Hans Knot's International Radio Report - November 2004 (2)
Welcome to the second edition of the Knot Radio Report and as usual thanks a lot for your comments, contributions and other e-mails.
First question which came in is from former Caroline deejay Bob Lawrence (Richard 'Buzby' Thomson): Hi Hans, I hope you are well. I recently pulled out a load of old RNI recordings and I noticed that I don't have any recordings of Roger Kent. I can't even remember what he sounded like, although I remember that at the time I thought he was really good. That got me thinking: who was he, where did he come from and whatever happened to him? Any idea? Bob Lawrence.
Robin Banks and Roger Kent in the mess room MEBO II August 13th 1974.
Photo Rudi Kagon
Well Bob really a difficult question. He came in spring of 1974 and I think instead of Jason Wolfe, who left the station in weeks after his first stint. I remember listen to him a few times, I mean Jason, and really he was terrible and really sounded very bad compared to the other RNI international deejays. Roger Kent came and I did meet him twice in July as well as August on board the MEBO II. A shy guy who was very laidback but had a good presentation style. I_ve asked some of his former colleagues to answer your questions, so hopefully one does remember more. One thing is for sure that he, as well as Robin Banks, Bob Noakes, Brian McKenzie and Don Allen were mentioned to go to Italy to run Radio Nova. A project which failed due to the fact the owners of the radio ship MEBO II were bringing in the MEBO II for repairs in Rotterdam and Slikkerveer harbour were it was chained up by Dutch authorities up till 1977. Too late to start Radio NOVA off Italy and so the ship was hired and later sold to Ghadaffi of Lybia. From Roger Kent I personally never heard anything anymore since September 1974. So who knows who he is and where his present whereabouts are?
An answer on the question came partly from Peter Ford, who worked on the MEBO II in 1974, only it's still not known where Roger is nowadays: Hello Bob, Your E-mail was passed on to me with your question about Roger Kent. I have been in touch with Roger until Christmas last year when he moved house and I lost track of him. So I have to wait for him to get in touch with me again. He is doing well he has worked many years in London Nightclubs with Brian McKenzie he still does disco's. I have several Roger Kent shows recorded onboard the MEBO II and I have had several online for downloading on www.rni220.nl Within the next few weeks I will have a few online again so you can download them. I hope this answers your question. Peter Ford.
Thanks a lot for that one Peter
Last issue again the question was asked by one of the readers if Dorothy Squires was or wasn't life onboard the MEBO II way back in 1970. We tried to get an answer to this question a long time ago and even a nephew of Dorothy reflected last year. As Rodney Collins, who did the interview with Dorothy way back more than 34 years, is now a regular reader of the Knot Radio Report too, he has the correct answer: It was indeed as Andy Archer said. Dorothy Squires was due out to the boat for a live interview with Ed Moreno. It had been decided to pre-record a stand-by interview in case of travel problems or bad weather getting out there. In the event the weather forecast was poor and Dot Squires decided against the journey. However, it continued to be billed as a live interview as it had got a fair amount of pre-publicity. That's why I went out for Record Mirror, really to cover that interview!
Thanks a lot Rodney, who also sent in his tribute to John Peel which he wrote for the Independent stations in Scotland: This was the piece I did for the independent stations in Scotland on John Peel: It always seems a little strange writing a tribute to someone who has just died. It feels like the person is still there - that's the feeling I get when I think of John Peel. A gentle decent man who never, once, sacrificed his beliefs in search of audience ratings. From the very first, he was different. I remember, at 17, listening to him on the pirate station Radio London with his Perfumed Garden show. The majority of the tracks he played then were refreshingly new, it was exciting music - a world away from the tight play lists operated by all of the pirate stations and Luxembourg. I doubt the BBC really wanted to employ him when they started Radio 1, but they had little choice. The Government had asked them to cater for all tastes in popular music....so John got a slot on Saturday afternoons, back to back with the magazine programme "Scene and Heard". "Top Gear" (nothing whatever to do with cars, by the way) was another first. Rock bands and musicians could count on plays here in the late 60's when they were virtually ignored by the mainstream Radio 1 shows presented - at that time - by Jimmy Young, Tony Blackburn and Pete Murray. When I joined the BBC in 1971 they still weren't sure what to do with John Peel. His programme had moved slots three times by the time I arrived. We hit it off and came up with the idea of an In Concert series for the pop station. I gradually got the BBC management to accept (if not understand) the man. In those early years, John Peel fought management for a wider playlist "there is life beyond Cliff Richard and Gilbert O'Sullivan" he used to say. Ten years later he moved to the new alternative music, something he championed to his death. He was a quiet family man, clever too, so when Radio 4 approached him to work for them it was the natural thing to do. Beyond anything he was a nice guy who loved music. You won't see his like again in British radio....who else could possibly champion new music for almost 40 years. I read one Obit that said John Peel will one day be seen alongside David Jacobs, Jimmy Young and Tony Blackburn as the people who formed pop music radio. Well this is OK to a point...but to David Jacobs, Jimmy Young and Tony Blackburn the music has often been incidental - they are entertainers first and foremost. With John Peel the music was always the important thing. Which is how, for 40 years, he kept going, almost un-noticed. But God will he be missed. .
Really words from out of the heart Rodney and thanks for sharing it with us. Also Dave Burke has his own opinion on the sad loss of John Peel:
Enjoyed your latest report hugely as usual. I was really upset at John Peel's death. I think even those of us who perhaps did not always follow all of his musical tastes over the decades had a great respect for him. Although I'm sure his natural modesty would have caused him to reel away from the comment I am about to make, it has to be said that he was also a radio 'great' - although an overused expression, he really was a 'personality DJ'. He needed no self-hype, he was just a hell of a nice guy, with a wickedly 'dry' delivery, playing a bunch of music to each and every one of us 'alone' - he naturally had that now almost unique gift of being able to promote that 'one on one' presenter/listener relationship that is so lacking in radio today. Again, he would no doubt balk at the notion that he was a pirate radio giant, but he was! If it were not for his slot on Big L, I doubt whether Radio 1 would have taken him, or any other DJ able to promote truly 'different' music, on. His contribution to 'new music' is incalculable of course, but his contribution to radio is no less notable. Another very sad loss. Best wishes, Dave.
The first three nick names for this issue are coming from a leaflet which was published by the Radio Scotland in 1966: Ugly Bob Spencer, Bouncy Mel Howard and Cheerful Tony Meehan. Then we have to mention Alan West who was also named The West One on RNI. His colleague from the USA, Bob the windy city boy Mackey worked there on the MEBO II in 1970. Earlier mentioned Mel Howard was also named Mad Mell Howard. Reading some chapters of Keith Skues book I found another nickname as Radio 270 deejay was mentioned Brendon Brenge Power. The last two ones I like to add to the long list are Paul Kinky Kramer (during his period with Radio City) and Dave Dynamite Simser from Radio Tower.
Early this month I had to do a lot of research for a certain reason in my archive. I can search on station names as well as on date of happenings. A lot of metres had to be done and while looking for an other subject I also found a lot of names of female presenters on Offshore stations, which we hadn t mentioned up till now: Radio Antwerpen with Terry Randell, Mini Hybrechts and Barbo van Horn, DCR with Hannah Bjarnhof and Nette Shreiner. Radio Mercur with Grethe Sonk, Ida, Käte Mundt, Lilly Broberg, Lise Reinaud, Inger Marie and Clara Pontoppidan. Next it is Radio Caroline: Marianne Faithfull, who cooperated on Caroline North as well as Caroline South with several programs to get funds for care for the orphaned children in Angola in 1966 and also we have to mention Marilyn Rickard. Radio Veronica: first of all Corrine Mude, who presented the Spanish language program in 1964. Next we have Mieke Verstraete, Hansje van der Twist, Mieke Bos, Maria Balling, Enny Mols de Leeuwe and Conny Stuart, who were all active in the so called sponsored programs, which lasted mostly 15 or 30 minutes during the period 1960-1964. Some of the females made a one time or two time appearances but as they were heard on the air they count too. It's like the odd appearance of deejay Hans Verlaan on Radio Caroline in March 1980. First day he arrived and did a very bad program, second day he was there the ship sunk! He was never heard again on the station. It went, however, very well with him as he brought the Sky Radio Format (non stop) into the radio market in Holland under his own name, Ton Lathouwers, and is very big within the Dutch Radio industry.
Last time I mentioned Harry the smoker Bergman as one of the nicknames and it s former technician on board the MV Mi Amigo, Teun Visser, who reflects on this and telling us a bit more about Harry, who was rarely heard on the station: Harry was a student from the Technical University in Delft (Holland) and he was on board for a period in 1974 responsible for playing the cassettes in time for Caroline's sister station Radio Mi Amigo.
Thanks Teun and more and more pieces are getting together.
I have many contacts with Andy Archer lately as he's working on a special story for internet, which will be published at Christmas Day and it will be about the year 1974 and everything happening on the MV Mi Amigo. When I sent the info which Teun had on Harry Bergman Andy answered back: Thanks Hans, another name to add to the list, I remember that he was very interested in stocks and shares and insisted that editions of the newspaper The Financial Times should be brought out on the tender.
I was emailing with some former Britain Radio and Swinging Radio England deejays earlier this month. Reason was a rare recording which was sent to me with the question if I ever heard about a certain Ronald Randell on Britain Radio. No I did not and so I thought there was just a miss mentioning of the first name as there were Randells in Offshore Radio but no Ronald.
I got 5 different answers and here's one which I would like to share with you all: Rob Randell was on Radio 390 but I do not recall the splendid Rob working on the Laissez Faire at least during my time on Britain/England. Twiggy Day did the weather report on that recording. Very laid back! Good Saga material in the making. Other edited inserts were taken from continuous music tapes on the Scully/Carousel. I believe it was Phil Martin who christened the announcer "Derek (or Derrick - as in dock side cranes) and the name Burroughs came from the manufacturer's name on the side of a snooker table. Phil had a misspent youth perhaps? Rob Randell (and his dog) worked for many years on Radio Jackie etc. then County Sound and its variants in Surrey, - one of the good guys in radio.I wonder where he is these days? John Ross-Barnard aka Peter Ross, Larry Pannell etc etc.
So there you are John Ross changed the subject from Ronald into Robert Randell as former colleague from Radio 390 days and gave us also some remarkable insight on Radio England's carousel. Thank you for sharing it with us, and who knows where Robert is nowadays?
From Belgium it s Herman Content who advises all readers to take a visit to an internet site, which brings historical information about small offshore, projects from very early days: http://radiodx.com/spdxr/voa_phoenix.htm
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In the Knot International Radio Report we take you back this time to 1977. After the Dutch government decided that a new law would brought in force with the thought that all the Offshore Radio stations would close down on August 31st, one of the stations was RNI, on the air since March 1971, after that the owners made an earlier attempt in 1970. On September 1st no more RNI was heard and the radio vessel MEBO II including her sister ship MEBO I, went to the harbour of Slikkerveer which is near Rotterdam. At the shipyard Groot and Van Vliet is would be refitted for a new station, called Radio Nova. This would come on the air off the coast of Italy. However, as there were transmitters on the MEBO II the Dutch authorities thought the ship was acting illegal and chained it up. It lasted up till early 1977 before the ship got free again and the idea to restart programming of the Italian coast was a thing of the past. The ship went to Libya as special arrangements were made between the owners, MEBO Ltd from Zürich in Switzerland and Colonel Ghadaffi from Libya. Robin Banks, who worked before on stations like Radio Caroline and RNI, was one of the employees of MEBO Ltd, who made the trip to Libya and brought the transmitters back on the air in February 1977 with tests. Here the story Robin Banks, also reader of our report, wrote on this special happening in the life of Offshore Radio.
Joop du Pau Photo Theo Dencker
February 9th will be a day long remembered by the citizens of Tripoli - for it marked the occasion of the arrival of the radio-ships MEBO II and MV Angela to Libya. It was lacking but a quarter-hour of noon in Holland when, on January 14th, 1977, after a sojourn of over far more than two years, the MEBOII finally sailed away- from the De Groot en -van Vliet shipyard and negotiated the River Maas to the freedom of the open sea. So many inaccurate rumours had abounded about the departure of the radio ship and her companion vessel the Angela that this time no-one had believed they would really leave - and only a handful of people were there to see her go. Only one day previously had the order arrived which was needed for the release of the ships. It read: 'The Attorney-General at the Court of Justice in The Hague declares that the confiscation of the MEBO II has been cancelled and that the MEBO II and the Angela, with the existing transmitting apparatus therein, can leave the Netherlands, with due observation of the Customs control .
MEBO I and II on their way to Tripoli
Photo Theo Dencker
Each ship carried a crew of nine persons. In charge of the MEBO II was the ex Caroline Captain Willem van der Kamp from The Hague, his engineer was a Dutchman by the name of Joop du Pau. Robin Banks of course, as transmitter engineer was on board, and directing the operation was one Max Stapfer, who had joined from Zurich, where he had been working for MEBO Ltd. His wife also was with him. Heading the Angela's crew was Captain Herman B. de Zwart from Hoek van Holland, who was actually the brother of Werner de Zwart, the Captain of the Mi Amigo at the time of the British Home Office raid in 1975. There were two more Dutch engineers, Coos van Duinen and Dirk Adrichem. All the remainder of the crews of both ships were Negro s from the Cape Verde Islands.
Out the ships sailed, under the Wilhelmina. bridge which carries vehicles and a railway line, under the huge Koninginnebrug (Queen's Bridge) lift bridge in Rotterdam and into the Keileharbour. Here they took on supplies and had their compasses checked, Then the intention was to tie-up both boats to the Parkkade pier, As the MEBO II came alongside her 'parking space' her engines were put into reverse to stop her forward motion - and nothing happened. She continued to run forward, and crashed into another ship, the 500 ton West German vessel MV Estebrügge. She was pushed forward into a British ship, the MV Hoocrest, which in turn rammed a further British ship the MV. River Taw. It was estimated that the accident had caused 3,000 Pounds worth of damage, and MV. Estebrügge's shipping company insisted that a confiscation order be put onto the MEBO II, as it apparently often happens that ships flying a Panamanian flag sneak out of harbours at night without paying for damage they have caused; The next day some repair work was done an the MEBO II, including welding two iron plates onto the bow to make good two holes that had been knocked in the hull just above the wording 'MEBO II when she collided with a wooden post on the pier just before running into the Estebrügge'.
Another job that had to be done was securing the mast with three extra steel ropes before the 2500 mile journey. Just as the work was being completed the news came that the MEBO II's insurance agent had made arrangements with the Esterbrügge s agent and so the MEBO II was again free to leave. However, it was decided that the weather was too bad at that point, so the two ships stayed in the Parkkade for another day. On Sunday, January 16th, at 10.30 the Angela left the Parkkade to sail down the Nieuwe Maas to the sea, followed twenty minutes later by the MEBO II. However, officials apparently objected to the presence on board the presence of anyone who wasn't official supposed to be there, and so some persons were asked to leave - including Herr Bollier and Frans van der Beek of the Veronica Omroep Organisatie news team, Herr Bollier immediately hired a motor-launch, and he and his family and a few guests than accompanied the ships as far as the coast. A programme broadcast on January 17th 1977 by the V,0.0, on Hilversum I was recorded from this launch.
They arrived at the Hook of Holland at 14.00 hrs, where old fans of the station were lining the waterway to wave and to flash their car headlights. Herr Bollier called his farewells to the ship via a megaphone; and within half an hour, they were once again in international waters, where they dropped anchor for the night. By this time it had been discovered that the radar on the MEBO II wasn t working, so two technicians were dispatched from the mainland via the MV Eurotrip, to fix it. They work took them only half an hour, but on the way back to Holland their fuel pipe snapped and they had to radio for a tug to go out and tow them back to IJmuiden. Now it just happened that on that very same evening, the French Culture Network transmitted a programme about the history of radio which featured the pirate radio stations and included a recording of Alan West reporting the fire bomb attack on the MEBO II in 1971
Hans ten Hooge interviewing Captain van der Kamp 1977
Photo Theo Dencker
Some people in Holland picked up the programme by the chance while tuning around in the hope that someone on board the radio-ship may switch on the transmitters; and Dutch newspapers the following morning were full of reports that the MEBO II had caught fire in the night and had been radioing distress messages and that a lifeboat had gone out to them.
The ships encountered bad weather throughout their journey, particularly off Brest France, where they had to wait at anchor from January 20th to 28th, and off Cape Finisterre North West Spain, and Cape St. Vincent, Southern Portugal. At one point, the MEBO II steering broke down, and the two ships collided when the Angela drew alongside to render assistance. Fortunately all the damage was above the waterline. That, it seems, was the only interesting thing to happen throughout the entire trip. They passed through the Straights of Gibraltar on February 1st, and the following day they stopped at Ceuta, a Spanish harbour in Morocco and took on fuel, water, fresh vegetables and other supplies. From then on it took only a week to reach Tripoli where they arrived at 09.00 on February 7th - despite developing engine trouble aboard the Angela, only 150 miles from their destination.
Even with their journey over, all the problems weren't solved for the ships. The Arab Authorities had difficulty in understanding the Latin lettering on the ships' documents however, after studying the instructions for the fire extinguishers they informed the Captains that their papers were in order. The ships dropped. anchor side-by-side inside Tripoli harbour on February 14th, 150 metres out, and so close together that one could jump from one to the other. By this time the crew from the Cape Verde Islands had already flown back to Holland, but the Dutch complement of personnel stayed aboard for a few more days. Last to leave was Will van der Kamp. He returned via Rome on March 3rd, to being replaced by another ex-Caroline man Captain Taal, On the same day spare parts arrived on board for the transmitters. I was unable to leave the ship because there was no replacement engineer to stand in for me. In 2,5 months on the boat, I was able to spend only three hours ashore! During February and March, we conducted a number of test transmissions on 1232 kHz from 20.00 until 23.00 local time.
They consisted of me playing and announcing, records, but giving no station Ids. The power used was generally 40 kW, but there was at least one test in the middle of the night with the transmitter running at 90 kW and this was heard clearly in Zurich by Herr Bollier. However, these tests had to be cease, because they were found to be causing severe interference to local telecommunications stations on shore. Later, some tests were also made on 773 kHz, using the old Veronica 10 kW Continental Electronics transmitter which had replaced the 10 kW stand-by transmitter on the MEBO II. The second Veronica transmitter was still carried as cargo aboard the Angela. The MEBO II had arrived on a new position in international waters and would carry the programs from the Libyan government for some time as their transmitter sites had to be modernized. Years later, after the hire contracts was already a long time changed in to selling contract, Ghadaffi ordered the air force commander to make an end in the life of both ships and they were used as a target and finally sunk to the bottom of the Mediterranean. But before the moment the ship was bombarded a lot of things happened with the programming and so we will come back in a later issue of the report with more historical facts.
Thank you Robin and more historical features in the next issues of the Knot Radio Report.
You can sent in your personal memories, photos or news to Hknot@home.nl
From Israel it s Mike Brand reporting: Israeli-Palestinian Radio station
All for Peace receives peace- making award of the Klaus Jensen Foundation. This year the Klaus Jensen Foundation is awarding its peace-making prize, in the amount of 10 000 Euro, to the Israeli-Palestinian
Radio station All for Peace. The foundation published the following statement: "The founders of the radio station the Israeli peace and dialogue institute Givat Haviva and the Palestinian publishing house Biladi fight against the spiral of violence and counter violence, concepts of the enemy and resignation, and provide a forum for Jewish-Arab dialogue. With their shared radio project they contribute to a peaceful solution for the Middle East conflict."
Since February 2004 All for Peace has been broadcasting from its studio in East Jerusalem. The program is aired in Hebrew and Arabic. Jewish and Arab moderators report about daily and current developments and introduce various peace projects. They counteract the mainstream media, which almost always provides a violent image from Israel and Palestine .
A very good result for a station only 10 months on air, so our congratulations to the team of All for Peace.
E mail time again this time from David Phillips in London: Hi Hans, Thank you for your reports excellent as always. I was just wondering if any of your readers have, or know where there might be some pictures/reports of dives on the Mi Amigo her condition?
Well I think it never happened but anyone with another opinion please let us know on our regular e mail address: Hknot@home.nl
But David has another question too: Just remembered, I had a friend in about 1981 but lost contact in 1982, who said he had bought a small fishing boat and was pleased to show me some pictures. Well it was none other than
the Cornucopia used by David Sutch. He had some papers relating to its history but he didn't know anything of its Radio Sutch days until I showed him the famous photo's with the Radio Sutch banner and David Sutch in his leopard skins. As the boat was moored some distance away in Kent I never got to see it I tried a few times until I lost contact with. From the
photos it looked in good condition and he said he didn't have a lot of work to do on it but then again he never was a sea person. So the big question to you the reader if you ever saw the Cornucopia after 1980 and so if yes give us your story.
It s almost December and news from Enschede is coming in about a special broadcast with Christmas: Hi Hans, On Christmas day from 17.00 to 18.00 hrs CET Gert van der Winden and Frank van Heerde will present a programme about the beginning of Radio London, back in December 1964. All the records you will hear have been played on Big L in the last week of December 1964. You can hear us on: www.enschedefm.nl Have a good Christmas, Frank van Heerde.
I can assure you that they have a very unique record collection so not only the big hits will be played but some obscure rarities too.
A question from Andy Archer to all people who loved Caroline in the seventies: I have just completed my diary from the period January 1st - August 31st 1974. (with much help from you and Martin van der Ven) This will be up and running on the website before Christmas. However, I do need certain photographs to include which I am having trouble finding. If any of your readers have pictures that were taken during this period and would be willing to let me use them, perhaps they could email them to you. In particular I am looking for pictures taken in the office at van Hoogendorpstraat 16, Record World in Amsterdam, Stonehenge Festival of 1974 and the Radio Caroline Garden Party in the Vondelpark. With grateful thanks, Andy.
All good wishes, Andy. email@example.com
Some weeks ago I got a question from England from someone who was very interested to know more about the foreign language programmes which
Radio Veronica presented in the sixties. Of course we know all about the programs of CBNC in 1960 and 1961 in English. Let's go to the questions, whereby in red the answers are given by Juul Geleick, a former technician from Veronica who worked many years at the station (thanks a lot Juul):
I have been meaning to ask you for some time about the foreign language shows on offshore Radio Veronica-the deejay names and the languages used. When I started listening in 1968 there was Suhandi on, I think, Mondays and Thursdays 2000-2100. Which language(s) did he use, please? Dutch, Papiamento, Antilleans, Indonesian. Around May or June 1968 I remember a show with (I think) a male and female deejay on Fridays 2100-2230; what were their names and was this in Spanish? name: Isabelle, Spanish. In January 1969 there seemed to be more foreign language shows. On Sundays 2200-2300 another female deejay did a show then a different female was on Wednesdays 2200-2300. What were their names and the languages broadcast in? Tragouda i ellada Greeche is Singing by Dimitra. After Suhandi on Thursdays from 2100-2130 a female did a programme - I think with Suhandi. Who was she? She was Stella, she is his wife. Then a male deejay joined to do Thursdays 2130-2145 and 2145-2200. At least once the shows were extended to 2130-2150 and 2150-2230. Who was he and what languages were used? Later Mimo followed him at 2200 with his Italian show? I can't remember the above times and dates.
Anyway a lot of answers after all those years. On www.mediapages.nl look for the Bert Bossink Archive where a lot of old Veronica program schedules can be found.
Time for a free advertisement for the Tony Allen Memorial Fund and I hope many of the readers will donate some small amount of money to this Fund. On the Radio Day in Amsterdam I already did my duty for the Fund so I hope you all will follow me to donate some small amount of money in this warm period to Christmas Time. The leaflet tells it all.
As it was heard on November 24th Steph Willemse former owner of Radio Condor died as a result of Diabetes earlier this year. He was living in total loneliness during the past years. Steph was not only the creator of Radio Condor, a station which was aimed to bring easy listening programs as well as religious ones, only brought it on the air for a few minutes in 1973 when the transmitter went on fire and as there was not any money left there was only one thing to do: sell the ship.
This was done and so the Condor was renamed in to MV Jeanine for Radio Atlantis. This station was more successful and brought some really good programs during 1973 and 1974, especially in the English language. Later Steph Willemse did some work in the side line for another ill fated project, called S.O.R. and for Radio Delmare organization.
Steph Willemse (Photo Rob Olthof)
November 25th brought us another nickname. Listening to an old Veronica program from August 1974 it was Chiel Montagne who brought some memories back and while telling he mentioned also the nickname for Rob van Dijk. This was the presenter of the classical program on Radio Veronica, when it still was an offshore radio station. Rob's nickname was Rob Rip . A pity Montagne didn't mention why it was used.
That rounds up this edition of the report, with one other to go for 2004. As always keep on sending in your memories, news and other bits and pieces to Hknot@home.nl
All the best from Groningen in the Netherlands
Offshore Deejays' Nicknames
Female Offshore Radio Deejays
Read Hans Knot's former report