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


Welcome to another edition of the Knot International Radio Report. Thanks for all the e-mails and memories. The first memories I want to share are the words Jay Jackson used only once to introduce a special Christmas program, way back in 1984 on Radio Caroline. With in mind that when Caroline went International in August 1967 and claimed to have offices in Amsterdam, New York and Toronto he opened with: ‘Live from the North Sea on 963 kHz and 577 kHz this is Radio Caroline with offices in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Iceland, Ghozo, Alice Springs, Borneo, El Salvador, Republic of the Philippines, Mozambique, Cuba, Nigeria, Egypt, Bulgaria, Peru, Costa Rica, it’s now 10 o’clock. Radio Caroline International proudly present Mr. David Wistanding Swain Richards and Mr.Wine Davenport Purdy with the Marconi Experimental Wireless Programme." JJ was always in for some fun!

Then Derek from Basinstoke who wrote: ‘Hans, Another excellent Radio Report. I note in the 'Amsterdam Flat' photo, Alan Clark. He was my favourite deejay on Radio City - I have fond memories of the 5X4 Show and the Auntie Mabel Hour -much better than Kenny and Cash, but I wasn't a Radio London person. I met up with Alan at the Meridian Studios, when he was on Meridian Television, in the early 90s. I believe he had a relationship with a UK MP when he became a Westminster Reporter, later in the 90s. What of him now? It would be great if he shared some of his memories with us. Thanks for keeping the spirit of offshore radio alive. Regards, Derek May 

Well Derek Alan Clark worked after his Offshore Days as a journalist for Radio Netherlands, Independent Radio News, TVS and Meridian Television. He is married to Helen Clark, the former MP for Peterborough, who lost her seat in the May 2005 general election. I don’t know where his present being is. So anyone who knows more, please share it with us by sending your info to HKnot@home.nl

Then it was Ron Davis who had an e-mail in last issue about all the hard work which is done by a team of volunteers on the Ross Revenge. He added that there are a few other radio ships including one somewhere in Holland. It was the Norderney, the former radio ship of Radio Veronica. However he was wrong. I thought to keep it there and see who was the first to reflect on the mistake. Well within 15 minutes after sending away the reports it was Nico from Gouda in Holland who wrote in to tell it was wrong. Of course it must be Antwerp, where the ship is still at the Kempisch Dok. 

In earlier editions we already mentioned deejays phrases and Peter Agate sent the next e-mail: ‘Hi Hans, further to my earlier e-mail regarding DJ sayings I found the excerpt from an old Radio London tape, which I must have taken from someone’s reel-to-reel copy as it was on a very old cassette. Not what I thought he said, but typical Chuck anyway. This is from one of the last Chuck Blair breakfast programmes and the piece I have starts with a Warner Brothers type jingle from the ‘Looney Tunes’ cartoons and goes: ‘Ba-deer, ba-deer, ba-deer, ba-deer, ba-deer, ba-deer, that’s all folks’ and with a Daffy Duck voice says ‘oh dear what’s happened to the show? Chuck comes in (with the Charleston playing in the background) ‘That about does it for the happy go lucky cheery breakfast show this morning, Chuck Blair your host, have a good day, it’s Saturday, go and enjoy yourself, wheelers and dealers, movers and groovers, honey bunnies, bonnets and bunnies and phooey tooey and you too. Oh my goodness gracious me what has done happened to the programme?’. Chucks rich tones sound really good on what was nearly the end of such a great station. Regards, Peter’.

A very long internet address but going there is a must. One of the former Radio Delmare people, Jan Kat, has there a large collection of photographs which have mainly never been published before. An absolute hit! http://www.mediapages.nl/index.php?module=photoshare&func=showimages&fid=127

For those who can read the Dutch language it’s also nice to go to Jan Kat’s personal web log where he writes his own memories about Radio Delmare: http://delmare.web-log.nl

Believe it or not, this is probably the smallest tender in the history of offshore radio. One of the Delmare ones.

Photo: Leen Vingerling Archive

Alive and kicking that’s what I can tell you about the Emperor Rosko. Rumours were going round, probably started somewhere in Ireland, that the multi lingual deejay, who surprised us first on Radio Caroline in the sixties and was given away by Ronan O’Rahilly to do his gigs on the French service of Radio Luxembourg, had died suddenly of an heart attack, which isn’t true. His personal comment was: ‘I will rave from the grave! EMP p.s. I have programs awaiting approval XM and Sirius satellite radio USA , I have a lengthy interview on BBC TV this summer (History of Entertainment ) and another on Radio Two with History of Reggae., IOM looms on the horizon and we are speaking to several other stations to resume a weekly show to the UK, Rosko I promise is, alive and well! The ROSKO Story on DVD is almost finished and Pirate DJ _/*the movie */_ now in script form is at the Cannes festival for fund raising, I try and stay busy when the live gigs get slow! My Agent in the UK Tim Jibson at _Adventures in Radio_ will always take a call, Rosko!’

Well Of course we hope that our main man will have many more years to go in very good health. And of course Rosko, keep enjoying the report too!

Mike Barraclough was listening to Keith Skues on Monday May 8th and heard the next news: ‘Keith Skues has just announced on Pirate Radio Skues that Anglia TV has a programme at 7.30 p.m. today Anglia 66 including footage of Radio Caroline, its beaching and interviews with some DJs, Radio Times says: ‘Stephen Fry rifles through the archives to revive memories of what some East Anglians were doing when England last won the World Cup back in 1966. He recalls the arrival of the mini-skirt, a singing postman and the launch of a pirate radio station.’ 

Well Martin van der Ven succeeded in watching the programme in Germany, recording it and within an hour or so the segment about the pirates could be seen at the Knot International Radio Report Headquarters. Many well known shots but the one of a few seconds showing The Oceaan 7, the then new Radio 270 vessel, was a surprise for me. 

Like Graham Gill it’s former RNI, Caroline and VOP technician and deejay Bob Noakes who is living in Amsterdam since the seventies. Bob and I meet at least once a year and have our regular phone calls. In the last call, about two weeks ago, he told me that it was his former colleague Robin Banks, who told him that there was a ghost called Joshua at one of the forts. So I wrote Robin if he could tell me some more and he came back to me with this following answer: ‘Hi Hans, Greetings! Glad to know you are well. The newsletter is always welcome! Yes, ghost stories are always fun and the British sea forts have an abundance of these. Last year when the BBC TV were out at Redsands, John Ross Barnard and I were recalling several accounts at this fort. You can never be sure that they are factual, indeed in most cases they have become exaggerated over the years. My experience at Redsands was shared by at least two others. The upper floor of the Bofors Tower was used for sleeping accommodation for Seatribe in 1968-69. On many nights you could hear the sound of army boots clunking around the gun deck above. Of course the roof was kept clear of moving objects in order to be sure that it was a "ghost"! The Knock John tower has Joshua on board. There are many tales about this poor fellow who apparently died as a result of an accident in the machine room during WW2. The Radio Essex crew had similar experiences to our people who at the time represented Ronan of Caroline. This was the phase following the demise of the two ships in 1968.

I will try to assemble a record of my experiences for you, this could be a while since I’m over busy at the moment. Yes, the Redsands project is going well, slow but sure. the main thing is that we've prevented its demolition and the government are very supportive of the retention/restoration proposals. More later, best wishes, Robin Banks.

Then it’s music time and a question from Heinz Wüppen: ‘Greetings from a 60s-oldies-fan from Germany! Dear Hans Knot, since years I'm trying to get in contact to the members of the 67 pop-duo ‘Warm Sounds’: Denver (Denny) Gerrard and Barry (Young) Husband. In 1967 they had a small hit with ‘Birds and Bees’, and even on Hilversum 3 I could hear this song sometimes in 1973 (maybe played by Felix Meurders). Maybe you do have an idea - please let me know, if there is a forum or a chat for people looking for connections to oldie-fans. It would be a pleasure to hear from you, doesn’t matter if in English, Dutch or German. Thank you very much. Heinz Wüppen’

Well Heinz when you ‘google’ on internet you can find a lot on both two guys. But maybe there’s a reader who knows more on this subject and has fond memories to this song as well as the other single ‘Doesn’t matter’. Surely any answer can send in to Hknot@home.nl

Next time for Paul Billingham: ‘Hi Hans, Nearly two years ago you were kind enough to feature a request for help for an idea I had to re launch Radio Sutch - Britain’s first fort based offshore pirate station. Unfortunately due to personal problems beyond my control I am no longer able to continue with this project. When the project to re-launch Radio Sutch was first envisaged I could have put the station on air and initially paid the costs from my own pocket until advertising was found. Circumstances have dictatated that this is no longer possible, and I am in fact now working two jobs to pay the bills!

Everything is in place to undertake an RSL from the Redsands forts. Access is now available on to the forts (and a damn site safer than the 1960's), The guys behind the transmitter and studio gear are still in a position to set up a station. If someone would like to come forward to take over the RSL and can give the time and financial input then there is no reason why an RSL can not be done from the Redsands Forts. Anyone who is interested in taking on the project can contact me on captainspam1967@aol.com or phone Ipswich 01473 411992.Thanks Hans I will eagerly await the next Radio Report.

Well anyone interested just e mail Paul Billingham.

We did not mention everybody who reappeared from nowhere and who want to attend the VOP Reunion early November in Amsterdam. Here’s another guy who worked there: ‘Hans I hope all is well with you. I'm currently PC at Emap's Wave 105 on the South Coast. I've heard from Chris Pearson and Steve Silby and we're booking to come to Amsterdam later in the year. I had a great time at the VOP and still keep in touch with many people like Chris, Steve and Rob Charles and can't wait to see other old shipmates later in the year.-as well as catching up with people whose names I know, but I've not met up with yet. I'm sure there's lots of great stories to be told - and many beers to be consumed! Hope all's great in Holland-look forward to seeing you later in the year. Best, Dave Shearer

Listening back to old tapes bringing back a lot of memories and mostly I try to share the recordings or memories with some close friends. Earlier this week I heard some old Radio 270 stuff and it was always strange that after midnight they had – at on stage – a very laid back program. I liked it, others put off the radio or switched to another station cause the dislike of the format. David Sinclair got a nick name there, we didn’t mention before: David ‘the deejay with the sexy voice’ Sinclair.

Last issue of the report we also had the subject ‘Loving Awareness LP released 30 years ago.’ One of the things I mentioned was a very positive article in Dutch magazine ‘Muziek Express’, which was written by Leon Keezer, in 1972/1973 deejay with Radio Caroline and nowadays also reader of the Hans Knot International Radio Report. I decided to get back to Leon and ask him if he remembers the article. Here is a part of his long and very interesting answer: ‘
I remember it very well. For many people is may have looked like a very absurd and at the same time mystic happening, but for me it was totally different. I was in those days in the very unique position to lay down all the puzzle pieces, which I had obtained form different angles and mostly could grab from first hand confrontations. I knew that Ronan O’Rahilly, Caroline’s director, was befriended with John Lennon during the second part of the sixties. Those two had very long nightly philosophical talks about the world, peace and other subjects. It happened more than once, so I learned from people around O’Rahilly, that Lennon crashed stony on the sofa of Ronan and stayed the whole night. 

Ronan was a very strong personality in those days had many ideas and a warm radiation, which for many people brought the thought to compare him with Jesus Christ. He had an enormous influence on people. I think that it’s possible that certain ideas we know from John Lennon, factual coming from the brain from Ronan O’Rahilly and which are ‘born’ during the long brainstorming sessions from the two in London.

It was like a spirit of the time, London as the centre of the Popscene and surely Ronan as one of the important people at the scene of those days. The contacts between Ronan and John Lennon are mainly around the period from the Love and Peace time from John and Yoko, including the sleep in at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel. This period must be for Ronan a very impressive one. The influence on the pop culture as well the world seemed like a revolution. And Ronan felt he was strongly involved. It were the High Days and everything seemed possible. But at a moment, March 1968, very abrupt and end came to the first area in Caroline’s History and not much later The Beatles decided to go their own way. So a dream broke down completely. 

The period afterwards were a deep black hole. He never could accept that it was all temporary and Ronan really thought it was possible to get those days back. Next his new dream became a mission with starting up the New Radio Caroline in the seventies. The whole Loving Awareness story is nothing more that Ronan’s endeavor to relieve the days of Love and Peace and the friendship he had with the Beatles and everything else connected to that. He never accepted it that those things were temporary. He was part from something what was for a short period ‘bigger than life’ and wanted it back. The Beatles and Caroline together in a kind of ‘Flower Power Revolution Part 2’

Next to the enormous success for Radio Caroline in the sixties Ronan smelted the magic of the Beatles and the power of the pop songs and the influence those could give. He has tried to convince the Fab Four to get together again. They had almost a political power to make a better world through the message of Love and Peace in their songs, like in ‘All you need is love’. At the same time Ronan would relaunch Radio Caroline. 

In the meantime John Lennon was too far under influence of Yoko One. At the end Ronan succeeded to win George Harrison for his ideas. George was asked to write songs which sounded like the Beatles for a new group, which would start where the Beatles stopped their career together. The most important songs from the Loving Awareness LP (I think it were five) were written bu Harrison. About the role for Ringo Starr I can’t remember not too much. Above that Harrison has played an important role as backer and co owner for the New Radio Caroline in the seventies. I remember very well that at one stage we had to work on the Mi Amigo very hard to get everything together for the big Action. Suddenly there was money again and the most unknown persons (to us) came on the ship for repairing things and install all kind of new equipment. Also George Harrison came on the ship one day, together with Ronan O’Rahilly, to have a look as a backer how everything was worked out on the ship.

We must not forget that in those earlier days Caroline as well as the Beatles were big hits. A song written by the Beatles stood for a world hit as well as eternal glory. Knowing this it was very easy for Ronan to recruit a small team of people who gave – mostly as a volunteer – all their best power to give the project a face. The promises Ronan brought seemed to be very good. One example from Ronan’s enormous power to influence people was how he talked two of the most important Dutch people from the well known and very successful record company K-Tell out of their job to give everything for this LA project, probably without being paid a penny.

I had the opportunity to interview George Harrison some years afterward and used it too to ask him some questions abut the LA album. The response was funny. He didn’t want to confirm it but was very surprised and interested how I did gain all those knowledge and surely wanted to know how much details I knew. He also didn’t deny a thing and told me he thought that the LA thing was a very good initiative whereby he smiled very meaning.

Leon Keezer (Photo Martin van der Ven)

I visited the musicians from the ‘New Beatles’ a few weeks after the release of the Album in London. We had that afternoon a long discussion about several things. They especially preferred to talk about Loving Awareness while I was more interested to talk about O’Rahilly and Harrison. The result could be found back in the article in ‘Muziek Express’. On several tracks on the Album the influence of Harrison is hearable: in the way of composing the songs as well as his way of guitar playing. 

The illegality of Radio Caroline as well as the juridical problems concerning the members of the Beatles made it that all was surrounded with a haze of mystery. Therefore just a few knew the real story and the most wildest rumours got into the world. At the end the project became a big fiasco for all involved. They had not counted on the fact that times had defiantly changed and that for a success really the real Beatles were needed and also the role for Caroline was over then. After the LP version became no success at all the four musicians from the LA group became known as members from ‘The Blockheads’ the group for singer Ian Dury. In that way I did met them once again when there was a recording session for AVRO’s Top Pop, a television program in the Netherlands. They did not wanted to be remembered to the LA project and saw it as a youth sin.

Thanks a lot Leon for this very interesting answer. Who has more memories on the LA LP project. Please sent your email to Hknot@home.nl

In our last issue we mentioned to give a listen to: http://pirateradionetwork.com and I mentioned that they still had a few problems with the microphone. Paul, one of the guys behind this internet station has now more news: ‘Hi Hans. Got the microphone sorted out .I forgot to listen into the low stream which is only about 23kbs. This is not the main stream .The main stream is 128 KBS will be used to run the FM tx in Spain. I’m sending down a stereo fm tx which is 100 watt next week. So we should be on the air in Benidorm Spain in a couple of weeks time on 106 FM. Which we can then programme anywhere in the world using the net. Also hope to run the SW tx the same way just testing the links at the moment

Cheers, Paul p.s. I thought you would like the jingle.’ 

One of the regular readers sending in memories is Don Stevens. If I would publish all he kindly sent in I could fill a few reports. Now and then I will recall his memories this time going with him to Ireland where he was one of the driving persons behind a station: WLS Music Radio International

On the extreme Western edge of the Eurasian landmass a small but innovative radio station brought a new sound to a sleepy provincial city and by doing so changed the city and the region. Not only that, but this station had an international reach and influence far greater than most and introduced many international elements to Galway. How many Voice of Peace disc jockeys in the main 'on air' studio of the Peace Ship looked at the 'WLS 846' stickers around the Peace Ship in the 1980's and made the connection between the West of Ireland and the West of Asia, not many, but the ties between these radio stations were very strong.

The beginnings of this station go back to June 1984 when Keith York and Don Stevens left their senior positions at South Coast Radio in Cork and made a visit to Galway city so that Keith could honour a service contract at a local radio station. They found a station in need of professional help and after much debate they were persuaded by the stations owner to become shareholders and stay and build the business. Thus was Atlantic Sound created which rapidly became the number one station in the region after Keith had undertaken major works on the AM transmitter, increasing its footprint from 12 square miles to most of western Ireland, and improving the FM mono transmitter from a neighborhood range to city wide coverage. Don introduced a new format and presentation tools and a number of South Coast Radio staff were brought north from Cork. After a brief trip to honour an agreement to assist Radio Nova in Dublin, with Don sitting in on the breakfast show for three weeks in July 1984 and Keith sorting out broadcast problems, they returned to Galway and built the station.

In January 1985, Keith and Don lost their shares in Atlantic Sound after it became clear that ownership of the station was in dispute, and found themselves free to pursue a new direction. They decided to build a new and better station for Galway and set about pulling in the resources and equipment to build this service under the working title of 'The West’s Local Station' and to aim for a stereo radio station. On an equipment purchasing tour of Europe, Keith and Don located the former studio kit of BBC Radio 1 at a warehouse in Leeds, the same studio equipment used to launch Radio 1 in September 1967. The BBC had recently replaced this studio kit with new technology so the original equipment was destined for a collector in Japan. Finally, Keith and Don managed to secure most of the kit including the Gates Broadcast turntables with mercury switches and slip lever complete with the Gray Research arms still fitted with Shure cartridges. It was a good omen, a new station using standard offshore radio equipment, and it was from Radio 1 the great offshore radio copyist, things were looking good.

February 1985 and the station went on air with test transmissions of non stop music 24 hours a day, no indents or announcements, and all the time Keith was working hard to get the FM Stereo to work at optimum efficiency, after he had finished the station could be heard all around the Bay area and way inland. An urgent call from Abe Nathan required Keith and Don to set off to Israel to assist The Voice of Peace in April 1985 just as the test transmissions were evolving into programmes, with four live announcements per hour and a couple of non ident jingles. The name of station was a huge problem and so, it was decided, to announce the station as WLS Music Radio for top of the hour legal ident. Don contacted WLS Chicago and explained the name and was rewarded by three 1960's PAMS jingles donated for air use and an understanding that WLS Galway could use other cuts from the WLS Music Radio packages of the 1970's. These were redundant as WLS was a news and talk radio station so would never use them again, this kindness gave the station a sound that was totally professional and very slick. Keith and Don went to Israel and using broadcast elements and tools revamped the Peace Ship sound and power and forged a link between the two stations that was beneficial to both despite the huge distances. 

Upon return to Galway it was soon clear that WLS was the major force in the region, the staff had worked very hard at implementing the format, with Atlantic sound and RTE very much on the back foot. Atlantic Sound was losing advertisers too and were trying all sorts of desperate measures to hold market share, but to no avail. RTE, however, went to the High Court with an injunction for WLS to cease transmissions and pay damages to them for interference, a charge that was totally fabricated. Keith and Don ignored the injunction and carried on broadcasting whilst looking for a new broadcast facility as the injunction referred to Kiltartan House, to carry on WLS would have to move, and it did within 24 hours to Prospect Hill. Don changed the legal entity to a USA based operation and so the High Court and RTE lost the battle before it was fought.

Don Stevens at WLS (photo archive Don Stevens)

In the new location a revamp in the image took place, the logo was changed and the station name became WLS Music Radio International, but still announced as WLS Music Radio, the international term referred to a planned short wave service and the format of the station which consisted of French, German and Dutch hit records as part of the normal playlist. This was very popular and consolidated the audience throughout the region and gave Galway a very international flavour, this also helped local tourism. By 1986, the number of visitors from the Netherlands and France was at an all time high according to the tourist office at the town hall.

The legal changes involved the renaming of WLS Air Marketing to Goldstar Air Marketing Services reflecting the Israeli bond that the station had. Voice of Peace broadcasters began to join the station for short tours of duty, and Jeremy James of 1540 became a full time presenter with his own daily show, very popular. Noam the Israeli senior engineer from The Voice of Peace relocated to Galway and worked with Keith and Don at the station, he was a great help to WLS when it moved for the third and final time to a modern office building in central Galway with views over the city centre, it was the most modern building in the city. WLS Music Radio had arrived.

The record players at WLS (photo archive Don Stevens)

From the new headquarters WLS Music Radio extended its service, providing Cash Giveaways, the introduction of American Top Forty with Casey Kasem and The Country Countdown with Bob Kingsley. Solid Gold Sunday with Don Stevens was on air for 6 hours with Don keeping the Sunrise Special breakfast show name from the Voice of Peace for the stations Galway listeners. A new country music service was started on FM with help from Noam, called WMAQ Country Music Radio it became a serious competitor to WLS itself, no surprise as WMAQ was non stop music and jingles 24 hours a day. The FM service had a power increase by late 1986 and the AM signal was improved by the erection of a professional mast in a good location to the north west of the city, plus the Airworks package of jingles, as introduced to the Peace Ship were deployed in full on WLS. Advertising revenue was up and the extra commercials forced the addition of two Akai cassette decks in the Main Studio to take the load off the cart machines. So many commercials were arriving that Don used the Sharp PortaStudio with an Electrovoice microphone to make up productions on cassette and put them straight to air. This made sales a very easy proposition, you could sell an ad and have it on the air within the hour.

Into 1987 and the station was still the market leader, the international music format still proving popular, so much so that the station compiled a twenty track cassette compilation of its most popular French, German, Dutch and Israeli hits and sold it to the listeners. A number of the international songs had already been a success in Israel so it made sense to programme these hits as they also proved popular in Spain and Italy. 

That completes this short story of WLS Music Radio, which, in June 1987 changed its name to Coast 103, a name more in keeping with its Galway Bay listenership and it maintained its huge market share right up until the closure of all the Irish commercials.

Thanks a lot Don for those lovely memories. Of course more to come in the future. 

Sweden is our next country to visit with an e mail from Göran Lindemark : ‘Hej Hans and Thank you for sending me your interesting Radio Report! Back in 1982 I travelled together with 2 friends by car to Holland, Luxembourg and Germany. In Hilversum at the Veronica House we met Leo van der Goot. My interview with him about his time onboard the Mebo II can now be download via my website: www.goranlindemark.4w.se We also managed to see Radio Luxembourg. An interview with Bob Stewart can also be found at my website. My interview with Stuart Henry will follow later.'

Best wishes! Göran Lindemark, Stockholm, Sweden. Memories were coming back Göran, thanks a lot!

Hmm some of the people who attended halfway May the official SRE reunion have begged me to come to the Red Lion in London to share the memories. I would love to have done it but as I had other commitments during that weekend I asked a good friend since 1971, Chris Edwards from Offshore Echoes Magazine, to go to Mayfair and make some interviews for further publications. However it was another person who couldn’t attend who sent in from Australia an e-mail, some comments and photos shot by his stepdaughter Brynna McPherson. Station manager Jack Curtiss, who got a lot of deejays a job on the five stations aboard the Olga Patrica, aka Laissez Faire, originates from the USA and is nowadays living in Australia. He wrote to me: ‘I guess you didn't make to the Red Lion Pub either. As promised I participated by phone and a PA system to speak to the assembled horde. It was just coming up 2am here when we connected. Darn shame Graham Gill didn't manage to attend. Perhaps I can get to one of your Radio Days in Holland sometime.... here's the Down Under view as taken by a very understanding family member. 


As I thanked Jack for sending the photos and mentioned I couldn’t make it to London as well mentioning there will be a small follow up in Amsterdam with probably also a former Radio 227 deejay soon he came back with: ‘Please extend my belated birthday greetings to Graham. I cannot imagine him not being invited to the SRE Event as he deserved to be there every bit as much as anyone. Perhaps the problem is that he does not use a computer and just about everything was set up through e-mail. Give Look Boden also a big Hello for me (he was one of my very first hires for Radio Dolfijn) and congratulations on the job he is doing with his internet version of Radio 227.Here is the picture of Rick speaking to me Saturday from the Red Lion (courtesy of Jonathan). Enjoy your mini-reunion.. and I will definitely try to get to one your radio days in the future...and show my wife Amsterdam at the same time. Keep up the superlative work. Jack Curtiss.’

Rick Randell on the phone in the Red Lion at the same moment as Jack Curtis above (photo Pirate Hall of Fame)

Indeed Jack it are e mails like these that still give me the power to go on with my research as well writing work, which I started way back in 1969. I hope to meet you in Holland one day (don’t wait too long). There will be a room free at the Knot House without problems for you and your wife too!

And talking about Radio Days the next one will be on November 4th not only with the Voice of Peace Reunion but also with some other surprises too. 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. www.offshore-radio.de/radioday/

As you can see, on his site, Martin also invited Martin Green, the Dutch day on Radio City. Strange enough I got a lot of old newspaper and magazines cuts lately and just after I asked Martin to get in touch with Martin Groenhorst, I found a photo from him, together with Freek Simon, the late newsreader on Radio Veronica. He interviewed Freek in 1969 when Martin worked for the Dutch Popmagazine Muziek Express.

Freek Simon and Martin Groenhorst

Also in Holland a lot of avid radio listeners to Offshore radio still sharing memories and recordings with each other. One of them is Frank van Heerde, who is specialized in everything related to before August 14th in 1967. When I find something of realy rarity (as he also has a lot) I sent it to him. Lately I found back a recording from my archive way back to 1964 and Radio Sutch. It came in at Frank’s place just at the right moment as he wrote back to me:

Thanks a lot for sharing this Radio Sutch recording. On the station sometimes whole sides of an Album where played without any interruption. Also when Reginald Calvert was on the air he felt free to make some free airtime for the Fortunes, which he managed too. I couldn’t receive Radio Sutch very well, when it changed for name and frequency to Radio City on 266 it was a bit better, although I had a lot of interference from Hilversum II, which was on 298 metres in those days. Strange enough I’m busy preparing a radio program, which will be aired on Radio Midvliet FM in Leidschendam and it will feature Radio Sutch and Radio City. Also I’ve a weekly special about the fifties on www.enschede.fm

This is aired each Saturday from 17.00 CET. 

After my part of the program it’s Gert van der Winden who’s everytime a highlight on the offshore days of the sixties.

After the Olga Patricia or Swinging Radio England reunion in the Red Lion in May Fair London, most of the attendants, including John Ross Barnard, Phil Martin, Roger Day, Larry Dean, Johnny Walker, John Ross Barnard and Sven Martinssen, went home again. Photos of the reunion in London at the Red Lion and surroundings can be found back at the internet site of Mary and Chris Payne: www.radiolondon.co.uk/otherwaves/radioengland/reunion2006index.html

One didn’t go home: Rick Randell, who, together with his girl friend Joy, thought it was a better idea to go to France as well as the Netherlands in the week afterwards. So it became possible to have a short but very nice meeting with them at a local breakfast shop early Friday morning May 19th in Amsterdam. Rick told us that Ron O’Quinn couldn’t attend the reunion due to the fact his doctor had told him it was better not to fly to Europe as his condition is not too well at the moment. Also he told that they tried to find and ask Jerry Smithwick to come over to London. The reunion, organised by Grey Pierson, the son of the late Don Pierson and initiator behind the Olga Patricia Project, had no Smithwick on the list however. Jerry nowadays works for a Member of Congress in Tallahassee and is totally out of radio.

Rick Randell and Graham Gill in Amsterdam (photo Rob Olthof)

The meeting at the breakfast shop was also attended by Graham Gill, one of the former SRE people who wasn’t invited for the London get together. Main reason is that Grey Pierson invited only people who are connected to internet, and at that stage Graham wasn’t. However we did invite him to this breakfast, were also Rob Olthof – co-organizer of the Radio Days as well as the person behind the Foundation for Media Communication, enjoyed are two hours filled with memories. And getting memories back again isn’t such a problem when Graham Gill is available. Just push the button and Graham has some nice memories again.

But also Rick told some memorable stories including a ‘new’ fact we didn’t know till now. Before working for the Don Pierson organisation Rick had minor radio experiences and one day when Don visited a radio station where Rick did a program he was asked by Don to work together with him. The first idea was that Rick would look for some deejays who could do the ‘voice overs’ for the automation centre in the studio’s of two new to start radio stations, Swinging Radio England as well as Britain Radio. So both two studio’s would be equipped as full automated. Rick found the first deejay at a radiostation in Miami Florida, which was Ron O’Quinn. Rick told him about the plan to start two fully automated station and soon it was found out that both of them saw nothing in this idea from Don Pearson. From that point on Ron became responsible in the search for on air talent as well as Rick went to equip the studio’s. 

The wiring of the studio as well as installing the equipment partly was done in the harbour of Miami and partly during a two week trip to Portugal, where in Lisbon work had to be done to the transmitter. On the Olga Patricia Memories, Graham Gill and Rick Randell shared with us during the breakfast, more another time on a special reunion which we will try to organise between the American, English as well as Dutch broadcasters, who have worked for the five stations, which were on air from the Olga Patricia/Laissez Faire between May 1966 and August 1967. We keep you informed!

Yet there were a few other things mentioned we won’t keep for ourselves. 

For instant the fact Rick Randell is totally out of radio and now working behind the screens for an organisation which runs several television stations all of the USA, whereby Rick does the work in Florida. His voice still can be heard as Rick is working for a television children Bible program on the Bibles Stories Network. As he did in 1966 Boss Radio on Swinging Radio England he now is boss again as he does The Voice of God!

Also Graham told a few nice memories. At one stage, when he was working for the international service of Radio Netherlands, he was sent out to the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel to meet Diana Ross, who was superstar numbero uno at that time. When Graham went into her hotel room, carrying a heavy Uher Recorder around his neck, he was surprisingly welcomed by Diana Ross with the message she didn’t want to give an interview at all. Graham left the room in silence only with the thought: ‘You bitch, I will never play any record of you again on the radio!’. This became, following the words of Graham, really reality. 

To end the memories which came ‘on the table’ which our cappuccino’s and croissants, one from Graham. He remembered one day that it was time for the daily religious program from Ted Amstrong on Britain Radio. So he queued up the tape and started it exactly after mentioning the time. So it all started as normal. But then Graham realised it was an hour to early. After the first minutes of the program he faded away the signal of the Ted Amstrong program and told the listeners: ‘What you just have heard was a small preview of the program from Garner Ted Amstrong, the World of Tomorrow, which you will be hearing in an hour.’

Graham and Rick saying goodbye again (Photo Rob Olthof)

Just go back to the VOP reunion, which will be on the Radio Day November 4th and more and more former deejays are writing us that they will join in, even three from Israel too. Here’s another one from Steve Marshall – who also wants to share his memories together with the readers of the Knot International Radio Report:

‘Hi Hans, many thanks for the info about the VOP reunion in November, I'm hoping to attend, work commitments permitting. Here's something you might like to include in the next newsletter. I was thinking about this year's VOP reunion in November. I was thinking too about shipmates we have all lost in the last few years: Tony Mandell, Crispian St. John, Tony Allan, Kenny Page and others, all people who worked on the VOP. This year's VOP reunion will be a happy joyous occasion, with more than a touch of sadness because those people won't be there in person. Everyone else knows they will be there in spirit...

What do I remember about working on the VOP, a chance to learn broadcasting, to learn about life, the Middle East region, and much more. I also made some lifelong friends, many of whom read this newsletter! Like many here, I have gone on to work in other parts of the radio business, in many different countries in the world, but those lessons I learnt as a teenager (I was 19 when I joined the VOP) have stayed with me. I remember the sign we had in the studio, ‘Keep It Tight, Sound Butch, Play The Hits’. It was a mantra to a young jock like me.

Of course like many, I rarely go on air nowadays, as I'm busy running my media sales and management company, which deals with companies and radio stations across the US and Europe. In today's radio world, there aren't many radio stations which teach you radio, whilst teaching you the other skills you need for life, both those lessons do indeed stay with you for life.... The VOP brought listeners together, and also brought the people who worked there together, so Abe's idea worked!

Steve Marshall

There was a reason why the people who worked for the VOP, were called the Peace Ship Family, everyone worked lived breathed eat etc radio 24/7, it wasn't a show and go, as much of today's radio is now.... It was a family, who lived for more than a couple of months at a time together in a small space off the coast. Like many others, I have the Voice Of Peace to thank for kicking starting my radio career, am I proud to say I worked on the VOP of course, it taught me about radio, and that there is a life outside radio too! Shalom, Steve Marshall Somewhere In Europe. http://www.iol.ie

Thanks a lot Steve and hope to see you too in November. Well I think these are enough memories for this time, which much more to come in next issue. Let them all come in at our regular address: Hknot@home.nl

If you’ve photos to sent in then please use: Hans.Knot@gmail.com

Till next time, all the best greetings from Groningen. 

Hans Knot



Offshore Deejays' Nicknames


Female Offshore Radio Deejays


Read Hans Knot's former report