Hans Knot's International Radio Report - March 2006 (1)
Welcome to the first edition for the month of March of the Knot International Radio Report. Thanks for all your emails as well as memories, which came in during the last weeks. Just a few more days to go before February but I thought to release it already because I’m very busy the forthcoming weeks.
Last time Chris Edwards asked us if one of the readers could tell more about when the Fortunes with ‘Caroline’ were played first as station tune on Radio Caroline. Soon after he came back to me with: 'François Lhote of OEM France has been checking some old tapes, and Caroline were still using Jimmy McGriff at the start of 1966 (New Years Day), as their theme tune. So while it is likely they played the track, it wasn’t used as a theme until later.’
Harm Koenders from the South of Holland wrote: ‘A very good question, The only thing I know for sure is that the release date in Holland was January 1964. Probably they started to use it as tune when Simon Dee and those who were with him at the time had left the station. So around the time Radio Caroline really changed format to be a competitor against Radio London. ‘Caroline’ was a much loved girl name in those days. On Decca a song with the same name was released and sung by Roy Hasting. 1964 again brought ‘Caroline’ from the Fortunes as well as from the Pathfinders. Also on Columbia a song with the same name by the Cavaliers.
Martin van der Ven recently made research in the world wide web encyclopedia Wikipedia to see what is written about offshore radio. He made a special link page on his wonderful internet site: http://www.offshore-radio.de/wikipedia.htm
Another site which has a very good update is the one from Theo van Halsema and his love for trains, trams but also for Radio Mi Amigo: http://members.home.nl/theovanhalsema/Miamigo01.html
Leeds bring us Colin and he has a question: ‘Many thanks once again for your very interesting Monthly Report. In around 1965/66 I remember seeing newspaper reports about a new offshore radio station to start broadcasting from the Irish Sea called Radio Manchester. It never did appear, does any one else remember seeing these reports, either in the Daily Sketch or Daily Mirror,. and what ever happened to it, and who was behind it.
I must say Colin that I’ve looked through the listing of my two books about ‘Pioneers, thumb suckers and failed projects’ which describes all known projects I remember, so also all that haven’t been on the air, but I couldn’t find the one you’re mentioned. So anyone knowing more please contact us at Hknot@home.nl
But Colin has more: ‘I have mentioned this Radio Station before to you, which seems only to broadcast on a Sunday via the internet, its www.radiopoplar.co.uk I notice that from 9.30 till 10 am they play some rare Offshore Radio Theme Tunes, which is very interesting. Also it's now calling it's self RADIO POPLAR INTERNATIONAL. Well hope to see you later in the year. Best wishes, Colin. ‘
On the afternoon the report went out an e mail from the USA: 'Keith ‘Keefers’ Hampshire here e-mailing from Tampa, Florida where my wife Cathy and I are on vacation. I read with great interest your correspondence from Rick Randall. For the last ten years or so, we have been coming to Tampa for a little sunshine, baseball & to get away from shovelling snow. To think one of my fellow pirates has been living just around the corner. Would it be possible to get Rick's e-mail address from you? I'd love to get together at the local for a pint & talk over old times. Thanks in advance, Keith’.
Recently I listened to an old Christmas program from 1972 which I hadn’t heard again after recording it in 1972. One part was a 30 min segment with a program called ‘Powerline’. It interested me a lot and after listening to it twice I decided to search the internet and found this:
Powerline is an upbeat blend of adult contemporary hits and inspirational messages hosted by Jon Rivers.
For more than 30 years Powerline has transmitted inspirational messages to an adult contemporary audience around the world. The half-hour program produced by the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention Media Technology Group, blends Top 40 music from the '70s, '80s and '90s with brief inspirational messages. Host Jon Rivers has been the familiar voice on Powerline for more than 20 years. He provides brief comments that keep the program moving by addressing needs and problems found in almost every community. Rivers' segments allow listeners to feel personally involved with the program.
Though most Americans know him for his work on Powerline, Rivers' voice is often heard on commercials advertising companies such as Radio Shack, Memorex, Hyundai, Zales Jewelers and Coca Cola. Powerline airs 1,100 times per week on over 600 stations world wide including the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service. Powerline covers 42 of the top 50 US radio markets.
E mail time in Highgate as Peter Moore sent in a long one: ‘Dear Hans, I have not sent you any Caroline news for a while, so here it goes. Here is some news of our situation in recent months. You will know that we were once on the river Thames at Tilbury at an excellent location open to the public. However it was decided that we were in the way of Cruise Ships, that obviously earn the port of Tilbury a lot of money so we either had to go away or accept a berth inside the port. Within Tilbury we have of course perfect security and access for our crew and even a public house for the use of the visiting sailors. One problem was that we were next to a warehouse containing cement powder that is loaded in to road tankers. Therefore while the crew did a fine job in painting the side of the ship and the deck, their work soon was covered with cement dust which turned to real cement after the rain.
Then the harbourmaster ordered us to move the radio ship down the dock to make room for two car ferries that were being taken out of service. We achieved this by attaching the back of the ship with a long rope to my four wheel drive car and I actually towed the ship backwards until it was in the new location. This was not a pleasant task since there was always the fear that a cross wind may catch the ship and tow me into the water. We were not in this new position long before we were ordered to move again. Fortunately the cost of each move is paid by Tilbury port and not us. his time we had to go in to the main part of the dock and in to another inlet further down. Since expense was no problem we used two tugs for this and also turned the ship around so that the unpainted side was along the dock wall. Now the crew can paint that also. Further we are right away from the cement factory so our work will not get ruined. One of our supporters, John Cronnelley, had a significant Birthday and told his family that instead of being bought presents he wanted the money spent refurbishing the mess room on the ship. Thus during the bad weather the guys stripped this area out to install new insulation and new lighting, painting all the over head areas and rubbing down the woodwork to be varnished. The area around the studios has already had this treatment and looks very good indeed.
The problem we have is that when going inside the dock our mooring cost doubled and after a short while the price went up again by about 25% more. We are not in a position to argue since we can find right now no other place for the ship, although we do have a consultant seeking a less expensive location. We have met these costs so far from good initial sales in our new Web Shop at our website, but the costs are starting to hurt us now. It may be that if we make a good case with Tilbury Port they may let us bring limited numbers of visitors to the ship. This has been refused so far for security reasons, but our previous open weekends always earned money in the past.
There is some interest in the ship as a filming location and this earns some money, but not enough to pay the moorings. A TV company called Blakeway used the ship on the 9th to film Johnnie Walker talking about Caroline and the summer of 1967. This will form part of a documentary to be shown on UK TV BBC 2 in the summer of 2006. Although Johnnie works now for the BBC he was very outspoken against the government and Radio 1 as it was in late 1967. I asked him if his employers might take a dim view of this but he just shrugged to indicate that he did not care about that. At the same time a film company Titian Red Pictures have produced with my help a film script based on pirate radio from 1964 to 1967. The proposed title of the film is Pirate Of The Airwaves. If produced it will be for general film release but it is essentially a romantic comedy and not a docudrama. The film company asked me to offer Johnnie a cameo role in the film and he took away a synopsis of the script to consider. They are also seeking the involvement of stars such as Michael Caine and Roger Daltrey and a cameo role for the sixties model Twiggy. However, many more films are planned than are ever made so we will have to see how this idea progresses. What we know for sure is that another TV documentary is certainly being made about the emergence of the ' DJ ' in Europe from the fifties onwards. This will be a 90 minute programme and again Caroline and the ship have been invited to be involved and Johnnie Walker also.
Finishing with the ship, engineer Peter Clayton was on board this week, making preparations to get our main engine ready to run again. Also we have been keeping rather quiet about the fact that one of our sea water inlet valves right at the bottom of the ship was leaking and we could only stop this by leaving the valve wide open. Obviously if any of the pipes fed from the valve happened to burst, we knew that the engine room would flood. However, Peter very carefully dismantled the valve and repaired it in position so that it could be closed. Thus we feel much safer now.
As for broadcasting, we made a new arrangement with NTL Ireland but realised that while we were supposed to transmit to Dublin, Galway and Waterford we were only actually being carried to Dublin. NTL have a very ' Irish ' way of doing things and while we said that we would pay the fee that we promised if they put us on all the areas they promised it was eventually agreed that we would pay anyhow and then they would extend our areas. So we just sent the 5000 Euro's and we hope they will now honour their promise. We are hearing from Technisat that they may be running short of channels and thus may have to suspend our German relay in favour of other services from which they earn more income. We are however trying to negotiate some cable coverage of Germany and some cable coverage of the UK also and some FM coverage of Spain. We also wish to upgrade our Worldspace channel to stereo. On hearing about all the channel number changes at SKY we asked again when we would be offered a number. Presently we are told that this will be in May or June, but equally we were told that this would happen in August 2005 or Jan 2006 so we can only wait and see.
Radio Caroline, along with the ship and the web shop is getting a bit too big now to be run by one guy in one room. Obviously many people in the background are taking on various tasks anyway, but we need really to give people specific jobs to do and recognise them as being responsible for those jobs. I will tell you more about this the next time I send you a report. Best wishes, Peter Moore, Radio Caroline.’
Thanks Peter for this long up date and hope that some money will be made with the proposed movies. And of course good luck for you and all the volunteers. Let the news coming!
Talking about movies Peter is right with saying that a lot of movies and documentaries have been planned and only a few saw the daylight. As we talked about the raid on Radio City last time I recall myself a news items from 1993: ‘An independent film company is currently working on a film about the life of 60’s music entrepreneur Reginald Calvert, which is scheduled for release later this year. Calvert, the manager of several popgroups in the sixties, operated the offshore fort based Radio City, until he was shot dead in an argument, over a takeover of his radio station by Major Oliver Smedley.’ Well you see we didn’t see a second of this promised film too.
Last time I mentioned the death of former Mi Amigo director Sylvain Tack. The guys at OEM have made a special article about Sylvain, which you can find back at: http://www.offshoreechos.com/Sylvain%20Tack.htm
Then an update on the Mi Amigo site from Theo van Halsema shows also memories to Sylvain Tack written by several Mi Amigo deejays including Nobert, Marc Jacobs and Ton Schipper: http://members.home.nl/theovanhalsema/hoofdmenu.html
Then some former VOP writing in, some for the first time: ‘Hi Hans, just had to email you to say how much I enjoy reading your regular reports, I have not contacted you before. I was also on the VOP from Dec 1992 until closure in Oct 1993. Great times and memories. Regards Clive Roper.’
‘Hi Hans, I did not know that there is a book on the way concerning the VOP. I can't wait. I was on board for a year 1982-1983 and organised all the on-board 5th anniversary celebrations. Cheers Digby Taylor.’
Well if you've read the report during the past months (can be read back at www.hansknot.com) it has been mentioned a few times. I had you already listed in the deejay rundown. Well maybe you can add your own memories, especially those of fifth anniversary - which I think must be the tenth anniversary, it would be great. So please let me know if you can do so and if you've also photos to the memories.’
‘Dear Hans, my name is Arik Lev, I was A DJ on the Voice of Peace and I got your name from Noam Tal. I think we should talk, do you have Skype? We can talk free with skype. Looking forward to hear from you, thanks Arik.’
‘Well Arik as I have so many contacts around the world and writing so much about radio there’s just no time to have long talks. So please do as everybody else and communicate via e mail and share your memories with all reading the report.’
Who of all those Voice of Peace guys out there knows where Tara Jeffries went. Last time I heard something about her was when she was doing disco’s a long time ago in Germany. Your answers as always to Hknot@home.nl
Dave Thorpe wrote in: ‘Hans, I have read the interesting account from John Dwyer on the VOP on Soundscapes, do you know if John is still on air, I remember him doing a stint on Radio City in Liverpool in the 80's ? Also from the same period Caroline Martin who was doing an evening show on BRMB in Birmingham, can now be heard as one half of the breakfast show during the week. Regards Dave Thorpe. ‘
'Thanks Dave. I tried to trace him down without luck. I did have contact with Caroline Martin, who I remember from her time on Radio Caroline, just a few weeks ago. She’s doing well and is still enjoying making radio. Okay keep enjoying our work. Hans’
Last issue brought a few questions which Paul John Lilburne-Byford and his friends want to answer. They wrote in a long answer from which we took some important and referring lines. The questions from last issue where: Why was the name Caroline chosen by Ronan and what happened to the Olga Patricia aka Laissez Faire through the years. Questions asked by Rick Randell, former deejay on Swinging Radio England.
‘Hi Hans, This are answers for Rick Randall: The naming of ‘Caroline’ is related to the original crowd backing O'Rahilly, which is why O'Rahilly's ‘cover story’ (forgive the pun) of the origin of the ship and station name was a mess.
The magazine that O'Rahilly referred to was 'LOOK'. We have that edition. Inside that magazine was what became a very famous photographic essay about the Kennedy children. Ronan said that it was young Caroline Kennedy who was playing under the desk of the president in the Oval office, but if you will go to our site at http://rossrevenge.bravehost.com/index.html (which has been up there and at other locations for a long time), you will see the picture of young John ('John-John') playing under the desk.
John sr and jr.
However, as Rick Randall knows, to have called the station ‘Radio John’ would have been like calling it ‘Radio Toilet’ in American slang. Not too swift. Ronan originally represented a segment of the British Establishment who were interested in forcing the creation of commercial radio and these people were also fans of the Kennedy mystique. But there is some indication that the name ‘Caroline’ was in fact not related to Caroline Kennedy - but to the name of one of the people behind the scenes representing this commercial/political pressure group. Our own group is at present working on researching this episode as a part of a continuing series of new media articles: see also: http://www.hwa-research.com
Now as to the Rick's other question about the Olga Patricia. (By the way, we have Rick's letter to Don written on a KGO letterhead, following Rick's return to
the USA!) What we have here about the SRE/BR vessel is what we now know for a fact: 1) We have the original blueprint of the Olga Patricia which was used by SRE/BR. 2) We have the Larry Dean feature showing him sitting on board the vessel in Miami in 1970. 3) We have the court records and news articles reflecting two legal suits, one involving William Vick and the other involving Don Pierson. The first was brought by Vick as plaintiff because he was claiming unpaid wages (because he was a mere front man in the early days following the same pattern established for Philip Birch.) In the second suit brought by CEMCO (Continental Electronics) the court found in favour of Don. (These were civil suits for money, not criminal suits for violation of law.). We contacted CEMCO about the fate of the SRE/BR transmitters and they sent us the information that following the second court suit, the transmitters were taken off the Olga Patricia and returned to CEMCO who resold them to the African stations. That much we know and it is this same information which resulted in us being sent the photo which we used in a OEM article and which Keith Skues picked up and reproduced from the OEM article. So we know that much we know for a fact: the transmitters were taken off the ship and they were put into use in Africa (one by Trans World Radio.)
The article with Larry (Frank) showing him in the old SRE studio while in Miami in 1970, also stated that at the time, the ship may be sold to a preacher for use off Italy. That never happened. What did happen was this: Don was given trusteeship of the Olga once again (following all of the falling out) to see if he could lease or resell the ship station as a going concern. He advertised it (we have the display and text ads) and he also approached numerous governments all over the world offering to lease it to them. (We have the correspondence and some replies. Some interest was shown by a group to use it off India, another off Brazil and Don got involved with a group wanting him to relaunch it as ‘Wonderful Radio London’ off New York. Don later took a lot of interest in another ship to use as WRL off NY and then off the coast of California - when the Olga deal ran out of time. The time was set by the court interests.
So in the end CEMCO got the transmitters back and the ship was awarded to Pierce Langford III of Wichita Falls, who was one of the money men behind Danaher. Both Langford senior and junior were closely tied to the political fortunes of Senator John Tower (a very power government insider.) In his early days Tower visited the SRE offices on Curzon Street in London and when we made the only recorded interview with Don about all of this John England asked Don about the John Tower incident and this caused Don to demand that the recording be shut off while the two went "off the record". Don was furious about being asked that question on tape. It was the only question that made him extremely upset and John knew that to ask Don again was to risk severing a friendship, and so John agreed to Don's terms and did not ask again. The political links that Don maintained included Tower via Langford and this is one of the reasons that Don was able to accomplish a number of things that others could not. (Tower was not his only contact.) Since Don's demise, John used Don's own reasoning in that same interview in answer to a question about Prince Charles and WRL, and has resumed his investigation into this matter once again.
Now then, back to the Olga. It would appear that Langford got the ship minus the transmitters as a result of the court suit settlement. Lloyds had listed
both the Olga Princess and the Olga Patricia (sister ships which previously had the same owner - before Don's SRE/BR project.) But in the 1970s Lloyds caused one ship to vanish from its Registry and they created a bogus record which reflected a merger of two ships' histories. According to Lloyds the Olga Patricia had ended up with a company tied to former President George Bush (former CIA chief and the father of the current president.) We spoke to the owners of that company and even to the harbour master of the fleet owned by the company. This is the same company that a few years ago announced in a series of big splashy news stories, its plan to launch a company called 'ZAP' that would eventually rival Yahoo. The company proceeded in that direction before suddenly pulling the plug for no obvious reason.
The harbour master confirmed that he thought that the ship they owned had been used as a radio station, but since it was now a fishing ship and all equipment had been removed, he could offer no more information. Why there is a mystery is because it appears that the ship they have is the Olga Princess, yet Lloyds connected that vessel to the Laissez Faire (Olga Patricia), and yes, there were originally 2 ships. Don confirmed this and we may have a photo of the sister vessel that was taken by Don.
Finally, Don did tell us (on that same recorded interview) that he thought that the Olga Patricia had been used by the CIA for clandestine work off Cuba. He had no further details. If a group wanted to launder the Olga Patricia and make it vanish, then getting the record of the two vessels blurred into one makes sense. So does the connection to the Bush company interests and so does the first link in this chain (which has been confirmed by court and press records, that the stripped down Olga Patricia was turned over to Pierce Langford III in land-locked Wichita Falls, Texas - where water sufficient to float a ship like the Olga Patricia is hundreds of miles away. Since Langford was fused politically with Tower who later became very influential with regards to the official US ‘spook’ business ('intelligence' aka CIA, etc.), then it would seem that if Rick Randall wants to find out what happened to the Olga Patricia, he might start looking for a laundered and decommissioned vessel that had operated in waters almost outside of his back door in Florida.
Since we are trying to get answers to information which would seem to be ’Classified’ as a national security matter, my guess is that we will never know the answers unless someone who has first hand knowledge and a desire to spill the beans, steps forward to tell us all and show us the proof. But since we know that the vessel given to Langford did not have transmitting equipment on board, it is not at all certain that it ever again became a broadcasting ship. Remember in the days of Ollie North and Iran Contra when North's group created their ‘off the shelf’ non-government entity, they also bought a vessel (from Denmark, I believe), which they intended to use for either shipping arms secretly or for clandestine broadcasting. North's affair blew up in a great storm of publicity and political turmoil. So whether Langford's Olga would have been used for an earlier and similar venture, we do not know (at present.) Paul, John, Genie.’
Thanks to you all: Yes I thought an answer like this would come from one of yours. I had already a part of this info in the report some years ago but couldn't find it back as only the issues since 2004 April have been stored (and that are already hundreds of pages) I will mention it in one of the two forthcoming issues. thanks for the work and keep enjoying the report Hans.
From Down Yonder the next e mail: ‘I don’t mean to take up so much of your time, but matters keep arising! Regarding the name of Radio Caroline, I can’t resist being a tease. I have a tape on which a close confident of Ronan O’Rahilly gives a quite different version of why Caroline got its name. It is one of the tapes I hope to get on line and I won’t say more until I hear it again and know I can transfer it. I hope it’s still playable! However, regardless of that, it can be said that Ronan was a great admirer of JFK and a connection with America was important to him. I'm so pleased Rick Randall is in touch with you - good to hear of him. My American friends on the Olga Patricia were a bright, energetic bunch set on changing the world - I did enjoy being amongst them. ‘ Colin Nichol.
Thanks Colin, no problem 150 e mails a day come in so I know how to select the interesting ones. I think the best is to share as much as possible the memories of those who were there in the good old days. Hope you find the tapes and we can all learn what has been told. Take care, greetings, Hans
Another one from Australia comes from Ian McCrae: ‘I’d be fascinated to hear some more about Kitty Black. I never got to meet the woman although our paths crossed by a matter of a few feet on board the Radio City forts. Unfortunately I was asleep at the time that she and her charming comrades came on board in the early hours of the morning and kept us hostage for a week. By the time I woke up and went to see what all the disturbance was, the infamous Ms. Black had gone, leaving the heavies behind to take care of business. All I remember is some of the radio staff mentioning in hushed tones: “Kitty Black was with them.” Up to that point I’d never heard of her. I’ve often wondered what she looked like. I always imagined a sort of Emma Peel “Avengers” look. Are there any photos out there? Regards, Ian MacRae, Sydney, Australia’.
Well Ian in the meantime I sent you an article with a photo of Kitty republished last year. One of my radio friends in England tried to phone her recently, got her on the phones and it must be told her condition is now very bad. A pity for we wanted to know some more about certain things happened in the sixties.
And after Ian had read the article he once came back with: ‘Thanks for the story Hans. It was interesting to see a photo of Kitty Black at long last. There’s one factor that never comes up in these stories about the boarding party. The disputed transmitter never worked properly. No matter how hard the techos worked on it, it would never stay on the air more than a few hours. Reason being... when it was being delivered there was some problem, the cable broke or gave way or something and it actually was underwater for some time. So basically it was worthless. And by the way she was wrong about being no firearms. I believe one of the boarders had a gun.’
From Australia to New Zealand and the next e mail: ‘Hi! Well rather interesting about the Globetrotter Brother Bones in a Radio Hauraki recording, That recording I have in my Hauraki archives but unsure which DJ's show it is on. I think it was on a Barry Knight show it was played. I was going to follow this up years ago but I think it is off a record. You will agree when you have a few hours of Radio you can't always recall what material is on which recording except it's filed under a certain offshore station. Will end here, so till I hear from you. Regards, David Miller.’
Well David after I heard from Barry Knight passing away I searched my archive and found a recording from him, so you’re right it’s on one of his shows which have been left for the radio lovers, including the two of us.
As told many times I’m working hard to come to a new publication. A book called ‘Memories to the Voice of Peace’ which will be released early November by the Foundation for Media Communication in Amsterdam. An introduction chapter can already be seen from February 28th at: http://www.hansknot.com/abenathan.htm
I hope it’s for all the former VOP deejays and crewmembers, who are reading the Knot International Radio Report, to sent in their memories, photos and so on. This is possible till the end of May. Hknot@home.nl
Then to John in Kent: ‘Hans, as always thank you so much for including me on your amazing reports. At the mature age of 57, I recall so many of the names, indeed, almost all. I saw Tom Edwards message and that he was happy you gave his E Mail address out. I would really like to contact him. Radio City was my no.1 station and recall vividly the good times and the bad ones, including the raid, the Court ruling and the closedown with Tom Edwards hosting the final programme.
If you are happy to send me his E Mail address that would be good or you may wish to send him mine, feel free. Every good wish John Allen. Beckenham, Kent.’
In the meantime after giving him Tom’s address he came back within minutes with: ‘Great! Thank you so much as after 39 years I can at last say thanks to him for his role on The Tower of Power on the Shivering Sands.’
Graham Dyer next about sports on Offshore Radio: ‘Dear Hans, I have not e-mailed you before but I always read your reports with great interest. I was a listener to Caroline South from August 1967 - after Marine Offences Act - and recall the DJs playing a horse race recording which was won by a horse called Johnny Walker ! The DJ himself, plus at least one other (Robbie Dale?) could be heard getting very excited as they heard or watched the race on board the Mi Amigo, live (on the BBC?). Even though I don't approve of betting on races, it was great fun! P.S. How about a mention for RadioAtlantis.co.uk - though not the watery one, but originally a sixties land-based pirate of the same name, prosecuted in 1968. There is 24hr continuous 60s music and live shows on most weekday afternoons. Graham Dyer, Stourbridge, West Midlands, UK.
Which offshore radiostation had its own sponsored speedboat? Further on in the report you’ll have the answer!
Next country is Ireland and Steve Conway. ‘Hello Hans, many thanks for your as always excellent radio report. Well, my turn to answer one of the questions, or clear up a mystery from my era on board the Ross Revenge. There was a mention a couple of reports back of unusual programming from other stations being broadcast on offshore radio, and a particular incident on Christmas Day 1988 when a section of the BBC Radio 1 Top 40 countdown inexplicably turned up on Radio Caroline's 558Khz output. Very much unexpected, and unintended by us on board, this is what happened: Throughout the Caroline 558 era, the vast majority (99% +) of programmes were presented live on board, with prerecorded output being used very rarely, and usually only for particular operational or technical circumstances. For Christmas 1988, with Caroline newly back to daytime operation following the summer of Dutch broadcasting on 558, we were trying our best to make the output a little special, with a number of little touches including a special set of humorous Lotto 6/49 ads (which incidentally got dropped pretty quickly as Ronan didn't approve) and also a couple of pre-recorded programmes by departed crew-members.
One was a two-hour special by Judy Murphy, which went ahead without incident at midday on New Year's Eve (and indeed turned out to be her last show for us, as by the time it was broadcast she was on her way to Luxembourg). The other was a two-hour show from Tim Allen, which was to go out late in the evening on Christmas Day. Tim had been with us through some difficult times the year before, encountering both the 1987 hurricane and the November mast collapse during his stint on board. He was a truly lovely guy, very easy to get along with, and a great broadcaster to boot. Tim recorded the special for us, the aim of which was both to provide some nice programming from an old friend of Caroline for Christmas Evening, and also to provide a two-hour period for us when the entire crew would be off-air and able to relax together to celebrate Christmas. The show was recorded and sent out in October, and stored safely in the programming cupboard. Not safely enough however . . . as during a brief period when I was off the ship in November, someone accidentally used it for recording the UK chart show (which was one of our sources of new music if we hadn't had copies on vinyl). As luck would have it, the re-recording started a few minutes into the tape, so all sounded normal when it was queued up for broadcast.
Tim's programme started, the chart show or segments of it suddenly came on, and we were all in the mess-room unaware! If memory serves me correctly, it was Dave Asher who discovered it, when he went into the galley to make a cup of tea and heard the content coming over the speaker! Which reminds me, Dave was himself the star of another bit of unintended broadcasting that December, though as it happened very late at night on 819 long after viewpoint had closed, I doubt that anyone had heard it. Dave was using the Dutch studio to voice a commercial for the Caroline Rockshow, but had accidentally left the feed to the transmitter open. He was trying to record the line "Fancy doing something different this Christmas? Why not try the Caroline Rock show", but was having some problems, having to go through it again and again. This output had been noted by an engineer who was in the transmitter room at the time, thinking that it was a funny but harmless goof for which Dave could be teased later. David, growing somewhat frustrated, suddenly came out with a very graphic description of something different you could try this Christmas, at which point the transmitter got switched off pronto! All the best, Steve Conway, Dublin.’
In last issue one of the readers asked himself what happened to a few deejays who had worked on the MV Laissez Faire. One of the names which was included was the one of Tom Collins. I told that Ton has stopped working in radio and has a totally other business these days. After last report appeared out of the blue came an e mail from Tom with just a one-liner: ‘Those where the days’. But two nice photographs were included. Thank you Tom!
Next Robert from Canada: ‘Hi Hans, I really enjoy your monthly radio report. I just wanted to pass some information on to you, so that maybe you can pass it on to Robbie Dale. Last May I took a trip to Cleveland in Ohio to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and there in the British section was a photo of Robbie and a mention of offshore radio. In the photo Robbie is sitting behind a microphone and the captain explains a little about broadcasting from a ship and it gives the station name as Radio Atlantis, I think they meant Radio Caroline. Anyway I just wanted to let Robbie know that he has a photo and a mention in the Hall of Fame. I couldn’t take a picture of the display as it isn’t allowed. All the best to you...Robert Lamond. Canada.’
Robbie Dale (Photo: Archive Hans Knot)
Well Robbie Dale came back to me the same day after I resend the mail from Canada to the Canards and he wrote: Hola Hans, Thank you for the message about the Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Ohio. This is another example of the important roll played by Radio Caroline and other pioneering offshore stations in the history of broadcasting. In those heady days of the 1960s who would have imagined the world wide recognition our contributions enjoy today. Please pass on my regards to Robert Lamond. Greetings Robbie Dale, Admiral OBF & bar (Retired).
Now over to Mike Kerslake in Wales: ‘Hello Hans The mention in the latest report of Sports on Offshore Radio reminds me that the VOP actually broadcast a few football games live from the Peace Ship in 1987. This was done using the cellphone link to a commentator at a football ground in Israel. If I remember correctly we split frequencies and footy went out on AM and normal stuff on FM. I vaguely remember doing the classical programme from the production studio during one of these splits because only the main studio was able to broadcast the cellphone output.
It would be nice to attend the VOP Day later this year, so I will try to arrange
matters to allow this! I recently moved again, thankfully this time just four miles up the road, so no disruption to work, kids schooling etc etc, and as part of my often promised big sort out, I have started MP3-ing my tape collection. It is amusing to listen to old shows from myself and others on the VOP in 1987 & 1988! Best regards, Mike Kerslake ‘
MIKE KERSLAKE (ALSO KNOWN AS COCONUT) Photo OEM
Thanks Mike for this update and anyone who wants to share memories or news can sent it in to HKnot@home.nl
Nicknames again and this time Don ‘Sheikin’ Stevens (Caroline as well as the Voice of Peace) and late eighties Caroline Mike ‘Warwick Crock’ Dundee.
Coming back on the subject speedboat I can tell you that it was Laser 558. Listening back to an old tape of Tony ‘What a guy’ Rivers from late August 1985 he announced that the same day the Laser Speedboat with the name Telstar would do a race at the Torbay International Races at Brixton. The Telstar was sponsored by Chevrolet as well as Laser 558.
RTI and the VOA have teamed up for the launch to Europe of the VOA’s Border Crossing on RTI, Radio Tatras International. Border Crossings is in its 10th year as the Voice of Americas premier music request live call in program. Hosted by Larry London, Border Crossings airs Monday through Friday for an hour starting at 7.00pm CET (18.00 UK) on RTI. Eric Wiltsher, RTI, commented: “We are very proud to welcome Larry to the truly international line up on RTI. Border Crossing is a highly respected program, in the music industry, which is clear to see from the eclectic list of guests Larry has spoken to. Larry is the first of our new international shows on RTI in 2006 and what a way to start the new line-up”. Larry has recently welcomed, on the show, some of today's most popular hit makers, artists like Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani, Rod Stewart, Rob Thomas, Hilary Duff, Barry Manilow, Pussycat Dolls, Black Eyed Peas and many more. There will be a Bon Jovi Border Crossing special on RTI soon. Please join Larry London via RTI for an hour of requests and dedications. Listeners can call in to 202-619-2077 or send an email to Larry at BorderCrossings@voa.gov and then listen for there song. Coverage 92,4 and 94,8 Mhz in Slovakia – 1350 AM to western and northern Europe and the Whole world www.rti.fm
Thursday Febr 16th brought is the next one: ‘Hans, former Caroline DJ Keith Hampshire contacted me as a result of your last newsletter. Seems he is spending the winter here in Florida just a couple of miles from where I live. We will be getting together sometime soon in the next week or so to compare pirate stories. Finally, I am making plans for a short visit in or around Amsterdam shortly after our trip to England in May, this year. If possible, it would be a real treat to meet with you during my travels. I'll let you know more about these plans when it gets closer to the time we get into Europe. I'll keep in touch. Rick Randall.’
'Thanks Rick, yeh, Keefers read the report like so many other of the guys and mentioned that he was in Florida and if he could get your e mail and so like many times before people do see or meet each other again by the Knot International Radio Report and are happy to do so. The world is changeable. I as a listener was always very happy while tuning into the stations during the sixties. Did a lot of recording and started writing about radio and other things in 1969 and went on till this day. Just to write to the deejays too in the sixties. Now 40 years later they write to me to say they have fun! Have fun too in England and have a good trip to Amsterdam and surely we will meet up somewhere. Give Keith and his wife my regards too and please let someone make a photo of this very small reunion over there in Florida!’
Wednesday, February 15th some 100 people visited the farewell party organised in Antwerp for the former Radio Mi Amigo owner Sylvain Tack who died early this month. Next to some of the people behind the web station Radio Mi Amigo 192, the were a lot of other people on the MV Diamond Princess, where the farewell party was held. Including Nobert, Bert Bennet, Will van der Steen (former Mi Amigo deejays) Luc de Groot (Radio Actief) Jordi Comas, director Chamber of Commerce Provence de Gerona (Tack did a lot of promotion for the holiday industry in Playa de Aro on his station), Willy Coppens, the guy who took thousands of Mi Amigo fans with his touring operating cars to Gerona in the seventies.
Goodbye Sylvain (Photo Peter Vrakking)
Next there was former Mi Amigo deejay Ton Schipper, who made a speech and included the fact that last year, when 75 years of radio in Belgium was celebrated, again with no word ‘Mi Amigo’ was mentioned. It was Radio Mi Amigo which broke the Governmental Monopoly and that brought the new wave of so called 'Vrije Radio’s' into Belgium. Some of the many other people to mention are Rudy van Accoleyen (brother from Patrick Valain), Maurice Bokkenbroek (long time technician for the station) and Danny Vuylsteke (one of the people organizing the tendering as well as the drive in shows in Belgium in the seventies).
News from Israel and Mike Brand: ‘Within three weeks, so early March, the Israeli Communications Ministry, along with the Second Channel TV and Radio Authority, will issue a tender for a ‘local’ radio station due to cover the whole of Judea and Samaria (The West Bank). Along with this decision, it was mentioned that the winning station would have only one frequency, but a series of relay transmitters would be set up, so the signal would be received in all areas of the West Bank. This is the first time that the Second Channel TV and Radio Authority has issued a tender for a radio station across the ‘Green Line’, It is not known yet if Arutz(Channel) 7 will or can take part in the tender. The Offshore station Arutz 7 closed down in October of 2003 after they were declared illegal by an Israeli court, and to cover the heavy fines issued to their operators, staff and court costs, it was decided to sell their ship, the MV Hatzvi, to a breakers yard, and continue just through the Internet.’
Next we go to France: ‘Dear Hans, I would like to thank you for your radio reports which I find very interesting. I have been living in southern France since 1981 but I am from Cambridge, England. From the middle sixties on, I listened to Caroline and about 30 years ago went out to visit the ship on the SS Waverley. On the Waverley I met Peter Chicago and we talked and talked! He was very interesting to talk with and obviously knew a huge amount about radio broadcasting but he was very modest about it. I was just starting my career in electronics and being a radio amateur, all this talk about transmitters, impedance matching and antennas etc. It was great. I have never forgotten our conversation and over the years have often thought that it would be nice to speak to him again. I did listen to Caroline in a flat in the Nice area in the early eighties on a frame antenna and an a.f rejector (to eliminate a nasty heterodyne) that I made specially for the job, that was quite good DX’ing I think! Peter told me that he had held an amateur licence and I was wondering if he was on the air again now that he is on shore leave!! Please let me know if he can be contacted somewhere or if not tell me what he is doing now. Thanks Hans and keep up the good work, Roy Durrant.’
Well thanks Roy for your mail and I’ve forwarded it to Peter Chicago. He’s a reader of the Knot International Radio Report too and I hope he comes back to you. Indeed a very nice chap and always interesting to talk with. I made a very long interview with him about his career which can be get on CD by ordering it at www.pirateradiosales.co.uk/acatalog/docucd.html
It seems a long period to go but before we know the annual Radio Day organised by the Foundation for Media Communication (SMC), Martin van der Ven and yours truly is happening again. The main subject for this years radio day will be the Voice of Peace reunion. Of course other people from radio’s history and present scene will be invited. Names to be mentioned at a later date. In the past it was possible for the people from Holland to become member of SMC by sending in a donation, whereby they get a free entrance ticket for the venue. From this year we will also start taking donations from people abroad. When you sent in 5 Pounds to SMC PO Box 53121 1007 RC in Amsterdam you’re not only getting the free ticket but also twice a year information sheets about what’s available in the SMC shop. The Radio Day will be held in Amsterdam on November 4th.
Well that rounds up the longest report we ever head in the history of the Knot International Radio Report. Almost 20 pages long. More in a few weeks time and till then let the news, memories and all other interesting things coming in at the usual address: Hknot@home.nl
Offshore Deejays' Nicknames
Female Offshore Radio Deejays
Read Hans Knot's former report