Hans Knot's International Radio Report - September 2005 (2)
Welcome to the 2nd and last edition of the Knot International ‘Radio’ Report for September 2005
A happy birthday first of all to the FRSH team, which celebrate 25 years activity in radio. Peter Verbruggen wrote us: ‘FRS-Holland is 25 years young! We will celebrate this very memorable fact with a special Birthday transmission in November. As you will understand it is impossible to approach each listener personally. But on the other hand we feel it is very important to have your participation that day. Several FRSH-friends have already send in their recorded / written greetings but what are you waiting for? We very much would also like to hear from you! Time is running out. Make this broadcast to an unforgettable one and produce your very own, personal FRS-Holland Birthday greeting. Send your personal FRS memories on MD, cassette or as an MP3 file.
....when did you hear us first? ....in which way did you get to know about FRS? (via a magazine, other SW FR station, a DX px etc.)....what are your best memories?
.....is there anything very special you do remember?
This is your chance to be on FRS-Holland during a very special occasion. How many SW FR stations have managed to be on for 25 years? Each listener participating, will receive a surprise later this year! Simply congratulate FRSH with its 25th birthday is of course also an option! We know a lot of FRS Friends are out there. Some of the listeners seem to have disappeared, we would be delighted to hear from them. If you know anybody from the past who used to tune in, forward this message! Apart from your memories, we are looking for catchy one-liners. What does FRS-Holland mean to you? Let us know your very own thought(s) and do it in only one sentence! A recorded message is the most personal way in which you can participate! But if you have no recording facilities, please send us a letter. Deadline is the first week of October 2005 but better is to do it right now ! In this way we will get more time for preparations.
Looking at the great number of listeners tuning in to us in the past 25 years, there must be hundreds of interesting stories. Share your fond memories with us and the other listeners. Don't miss your chance to get involved....
We are still looking for an E-mail address from our former German deejay Michael (early 80s). Can anybody help us? Details about the broadcasting weekend will be send in October. Sun November 20th could become FRS Day !
All the best, Peter Verbruggen (on behalf of the FRS crew)
6049 ZG Herten
Jan Sundermann reflects once again on Sealand as he did before in an issue of the report. We talked about a pirate station who wanted to transmit for just one transmission from Sealand: ‘Hallo Hans, so Hardy Schracke ( DJ Hardy of Radio Valentine and later Radio Fortuna in Italy) was at the Erkrath radio day. Upon my question concerning the Sealand rumour he confirmed, that Radio Valentine had made contact to Sealand once via the attorney Gernot Puetz . But negotiations failed as the Sealand management wanted rent payments for housing a station, that were out of any possibilities for the project then. Hardy came with a cameraman along, as I had asked him to do the interview with Dave Colman at our event. The interview was voice and video recorded. Have an eye on www.gibc.de there probably you will find the video one day, and additional some shots they did with other well known visitors. best regards Jan Sundermann.’
The late deejay John Peel, who began his career in the USA early sixties and became famous with his Perfumed Garden on Radio London and was also the deejay with the longest running carreer on the BBC, has had a tulip named after him. The John Peel will be sold to raise money for musical performances in schools. Sheila Peel, John’s widow, has given her blessing to the project. She said: "I am confident John would have supported any project which encouraged the musical interests of young children in the hope that it may lead to their continued appreciation, and perhaps involvement, in the music business in the future. All of our family and friends are proud to see John's name remembered in such a fitting way, and I am sure he would be amused by us all coming out to see him `in bed' each spring in our gardens." The tulips have been named by the Springfields Horticultural Society in Spalding, Lincolnshire. An area of 500 tulips will be planted in the town's Festival Gardens. BBC’s Radio 1 is hosting a John Peel Day on October 13th to celebrate the veteran DJ's life, with gigs being staged across the UK.
Well it has been a long time ago that I could bring a lot of names of female deejays. Veronica had, in the early sixties, a special program called ‘Vanavond met’ (Tonight with). Normally those presenters presented just one program and here are some names we hadn’t mentioned before: Yvonne, Silvia, Laura, Edith Pels, Loes and Marga.
Radio Redsands, the broadcast history of Redsands Army Fort is a new cd produced by Bob LeRoi. A 65 minutes long CD which seems to bring the history of this Red Sands fort in the Thames Estuary. However it’s more a cd with unique recordings he found from several stations from the early sixties. I don’t understand what, for instant, a short extract of Radio Atlanta, has to do with the history of Red Sands. LeRoi has brought us very fine productions and in this case he does again. Rare recordings mixed with unique sounds from artists from the Sixties. But it had been better if he had called it ‘Offshore Radio Lost and Found Volume 5’. This as the first 4 Volumes were released some years ago by the Foundation for Media Communication. But more on that at those four at a later stage. Of course I enjoyed this cd again and for more information you can go to: www.bobleroi.co.uk
Price of CD's always £5.99 plus P&P.
Each time we’re coming nearer and nearer to our annual Radio Day, which will be held in Amsterdam on October 22nd. You can look forward to interesting guests, exclusive video footage (especially from RNI in 1970) and nice chats with many (mostly offshore) radio enthusiast mostly from the Netherlands, England, Belgium, Scotland and Germany. The current line-up plus details how to reach the event can be found at
Hans Knot will present his brand new book on Radio Mi Amigo 272 from the MV
Magdalena, and you can purchase new mp3-CDs containing many hours of offshore recordings from i.e. John Peel, Kenny Everett, Carl Mitchell and Tommy Vance. Today, September 16th we got an email for info where to book for an Hotel from Duncan Johnson, who also made a spell onboard the MEBO II in 1970. So make sure to attend Europe's major radio event in Amsterdam!
Latest update: Special Guests are Mary Payne from the Radio London site as well as Jon Myer from the Pirate Hall of Fame!!
From Scotland Ian is coming back to last issue and our mentioning of Ian Anderson and he writes: ‘Just thinking about Ian Anderson and Radio Forth brought to mind another presenter on that station, Mike Scott. I am sure that I read in a biography that Mike was a deejay on Radio Scotland from the Comet. However I have never seen his name mentioned in any of the articles about the station. Does any reader remember Mike from Radio Forth and indeed from the offshore radio days?’
As always you can reflect on the questions, sent in your own memories or photos to Hknot@home.nl
Stuart Aiken has a very good advice: ‘If you haven't done so, do try to listen to Keith Hampshire show on New Chay Radio? Each Saturday night at 12.00 midnight Europe time. (6.00pm to midnight in Canada)! I listened to all 6 hours last week. Very nostalgic show with the good old Keefers from Caroline days.’ www.thenewchay.com
Time for another mystery photo. It shows four men on the MV Martina, one of the vessels which were used in 1978/1979 for Radio Delmare. However the four men on the photo, which was shot in the harbour of Scheveningen way back in 1973, had nothing to do at all with Radio Delmare. Who are those guys and with what purpose did they use the MV Martina? All answers as normal to Hknot@home.nl
On the next internet site there is a massive photo archive. Just write in the search column ‘Rem eiland’ and a lot of pictures can be seen. Try it also with for instant ‘Veronica’, ‘Caroline’ , ‘Radio Noordzee’ and so on.
We go to England again and this time a small place in Devon and time for John Burch who writes: ‘Just a quickie. I have been catching up on my e-mails and noted in a recent report from you that a little debate took place about the photo taken from the top of the old mast on the Ross Revenge. Well I can add a few bits to the story. The photo was published in the Caroline Movement Bulletin. The photo was definitely given to me by Dennis Jason and he told me that he took the photo. However I would not be surprised to learn that it wasn't actually taken by Dennis after all. I have been given a number of photos by offshore staff over the years and been told they took the photo only to later discover it was actually taken by someone else who did not want to admit to being the photographer. Dennis did of course serve on both the Ross Revenge and Communicator and has certainly climbed the big mast on the Ross Revenge, but whether he actually did take the photo I cannot be certain.’
Thanks John but it’s really confusing as we did publish in the meantime four several photos, so the best is no further discussions on ‘who took or didn’t take the photograph’. John goes on with:
‘I've known Dennis for 25 years. His real name is Dennis Mikelas, but he has used the name Dennis Jason (DJ) for his professional work for years. He ran a mobile discothèque and sound business from his home in East Surrey for years, but in more recent times has been involved in other business in the Medway towns. Dennis now has a property not far from me. He has also been doing some programmes for the new Radio London, but I think he has ceased these programmes now. He continues to maintain his interest in offshore radio and actually has his own vessel at Hoo Marina in Kent close to the old Lady Dixon lightship.
On the subject of Peter Hayes. I don't think this Chris Tetley chap was Peter Hayes after all. I was contacted by a supporter in the Manchester area and told about the press reports and read them to see that indeed Chris Tetley was reported as having worked on Radio Caroline. I had never heard of him and so looked through my records to try and find out who he might have been. It was then that I discovered that Peter Hayes had described himself as the Cheshire Cat etc. and wondered if he might have been Chris Tetley. My comments were reported elsewhere. I have since been told that the real name of the Peter Hayes who served on the on the Mi Amigo was Clive Piochoki (at least that was the name in his passport). So once again it seems that Peter Hayes and Chris Tetley were not the same person.
Of course there were lots of people who claim they have worked for offshore stations over the years. Many merely spent a short time onboard. Back in 1979 I recall newspapers in Essex reporting the murder of a DJ in Essex. The story said that the DJ had worked for Radio Caroline, but no one had ever heard of him on the Mi Amigo. No doubt you'll solve the mystery in due course - you usually do!
You have probably heard that since June I no longer work in the West Country, but have returned to the south east of England to work during the week. I don't get a chance to catch up with e-mails until I go home to Devon at the weekend and don't go home to Devon every weekend. Sorry that I'm responding a bit late to your excellent news reports.’
Thanks John and hope your new work will bring you pleasure and joy! But a third email came from Burch too: ‘I have been following the fascinating story of the Ross Revenge en route to Spain. I think it might be worth mentioning that I was aware, years ago, that a Besco sales engineer was based in Cornwall (Launceston). This is not far from Falmouth, where a deep water harbour and dock complex is still used by large vessels to this day. It would have been an ideal place to tranship equipment onto the Ross Revenge. The harbour area is still used to lay up huge ships to this day and is very unusual in having a deep water estuary capable of accommodating oil tankers and other vessels for long term storage. Perhaps that is why the Ross Revenge was destined for Falmouth until being spooked by the following official vessel. It might also be worth mentioning that John Castle (not Catlett on Laser), one of the early skipper's on the Ross in Caroline days was a resident of the Channel Isles. I am sure he was from Guernsey. He had previously worked for Greenpeace and this was his connection with Caroline. I believe he went back to work for Greenpeace and may even still be there.’
Thanks John and indeed an update again which will be for help in the search of our Guernsey friend!
Next an e mail from Paul Francis: ‘Hi Hans, Just to let you know that David Sinclair is on board with Radio 390 with programme test at http://www.radio390.org and at our back-up site at http://radio390.bravehost.com, and yes we are testing at night on AM(2000kw) and SW(1000kw) from Eastern Europe, we will let you know soon what freq they are, and plus let you know the line up of presenters on Radio 390. Our studio’s in Essex are nearly finished, and should be on air in October. Our main sponsor is not Eve magazine but VIP. Paul Francis
Tony ´nut log´ Blackburn on Radio London and Alan ´AW´ West on RNI are two of the nicknames which can be added to the long list of nicknames we have already. Soon we publish the list again to see how complete were are (so we do hope!)
It was on October 12th 1965 that the Dutch Hilversum 3, at a later stage renamed in Radio 3 and again later in 3FM was officially opened by Dutch Minister Vrolijk. The National Pop station was brought in to compete with the Dutch offshore radio station Veronica. It lasted years before they got better listening figures than Veronica. The studio’s of 3FM are in Hilversum and programs are made by all public broadcasters. On Radio 2 were 10 different days that attention was paid to the fact 3FM is soon 40 years of age. Several presenters from the past were interviewed including Frits Spits and Felix Meurders, two of the big names in Hilversum 3 and Radio 3 Days. Here they’re shown on a photo together with Ton van Draanen, who’s working for the AVRO on Radio 2. Ton has a perfect rundown of things which happened on the station during the past four decades, including pictures and sounds
Frits Spits, Ton van Draanen and Felix Meurders on Radio 2 (thanks to Ton van Draanen).
From Belgium an e mail is coming in from Herman Content: ‘Hans, I’ve two recordings from a series of programs transmitted by BBC Radio one in 1982, recorded from the ‘247’. It’s the Story of Pop Radio, part 4 and 5. I hope some of your readers can help me with the missing parts.’
Well if anyone has this missing parts in his archive please make contact with Herman at email@example.com
Poster from the Freewave Archive
Also an update came in from the people behind the Radio Nord Story and their future plans: ‘During the summer of 2005, we have not been able to send any Newsletter, as promised. We apology for this. The reason is, that we have been working with interviews for the film. Life on the ocean waves! Our camera team has so far made five interviews. One of the Radio Nord newsmen who followed the Bon Jour on the trip from Copenhagen to the Stockholm Archipelago tells a mind-blowing story of how inferior seamanship could have ended the Radio Nord Story half way up the Swedish coast.
Ingeborg Kotschack, Jack S Kotschack’s charming wife, tells the story of Radio Nord from a somewhat different perspective.
We team up with Filmkreatörerna. A problem that has slowly been raising in this project has been the lack of production help and resources. Since we have found ever more interesting material in various archives, the project has grown at an ever increasing rate. This made it very difficult for us - just two enthusiasts to pull the project ashore. We are therefore very happy to announce the cooperation with Filmkreatörerna with a long experience in film production, documentaries as well as full length feature movies. Filmkreatörerna is right now working with the financing of the project.
Analysis around first test screening In May, we started to show the first 30 minutes of the film in what we call a test screening. Results where both positive and negative. Radio Nord fans where very impressed and positive. Others however, experienced the film to be a bit too long and detailed. This included some TV-professionals that meant that in the present version, the film is goes far too much into details to be of interest for a TV-audience. Our conclusion is that we need to make two versions of the film. This means that we produce a shorter TV-version and a ‘Directors Enthusiasts Cut’ where we go into details, to be issued on DVD.’
Radio Nord plane and car together (Photo from the Freewave Archive)
Let’s hope all your work will be finalized in a way you wish it and good luck. Keep us informed. For those who heard the name ‘Radio Nord’ for the first time, it was an offshore radio station off the Swedish coast in the sixties, which was very popular.
Through the past decades a lot of magazines paid attention to the stories about Ronan O’Rahilly and his plans to start a television station from a plane as a follow up to his radio stations, which were closed down due to the fact the bills for the tender company were not paid. I went into this story in depth a long time ago in the online Journal for Media and Music Culture Soundscapes, which can be found at: www.soundscapes.info
But there were some other offshore television stations planned next to the REM TV project, I mentioned earlier in one of the reports. The next two short stories about failed projects on which I’ve written a couple of years ago and were published in the Dutch Freewave Media Magazine as well as the OEM, Offshore Echoes Magazine. Hope you will like it:
The very first time we learnt something about the new project Radex Television is to be found in a Telegraaf newspaper cutting of the 3rd of June 1965, when their Brussels correspondent reported: “Very soon a new pirate will come on the air, not only with radio programmes but also with television broadcasts. This commercial station will be received, according to specialists, in London, the West of the Netherlands as far as Amsterdam, the North of France and the whole Belgian coastal region.” It was all about Radex TV, making use of a 1250 ton ship, a former freighter, registered in Panama, and being equipped in the British capital. She would anchor near the Noordhinder, close to Ostend.
The television transmitter would have a power of 35 kW, on which only British companies would be allowed to advertise. For the benefit of continental West European viewers, programmes would be rebroadcast with special equipment via the so called 625 lines, whilst broadcasts in England would be done via the 405 lines system. The newspaper said to have made enquiries with government authorities in The Hague, where they learnt that it would be forbidden for any station, anywhere on earth, to broadcast television programmes without a government licence, to the countries where the programmes were aimed for.
Programmes would be broadcast on channel 9. Radio broadcasts, with no mention whatsoever regarding transmitter power, would be on 288 or 294 meters. Two DJ’s for the radio station had been engaged, one male, one female, a Mrs. H. Mercedes. A day later the first criticism was to be read in several newspapers. One mentioned that Radex TV would start within 8 weeks and the radio station would broadcast 24 hours a day. Another anchorage in international waters would be off Whitstable, whilst two more ships would be anchored off the Isle of Wight and off Harwich. They would relay the programmes.
Criticism came from the radio astronomy service that would suffer interference from the television transmitter. Broadcasts were reported to be via channel 6. Earlier both the BBC and the ITV were informed that they would definitely not to be allowed to use this channel as it would interfere with space research.
This again presented a nice opportunity for the British GPO to speak in favour of legislation against offshore radio, and their spokesman announced that after the Whitsun recess they would insist with the responsible ministers to introduce a bill.
A Radex Project spokesman too made statements. Via investors 10 million guilders had been raised… enough to broadcast for one year. They spoke of a potential 5 million viewers in the South of England and everyone, in possession of a set, would be able to receive the signal easily. A maximum of 4 minutes of advertising an hour was planned, and programme material would mostly be American made, because that material had not been shown elsewhere on the BBC or ITV. A further advantage was that via the other stations only 14% of American material was allowed to be broadcast. News bulletins too were promised.
Meantime at the Cambridge based Radio Astronomy Services, they were afraid of the 12 hours a day planned broadcasts of the television station. Prof. Martin Ryle, director of the institute: “For our research we use two large radio telescopes, and if the television station comes on the air, we can’t use them anymore.” The Daily Telegraph had more info: “A 120 foot high antenna will be installed and a Radex spokesman, 48 year old Jim Gray, says that any advertising will be accepted, inclusive of tobacco advertising.” A BBC spokesman added: “The signal will of course be received, but then the aerial will have to be pointed into the direction of the ship and the point is if the picture will be received well constantly, because the signal is broadcast from a ship rocking upon the waves.”
A few days later it was reported that daily programs would start in August from 6 till 9 am, 12 noon till 3 pm and 5 pm till midnight. One advert would cost around £1200 for 30 seconds. Besides the radio ship, two other ships would be in use as relay stations. Crew members who signed up contracts were Americans, Canadians and Britons. The idea came from 49 year old James De Grey , a New Zealander, who had gained experience with several American television concerns. In an interview he suddenly declared that the television station would broadcast 18 hours a day, sticking to the existing ITV rules, stipulating that a maximum of 6 minutes of advertising per hour was allowed.
De Grey’s direct companion, Michael Williams, who had acquired experience within the British National Film Industry, made a statement: “In all we have spent two years researching the realisation of Radex TV, but we will delay starting as we are prepared to apply for an official licence to start the fourth national network, that eventually would be run on a commercial basis (the later Channel 4, launched in 1982). If such a request is not granted, nothing will stop us coming on with Radex TV. We have obtained legal advice and we will achieve our plans anyway.”
De Grey went on about his plans: “If we come on air, we certainly won’t make publicity for cigarettes. At the same time we’ll pay income taxes in England, although our company won’t be registered as British enterprise. We will pay royalties because we don’t want to upset anyone. We have appointed a Board of Directors, but we won’t reveal their names yet. Although we have enough money to launch the project, we’ll wait until other promised money had been credited on our account.”
In the newspaper ‘Het Algemeen Handelsblad’ it was reported that the enterprise was registered in the Bahamas (in those days still a British colony), and that the television transmitter would have a power of 50 Kw, which meant a potential audience of 5 million viewers could be reached. Forty crew members would come and work, in shifts, on the ships. At the end of July it was announced by the organisation that another frequency would be chosen and that it would only take a few weeks before the television station would be on air.
On the 26th August the papers read that, due to problems, the project was postponed indefinitely: the major reason was that the channel on which Radex TV would broadcast was reserved for astronomical space research. At the beginning of September 1965, five important American backers withdrew and at the end of October it was announced that Radex Radio would start in January 1966 and Radex TV in the spring of 1966. That Spring however never came up for the Radex project.
The ‘Haarlems Dagblad’ of 18th of December 1970 reported that on Saturday night, 26th of December, at precisely 00.00 hr, the Netherlands would experience their first television sex station, Chick TV, broadcast from an aircraft. Chick TV Amsterdam had been set up by Jan Wenderhold: “The programs will be broadcast from an aircraft circling over Amsterdam. The programme can be received on any set, equipped with a dial division (channels 37, 38 and 39). This applies for Amsterdam and a radius in the immediate surrounding area of approximately 30 km.”
According to the newspaper, nightly tests had taken place on 11 & 12 December. In those days the official television closed down at 11 pm. Wenderhold said that the results of the test transmissions weren’t overwhelming, there had to be tinkered at the transmitter. Besides sex adverts the program would consist of an erotic cartoon ‘Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf’ and an erotic movie ‘With no boys around’ in which 3 well known British pop stars would play, and an erotic science film, charmingly called ‘Zeno’s semen’.
Chick TV Test board
Chick-Amsterdam had already plans to broadcast in colour in 1971. This would happen on Saturdays 25th of January and 1 March, every time from midnight. In a further period even every Saturday night during two hours. The equipment from the owners of the former REM project, that had been offered for sale to him, would be used. Wenderhold, happy if the first broadcast would succeed: “I just want to see if it works and what reactions would be. But if I had known of all the problems involved, I surely would have waited some more time.”
He refused to face the problems with his plane: “Schiphol doesn’t seem to be a drawback for me. We can keep them dangling for an hour. And at midnight there’s little air traffic. Obviously it would have been easier from a ship, but we don’t want Veronica to have troubles by our doing. Then we’ll also loose our goodwill. But it will surely go on, otherwise we’ll look foolish.” The journalists at the press conference were sceptical…and they were night. Chick-TV Amsterdam never came on air.
I would like to thank Boudewijn (as his name is in the Flemish part of Belgium) and Beaudoin (as he is called in the French language part of Belgium) as well as B.Dom (as he is called in OEM) for the translation for the articles on the television projects. Next time more about various failed offshore radio projects.
While typing the report I was partly listening to an old program from Hauraki and there it was than another nickname appeared: Dave ‘Good guy’ Dexter. Radio Hauraki, for those who don’t know anything about this station, was an offshore radio station transmitting off the New Zealand Coast near Auckland in the sixties. And finally two new names in the series of female presenters within the offshore radio: Kathy (Goldon Oxo Show on Radio London) and Jane (Petticoat Show on Radio London).
As always it was very fine to receive many e mails and if you want to share a memory or have news for us, please don’t hesitate to contact me at Hknot@home.nl
Till next month all best greetings
Offshore Deejays' Nicknames
Female Offshore Radio Deejays
Read Hans Knot's former report