Hans Knot's International Radio Report - June 2006


Hi and welcome to another edition of the report and thanks a lot for all those nice e mails we got again.

First one to mention in this issue comes from the lovely Island Guernsey and comes from Richard Harding: ‘Hi Hans, I am currently presenting the mid-morning and Saturday Breakfast shows on Island FM in Guernsey (streamed on-line at islandfm.com) using my real name of Richard Harding. I began my career in 1988 on the Voice of Peace under the name of Richard West. The station was a fantastic training ground for future landbased broadcasters. I spent 6 months on the ship first time around and came back the following 2 years for 3 months each as well as a brief stint on Radio Caroline! Unusually I joined the ship- not at sea but at dry dock in Haifa where I was welcomed on board by John Mac Donald, toast of "little ladies" throughout the Middle East. The late Kenny Page was a tremendous broadcaster who rightly insisted on professionalism and didn't suffer fools easily. He taught me and the rest of the rookie team all the basics of radio and to have the right attitude. Other colleagues included Steve Richards (real name Steve Joy) who's now working at a station in Javier, Spain, ‘Steaming’ Steve Cromby, Chris Richardson (now Kiss FM's Robin Banks), Mike O' Sullivan, Martin Murphy, Ofer Nachson (now a major TV star in Israel), Sagi Levek, Gil Katsir (also a big name in landbased Israeli broadcasting) and many others. Abe Nathan could like the sea erupt in fury then be perfectly calm once he'd said his piece. 

The Voice of Peace was a fantastic creation and in the days before private commercial radio arrived in Israel, commanded huge audiences. Ultimately, despite Abe's frugality, it cost a fortune to keep the station on-air but it will always be remembered as a lively and musically very diverse station and a very worthwhile attempt to bring peace to a very beautiful but troubled part of the world. I've never had so much fun and met such an unusual collection of characters! Best Wishes, Richard Harding (West!) 

Richard West (archive Hans Knot)

In last issue of the Knot International Report I mentioned the breakfast I had with Swinging Radio England deejay Rick Randell as well as with Graham Gill. I mentioned that Rick revealed that the first plan in 1966 was to have two fully automated stations on the Olga Patricia. Avid SRE follower Paul de Haan reflected on this by writing in that he was surprised to hear this: ‘Again an evidence that the Olga Patricia project was totally disorganised and came too quickly into Europe. A well missed chance. Philip Birch was at that stage leaning in his chair and saw the pounds flooding into the Radio London office. Don Pierson thought probably the same but the fruit was very sour. Never try to start a radio project with the meaning of teaching someone else a lesson. I think Philip Birch and Ted Allbeury were probably the only ones who knew how to handle with radio in those days. 

I think it had been better to hire me in August 1967. I had brought the ship to the Dutch coast with two stations aboard. A unique offer in those days for the advertisers over here. No, they decided to hire a guy from South Africa, Basil van Rensburg, to do the job. However he didn’t know how radio works in this part of the world. One lesson to learn is always hire a local radio man who knows the local market and has the nationality of the country where the main target is. This man must be the manager marketing sales. When those SRE guys ever find back the ship they can call me to make Radio Dolfijn and Radio 227 a big success. Paul de Haan in Holland.’

Anyone who wants to reflect to Paul or other people writing in can sent it to Hknot@home.nl

Paul also mentioned to me that he heard, with David Gapes as source, that the Tiri I, the first broadcasting vessel from Radio Hauraki, is not yet broken up. It’s now used as a houseboat on Lime Island in Whangarei in New Zealand. That reminds me of the MV Comet, the former Radio Scotland vessel, which was also used, however for a short period, as a houseboat in the sixties in Holland. The photo shows the Tiri 1 when it was still at the beach near Whangarei.

Then a question about a board game: ‘Hi Hans - Thanks once again for an excellent report. I had a query from someone recently about a board game which was produced in the 60's called ‘How To Set Up A Pirate Radio Station’. Do you or anyone reading you report know of this game - I spoke to Mary at Radio London, and she has been asked about this game too, (but not recently) so this would indicate that the game did exist. I seem to remember someone having one on a TV programme some years ago, but I do not know who produced it, or even if it was made in England. Can You Help please. Best Wishes: Chris / Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire.’

More nicknames can be added to the very long list which was formed step by step during the past two years. The list is published, among a lot of other things, on www.hansknot.com The new ones are Alan West ‘the fellow of the airwaves’. A nickname given in 1971 by Dave Rogers on RNI. Another one is for VOP deejay ‘Steaming’ Steve Cromby. On Veronica it was Rob Out who once gave Juul Geleick the nickname ‘Precies’ (exactly). Ric Harris on Laser got it together with ‘Mr’ and on the same station Chris Carson as well as Erin Kelley and Liz West were nicknamed ‘Dynamic Laserette’. Another one which wasn’t listed yet is Caroline’s Fergie ‘the cook’ McNeil. We have to mention another female deejay too: Singer Nelleke was guest presenter way back in 1985 on Radio Monique.

Chris Carson, Liz West and Erine Kelley The Laserettes (Photo archive OEM)

An e mail from Dave concerning Radio 270: ‘hi Hans, we are having a Radio 270 day in 4 weeks time, and are going to transmit from the MV Coronia, a local boat that used to take visitors out to the Oceaan 7, the radio ship from Radio 270. We are searching for audio clips from Radio 270 and would appreciate any help you could give us. We want to make this as good as we can so that the young ones can hear how real radio used to sound! cheers Dave Simcox. br1ghtspark@aol.com

MV Coronia (found on internet)

Well I would love to help but my working load is enormous. Next to the international report, I’m final editor for the Freewave Media Magazine, editor for on line Journal Soundscapes, write for several other magazines and lot’s more. When asked four months earlier I could had planned it. Maybe there’s someone else around within the readership who can help you with old Radio 270 recordings. Good luck!

Radio 270 radio vessel (Photo archive Martin van der Ven)

Some extracts from an e mail I got from Bill Rollins, who in younger days was one of the guys heard on Tower Radio. I met Bill twice, once in Holland at Zeezenders 20 in Noordwijkerhout 1978. He was, like me, involved in the organisation of this happening. Years later we met in England near his hometown. 

‘Hi Hans, I thought it was about time I sent an email to thank you for all the brilliant reports that you regularly send. I hope you and all the family are well. 

A couple of years ago I said I had a studio tape from Tower Radio of a pilot show - this tape was given to me by Robin Garton who was involved at the time - and although the tape is not complete it runs for 12 minutes or so. Robin was the guy that sung and recorded the Tower jingles that you may have heard - I attach a picture of Robin taken about 2 years ago when the Pirate BBC Essex was on - That was the first time I had seen him for many years - As I have time on my hands at moment I have copied this plus some other bits you may wish to add to your archives. 

Robin Garton (archive Bill Rollins)

I am still working for Dream 100 - www.dream100.com which is based in Colchester Essex - Dream 100 was originally called Mellow 1557 - I have worked for Mellow from 1990 when I was taken on by the PC at the time, who was Andy Archer, and have stayed with them through to the present day as Dream 100 (on 100.2mHz) Currently I do weekend breakfast plus cover shows as required. Keep well and kind regards, Bill Rollins.’

Bill Rollins (copyright Dream 100) 

Thanks a lot for responding too and hope your health will improve very soon so you can go to work again. Also a big thank you for the sending of the CD’s, it’s most appreciated. 

Next one comes from Australia: ‘ Hans, ‘Thank you so much for the pictures with Rick Randell and Graham Gill. But where on earth are your wonderful white whiskers? Dutch children will have one less Father Christmas to spot on the street next December! Please let me know the dates of the Radio Day in 2007 as soon as they are set. I told my wife we must make start making serious plans to get to the Europe next year. Best Regards, Jack Curtiss.’

Well Jack my whiskers have been shaven off. I thought after had the beard on for 28 years it was time to have a shave. Although it’s not known if it will come back or not. I don’t want to disappoint too much children with Christmas here in Holland. The date for the Radio Day 2007 will be known around December this year, so we inform you in time.

Remember the question for a special antenna in the first edition of the May Reports? Clive Warner in Mexico asking for some equipment? Well he has found what he wanted: ‘Great report Hans, thank you! was very, very interested in the account of the LA project and many of the details about Ronan's involvement with George made a lot of sense. I still recall having to play something from Dark Horse Records every 20 minutes. The late Tony Allan one day got really pissed off at this when being told it was policy, and played some gentle track by Ravi Shankar back to back with something totally unsuitable! 

I'm delighted to say that thanks to The Knot International Radio Report a kind engineer in the UK has offered me a Band II FM antenna, and since I will be travelling to England this summer for three weeks, I will be able to pick it up in person and bring it back with me. I hope to meet as many old friends from radio as possible during my stay. I was hoping to visit Skelton transmitting station in Cumberland where I worked for 5 years, but there is a convention going on in the Lake District and it's impossible to get accommodation. Anyway, I will be staying in Birmingham for a few days and have accepted an invitation to visit a large HF site, which will be especially nostalgic for me since I am personally familiar with both types of high-power HF transmitters in use there. I'm also hoping to visit one or two of the ILR stations.

My own transmitter is stuck at the border while the sponsor figures out a way to get it through customs, I hope to be firing it up after the summer hols, 'at home', my son is interested at the thought of having a 1KW rig in the sitting room. He's got 3KW of audio gear, maybe he caught the bug from me. So, I'll be travelling in the UK from 1-21 July, any old pals can email me at: oldvinyl@hotmail.com if they'd like to do a reunion! - Clive Warner / Correll (BBC, Marconi, DWS, Incomtel, Capital Radio, Piccadilly Radio, Radio Caroline). Thanks! It's going to be amusing having a 1KW band 2 transmitter in the house. (Must be a tube transmitter, it's a Collins. Probably has a 3CX500 or a 4CX500 in it, but I will wait and see.’

Well great news Clive and enjoy your trip to your native country! 

Nice to hear also from Mike Hayes, who was on Radio 270 in the sixties and reflected on the memories we brought on Carl Mitchell and his friends at a house in Amsterdam: ‘Ah yes, I remember it well! I remember the flat on the Prinsengracht well. Yes, it was inhabited by the redoubtables, Stevie Gee and Alan Clarke and I spent many a jolly visit there. It was on a corner above Robbie Dale's wife's boutique. Thanks for the memory. Keep up the good work, Mike Hayes’.

Then a journalist who interviewed someone way back in 1971: ‘Hans, I met Jay, AKA Crispian St John, AKA Howard Rose, at BBC Radio Brighton in 1971. He was working with Stevi Merike. We did many Chinese Meals together, as I was working for the Daily Mail, and trying to piece together an article on the offshore guys. He said to me that he always felt that if he was remembered at all, in 20 years time his time here would have been worth it. I think he achieved that aim. Gone but well remembered 35 years on. Ken Gregory.’

I totally agree with you. Some people found him not always a pretty guy to work with. Maybe it was the total professional guy which they didn’t like. I was in contact with Crispian since when he was a very young guy, before being in radio and kept – with interrupts – in contact. I always will remember him as one of the better professional radio people, ‘

Next it’s time for Victor Hartman: ‘Hi Hans, I have just remembered an incident which occurred in Spain when I was working on the Rock FM with Alan West in 1996. I met a Dutchman in a bar in Gibraltar who claimed he was on the boat that towed away one of the Caroline ships way back in 1968. His name was Willem. I know that is a common name in Holland, but that is all the info I have. The point being, someone else may know him from him being in Spain at that time. He may have towed the South ship away, I don’t know, but he said, "That Robbie Dale. he thought he was God! We showed him!" The last I heard of Willem was that he was quite ill, and whether he is alive or not now, I don't know. He had a French lady friend at the time. I do go to Gibraltar off and on still, so I'll make more enquiries next time I go there. I can't believe that the story he told me was made up, as when I told him I was on a radio station, he said he'd been on Caroline. And then he explained what his role was in that daftly deed was. An interesting incident, Hans, I think you'll agree! Regards, Victor Hartman.’

Well Victor reading your mail makes me one thing sure: Willem must have been with the team towing away the MV Mi Amigo as Robbie Dale was working on Caroline South. Who, of the former deejays on Caroline South within my reader ship does remember Willem? All answers to Hknot@home.nl

Last time I wrote about the link between Radio Caroline and George Harrison and it’s Wim de Lang from Holland reflecting on it: ‘Hi Hans, just reading your report the piece about George Harrison and Caroline. Really very interesting. I’m a fanatic Beatle fan as especially during the past years I’ve dived into books and other material concerning the life and work from George Harrison. I’ve often heard about George Harrison backing Caroline but never heard about him working together with others on the LA Album. What would it be lovely if there was a photograph from him aboard the MV Mi Amigo. Could it be that Lion Keezer has this interview still on tape? 

Earlier this week I was reading the book ‘The Lost Lennon Interviews’ and in once of the chapters was an interview from December 1969 in Toronto which had for instant John Lennon telling the next: Question: A few months ago you had a campaign going to have a peace ship in the Mediterranean.

John: Well this is somebody else’s gig, and we’re helping him out with it. He is in New York now, trying to raise money for the ship. We did what we could out of America, we couldn’t do much. We could only say ,"We re with you and you can put our name on the ad and try to use us as best as you can.' His plan is, he has this ship, he’s got a lot of kids to paint it, he’s in New York, and he needs some kind of transmitter, which costs a lot. I’m not like that with him because I met him for five minutes. I liked him, I believed in him, I believed in his campaign, and we’re done what we can for him. He’s still in New York, and that’s still on.

Well John is talking about the Voice of Peace, so there is a link between George and John backing both an offshore radio station.”


Thanks a lot Wim and one of the chapters in my next book will be telling more about the John Lennon connection to Abe Nathan and the Voice of Peace. Release will be in next autumn.

After a nice break from radio, a wonderful holiday in sunny Florida and a period of time spent preparing things, the new show "Stafford's World" is now ready. So Mark Stafford is back on Radio Caroline. The first show went out on Radio Caroline on Sunday 28th May at 6pm (UK Time). From this month on it will also begin to be broadcast on a number of other radio stations, around the world. More details of the show can be found at the new website, www.markstafford.co.uk

Earlier in this issue we had the question about the offshore radio board game. It’s Mary Payne responding: ‘I have been asked about this before and it¹s referred to at the bottom of the following Christmas Page. http://www.radiolondon.co.uk/indexmas/xpuzz/fun.html
But nobody has ever been in touch to say they remember such a game, or commented about it at all, so I really don¹t know if it existed. If it did, perhaps you, or one of your thousands of newsletter readers will recall it. 

Thanks Mary and of course you’ve to put the main site to your favourites, it’s a must: www.radiolondon.co.uk

I told a few issues back I went to Amsterdam to bring back with me to Groningen a lot of material which was original owned by the late Carl Mitchell. In there where hundreds small piece of paper and note blocks with small memories penned down by him through the years. Sometime written just once, sometimes 5 or 6 times the same or mostly the same. I try to make a complete story of it, to be published in the future. Now and then some small excerpts will be in the Knot International Radio Report to share with you already. So let’s go back in time 36 years and close our eyes and try to be aboard the MEBO II.

Imagine 14 – 15 people living together on a boat many of them are non sailors. We aren’t used to such little space to move around in and so few things to do to let our excess energy. Although we often feel like picking a fight with someone, because of this tension, when we had to continue to live closely with that person, fights weren’t the best way to get the adrenalin flowing in our blood. We did find other ways to relieve that tension. Although it might sound silly and childish, we often felt the better for it afterwards. Take for instance the time when we were all sitting down to dinner and Andy Archer, for no apparent reason, decided to calmly place a bowl of ice-cream upside down Mark Wesley’s head. Mark just calmly and deliberately picked up the butter dish and placed it squarely on Andy’s face. And so it continued. Before long, the dinning room was in complete turmoil with food flying in every direction until there was virtually nothing left to throw.

You can’t help but laugh when you see someone covered from head to food with anything that stuck. Then, like a bunch of naughty kids, we hastily cleaned up before the captain came in who wasn’t very keen on such activity. Just when you think well, that’s all over with and didn’t every one look silly with great globs of rice and apple mouse, sticking to their hair, I just couldn’t resist the urge to pour a large bucket of water we were using to clean up over Kurt, the Swiss engineer. And it all happens over again. Lucky enough water is much easier to clean. By that time, we had split up roughly into two teams. One using a lancet in the toilet on the deck and the other one putting buckets over the side of the ship, hauling them back up full, on ropes. No one escapes a drenching. Even the captain, mistakenly on purpose, was soaked when he came out of the bridge and Steve Ladd was waiting up on the roof with a couple of full buckets. 

It was a good laugh all around and everyone felt a bit better for it. After it was all over and cleaned the dining room was cleaner than when we mostly begun. After walking into the showers with all of our clothes on to wash off the mess, everyone could go back to their routines with something to talk about feeling slightly better by having some good clean fun. Sometime everyone was felling quite merry and it restarted when someone spoiled a drink over someone else. Instead of leading to a fight, the alcohol really started to flow. Over people, over furniture, walls and the floor. Koos, the cook, sought refuge in the kitchen where he found a large supply of eggs. He came back into the captain’s lounge with a handful and just throw them in any direction. Others soon found out where the eggs were stored and before long the ship looked totally like a giant egg had exploded over and in it. Some clever sailor had even planned for the future, for when I went to bed that night. I distinctly heard a crunching sound when I lay down. Eggs between the sheets and not a very comfortable feeling either. Steve Ladd was rudely awakened when the chief machinist came into his cabin and broke two eggs over his head as expertly he was just about to make an omelette. Even we did run short of eggs later on, it was good fun while it lasted Even more, it released a lot of the tension between us all, even bringing us closer together.

Roger Day, Andy Archer and Koos van Duin (Archive Carl Mitchell)

When I had finished this chapter I forwarded it to Andy Archer and he came back the same day with the next: ‘Yes, I can remember that. We used to have lots of those "fights", sometimes they would last all day. One day we had a battle between the Dutch and the British using potatoes, we used every potato on the ship! Everyone enjoyed them apart from two Portuguese sailors who didn't see the funny side of it and threatened Alan West with a knife after he had hit one of them with a potato. The captain ordered a tender to take the two sailors off the ship. I also think on the story that Carl told, one of the engineers put a bucket of custard on top of the door of Koos the Chief engineer. When he opened the door the custard dropped and covered him with it! Great fun.'

Back to England with the mail and I found one from Robert Preedy: ‘Morning Hans - just to let you know that BBC Radio York is doing a 40th anniversary tribute to Radio 270 on Friday 16th June. There'll be items in the mid morning show 9 to midday, and also on the afternoon show 2 - 5pm. Both shows will be broadcast from the Scarborough pleasure cruiser, the Regal Lady - and the public can join the afternoon cruise. I'll be there to add some details and also will have my books on sale (with profits going to a local charity)’ 

That’s good news Robert and I wish you success! Let’s go to Chris Edwards in Hanwell:

We've now added some photo's of the recent re-union to our Radio England story web pages at The Radio England Story or cut and paste this link.

We've also added some contemporary pictures from the collection of the late André Blondeau, one of the founder members of Offshore Echo's / France Radio Club. If you can identify any of the people in these, please let us know.

Then an e mail from a guy former Offshore now working for Auntie BBC: Hello, Just though you might like to hear an interview that I did with Mike Hagler on LA, it's on the Martin Newell web site called programme 2. I worked on the Ross Revenge and the Mi Amigo for a couple of short runs and have very fond memories. Here’s a link to the show www.martinnewell.co.uk. Kind regards, Tony Street.

It was Mike Brand who read the following news on the Arutz Sheva website:

‘President Moshe Katzav has granted a total pardon to four members of Arutz-7 and in effect voided their criminal convictions. Justice Minister Haim Ramon accepted the decision and signed the pardon for Ya'akov Katz (Katzelah), Shlomit Melamed, who is the wife of Rabbi Zalman Melamed, Yoel Tzur and Yair Meir. The four were convicted in 2003 for operating the non-licensed Arutz-7 radio station, which the government since has closed down. The significance of the pardon is that they may bid for future permits to operate a station.’

Arutz Sheva was an offshore station off the Israeli coast and wasn’t closed down, but went off the air before the authorities could act! 

In last issue we talked about http://pirateradionetwork.com/ They mentioned to come on the air in Spain too. At the end of May I got another e mail stating: Last up date sorry we are now on as Benidorm fm 105.4, staying on this, Full programmes start in Benidorm in about a week time, streaming on the net at mms:// windows media player 24/7 EMAIL Web site: www.benidormfm.com also email benidormfm@europe.com, Paul

So when you’re in or near Benidorm this summer you know what to do.

One day you will get the full ‘Carl Mitchell Story’ which I’m writing from the files I found in Amsterdam in March. Now and then I give you a small look into the kitchen. When RNI was on the air in 1970 the British government was not happy at all. 

They thought that RNI was illegal, although in international waters, and the station was accused of breaking the Marine Offences Act from August 1967, they had to be jammed! Strong transmitters were used to blow the RNI signal on several frequencies away. The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (MPT) commenced the jamming, starting April 15th, from a station in Rochester and using a 9880 c/s tine. So one day RNI was on 217 metres and the other day on 244 metres. But also the station was off the air for a few days. Of course listeners were not happy with this and wrote several letters.

One came from Ellainna Sweeney in Kent. She wrote on May 14th : ‘I shall be glad when Nordsee comes on the air again. I was just going to listen to Duncan Johnson when off she went. I expect you can just guess what I would like to do with this government. Because they are taking our freedom from us. I may be getting on in years, but I have still plenty of fight in me yet, to fight for our rights. I am sending you a photo of the boys that were on Caroline. The four boys at the other end away from the poodle were on the North ship and the two boys below. The middle one was Steve Young and the other two photos are of Keefers. He was a lovely boy and so thoughtful. He always remember to play a record for me on my birthday. I’m now 68 years old. If you ever should come to England and not far from my place do try and come to see me. You would be most welcome. Well take care, and I hope you will be soon on the air again. I suppose you will have to get another new frequency. You were not interfering with anyone on 217 metres. Let me tell you one thing Carl: the Englishman is his own worst enemy!’

The Dresser from Ellainne way back in 1970

Strange enough the postal service was far much better in those days than nowadays. When sending away a little parcel from Groningen to my son in Dublin it took more than 3 weeks to arrive. In 1970 the address in Zürich from RNI was mentioned several times. Nevertheless people tried to find a faster way to sent in a request or letter to the deejays. I found in the archive for instant a letter which was simply sent to ‘Carl Mitchell c/o Grand Hotel Scheveningen in Holland.’ The Grand Hotel was the place were owners Meister and Bollier stayed a lot during the fist period of RNI. But another way to address a letter was successful and arrived in time for a mention on the station. It was sent to RNI from South End on Sea late February 1970 and just look which address the sender had used!

Then we go to Tom Edwards, one of our guests at next Radio Day in Amsterdam November 4th. ‘Hi Hans Just a fast few words. Take a look at the BBC's Health site. My life and times. The good bad and ugly! http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4994602.stm Last weekend I caught up with The Fortunes pop group. We were all under the almost protective wings of Reg Calvert. The 40th anniversary of Calvert’s death is very soon. It all seems so long ago now, but with folk like yourself those memories are kept alive. The Fortunes and I chatted for ages and can you believe that not once did they ever go out to the Shivering Sands Towers! If we had a problem out there we put on *You've got your Troubles*...to let our mates on shore know we had problem(s). I hope all is well and good with you dear friend. Tom Edwards.

Thanks a lot Tom and must say I admire you to give a look at your life so openly. See you in November. 

1967 brought us for a very short period Radio 227 transmitting as one of the 5 stations within 16 months from the MV Laissez Faire. A Dutch language station with deejays like Tom Collins, Lex Harding and many more, including Harkie. Also known as Paul Harald van Gelder. He played terrific music, which the Dutch public radio with their pop station Hilversum 3 didn’t play in those years. Also it wasn’t Veronica which went very progressive. On May 31st this year it must have been a day with a golden touch for Harkie, who is still active in Radio. He heard that Dutchman Vic van Reijt (book publisher specialized in music) had told author and researcher Auke Kok that it’s not Ferry Maat (former RNI) who brought soul music to Holland, either Leo Blokhuis, but Harkie who was the first. He played music other didn’t dare to play in those days on Radio 227. 

Paul working onboard the vessel Radio Waddenzee

Asking Paul Harald van Gelder for a comment he wrote me: ‘Yes, terrific. Now it’s time to get a paying job, for elsewhere I will have to go into social aid next year. I was music teacher on a school in Edam for a short time lately. As soon as the chairs went through the class room I knew enough that this was not a job for me. On the other hand I’m very happy at the moment with my program on Radio Waddenzee every Sunday morning, where I present a program between 10 and 13 hrs CET. They give me all the freedom to play what I want. Also I can be heard during six weeks a year on VARA Radio, have every Friday between 20 and 22 hrs CET a program on Radio 227 and also can be heard Wednesdays between 19 and 21 hrs at local Radio Lelystad. Next to that I run my ‘Skiffle Band Still Going Wrong’. To be short, I’m working very hard but don’t earn any money with it.

www.radiowaddenzee.nl  www.radiolelystad.nl  www.radio227.nl

Jack Curtiss one of the former ‘Laissez Faire’ bosses next with just a short memory to bad weather next December 40 years ago: ‘There were some bad storms as well during our stay in international waters, that had prevented the normal rotation of staff and replenishment of supplies. I remember taking the tender out in a near-hurricane force winds and being unable to board the ship. I'd never seen Graham Gill get seasick before but he was down below in the tender tossing his cookies. That day proved to me that I was simply impervious to motion sickness and with the roiling waves pitching the tender to and fro and the relentless sea spray in my face I had the ride of my life. A treasured memory to this day. During that spate of bad weather, I went out twice with a fully loaded tender, food supplies, water and relief staff and we could not transfer people and provisions. Finally, on the third attempt we succeeded. Believe me, there is no way on earth Bill Vick and I would have deliberately left the deejays and crew hungry on a nasty cold week in December 1966.”

Thanks a lot Jack and always nice hearing from an American in Australia. Which Graham heard from me some weeks ago when we were talking about you: ‘What the hell is he doing in Australia, he’s an American. I answered him to be proud as an Australian that Jack chose for Australia. Talking about Graham he asked me to mention his e mail address as he would love to come in contact with old fellow deejays as well as other people, he worked together. Also fans may write in: Gilse008@planet.nl

Wonderful site update this month for the Pirate Hall of Fame:

‘Forty years ago Yorkshire got its first taste of offshore radio. We remember the launch of Radio 270 with the help of some of the station's DJs, photos, memorabilia, recordings and a 1967 playlist. In June 1966 a raid was carried out on Shivering Sands fort, the home of Radio City. We look back at that raid and its fatal consequences with the help of some of the people who were there and contemporary news broadcasts. DJs who worked on Swinging Radio England, Britain Radio and Radio 355 gathered in London for a splendid reunion last month. We have two pages of pictures.’

Of course there are more interesting newsletters to read than the Knot International Radio Reports, for instant Radio Waves, which comes from Down Yonder. The editor of this newsletter is also known from Offshore Radio Days in the sixties: Ian McRae. He wants more readers as in his recent edition he wrote:

‘We need more subscribers to this list! Can’t be more direct than that. Would you help me to double the subscriber number by next month? Forward this newsletter to your three favourite radio colleagues and suggest they subscribe. Well, it IS free! And they can unsubscribe at any time. All they have to do is send a blank email to: radiowave@allaboutradio.net

So please try to get a free subscription to his regular too!

It some issues ago we last heard from Peter Moore from the Caroline organisation, but he’s back with the latest news about the station and their former radio ship MV Ross Revenge. Go Ahead Peter: ‘
Hi Hans. There has been some recent speculation that Ross Revenge may be for sale. Of course it is not. It only takes on person to make a hoax comment and everyone starts discussing it. Sure, it is not easy raising the monthly mooring fee, but we seem to manage this. Alan Beech and his guys have been painting the hull and they say they will have it all finished in six weeks. They have knocked a few holes in her but not in any critical place. This will happen on any ship that is approaching fifty years old.

Engineer Peter Clayton has returned. His health was in doubt for a couple of years now, but he recently had some good news about this. At the start of June he finished putting the main engine back together. This does not mean that it will start up yet. All the oil needs changing and the cooling system worked on. The turbo chargers needs to be cleaned right out and the compressor that pumps the air to start the motor is away being rebuilt. All the same, after a couple of years of no progress, something is now happening. Peter is called for sheets of steel with which to fix the hull and he is modernizing the heating system with next winter in mind. The crew have done some nice work on the interior, particularly the mess room and cabins and the studio area, plus a lot of re-wiring.

Tilbury Port want to move us to a place called the Old Barge Dock. This is fine by me since the water level in the dock is almost level with the dock edge, indeed it is sometimes a bit higher than the dock edge. This means that Alan’s team can work on the ship right down to the water line. The trouble with Tilbury aside from the cost, is lack of access for the public. I tried to get a concession on this but could not. We are now looking at a complete new location for the ship and if we get it this will be just about the best place we have ever found for her. But, I have learned my lesson not to talk about things unless they are surely going to happen, so I shall say no more now. Nigel Harris returned on air in June for the first time in over two years. I expect that he will be on standby for when Johnny Lewis wants a Saturday off. Bob Lawrence has also offered to return in a more regular way when his studio (that I am currently storing ) is installed in his new home. Tony Christian has even returned to cover some breakfast spots. 

Nigel Pearson our American lawyer came to London a few weeks ago to discuss with me a possible documentary about Caroline to be made by the same guys who recently made a documentary about Bob Dylan. Further I am helping another film company who want to make a feature film about pirate radio in the sixties. Their title for this is Pirate Of The Airwaves. Obviously in both cases a lot more films get planned than ever get made so we shall have to see what happens. The feature film will not be a gritty drama, but more a romantic comedy. People who see it will see that it is broadly based around Radio Caroline and Radio London, but to avoid endless problems with rights and trade marks these names will not be used. The film will have a music theme running right through it and a significant Caroline person is choosing the tracks.

We are sad about the death of our presenter Philip Nay ( Phil Adam A ). He was only 38 years old and was unwell from the time that he joined us. Some people mentioned that his speech was slow and indistinct, but this was because the poor guy was on such heavy medication. Getting to broadcast on Caroline was one of his life dreams and at least he achieved that. Jack Knowlson made the decision to close Apple FM a few weeks ago. He had tried to survive by selling on his air time and was just about hanging on. However, he had some bad debts and finally when Calvary Chapel decided to go off air since they were out of funds, that was about the last straw. Jack hopes to return as an Internet station while seeking a Community Licence. I feel sorry for Jack since he was a genuine nice guy, unlike some of the crooks, liars and dreamers that the lower levels of this pastime attract. Cheers, Peter Moore.

Some weeks ago I was asked if I could give more information about who was the official last owner of the Mi Amigo. Therefore I advised to get in touched with Leen Vingerling, who worked for Radio Delmare. Leendert is one of the very few people who is in contact with Gerard van Dam. Gerard worked for RNI, Caroline, Atlantis and was the main man behind Radio Delmare. It was Gerard who knows how the Mi Amigo, which was laid up in Holland from March 1968, was bought back. Some of the following answer is known but another part will be mentioned for the very first time, so let’s go to Gerard and his memories, which are written down by Leen:

In Amsterdam Gerard bought at an auction the Mi Amigo for 23.000 guilders. The money was donated by Bart Wijsmuller. The eldest brother of four Wijsmullers. They were running a marine supply-salvage company. Bart disagreed with his brothers over bringing in the two Caroline ships. He supported the idea of 'pirate radio' and kept faith in Ronan 's words of getting paid one day for the supply trips. The brothers didn't believe Ronan and decided to tow the ships into Amsterdam. At the auction Bart supported Gerard's idea of bringing back the Mi Amigo at sea, but he couldn't buy it himself. This would have meant more problems in the Wijsmuller family. After the purchase, the registration was passed officially at a notary. This was all done by Bart Wijsmuller. He organised the whole operation. The former owner was Vagabund, one of Ronan' empty box' businesses in Liechtenstein. (The other one was Clockerspiel). And thus became Gerard van Dam the last legal owner of the Mi Amigo. But soon Gerard ran out of money. Ronan was again interested in a new radio adventure and started paying for the renovation to bring the Mi Amigo back at sea.’

Thanks a lot to Leen and Gerard for the above info. I can add to that that at one stage the Mi Amigo came in hands again from O’Rahilly and surely he had put it on name of one of his companies in a foreign country. In the mid seventies he sold 50% of the ship to Sylvain Tack, owner from Radio Mi Amigo. 

And know a little talk about the next Radio Day which will be held on November 4th in Amsterdam. Not only with the Voice of Peace Reunion but also with some other surprises too. This included a Radio City special with guests Tom Edwards, Martin Green as well as Bob LeRoi, who will do the interview. Go and see how very nice Martin van der Ven has updated the information for the event as well as more info about where to book a special prize hotel.


More nick names: Carl Mitchell on RNI mentioned himself sometimes ‘Your silly’ Carl Mitchell as well Carl Mitchell, ‘the late night raver’. On Swinging Radio England it was Larry Dean who called himself ‘The Dean on the radio’. 

Earlier in this report I mentioned former Radio City and 270 deejay Mike Hayes, not knowing I would come back to him later in this report. As told earlier I took the ‘archive’ from the late Carl Mitchell with me from Amsterdam, where it had been stored for 36 years. June 5th I thought to make a start with listening to the tapes, which were also in some of the boxes. I can tell you there were some rare things in it. When Kees Manders tried to hijack the MEBO II on August 29th 1970 the deejays even had the thought to put on a tape on the recorder and so the recordings made on the ship that afternoon have been saved. Also a try out tape from Robb Eden. Studio quality tests from German deejays Hannibal and Horst Reiner and a 30 minutes long satire program called ‘Men in the street’ featuring Larry Tremaine, Andy Archer, Alan West, Rodney Collins, David Gregory and Carl Mitchell. I think made with the idea of ‘the auntie mable hour’ in their heads. A very unique tape, which probably only those guys ever have heard before. I can’t remember having heard or read about it before. Who does? HKnot@home.nl

But one very small tape gave us Mike Hayes applying for a job on RNI. He told on the tape that he was at the time, early 1970, 18 months in Holland: ‘I began my broadcast career in 1963 in Aden. I worked with the Royal Aden Forces Broadcasting Association, a local English speaking community station. I did the majority of pop programmes, did advertisements, classical programs, talks shows and interviews during a period of 2 years. During the last 12 months I was director of programming. Arriving back in England I’ve worked for the offshore radio station Radio City where I did the breakfast as well as the Early Evening show. From mid 1966 I moved to Radio 270, where I stayed until the MOA became in action. During the last 7 months of Radio 270 I was assistance program manager.’ After that Mike told about his experiences in Berlin where he worked in Discotheques but also did some radio work for BFBS as well as American Forces Television Network. Next it was Amsterdam, where he worked in most of the discotheques and had his own broadcasting school, dealing and teaching young Dutch boys and girls, if they wanted too, the rudiments of deejaying in discotheques and on the radio. 

After listening to the small tape I decided to make an mp3 and sent it to Mike with the question if he would remember it as well as the question if he ever heard anything after sending in the tape. Mike answered the next morning with: ‘’What a surprise to hear that tape. It certainly brings back memories. I made it in 1970. Then, in order to get a resident's permit I was working in a regular job. (Veldkamp Marktonderzoek in Amsterdam). I did get the job on RNI, I would've been their second deejay had I accepted. I met the owners, two very pleasant Swiss guys, when they came to Amsterdam to interview me. I turned the job down as I'd got married; my wife was expecting our first child and I decided a regular job would offer me more security. It turned out to be the right decision in the end. Thanks again Hans and keep up the good work, Mike.'

Talking about RNI another guy reflected on one of my articles on the on line journal for media and music culture: www.soundscapes.info

It’s really a good thing to get the possibility to read about RNI. In the seventies I had a friendly relationship with with Dick de Graaf and Herman de Bruin. In those days I was already a singer and also presented radio programs. Was writer of the song ‘Song of the MEBO II’ (Hey deejay van Noordzee) which got a regular play on ‘220’. I was also one of the drivers of the Austin Seven Club with Rob van der Palm and in that way I made members for de Hou em in de Lucht Actie (Members of Radio Noordzee). Also I wrote for a school class in Monster one of the two songs they recorded for RNI. RNI blood was appearing everywhere. Later I worked for the AVRO where again I met former RNI men Nico Steenbergen and Hans Prakke. My artist name is Edy Matthieu and it’s funny that most of the former colleagues don’t know my real name, which is Eljbert Maathuis. Nowadays I’m working for the regional station RTV Drenthe as Head of Programming. www.edymatthieu.nl

Request from Rob Olthof in Amsterdam. He and many other are sad Prime Time Radio went off the air early June. Prime Time Radio brought, with a fresh sound, during the past 6 years a lot of joy to middle aged people who loved already the middle of the road format way back in the sixties when Radio 390 was on! As Prime Time left very suddenly Rob asked himself if there’s anyone out who recorded the last hour(s) of Prime Time Radio. As always you can reflect on Hknot@home.nl

Earlier on in the report it was Peter Moore talking about Caroline, but personally I will ad some to it. It now seems more than probable that Radio Caroline will appear on the Sky listings on channel 0199. This of course gives them the opportunity to say, for the first time in more than forty years ‘This is Caroline on 199, your all day music station‘. They seem to have delayed their launch while lower numbers were used up by stations such as RTI and VIP Radio. Of course the many comments that Caroline was just a ‘hobby’ station have now changed to criticism, suggesting that they never will afford the regular costs or that to even take such a step may horrify station founder Ronan O’Rahilly, with his high ideals of freedom. The Knot International Radio Report learns that Caroline are considering whether to seek publicity from this latest expansion right away or to wait until August 14th. Surely they have a cushion of stored up money to cover the Sky costs. Observers are saying that the station must have a big push for advertising revenue to cover future costs, or to seek other income. It seems unlikely that Peter Moore, who must feel that nothing he can do will ever please the Caroline fans, has not already thought of this necessity.

Finishing this report with mentioning that I will probably not be back before July 10th with the next report as I’ve other commitments for the next weeks. May I ask you to send all memories to the regular address: Hknot@home.nl and if you have any photographs or other objects to send please use Hans.Knot@gmail.com

Many Greetings from Groningen in the Netherlands

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