Radio Nova name tunes in to nostalgia for original station

Despite a struggling marketplace, a new broadcasting venture is set to take to the air in Ireland. RADIO NOVA was a pirate radio phenomenon in Dublin in the early 1980s; from September, a new entity with the same name will return to the airwaves. This time the station is licensed and, while it’s a smart move by the promoters to cash in on the goodwill associated with the name, some Radio Nova originals are not impressed. The driving force behind the pirate Radio Nova was Chris Cary, who died in 2008. The name for the then station and the first jingles were supplied by Belgian radioman AJ Beirens, who was running Radio Nova in Ventimiglia in Italy. At the time he was also involved with the Radio Paradijs vessel, which was being equiped in the port of Dublin. Chris Cary cut his pirate teeth with the legendary Radio Caroline in the 1960s before turning up on Ireland’s shores with Robbie Robinson. They set up Sunshine Radio in 1980 and, a year later, Cary launched Radio Nova, whose broadcasters included Anne Cassin, Bryan Dobson, Dave Harvey, Scott Williams and Gareth O’Callaghan.

Another Nova star was Cary’s wife, Sybil Fennell, who now lives in England. “I think it’s in bad taste for them to use the Nova name but legally there is nothing I can do about it,” she says. “But they definitely won’t be able to use any of the old Nova jingles because I own the copyright to them. They can’t use the original logo either because Chris created that too.” In fact, the logo design for the new Radio Nova, which hasn’t been officially unveiled yet, is strikingly similar to Cary’s branding. Unlike the original, the new station will be exclusively spinning classic rock tracks. The target audience is men in their late 30s and early 40s.

Radio Nova’s backers include experienced radio investors Dermot Hanrahan and Maurice Cassidy; and Ulick McEvaddy, Des Whelan and Kevin Brannigan, who between them also own 45 per cent of oldies station 4FM. Radio Nova is likely to be the last station launch for some time as the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has indefinitely deferred plans to advertise for new regional country music stations. Industry observers wonder whether there is room for another Dublin radio station in a market where advertising revenues fell by more than 25 per cent last year. The most recent radio stations launched in the capital – 4FM and Phantom – are struggling, with 4FM engaged in discussions with the BAI about a format change.

Nova will have its own offices in the Dublin Docklands but it is sharing some financial and advertising scheduling functions with 4FM. The advertising sales functions will be kept separate. According to Radio Nova chief executive David Tighe “there will be a touch of nostalgia about the station because of the name and the type of music. We’re planning to spend about €300,000 to launch the station with advertising, including television and promotions. There are a lot of radio stations in Dublin but the radio business is primarily driven by recall and having a name like Nova can only be a benefit.”

Mark Lynch, director of advertising agency Vizeum, observes: “It’s going to be a challenge as radio is a hugely cluttered market and they will have no hard data to present to advertisers for at least nine months. But coming up to Christmas, Nova could creep on to schedules for advertisers who can’t get slots elsewhere.”


35 years later also RNI and NSGDX remembered

Also ‘Radio Northsea International can at the moment be heard on Surfradio. On August 31st 1974 the offshore radio stations off the Dutch Coast were forced to close down. Surfradio will replay the original programmes as broadcast on Sunday, August 30th 1974, from 12 noon till midnight European time. This includes the closedown at midnight of the English service. On Monday August 31st Surfradio will rebroadcast the final Radio Noordzee programmes from 09.00 in the morning till 20.00 hrs. Between 13.00 and 15.00 hours Monday afternoon you can also hear the final two hours of the International Shortwave service of RNI with AJ Beirens and NSGDX, which was the longest running programme on the station.


Simon Dee, the first voice on Caroline, died on Sunday

Simon Dee, the first presenter to be heard on Radio Caroline in 1964 has died of bone cancer at the age of 74, said his daughter on Sunday. Simon spoke those now famous words, welcoming listeners to Radio Caroline on 199 metres, "Your all day music station". He then went on to find fame on television, hosting television chat shows which attracted 18 million viewers in the late sixties.Simon was born Cyril Nicholas Henty-Dodd and was also the first pirate broadcaster to become a BBC star when he was offered a show on the Light Programme in 1965 which also aired on Radio 1 in 1967.He also had spells on Radio Luxembourg, Radio 210 in the 1980s, and BBC Radio 2 in 2003. Former colleague Tony Blackburn said on his Facebook profile today: "So sorry to hear that my old friend Simon Dee has died. I was out on Radio Caroline with him in the 60's and loved him. He was a brilliant broadcaster who threw it all away sadly because he couldn't handle fame. I appeared on his very successful Dee Time Saturday night TV show, people forget how big he was. My memoried of Simon will always be happy ones. His daughter Domino Henty-Dodd said her father was diagnosed a matter of weeks ago and could not be treated.
"It happened very, very quickly," she told BBC News. "He was dearly loved by his family."
Friends previously told how he was admitted to hospital near his home in Winchester, Hants, in recent weeks.
His condition deteriorated and it was understood that his cancer is so advanced that it is beyond treatment.
Dee, real name Cyril Nicholas Henty-Dodd, moved to Winchester 15 years ago and lived in a tiny, one bedroom flat.
At the height of his fame he compered Miss World, appeared on Juke Box Jury and Top of the Pops helped launch pirate pop station Radio Caroline.
Due to a disagreement between Dee and BBC bosses over Dee's huge salary demands, his contract was reviewed in 1969 and he left the channel.
He was offered £100,000 for a two-year contract with the independent channel LWT and commenced a series with them in January 1970.
But Dee fell out with the LWT management as well and they terminated his contract after only a few months. Dee lived in a tiny flat in Hyde, Winchester, and cut an anonymous figure, far removed from the star who was mobbed on the streets.
Earlier this summer, in his first interview for 20 years, he said: "Sadly, honesty and intelligence have vanished from national TV.
"Truth, interesting stimulating conversation, and, above all, real 'showbusiness' has been replaced by juvenile 'reality' shows and endless audition programmes.
"We need to remember what original entertainers and entertainment is all about.
"I've no regrets. If you change your past, you change your present. Bitterness destroys, but laughter lifts you.
"It's all been enlightening and as a girlfriend said the other day, 'you've still got your hair.'"
Dee was treated at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester.

Former Radio Caroline pioneer Simon Dee very ill

Sixties Caroline dj Simon Dee is terminally ill with bone cancer and friends say he has just days to live. Dee, 74, was admitted to hospital near his Hampshire home in recent weeks. His condition has deteriorated and it is understood that his cancer is so ­advanced that it is beyond treatment. In his brief but glittering heyday, his twice-weekly chat show Dee Time, with US-style opening catchphrase “It’s ­S-i-i-i-i-i-mon Dee”, regularly attracted 18 million viewers and earned him £100,000 annually. John Lennon, Charlton Heston, ­Sammy Davis Jr and Bob Hope were among his guests. He compered Miss World, appeared on Juke Box Jury and Top of the Pops and helped launch offshore station Radio Caroline. But he fell from grace dramatically in rows over his huge salary demands. Having alienated both BBC and ITV, Dee simply disappeared. He signed on for unemployment ­benefit at the Fulham labour exchange and, unable to revive his showbusiness career, took a job as a bus driver.
He also had several court appearances and, in 1974, served 28 days in ­Pentonville prison for non-payment of rates on his former Chelsea home. Every time he left his cell, ­inmates shouted: “It’s ­S-i-i-i-i-i-mon Dee!”. He moved to a tiny one-bedroom flat at Hyde in Winchester 15 years ago.

Tom Romita, a friend who runs a ­newsagents and cafe in the city, said: “Simon is terminally ill. He’s got days left. He has got bone cancer and it is well advanced.
“It’s very sad, he has been a very good customer here over the years and he’s a very likeable chap.
Another friend, John Harding, said: “Simon is a much-loved character.
“There’s a network of people visiting him and he is being very brave.”
Roger Backhouse QC, who is close to the fallen star, said: ­“Simon is being amazingly strong. His mind is not gone and he is still fun to be with.
“He is bearing himself in a very ­composed and dignified manner.
“He’s never ever shown any rancour or bitterness about his fall from grace. He’s an old-fashioned gent who never has a word of regret or sourness.”
Earlier this summer, in his first interview for 20 years, Dee said: “Sadly, ­honesty and intelligence have vanished from national TV.”
He insisted he had no regrets. “If you change your past, you change your present. It’s all been enlightening and as a girlfriend said the other day, ‘You’ve still got your hair’.”


Caroline returns to its AM roots

Legendary offshore station Radio Caroline will hold a rare AM broadcast over the bank holiday. Radio Caroline was set up in 1964 and spent years broadcasting on medium wave, from a ship on the high seas off the British coast. The station now broadcasts legally through Sky Radio channel 0199 (on the Astra 2) and internet site www.radiocaroline.co.uk. The ship is moored at Tilbury Docks. From Friday to Monday (31st August) it will broadcast to Essex and Kent on 531AM. Peter Moore, 62, who now manages Radio Caroline, said: “We had to broadcast on AM in the past because FM, satellite radio and the internet didn’t exist.” Monday we also commemorate the fact that 35 years ago the offshore stations Radio Veronica, RNI and Atlantis were silenced off the Dutch coast.


Scandinavian offshore radio pioneers held reunion in Copenhagen

On Wednesday August 19th 2009 remaining pioneers of all the Scandinavian offshore radio stations held a reunion at Frederiksberg in Copenhagen. Some 50 years ago offshore radio started in Denmark with the advent of Radio Mercur. Media historian Pia Charlotte Schultz made it all happen. Participating on Wednesday were former employees of Radio Mercur, Radio Syd, DCR and Radio Nord:

Kenneth Andersson, Skånes Radio Mercur (tekniker)
Klas Wik, Radio Syd (tekniker)
Kurt Nilsson, Radio Syd (tekniker)
Seve Ungermark. Radio Nord (nyhedsredaktør)
Ove Sjöström, Radio Nord (chefstekniker)
Preben Ploug, Radio Mercur (tekniker)
Gert Tejlmann, Radio Mercur (tekniker)
Birger Svan, Radio Mercur (tekniker)
Lise Helmgaard (Lise Svan) Radio Mercur (diskoteket)
Lise Reinau, Radio Mercur (programvært)
John Steenberg, Radio Mercur (programvært)
Jerry Katz, Radio Mercur (tekniker)

It was a day full of memories from way back when. Even the original Panamian flag used on board the Cheeta put in an appearance.


For 50 år siden betragtedes de som pirater af etablissementet, og de danske og svenske regeringer gjorde alt for at stoppe deres succes på radiobølgerne. Radiomonopolet i Danmark og Sverige blev brudt ved at et antal entusiaster og entreprenører startede med at sende radio fra skibe, der lå for anker på internationalt farvand, og dette fænomen blev så kaldt piratradio eller offshore radio. Efter alle disse år samles onsdag den 19. august 2009 medarbejdere fra samtlige skandinaviske flydende radiostationer til et træf i Hansens Familjehaver på Pileallé 10-12 på Frederiksberg, København.

Den første skandinaviske offshore-station hed Radio Mercur, og begyndte at sende fra det lille skib Cheeta i Øresund i juni 1958. Programmerne fik en enorm gennemslagskraft med sit store udvalg af populær-musik og underholdning som en velkommen kontrast til de kulturelle og dannede programmer, som var hovedlinien i Danmarks Radio’s programflade. Radio Mercur blev model for flere andre lignende stationer, og der var fire stationer i luften fra fartöjer ud for den skandinaviske kyst: Radio Mercur, DCR (Danmarks Comercielle Radio), Radio Syd og Radio Nord. Mens de første tre sendte på FM-båndet, og fortrinsvis dækkede området rundt om Øresund, så satsede Radio Nord på mellembølge og kunne derfor høres over store dele af Sverige. Under efteråret i 1958 startede svenske udsendelser under navnet Skånes Radio Mercur, ved at journalisten og radioentusiasten Nils Eric Svensson købte sendetid over danske Radio Mercur. Denne station blev senere udviklet til Radio Syd under ledelse af Britt Wadner, og opnåede en enorm popularitet hos skånske lyttere gennem 60-erne.

Selvom mange af disse pionærer nu er borte, så findes der stadig mange i live, og det er første gang at repræsentanter for samtlige skandinaviske offshore-stationer træffes på denne måde. Nogle af deltagerne:
Kenneth Andersson, Skånes Radio Mercur (tekniker)Klas Wik, Radio Syd (tekniker)Kurt Nilsson, Radio Syd (tekniker)Seve Ungermark. Radio Nord (nyhedsredaktør)Ove Sjöström, Radio Nord (chefstekniker)Preben Ploug, Radio Mercur (tekniker)Gert Tejlmann, Radio Mercur (tekniker)Birger Svan, Radio Mercur (tekniker)Lise Helmgaard (Lise Svan) Radio Mercur (diskoteket)Lise Reinau, Radio Mercur (programvært)John Steenberg, Radio Mercur (programvært)Jerry Katz, Radio Mercur (tekniker).

Bag dette arrangement står Pia-Charlotte Schultz, som voksede op med Radio Mercur i København. Hun er initiativtager til et projekt som stiler efter at dokumentere denne del af skandinavisk mediehistorie, og har ansvar for at materiale i form af tekst, billed, lyd og film bevares for eftertiden. Dette skal ske indenfor rammen af en idealistisk forening, som netop er grundlagt med domicil i København. Dette møde er et led i dette dokumentationsarbejde selvom hovedårsagen er, at de gamle radiopirater på en dag skal få muligheden for at træffes og tale om gamle minder.

Where were you on August 31st 1974, the Day the Music Died?

On August 31st 2009, Spectrum Radio will be rebroadcasting the final hours of Radio Veronica on 558kHz AM. So where were you on August 31st 1974? Many people know where they were when J.F. Kennedy died. Some close their eyes and can still see the first man on the moon. Historic events that we can relive time after time thanks to DVD, video, MPeg4, I-pods and whatever. You see the same and still.... it's different. A lot of people in the Benelux, who were over twelve in 1974, can remember where they were during the close down of Radio Veronica, Radio North Sea and Radio Atlantis. Veronica was a ship based radio station, which started broadcasting in 1960 from a former German light vessel anchored outside the terrotorial waters in the North Sea. At that time radio in Holland consisted of Government controlled broadcasting companies radiating programs as exciting as watching grass grow. In 1959 a couple of entrepreneurs decided to follow the Scandinavian example of broadcasting "free" radio from outside the jurisdiction of the authorities. Free of charge, free of Government interference and available at no costs. The content? Music! Radio Veronica, as the station was called, built up an audience beyond belief and forced the Government to launch a new National station (radio 3) broadcasting pop music all day as a (non successful) attempt to take away the reason for Veronica's existence. It was that same success that made the authorities reticent to act as no political movement had the courage to jeopardize an election over the popularity of Radio Veronica. An explosion on board a competing radio ship pushed the Government into gear however. After September 1st 1974 anyone working for, supporting or advertising on offshore stations would be breaking the law. Radio Veronica decided to cease broadcasting August 31st 1974 at 6pm (CET). From then on the 538 meters wavelength, (558 kHz AM) remained silent until much later other stations started using it. Do you remember the last hour? Did you hear it but forgot? Was it before your time and have you always regretted not to have been there? Now here is your chance. On August 31st 2009 the sound of Radio Veronica will be back on 538 meters, 558 kHz. By courtesy of Spectrum Radio in London and Radio Seagull in The Netherlands the final two hours of Radio Veronica are going to be re-broadcast. Not on I-pod or MP3 player, but on the same old Medium Wave frequency as 35 years ago. So dig up your AM receiver and tune to 538 meters, 558 kHz on Monday August 31st between 15.00-17.00 CET, but also all over London on DAB from 3-5 pm UK time (16.00-18.00 CET). Same date, almost same time, same frequency, just 35 years later...Can't listen to AM? Use Spectrum Radio's Website to listen live via the web or to listen to the recording later. If you missed it in 1974, here is your chance. If you heard it then, relive the sentiment and listen again. All the others, ask the people who missed it last time and they'll tell you why you shouldn't...

Waar was jij 35 jaar geleden op 31 augustus 1974? De dag dat de muziek van de zeezenders doodging…

Veel mensen kunnen zich precies herinneren waar ze waren en wat ze deden toen John F. Kennedy werd vermoord. Anderen sluiten hun ogen en kunnen zich zo de beelden voor de geest halen van de eerste man op de maan. Historische gebeurtenissen die we dank zij DVD, video, mpeg4 enz. eindeloos opnieuw kunnen bekijken. Je ziet hetzelfde, maar toch.....het is anders. Veel landgenoten die in 1974 twaalf jaar of ouder waren, kunnen zich nog herinneren waar ze met de kleine draagbare radio in de handen zaten te luisteren naar de laatste klanken van zeezenders Radio Veronica, Radio Noordzee en Radio Atlantis. Wel straks op 31 augustus kun je echt 35 jaar terug gaan in de tijd. De oude golflengte 538 meter (558 kHz) van Veronica wordt even weer in gebruik gesteld voor het heruitzenden van de laatste twee uur van de legendarische zeezender dankzij Spectrum Radio in Londen (15-17u). Kun je niet naar de middengolf luisteren? Ga dan naar www.spectrumradio.net en lees hoe je via de website live kunt afstemmen of achteraf zelfs naar de opname. Heb je het in 1974 gemist, dan is hier je kans.


Radio Days: DJ Reunion Marks End of Caroline Exhibition

This Sunday, 23rd August, will be the final day of Manx National Heritage’s highly successful temporary exhibition ‘Pirates of the Irish Sea’ at the House of Manannan in Peel. Offshore station Radio Caroline North broadcast from the MV Caroline (formerly the MV Fredericia), anchored off Ramsey, between 1964 and 1968, and broke new ground in British broadcasting history. The exhibition, which celebrates the phenomenon of Radio Caroline North forty years after it left Manx waters, has been running for just over a year and has proved very popular with visitors. To mark the end of the exhibition, former Caroline DJ Alan Turner has organised a special reunion of former DJs and engineers who will gather at the House of Manannan on Sunday. Among those attending will be DJ Tony Prince, who went on to broadcast on Radio Luxemburg. Exhibition curator Matthew Richardson comments, “The story of Radio Caroline North was one of the most significant chapters in Manx post-war history. "The station was a real icon of the swinging sixties, when young people decided they no longer wanted to listen to what they were told they should by the establishment, and decided instead they wanted their own kind of music. "It was revolutionary, and it all happened right here in the Isle of Man.” Alan Turner worked for Radio Caroline when the ship was still anchored off the Suffolk Coast in 1964. He then stayed on when it sailed to the Island and broadcast as Radio Caroline North. The exhibition was opened by Terry Cringle, who as a young Manx freelance journalist reported on Radio Caroline for the major British newspapers. It features the memories of those who worked on the station and also some of the people whose lives were touched by the music which it broadcast. The Caroline memorabilia on show also includes the famous Caroline bell. Last September the exhibition was visited by Caroline founder, Ronan O’Rahilly, who gave it his personal seal of approval.


Het legendarische REM-eiland gaat even terug naar zee. REM Island to be turned into restaurant

Het REM-eiland gaat heel even terug naar zee. Het verlaat daarbij vrijdag via de Scheldemonding benoorden Knokke-Heist de haven van Vlissingen. Het gaat om de eilandconstructie die in 1964 door Verolme op zee werd gebouwd om van buiten de territoriale wateren de programma’s van Radio en TV Noordzee (de latere TROS) uit te zenden. Bij gunstig weer konden die uitzendingen toen ook aan onze Oostkust ontvangen worden op Kanaal 11 van de VHF band. Het REM-eiland werd drie jaar geleden op zee afgebroken door het grote Zeebrugse kraanponton Rambiz van de Vlaamse bergingsmaatschappij Scaldis. Het bedrijf Heuvelman Ibis in Delfzijl gaat nu van het platform een restaurant met een dakterras maken voor woningcorporatie De Key in Amsterdam. Maar voor het zover is, is het REM-eiland nog te bewonderen tijdens DelfSail van 22 tot en met 26 augustus.


Radio Sutch's Colin Dale has his own website

Coline Dale former dj on offshore Radio Sutch now has his own website. TimRowlands twittered: "Spent yesterday evening helping a friend (ex DJ on offshore Radio Sutch) set up a simple website - www.colindaleradiosutch.moonfruit.com "


In an interview with Corey Deitz of About.com original Radio Caroline DJ Takes Issue with Movie's Portrayal of Pirate Radio

Ian MacRae worked on Radio Caroline during 1966 and 1967 when British offshore radio was at the height of its popularity. In a recent review of “The Boat that Rocked”, he took issue with how the movie portrayed this famous pirate broadcasting operation. Today he's a "floater" for 2UE radio in Sydney, Australia and runs the Ian MacRae Radio School.

Corey: You worked on Radio Caroline during 1966 and 1967 when British offshore radio was at the height of its popularity. In a recent review of “The Boat that Rocked”, you took issue with how the movie portrayed this famous pirate broadcasting operation. Can you reiterate some of your pet peeves on this?
Ian: While I’m able to accept a certain amount of poetic licence in a movie based on a true story, “The Boat That Rocked” reflected very little reality in portraying the way things really were on board the “pirate” radio ships. Which is a shame because there were enough funny plus dramatic moments in those years to make a realistic but entertaining story. For example...on the first station I was on we had a boarding party take over the station, we were held hostage for a week and the owner was shot dead. (ashore). As I said in a movie review I wrote after seeing it: “It’s great that a whole generation of British kids will now be aware that it was us broadcasters who were directly responsible for forcing later Governments to legalise land-based commercial radio in the UK. However I squirmed for the over-long 135 minutes the movie runs watching misrepresentation after misrepresentation of what really went on flash up on the screen.”
For instance, no visitors were ever allowed on- for insurance and safety reasons. The idea you could invite 200 fans and have them running all over the ship is ridiculous when you have generators running and transmitters putting out 50,000 watts. Which makes the scene where the two guys compete to climb the mast even more ridiculous. The few visitors who did come on board were people like pop stars and entertainers, for on-air interviews, and they had to have special permission from head office in London. The movie makes no reference to the station even having a head office, which was actually a salubrious building just off Park Lane, but gives the impression the whole operation was totally run from the ship. It also makes it appear there was only one radio ship, which they call Radio Rock, with one DJ telling his listeners he has 25 million people listening to him. In fact there were at least twelve stations that I can think of broadcasting around the coastline, with about six positioned off London, all with a combined audience of 25 million.. And the movie really totally misses the point when the police attempt to raid the ship to close it down. The vessel was in international waters and outside the jurisdiction of any British authority. A raid like that would have been real piracy by the police.

Corey: Originally Australian, you’ve had a very successful career on Australian radio. What is the state of AM and FM in Australia? How has Internet radio affected traditional radio? Is there one or two things are you believe separates Australian commercial radio from the United States or even England?
Ian: Some stations are going through a tough financial time but, surprisingly, it’s mostly the top rating TALK stations. They have big audiences and are very successful but it’s the obscenely high money they have to pay their top presenters that is taking a big slice of the profits. eg: Alan Jones on Sydney’s 2GB which has been number one for several years now. The FM music stations seem to be holding their own having embraced social media through their websites, streaming, podcasts, mobile phones etc. It’s also interesting that the national broadcaster, the ABC, has more people listening to its’ Radio National channel through podcasts than it’s live on-air programs so they’ve effectively more than doubled their audience. I don’t believe internet radio has had much of an impact on terrestrial radio although this may change as more of those internet enabled receivers come on the market. Differences in Aussie radio compared to U.S or UK radio? Apart from the accents (!)...not a great difference. While networking is still big, there is a move back to more local programming. (hooray!) UK commercial radio is still very young and I sometimes feel the presenters sound a little amateurish and juvenile. Especially music radio.

Corey: You operate the Ian MacRae Radio School and train future deejays. Is there hope for future deejays? Seems like we’re a dying breed.
Ian: I think deejays as we knew them probably are a dying breed. Presenters now have to be more rounded and able to bring more things to the table (or to the mic) than just being able to announce songs and do liners. Which is why we teach more than just presentation at the school. Our main goal is to bring out the student’s personalities and make them entertainers.

Corey: What’s the worst thing that ever happened to you while on-the-air?
Ian: There’s been all the usual things we all go through. Swearing while recording calls that were going to air at the same time. I once had a bout of nose bleeds that lasted for a week and seemed to come on the instant I put the mic on every time. And that was before the days of computer play-out systems which you can just switch to automation.

Corey: Where do you think radio is headed?
Ian: I think a transmission tower will eventually become the least important device for a radio station to make itself heard. It’s all heading toward the internet, phones, MP3 players, Wi-Fi etc. As evidence of this many program directors are now being referred to as “Content Producers”.
Corey: If you could institute one law or rule about the radio business, what would you insist on?
Ian: Set a maximum number of hours any station is allowed to take network programs.


Australians Marion Adamson and Steve Ladd remember their offshore days

IT’S been 45 years since a young Marion Adamson stepped on board a ship and into a world that would revolutionise the future of music in the UK. The Mollymook retiree is a pioneer of Radio Caroline, England’s illegal (1) offshore radio station made famous last week with the release of the movie The Boat That Rocked. And rock it did!
“Those were wild, fun times,” Mrs Adamson told the Milton Ulladulla Times in Australia.
“We were free, we were rebellious, it was the ‘60s and anything was possible.”
A radio music programmer in Sydney, Marion travelled to London at the age of 25 and through her connections ended up on board the ‘Mi Amigo’ the very first (1) Radio Caroline ship that operated in international waters off the coast of Essex.
The group of young rebel rockers began broadcasting on Easter Sunday, 1964.
The station, with its mix of modern music from the likes of the Stones, Beatles and Dusty Springfield and a series of hip programs, became an overnight success with seven million listeners tuning in across the UK in the first week.
“We had no idea there would be such a phenomenal response,” Mrs Adamson said.
“But with no commercial radio permitted in England at the time we broke new ground and had 22 million listeners after the first month.”
Commercial radio was illegal in the BBC-dominated UK, so the offshore radio operators were soon dubbed the radio pirates and developed a cult following that still exists today.
“It was totally illegal and the government did all they could to sabotage us, but we got around that by getting our supplies sent via Spain and being paid through Panama (1).
“It was illegal to supply the ship will food or records or to advertise or provide financial backing to the station and we paid no taxes or royalties to the British Government,” she said.
“Because it was also illegal to board the ship, we would catch a supply boat out into international waters and jump across in the middle of the North Sea.”
“It could be pretty hairy at times, especially during a force eight gale, but it was a real adventure,” she said.
The first woman on board, Marion worked on Radio Caroline for two years, travelling back to her base in London every two weeks.
She said the ‘pirates’ received a fabulous response from the public and opened the flood gates for commercial radio and rock music in the UK.
“At the time the BBC was the only radio station and it was very stayed and conventional.
“We were out there, fun and the whole thing rocked - that’s what the people wanted in the ‘60s.
“We changed the future of music in Britain and the world.”
Marion told the Times the Mi Amigo sunk during heavy seas in 1980, but Radio Caroline still operates today – with a licence and on land.
Many of the original Caroliners still keep in contact and share memories of many good times on board in the 1960s when dreams came true.

(1) The passage of time obiously plays trick on the mind. Readers of the paper soon commented: 1) Radio Caroline were not illegal as they operated outside the 3 mile limit in international waters . ( the government did try later to close them down by making it illegal to advertise or work on it but Caroline refused to give in and carried on) 2) The first Caroline ship was not the mi Amigo , but the MV Caroline (aka Frederica) , the Mi Amigo was the 2nd ship when caroline merged with radio Atlanta in 1964 After the mi amigo sank , a new ship the Ross Revenge was used from 1983 - 1991 when draconian laws made it virtually impossible to continue from the sea Today they broadcast from land and from the Ross Revenge, via www.radiocaroline.co.uk , and sky tv chanel 0199

Also Steve Ladd told his story in Australia (Tasmania Examiner):

The radio pirate who became a real Ladd - `Here were these quite outrageous people'
14/06/2009 PIP LEES reports.
BRITISH comedy movie The Boat That Rocked might seem outrageous but a former radio pirate says it's right on the money.
The movie hilariously depicts a generation captivated by rogue DJs, pop music and parties, and Tasmania's Steve Oliver was at the heart of it.
For a period in the '60s and '70s, life was much different for the Tasmanian, working in Britain under the alias Steve Ladd as a radio pirate.
He worked in commercial radio in Australia from the time he was 16 and decided to go to England, where he landed a job at the BBC.
The position was not in broadcasting as he had hoped, but while working in the record library he made contacts and learned a lot about the industry.
"A friend of mine said why not go out to the pirate radio ships because they were looking for disc jockeys, so I packed up and off I went."
The Marine Broadcasting Act was introduced in the UK in 1967 and was designed to increase government control over commercial broadcasting.
One such commercial station was Radio Northsea International (RNI), which operated about 30km off the coast of Brightlingsea, the ship named after the Marine Etc Broadcasting Offences Act, or MEBO II. It was on MEBO II that Mr Oliver became RNI disc jockey Steve Ladd.
"I used a family name which was Ladd rather than Oliver, which was on my passport, because if I used my real name I couldn't go in and out of Britain because you would either be fined or jailed."
During this time there were a number of illegal commercial radio stations operating out of ships off the British coast including Radio Caroline, on which the movie is based.
"It was very much like the movie, in fact I could almost identify with everyone in the movie because the characters were so similar. I actually saw myself as Carl the young bloke who came on - you see the ship from his point of view."


Caroline's Simon Dee, talks publicly for the first time in 20 years

FORTY years ago he was the biggest star on TV, attracting audiences of 15 million. Simon Dee pioneered the chat show, compered Miss World, and appeared on Juke Box Jury and Top of the Pops. Then he disappeared from public view, his star waning as swiftly as it had risen. Now, for the first time in some 20 years, he has spoken publicly. Dee, 73, has made his home in Hampshire for the past 15 years.

During the Sixties the trailblazing DJ, who helped launch offshore Radio Caroline in 1964, was the hottest ticket in town. Simon Dee was not his real name however. “When we began Caroline, sitting out there in the middle of the North Sea putting on LP tracks in a force nine was a challenge we overcame – a chap named Henty-Dodd couldn’t exactly introduce The Stones!” he recalled. “So I adopted Simon Dee as a stage name, and so it remained.”He moved to BBC radio and in 1967, he was offered Dee Time, a twice-weekly TV chat show. “In the first week we had two million viewers, the next four million, and by the end of the first month, 12 million,” he said. Sammy Davis Jr, Lee Marvin, Bob Hope, Charlton Heston, John Lennon were among the interviewees. Dee commanded a reported £100,000 TV contract. But within a few short years he couldn’t pay his rates, and later ‘signed on’ at Fulham labour exchange — with the tabloid press there to record it. Today he lives in Hyde, Winchester, and cuts a more anonymous figure, far removed from the star who was mobbed on the streets. Speaking of those far-off days, he says: “I had at last found my vocation. Now I was scoring – people liked me. It was fame, and it lifted me up to a new level. “Sadly, honesty and intelligence have vanished from national TV. Truth, interesting stimulating conversation, and, above all, real ‘showbusiness’ has been replaced by juvenile ‘reality’ shows and endless audition programmes. We need to remember what original entertainers and entertainment is all about. “I’ve no regrets. If you change your past, you change your present. Bitterness destroys, but laughter lifts you, it’s all been enlightening, but as a girlfriend said the other day, ‘you’ve still got your hair!’ Of Winchester he says: “It’s a pleasant place to live. But the council needs a kick up the backside about the state of the pavements. And rather too many beggars, much as I feel sympathy with them.”


Radio Waddenzee afgemeerd in Harlingen

Vrijdag 5 juni is het voormalige lichtschip dat nu in gebruik is als Radio Waddenzee afgemeerd in de Nieuwe Industriehaven in het Nederlandse Harlingen. De klus werd geklaard door de sleepboten Anita en Theo van Tuinman Sleepdienst. Het station zond twee weken lang op zee uit als een hommage aan de zeezenderij van weleer. Tijdens de uitzendingen vanaf zee kreeg de Nederlandse ploeg versterking van de Engelstalige collega's van Radio Seagull, die de nachtuitzendingen voor hun rekening nemen. Radio Waddenzee kocht het lichtschip in 2005. Het lag aan de kade in Rotterdam weg te roesten. Het schip, de "Jenni Baynton" deed, na haar pensoen als drijvend vuurtoren voor de Engelse kust, jaren dienst als discoboot in de Rotterdamse haven.


Former Caroline rigger dies

Harry Spencer, one of the characters who made Cowes the centre of yachting excellence and traditional style, has died. Harry Spencer, MBE, was born in Gurnard on the Isle of Wight, in September 1925. He grew up in Cowes and went to Denmark Road School. Leaving school at 14, he entered employment at J. S. White’s shipyard in Cowes. This was the start of a very varied and colourful career, which included working as shipyard apprentice, pattern maker, yacht hand, yacht yard foreman, a mate on coastal vessels, delivery skipper, shipwright, sail maker, and rigger. Later on he settled back in Cowes and eventually founded Spencer Rigging and afterwards, Spencer Thetis Wharf, and Thetis Engineering. Spencer Rigging was started up in 1958 at West Cowes and since then the business has continuously expanded and has now gained expertise in supplying to many diverse industries on a worldwide basis. Harry and his colleagues completed many unusual and challenging projects, including the rigging of Radio Caroline, converting an Arctic trawler into a three-masted topsail schooner, carving a miniature Edinburgh Castle in the tiller end of the Duke of Edinburgh’s yacht, the manufacture of all the mast, spars and rigging for the Warner Bros. replica of HMS Bounty, and towing a 140 tonne Princess Flying Boat with a 200ft wingspan across the River Medina with his beloved launch, Domino. Spencer Rigging is simply an extension of Harry’s personality, a mere blend of artistic sensibility and brute force, with his unerring sense of the right way to do a thing, and his uncanny skill in managing any impossible job the world brings. He was a larger-than-life character with a heart of gold. He passed away peacefully and leaves his wife, two sons, and four grandchildren.


Abi Nathan’s Daughter improving after Rowing Accident

The condition of 20-year-old academic rowing champion Jasmine Finegold, who was seriously injured when her boat flipped in the Yarkon River in north Tel Aviv on Monday, has stabilized and she is no longer in danger, doctors at Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov) in Tel Aviv said on Tuesday.

Finegold, who remains unconscious and in intensive care, has been visited by several of her friends at the Yarkon Rowing Club, and her rowing coach, Danny Rutenberg, has remained at her bedside together with Jasmine's mother, Elizabeth. Finegold is the daughter of Abie Natan, the peace activist and founder of the Voice of Peace offshore radio station, which broadcast to the region from a boat in the Mediterranean from 1973 to 1993.

Natan, who died last year, refused at first to recognize Finegold as his daughter, until Elizabeth, who had previously been Natan's secretary aboard the Voice of Peace, launched legal action to force him to recognize her as his daughter in 1989. As doctors continue to work to bring about further improvement in Finegold's condition, her friends at the Yarkon Rowing Club are asking themselves how the near-tragic accident took place.

"We don't know why this accident happened," Yarkon Rowing Club member and friend of Finegold, Tal Shalif, told The Jerusalem Post. Shalif said the kind of boat Finegold was in had a pair of shoes attached to the vessel. Academic rowers remove their own shoes and place their feet in the boat's shoes before setting off, he said. A single velcro strap stretched loosely across both shoes secures the rower's feet to the boat, Shalif added. "The strap is not tight. There shouldn't be any problems for rowers to extricate themselves," he said. "If the rower has flipped over and begins struggling, a pull of the feet should release the shoes."

Yarkon police have launched an investigation into the accident. Rowing Club members are also asking, however, why a number of bystanders failed to dive in to rescue Finegold after her boat flipped. Only the intervention of 62-year-old jogger Avi Toivin, who arrived on the scene and dived into the water of the Yarkon - a river many consider to be highly polluted and toxic - saved Finegold's life, dragging her and the boat to shore. "I don't know why people didn't dive in sooner. It could be a lack of initiative. What makes me angry is the thought that people didn't help because they were scared of pollution," Shalif said. "These fears are based on ignorance. The Maccabia disaster happened 15 years ago.Today, there are birds and fish in the river. The water is not as polluted as people think," he said. "I'm also angry at the authorities who allow people to remain ignorant," he added. "If people wouldn't be so scared, maybe they would have jumped in."


Radio Caroline ready to rock with Scottish cable company

Legendary offshore station Radio Caroline has chosen to take to the airwaves with an Ayrshire cable company. It’s the first time Radio Caroline has been broadcast by an independent cable company, giving Smallworld Cable customers unrestricted access to the music and voices that revolutionised British radio. Radio Caroline shook the broadcasting establishment in Britain in the mid-60s by broadcasting its own mix of album-based rock and pop music from a ‘pirate’ ship moored just outside British legal jurisdiction in the North Sea. Its story is widely acknowledged to have inspired recently Richard Curtis-direct comedy movie The Boat That Rocked, which stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost and Kenneth Branagh. Smallworld Cable managing director David Durnford said:” The link-up with Radio Caroline is a fantastic fit for us. We’re both independent operators who take pride in our individual approach to customers. We hope we can help Radio Caroline reach a new audience.” Radio Caroline was shipwrecked off the Kent coast in 1991, when the Mi Amigo was grounded during a storm. After that a new ship, the Ross Revenge, was fitted out. Caroline has continued on the airwaves in recent years while the ship is being overhauled at Tilbury Docks in Essex. Radio Caroline controller Peter Moore said:” It’s a breath of fresh air for us to link up with an independent cable company like this. We are the boat that still rocks and we’re delighted that Smallworld Cable is with us for the ride.”

Watch the film trailer for The Boat That Rocked here.


Jinglepakketten Veronica en 10 Gold op cd

Alle belangrijke jinglepakketten die het legendarische jinglebedrijf PAMS in Dallas heeft gemaakt voor Nederlandse radiostations staan vanaf nu op cd. Het ‘Genootschap radiojingles en -tunes’ heeft de cd ‘PAMS in Holland’ uitgebracht met daarop de complete jinglepakketten voor NCRV, TROS, Radio 10 Gold en Veronica. Het is voor het eerst dat de jingles op een schijfje verschijnen en te koop zijn. De makers hebben daarvoor de beschikking gekregen over de originele mastertapes. “PAMS in Holland is een cd die we al jaren wilden maken”, zeggen de twee oprichters van het Genootschap radiojingles en -tunes, Jelle Boonstra en Benno Roozen. “Er bestaat een gouden glans rond de naam PAMS. Elk station in de VS dat jingles kocht bij PAMS werd bijna automatisch nummer één in z’n radiomarkt. Daardoor werd ook de radiomarkt in Europa wakker. Luisteraars waren dol op die liedjes, die speciaal voor de radio waren geschreven.”


Jinglebedrijf (1951-1977) was een begrip bij radiomakers in de hele wereld. Het was een ware jinglefabriek, waar in twee studio’s tegelijk jingles werden zongen voor duizenden stations over de hele wereld. In de jaren ‘60 en ‘70 waren de PAMS-jingles in Nederland illegaal te horen op Radio Veronica, Radio Noordzee, andere zeezenders en op Hilversum 3. Nederlandse radiomakers knipten de naam van het oorspronkelijke station er uit en vervingen die door een andere gezongen tekst. Zonder het te weten kent heel Nederland daardoor de beroemde jingles van PAMS.

Jaren werk

Op de cd ‘PAMS in Holland’ staan jingles van de NCRV en de TROS. Verder staan op het schijfje jingles die gemaakt zijn voor het Radio Veronica uit 1994 en Cable One, en alle jingles die het Nederlandse bedrijf Top Format in Haarlem in 1995 en 1996 geheel in PAMS-stijl produceerde voor Radio 10 Gold. Het cd-tekstboekje is in het Engels en bevat unieke foto’s van de mastertapes, zangsessies en het befaamde PAMS-studiogebouw aan 4141 Office Parkway in Dallas. Het kostte het Genootschap jaren om alle materiaal bij elkaar te krijgen en de rechten te krijgen. De cd ‘PAMS in Holland’ ligt niet in de winkel, maar is uitsluitend te koop via Jingleweb.nl, de website het Genootschap radiojingles en -tunes.

Zendschip Radio Waddenzee gaat op zee uitzenden

Terwijl we in Knokke-Heist zopas konden genieten van "The Boat that Rocked" wordt deze week opnieuw écht van op zee uitgezonden! Op woensdag 20 mei 0m 08.00 uur vertrekt het radiolichtschip Jenni Baynton van Radio Waddenzee uit de Nieuwe Willemshaven in het Nederlandse Harlingen. Het schip gaat in samenspan met de veerboot Terschellinger Bank van Waddenreder Fred Lakeman richting Griend. Veerboot en radioschip varen dus naast elkaar gekoppeld uit. De Jenni Baynton gaat nabij Griend voor anker. Van vrijdag 22 mei tot en met vrijdag 5 juni komen alle programma's 24 uur per dag live vanaf het schip via de boordzender. Hiermee is het enige nog operationele radioschip ter wereld twee weken volop in bedrijf. Luisteren kan via 1602 AM (middengolf).


Weymouth Rowing Club in ‘Radio Caroline’ movie

In the UK the Isles of Scilly are returning to normal after the 20th World Pilot Gig Championships. Nearly 120 teams took part in this year's event over the bank holiday weekend, making it the biggest event to date with the island's population soaring from 2,500 to 5,000. Weather conditions were perfect throughout the tournament with a challenging swell to test the teams' stamina and rowing skills. Among teams participating was Weymouth Rowing Club. The team recently became stars of the big screen in the film The Boat That Rocked. The film is based on the 1960s pirate station Radio Caroline, written and directed by Richard Curtis. Scenes were shot in Portland Harbour and Weymouth Bay and called for a flotilla of boats to gather around the Radio Caroline vessel. The Weymouth Club was approached because of their colourful gig Penny, brightly painted in green, yellow and red. Carol Craft, 24, a teaching assistant, said: "For the aerial shots, we had to spend nine hours on the water. Richard Curtis said he was amazed we were able to last that long and said we made him feel very humble. The fee we received has helped us pay towards another gig."