Hans Knot's International Radio Report - May 2009
Hi everybody and
thanks a lot for the enormous response which came in during the last
weeks. When I’d send away last months report, this came in: 'Hi Hans:
'The Boats That Rocked The North' featuring Caroline North/Scotland and
270 will be broadcast on Friday afternoons
Tony James Show on BBC Radio
Cumbria. www.bbc.co.uk/cumbria 3 to 4 o'clock, featuring Special guests
including Paul Burnett from Radio 270 and heard at night in the North,
Radio London with special guest Dave Cash.' Due to restrictions in the
English law I wasn’t able to listen through internet but lucky enough
I’ve readers who did listen, like Mike Terry: ‘A wonderful one hour
northern offshore radio special from Tony today, really enjoyed it , not
just the usual jingles and sound checks but good interviews. One studio
guest was an avid listener of Caroline North, he told a great story of
when as a teenager he was cycling to school with his tranny and some
music came on the radio that he had never heard before – ‘River Deep
Mountain High’ by Ike and Tina Turner and he was so amazed at it he had
to stop his bike and listen. Its memories like that of offshore radio
that many of us remember to these days, I certainly do. The guest also
spoke fondly about the IOM and how whenever he goes back to the IOM he
stands at Ramsey Bay and looks out to sea where Caroline North used to
be anchored. Tony also interviewed Dave Cash who pointed out that
England was the only country (well nearly) that had commercial
television before commercial radio - a very good point.
Then came an interview with a member of the Radio Scotland crew and some clips. These clips are well known and in the best sound quality I had heard them. He remembered that on the last trip out to The Comet the tender was overloaded and they heard the last live and taped show. Last record on Radio Scotland was Ray Davis ‘Death of a Clown’ and dedicated to Harold Wilson. They thought about moving anchor to the IOM but legal events scuppered that Harold Wilson went to the Queen to get the overriding order in council to force the IOM government to outlaw the pirates. This was apparently a previously unheard of act in UK peacetime. The Radio Scotland guy said the PM was dead scared all the offshore stations would anchor by the IOM.
Then Radio 270 was covered, with a clip of Paul Burnett (again this was in great audio quality). Then Paul was interviewed and said he voice on air then
sounded so odd, as he was desperately trying to avoid being sick. He reminded us that the Oceaan 7 was a tiny ship, only the same size as Caroline's tender! Also stories of how the ship was sometimes sailed in to shore, despite the three mile limit - "our ship was probably the most piratical of them all". They sailed in and out without lights, then turned the lights back on three miles out!
Radio 270 vessel in Whitby harbour. Photo: Hans Knot Archive
Tony's presentation was knowledgeable; he was involved with Radio Caroline, still an anorak. So I learnt some new things about Caroline North, Radio Scotland and Radio 270. Then the broadcast from Mi Amigo was played. How calm the jocks sounded "I think we will be back one way or another" - very true, they were. Can't have too much of this nostalgia! Well done Tony! Mike in Bournemouth.’
Thanks sharing this with us Mike. Now to Australia and Ian McRae: ‘We have just unleashed to the world what I believe to be a terrific service that takes the worry out of wondering what gift to buy someone about to celebrate an important event such as a birthday, anniversary, wedding, reunion, retirement or any other special occasion.
Ian MacRae "The Soundtracks Of Your Life"
An inexpensive gift that will be treasured forever.
Although Radio Nova was a station in Ireland, it had many listeners in the UK and is fondly remembered as being highly professional and innovative. www.RadioNova.ie is now on the web. It's a tribute site to Radio Nova, the station owned by the late Chris Cary. There are profiles of many of the presenters who worked on the station. The documentary produced for the 25th anniversary of the Radio Nova ‘closedown’, Bring Back Radio Nova, is now available on YouTube (click on the video below to view). In the coming months www.radionova.ie will be expanded to include a full video player/streaming facility for this documentary.
Last time we had the question about the special Veronica programs, which were transmitted on Mallorca in the late sixties of last century. It was Juul Geleick who brought in the answers and he now reflects on one of my comments. I wrote: ‘I must note that during the past 4 decennia only shows for Radio Popular de Mallorca showed up, which were presented by Robbie Dale." Well Hans I can tell you that I’ve 33 programs from Radio Popular de Mallorca in my archive. Just a few shows from Robbie, the others are presented by Lex Harding, Jan van Veen, Tineke, Tom Collins and Rob Out. But it’s correct to say that the programs of the other presenters are not circulating in the anorak world. Also they have never been transmitted on the real Radio Veronica.
Talking about Veronica, the town counsel from The Hague has agreed that research has to be done on plans to bring the former Veronica vessel, Norderney, from Antwerp to the harbour of Scheveningen. Scheveningen is part of the counsel The Hague. Of course the harbour was very important during offshore days as the Dutch stations were mostly tendered from Scheveningen. Also the fact that Veronica was responsible for the success of the Dutch Beat Groups from The Hague must be a reason to bring the ship to Scheveningen. So let’s wait what will happen next.
Deck Norderney 2009 Photo: Walter Beiloo
By the way I hope you all had a Happy Easter some weeks ago. I come back to Easter as I decided to buy foreign newspapers on Easter Saturday. I do this some eight times a year to have a complete relaxing weekend with news from several countries. This time I bought Frankfurter Allgemeine from Germany and a newspaper from England. It was the second time I bought an English newspaper in Holland this year and twice Radio Caroline was mentioned. Early March there was a story on Radio Caroline regarding the ‘Boat that rocked movie’ and this time I bought the Sun and Radio Caroline and Radio London were mentioned on the page of the guest columnist, which was Tony Blackburn. One subject he mentioned was ‘why do radio stations play the same records all the time? It was asked him more than anything else.
Of course the main reason from program directors was mentioned and that is that they think the listener will go to another station when an unfamiliar song is played. Blackburn mentioned that he totally disagrees with this and that he is lucky that he can play what he want on the stations he works for and has tremendous listenership. Also he told the Sun readers that it’s also a shame the stations are aiming at the younger listeners. Of course again here the station owners and advertising agencies still think the listeners above 50 don’t response to adverts on the radio. And Blackburn very correctly mentioned that he and his friends (and many more) are doing the modern things with internet like Facebook and Twittering and have a lot of money to spend on products which are advertised. Tony, who will have another jubilee soon, as he will be 45 years in radio, has a bit problem with memories as on the same page he first mentioned that he will be soon 50 years in radio and later on he recounted it to 45 years in radio.
Then this e mail came in from Alan Milewczyk: ‘Hi Hans. Recently I came across an old notebook where I recorded the RNI Charts during part of 1970 (especially the early part). There are some gaps in my records so I was scanning the internet to see if I could fill in the blanks. I came across an old report of yours dated June 2005 part 2 where Ian Biggar was looking for help to date a recording he had. "I don't know if you are aware of anyone who has a record of the RNI charts from 1970, but I need help putting a date on a recording. I have a Roger Day show from May 1970 on 244m. It is before the election and it is a Thursday, which leaves the 4th or 11th. A good clue is that he plays ‘Cottonfields’ by the Beach Boys and it is number 10 in the chart. Could anybody confirm the week that this song was at this position thus confirming the date of the recording for me?’"
Well, I don't know if anyone was able to help Ian but I can, very belatedly, if Ian is still on your circulation list! I have the chart effective Sunday 31st May 1970 which shows the Beach Boys ‘Cotton Fields’ coming straight into the chart for the first week at number 10. The following week, Sunday 7th June it was at number 4, then in the Caroline Countdown from 13 June at number 3, staying at number 4 the following week (back in the RNI charts), dropping to number 12 for week commencing Sunday 28 June, up to 11 on 5th July, down to 12 on 12th July, 15 on 19th July, which is the last chart I have details for. Alan.
Well better late than never so I’ve forwarded the e mail to Ian Bigger and he’s very thankful for the answer!
We go to Israel. ‘Good evening Hans Knot It's some time ago I wrote to you because I was so busy in the forum VOP. Last months there was a change of programs on 100fm Radius. That also caused angry reactions from some of listeners to the management of 100fm Radius as they canceled program hours from the former VOP deejay Tim Shepperd on Sabbath.
Tim Shepperd. Collection:Tim Shepperd
This month I read on the forum VOP that two other former VOP deejays will visit Israel soon: Don Stevens and Steve Baker. I want to tell you how I want to praise you and your writing in ‘The Hans Knot's International Radio Report’. I also read your stories on The Voice of Peace too. It’s exciting to read it. Lots of thank you very much! David Natan.
Well Natan thank you for your warm words and also thanks for updating us with the news from Israel.
Now I want to share with you the following e mail exchange in the series ‘Lost and Found’: ‘Hi Hans. Yesterday (here in Australia) I saw a promo for the film ‘The Boat that Rocked’ and immediately realised that it was about Caroline. I put a short posting under returnees on the Caroline web site about Don Richardson, my stepfather, and my Mum, Nan. Later on in the day I read through the history and saw the mentions of Mum and Don. This morning I did another Google search and came up with your 'soundscapes" article from 2004, where you ask if anyone knows what happened to them.
After Nan and Don left Radio Caroline (1968) they went back to Guernsey in the Channel Islands (where Mum had been born). I then moved to Jersey in 1968. They then emigrated to Australia in about 1972/3, firstly living around Sydney and then later moving to Townsville, Queenland. I emigrated to Australia in 1974. In 1975 Mum and Don then moved to Honolulu (you may recall that he had an American accent), and he would have had a pension over there. They lived there for 20 years and sadly Don died about 1995. I visited Mum in Honolulu in mid 1996, but by then I think she was very lonely and made the decision to return to her home in Jersey. I was lucky to have been with her for the month before she died on 19th June 2001. She was very eccentric but I loved her dearly and Don was an absolute sweetie.’
So through Kate we now know what happened to Nan and Don Richardson since 1968. Sorry to hear they both died already. I thanked Kate for get in contact with us and directly remembered that Andy Archer and Robert Clancy were on search for these answers and I informed them too.
Kate came back to me with: Don did repair pin-ball machines during the time on Guernsey. I recall he had to repair them without any circuit diagrams to follow - but he was good at that sort of thing. I recall going to see them in their little flat high up with a view of St. Peter Port harbour. Don certainly had been a radio engineer in the States before he went to England - I remember seeing some paperwork and all his manuals, but cannot remember any details.’
I of course asked Kate for photographs and one of the pictures she sent was from the marriage of the couple in 1965.
Nan and Don Richardson collection Kate Nicholls
But with sending the photos the question still came in from Kate: ‘Just a further question. I’ve just read your August 2006 (2) newsletter. In it you have a memo written my Nan. Unfortunately I cannot decipher all the text although I can see the name Beardsley (Mums 1st married name) and of course my maiden name. The telephone number was our house in Jersey.
If you would like to transcribe the memo I might be able to point you to another lead - that is if you have not already found out more.’
I then went to the August 2006 edition and answered with:
Well Kate here is a larger version of the document. I remember the subject as I dove in the archive from the late Carl Mitchell and found this memo from Nan to Jimmy – who was the personal guard for Ronan O’Rahilly in Amsterdam in the sixties. He was also very close to David Mc Williams. He adverted on Radio Caroline for houses to sell and rent in Spain. A lot of people responded but I think this never was materialised.’
Kate came back with: ‘Well, well, well, the Mrs K Beardsley was me. I was still living in London at the time, that must have been my work number. I went to live in Jersey in July 1968. As I said the Jersey Central number was our home in St. Helier. Will have a word with my aunt and see if she remembers anything.‘
In the meantime Andy Archer and Richard from Guernsey were already in contact with Kate and two of the memories Andy wrote to her I bring into the report: ‘Dear Kate, Hans Knot gave me your address. I was most interested to learn what happened to Don and Nan. I worked for Radio Caroline in 1967/8 and knew them both, particularly Nan who I was very fond of as. As someone who was very new to radio, she was very kind and supportive to me. I well remember meeting Nan for the first time. It was in Amsterdam and I had just been given a job with Radio Caroline and was told to report to her at the office at Singel 160. I was sitting together with another deejay, Bud Bulloo, on the steps of the building waiting for her to arrive. A short while later, Nan arrived at the office. I should imagine that she was rather tired of having to deal with Radio Caroline fans every morning on the steps, her initial reaction to me was "and who the f*** are you?" I explained that we had been told to report to her, she added, "well nobody has told me about it, bloody typical".
I always looked forward to going to the office to see Nan after a spell on the ship. We would often go out for coffee and have a chat about things were on the ship. On one occasion, she told me about an incident that had happened on the ship which she could not have possibly known about. When I questioned her as to how she found out, she replied that Don had told her, adding they were both telepathic! On returning to the ship, I told Johnnie Walker about it and he replied, "Well, that’s what the old bugger was up to!"
Apparently, early one morning, about 3 o'clock, Johnnie got up from his cabin to go to the lavatory. He saw that the studio light was on and went to investigate. He listened at the door and could hear Don's American drawl. He assumed at the time that he was testing the equipment. In fact, Don was live on the air. Once a week, he would switch on the transmitter in the middle of the night and talk to Nan for a few minutes about life on board the ship. It was their little secret which Don admitted to me a couple of years later when I visited them in Guernsey.
Next it’s t shirt time again. Also this month photos came in at HKnot@home.nl showing the favorite offshore radio shirts. This one is from a forer Radio 270 deejay: ‘Following your recent appeal in the newsletter, I thought you'd like to see how I liked to confuse the fans who came out to Oceaan 7 in 1967, wearing a 'Big L' tee-shirt on deck on the Oceaan 7! Regards Guy Hamilton.
Well Guy wonderful to see the young lad sunbathing on the Radio 270 deck.
I had a positive big laugh about the context of next e mail: ‘I just found this in the archives of the Western Australian State Library. It’s an extract from the Shipping Lists of early arrivals at the new Swan River Colony - now Western Australia. It seems we had a Caroline before the pirates did! Regards, Colin Nichol. PS - Yes, I know the Dutch got here a long time before the British!!
Next a link sent to me by Look Boden, former Radio Dolfijn and Radio 227 deejay: ‘Herewith a link of a concert given in France and transmitted on France 2 and France 5. It was a concert by David Alexander Winter or as we know him from Offshore Days as Johnnie van Doorn from Radio 227. His original name, to make it more difficult, is Leon Kleerekoper from Amsterdam. Next to be a deejay aboard the Laissez Faire in 1967 he has also been a presenter on Radio Veronica for a short period. As artist David Alexander Winter sung at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1970 for Luxembourg. Nowadays he’s living in Boston and has the American Nationality. He still is active in the music world and has recently released a new CD.’ In May he makes a Tour through France and also will be visiting Holland to do a special on nowadays Radio 227 together with Look Boden.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rux-ioK7v0o (France TV)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyT9Lzg2WOs (new CD)
By the way, did you recently visit the Radio 227 pages? Under the button ‘nieuws’ photos of the new studio can be seen. http://radio227.nl/index2.html
Champagne glass is now raised for Mary and Chris Payne!
‘The Radio London website is ten years old on March 29th. When we started the site in 1999, Chris and I might have believed that by 2009, we would have run out of things to say on the subject of offshore radio and retired from running it. However, 1500 pages later, we are far from short of new material and are now seeing a new wave of interest in offshore radio, generated by the Pirate BBC Essex recreations and the release of ’The Boat That Rocked'.
Ten years ago, Chris and I could never have envisioned the impact of what we were starting, nor the amazing growth of the internet. We certainly had no idea that we would end up as directors of Radio London Ltd! We have been proud to have been instrumental in bringing together many of the original 'Wets' and are delighted to be able to call many of them friends. The site has helped us to forge many friendships worldwide and we are particularly honoured to have been included in the USS Density family. The WWII crew members and their relatives have become fascinated by Radio London and to learn of the Density's second life as the mv Galaxy and have welcomed us with open arms.
We would like to thank the many people who have contributed to the success of the site by kindly donating their personal stories, photos and items of memorabilia. If I attempt to name everyone, I am bound to leave someone out, but you all know who you are and you know we are extremely grateful for your contributions. However, I must mention Ron Buninga, son of Captain Bill, and Wijnand Brak, who donated items that had come from the Galaxy, both understanding how much this would mean to us.
Special thanks must go to 'Fab' Alan Field for donating his Big L Fab Forties. Fab worked hard to on preparing his original lists for the website and his own listings subsequently became the starting point for our acquiring the entire set - which involved more work for him! The Fab Forties are undoubtedly the site's most popular feature and we are also indebted to the amazing team of people at Oldies Project who decided to broadcast them weekly via the internet. Nobody could have envisioned that their popularity would often overload the servers on Sunday mornings, necessitating a Wednesday evening repeat.
We would also like to thank the other offshore webmasters (and of course Hans Knot), for their friendship and support, which has proved invaluable.‘
Please raise your glasses to Radio London too!
But Mary had also an answer to Ian, who wrote in last report: ‘The Oldiesproject and Big L Fab 40 web sites heavily publicise the broadcasting of the Fab 40 on Saturdays and repeated on Wednesdays, courtesy of John Edward. But I've been listening for about five weeks now and I've yet to hear one! I did tune in yesterday and heard someone talking about playing records from 40 years ago this week, my immediate reaction being: "great, a presented show," followed immediately afterwards by the continuous music format.’
Mary: ‘It sounds as if Ian Godfrey has been listening at the wrong time! The Fab Forties are broadcast 1100 GMT Sundays and 1800 GMT Wednesdays. I'm afraid there are no presenter programmes on Oldies Project, as the station is run as a hobby and has no studio facilities. John Edward introduces the charts and the voices of Ian Damon, Mark Roman and Keith Skues are heard throughout the count-down. The chart is immediately followed by Kees Brinkerink's feature 'Forty Years Ago' - which consists of singles released forty years ago in the week corresponding to the date of the broadcast. Obviously, the current year is 1969. It would appear that this is what Ian has been tuning in to. Best wishes, Mary.’
Of course I’ve forwarded the e mail to Ian who came back with: ‘Dear Hans, Thanks very much for the latest International Report. Also many thanks for Mary Payne's response to my comments/queries about Oldiesproject. I was a bit dismissive about it but I must admit that I didn't persevere long enough to find out what the situation was although, when I tuned in a few weeks ago, and listened for slightly longer, everything seemed pretty clear. Concerning my enquiry about Veronica frequencies I was excited to read the response from Juul Geleick. I've always been fascinated by the minutiae concerning offshore stations, particularly concerning frequencies and the challenge to find the answers to such questions has probably even strengthened my interest. Sometimes I get a boost on discovering something by chance, one example being about thirty years ago, while reading the 'Caroline Chronicle' in 'Monitor' and noting that the 'Mi Amigo' wasn't completely silent from 20th October, 1978 till Easter Saturday, 1979, as they carried out a short test on 558 kHz on 18th March, but decided that it wasn't practical to continue as they discovered that 4 kW was about the maximum power they could run through the aerial system.
I was also fascinated by the article on Radio Carla. I vaguely remember reading about this round March, 1973, probably in one of the music papers ('Record Mirror' and 'Disc/Music Echo' were very informative at the time and would look forward to them every week.) With 10 kW and broadcasting on maybe 773 kHz they could have easily covered their target area and would have been interesting competition for particularly Atlantis, which was aimed at the same age-range. A station that got a lot of publicity at this time was Radio Benelux and Radio Hollandia about a year later but, as far as I know, decided not to proceed due to the imminent Dutch MOA. I'd be grateful if anyone can supply information on Radio King, particularly whether it was a serious project. Crispian St. John was allegedly behind it.
It will be interesting to gauge the success of 'The Boat That Rocked' by, for example, mid-summer. Most of the comments have been quite complimentary - apart from one. Every Saturday I tune into James Max, on LBC 97.3, who presents a very up-beat, highly opinionated breakfast show, which features a film section between 08.30-09.00, presented by James Hartigan, who is equally frank and opinionated, with a very extensive knowledge of films generally. As I've never been particularly interested in the cinema I usually switch off and rustle up a bit of breakfast. On 28th March he mentioned that he'd be reviewing two films, one of which he was impressed with and one not but that we'd have to wait till the following week to find out which was which! Slightly pessimistically I suppose I suspected that The Boat That Rocked' was in the latter category so I had to stay tuned yesterday and I was right! He felt that the characters were like cardboard cut-outs. He was pretty scathing about Richard Curtis and Kenneth Brannagh and thought it would have been better if the film had been more representative of the period. He said he spent some time with Roger Day a few years ago and was fascinated with the stories he told and felt sure there would be no shortage of material. My First reaction was that it would have to be considerably 'sexed up' but then suddenly thought maybe the Radio City drama could be pretty good subject matter. About three years ago Channel Five ran a very interesting crime series and I thought this would have fitted in quite well. I 'phoned them, suggesting it, and was told that my message would be passed onto the Producer but heard nothing! With Best Wishes, Ian Godfrey.’
Thanks Ian and good to read that you enjoyed my story on Radio Carla. In time to come I will also write about the King Radio project that also never came on the air in 1973. You mentioned Radio Hollandia a year later, but this was not in 1974 but 1978. About the movie I come back later in the report.
Remember we found a former female Voice of Peace deejay back after decades? Here she’s once again: Tara Jefferies: ‘Wow - My first International Hans Knot Radio Report and I had the most amazing time opening links and reading the report. Hans - amazing work goes into producing a collection of reports. I am so impressed with the work you have put in. Thank you for including me and I am now inspired to go and find all my Voice of Peace pictures and have a little memory indulgence moment. You are bringing together old memories – first Don Stevens and now Stevie Gordon.
Thank you, Tara. PS - Please pass on my best to Keith Skues’.
Hi Tara good to see you've enjoyed the first radio report ever and welcome to our world wide club. Hope you find the photos and can tell us some memories to one or two of them. Very good also that you're now in contact with Steve Gordon in Norway too, after Don Stevens was the first to get in contact after so many years. Take care, Hans.
In the meantime I did pass on your best wishes to Keith Skues:
‘Hi Hans, congratulations all round on your success with the website and your own personal achievements. Thanks you for taking the trouble to pass on regards from Tara Jefferies. What a lovely lady whom I had the pleasure of working with some years ago. When convenient please pass on my best to her. Continued success, Hans. With kind regards, Keith Skues.
Now we go to London and Dave Burke after receiving last report: ‘Thanks Hans, Again a great newsletter as usual. I was so sad to hear of the death of Liz West though, I thought she was great; I was living literally within sight of the MV Communicator back then and was a great fan of the station and all of the jocks. As I write this (28 March) I am listening to Dave Cash's Pirate Special on BBC Southern Counties radio - can you get that online outside the UK? Here's the link anyway, and if you can't hear it over there, please let me know and I'll drop you a CD of it if you like... http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p002jjxt/Dave_Cash_28_03_2009/
Cheers for now, Dave Burke.’
Thanks Dave for thinking to send me the link. However we can’t listen to the BBC programs on line in the Netherlands. But one of the many readers has uploaded the program for me. Hope you and all others have enjoyed the many programs there were during the Easter Holidays. I’ve now all offshore radio deejay programs from Pirate BBC Essex on file and have already listened to many of them. Really it brought back a lot of memories. All have done a great job.
Well another month has gone and we’ve 6,5 months to go before the next annual Radio Day will take part in Amsterdam. We informed you already a bit on the programming and part of the day will be for a 25 years later reunion with people who worked for Laser 558 and Laser Hot Hits. Earlier on we mentioned we were still on search for several ones and some weeks ago suddenly a short e mail can in with: ‘Are you looking for me? Ric!’
So I answered the one, which came from Ric Harris: ‘Hi Ric. Quite right we were looking for you and some others as this was mailed to several people by Martin van der Ven, co organiser for the annual radio day: Hope to hear from you. (I send all the related info to him)’. And yes he came back with: ‘Hans, It certainly sounds like an exciting time. My year and some on a radio ship remains the most colorful time of my life and source of many memories and stories. I am happy to say that I have been in touch with Tom Rivers, Roy Lindau and Charlie Wolf from time to time over the years, and the circulation of this invitation has caused me to hear from Stuart Vint and Janet Bardini. I am also saddened to be reminded of the deaths of Dave Towery, Joe Vogel and now Liz West. It seems a very high mortality rate for our old gang to have. I think that it may indicate the psychology of the people that left America to work in European off-shore radio. The folks of Radio Caroline did it because they needed a career; we did it because we were bored or restless with what we did have. I think Jessie summed it up when she said, “(offshore) DJ, it is not just a job, it is an adventure”.
Jessie Brandon, Ric Harris, Paul Dean, Steve Masters and David Lee Stone
June 1984 Photo: Leen Vingerling
And it really was an adventure. I especially remember refitting the ship in Fort. Lauderdale, crossing the Atlantic on the Communicator, the mail buoy, stopping at Sao Miguel and New Ross and being sea-sick for days. The North Sea storms wrecking the antennae, hopping from the ship to the tenders, slipping into the UK before dawn, the harbor master that chased us away, the Panamanians, the news people, Laser road shows, the bomb threat, the night we were drifting in small boat with a dead motor, the wonderful people that visited on weekends because they only wanted to meet us, 13 weeks without getting off, the multinational crew, visiting London, Amsterdam , Dublin, Tunisia, Paris, Kent, Cardiff, a short stint at Radio Nova, hanging out with the Caroline crew, real sailors and the closeness of the Laser 558 DJs . It all took place in less than two years.
Anyway, I digress. I am going to say ‘maybe’ I will be able to make it to your gathering in November. It is tough to get time away from work and my wife and I have other travel plans at that time of year. Of course, the economy being what it is, I may have plenty of time off. So, I will save this and mark my calendar. Hans, I really do appreciate the interest. Please give my regards to Leander (Leen Vingerling) and his friends who frequently came out from the Netherlands and brought us to fresh milk and other treats. Also, to Theo Dencker, who gave us wonderful professional quality photographs. Best regards, Ric Clissold (Harris).’
So, Ric has been found and let’s wait if he succeeds in getting it together to come to Amsterdam. Another one reflected too: ‘You know I was actually hired to be the ship steward and ended up on the radio. I was terrible but for some reason received an unusually large amount of fan mail. No one was more puzzled by that than I. I was on board the Communicator from April of '84 to May of '85. That year I was always taking photos and have two photo albums filled with Laser photos. Some day I will share them. Also I have the diary of someone who was on board the Communicator from the time it sailed from Florida in October of '83 to March of '85. Of special interest to me were the daily activities of that voyage from Florida, stopping in the Azores and then on to Ireland. Someday I would like to share that part of the diary. How fondly I remember our Dutch fans. They used to come out to the Communicator and always brought us cases of Heineken, which to this day remains my favorite beer. I'll keep in touch and shall start reading your International Radio Report. Michael Dean.’
Thanks a lot for your memories Michael and enjoy the report. Old versions, up to early 2004 can be found on www.hansknot.com always the latest is on the site. At the end of the latest is a link to the one from last month if you go to that one there is a link to a month older and so on. Good to hear you collected the photos too. It would be fine if you want to share the contents of the diary one day. Could it be that it is the dairy from Joe Vogel, who must have been on the ship during that period too? A pity you can't join us in November but maybe you can arrange a spoken letter on DVD or video in time? Keep in touch.’
Michael came back with an answer again: 'It’s David Lee Stone's diary. I knew David and Blake Williams many years. prior to Laser. I did keep in touch with Joe until his death. I have read that David's death was due to a combination of drugs and alcohol. David died of alcohol poisoning alone in a hotel room in Tucson Arizona, April 7, 1997. I was very close to his family as we were all originally from Kansas. Our parents were friends. Hans, as I said I don't think I will be able to be there in November but it would be just like me to show up at the last moment. Hopefully I'll be able to.’
Then a third one from the USA about the reunion: ‘This sounds like such fun, as Laser was a groundbreaking endeavor, but I don't think I will be able to attend this year. Working in Washington DC and there is a lot going on right now. I hope you will share photos and other information about the get together. All the best, Jane Norris.’
And a fourth one: ‘I would love to come over, but I have a hard time planning next week, much less November. Could you resend the dates for me? I took a some pictures while on the ship ... here is the link to one:
I'll post more ... if I can find the negatives. I was only on the ship for a short time, but was quite an adventure. Recently I found a full hour air check of mine on the Internet. I didn't really understand what an impact the ship made until I was off it. It’s hard it believe it was so long ago! Thanks for remembering me! - Kirk KC.
And a fifth one: ‘Wonderful to hear of this, and from all who have responded thus far. Like many of them, I cannot commit at this date, but would love to attend. I have a project going up in December, so it may be hard to get away in November, but I think of the idea often, and some days it seems possible! I will hope and try to make it work. Brandy Lee.’
Brandy Lee Photo: Leen Vingerling
A sensational DVD, almost 1,5 hours long, has been produced by the people of Offshore Echos. It tells the story in photo's, video and sound of Laser 558. This year it's 25 years ago the station came on the air from the MV Communicator with deejays like Tommy Rivers, Jessie Brandon, Paul Dean, Charlie Wolfe, Chris Carson, Erin Kelly, Liz West and many more. Watching this very well produced DVD it gave me the thrill to think it was only yesterday the station was on the air and gained millions of listeners all over Europe. That is until authorities saw that the popularity was not good for the independent local radio stations in Britain. A real blockade followed whereby it was impossible to tender the radioship off the South Eastern coast of Great Britain. All facets of the 1,5 years of Laser 58 are featured on this Laser 58 DVD. For more information how to get your own copy go to: http://www.offshoreechos.com/Main%20page.html
Now over to Blackpool from which Gary Smith asked me if I was interested to show the readers a historic photo from the 30’s of last century. It shows an experimental radio car, in those days’ wireless communications. It’s a Morris Tourrer. Thanks a lot and if you’ve a historic photo, don’t forget to send it in at firstname.lastname@example.org
I think may of you have seen already the movie ‘The boat that rocked’. On Martin van der Ven’s site www.offshore-radio.de there’s the poster for the movie. Click on that one and you come on a page with many reviews, television specials and photographs about the movie, from all around the world.
Former Caroline deejay Erik de Zwart who also worked for stations like Veronica and Radio 538 and became very big in the Netherlands, was one of the early watchers of the movie as he could see it weeks before it came in the cinema: ‘Hi Hans I think the next link must interest you and your readers. I’ve watched the movie already together with Ferry Maat and Ad Bouman. It was very nice to have an early view. Erik de Zwart.’
Thanks Erik and it was one week before the movie came into the Dutch cinemas that a big article on the movie appeared in the Veronica Magazine, in which Erik, Ferry and Ad talked about the movie and their offshore past.
Then another subject which we talked about in an earlier edition of the report: the length of the Big L mast. ‘Hi Hans, I advised a similar height to Mary Payne in an e-mail many, many years ago. This was based on the picture on the back of Chris Elliots book, which showed Big L virtually beam on. We know her breadth from the plans, and by factoring that we come up with about 140 feet. In the VHS video Tom (Danaher) sent me, he speaks of around 125 feet of mast when laying on the dockside before being lifted. I'm not the DJ Peter Phillips. I'm just a very investigative Peter Phillips. Another little tidbit for Pirate Radio Offficianados. Soon after it became known that the Earl J Conrad JR was believed to be AG 131/Deal/Olga Patricia/ Laissez Faire (about 10 years ago) I phoned the owners Hainey Products in the USA. I inquired if they could confirm by checking the keel information, (if it still existed, as the boat had been drastically modified wheelhouse wise etc). They sent someone to check. I phoned back about 2 hours later and they had found the AG131 info on the keel. Regards, Peter Phillips.
Thanks a lot Peter for reflecting on the story from a few months ago. Aside is the photo from the Chris Elliot collection, which Peter mentioned in his answer.
Now we go to Kent as a message came in via a reader: Robin Adcroft Reports: "The WW2 landing stage at the Southern Gun Tower has finally given up the ghost, helped on its way by harsh winter storms. Maintenance crews removed several tons of debris surrounding the Tower legs in February to prevent any structural damage to the Fort. Now bereft of its fendering, access to the Fort has been suspended until a new system can be installed. The two new cable bridges scheduled for installation by The Royal Engineers in late spring 2009 is now on hold, meanwhile, engineers Tony Pine and Justin Yardley have prepared plans for the new fendering and materials have been sourced. BBC filming of the new bridges installation and a special Blue Peter programme will have been delayed by several months due to the fendering work. Completion of the new installation is expected to be early June 2009. Finally, two Rock Bands have offered to do fund raising performances to help with financing this costly work.‘
Due to the fact Laser 558 came on the air 25 years ago a special website has been made to bring more info and audio: www.laseris25.tk
T shirt time and this one from the station which is now 45 years of age, thanks to Ronan, Mr. Solomon, Peter Moore and hundreds of other not mentioned persons. The t shirt is from 1990 just and was released in the summer that year. If you’ve also a t shirt to share send the photo to HKnot@home.nl
Talking about Radio Caroline it was former Radio Monique deejay Herbert Visser who sent me the next photo which he got from eLine la Croix. She got the photo from Lion Keezer. As I remember this photo is from early 1973 and was taken aboard the MV Mi Amigo and from the style the photo has been taken I’m almost for 100 % sure it was taken by Martin Stevens.
Well here’s Bob LeRoi’s update for this month: ‘The evenings are lighter and spring has sprung but in ‘ScrapBook’ it’s the dark days of the winter of 1972 where we find the Mi-Amigo impounded in Holland. ‘One Subject One Link’ has an interesting contribution making the point that local radio has been allowed to ’divorce’ itself from its audience. With plans advanced for Red Sands Radio 2009 we nip out to the Fort for a squint at the damage caused by the winter storms and ‘flashback’ to a winner at the Whitstable Rotary Club Race Day 2008. Plus we’ve updates to BRFM, Caroline Roll Call and the Paul Stutch Tribute. Enjoy Your Visits. www.bobleroi.co.uk
From Bob we go over to Andy Archer, who did stint on Radio Caroline in
the sixties, seventies and eighties of last century. An absolute topper!
‘Thanks Hans for the latest newsletter, fascinating as ever. Attaching a
recent picture of a mini reunion I had with Keith Skues and Johnnie
Walker. You can use it in the next newsletter if you are short of
pictures! Hope all is well with you and Jana. Best wishes, Andy Archer.’
Keith Skues, Johnny Walker and Andy Archer. Photo: collection Andrew Dawson
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Now an e mail or two from Belgium:
‘Thanks Hans for your interesting and varied report, as always. One thing struck me though: not a single word from the Emperor Rosko! Must have been sick ;-))) Luc’. Well Luc I can tell you that Rosko was over in England to do a long promotion tour as well as presenting programs on BBC Pirate Radio Essex, doing interviews as well as being an early raiser as he was on a breakfast television show too. Surely he will be back soon with his comments in the Hans Knot International Radio Report.
Then Ron van Veen from Belgium tells us that he has renewed the Radio Kompas site which can be found at: www.radiokompas.net.
From Holland here’s a tip from Arie den Dulk who found the next thing on an Irish site
It was Rob Walker who was the first to send me the internet address where Tony Blackburn tells about the movie ‘The Boat that rocked’ and his impressions about it:
Roel Jager wants to mention that nice photographs can be found on the internet concerning 40 years of Radio Caroline, which was celebrated in London by former Caroline personal. It was organised by Roger Day.
Well Roger, nice to see you succeeded in getting them together again. A pity you had to search for another pub as the original pub, where deejays went to in the sixties, is now closed. Maybe the people who have ‘put the light on’ concerning the history on offshore radio during the past decades could also be invited when 50 years Radio Caroline will be celebrated!
‘Hello All, a few new bits & pictures on the web site plus a programme play list for my Seagull programme under My Seagull Programmes. http://www.smiffyradio.webs.com/
Regards, Martin Smith.’
Next we go to Jon Myer: ‘Just a quick note to say that The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame has had its monthly update. New this month:
• former Radio Caroline DJs and staff gathered to celebrate the station's 45th birthday last Saturday - we have three pages of pictures;
• the ‘Seventies Supplement’ has a new page, honouring broadcasters from that decade with names beginning with the letter K;
• one of them, Steve King, provides some great photos dating from his time on Radio Northsea International;
• and there is news of a two-part documentary, 'When Pirates Ruled The Airwaves', going out on all the GMG-owned stations (Smooth, Real and Rock Radio) in April. www.offshoreradio.co.uk
Next have a watch at photos taken on August 19th 1989, the day after the
raid, just uploaded to Flickr by Paul Easton:
From the Pirate Hall of Fame to Mary Payne from the Radio London site, who wrote: ‘Thank you so much to everyone who sent such lovely birthday greetings. Chris and I may have to take a break from the keyboard for a few days as we have had so much to add to the Radio London site that our arms are seizing up! Our bumper 10th Birthday Update includes the first of our exclusive extracts from the memoirs of Radio London's original Texan Programme Director, Ben Toney. There's an album of photos from Radio Caroline's 45th anniversary reunion, March 28th, a clip of Jack Curtiss talking about Radio England on Australian Radio and Mary's review of 'The Boat That Rocked'. Some people have asked for an MP3 of my interview on Pirate BBC Essex and that is now on the site. The links to them all can be found in 'What's Happening'. www.radiolondon.co.uk
Next Charles from
Holland with a very nice informative mail: ’I don't know whether it's
been mentioned here but there is an excellent site listing week by week
the Radio Veronica (1965-89) and
Dutch RNI (1971-74) charts, the url is
Back to England we find Mike Grant: ‘Hi Hans Mike here over in Somerset in the UK. I suspect you are aware of the RNI film from 1974 "The show must go on"? I have a very poor quality copy of this and I was wondering if you know of anywhere I could obtain a high quality first generation copy? Keep up the great work on the Radio Report. A must read every month! Very best to you and your family. Mike Grant.’
Thanks a lot to Charles for the RNI charts listings and to Mike for the info about the RNI Movie. I must commit that I also have a fair copy of the movie. So if anyone, particularly those who got the movie as the appeared in it in 1973, have a good quality one, please inform me at HKnot@home.nl
But there was a second question from Mike: ‘Just one further question. I love seeing locations relating to Radio Caroline and I was wondering if anyone has a photo of the offices that were in use during the 1970s, the address was given as Rosas, Gerona in Spain. Even a photo of the location as it looks today would be interesting.’
Well Mike this is a most difficult one to answer. I’ve thought many hours about how to bring it in a polite way. The address given was just a simply postal box at a post office where one of the Radio Mi Amigo people came once a week to get the post and take it to one of the many people involved in tendering the Mi Amigo from forbidden countries.
In one of the many e mail exchanging Martin van der Ven had with me he proposed to come with a new item in the report, from which can be made a long list later. He asked me ‘Why not mention all the popstars and artists who made a visit to either the studios on land or the radioship during offshore days. And the best is to deliver a photograph with it. I can recall examples like Twinkle visiting the Mi Amigo, Marianne Faithfull visiting the MV Galaxy, José Feliciano on board the Laissez Faire and Jimmy Smith at the MV Mi Amigo. And spontaneously I also think about the Rolling Stones visiting the Cheetah II an d Juliane Werding visiting the MEBO II singing live during the Graham Gill Show, ’
Well Martin I think this is a very good idea. So up to you the reader to bring in your contribution to ‘artists that visited the offshore stations’.
What about going back to 1973, the year Juliane Werding visited the MEBO II and sung her German version of ‘Nights in White Satin’ in the studio with
Graham. She was very hot in Germany and still is and this is a cover of a music magazine from Germany:
German Magazine, Graham Gill and Juliane Werding studio MEBO II
So up to you the reader to come with other names of artists who visited the offshore radiostations. Send it to HKnot@home.nl
Already now I can tell you that I the June edition there will be two other photos from a reader concerning special cars with promotion for offshore radio in the eighties. Talking about the eighties, in 1981 the MV Magda Maria, planned for Radio Paradijs and Radio Monique, was seized by Dutch authorities. One of the Marine Ships, the MV Jaguar, was used by Dutch authorities. On the ship several marine crewmembers took photographs, which are now on internet:
Earlier on in this report a reader asked if I could tell more about the ill fated project King Radio from the seventies. Well I made an in depth report years ago in an article which I wrote for the on line journal for media and music culture from the University Groningen. You can read it here:
Now we go to Israel and Eva, one of the people who cared a lot for Abie Nathan during his last years before he died on August 27th 2008. ‘Dear Hans, long time no talk. I hope that all is well. I have been busy with the baby and moving to a new home. We are trying to fund raise money for Abie's memorial museum any idea for donors? We will be glad to have your input. Dag, Eva.’
Thanks a lot Eva for keeping in touch and being very nice to send the special parcel. It’s most appreciated. Of course I will mention that you want donations. So everyone involved with the VOP can donate to the special fund for the Abie Nathan Memorial Museum. Just mention to get in contact with Eva to me at HKnot@home.nl and I will forward the e mail to her.
Next and e mail from the people behind Radio Rainbow: Please promote this new site www.radiorainbow.tk
And our new frequency's, which can be received in Afghanistan and Iceland and anything in between; 3932 KHz, 6400 KHz and 6554 KHz.
A supporter of Radio Rainbow International has made a movie, to promote the new transmitters on air since this Easter and we thought you may find it interesting. Please promote it.
And you thought we had only older readers and people interested in offshore radio? Read the next one: ‘Hey Hans, first of all let me tell you that your blog is amazing! Thanks for helping to keep the history of offshore radio alive! I am simply going to tell you my story which unfortunately is quite long, so if you get bored, just delete it, and just tread the end! Well, the problem in my life is: I was born too late! Too late for the Beatles and the Stones, too late for the hey day of Radio Caroline and Radio London, too late for the Sex Pistols, too late for the Clash and even Joy Division fell apart through Ian Curtis's suicide when I was six. And I was born in the wrong country! Germany is as far away from pop culture as tout-en Chamoun is from Queen Elizabeth! But then thanks God at least I managed to get a bit of new order, The Smiths, the Hacienda days and Britpop thrown into my life!
Anyway, when I found out that I might possibly not be able to witness pop culture, I thought it might be an idea to influence it slightly by working in broadcasting myself. So at the age of 14 I pestered BFBS until they invited me over to their studios in Cologne in 1989 and for some reason allowed me to come back and do stuff ever since. In 1990 for the very first time I was introduced to Offshore Radio by listening to Dave Windsor who presented "Gold" on BFBS, but talked about the days on Radio Caroline and Laser 558 a lot. I didn't know anything, and didn't understand a single thing of what the heck he was on about, but his style, his voice and the music just didn't let go of me! I became a major fan! And as an on-going radio journalist and broadcaster I started research! Dave was highly inspirational for not only my broadcasting career, but also for the thesis of my master's degree which was on "pop culture as part of English-speaking literature" and also for several essays on offshore radio. I was more than impressed by the devotion of the deejays that had to live, eat sleep and work on a ship for very long periods!
How much do you have to love your job to do this? I felt exactly like that! My job as a broadcaster feels like this to me! And through Dave Windsor offshore radio became a vivid part of my inspiration, although as I said before, I was born too late! Anyway, now at last to the point: When I heard that the film "The boat that rocked" was going to be released, I didn't know much about the film, but saw it as an opportunity to try and explain what offshore radio has done to make pop culture what it is. I have now seen the film and there are a lot of things I don't agree with, as although it is a fictive story it just plays with historical events and depicts them in quite a wrong way! Nevertheless I thought it was great to just explain to young German people who as I said are miles away from understanding what offshore radio was about, where this film was coming from. I think if this film did anything right, then it managed to portrait the devotion and the will to fight for something you love! So what I managed to do is to convince a lot of the German national network stations to let me do a piece that contains a mixture of old snippets of radio shows and jingles from Caroline, an interview I did with Johnnie Walker and me gabbling some useless info in between. I am at least trying to tell the story of the hey days of offshore radio, not sure if I succeeded! Anyone interested in a short snippet can e mail to Hans at HKnot@home.nl so he can forward it to the reader(s).
Cheers. Amy Zayed
Thanks Amy for the long e mail and explaining and Hooray we have a young female anorak amongst us. Of course I will forward the NDR item to the readers, if wanted.
From Germany we go over to the USA and Ron O’Quinn: ‘I thought you would probably be interested in this story. It tells one part of the story of the inventor of radio voice broadcasting
Also in Australia the ‘The Boat that rocked’ was released and Colin Nichol reflected on it: ‘Hi Hans, I saw the film last night and had mixed feelings. But also it was an attack of nostalgia and I regret. I was rather embarrassed by it - a long-time friend who came with me to provide support wanted to leave about a third of the way through. It was unrealistic at nearly every turn and certainly not correct. It was obviously not meant to be. More a "Carry on Sailing" film that anything. Even a schlock film. Obviously the definitive film has yet to come. It is scheduled to run at only one screen of the three cinema complexes in Fremantle and may not last long, although the eight people in the audience did laugh quite a lot. It just made me upset and sad - and disappointed. And the cast were too old! The local paper has begun publishing my abbreviated story on how it really was - first edition just out with one or two more to come in the following weeks. Colin.’
I responded with my view on it: ‘Well Colin, I think for all who were involved it will be bitter to see the movie as they have so much original memories. It’s what Tony Blackburn’s view was in a video- message two weeks ago. Then there will be the second group, the offshore radio fans, who will make remarks between what they learnt through the years and third the more movie visitor who will have a laugh or two. Watching a movie is just like listening to a radio, also three different types of listeners. I hope you will agree with this. Good to hear the local newspaper is publishing your own story. Thanks for sharing.’
And finally Colin came back with: ‘Interesting points, Hans - and yes, three types of audience. When I saw it, the whole thing was completely foreign to everyone in the theatre (except for me and my friend) and they just took it as another film that was quite funny in places and a bit of a silly romp. I don't think anything else registered. The pirates weren't all that well known or understood here at the time, much less now. So it's all new to people here. We are so remote, you see. And yes, Tony Blackburn did have the right view of it all. Colin.
Bill Barnes wrote about the ‘May June Horizon’ which is nearly ready for the printers. ‘What a busy time for Radio Caroline and Free Radio in general.
Full details of the May June issue of Horizon Magazine now posted on both the Caroline web shop http://www.radiocaroline.co.uk for online subscribers and at http://www.horizonmagazine.co.uk for postal or single issue readers.
In this issue: Full press review with colour photos of The Boat That Rocked. The Ross Revenge helps behind the movie scenes. Caroline’s great Easter broadcast from The Ross Revenge. Caroline staff from all eras had a 45th birthday reunion. The Emperor Rosko visits the Mi Amigo’s successor and can’t resist the turntables! Sixties ‘Caroline Girl’ Sylvan Mason tells her very personal story. ‘Free Spirit’ discussed in the transcript of Roy Masters and Peter Moore from 1994 and much more.’
And if you thought we would be without the Emperor again in this report I must admit we won’t: ‘Hi Buddy, Emperor Rosko checking in, sorry I missed your deadline but I was in the UK gigging and tving and radioing etc. In your report there was a request for names of the sparks (err engineers): I can’t help , but .......’ (Emperor reflected on the list of offshore technicians, I mentioned and which is on the Pirate Hall of Fame’.
Rosko continues with: ‘I can help with the jocks! Anyone who was listed as a pirate is on a 26 min special version of “turn on the Pirates“ by Rosko and Dave Cash. Muff Murfin has the CD and mix. C/0 Old Smithy etc. google him in you want info, it took us 26 min to add all the names as a tribute to all pirates everywhere during our tenure (over 100+ ). I enjoyed meeting all the fans in Harwich daily for the broadcasts and salute you all for putting up with the chilly weather. There were 500 peeps with videos so Hans you will get at least one! I did so many shows I can only say thanks to all who welcomed us and see you soon. P.s. New shows from serious stations now available at www.VIPbroadcasting.co.uk Vive le fun and keeps on playing! Rosko.’
Well Rosko good to see you arrived well back in LA. I Hope you had a very good time. Saw you on several photos. Also on Breakfast TV and I heard you in the first program on PBBCRE. The other programs I’ve on the computer and will be listened to at a later stage. You’ve not lost anything of your presentation volume and style. Well done! One of my readers from Belgium became anxious as you were not there in last report. Soon he can sleep better.
Finally I want to mention a site with very interesting photo shots from the Scandinavian Offshore Stations:
Well another bumper edition has to be closed as 33 pages is a very long edition. Feel free to comment and send your memories, photographs and more to the regular address at HKnot@home.nl
Till next month I wish you all the best with greetings
Offshore Deejays' Nicknames
Female Offshore Radio Deejays
Radio London Commercials
Offshore Radio Programme Names - Programmanamen Zeezenders 1958-1990
Read Hans Knot's former report