Hans Knot's International Radio Report - March 2005 (2) 


Some weeks have gone since the last report came out and again a lot of e mails have come in from which I made a choice again. First one is from Paul in Ipswich who wrote:

Thank you for promoting the Radio Sutch RSL on your website a few months ago. I have had a terrific response from people who would like to be involved from all over the world, and have a file literally bursting with emails. You asked me to keep you informed as to the RSL's progress. The folks at Project Red Sands who now own the Red Sands Army forts, have been very busy, and they are anticipating having access in May. I have joined in with a group called back to basics radio who have put on several RSL's over the past years from venues such as the lightship 18 in Harwich and of course the Ross Revenge. Their knowledge of these types of broadcast is probably second to none, and have welcomed the Radio Sutch RSL with open arms considering the project consists mainly of a venue and lots of offers of help.

Photo: The late David Sutch

People who knew David (Screaming Lord) Sutch have been terrific with many offers of recordings and taped interviews with him. I have been quite touched by musicians and record people who have phoned or written offering help and advice. Of course in its day Radio Sutch was an incredibly amateur affair, but it should not be forgotten that his little station had many firsts, not least the first British radio Station to feature a female DJ!. Due to the problems that may be encountered accessing the towers during bad weather the RSL may be put off until early 2006, as I do not want to be responsible for folks being trapped o­n the towers, or getting hurt boarding the forts. There are several connected websites that may be of interest to you: www.sutchonair.co.uk www.backtobasicsradio.co.uk  www.offshorememories.co.uk most of these sites have links to other radio fort sites.

Locally here in Suffolk an Ipswich man has had quite a lot of publicity with regards to a local Ofcom license that will be issued in June. This man has said he will put a station on board a ship 4 miles from Felixstowe. Unfortunately Ofcom has said this license is only for a low powered FM transmitter based in Ipswich with a five mile coverage!. Ofcom have also said they definitely would not consider a marine broadcaster using a local licence, (unless its from a ship in the port). I look forward to the next Radio Report. Dank je wel (sorry about the spelling).’ (which was 100% correct anyway ed.)
Paul Billingham Ipswich.

Some months ago I also mentioned the idea about writing a book on the Voice of Peace. The idea came from Dave Baldock and he asked me to make an item on this idea so former VOP crew and deejays could get in touch with him. It’s Gerald Gray who mailed me o­n the day the last report came out with some very sad news: ‘Dear Hans, I'm afraid that Dave Baldock's book about his time on the Voice of Peace won't materialise because sadly Dave died at the end of January, only in his early fifties. He had been in poor health for quite some time following a heart bypass operation that went wrong and caused him to have a leg amputated.

The funeral service was held in Hertford on 1st February and was an impressive mix of traditional and modern. The hearse was drawn by black horses but the songs included 'Turn, Turn, Turn' (as written by Pete Seeger, based o­n a passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes and made famous by the Byrds). John Lennon's 'Imagine' was also performed by Dave's friends from the world of theatre: Dave had written plays after he had to give up his building career. He will be sadly missed, notably by his colleagues from Radio Hertford and Heartbeat FM. Regards, Gerald Gray.’

Some people have fascinating hobbies and one of them is Koen van Achthoven who, together with his father, is rebuilding ships but those are only rebuilt in micro format. Surfing the internet he found on www.soundscapes.info our Zeezender Discography and learned from there that there are also some video clips in which ships of interest are for them. So he’s looking for Ledemacher - Ich Will Dich Essen. This German Group recorded a video in 1985 including some shots of the MV Ross Revenge. Also he’s looking for the video ‘Sailin’ form Piet Veerman, o­ne time leadsinger with the Cats. In this clip also shots from the Veronica vessel the Norderney o­n the beach of Scheveningen are shown. So the question is who can help Koen with a copy of those two videos. Sent your answer to achth044@planet.nl

Months ago we already talked about Radio Mercurius, the saga of a land based pirate in Holland long, long time ago. Rob Veld has made a special internet site about it, so go and have a look: http://www.vintage-radio.150m.com/

Listening to an old show of Radio Atlantis, the big sound on 312 – the boat that rocks the ocean- I heard Steve England introducing his colleague Andy Anderson as ‘Big Sexy Sandy’ Anderson. Also he got another nickname from Steve: Andy Anderson ‘the nervous wreck from the North Sea’. But Steve himself had also a nickname which was also altered into jingle ‘Big Steve’.

Last issues we brought photos from buttons, which were released in the sixties by Radio Veronica, from which most of the people who have worked there, have not any memory anymore. They were sent in from Germany by Burkhard who has more memories to share.

Photo: Memories to Radio Hauraki

‘In 1973 and 1974 I have written and received several letters from Radio Hauraki. My main contact has been Dave Smith (Promotion). He included logos, car stickers, an old (ship) and a new (land) QSL card and a history of the radio station. I even informed them about the short-wave transmissions of Radio Northsea International o­n 6205 kHz. At that time they were planning to publish a book o­n Radio Hauraki. Some years ago I have been o­n a business trip to New Zealand for Deutsche Welle. I came in contact with Derek Lowe, Executive Chairman of Radio Pacific Ltd. in Auckland. He had been the Director of Pacific Radio Advertising Ltd., a parent company of Radio Hauraki. The same day I have been in Auckland one of his children married; so I could not meet him. But he sent me a copy of ‘The Shoestring Pirate’, from Adrian Blackburn, version 1994, which had been published in 1974 with the first edition. More on the history can be found o­n next site:

On Sunday March 6th around noon the sad news came in of the sudden death of Tommy Vance, who made a long career in radio and television. He did worked for offshore stations Radio Caroline and Radio London as well o­n Radio Luxembourg in the sixties and from then o­n his career made a long trip along a lot of radio and television stations. I’ve wrote an obituary in Dutch which can be found back at: www.fmradio.be/new/nieuws.php?id=18695&switch=com

Photo: Tommy Vance at the opening of Virgin Radio 1993
Copyright photo: Hans Knot

For two English language obituaries I ask you to go to the following two internet sites:

One of the people reflecting after Tommy Vance’s his dead was Martin Kayne: ‘Very sad news Hans, though I have never met him I do remember playing advertisements and promotional recordings voiced by Tommy, I think for Major Minor records, while o­n Caroline North. This was late 1967 when he had already moved to BBC Radio o­ne, indeed there were suspicions than not all of these recordings were old material. There have been quite a few fatalities of late among ex-pirate radio people, a sobering fact is that I am also 61.

On another point I did read among your nicknames for deejays you have Martin Kayne down as ‘The man with the smiles and all that jazz’. I o­nly said that o­nce during a Radio 355 breakfast show. If I really have a nick name it's 'Cuddles'. I think given to me by either Dave/Keith Rogers or Tony Allan o­n RNI in 1971, because of the love songs I used to play o­n weekday evenings. There was a show called ‘Europe Into Monday’, Tue, Wed etc... I always found it nice to play records for people when they are in bed, well we all have our problems!

More recently I have done a few shows called ‘Cuddles In The Night’ for a couple of local RSL's and then got up early for the breakfast programme. There have been times in the past when I have perhaps regretted not continuing with real radio after I was married, however seeing how many DJ's are failing to live long enough to collect their pensions, perhaps it is better to work in a less competitive environment. Very best wishes,
Andy Cadier (aka Martin Kayne)’

Another reflection o­n Tommy’s passing away cames from California: ‘Very sad to hear about his passing- another in that great tradition of DJs who actually put o­n a show, if you know what I mean. To put it another way; genuine performers- great voices, perfect timing, know their music and have a sense of theatre about their shows. And by all accounts, a really nice bloke too. Shaun Brennan.’

We go to Adelaide in Southern Australia for the next e mail coming in: ‘Hello, Hans! It's Jack Curtiss (ex-SRE/BritainRadio/Dolfijn) saying hello from my new home in South Australia. Over the past few days I've been in touch with colleagues from a radio station where I worked briefly before coming to the pirates in 1966. I seem to recall you mentioning fondly listening to tapes of our late friend Boom-Boom Brannigan who ironically returned to the States and worked at the same station in the city of Roanoke, VA -- where he tragically died a few months later.

Very few photos of Boomer have survived except the SRE headshot that Jonathan and other sites have posted. I did however this weekend come across another..(not especially good quality I'll admit) o­ne taken just a few weeks before he was killed in the motorcycle accident. After a few months in Roanoke, Boomer switched to a new daytime rock station called WPXI and is shown making a personal appearance with a couple ‘Pixie Girls’ and another station D-J. I thought I'd share it with you. The caption reads "Marty Shayne , ‘Pixie Girls’ Valeria Cook and Michele Lowe, ‘Boom Boom Branegan’.” Boomer apparently changed the spelling of his air-name in Virginia perhaps to avoid a problem with the real’ Boom-Boom at WPTR, NY.

Photo: Original Boom Boom Brannigan promo photo, including backsite

It turns out, that Marty Shayne (real name AJ Sartin), the other DJ in the photo, was Boomer's roommate at time, and inherited Bob's afternoon drive shift after the accident. Marty tells me he drove the two "Pixie Girls" to the funeral in Harrisburg, and after a subsequent tour of duty in Vietnam, married the girl (Valeria Cook) standing next to him in the photo. The picture was taken as he and Boomer were emceeing a dance at local high school north of Roanke as a WPXI station promotion. (Thanks to Marty for the original photo and to Pat Garrett - also an ex-WROV DJ for enhancing it). I will also be contacting Perry Wood who also worked with Boomer and Pat Garrett says he will see if he can locate some of Bob's surviving family members in Pennsylvania to let them know a lot of people still remember their son/brother/nephew or whatever. I'll let you know what, if anything, develops. In a way, I think Boomer's life was truly emblematic of ‘60s pirate radio itself...brash, cocky, bursting with adolescent energy, full of promise and cut short way too soon before its time.
Good luck and keep up the magnificent work. Say hi to my old buddy Graham Gill the next time you see him. There's more about Boomer and those VA stations at http://www.wrov.cc/rovamhist.html

Photo: on the left aside of the school kids Boom Boom Brannegan

Thanks a lot Jack for taking part with our sharing of memories and good luck in South Australia. I’ve been in contact with Graham already and he’s given you his regards too.

Brian Keith is telling me that he visited his mother in England and that he listened to the local radio to find out that an old Caroline/VOP deejay is back on his old station. On Magic 999 Dave Asher can be heard again. So his work on station ‘The Bay’ was a very short stay. On Magic 999 also former Caroline deejays Rob Charles and Robin Ross can be heard.’

Thanks Brian, who works and lives in Holland and speaks perfectly Dutch!

Now we go over to Sweden were also an avid listener ship was for Offshore Radio and don’t forget that the real offshore scene started there with Radio Nord, Mercur and Radio Syd and not forgetting DCR. It’s Magnus writing in: ‘Hi Hans, it is always with pleasure that I read your report regarding offshore radio, news and memories. I have been interested in this fascinating world since the Radio Nord time (1961). Back in 1967 I was with my school fellows and teacher o­n a visit to Holland. The main reason for that journey was to visit Philips in Eindhoven. On that trip we were some offshore radio friends, so we took a tape recorder with us (on the bus!) You know the old o­ne; reel to reel type! However we managed to do some nice recordings on a hotel room in Amsterdam. I was a bit sorry when I came back and found out that the speed on my friend’s recorder was not exactly the same as on my own equipment at home. Two years ago I saw my old tapes again and at this time my son helped my to process the signal from my old, still running Tandberg tape recorder, to my PC and we got an almost perfect result to make some fresh Cd’s. (One can do a lot with a computer!)

One with The Tommy Vance show (May-67) and another with Radio 355 (Top of the Morning). By the way, last year I did find, on holiday journey to Germany, a cd with the Theme tune song of Radio Nord`s Top 20 program: ‘It´s wonderful’ by Ray Conniff Singers Later on in 1971/72 I was in Holland: Scheveningen/Zaandam doing some more recordings (RNI/Veronica) Remember Rederij Jacques Vrolijk Noordzeetrips and Sportvissen op Zee?
But that’s another story. Best regards. Magnus Fors (magnus.fors@saab.se)

Thanks a lot Magnus for sharing your memories. And yes I really recall Rederij Jacques Vrolijk. The owner himself went out a lot with the special trips to the radio ships in the early seventies. Always wearing his black coat and had a black pipe in his mouth too. There’s one photo somewhere where Andy Archer is on the air in the Caroline studio and Jacques is looking through the port hole with his pipe o­n! The special occasion Magnus is referring too is Saturday May 4th 1973 that some 450 people got together in the ‘Tweede Binnenhaven’ (Second Inner Harbour) of Scheveningen. The reason was that not o­nly it was the official release day of the RNI double album produced by Jacob van Kokswijk and me as co producer, but also the day we would go out with 5 ships from the Vrolijk Company to do a visit to the radio ships of Caroline, Veronica and RNI. From 11 different countries people were there but Jacques had a ‘bad’ announcement as, following his words, we couldn’t go out as a result of the bad weather. A week later 300 people came back for the promised trip. All in love for Free Radio.

If you also want to share memories, photos or other interesting items, just sent it in to Hknot@home.nl

Listening to an old program o­n March 15th I heard a program from Laser Hot Hits while doing the dishes, I found out that DL Bogart on Laser Hot Hits had a third nick name. Next to the two earlier mentioned he was called: DL Bogart, ‘the rock and roll man himself’.

The same evening I found an email from a guy who has had a small stint o­nboard the Ross Revenge in the Eighties: ‘Hi Hans, I'll keep this brief because I realise you are probably a busy man. In the article ‘An American in Europe’, by John Ford
(http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/DATABASES/CAR/car12.html) , the person referred to as Grahame Vega is my worthless self. After 20 years, I would dearly love to catch up with John as I have thought of him often -- our brief 9 weeks on Caroline cemented a great relationship that sadly ended up in lost contact. It would be lovely to get in touch with him again. If by any chance you happen to have his email, would you be so kind as to pass my email address o­n to him? That would be very appreciated. In the meantime, thanks so very much for the info you have put o­n your site. It's bringing back awesome memories for me. My deepest respects. Graeme Vega (not Grahame).’

Again very nice to hear that somebody is finding back someone else versus my work. In the meantime I’ve sent John all the information and for you too Greame, if you have memories, photos or other things to share, they’re always welcome.

It was way back in 1999 that I wrote the first article about the plans from Music Mann to start a long wave radio station transmitting from the Isle of Man to Great Britain and Ireland and of course their signal would come in to several countries at the European Continent. Years of struggle and court cases have gone by and finally the owners IoMBC got permission to get the station o­n the air. Without going into much detail I’ve the privilege to bring the news that probably this summer the station will finally come on the air on 279 kilohertz long wave as well as on digital radio and internet. The starting date also depends o­n the work which is done onboard the MV Communicator. Yes, the company is the new owner of the former radio ship which was once used by Laser 730, Laser 558 and Laser Hot Hits but also in Holland by Veronica.

It’s possible to put some money in this private company and if you’re interested to pay a small amount or more (depends on your spending) you can make contact with:
Isle of Man International Broadcasting plc
St Pauls Square, Ramsey Isle of Man, UK - IM8 3LF

The idea will be that the Communicator will be partly the home for the new station with a 100 kW transmitter, which will be built into the ship. For the first time since the Marine Offences Act became law there will be a legal offshore radio station on the air soon. The ship will be anchored in Ramsey Bay and have also live broadcasts. I can mention you exclusively three names of deejays who could be heard live from international waters way back in the sixties o­n Radio Caroline and who will take part in the new venture too: The Emperor Rosko, ‘Ugly’ Ray Teret and Mick Luvzit’. So exciting news and I do wish Paul Rusling, the initiator behind this project, a lot of success with his team to make the station a big success.

Of course in the months to come we will bring you the news first!

Time to mention some interesting sites again: First of all Theo van Halsema has made an update to his pages, where several things can be found like his railway and trams hobby but also a massive long look at Radio Mi Amigo: www.geocities.com/theovanhalsema

Another interesting o­ne is a site about British Radio, including 80 links to other sites:

Versus another site I came into the one David Rasmussen has produced. He wrote on his site: ‘I'm an old retired seadog with interests in gardening, short wave radio (swl),racket sports, and....I never thought it would come to pass...lurking in cyber space. Before taking the coach's class this Fall at TMCC in Reno, I had never so much as touched a ‘yppy yoop’ computer. Now, thanks to the coach' patience and developing ulcers, I know enough to appreciate the mystery and fascination of how much more there is to learn. Thank goodness it's fun even at my age.’ He has some remarkable links too:

Then, as usual, Peter Moore from Highgate Offices of Radio Caroline reporting on his station: ‘As for Caroline, we are just planning our co-operation with the BBC o­n Easter Saturday, but we will be broadcasting our programmes live from the ship on Easter Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Ross Revenge will be open for visitors during all of that time. There is no cost to come o­n board.

We have opened negotiations again with NTL to see if Radio Caroline can be relayed by them in Southern Ireland. All our staff are meeting soon to discuss the programming that we will create for Eric and his station RTI.

We hope to have 50% of the sum required for a SKY channel number by the time the next International Knot Radio Report is published. Ray Andersons suggestion that he has taken the last channel number is not correct, more channels will be issued later in 2005.

We, at Caroline, are having also a general fund raising drive all during Easter. So keep o­n listening to Radio Caroline!’

And now back to RNI and maybe Robin Banks, Robb Eden, Andy A or all the other former RNI deejays, who have worked for the English Service and are readers of this report, have an answer on some questions from former Dutch colleague Hans ten Hooge, officially Hans Hoogendoorn. Hans remembers that the music played live from the radio ship MEBO II in the period 1970-1974 must have been very special with thanks to the British Dutch mix of people on the ship. The weekly Dutch chart from the station, the RNI Top 50, had just a very little shine of the mix of music the team o­n board played in their programs. From the Dutch music fan Hans Blauwbroek there is a booklet from 1976 in which all Top 50 from the Dutch service as well as the ‘kanskaarten’(deejay hit tips) are published. You can see from that list that the hit tips from the Driemaster deejays (who did their show for a long time live from the ship) had a smell of British influence.

But something is really missing and that is a long listing of the English Top 50, which was used o­n the international service as well as the deejays Hitpicks of that service. In those days I thought that this British listing was edited weekly in a pretty creative semi structure, this with the acquaintance of the Bussum office and director John de Mol Sr. Thinking back now this thought was a bit ingenious.

Peter Ford told me sometime ago that the English deejays were called from London by a guy named Colin Pine, this just before leaving with the tender to the ship. So here are my two questions:

1) Is there anyone in England who has, between 1970 and 1974, made his or her own listing of the weekly charts, the hit picks as well as the songs who just didn’t make it?

2) Is there any one of my former colleagues who can tell me how the weekly lists were edited?

I ask you to sent the answers to Hans Knot who will forward them, thanks a lot. Hans Hoogendoorn’.

And all the answers, memories, photos and news can be sent, as always to my email address: Hknot@home.nl

Well that’s all for this time and the next report will be out in April. May I wish you all a very happy Eastern and happy listening? 

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