I'd just like to add that I do in fact have a small publishing company that does everything from editing and typesetting to cover design and can publish books "on demand" in both the UK and US. So, if anyone is seriously interested in publishing their stories, it is distinctly possible for not very much money. There's no need these days to print hundreds of books to see your book available on Amazon.com etc. Clive Warner.’

Well Rosko if you want more information just ask me for the contacts so you can write to Clive.

As promised in last issue we bring this time the views from Tom Lodge about the questions from Alan about Caroline and Atlanta.

Hi Alan Milewczyk, aka The Pole with Soul, this is Tom Lodge here. Thanks for your most interesting questions about the music policies of Radio Caroline North and Radio Caroline South. As I was there at the start and closely involved, I am please to express my experiences of those early days.

You say, "I was brought up in Manchester which was in the catchment area for Caroline North, although I could hear the South ship albeit with a much weaker groundwave signal during the day. What has puzzled me for some time is the difference in the music policy of the two ships, especially for the first 15 months or so post merger."

(Tom) Yes, both ships did have a different music operation policy after Radio Atlanta became Radio Caroline South and Radio Caroline sailed to the Isle of Man and became Radio Caroline North. The two operations were totally different.

You say, "We know that Radio Atlanta was Allan Crawford's vehicle for his music interests, so post merger the South ship often played records that Crawford had an interest in, rather than the original hit versions"

(Tom) And I hated that about Caroline South. I preferred the original. Not only was Radio Caroline South playing the music that Allan Crawford had business interest in, such as covers of hits, but also the policy was ‘safe' middle of the road programming and the deejays were, good broadcasters and what I would call, ‘easy going'.

Photo Archive: Tom Lodge

You go on, "Whereas from the outset the North ship off the Isle of Man was very Top 40 oriented, playing the original hit versions and also heavily promoting tracks from the American Hot 100."

(Tom) And that was my genre. The new music that was happening at that time was inspiring and invigorating. Soon I became in charge of the music policy on the North ship and my policy was to have fun, push the envelope, and also it was okay to be outrageous. We were young. Jerry Leighton, Mike Ahern, Alan ‘Neddy' Turner and I were adventurous, high spirited and wanted to share the exhilaration that we were experiencing. We loved the music coming out at the time, from both sides of the Atlantic. We had great respect for the new and the established musicians and were delighted to be able to play and expose them to the British audience.

You say, "I believe that, in this London-centric world, the South ship has always had more publicity at the expense of her Northern sister".

(Tom) Well, that was, and maybe still is the case between northern England and southern England generally. I guess it is something to do with the squeaky wheel and all that. Of course the Beatles help change that a bit.

You say, "In my view, the North ship's programming and music policy was brilliant and has been totally under-rated over the years"

(Tom) Yes, I agree, but then I am biased. I believe that the South ship at that time was doing ‘radio'. Such as radio had been known—traditional English radio. But we had freedom on board and that freedom was expressed in our shows. Also that freedom was contagious to our audience. We were not doing ‘radio’; we were sharing on the ‘air' our enthusiasm for the music, our youthful energy, our simple joy of an amazing adventure.

You go on, "We also know that after Radio London came on air, Caroline South's audience figures suffered dramatically."

(Tom) Yes, that is true. Radio Caroline South's music, in my opinion, at that time, was weak, was ‘wet'. Whereas Radio London was using an American format that had proven very successful in the States, call the Drake Format. And this the British listeners loved. The sound was ‘hot', the deejays ‘moved' and the music stimulated the ‘phagocytes'. It was very natural, at that time, for the audience to switch from Radio Caroline South to Radio London.

You say, "I understand that the Crawford venture went bust in late 65, which was when Ronan took over and put in Tom Lodge, who had been Head DJ on the North ship, to turn around the fortunes of the South ship."

(Tom) Yes, Radio Caroline South had lost its audience to Radio London, and that was when Ronan asked me if I would come down from the North ship and take over the programming of Radio Caroline South. I was delighted. But I had two conditions. First, I would hire a whole new crew of deejays. I wanted to avoid having anyone on the ‘air' who was attached to the old system. We needed to start from scratch. So I hired young, enthusiastic, rock music lovers, who had a positive and adventurous attitude. I hired Keith Hampshire, Dave Lee Travis, Robbie Dale, Emperor Rosko and brought Mike Ahern down from the North ship. Second, I needed to have complete control over the music programming. I instructed the deejays to have around them all the records they might want to play, and then to only decide what the next record was going to be when the one before was playing. To be spontaneous. I told them to feel the music, play what they loved, listen to their own shows and above all, to have fun. When we started in October 1965, we had one listener to Radio London's ten listeners but by August 1966 we had beaten Radio London and the survey showed that we had twenty four million listeners.

You say, "Pre merger, Christopher Moore was Programme Director for Caroline - did he
take over the same role for the South ship post merger in addition to the North ship?"

A magazine Advert: Tom Lodge Archive

(Tom) Chris Moore's position with the North ship as Programme Director was simply cosmetic. Chris Moore was a warm, friendly, gentle person, but with low energy. He wasn't the type who would be on top of us with following his programme rules. And because of our isolation, I became the Programme Director, de facto. So most of the memorabilia papers of programming, etc. were simply a Caroline House creation for the advertisers. And because of this we had much freedom. Remember Caroline House could not hear us, and the only communication from them that we received was when someone came on board, and then and maybe rarely, a written communication. Plus with the deejay shortage nothing was tied down or regular. Sometimes no replacement deejays came for weeks. And so we kept the shows going the best we could. Sometimes it was too rough for a boat to come out to the ship. And sometimes there were other personal difficulties and so often we only had a few of us to keep the shows going. I am not sure about Chris Moore's role on the South ship after the merger, but my recollection is that Allan Crawford ran the programming for the South ship. After the merger Chris Moore slowly dropped programming and concentrated on producing advertising at Caroline House.

You say, "The "merger" seemed to be a marketing convenience and I know that both ships adopted the same programme names, The Early Show, Top Deck, etc, yet the music policy was so very different."

(Tom) At first we kept to the names that Chris had created, but soon we replaced them with our names for the shows, "The Jerry Leighton Show", The Mike Ahern Programme", "Alan 'Neddy' Turner Radio Show", "The Tom Lodge Show" and so on.

You ask, "So who decided on the actual music content of the two stations in the period July 64 to end 65? Was that down to Christopher Moore for both ships or was Tom Lodge given that freedom in his position as North ship Head DJ?"

(Tom) I created the music policy on the North ship. Because of our isolation, I was able to ignore the ‘BBC type of programming' and move into a more spontaneous music flow, with the mood of the moment, with the feeling of the day and the energy of the country. I gave the deejays permission to have fun, play what they liked and broadcast the feelings of our lives on board a ship, in the Irish Sea, with waves splashing over the sides and the excitement, enthusiasm, devotion and unprecedented support from the country.

You also ask, "Did Allan Crawford and Ronan merely continue to run their own ships their own way.

(Tom) Yes, Ronan and Allan Crawford did keep running their ships in their own way, until Crawford went bust and Ronan took over the South ship.

You ask, "In short, why is it that the two ships had such a different music policy despite operating under the same banner?"

Tom Lodge ringing the famous Caroline bell (Photo: Archive Tom Lodge)

(Tom) The fact that I had spent some time in Canada and the US, I was not influenced by ‘Auntie BBC' radio type of broadcasting, but I was influenced by the free wheeling, open feeling radio of Canada and the US of the 1950s, such as Alan Freed, Dewey Phillips, Wolfman Jack and so on. And so this style became our way of broadcasting. Not only did we the deejays love it, but so did the audience as shown in their support and the surveys.

Thank you, Alan, for these questions. I really appreciate having the opportunity to lay out my own experience of those times. Best wishes, Tom Lodge.

And of course a big thank you to Tom for sharing his views with us like former shipmate did it from another place in the world in last issue. Good to have your opinions too!’

Another long story is coming at the end of this report in which Henrik Nørgaard from Denmark is sharing his memories to Radio Mercur with us.

Next you see one page of the leaflet which I got from the organizing committee at the Isle of Man, promoting their special Caroline North conference, which will be held in September. Full version of the leaflet can be read at www.offshore-radio.de (go to "NEWS").

Concerning the conference I got mail from Martin Kayne: ‘Hi Hans, I have received several enquiries asking if I will be at the Caroline North Conference at the Isle of Man on 20th September. I am pleased to say that I will be there, complete with my partner Rosemary, to keep me in check perhaps. I am looking forward to meeting everyone that has happy memories of that wonderful era. Best wishes, Andy Cadier. (Martin Kayne).’

One of my regulars is Colin Nichol in Australia and this time he wrote: ‘Another very full Report, as usual! Thank you, Hans, for the nostalgic reminder of Caroline close-down. It was most enjoyable to hear. The North ship always followed the proscribed routine more definitively than the South, but we fell into line as time progressed. I have asked Keith Martin to again confirm which disc recording he has of 'After Midnight'. One thing which united Ronan and Chris (Moore) was their interest in artists such as McGriff, Georgie Fame and so on - R & B, Jazz, Hip sounds like Jimmy Smith, Booker T, ‘ - as quoted directly from the programme format. It’s cold - for here (a couple of degrees above zero) and lots of rain (we have a folklorist story here of a cow and a flat rock) but pleasant days, the best time of year for me - and the flowers still bloom. Like all of us, they are confused about the weather. Kind regards, Colin.

Thanks Colin and hopefully the weather has changed a bit to more higher temperatures. Not much later Colin came back to me with a confirmation about Keith Martin: ‘A quick note on the matter of the Jimmy Griff recording of 'After Midnight'. Keith Martin assures me he has that actual LP disc from Caroline South. “The DNA on it will prove it's the one," he claims. Kind regards, Colin.

At the end of June and early July a lot of speculations went around in Belgium as well as in Holland about the future of the Norderney, the former ship which was once used – up till August 31st 1974 – by Radio Veronica. During the last years not much action was on the ship, which was once a discotheque in several places in Holland as well as Belgium. A lot of free radio members suddenly awoke when rumours were spread that possibly very soon the ship would be towed to a new position. Most of the fans hoped it would leave for a new place in the harbour of Scheveningen. The Norderney could be a part of Dutch National Pop Museum soon, was mentioned too. Former Caroline deejay and Veronica presenter Erik de Zwart (Paul de Wit) would be putting money into the project. And so a lot of other things were rumored.

It resulted also in a lot of people taking the opportunity to travel to Antwerp harbour to get some last photos in this harbour, were the ship is already for many years at the Kempisch Dock. It was Alex Berrevoets who brought me the news on June 30th that something ‘terrible’ had happened. During ‘the making ready for travel’ of the Norderney – which has no engine, so must be towed away from Antwerp. One of the original aerial masts has been broken. Not much later it became known that there were two complete masts which were placed on the Norderney. Berrevoets about what he saw that afternoon: ‘Suddenly there was panic on the ship. I heard someone screaming and suddenly the sound of crackling and a big bang on the deck. It was just a shot from a war movie!’ The foremast broke in two pieces. I took a look and don’t forget that those mast are more than 40 years old and it looked like totally rotten.’

Norderney still in Antwerp harbour Photo: Marc Kloosterman

After days and days of speculations in several radio and offshore radio forums one person, former Caroline deejay Peter de Vries (Wout van der Meer) took contact by e- mail with me confirming that there is no future for the ship in any of the harbours of the Netherlands. He stated that more than 20 different towns talks had been with the authorities but that nowhere was enough money to save the former Veronica vessel as a peach of Dutch radio history. He also stated that the inner side of ship has been partly rebuilt and that all will be made ready for a departure to one of the harbours near the Mediterranean. A week later, around July 10th, I learned by another e mail that the destination will be
Spain, as the ship will be heading for Benidorm. Information gotten from the harbour authorities in Antwerp learnt that all official papers are ready, including insurances and that it’s now up to the owners when they will leave Belgium. By the way part of the mast are for sale on Dutch internet site ‘marketplace’. (MARKTPLAATS). Buyers will get also a certificate of originality as well as a photograph of the former radio ship Norderney.

Yes, we’re another month further to this year Radio Day. Just three months and it is November. For all information available just go to the information site: http://www.offshore-radio.de/radioday/

One of the former offshore deejays who always attend the yearly Amsterdam Radio Day is the Australian guy Graham Gill, who lives since 1966 in Amsterdam. Graham is still interested in radio and has a question to you the reader: ‘Hi there Hans, I hope you can help me with a small problem. As you know, I am busy with writing my autobiography and while doing some research for the early part of the book I need to find a copy of the magazine ‘DEEJAY and Radio Monthly’ in which the article ‘Graham Gill and a Piano full of Piss’ was featured. It would have been published some time around 1972 - 1973. It was published B.C. ENTERPRISES LTD. Willmont House. 43 Queenstreet, Hitchin, Herts in England. I had a copy of this magazine, but like a lot of other things it got lost during my moving house
20 years ago. Maybe you can help solve this problem. Greetings to you and everyone within the readership, Graham Gill.’

So anyone who has this issue from ‘Deejay and Radio Monthly’ with the Graham Gill interview could make him happy. He only needs a scan from the pages where the interview is on. Send it to Hans.Knot@gmail.com

December 1973 Graham Gill on board the MV MEBO II. Photo Theo Dencker

Next one is from another former RNI deejay, Gerard Smit, who still lives in Surinam: ‘Hi Hans, everything well with you? I think so as you keep me surprising with a lot of information of the former offshore stations. I never could think that after so many decades still so many people are interested in the history. A couple of months ago you’ve sent me your article in Dutch about the planned offshore station off the Surinam coast. I can reveal now that the newspaper ‘Ware Tijd’ picked up the story and paid attention to your story on two pages. I mailed you earlier but didn’t get an answer. Greetings from Gerard Smit.’

Well really a pity that the first e mail didn’t arrive elsewhere I had a look at their internet site. But maybe you can asked them to make a photocopy and send me the article. The postal address is Hans Knot, PO Box 102, 9700 AC Groningen Netherlands. Thanks in advance. And for all non Dutch readers, the article will be published in the very near future in English in the Hans Knot Radio Report.

Then someone who desperately needed a plug in the Hans Knot International Radio Report: ‘Hello Hans, just a bit of fun and archive for you and our radio fans out there. Please could you give us a mention at www.southhertsradio.com
Lots of vintage offshore pirate radio archive, downloads plus our own shows and some inland radio material. We can't stream all the time but the stream is mostly on at weekends. A bit of nonsense about shortwave - keeps people guessing and also good for the site by generating interest - don't tell anyone that the SW is a bit of a dream (between me and you). Nether the less some good stuff on there I have put together with some friends and hopefully worth a mention from you. Have a look and see what you think.
Best Wishes Gary Drew and the team at SHR. www.southhertsradio.com SHR International - free radio from south Hertfordshire.

Next one comes from Mary Payne who wrote: ‘Hi Hans, I just wanted to tell your readers who are interested in the Caroline charts compiled by Jempi Laevaert, that thanks to a number of helpful contributors (mostly in the Netherlands and Germany), I have plenty of new material to add to Jempi's collection. Recently I have added two new partial charts from 1967 and 1968 and one complete chart from 1967. Also new to the Radio London site is a 1996 interview with 'film star' Tom Danaher, who founded both Big L and Radio England/Britain Radio. Best wishes, Mary Payne’

Thanks Mary I would like to add that on your pages is also the very nice story how Jack Curtiss found back his former Swinging Radio England shipmate Johnny Dark. All can be found at: http://www.radiolondon.co.uk

Johnny Dark archive Harry Putman

From Israel we received no good news about the condition of Abe Nathan, now 81 years of age. Eva, one of his personal nurses, wrote to me: ‘Hi Hans, Long time no talk. I have no idea if you have been informed abut Abie but he was hospitalized for three weeks and has survived two major surgeries the prognosis is bad, so keep him in your prayers. He is one of a kind, as the first thing he said to me when he woke up was ‘peace’. I will keep you posted. In England the children, who were once saved by Abie in Cambodia, tracked Abie down and came to visit him in Tel Aviv and their community celebrates ‘ ‘Abie Nathan's Day’ in the second week of August’.

Thanks for sending the information and we’re happy such good people like you, Noam and the others are there to take care for Abie. Give them both my regards too! In the meantime I can reveal that people from the public broadcasting company ‘De Joodse Omroep’ (Jewish Broadcasting Company) in Holland have contacted me. This, as they want to make a sixty minutes documentary for radiobroadcast about Abe Nathan’s work and the history of the Voice of Peace. They approached me after they found out that I had published the book on the VOP in 2006. The documentary will be broadcast in October in Holland and at a later stage at Radio Netherlands too. I keep you informed.

In the early July issue I made a mistake to reproduce a wrong photograph and of course the person involved came back to me: ‘I think the picture of me is actually Bob Mower when he was Bob Mathews isn't it? I followed Bob at KM fm in Canterbury when I did ‘Drive’ for three months, although I had to change my name to "Rob Lawrence" because they said they couldn't have two people with the same Christian name on the station! Regards, Bob Lawrence

Thanks Bob, I will better my life and here’s a correct picture which was found in Marc Jacobs his archive.

Otto, Martin Fisher, Bob Lawrence and Johan Visser in the messroom on the Mi Amigo in the late seventies. Photo: Marc Jacobs.

On Wikipedia an item about the Borkum Riff is placed by Herman from Gent and you’ll find a remarkable link between a radio ship and tobacco.

It’s some issues ago we heard nicknames, but here are two we had not in the list yet: Johnny ‘The irrepressible dark lord of the night ride’ for Johnny Dark on Swinging Radio England and Tim ‘Screamshow’ Shepperd, who worked on the Voice of Peace. The long list of nicknames can be found on my website www.hansknot.com

Next e mail comes from Jim Corbett from Warrington in Chesire who writes: ‘ I was reminiscing about the pirate ships and I got to thinking about deejays on Caroline North as that was the station I always listened to. I remember a deejay called Jerry Super Leighton, as he was known on the ship from 1964 to 1967. When he left no one knew where he was going to. Where is he now” I know he was born in 1936 and so he is now at the age of 72 and retired. But the nagging question is where he is now? I hope you can help me Hans as I’ve tried other contacts, but no success so far. ‘

Dear Jim, three groups of people work very close together (Pirate Hall of Fame, site from London fans Mary and Chris Payne and me at the Hans Knot International Radio Report,) to get as much information from former offshore people. It’s Jon at the Pirate Hall of Fame who, whenever something new is found, nicely put it on his website as it’s his main work. So everybody has a specialty. As you can see in the log of the sixties offshore deejays Jerry Leighton is mentioned but lost after his radio career. Some say this, others that, but no one knows his present whereabouts. So I can’t help you further but maybe one of my readers knows more. So anyone who thinks to have more info about Jerry Super Leighton please write to me at HKnot@home.nl


In the early July issue we had an item about the Veronica ship Norderney, written by Ian Anderson. It’s Jan Sundermann from Germany who reflects: ‘Hallo Hans, I would like to give a short response upon the questions raised by Ian Anderson about that ship. I did some research on it, and that was published in the final issue nr. 50 from the publication German Radio News in 2000. The Paul J. Müller was built with other ships as the first generation of ships built again in Germany after World War II. In this time, major industries were under control and regulation of the allied countries of World War II. Especially ships industry was under control, the number and sizes of ships were regulated, to prevent Germany from establishing once again a navy. So this boat was built for Iceland fishing, equipped with a coal fired steam engine. When in the mid fifties the former mentioned regulations stopped, and for the shipbuilders it was possible to design larger and modern ships, this first generation became soon uneconomical. Why? If you have a trawler fired with coal, you load it completely for fishing with coal and ice. If you have finished fishing in the region of Iceland, more than 50 % of coal is fired, and this room is now used to carry the fish for the voyage return!
A little coal dust does no harm to the fish. When the diesel engines came up, the ships became then bigger and faster. To convert such a small vessel was impossible; the tank for the diesel blocks the room to carry fish. So these boats one by one went out of service. The photo you showed was found by Jürgen Priess in a Hamburg antique shop. It shows the Norderney leaving Cuxhaven harbour, at the mouth of Elbe River. In the summer 2007 my wife and I have spent some days in Cuxhaven, and I visited the company DFFU there, that is a follow up of the original Hochseefischerei GmbH . But they do not have any documents left from that period. Now to the use as radio ship: the Norderney was fitted out by Radio Veronica with wooden masts! These were laminated, very similar as in use for sailing boats. And, in good Dutch shipbuilders workmanship, these mast were possible to lay down backwards on deck by a mechanisms with the stays. That all could still be seen on the boat, only some years ago when it was in Leeuwarden. That explains, how quick the crew could change the whole antenna, when the wavelength was changed from 192 to 538 m. And this also explains, that the need of counterweight in the ships hull against the momentum of the mast is quite small compared to a mast made from steel. The wood is not only of light weight, but also a perfect insulator here. So, compared to the other bigger ones, the Norderney was a quite good and simple construction for broadcasting. Only for a long period out at sea in exile, without short-term supply possibilities, the ship still might have been quite small. All the best,
Jan Sundermann.’

Photo maiden trip P.J.Mueller Radio News Archive

Thanks a lot Jan for your very interesting contribution to the Report. Ian will like the information. I did send your info to Juul Geleick, one of the technicians from Radio Veronica in those days. He came back to me with: ‘hi Hans. Very nice such information and I understand that Jan thought the changing of the areal was done easy by lowering the masts. But that is not the reality. The aerials were changed by using a hoisting mechanism. The masts were fast on the deck with guy ropes. There are photo’s to prove it. Juul Geleick.’ http://www.norderney.nl/historie_zendbereik.html

When I had transferred the info from Juul to Jan Sundermann he got back with: ‘Yes, it’s really interesting documentation there, I’ve seen it for the first time now. So , the now visible installation to lower the masts down then was probably made with the reconstruction as disco-ship, to easier move it thru the channels and harbours inshore.’

Next one is from Holland and Frank van de Heerde: ‘Hans your report was again very interesting. One of the items was your memories about listening to AFN Bremerhaven. You wrote that reception of the station was in Groningen reasonable well. This raised the next question with me: In June 1966 Radio London switched a bit nearer to the frequency of AFN Bremerhaven. This caused in the northern provinces of Holland a whistle tone in the London Sound. During a holiday on the isle of Texel I found this very interfering. My question is if London and AFN were reasonable to listen to or was the whistle dominating? In the sixties I listened now and then during the evenings to AFN Frankfurt on 344 meters. Until 1963 also AFN Munich could be received on 529 meters this frequency was then taken over by Sender Freies Berlin and in later years used by Deutschlandfunk. When I was living in Hilversum it was possible in the late sixties and early seventies to tune in to the AFN Shape transmitter located at Soesterberg. I often listened to the oldies show with Jim Pewter. Due to his program I started getting interest in the doowop music from the fifties and early sixties. Frank van de Heerde.’

I can answer you that sometimes it was horrible to listen to Big L but mostly the sound was reasonable to receive. Lucky you could turn your transistor radio to better reception. But still I have good memories to both stations.

Next an e mail from a much unexpected source, namely from Michele Monro: ‘Hi Hans, Alan Bailey gave me your email and hoped you might be able to help me out. My father is the late singer Matt Monro and over the last two years I have been writing a book on his life and music. I have also done a comprehensive list of all radio and TV broadcasts and this is where I have come a bit unstuck. Dad did a lot of shows for Radio Luxembourg starting with Winifred Atwell in 1957, (wondered if anyone knew who the producer or director was?) But in 1961 he was offered several contracts via letter for a series (unfortunately the series is not named). Below is an example of what
references I have. I wonder if you or your readers might know the answer.
Radio Luxemburg, 8 June 1961. Letter from Radio Luxembourg asking MM to record 13 x quarter hour programmes. We intend to broadcast 3 in the autumn schedule.
25 August 1961 Radio Luxembourg 208 ¬ three programmes
14 September 1961 Radio Luxembourg 208, Cardiff The Anne Shelton Show Recorded two shows. Do you have any details of this?
22 September 1961 Radio Luxembourg 208¬ three programmes In October 1961 he began a 13-week series of 15-minute shows on Radio Luxembourg with the Johnny Spence Orchestra
25 September 1961 Radio Luxembourg 208 ¬ three programmes
22 November 1961 Radio Luxembourg 208 - two programmes
5 December 1961 Radio Luxembourg 208 ¬ three programmes
11 December 1961 Radio Luxembourg 208 ¬ three programmes
6 February 1962 Radio Luxembourg 208 ¬ three programmes
7 February 1962 Radio Luxembourg 208 ¬ two programmes
9 February 1962 ¬ For several weeks now Matt has graced the Luxembourg 208 airwaves with his distinctive, lush style of singing the oldies, and a few newbies thrown in. Now there¹s news that Matt is to have two 15-minutes spots starting from this Sunday (11th) You can hear Matt at 9.45 every week as well as his usual spot on Tuesday at 9.00
27 February 1962 Radio Luxembourg 208¬ two programmes
12 March 1962 Radio Luxembourg 208 ¬ two programmes
14 March 1962 Radio Luxembourg 208 ¬ three programmes
23 May 1962 Radio Luxembourg 208
30 March 1962 Radio Luxembourg 208¬ two programmes
I appreciate any information you can help with.
Thanks Michele Monro.’

You can see Michele has a lot of references that her father has done programs for Luxembourg but she loves to get more info about the names of the shows, the producers and so on. So anyone in the readership who knows more please reflect and sent it to HKnot@home.nl I know for sure all info will be most appreciated by Michele Monro.

It must be around four years ago I made a visit to Luxembourg for a documentary which was transmitted on VPRO radio and we found out that there’s nothing left from the archive of the English service from Radio Luxembourg. But Michele there is a start as I found in my archive that the program from Sunday 18th of February 1962 was transmitted at 9.45 lasted for 15 min. with the Johnny Spence orchestra and was called ‘Matt Monro sings’ The program was sponsored by Peter Stuyvesant. Other artists in those days who had a 15 minutes segment were Roosemary Clooney, Winifred Atwell, Ronnie Alldrich, Jena Baxter and Mr. Acker Bilk. All those live programs, as they called in on ‘208’ were live performances which were recorded to tape in London and in other British places and transported for broadcast to the Grand Duchy and were played by the technicians there, who also accompanied deejays from those days who lived in Luxembourg. Names in those late fifties, among others, were: Aussie Barry Alldis, Dick Norton and Keith Fordyce.

Another search question comes from Australia. Last month I mentioned the sudden death of former Capital Radio, Caroline and VOP and more presenter Keith Ashton. It was Sean Ison who wrote to me: ‘G'day Hans, it is with great sadness that I write to inform you of the untimely death of our dear friend Keith Ashton formerly of the VOP, Radio Caroline and many other pirate radio stations. There is an online dedication to him you might like to let your readers know about: http://www.isonliveradio.com/iarba/lifemembers/keith_ashton.html
Please also feel free to contribute any materials you might feel appropriate. We are also trying to contact Abie Nathan or any members of the VOP still living in Israel with view to contacting Keith’s estranged son and daughter to inform them of his passing. Any assistance you can give in this regard would be much appreciated. All the best, Sean Ison’.

Dear Sean, indeed we heard from Keith sudden death and mentioned it already in my International Radio Report. Abie’s condition is very bad and cannot be contacted. However Abe is cared for by some lovely people and so I’ve forwarded your mail and question to Eva and Noam in Tel Aviv who maybe can think about a solving of the questions and take contact with you. Of course they’ve to know more about the children. Maybe they can make contact with Mike Brand or any others on one of the radiostations in Israel to ask in the programs about there whereabouts. Hope they will mail you.

In the meantime the search is progressing: ‘G'day Hans, thanks for your help, I have been receiving emails and people are helping out. Just an update on Keith for your readers, we spread his ashes into the sea at ‘Pirate Cove’ at the end of Stockton Beach with family and friends present last Saturday. All the best, Sean’

Nice to see several people are still searching their own and other archives. From Ulli Mittag in Germany came the above article from the mid sixties. In 1965 Lord Such decided to stop working for Radio Sutch and sell the station to his agent, Reginald Calvert. The above article mentioned that he got 5000 Pounds for it, which was a lot in those days.

Still people are finding each other back versus the Hans Knot International Radio Report. This time came an email for information about one of my readers in Canada. An e mail was send to me by Walter Beiloo: ‘I read the name of Ron C Jones in your report. In the eighties of last century I exchanged a lot of recordings with him and today I found some back at the loft and I will make some mp3 of them. I’m looking for the actual e mail adress from Ron C Jones and try to get in contact with him after so many years.’

Of course the two are already in contact. Ron and I exchanged radio recordings from the mid seventies on. One day something strange occurred. It was so that we exchanged recordings by cassettes, normally 6 hours a time, and used the snail male for transport. Mostly there was a gap from 6 weeks between sending away the tapes and getting a parcel back from Canada. In the early nineties a gap was longer and suddenly a letter came back from Ron stating the reason why it took so long.

Next a long internet address which was sent to me by one of the readers. There you can download a complete book about Pirate Radio.

For those tuning in lately to the AM 828 they heard a new sound. Owner of the frequency is the company behind Arrow. They’ve decided that the signal of ‘Caz!’ will be transmitted on AM 828. During daytime the power is 20 kW and during dark hours 5 kW.

Ever wondered what Tony Prince is doing these days? The guy who made us enjoys listening to Caroline North and Luxembourg? He is nowadays program director at weddingtv.com.

The organisation behind nowadays Radio Caroline jumps into the music television on internet, whereby the idea is to get new talents a chance to get to the public. For more information, just go to: radiocarolinetv.co.uk

Sint Jacobi Parochie is a small village in the Dutch Provence of Friesland, way back in the north, where a very nice radio museum is situated: http://radiomuseum.100free.com

On our loft, where the studio and sleeping room is, already many years a wonderful model of the MEBO II is standing. It is built by the French radio enthusiast Paul Ciesielski from France. He is very in to the good old Veronica and even has a tattooing showing the Veronica vessel on his shoulder. He asked me to have a look on his models which can be found at:

When Mercury got wings
Radio Mercur in memoriam 50 years later

By Henrik Noergaard, Denmark (www.radio-mercur.dk)

Offshore radio broadcasting did not begin in Denmark. But the concept of broadcasting popular music programs from international waters directed towards an audience in a country with a state monopoly on radio transmissions came from Radio Mercur, a Danish commercial radio station that existed from 1958-1962. Henrik Noergardauthor from the book ’Pirater i Aeteren’ published by Danmarks Grafiske Museum, Odense 2003, takes us back to that early days en the history of Radio Mercur.

The year was 1958 and the scene is Denmark. Since the early days of radio broadcasting in the 1920’s the Danish radio listeners had been used to the fact that the choice was easy made when deciding what to listen at from your radio receiver. The national broadcasting company had a law-enforced monopoly on transmitting radio signals, and there were only two programs to choose from. The concept was to educate and enlighten the audience and entertainment and modern music was almost banished. Or at least only in minimized quanta a few hours per week. On good days you were able to catch transmissions from Radio Luxemburg in a fairly good quality. Otherwise there was only the State Radiofonia (“Statsradiofonien”). But on August 2nd 1958 a new sound was in the air and heard in the loudspeakers: From international waters between Denmark and Sweden, just a few miles from Copenhagen, a floating radio station began to transmit music and commercials in a way that had never been heard before in Denmark. The new station was called Radio Mercur. Within a few years the idea had spread to other countries like Sweden, Netherlands and UK. Radio Mercur has since been known as the pirate radio, which gave inspiration to a whole number of pirate radios or offshore radios. This is a look back at the start of Radio Mercur in 1958 to celebrate the 50 years jubilee of the first pirate radio.

The idea behind
The founding father of Mercur was Peer Jansen, a young man in Copenhagen. He had the same interest for new music as many other young people in Denmark. He tuned in on Radio Luxemburg to catch the latest hits and did occasionally listen to American Forces Network. But on the national radio he rarely found the music he fancied. On a travel to the south of Europe he discovered that USA used a military ship in the Mediterranean Ocean to transmit to the Soviet-alliance countries in Eastern Europe. Peer Jansen got the idea that something like Radio Luxemburg could be combined with a floating transmitter into a totally new kind of radio station in Denmark. What he didn’t know, was how to realize the idea. But he had a good network to draw on in order to find out. First of all: Danish national laws didn’t allow such a thing as a private radio station. But how about international regulations? Peer Jansen had a cousin, Boerge Agerskov, who was a law student at the University of Copenhagen. Boerge Agerskov tells: “There were a lot of adventure in Peer. He was very good at inspiring people. While I was finishing my studies I spent a lot of time researching radio conventions – whether it was possible at all, and it was in some way.” No one had thought of the possibility, that a radio station could be anchored in international waters and broadcast to a specific country without having permission. Secondly: What about the technical side? Peer had a brother in law, who was a radio enthusiast. He knew of another radio enthusiast named William Petersen. Normally he was a bike repairer but he also was very skilled in making radio transmitters. William Petersen took up the challenge to build a FM-transmitter and an antennae that could be used for the purpose. Thirdly: The idea was costly and there was a need for financing. Peer Jansen was working in a family owned silverware company in Copenhagen, run by Ib Fogh. Peer presented his idea to his boss, and soon Mr. Fogh was keen on the idea and willing to invest in the project together with Peer Jansen. From that point around summer 1957 things went fast with the establishing of a brand new radio station. A year later Radio Mercur was ready to go on air with recording studios in a mansion in a suburb of Copenhagen, a station big band, a floating transmitting station and a lot of enthusiastic people working as technicians, speakers and crew on the ship.

Radio Mercur’s own orchestra Photo: Gunilla Cairènius

New music and rising youth culture in a conservative landscape
How could anyone succeed in setting up a new radio station in a country with a monopoly on broadcasting radio, being unquestioned for decades? Denmark in the mid 1950’es was a traditional society. Young people were expected to follow in the footsteps of the parents, and you were expected to obey authorities. But a new culture was rising – slowly but clearly. Talking about 1968 as a breakthrough in changing the society, the path was already made many years before. A new kind of music – the rock’n’roll – came to Denmark from England and USA. Many young people were welcoming movies like “Rock Around the Clock” with Bill Haley and The Comets, shown in cinemas in Copenhagen in August 1957. Tommy Steele gave a concert in Copenhagen. Dance schools introduced rock’n’roll dancing. The new music had arrived in different ways. But among the older generation it caused a lot of worries. Rock’n’roll music was thought to lead to a loose and weak moral among the young generation, especially with underlying sexual messages in lyrics and stage performance – just think of the movements of the hips of Elvis Presley! A leading dancer described the effect of the music in the newspaper Aftenbladet (The Evening Paper) on September 12 1956: “It’s in the music. Performed rightly it is hypnotizing and narcotic like primitive drums on Indians and cannibals. It begins monotonous. After a while it excites more and more. At the end they are in the wildest ecstacy.” And the later program director of the national radio said: “On the question of rock’n’roll it is my opinion that it cannot be the task of The National Radio to promote knowledge of it, when we are told that it’s all about mass hysteria.” The young generation wanted to hear to the music anyhow in spite of what their parents and the authorities said. They listened to Radio Luxemburg on tiny transistor receivers, the reception usually in a poor quality due to the long distance. Therefore Radio Mercur had success with a concept putting emphasis on the popular music – both from records and with live transmissions of young Danish bands, that were invited to be recorded and broadcasted through the new radio station.

Big plans
The people behind Radio Mercur had very ambitious plans. A mansion that earlier housed the Embassy of Argentine in Copenhagen was transformed into radio studios with facilities for recording of commercials, programs and music. A jazz orchestra of 16 persons was hired as a radio big band. The leader, Ib Glindemann tells about the first contact: “I was picked up on some phony address on the island of Amager (near to the center of Copenhagen). An agent took me in his car and told me, that I was going to participate in something completely legal, but not to talk about, because it had to be top secret. Well, he was a nice person, and I wanted a job for my orchestra. We drove to a big fancy villa in Gentofte, and I was shown into the high paneled rooms – it was incredibly beautiful, almost like an English country mansion. I was wellcomed by Arne Paaby, the artistic leader of the radio. Paaby explained that a commercial radio station was to be established – and that was hot stuff at the time. Until then there only had been one station – the royal monopolized steam radio, so it was truly unbelievable! They seemed to know what they were up to. But they needed some music. I was ‘in’ those days and had a wellknown orchestra. They wanted to hire the orchestra, and we were to get a fair salary.” And so Ib Glindeman and his orchestra was the new big band of Radio Mercur. In the villa the dining room was transformed into a concert hall. Recordings of dance music began soon after to have programs on stock for later transmissions. It was also Ib Glindemann who composed the jingle for Mercur with three trumpets and a voice announcing “You’re listening to Radio Mercur!”

Erik Lindthardt Studio Cheetah II: Photo personal collection Erik Lindhardt

A difficult start
The preparations on land went fine, but on sea things were more troublesome. During July 1958 Radio Mercur announced several dates for the official launch of transmissions, but all failed due to technical problems with the ship, Cheeta Mercur or with unexpected stormy weather in Oeresund between Denmark and Sweden.
At last on Saturday August 2 1958 at 6 PM the jingle sounded officially for the first time from the ship. Unfortunately the sound waves didn’t reach many radio receivers among listeners in Copenhagen and other places within the expected radius from Cheeta. Technical problems with the transmitter caused an output of only 1/3 of full power and strong winds made the ship move so much that the antennae didn’t point towards land but rather towards the sky or the sea. Radio Mercur soon had more success with transmissions, and listeners rushed to stores in order to buy the specially made “Mercur Antennae”. But the companies buying advertisements were uncertain on how many listeners the station actually attracted. Therefore they were not eager to pay the amount of money requested by Mercur. The situation turned out to be an economic disaster for the radio, though it got a lot of attention from newspapers and radio listeners. Employees had a hard time to get their salaries – technician Birger Svan remembers: “At that time we had to go to the office, and they asked: “How much can you live on this month?” We couldn’t get our salaries. Those with children got first, we bachelors then got what we could get through the month on. Later on we got our salaries, but for quite a while it went on like that – “I wonder how much I can get this month?””

In the winter 1958-59 Radio Mercur was close to wreckage because of poor economy. It had build up a huge debt, it had no longer a contract with the international federation of record companies, the big band signed off due to lack of payments of salaries etc. etc. Only a loan from a small bank, Finansbanken, saved the pioneer in offshore broadcasting from a sudden death in the ice cold winter storms. Within half a year the situation had changed completely. Radio Mercur was able to pay back the loan to Mr. Alex Brask Thomsen of Finansbanken in August 1959 and from then on it was just more and more successful until the Danish authorities and the Parliament passed a bill in June 1962 making it illegal to assist in producing radio programs to offshore radios like Mercur. In reality the law made it impossible for Mercur to continue broadcasting. By the end of July 1962 Radio Mercur officially closed down transmissions. Three days of illegal broadcasting in August was brought to an end when Danish police went out to seize the ship and the transmitter.

The inspiration from Radio Mercur
Other people found the idea good and wanted to try it their own way. Radio Mercur was an example to follow for a whole fleet of pirate radios in international waters around Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium and UK. From December 14 1958 the young Swede Nils Eric Svensson and his company Skaanes Radio Mercur began broadcasting to the southwestern part of Sweden from Cheeta Mercur in the hours when there was no broadcasting to Denmark. Later Radio Mercur began using ship number two in Denmark, which made it possible to broadcast in Swedish all day long from the first ship. Britt Wadner took over Skaanes Radio Mercur in 1961 and the station changed name to Radio Syd in 1962, when it bought Cheeta Mercur from Radio Mercur. In April 1960 the Dutch station V.R.O.N. started broadcasting to Netherlands and Belgium from a ship off the coast of Netherlands. It was later better known as Radio Veronica. The people behind got inspiration from Radio Mercur. They got direct assistance on how to construct the company and on technical issues from the Danish pirate. In March 1961 Radio Nord started transmissions towards Stockholm in Sweden. It was mainly inspired by American radio programs, but there had also been contacts between Radio Nord and Skaanes Radio Mercur.

Cartoon from a Danish newspaper about Mercur Archive: Soundscapes

Denmark got another pirate radio as Danmarks Commercielle Radio or DCR – founded by outbreakers from Radio Mercur – began transmissions on September 15 1961. The two stations fought each other and the national state radio and soon emerged into one company under the name Radio Mercur. Denmark was too small at that time for more than one commercial radio based on the expensive offshore concept. Especially UK faced a number of offshore stations during the 1960’s starting with CNBC in 1960/61 and from 1964 Radio Caroline. So even though Radio Mercur didn’t survive more than four years, the idea of offshore broadcasting or pirate radio lived long after.

Links on Radio Mercur:
In Danish: www.radio-mercur.dk
In English: http://www.icce.rug.nl/%7Esoundscapes/DATABASES/RP2/Scandinavian_offshore_radio.shtml

Thanks for this interesting article Henrik, most appreciated is this contribution to the Hans Knot International Radio Report. Anyone who also wants to contribute please use HKnot@home.nl for your articles, questions and memories and Hans.Knot@gmail.com for photographs and other attachments.

Till next months with best greetings from
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