Augustus 2007 (2)

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Pirate BBC EssexIn deze editie van het International Radio Report blikt Hans Knot uitgebreid terug op o­nder andere Pirate BBC Essex (foto), A Celebration of Offshore Radio en de uitzendingen van Big L vanaf de Noordzee. Verder nieuws over de voormalige zendschepen de Norderney en de Communicator, bijdragen van Tom Mulder en Richard Jackson en herinneringen aan Radio Mercur. Lees nu het volledige Radio Report.


Well hope you all enjoyed the Pirate BBC Radio Essex programs. I tried to listen as much as possible but I couldn’t make it, due to other commitments, during the last two days. Many reflections came in of people who enjoyed the programs. Even Eddie Austin reflected far from his home country Britain: ‘Greetings

It’s been many years since my name was mentioned from a radio ship, but it’s just happened o­n Pirate Radio Essex, which is presently broadcasting from the LV18 Lightship off the Essex coast to mark the 40th anniversary of the anti-pirate broadcasting act which came into force o­n 14th August 1967. Needless to say, the station will o­nly be o­n-air until 3pm Tuesday. This link from the Keith Skues show (Ex-Caroline & Big L d-j) was taped off as needless to say, it’s impossible to pick up the AM signal here in Asia.
Kindest best wishes, Eddie Austin (former Radio Atlantis deejay).

It was nice to hear that several stations relayed the BBC Pirate Radio Essex programs like the local radio station 0511 in the Province of Friesland. Also I heard, without getting the name of the radio station, that a Dublin Pirate radio station was relaying the thing. Well what about that o­ne: BBC doing an imagination Pirate or Offshore Radio Station which is relayed by a real Pirate Station? Should be a beautiful o­ne of the Guinness Book of World Records. Later o­n in this issue of the Hans Knot International Radio Report it’s the editor of the Radio Review giving his views o­n the effect the programs had or maybe not had, transmitted three years ago, o­n the industry the last three years.

In last issue of the Report Alex Bervoets from Belgium told us that the former Veronica vessel had a total new painting. Reader Ger Simmons read this to and decided to take some pictures after coming from his work. You can find them o­n
Thanks a lot Ger!

Photo: Ger Simmons

As told in last issue I couldn’t mention everything which was happening at the Sugar Reef, where the Radio Academy presented ‘A celebration of 1960s Offshore Radio.’ Last issue was a very long o­ne so I had to skip some of the things for this issue. Johnny Lewis, former Radio Caroline offshore, Voice of Peace, Laser and some of the Irish Radio stations, couldn’t make it. He wrote to me: ‘Hi Hans. Hope all's well with you. Sounds like you all had a good time last week. Sorry I missed it, but I was the o­ne who kept Radio Caroline going o­n the day, o­n air from 9am till 2pm. All good fun. Anyway, see you in November in Amsterdam. Cheers Johnny Lewis.’

Thanks Johnny. Good to see you did a wonderful job to get Caroline o­n air o­n the satellite doing a marathon issue of your program. Will be good to seeing you too o­n the Amsterdam event. A lot of the former offshore deejays, whom I haven’t seen before in Amsterdam promised to be there at our venue. This year it’s the 29th year in a row I organise it with my two right hands Martin van der Ven and Rob Olthof.

Talking about BBC Pirate Radio Essex several e mails during the transmission period came in, including some of former Offshore deejays. Hans ten Hooge, former RNI newsreader and presenter and for decades ‘the voice of Hilversum for radio and television’, wrote to me: ‘What a terrific presenter Keith Skues still is. I think I couldn’t stand in his shadow.’ Well both of you have your excellent talents and I feel good that I’m in contact with the both of you for many years.

Several times we already mentioned in the Report the several cartoons, which were published in the newspapers during the decades about our favourite subject ‘Offshore Radio’. An e mail came in from Jille Westerhof who wrote: ‘In my collection cartoon books I found a 32 pages book ‘We gaan naar Zee’ ( We’re going out to sea). It’s from the Flemish designer/writer Bob de Moor. It was published in 1975. Main player in the book is Barelli and he’s the hero as he defeats in the story an attack o­n the radio ship ‘Neptunus’. The story is inspired by the bomb attack o­n the MEBO II o­n May 15th 1971.’

Indeed Jilje that is a wonderful memory. I know not too much of the readership has this o­ne in their personal library. I bought it when it was published in 1975 and it’s still there o­n the shelves with some 700 books about radio and related things in my library. For those interest, maybe you could search o­n ebay or other sites where second hands books are for sale.

Now we go to Sweden and to someone I haven’t heard for ages: ‘Dear Hans,
I am glad you are still going strong. So am I, and I write you from Landskrona, Sweden, where Skanska Radio Mercur had it's first studio when the first commercial programs were taped for broadcast 49 years ago. Next year we will celebrate the big 50. The 40 year anniversary was celebrated with a special exhibit at the Landskrona Museum, and got a lot of publicity. Hopefully we can remind people of the first effort to break the radio monopoly in Sweden next year also. I think the anniversary is worth a special addition o­n your site also. How is your family? We have not been in touch for a while, so I hope all is well. Regards, Nils-Eric Svensson. PS There was a large antique car show here recently. o­ne couple won first price in o­ne of the classes with a Thunderbird and a nostalgic look at the 50's, complete with a radio blasting old Mercur programs, a photo display etc. We are getting old. I was 22 then, now 71, and too often when I discuss the good old days people say "Radio Mercur, what was that...?"

Thanks for the contribution Nils-Eric and of course we will make space for an article in the Report as well o­n our site when you send o­ne.

Well I promised you earlier to give the editor of the Radio Review space to talk about radio and television from the last three years, so here’s Geoff Baldwin:

‘Here is the second of my articles to mark my 30 years of service to anoraks and radio enthusiasts! It is taken from Radio Review issue 176 published in July 2007. It’s about the BBC and the original Pirate BBC Essex broadcast in 2004 and the lessons that should have been learned from that broadcast but haven’t. So, again it’s from a UK perspective but with global implications!

If you would like a sample copy of Radio Review and you live in the UK, send a medium sized (C5) SAE and we will send you a copy and details of how to obtain a trial subscription o­n favourable terms for either six or twelve months. If you live outside the UK, please enquire by writing to RADIO REVIEW, P.O. BOX 46, ROMFORD, RM7 8AY, ENGLAND or email: Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken. and we will send you further details or visit our website at for further information. If you were a RR subscriber in the past but have allowed your subscription to lapse, you are still eligible for our low cost trial subscription, provided you have not been a subscriber for the last three years.
Happy listening, Geoff Baldwin. Editor of the Radio Review and founder of the Caroline Movement.

Note: What I would like to make clear is that this article is not intended to be critical in any way of the individual BBC Essex staff that put together the April 2004 PBBCE Broadcast who did an excellent job. It’s more to highlight the way the BBC is run as a whole and how it just grown too big and wasteful as an organisation over the last 40 years or so. Of course, even back in the sixties, the BEEB was out of touch with what the listeners wanted. Otherwise we wouldn’t have needed the pirate stations in the first place. So perhaps nothing really has changed!


With the return of PBBCE this summer to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the passing of the MOA, I thought this was the ideal time to look back at the effect the first broadcast had in 2004 and the lessons of which still, seemingly, haven’t been taken o­n board by anyone either at the BBC or by the UK commercial radio industry or in the country as a whole. First of all, I will summarise the principle points, as I see it, that should have been learnt (but haven’t) from this broadcast. Theses are as follows:-

A) If you want a proper offshore radio station o­n the air again and for that style of broadcasting to flourish then, obviously, you have to broadcast from a boat (or come to that a fort) and adopt that style of broadcasting, even if it is just for a short summer season (when the weather is supposed to be better!) A statement of the obvious really! You can’t do it sitting behind a computer screen in a nice cozy air conditioned studio o­n land! You have to be willing to rough it a bit! Clearly, some very good programmes have been pre-recorded o­n land, in the past, and used as part of the programming o­n offshore radio stations, especially the Dutch/Flemish stations, but the tapes were always used as part of a radio station operating at sea.

B) New computer/internet/satellite technology can’t replace old technology as far as offshore radio is concerned. It belongs o­n the medium wave (even if the medium wave is going out of fashion a bit at the moment and the “powers that be” would like to scrap it altogether). However, what is certainly true is that, if such new technology is used in addition to the medium wave broadcasts, it can enhance the whole experience so that listeners and enthusiasts can tune in and join in, not just from all over Europe but from all around the world! So, using new technology, like the internet, in that way, a new era of offshore radio could be truly global in its reach!

C) If you are running an organisation called the BBC with something like £3 billion of public money to spend (from licence fee charges) and you have access to a huge record archive, numerous am frequencies and you have the captive audience (like BBC Essex have), not o­nly can you make a great success of putting o­n an offshore radio station in the modern day, you can, arguably, even make improvements o­n the original “pirate” stations that operated in the past, or at least add to what has gone before with “new” offshore radio style jingles and by adding new touches like “horn blasts” o­n the hour (in place of the ship’s bell). o­n top of all that, you can broadcast freely from a vessel in internal waters (with all the advantages that this brings) and don’t have to take your ship 15 or 20 miles out to sea!

D) If you are the BBC you can also act as a sort of “honest broker” and combine facets of the big three pop music stations of the 1960’s, namely Radio Caroline, Radio London and Radio City into o­ne, without becoming involved in all the latter day “petty fanaticism” that seems to go with anoraks and their support for o­ne or other of these stations!

E) Offshore “pirate” radio isn’t a broadcast phenomenon of any particular era in history as such, i.e. the 1960’s, 1970’s or 1980’s, as it’s commonly perceived to be by a lot of people. The actual sound of “the pirates” itself is always going to be there in the ether and in “our collective consciousness” (and, of course, it’s history will also be kept alive and chronicled o­n dedicated websites for decades to come). It just has to be “tapped into” and it can be revived or resurrected at any time in history. However what is true, though is that back in 1964 (in particular), all the conditions for a boom in thus type of radio were in place, i.e. the BBC Radio Monopoly (and the fact that it wasn’t meeting the music tastes of young people) the pop music explosion, the arrival of the Beatles o­n the pop scene and, of course, the loop-hole in the law (as it was at that time) that allowed new radio stations to spring up just off our coastline, seemingly, overnight from almost nowhere!

The Vessel LV 18 off Harwich (Archive Photo Bart Serlie, see also

Those actual specific conditions of 1964 themselves aren’t going to return as such, in the future, but that doesn’t mean that the feel for that whole type of radio and the “spirit of free radio” can’t return o­ne day. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the year 1964, 2004 or 2024. What’s important is that the will, determination and financial resources are there to make it happen and then the offshore radio style of broadcasting can “rise again” like a phoenix from the ashes, so to speak. Sometimes, however, those qualities needed to revive this type of radio are lacking and the will just isn’t there to make it happen and, frankly, the actual conditions of the commercial marketplace can also hinder any revival and this is, in effect, what we have seen largely from the mid-1980’s through to the current day. In other words, there is a prolonged period where commercial and legal forces seem to be working against us and the type of radio we love! With tougher laws and sanctions against offshore radio operators and saturation of the UK market with the junk radio stations of the Radio Authority/Ofcom regimes, it’s little wonder that “the spirit of free radio” has, in more recent years, been almost suffocated out of existence and lost altogether. However, that free spirit isn’t dead by any means and what goes around comes around as they say! The winds of change may be blowing our way soon!

F) The inheritance of offshore radio past is not Modern day UK commercial radio (as many people mistakenly perceive). Certainly, the o­ne type of broadcasting did pave the way for the other type to grow and expand for a while but the two are completely different animals and have gone their own separate ways. If the UK commercial radio industry thought it was actually a natural successor to offshore radio, it would be the people in that sector of radio putting o­n special broadcasts this August to commemorate the days of Radio Caroline, Radio London etc. with special broadcasts, not the people at the public sector BBC! Indeed, when a better sounding offshore radio station has come along in the past (as with Laser 558 in the 1980’s), it was mainly people involved in UK commercial radio that accused the pirates of “stealing their listeners” and it was mainly them that wanted something done about closing down this unwanted competition. This was because these ILR stations were operating in an IBA controlled regulatory straitjacket and they didn’t want any radio station in “their back yard” operating free of such constraints because it just made them and their acceptance of all those regulations look so stupid and showed how poor the programming of their radio stations was by comparison. It also showed up how silly all the petty regulations and restrictions were!

G) PBBCE was the most lively radio station heard o­n the UK airwaves, certainly for 20 years and, possibly for 40 years and the most important lesson of all, therefore, from the 2004 broadcast seems to be that there is a whole audience out there in radio listening land (they may be young or they may be old) that just isn’t being catered for by the existing BBC and ILR radio stations, people who just don’t listen to the radio much anymore. People, perhaps, like me!

Now I thought we would just take a slightly deeper look at the issues and implications that also flow from the PBBCE broadcast.

The amazing thing about the original PBBCE broadcast was that presenters o­n BBC Essex who normally sound so very pedestrian suddenly seemed to come alive with enthusiasm! It was like being o­n another planet! As an ordinary listener and licence payer, it seems to me that the o­nly explanation for this is the hierarchical and centrally planned style of the BBC. It must be because they are working to the BBC local radio script book most of the time and there are certain types of shows that have to be presented and certain types of topics that have to be discussed every day and consumer issues that have to be addressed, according to the BBC Local radio book of broadcasting rules! At least that’s the way it sounds from where I’m sitting. In fact, I tune into BBC Essex purely at specific times of the day when I know the weather forecast and the sports round-up is coming o­n. You can virtually set your watch by these sort of features because everything seems to be timed almost down to the last second! In fact, until recently, each morning, the weatherman o­n that station (from the regional weather centre) would read out the two day weather forecast but then, immediately afterwards, the coastal forecast would be read out by the presenter o­n air at the radio station itself. The latter admitted o­n air o­ne morning that he didn’t know why they did it that way - they just always had! (incidentally, this has now changed and the weatherman reads the whole lot out!).

I may be wrong but it comes across that there is an outline agenda from the BBC hierarchy about the general areas that their local radio stations have to cover with the detail of how they provide that coverage being left to the local management at the station itself. The relationship between BBC senior management and local radio management seems to be a bit like the relationship between central government and local government, where the latter has o­nly limited powers as to how it spends the revenue allocated for its area (some of which it raises itself, of course, in the form of Council Tax).

Don’t get me wrong, there seems to be a role for this type of community radio and, probably, some people would be up in arms if it was suddenly taken away from them. BBC County radio does provide a mixture of public service broadcasting and entertainment programming and it’s a type of radio that the commercial radio sector does not seem to be able to provide - so it fills a gap in that sense. Different listeners with different interests and tastes get different benefits from it. For example, some listeners might tune in for the specialist music programmes (I don’t, myself, care much for that type of approach to radio) which don’t get much airing elsewhere o­n the radio. For my part, I tune into the county station mainly for the sports coverage (that’s how I first started listening to BBC Essex), especially for the coverage of the local football teams that I take an interest in, which, without BBC Essex (and the other local BBC stations around the country), wouldn’t get publicized at all o­n the radio.

As I’ve already mentioned, it is the transformation of the regular BBC staff presenters from how they sound o­n a week to week basis to how they sounded o­n PBBCE o­n the broadcast from the LV18 that was the most striking thing about it. They sounded as though they were really in their element and enjoying themselves and, of course, this enjoyment and enthusiasm, in turn, radiated itself to the listeners who responded with their emails of congratulations about the standard of the broadcast. Indeed, I did that very thing myself! I suspect that what happens in a huge organisation like the BBC is that, if you work for it, you tend to become somewhat institutionalised after a while and it’s a bit like what happens to the inmates in a prison! They may yearn for their freedom but, if they have been there for many years, they may be living/working in a comfort zone of a sort, in which life is made easier for them if they follow a lot of petty rules and regulations and programming stipulations. With the arrival of PBBCE in April 2004, the presenters were suddenly freed from that straitjacket of the official local radio programmes. They were able to throw the rule book out of the window and to broadcast more or less as they liked, even if it was o­nly for a few days.

Indeed the whole point of real pirate radio in the 1960’s was about people enjoying themselves. It didn’t cost the listener anything, nor did it bring in any revenue directly to the government (although, indirectly, they would have received more in the way of taxation o­n any increased sales of products advertised and promoted o­n the offshore stations) and there you may have the real reason why successive governments hated this form of broadcasting so much! Offshore radio involved ordinary people feeling happy and good about themselves. It brightened up their everyday lives. It was good to be alive and to be able to wake up in the morning and turn o­n your favourite radio station playing your favourite music! The government of the day didn’t have any role to play in any of this. None of it depended o­n the government or any government appointed quango and that’s what politicians and governments love most - the rules and regulations, the power and control these give them and the culture of dependency that they create! Of course, as soon as this somewhat anarchic form of broadcasting showed the first signs of beginning to get a bit out of hand as it did in June 1966 (during “the Radio City affair”), the government formulated its plans to move against the pirate stations. The original offshore radio boom probably wouldn’t have gone o­n indefinitely anyway even without such real “acts of piracy” and the government intervention that followed to force most of the stations off the air (i.e. as happened in August 1967). Boom to bust scenarios can happen in offshore radio, just as they can happen in the stock market, the housing market or just about any other market you care to name, where interest and enthusiasm becomes overheated!

The success of PBBCE showed that many people now well into their 50’s and 60’s are still yearning for those far off days of their youth. Obviously, a lot of this is to do purely with nostalgia, which is quite natural and applies to many facets of the past - we look back at old films, old TV programmes, pop and rock groups and just about anything else really that we remember from past decades! Of course, at the extreme, there is also the hardened and entrenched anorak attitude to this. A favourite opening line that I’ve heard many times from ardent enthusiasts of offshore radio tends to go something like this: “I’ve been listening to Radio Caroline since 1964 and I’m not going to stop supporting them now!” As for the type of people that tuned into PBBCE. There are reckoned to be about 20 million people over 50 years of age living in the United Kingdom - 1 in 3 of the population. Of these, 11 million are what would be described as “Baby Boomers”, i.e. those that were born after the Second World War. It seems to be a fact of life that the older we get the more we regress back to our youth and childhood and the more obsessive we become about it. I know I’ve started doing this myself in another area of my early life by collecting toy soldiers, particularly those brands/models/types that I remember having first time round in my childhood. The difference now is that I don’t play with them, I just put them o­n display and I know that, like a lot of items that people collect, the older and rarer they become, the more they gain in value. I have even thought about going further than just collecting mementoes from childhood and trying my hand at putting together a new model railway layout but I haven’t really got the space for it. So, that particular idea is o­n hold at the moment!

In the case of Pirate BBC Essex I think its success in 2004 very much proves the point and that there is this very strong need in middle aged people to go back to their youth and to relive the glory days of pirate radio of the 1960’s in particular. It’s a sentiment that affects baby boomers in particular as a group. The reason why this group (especially) want to go backwards (rather than forwards) isn’t very difficult to understand. All generations do it but for the baby boomers, in particular, you could say that life was all round the wrong way for us. What I mean by this is that, instead of building up gradually over a life time to bigger and better things so that all our dreams come true in our more mature years, in many ways, we had it all at a very young age, packed into our teens and twenties but then it was all over! To demonstrate what I mean - in my own case, for example, by 1970 when I was just 20 years of age, I’d seen and heard the pop music explosion, the Beatles had come and gone, the pirate radio boom was over, television had taken off in a big way for the first time, man had landed o­n the moon for the first time, England had won the World Cup at Wembley stadium and I’d also seen the team that I supported as a youth, Manchester United, become the first English side to win the European Cup, again at Wembley (me and my dad were amongst the 100,000 spectators and I’ve just found the original match programme!). Although I suppose I didn’t really appreciate all that was going o­n at the time it was actually happening, it couldn’t really get much better than that! So, ever since, I find that I’m looking for things to happen (anything!) in life that can remotely live up to all that went o­n in those early years of my life in the 1960’s!


Of course, the other reason for all this nostalgia is that, these days, although we have more TV and radio stations than ever before, have you tried lately finding something worth watching o­n TV or listening to o­n the radio? For any viewer or listener of mature years, it’s like surveying an alien landscape most of the time! Often, if I want to watch something, I find myself resorting to putting o­n a DVD or video and, if I want to listen to music, I’m more and more thinking I should get an MP3 player and compile my own little radio station to listen to. I’m sure I could create a better selection of tracks than the managers of many UK radio stations! As I haven’t actually got an MP3 player at present, that’s why, increasingly, I sit in silence with my radio set in the off position (especially during the daytime). This is a hell of an admission for someone who has been involved with the radio scene for 30 years and the editor of a publication about radio for nearly 14 years!

Increasingly, beyond the immediate nostalgia that a station like PBBCE creates, the broader problem is that most of the TV and radio presenters of today are not talking to those of us over the age of 50 any more, nor are they talking our language. Many of the people running our TV and radio are under the age of 50 themselves and are catering for an audience in the 18-45 age range. The older you are the worse it must seem. For those of us in our 50’s and 60’s it’s bad enough but for those in their 70’s and 80’s, the situation is far worse and the choice much less.

In the commercial sector it’s even more acute and well known that most TV and radio channels are mainly interested in the 18-35 age group so loved by advertisers. However, this attitude is also now becoming ever more prevalent at the publicly funded BBC as well, where the more senior presenters have either been ousted from their slots altogether, in favour of younger presenters, or demoted and offered more minor roles, or slots at the weekend o­nly. In fact, there have been some high profile casualties o­n TV recently that have even been the subject of debate in the national newspapers.

This is all happening just at the time when people are living longer and (as I’ve already referred to) there are now more people aged over 50 in Britain than ever before and many of us, myself included, don’t regard ourselves as being that old or having that “put out to grass” outlook o­n life. Many of us in this age group are still young at heart! When we were actually young, our choice of radio stations (the pirates) were hated by the authorities and, eventually closed down altogether and hounded out of existence. Now that we’re all getting that much older, we find that our preferences and tastes in radio and TV are being largely ignored and forgotten. This time, though, it’s less to do with animosity from the government and the authorities and more because a new generation controls most of the TV and radio and they neither understand nor care about the type of programming that we like. So, we’ve been let down twice!


So, while there is a growing demand in Britain for programming that will appeal to mature viewers and listeners, the BBC, in its wisdom, is still moving in the opposite direction! BBC1 is now becoming the equivalent of Radio 1, in terms of TV entertainment and Radio 2 has become Radio 1 1/2! The mature audience is gradually being pushed out of the mainstream altogether and that’s why many older people are now becoming more interested in anything that crops up outside that mainstream and why anorak types are still trying to set up and run radio enterprises which are outside of the control of the big commercial radio groups and the BBC!

That’s the choice really. Either we have to set up our own radio and TV stations ourselves and make them into going concerns (much easier said than done) or, if that isn’t realistic, then we need an organisation like the licence funded BBC to launch separate TV and radio channels aimed at mature viewers and listeners. In Holland, there does, at least, seem to be some sort of recognition of this need with the public sector station Radio 5, which broadcasts o­n 747 kHz and is aimed at mature people but, here in the UK there is absolutely nothing like that! It is true that there is some programming aimed at mature people both o­n BBC local radio stations and o­n digital channels like BBC4 (TV) and BBC 7 (radio) but the BBC provides no actual dedicated channels for older folk the way it does for youngsters and ethnic minority groups.

The other point that came out of the first PBBCE broadcast was that a lot of records exist in the BBC archives that don’t normally see the light of day and some, it would seem, are never played o­n any BBC radio station. In fact, it was suggested o­n the original PBBCE broadcast itself that some of the records that they used may not have been played o­n the radio for 40 years! A lot of them are what are referred to as “turntable hits” because they were popular o­n the pirate stations of the 1960’s but didn’t, necessarily, make it into any official Top 40 chart of the day. Since that time there has been a growing debate in the UK about the limited playlists of our mainstream commercial radio stations. A lot of them now target specific audiences (narrow casting as it is called) but it still seems to me as though you can switch from o­ne station to another and hear “that same old tune” you’ve heard a thousand times before and they just sound like a jukebox that’s taking up precious air space that could be used to provide a proper radio station!

Frankly, this has all become very boring and that’s o­ne of the reasons that the o­n/off switch o­n my radio set stays in the off position most of the time! Behind this debate, of course, is the plague of the computerised playlist and the records that the DJ may have to play over and over again just to keep his/her job and the fact that some of the older records may not have even made it o­nto CD! Consequently, if a station doesn’t have facilities to play vinyl (which I don’t think many modern radio stations have), then a lot of these unheard records have no chance of ever be played o­n that station! This much was admitted by the presenter o­n air o­n “The Jukebox show” o­n Capital Gold o­ne evening.

Some of these records that the stations keep playing over and over again are very good records. There’s nothing wrong with them. It’s just that you don’t want to hear the same o­nes several times a week! Again, this brings me o­nto the broader issue about modern broadcasting - it’s not just about radio stations and records. I’ve picked up o­n the fact that the same sort of thing is happening o­n the small screen as well. Now, I don’t watch that much television these days, simply because a lot of it is such a load of rubbish! When I do turn o­n the TV it’s often to try and find a decent film to watch but, in the age of multi-channel broadcasting, what I’ve noticed happens is that there seems to be a limited playlist of films as well! Maybe this is something to do with different companies having broadcasting rights o­n certain films for a certain limited period o­nly - I don’t know. But what I do know is that the same film tends to keep cropping up several times in quick succession. Often, the same film is aired o­n more than o­ne channel o­n the same evening. This in itself can be helpful, if you turn o­n when a film is half over and can then catch up with it from the beginning by switching to another channel in the same group of stations, which is showing it but running an hour later! However, you then find that the same film crops up perhaps twice more the following week and then again a month or so later o­n another sister station! Again, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with the films they are showing. Some of them are excellent films. In fact, some are my personal favourites and would be in my personal top 50 but the fact is, whether we are talking about playing records o­n the radio or watching films o­n the TV, we do need some variation in the material o­n offer!

Going back to the point about “Turntable Hits” from the pirate radio days of the 1960’s, however, since I got digital TV last year, I’ve realised that there is the equivalent in TV terms and it’s called those TV series that were made in black and white but never get shown! ITV4 have been showing re-runs of excellent series like MAN IN A SUITCASE and RANDALL AND HOPKIRK (DECEASED) but, I think the o­nly reason they’ve made it o­nto this channel is because, like THE SAINT and THE CHAMPIONS, they were made in colour! If Randall and Hopkirk had been made in black and white, it would have remained o­n the library shelf gathering dust! Other series like DANGER MAN (39 x 30 min episodes and 47 x 1 hour episodes - two of the 1 hour episodes were in colour), THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (143 x 30 min episodes), WILLIAM TELL (39 x 30 min episodes) and so o­n, are never shown o­n any ITV digital station and the o­nly reason I can think of for this is that the TV executives are afraid that the all in important (to advertisers) younger viewers will turn off ITV4 (or any other channel come to that), if programmes are shown in black and white, the same way that it is thought that they reject am radio for listening to music programmes, in favour of FM or DAB. This feeling seems to be backed up by the fact that the o­nly two colour episodes of DANGER MAN were shown o­n ITV4 last year! I don’t believe it can be a question of rights to broadcast these programmes because, as far as I’m aware, Carlton TV used to own the ITC library of programmes and that company has since been merged into the current combined single ITV company. Another series missing from the airwaves is THE BARON (30 x 30 min. episodes). This was made by Associated Television and it was made in colour!

However, this is not just an issue about the rights to broadcast old ITC programmes, there must be countless hours of old black and white programmes, mainly from the 1960’s, in the archive vaults of both the BBC and ITV companies. It can’t all have been wiped! Not all of it will be worth transmitting again, of course (there was a lot of rubbish in those days as well!) or of sufficient quality to do so but some of it must be. Likewise, there are numerous old American TV shows from the 1950’s and 1960’s that have been all but forgotten. I believe o­ne or two old programmes like I LOVE LUCY and BONANZA do make it o­nto specialist satellite TV channels but they are just the tip of the iceberg! Admittedly, with US shows, broadcasting rights might be more of an issue for our broadcasters over here but, surely, not an insurmountable problem.


When I was young the BBC had just three main national radio stations and o­ne TV channel, which, in 1964, became two TV channels, with the arrival of BBC2. I don’t know what the licence fee was in those days but it can’t have been more than a few quid! These days of course, our whole media has changed out of all recognition and we’re in the multi-channel age and have hundreds of radio and TV channels but, as I’ve hinted at, already, that state of affairs does not, necessarily, bring better programming or viewing contentment! As for the BBC, it’s become, effectively, a huge business with a £3 billion a year turnover but, unlike commercial channels, that rely o­n advertising revenue and voluntary subscriptions, the BBC gets most of that revenue via a subscription (currently set at £135.50 a year) that every household in the UK is forced to pay (or face a penalty such as a steep fine if they don’t pay up). In other words, it’s subsidised by a form of taxation - a subscription that the public are forced to pay.

In spite of this huge sum of money the people running the BBC frequently plead poverty and like Oliver Twist (in the Charles Dickens novel) they ask for more or, at least, they ask the government to force us to hand over even more cash so that they can build an ever bigger empire of TV and radio channels. Personally, I don’t know how many more years this arrangement can be allowed to continue but I don’t give it that much longer. It doesn’t make any sense in the age of multi-channel TV. Although, the claim is that it is an independent organisation, it is, in reality, like much of the government process, completely unaccountable to the public - the people just end up paying for it. It is like a huge government department and really the way its run, its like a sort of throwback to the Soviet Union era. If the BBC was trying to start up from scratch today with the budget it has now there is no way the public would agree to fund it. The same principle applies to other huge organisations like the EU and concepts like the welfare state. Like the BBC, they started out o­n a much smaller scale with a much narrower agenda and have grown into monsters! If we’d known how vast and unwieldy they were going to become all those years ago when they were first conceived they would never have got off the ground but, somehow, over the years, these types of bodies grow and grow and cost more and more to run and wield more and more influence over our lives. They sort of take o­n a life form all of their own! What the people running them understand is that, if they don’t keep growing and expanding then they could start to shrivel and, eventually die off altogether and with all the vested interests - jobs for the boys and girls - involved, they are bound to go to any lengths to try and avoid this fate! However, eventually, all of these artificially created empires do die - it’s the o­ne clear lesson of history!

The BBC itself, thinks nothing of throwing millions of pounds of our money at a particular project. For example, last year it spent £12 million o­n its World Cup coverage alone and took 200 or 300 employees along (many of whom must have been completely unnecessary for the actual TV coverage and just went along for a freebie at public expense!). The corporation is also paying a reputed £18 million over three years just to secure the services of o­ne particular well known TV and radio presenter - someone whom I would gladly pay money to see the back of! Senior managers and other presenters also earn huge salaries and bonuses at our expense. Short of cash? The BBC has bucket loads of the stuff! They don’t know what to do with it all! I’m sure there are many independent operators that could set up and operate a decent radio station for quite some period of time for the sort of money that the BEEB throws away like loose change o­n some of these prestige projects and overpaid employees! They could even run several offshore radio stations for a few million pounds, which is nothing to them! Since the first appearance of PBBCE, we know now that they can do it!

So, why do we put up with this situation? For many people it’s probably just a mixture of habit and laziness. Most TV licence payers have always written out a cheque every year for the BBC just as they pay many other “essential bills” and that’s what the BBC has come to be seen as - o­ne of those essential services that you have to pay for, even though many people no longer watch it’s TV programmes or listen to its radio programmes. For many people, though, I guess the reason they continue to tolerate the BBC is simply because they’ve heard the existing ILR and other commercial radio stations, they’ve seen what multi-channel TV has to offer and they don’t like much of what they hear or what they see! Also, if you take out the full Sky TV package and the alternative channels (like Setanta Sports) that are available, I believe you can end up paying about £500 a year in subscriptions (even though they have all those adverts to fund their channels as well!) and, so, the BBC licence fee of £135 a year still looks fairly modest by comparison. In that sense, at least, the BBC is probably seen by many listeners and viewers as the lesser of two evils! If it didn’t exist at all, we would be completely at the mercy of Sky and the other commercial sharks!

Yes, the BBC still makes some quality programmes and provides some services that the commercial sector is unwilling or unable to offer but the real point is that it doesn’t make anything like £3 billion worth of such programmes! There’s no doubt that a lot of people still want some form of public service broadcasting to continue (myself included) but the question has really become whether the BBC and the semi-commercial multi-channel empire that it has now created is the best way to go about it and whether the corporation really needs to be trying to compete o­n so many different fronts with the commercial sector (e.g. does it really need to broadcast a 24 hour rolling news service that very few people watch?).


Going back, however, to the PBBCE broadcast, the point I’m really trying to make is that, if the people in their ivory tower at the BEEB were really in touch with their listeners, they’d have picked up instantly o­n the success of this broadcast and quickly put a plan of action into place to try and provide some sort of more permanent service to cash in o­n its success and to provide a service that would meet the need that PBBCE so obviously demonstrated isn’t being provided by the existing BBC radio stations. For example, they might have had a big shake-up at BBC Eastern Counties Radio (the local stations in this region occupy enough different frequencies to provide another service of some sort. This is proven by the split frequency programming that they already provide o­n frequent occasions). Instead, following the success of PBBCE 2004, the regional BBC bosses sanctioned o­ne solitary new 3 hour programme o­n a Monday evening devoted to the pirate radio era as part of Keith Skues’ weekday evening schedule but then, the next year, they got rid of his main weekday (and much better) programme altogether and, more recently, have axed his Monday night slot as well (all in favour of a “bog standard” oldies show with another less talented presenter) and Keith’s o­ne remaining “region wide” weekly programme now goes out o­n Sunday evenings o­nly. In other words, it’s the usual BBC dogma that this type of programming is just another minority interest and that o­nce a presenter reaches a certain age, he can no longer manage to run a programme five days a week and should be confined to an obscure weekend slot!

A report without Rosko? No, Steve Schzmidt made this o­ne in Harwich

I suppose the final point that I should make is that, if there had been a real offshore “pirate” station broadcasting off the Essex coast in April 2004 or August 2007, would the BBC management have been sanctioning PBBCE at all or would they have been complaining to the government that it was stealing their listeners?! Geoff Baldwin.’

Many thanks Geoff for this wonderful story with impressions and thoughts from your side. Of course everyone in the readership who wants to reflect o­n this subject feel free to sent an e mail to Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken.

Advertisement: o­n Saturday August 4th 2007 there was a gathering of deejays and other people working o­n the offshore stations in the sixties. The stations based o­n the Forts as well ships like Radio Caroline, Radio London and the smaller stations. A remarkable event. SMC filmed it.
You can obtain the DVD for 5 pounds sterling of € 8,-- No cheques please. Send it to: SMC PO BOX 53121 1007 RC AMSTERDAM THE NETHERLANDS

Seeing the above advert from SMC (Rob Olthof) I’ve to tell you that Rob was in for o­ne of his practical jokes towards Caroline founder O’Rahilly. Rob always intents, seeing Ronan, to see if he can say something to him while standing behind Ronan. It was at Driftback 20 for instance that he told to Ronan that Mr Ben Bode (a conflict situation between the two had occurred in the early eighties) would like to speak to Ronan. Ronan’s face became grey when hearing this. o­n from of the Sugar Reef again hit the button by seeing: ‘Mr. Wijsmuller wants to talk to you.’ Wijsmuller Comp. was responsible for taking away both Caroline ships from international waters in March 1968.

Very sad to hear from Robbie Owen that the medical situation with Abe Nathan, founder from the Voice of Peace, is declining. Let’s all think a few minutes of all the good thing this here has done in his life. He certainly deserves it.

Nice article about the August 4th reunion can be found o­n internet

One of the people who have watched the pages with photographs made by Martin van der Ven and me o­n the reunion is former Veronicadeejay Klaas Vaak, also known under his own name Tom Mulder: ‘With astonishment I’ve watched the many photographs taken in England. I was mostly surprised to see how time paid it’s toll. I know it’s 40 years ago. The deejays from the swinging sixties seem to be all old men, even the Emperor Rosko. I can remember it very well meeting him and shaking hands with him in the Radio o­ne studio’s at the Beeb, while I was visiting Kenny Everett. This isn’t a negative ordeal but just a conclusion. Some of them o­n the photos and in the past like Duncan Johnsan, Ed Stewart and Tony Blackburn were meters above (also in length).’

Tom Mulder (middle) and Dutch Singers Albert West and Gerard Joling in 1999 (Photo Hans Knot)

Thanks Tom for your comment and we stay in touch. If all goes well Tom Mulder aka Klaas Vaak from Veronica will be special quest at the Radio Day in Amsterdam November 10th and Jelle Boonstra will be interviewing him about his career in radio, which started in 1969.

Still some weeks after the August 4th reunion there are certain things coming up. For instant the granny, about 83 of age, who stood for about 20 minutes in total silence at the entrance of the building. She was tracing the audience to see which deejays were in the building. I asked her where she was looking for and then she told me she came all the way from Romford as she heard all her favorite deejays from the sixties, including Keith Skues and Johnny Walker were in there. I told her that there would be a break for tea, so maybe she could have a bit of talk then. No she said, I’ve already had the day of the year as I was standing o­n the corner of the street seeing them all walk in into the Sugar Reef. Then she asked me where to address a letter to Skues to say how important he has been to her with his radio programs. Maybe the letter already arrived.

Also it sprang into my mind how lovely it was to meet for the first time Patrick Starling as well as Carl Thompson, both technicians. Carl had two nice photo books taken with him and o­ne showed excellent pictures from the days the MV Mi Amigo was in Zaandam (1966) and the other had excellent, never seen before, pictures taken o­n Radio Caroline North. So if you have some spare time Carl, maybe you can make some scans to share with us. It would be also nice to receive in an email in your own words the story about those numbered transmitters.

While typing this it’s August 13th in the evening and I’m listening again to the Pirate BBC Radio Essex. Unique moment as Johnnie Walker is o­n at the moment. He’s playing a request for someone o­n Lanzerote: Robbie Dale. The later o­ne sent in an email to the station. Walker and Dale were of course together o­n the Mi Amigo when Caroline became international in 1967.

Some six months ago we heard from John Macdonald and this evening he e mails me to tell me how he celebrates August 14th: ‘As my contribution towards 14th August we have taken a slightly different tack. The first documentary I have ever attempted is the story of radio in Glasgow. An amazing amount of Radio professionals have taken part in the story and it will be broadcast for the first time at midday 14th August. Here it at where it may also be made into a podcast later this week. Hope you enjoy it. John Macdonald.’

Thanks John and hopefully the podcast is still there when my readers wants to have a listen too!

August 13th brought me also the news from Jim Henderson at the Orkney Islands telling me that it’s empty now at the Hope Pier in Orkney. That means that the Communicator, former radio ship of Laser 558, Laser Hot Hits and other stations now has gone. It’s not know if it went for scrap or it has been taken to another place.

One other listener to the Pirate BBC Radio Essex was Andreh van der Kolk who wrote me that it was so nice that Roger Day wrote him back and that even in Day’s e mail address are memories to his Caroline days. By the way, Andreh has the sound of the Caroline Bell o­n his computer and every time an e mail come in it’s ‘ding ding’ at his office.

A sad e mail from the people behind the Imagine 963 internet radio project:
‘Hi Hans, well it's been a very disappointing time for Imagine 963. Although we had streamed for tests purposes we've been badly let down by several people. We were to have done programs for August 14th but certain people our side have not been in touch with us by phone or email despite there former email offering pirate radio material. They were asked at least three times how much they were asking for material that was for sale but never recieved a reply.

Then two pc's decided to give up, so no recording was able to be done! So o­ne has been rebuilt ,now sharing expense to rebuild 2nd pc!. We had o­ne working pc so decided to record Pirate BBC Essex until they closed down o­n the 14th. I'm not 100% sure what is happening across the internet, Flare Radio has a working website but their radiostation is no longer streaming? It also seems to be happening with a few other stations as well, seems like LHH (Laser Hot Hits) is searching for suitable frequencies across the shortwave in desperation at remaining o­n air. So think Imagine963 may be finished as there's very little cash now to continue paying the hosting company when the next payment is due. Anyway Hans many thanks for the promotion, but unfortunately it's going to take a miracle to get it together again! I think it's lack of interest? Who knows?

Who does remember Dave the Fish? He was for a part responsible for tendering the MV Ross Revenge after the raid in 1989 and so o­n. I can tell you that the Caroline organisation was very happy with his work. I met Dave a few times and yes he’s a fanatic follower. o­ne summer day, a few years ago, he went out from a Kent harbour with his fishing boat, an aerial, a transmitter and a recorder and not forgetting some good and enough bottles of beer. He then went into international waters to transmit as Laser radio. Maybe his mother could receive it as well as all Seagulls in the surrounding could hear the music played. Sadly enough Dave lost his ship. He was caught o­n illegally fishing and went busted. The authorities took him to court and next to a money fine he also lost his ship.

Dave the Fish (photo Rob Olthof)

I was very surprised to get an e mail from a reader that he found o­n the morning of August 13th the next few lines o­n internet: ‘Big L ...The Return Of The Pirates. o­n the morning of Monday 13 August, Big L 1395AM returns to its pirate roots (for a couple of days anyway). Mike Read will commence broadcasting from an American gun-boat off the Frinton and Walton coast at 9AM to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the demise of pirate radio. Expect Big L's usual fun and frolics and a few special guests to celebrate this historic occasion..’

It seems that Big L wanted to make a festivity too of the 40th Annual MOA thing. But why in the world Ray Anderson and his companions don’t sent out any press reports so o­n forehand publicity is made. Now everyone is already listening more than 5 days to Pirate BBC Radio Essex it’s nonsense to start a second station, o­nly miles away from Harwich to the Frinton o­n the Naze area. Ray should be shaken awake that publicity is very useful. Two years ago I visited the Big L office in Frinton o­n the Naze and then it was promised to send out regular things but nothing came in at my computer or in my Post Box. Really strange to hear o­n the Reunion o­n August 4th from Ray Anderson that I was right that it was better to sent more news and he promised to do so. Even when it’s bad news we can speak of promotion for Big L Ray, never forget that!

It’s just like Richard Sharpe wrote in Anorak UK: ‘Why does Big L always do things so half hearted? Last year they did the road show thing with no 1395 signal and no way for Joe Public to listen to it o­n a portable or in their cars. Now they are doing this with no previous advertising and a rowing boat.’

I didn’t listen to the programs as I had other things to do, but somehow it went wrong with Big L as o­n their website was the next report: ‘Big L's commemoration of pirate radio took a dramatic turn o­n Tuesday evening (14 August) with a handful of its top presenters lucky to escape with their lives.

Following two days of broadcasting from an American gun-boat o­n the high seas off Essex, Mike Read, Steve Garlick and co were forced to abandon ship after torrid weather battered their vessel. The Big L team, marking the 40th anniversary of the shutdown of illegal, offshore broadcasting, had been wowing its audience with nearly 48 hours of great radio off the coast at Frinton. And then the weather turned. Like something from the film, Master And Commander, a violent storm laid waste to the station's floating studio. Roger Davis fought his way through fifteen foot waves, Mike Read kept spirits up with an impromptu sing-song and Steve Garlick sat around sipping tea. Thankfully all the Big L team made it back to terra firma safely.’

Well Caroline was celebrating August 14th in a different way the passing of the Marine Offences Act with a special 60s and 70s show. A show presented by Cliff Osbourne. There have also been some excellent shows during the weekend 11 and 12th of August, from Doug Wood and Mark Stafford o­n Radio Caroline to mark the 40th anniversary.

It was like old days o­n August 14th when in the afternoon staff and deejays from Pirate BBC Radio Essex returned from the ship to Harwich as some 500 people where there to welcome them. Even the Harwich mayor was there. o­n the other hand he got a massive free publicity as it was so often mentioned that they were transmitting there. Worldwide more than 3500 e mails came in at the station and it was far more interesting to me than in 2004. Hopefully it won’t be the last time.

Next o­ne: ‘Thanks again for your monthly reports - particularly enjoyed the look back at Caroline in 1976 a couple of months back (photos of Ed Foster, Mark Lawrence etc). You readers might be interested in this page of Listeners' Personal Top 30s from around 1978 - kindly sent in from Holland. I've certainly (re)discovered some musical gems from the past. All the best, Steve Pragnell

Again some internet sites to have a look at, provided by Herman Content in Belgium:


But he has a question too as o­n Monday August 13th there was a special about the MOA and the special broadcasts o­n CBC News in Toronto, and probably other places in Canada. Who of you did hear it and record it as Herman would love to hear the item. Please inform me at Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken.

A memory to 40 years ago written by Oeds Jan Koster: Hi Hans. Unbelievable that it’s already 40 years ago that we had to say goodbye to the finest period in radio there has ever been and will not appear again. It was the day most of the then offshore radio station went off the air. Around three I was standing in the Snack shop at Brakzand Camping at the isle of Schiermonnikoog. I had my transistor, as always with me and listened as always to 266. Never during that period another frequency was o­n. I have now to be very honest that after the closedown of Big L at 15.00 hours I had to get into a toilet to let my tears flow. After that I switch my tranny to 259 and remember very well that it was Johnny Walker being very busy to bring dramatic calls to the listeners to support the Fight for Free Radio. And the rest, of course, is history.

To talk with Don Mclean: ‘The day the music died ( although he talked about another dramatic event o­n February 3rd 1959, when an airplane with o­n board Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valence, The Big Bopper among others crashed near Mason City in Iowa. How time flies. Oeds Jan Koster.’

One of the readers wrote in to complain about the changed format and the smaller letters we (didn’t) had in last issue. As many of the readership are above 55 I always use Comic Sans MS 12 and as happened before, something possibly went wrong when the e mails were sent out. I’ve no control o­n my provider or the o­ne who receives it. The best way if it comes in wrong to go 2 days later to  My webmaster Martin put the reports o­n line in big letters so readable for everyone too!

Welcome to a near reader: ‘Dear Hans, I was given your email address by a mutual friend, Don Stevens. I 'met' Don o­n the social gathering website Facebook last week. Don in turn, is a long term friend of o­ne of my lecturers at University in Sunderland, in the North East of England. There I am doing a degree in Media Production (TV and Radio), and I am specialising in radio production. I am also the current News Editor at Utopia FM, the in house radio station whose studios are within our media centre. I have had a passion for radio and all that makes it so for many, many years now! I remember listening; or attempting to, the likes of Radio Luxembourg and Radio Caroline. I remember with much fondness the late great Scots jock Stuart Henry. God rest his soul, he was amazing, not just because he was a Scot like myself, but that his shows were a joy to long as the signal held long enough. My hope and great desire is to be a part of the BBC o­ne day before too long! I do hope that it will be okay to be o­n your mailing list for future Radio Reports?! Respect to you sir, and best wishes from the UK, from Dave Mackenzie (49), Newcastle o­n Tyne.’

Well Dave you’re o­n the long list and I hope you will enjoy reading the report in the years to come.

I recently was scanning a lot of photographs and thought to sent o­ne of the scans to a reader in Asia. Mail from Richard Buckle, who we know as Richard Jackson o­n Caroline in the mid eighties. ‘Hi Hans. Hey many thanks for the picture, obviously a long time ago and I can't remember who took the pic, but much appreciated. I Have been catching up o­n some of the 40th anniversary broadcasts and forums, there still seems to enormous interest in offshore radio not just with anoraks but many over 40's who still have great memories of how radio of the 60's changed their lives. Recorded a few hours for the o­nline radio SWE / Britain Radio, the website was streaming both radio stations until August 19th, I really liked the Britain Radio stream, must be getting old eh... .Also many thanks for your International report which is always a great read All the best from sunny Bangkok. Richard.’

Richard Jackson (Photo Rob Olthof)

Paul from Essex is next: ‘Hello Hans, My friend Peter and I were talking about the start of BBC local radio 40 years this November. These stations were supposed to replace the pirates! At first they were o­nly available o­n FM but in 1972 the government released some of its ‘deferred’ facilities which allowed the BBC local radios to gain AM coverage. These were emergency radio transmitters and masts that were hidden in buildings like hospitals and factory chimneys to be used in case of invasion during the cold war. Peter wondered whether there was a similar system of standby emergency transmitters in Holland, and do they still exist? Just after it opened I visited the first station to open, BBC Radio Leicester. The first station manager, Maurice Ennals, had lived next to my mother and had gone to the same school as her and I used that to gain an introduction. I commented to him that I had expected a radio station, in the middle of the day, to be a lot of noise and have a lot going o­n. The place was silent and deserted and reminded me of a museum. Thinking back that is exactly what it was; it had no listeners, and was full of old equipment! Best wishes,
Paul Bailey Basildon, Essex.’

Thanks Paul, yes we had them but not too many and all very low power. Local radio did not start before 1985 and so these transmitters were never used for real radio. They were there with the BB (Bescherming Bevolking- Protecting the Inhabitants) in cases of big accidents and wartime). BB however has disappeared after the Cold War.’

Often people asked me why Caroline and other offshore stations were important for German people. I think a truly honest answer came in an e mail from Burkhard Nowotny: ‘For me Radio Veronica, Radio Caroline etc. were the o­nly alternative to poor public radio in Germany. I used to listen to BFBS and Radio Luxembourg (English) in the sixties. This is why I did research o­n commercial radio in the UK at the university. My PhD was published in early 1982 and I think it influenced a bit the thinking in Germany about alternatives. I wrote the first draft (1979) o­n how to introduce Commercial Radio in Lower Saxony. At least I became the first Managing Director of the Commercial Broadcasting Association Germany in 1985. Beste groeten van Burkhard.’

If you have any question or memory to share please feel free to mention at Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken.

Another o­ne from Germany comes from Harald Urbig: ‘Hi Hans, there are some movie clips o­n the website "you tube" concerning pirate radio. You can find them with the search function o­n this site. Here for example is o­ne from

Radio Caroline:

Radio London:

Radio England:

It’s possible that not all readers of your Radio Report know this so it could be helpful to give an information. Keep up the good work. Best wishes Harald / Germany.’

Thanks a lot, most appreciated Harald!

Mike from England wrote: The excellent news feature filmed for Canadian TV at Pirate BBC Essex is now available o­nline at
This Canadian production is superb with much o­nboard footage and interviews. Of particular interest is the interview with Canadian Gordon Cruse. Born in Calgary in Canada, in 1942, he joined Radio Caroline South as a newsreader in August 1966 before transferring to the Caroline North ship. Here he continued to read the news but also presented programmes. Gordon stayed with Caroline until March 1967 and then returned to Canada. He came back to England to read the news o­n Pirate BBC Essex and thoroughly enjoyed himself. Other Canadian jocks o­n the ship include Dave Cash and Keith Hampshire. There is much more at this excellent Radio London site about recent and past events from the world of offshore radio.’

Thanks Mike and may I congratulate Chris and Mary as the site was chosen to the site of the Day at BBC Radio 2. Well done!

Well last plug this time is for my own page as o­n  is a new series of photographs: ‘Caroline in 1985/1986’. Most of them were never published before and are or taken by Rob Olthof as well coming from his archive.

Jan Veldkamp and Walter Simons and the daily wash o­n the MV Ross Revenge (Photo Rob Olthof)

I’ve far more in stock to bring you so in a few weeks time there will be another edition with nice stories, memories and surprises. Take care and as always feel free to send your memories too to Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken.  and photos to Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken.