Hans Knot's International Radio Report - January 2006 (2) 


Hi and welcome to this second edition of the report for the month of January and thanks for all those who reflected on the last issue as well sending in memories and other things. First we go back to Mike Luvzit from Canada and once a Caroline deejay in the Swinging Sixties aboard the Mi Amigo as well as on the MV Fredericia.

‘Hans thanks for the kind words regarding my mom and myself. Could you send me the e-mail of the engineer Manfred Sommers. He was a great guy and one of the engineers aboard Caroline North along with Mike Wright who I had lunch with back in 2002 and arranged by my good friend Kenny Tosh. He flew me over to Belfast Ireland to do The Caroline Revival Show. What a blast...that was also the Reunion of Radio London put together by Mary & Chris Payne plus some of their friends. It was soooooo good to see a lot the guys I knew and worked with during my stay of Caroline South & North during 1966 & 1967. Keep the memories and good news coming my friend.’ 

Thanks Mike, Unfortunately I don’t have any contacts of Manfred Sommers, just jumped into my archive to find a photo of him and published it in the report. So if someone knows the present whereabouts of technician Manfred Sommers please let us know at HKnot@home.nl

Next one another former Caroline deejay, one who has worked for the station in three different decades, Andy Archer, who can tell us more about the special Christmas Card from Caroline in 1965: ‘Hi Hans, that photograph of the Caroline bell was taken by Ralph von Bronzin. He was a photographer friend of Ronan, think he was Swedish. His studio was on the top floor of Caroline House in Chesterfield Gardens.’ 

Thanks Andy and so we learn still more about the people who worked in this massive beautiful building in Chesterfield Garden in Mayfair. Andy also can add some nicknames to our long list, which can be found at www.hansknot.com

Nicknames that I can remember: Tom Edwards – ‘ Mother’, Brian Anderson ‘Miss Anderson’, Ronan O'Rahilly - we often referred to him in the 70s as ‘Ragnar the O'Radiant’, Bill Scaddon, who looked after the ship to shore radio from Frinton, we called ‘Percy’. On RNI we used to call Duncan Johnson rather unfairly ‘ ‘ ‘Drunken Johnson’ .Thanks again for the Report, always good to catch up on the news. Just heard from Mike Hagler, he and his wife Pam have just returned from a camping holiday on the north island of New Zealand. Be in touch, Andy Archer’.

Thanks Andy for the update and the news about Mike Hagler, who sent me a wish too from New Zealand.

Time for Glen Arnold who wrote: ‘hope you had a great Christmas and here's wishing you a peaceful and cheerful New Year also. Excellent website, keep up the good work! I see Johnny Lewis has featured on your site once or twice, I'm hoping to meet the man himself sometime during the summer in Kent! Best Regards, Glen Arnold’.

Thanks Glen and welcome aboard our International Knot Radio Report. I know Johnny since the late seventies and we meet each other irregularly with some other radio friends in Kent for memories and a drink. Will see Johnny too, next November when we do have the Voice of Peace reunion in Amsterdam. Johnny worked there as Johnny Moss. 

In last issue I paid attention to the fact Brandy Lee had sent in some Christmas wishes to former Laser 558 colleague Dennis Jason. Brandy still has a big fan in England who wrote in: ‘Hi Hans, Happy New Year. Thank you for your News Report for early January, always a joy to read. Please can you come to my rescue, as you may remember, I am a big fan of former Laser Hot Hits presenter Brandy Lee, I was fascinated to read about Brandy sending a Christmas card to Dennis Jason. I have tried for many years to find out if Brandy Lee is still in radio and to find a contact for this wonderful presenter without any luck at all, you once mentioned this on your report. Please could you pass this onto Dennis Jason for me in hope he will be kind enough to let Brandy know that she has a fan over here in Bristol, UK who fondly remembers her Laser programmes and would love to make contact with her. Another female presenter idol of mine Neon Nancy once did a special dedication to Brandy for me; I would love to forward it onto her. I would love to know if Brandy knows that the MV Communicator still exists and how it was used in recent times for The Super Station. You helped me get in contact with Neon Nancy in 2004 and we became wonderful friends thanks to this, you only have to look at her website at www.neonnancy.homestead.com to see for yourself, last year I helped build a home studio for Nancy and helped her return to radio via the Internet on Radio Samantha. Thanks Hans, hope you can help me make contact with Brandy Lee via Dennis Jason. It would make one of my greatest dreams come true to make contact with Brandy Lee, she is my all time favourite female radio presenter, I would love to send her some recordings and long over due compliments on her Laser programmes, I want her to know after almost 20 years her programmes are not forgotten and she is much missed. I guess this is my last hope of contacting Brandy Lee. Very best wishes. Paul, Take care’.

Well Paul I’ve forwarded your wish and so hopefully Dennis will do the same. If you ever hear something please let us know. 

From Norway we go to Stevie Gordon who we know from Caroline days as well as The Voice of Peace and of course his Irish connections. Nowadays he’s active in radio with Radio Seagull.

‘Dear Hans, Thank you for once again sending me your report. May I wish you and yours a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year. Martin Kayne mentioned Jack Spector, and I thought you might be interested in this piece: The Pefect DJ Farewell Maybe the one DJ who exited the best was Jack Spector. Spector worked at many New York City Radio stations during his career and when it was time, he died on-the-air during his show at WHLI, Garden City, New York. http://radio.about.com/cs/radiohistory/a/aa110903a.htm 

Otherwise, be aware that next Saturday 14th January a number of Seagull jocks will be travelling to Harlingen. Programmes live from the ship together with the guys from Radio Waddenzee will be in a mixture of English and Dutch. Also, that evening, listeners in the British Isles will be able to hear an extra broadcast on Sky EPG913. With kind regards, Stevie Gordon.’ A pity this message didn’t come in two days earlier so we could have mentioned it in our last report. 

Next a very happy e mail from Tom Edwards who we do know from, for instant, Radio City and Radio Caroline: ‘Hi Hans. A tad late, but Happy 2006. I’m glad to see the back of last year especially after the cancer problems. I am fit and fine now and in fact did a show last Monday for BBC Radio Norfolk and half way thru Andy Archer walked in. I had not seen him for decades! I had to get him on the show at once. Also last Friday Radio Two called asking me to guest on the Jeremy Vine show. so I returned to those airwaves after so many years. I am so chuffed at Johnnie Walker getting the MBE. even after more than forty years he and I are still good mates and I keep in touch on a regular basis. So best wishes from Heckington, in Lincolnshire, the tiny village that’s been my home for eleven years now. I hope alls well and good, Tom Edwards.’ 

Hi Tom, thanks for your mail with indeed good news about your health. After sending you an email with best wishes months and months ago I never heard anything back so I did not had the strength to sent another one but take care and enjoy every day of the year. Good to see you're active again and meeting Andy and other people. Greetings and keep enjoying the report

Tom Edwards (photo Freddie Schorsch)

More photos from Freddie at: www.radiocaroline.de/easter2004-c.htm


Offshore Echo's are pleased to announce the opening of:


Radio Caroline is probably the most famous of all the offshore “pirate” radio stations, and over the years become something of a broadcasting legend. However all good legends are a mix of fact and fiction, none more so than Caroline, and the story has many myths associated with it.

This new site from Offshore Echo’s includes numerous photo's, audio and video clips, as well as some previously unpublished items.

The first part of the story looks at the start of Caroline, and the short lived Radio Atlanta, up to the time the two stations merged. More will be added in the coming months 

Click here to start the Radio Caroline story. www.offshoreechos.com

If you want further information, or have any material you'd like to share for future web pages, then please contact us at oem@offshoreechos.com


Very interesting to see that still some people try to rewrite the history on offshore radio in 2006. Recently Joost den Draaijer (ex Veronica and RNI) started his own web pages at http://www.willemvankooten.nl

Part of this site is all about him and as we thought always that Meister and Bollier were the people who started RNI (Radio Noordzee) way back in 1970 Van Kooten tries to learn us that he and Jan van Veen were responsible for the start of the station. No mentioning of the boss John de Mol of the Dutch service, either the names of Peter Holland and Ferry Maat, who were all part of the first team of the Dutch service in 1971. 

Talking about Ferry Maat, he heard early January that he will get a prestigious decoration in February. The ‘Golden Harp’ will be given to him for all the promotional work he has done for the Soul and Dance Music Industry in the past decades. Maat, whose career started on the offshore radio station RNI way back in 1971, will be in radio for 35 years on March 7th. He worked also on stations like Radio 10, TROS and Veronica, where he signed a contract lately up till 2010. After I congratulated him by e mail Ferry came back to me thanking me in name of his wife and cats.

Juul Geleick, former Veronica technician and producer for TROS still follows the offshore scene and found, while surfing on internet, an very small American radio station using the name Veronica. He wrote to the station and got the next answer back: ‘Dear Juul, Thanks for jarring my memory. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I have been interested in the European off-shore broadcasters since I was a teenager back in the sixties. I was even able to DX Radio Caroline once back in those days. We chose the Radio Veronica name for our station to honour the original's memory, as the first of the 60's offshore stations. It's a pleasure to finally meet (even by email) someone who had a part in it. I would have loved to have been in Europe in those days to hear some of the great pirate ships. By the time I moved to the UK in the late 80s there wasn't a lot left.

Veronica on the beach Scheveningen April 1973

I think just Caroline if memory serves me correctly. Of course, back here in the states, we've only had two pirate ships of note: one was a religious broadcaster in the 70s and of course the infamous Radio New York International in the 80s. Both were shut down by the government within weeks of going on the air. The closest involvement I've had with European pirating was back in the early 80s. I was working for a 50kw station in Philadelphia, and we sold our old RCA BTA-50G transmitter to a group who were going to be putting it on a ship offshore of the UK. I never heard what happened and if it ever got installed. We are primarily an internet station, but also have a very small transmitter that covers our local community with about 1/4 watt. I have been pleased at the extent of our internet audience. It has taken me by surprise. I understand that Veronica is now a legitimate Dutch Broadcaster, and have seen many others of its "namesakes" in various places throughout the world. It's amazing how many people still remember and honour the station's memory. Rene'Tetro, General Manager Radio Veronica (US).’ The station can be found here: http://www.radioveronica.us/page2

Juul, by the way, is one of the guys behind the Foundation Norderney who have a site full of memories to the former offshore radio station Veronica and can be found at: http://www.norderney.nl

Mike Barraclough has an important message about Radio Fax: ‘I'm very pleased to launch the new Radiofax web site, http://www.radiofax.org complete with audio downloads. Being Radiofax we have tried to move with the times so are offering downloads in an audioblog / podcast style. Along with Trevor, I was the producer of the original Sparks programmes and each week (or three) I will be updating the site with programme extracts from the extensive archives we have. We will also be adding some music programmes. For speech extracts, I'm selecting items of historical/anorak interest and there are some items that haven't really dated from when they were originally broadcast in 1992. All have been remastered (as they say) from the original tapes so are of pretty high quality. For example, amongst the first offerings we have:
* Detailed comment on the Crossed Field Antenna. (Oh how topical!) I'm afraid we had this debunked back in 1992 and have not seen anything in the intervening 14 years to change our minds.
* The Churchill Tapes, are they genuine? (About the controversy over the wartime speeches)
* An exclusive 90 minute music programme from Andy Bradgate of Radio Caroline fame, where he had a chance to play some of his favourite music.
The fantastic response from listeners, the way they cared about the speech based output and the devotion of housebound, disabled and blind listeners in particular, led founder and sponsor Trevor Brook to feel the project to have been one of the most worthwhile things he has ever done. There is lots more to come so please bookmark us or latch onto our RSS feed. Cheers, Andy

Then to Ian on the Shetland Islands who wants us to remember Paul Harris, writer of three books on Offshore Radio which came out in the late sixties and in the seventies. He found a non updated site from some years ago where we can learn that Paul has gone into a total different part of writing than he did before: ‘Hans In case you were wondering what happened to Paul Harris (Capital Radio, "When pirates rule the waves" etc.) see the link below, although it is not up to date. At one time the Shetland book publisher "Shetland Times" had a partnership with Paul in Paul Harris Publishing, after Impulse Publishing was wound up. The last time I saw Paul was in Shetland about 21-22 years ago. Ian
SIBC. http://www.senter.no/harris.htm

Paul Harris in 2002 (copyright senter)

Some nice surprises arrived during the last weeks for the forthcoming publication with memories to the Voice of Peace, a book which will be published in November. This includes a list of almost 250 deejays and presenters, who have worked for the station between 1973 and 1993. The list is compiled by Chris Edwards from London, who got assistance for the work from Mike Davis and Mike Brand.

Also I want give you one of the many impressions, which will be in the book. This time we go back to 1987 and it’s Mike Davis who remembers: ‘
The month of March was an extremely bad time. From the beginning of that month we had about 10 or 11 days of extremely bad weather. The ship was rolling and nearly turned over a couple of times. Even the crew thought we’d had it. On the 12th the weather had calmed down sufficiently to allow a boat to come out and bring another deejay, Steve Richards, and some food because we had run out. The next day we had again an extremely bad storm and it had built up from the previous evening. The ship rolled extremely from side to side. At one stage, if you walked along the deck, which was very dangerous to do, your hands were actually dipping into the waves. Well they weren’t waves in the conventional sense, just the level of the sea was so high that you could touch the water. It’s a very unstable ship and it is not properly ballasted. It also a round-bottomed so there’s no keel on it so it just rolls from side to side. It’s like a pendulum motion and also when it tugs on its anchor chain it stretches and stretches until it comes to the end of it chains and then it rebounds and the whole ship judders and does all sort of things. Record jumps and racks come at you and you can’t stand up. It’s really unpleasant. Captain Aaldijk said it was the worst storm he had ever seen in all those years out there and most of the crew were under the impression that it was going to sink at the time. Abe came on his Cellnet telephone link an did a 15-minute speech to the listeners that the ship was liable to be washed on shore in front of Tel Aviv Hilton. The music was being played on tape and compact disc because it was impossible to play records. Abe asked himself also why the station couldn’t get a licence on land so we could broadcast without problems onshore. He told that people were putting their live at risk and he mentioned the nationalities of the people on board saying that people came from all over the world just to play music, and they have to put up with storms and again why couldn’t they come onshore. I’ll always remember that storm. The captain said: “We’re going to sink” and other crew members said the same. I suppose in a funny way I quite enjoyed the experience because I though that if I can handle that then I can handle anything else in the rest of my life.

Working on the new book brings me also a lot of new nick names we didn’t mention before including two for the captain of the Peace Ship: Tony ‘Cucumber’ Stevens, Captain ‘Cloggers’ Aaldijk, Captain ‘Quotes’ Aaldijk, Neil ‘Stinker’ Amstrong, Mike ‘Driller’ Derby, Dave ‘Vocal Crasher’ Asher en Steve ‘Curly Top’ Richards. 

Dutch Captain Aaldijk (Hans Knot Archive)

It’s Saturday the 14th when writing this part and it’s just a day later after the piece on the nicknames and again a lot have been found: First the VOP with Peter ‘Pitta’ Bread. Caroline with two different ones for Chuck ‘Biff’ Reynolds and Chuck ‘Chuckles’ Reynolds. Dave ‘Grasher’ Asher. The following ones were all deejays on the Voice of Peace. Richard ‘Big Dick’ West, John ‘Hoggis’ Mc Donald, Martin ‘Spud’ Murphy, Pete ‘Nine Sugars’ Anderson, Jon ‘Toybiy’ Hudson, Paul ‘Swivel Head’ Fraser, Steve ‘Credit Card’ Richards, ‘Tiny’ Tim Sheppard, Steve ‘Zombie’ Cromby and Niel ‘Petal’ Amstrong.

Doing research for the book brings me not only in my archive but also in my massive library filled not only with books but als 'La Voz del Cuba Independiente’ lots of magazines, where I’ve written for the last 37 years. So I found an article I wrote way back in September 1988: ‘Recently I tracked down some short pieces of what must be probably a new offshore-radio station, this time off the Cuban Coast in international waters. In a recent issue of ‘Newsweek’ there was in the column ‘Periscope’ some short notes about the station that has already been given a name ‘La Voz del Cuba Independiente’. The group behind the planned station have also been running another anti Castro station called ‘La Voz del CID”. This was between 1981 and 1987. The first broadcasts were planned to start on August 8th from a 40 metre long fishing boat in international waters South of Key West and 75 miles from Cuba. However the FCC tried to stop the project as being against international treaties to stop interference. Spokesman Huber Mantos Jr stated that the FCC would not stop the project. He did not know when or where the first broadcast would come. The Group support also the USA’s Radio and TV Marti but want a station free from the influence of the US Foreign Affairs Ministry. They want to promote a future democratic Cuba. They also want to set up a TV station of VHF Channel 8. The FCC will seize an American registered ship. Mantos will however not say in which country the ship has been registrated.’ 

So that was a short newsflash I did write way back in September 1988. When reading it back today I couldn’t remember if it had a follow up in the next issue of the magazine so I took a look and didn’t find a thing. So in our fast world of internet it was time to have a look if there’s somewhere a mention of the station La Voz del Cuba Independiente’. I did find a mention that the station was for a short period on air on irregular times and that the signal, which was transmitted on shortwave, probably came from Guatamala. However I did find out that we can add another radio ship to the long list Martin van der Ven has on his internet site www.offshore-radio.de (just go to ‘The Fleet’).

In July of 1960, Radio Cuba Independiente, a broadcast radio station was installed aboard an 85 ft. yacht named Calypso, this was really the first clandestine transmitter operated by exiles in a regular base. The Calypso would stay in the Key Sal Bank and broadcast programs to Cuba from 8 to 10 PM every night on the 49 meters band. The programs were recorded in Miami, sent to Bimini and picked up there. The people behind the station travelled from Key Sal Bank to Bimini back and forth. That lasted until February 1961, when Radio Swan took control. After the invasion, the Calypso was stolen with all radio equipment inside. During the Bay of Pigs invasion, clandestine radio played a role in carrying out that failed mission. Radio Swan, a "black" station broadcasting during the invasion was a propaganda operation. 

Reading back some interviews on Sunday 15th of January two nicknames appeared for one and the same person. A Caroline deejay from the eighties got: Andy ‘Mr Blablabla’ Bradgate as well as Andy ‘ Frinton’s answer to a skinhead’ Bradgate. Abe Nathan, owner of the Voice of Peace and Peace Fighter in the Middle East was arrested in 1988 by the Israeli police as he had talks with state enemy Arafat in Tunis. After he was free again he went on board to tell in the programme about what had happened. It was Kenny Page who gave Abe the nickname Abe ‘Chairman President’ Nathan. 1988 saw also a new deejay on the Voice of Peace: John ‘JJ” Johnson.

If you’ve any information, memory, question or photo to share with the readers just sent it to HKnot@home.nl

January 15th brought a nice long interview on BBC Eastern Counties radio when part of the Keith Skues programme Tony Blackburn was special quest. Of course both men share a lot of memories together and so it became very nice to listen too. Next to all the stories three different songs, recorded by Blackburn were played among other music. The interview was recorded way back in November last year onboard the Caroline ship Ross Revenge, which is in the harbour of Tillbury.

One of the singles played by Skues

A day later, 16th of January, BBC East brought in the programme ‘Inside out’ a special about the sixties, with interviews with Tony Blackburn and Keith Skues which were recorded at the same day in November. Next to the interview there was some very nice footage which originated from the sixties and was not shown before. Recently Skues found some reels with old 8 mm material in his attic. 

If you’ve missed all this Martin van der Ven has some big surprises and so go to www.offshore-radio.de

Thursday 19th BBC Essex was another station to listen to for memories. In ‘Ray’s Drive Show’ former Caroline presenter from the 80’s Ray Clark interviewed Carl Thompson about his memories as technician to Caroline in the sixties and the dangerous moments when the Mi Amigo ran aground, now 40 years ago. 

It’s a long time ago since I mentioned the list of female deejays and presenters in offshore radio. It’s time now to put four names on the list. First it’s Francis Hayes who made a one time programme way back on New Years Day 1989 on Caroline. 1988 was the year that singer Donna Leyton did a one time program on Radio 819. The same station also had some programs for Hanny, a Dutch singer who also was a quest deejay on Mi Amigo some 14 years earlier. Also Claudia can be put on the list with Radio 819.The complete list can be found back on www.hansknot.com

Researching the VOP history I always read other things of interest too. So when reading a file of ‘1988’ I saw a report of the Christmas festivities onboard the radio ship Ross Revenge from that year. In those days the ship was shared by Dutch Radio 819 and Radio Caroline. Both stations transmitted a program which was strange for it wasn’t their own one. On Caroline an old BBC Chart programme could be heard and on Radio 819 they had ‘Veronica Top 69 from 1969’ in the schedule. Is there anyone who can remember more of those strange programmes in the history of Offshore Radio?

With thanks to Maria Depuydt from Belgium I can advise you to go to the next interesting site where information is given about the Promotheus Radio Project. Originally it all started as a pirate station, somewhere in the USA but nowadays they do a lot of good work all over the globe: http://www.prometheusradio.org

Next an e mail from the people behind The Rainbow Organisation. Well they claim to be on the air now and then from a radio ship. Just make your own impression by reading the next: ‘Hello! We are happy to inform you that we celebrates our two year transmission jubilee! With our regular transmissions from sea we did reach many people in the western world and other troubled countries. The Rainbow organisation noticed a effect on world peace and politics because of the transmissions. Many people did sent reactions to the station during or after the transmissions. Not only because of the actual programs, also because of the fact they liked the idea of a station coming from international waters: http://www.frn.net/new/story.php?story_id=28&c=1

It’s not only Andy Archer and Hans Knot doing research and writing books on the history of watery radio also in Scotland it’s dr. Bob McLean who’s is working on a interesting book with the subject ‘Pirate Radio Scotland’. It will be published in summer by Luath Press. It’s a specialist published mainly with publications about Scotland. Here’s there internet site which is updated regularly and will have more info on the Radio Scotland book at a later stage. http://www.luath.co.uk/specials/fulllist.html

Just early this month I listened to an old program of a Canadian station featuring very extreme records played by Dr. Demento. In the eighties this weird presenter could also be heard for a few weeks on Laser Hot Hits with his demented hits on Laser Hot Hits. With Easter 1989 there was another weird idea, that time by Caroline deejay Ian Mack. He had asked on forehand the listeners to sent in their ‘All Time Last Favourite Top Ten’. He compiled from them the 10 to transmit, but also some ‘bubbling under’: ‘Start turn on 45’, ‘Pints and pump up to bitter’, ‘Chicken Song’ and ‘Two pints of lager and a packet of Crisps please’. ‘The All Time Last Favourite Top Ten’ for 1989 was as follows:

10 Do the conga – Black Lace
9 One day at a time – Lena Martell
8 When a child is born – Johnnie Mathis
7 Two little boys – Rolf Harris
6 Shaddap your face – Joe Dolce 
5 No one quite like Grandma – Sir Windfred’s school choir
4 Mull of Kintyre - Wings
3 The birdie song - Tweets
2 Una Paloma Blanca – Jonathan King
1 Agadoo – Black Lace

If you can remember more of those silly programs please let me know at Hknot@home.nl

Dr. Demento

And for those who never heard and those who want to hear him again, here’s a site which mention which station can be heard on the internet together with the timeslot for Dr. Demento. Have some real fun! http://www.krellan.com/demento

Ex Radio London, Radio 390, RNI, Radio Caroline (1970) and Voice of Peace Deejay Alan F (58) has appeared for court in Cardiff. Next to writing a long fantasy story about child abuse, using real names of children, he had thousands of images of young children on his computer. He admitted 27 charges and was jailed for 2,5 years. 

Today, January 20th, it became know that Colin Berry will retire next year. Colin is BBC Radio 2 longest serving newsreader. His career included working for Radio Caroline in the commercial department in 1964 looking after scheduling and advertisement. Sometimes he did a stint on the Mi Amigo (Caroline South) as a relief presenter and newsreader. About his long career in radio you can read more on Colin’s own site: www.geocities.com/berryradio

That’s all for this time, hope you’ve enjoyed reading

Hans Knot


Offshore Deejays' Nicknames


Female Offshore Radio Deejays


Read Hans Knot's former report