May 1, 2013
I came across part of an old Daily Mirror at the bottom of a wardrobe. Looking at the listings there was virtually nothing to watch on TV. BBC2 (which had started a few months earlier as had Radio Caroline) were showing an Evening’s worth of Open University programmes. At 7.30 you had a choice between Compact and Emergency Ward 10. BBC1 closed down at 10.55pm. There wasn’t much more to be found on the radio. Certainly no pop music in the evening unless you ventured to Radio Luxembourg. And there you found Jimmy Young!!! Is there any wonder that the first phase of UK pirate Radio became so popular so quickly.
There was also an article about someone being rescued from Radio Caroline. Food poisoning? In these days of instant communication it seems quaint that appeals for help had to be made by Simon Dee live over the air. And news of the start of Radio Invicta. Programmes for fishermen probably meant the range of their transmitter only made it as far as the beach!!
May 1, 2013
Radio Caroline was silenced in March 1968 when both ships were towed away due to unpaid bills. An extremely low-key return to the airwaves began in September 1972 with the Mi Amigo once more at sea with DJs and crew. Extremely sporadic low power testing of continuous music would continue for the next 3 months. In December 1972 they even attempted some proper “programmes” on 197m whilst calling themselves “Radio 199″. By Christmas 1972 they were finally calling themselves Radio Caroline again. This was when I first picked them up on my little Russian radio. Things evidentally weren’t going smoothly with the equipment or the personel on board. There was an incident on December 28th 1972 which would lead to the Mi Amigo being silenced and once more returning to port.
It must have been a slow news day at the end of December 1972. There was a large article in the Daily Mirror about the “mutiny” by the captain and crew on the Mi Amigo due to unpaid wages. Even Radio Luxembourg reported it.
The MV Mi Amigo returned to sea in January 1973 and semi regular broadcasting continued until March when they were silenced again for a number of weeks with aerial issues. So I think we can say that the 1970s Radio Caroline really only got going properly in June 1973.
July 1, 2012
World Distributors were certainly busy in the 1960s and 1970s churning out Annuals on myriad subjects. This one must have appeared in autumn/xmas 1965. Was there one the following year? I don’t think so, but there were a number of books and magazines about Caroline in the sixties. Perhaps this 132 page hardback was originally going to be another annual about pop music and at the last minute they decided to latch onto the latest trend of Pirate Radio? There are half a dozen articles inside about Radio Caroline. Most of the book consists of info about the popstars of the time. The numerous full-page black and white photos are often rather gloomy and grainy but the book is still an interesting read.
May 20, 2011
In the 1970s and 1980s Fanzines and Newsletters were the means of communication for info about hobbies/interests etc. “Monitor” was one of a number that specialised in the (even then) minority interest that was dubbed Pirate Radio or Free Radio or Offshore Radio.
Issues 1 – 9 have already been posted on the Internet by others and you can find them quite easily with a quick “google”. As slightly more recent issues haven’t yet been made available here are five issues from 1976-1977. Originally typewritten on coloured foolscap paper hence the hazy reproduction quality.
PS: Much of the above concerns Radio Caroline when the station was broadcasting from the Mi Amigo. Of course Radio Caroline continues today from the Eurobird 1 Satellite (at 28.2 degrees east and possibly alongside the Movies4Men channel). Living on board a satellite must be worse than being 3 miles out to sea for weeks at a time. Instead of a rusty old tender I suppose they commute via the space shuttle ?? I was amused to read that as the nation prepares to migrate to digital radio, Radio Caroline would like to return to the Medium Wave. Sounds like a good plan to me. I’ve always had difficulty in getting my Sky Decoder Box out onto the back lawn and setting up portable satellite dishes on the beach is tedious.
February 14, 2011
What happened in 1975? There was an oil crisis. Inflation inflated. Some things never change. On Saturday the 8th of November 1975 the weather couldn’t have been very good either. Radio Caroline’s ship the Mi Amigo broke her anchor chain, and, (most likely un-noticed by DJs/crew) began drifting ending up almost beached on a sandbank. Without any of the modern technology that would be used to get accurate bearings of their position today they were lucky that they managed to start their engine and move into deeper water.
Announcements of their plight began around 6pm on Saturday the 8th November with requests for listeners to call the coastguard. These requests continued for an hour or so until the ship was once again afloat, although still drifting without an anchor. With the DJ Simon Barrett getting more worried as the evening progressed it made for entertaining, if morbid listening. I fully expected that Radio Caroline would finish for good that evening, a mere 3 years after their return to the North Sea. Michael Lloyd began his evening’s programme at 10pm. Shortly afterwards he was interrupted by Peter Chicago who announced that they would have to go off the air as it was suspected that they had drifted within the 3 mile limit and could risk falling foul of the 1967 Marine Offences Act.
Radio Caroline didn’t return to the airwaves until the following Thursday 13th of November 1975. Something must have happened on November 14th …..possibly a visit from the Home Office…..as that evening and the following week or so 259m remained silent.
Radio Caroline finally returned to “normal” with regular programmes from the North Sea on the 26th of November 1975. The Mi Amigo would continue to somehow weather further storms and various crisis and Radio Caroline would continue to broadcast if not quite continuously then at least reasonably regularly until March 1980 when the stack of beer cans the ship was precariously balanced on gave way and the ship finally sank.
December 5, 2010
In 1968 the average weekly wage was £23. If this tape cost a staggering 10% of the average weekly wage what would it cost in today’s money ?? There’s no wonder I endlessly taped over things. You can see why even the BBC re-used tapes rather than archive everything.
What was on the tape ?, I hear no-one cry. Side one contained surprisingly crisp mono copies of ELPs Trilogy and Focus’ Moving Waves recorded by the incredibly technical technique of dangling a microphone in front of a record player’s speaker. Side two contained some of the world’s worst recordings from the radio of Radio Atlantis, Radio Caroline and Radio Mi Amigo International(though perhaps in mitigation neither were broadcasting at very high power at the time). Having wasted the best part of an hour transferring 15 minutes worth to mp3 file before giving up I may as well add them to my audio scrapbook and post them here for anyone who likes listening to radio static.