More Monitors

November 1, 2016


Roland C. Pearson, better known in Free Radio circles as “Buster” (1928-1985) was the man responsible (with help from others) for the fascinating publication known as “Monitor”. Begun in 1972 as coloured foolscap sheets, by the early 1980s it had progressed into an A5 booklet format. Always crammed with information about Offshore Radio these news-sheets have become even more interesting as time has gone on. There were 37 issues produced. (Update: I’m informed there were actually 38  or even 39 issues. Looks like they didn’t bother sending me the last ones!). Join me in my Time Machine as we revisit the first three issues published in those interesting times of 1972 and early 1973.

Monitor 01 issued Spring 1972

Monitor 02 issued Summer 1972

Monitor 03 issued early 1973

 PS: Monitor 01 was typewritten onto white foolscap paper. Monitor 02 was typewritten on dark blue foolscap paper. Monitor 03 was typewritten on multi-coloured foolscap paper for the full psychedelic experience. Do you remember typewriters? If you didn’t clean the keys regularly some letters got a bit clogged up with ink. My antique machine would make neat little holes whenever I used the full-stop key. Foolscap paper is longer and thinner than A4 which made copying these newsletters a pain. I apologise if some pages are difficult to read. Fuzzy typewritten text on blue paper doesn’t make for the greatest readability. I guess I could have spent a week or two tweaking things to improve them, but hey I’ve got a life, so they are what they are.



January 1, 2013


His Royal Highness Roy Bates Prince of Sealand (also known as Roughs Tower), ruler of the world’s smallest country died on the 9th October 2012. Presumably the title now passes to his son Michael. Sealand is the only known country that will cease to exist when it finally rusts away.


Monitor 24 from 1983 featured a number of articles about Sealand.

PS: Monitor No 1 featured a number of articles about the original fort-based Radio City.

PPS: AZAnorak is the place to find great old off-air recordings from the pirate days, and recently, copies of Monitor ……

Another Monitor

December 1, 2012

Monitor number 37 was very likely the final issue.

Monitor 37

Buster Pearson

January 1, 2012

Roland C. Pearson, better known as “Buster” (1928 – 1985) was responsible for the fascinating publication known as “Monitor”. Begun in the early 1970s as coloured foolscap sheets, by the early 1980s it had progressed into an A5 booklet format. Always crammed with information about Offshore Radio these news-sheets have become even more interesting as time has gone on. Here are a few more issues from 1978 and 1979. Earlier issues are available on the Interweb at various locations. Later (A5 sized) issues may appear here one day if the mood takes me.

Monitor 15

Monitor 16

Monitor 17

Monitor 18

Monitor 19

In 1984, to celebrate 20 years since Radio Caroline began, Buster and the team produced a “20th Anniversary” special edition of Monitor. Enclosed in the next edition of the magazine was a sheet listing the (very few and very minor) errors that had cropped up in the “special”. Just shows his attention to detail.

In April 1986 Radio Caroline broadcast a tribute to Buster Pearson. Although I posted a recording of this previously it was taken from a cassette copy. Here is my original recording from a reel-to-reel tape. The quality isn’t much better but it is slightly longer as it includes a few minutes of programming from both before and after the documentary. (Disclaimer: I’m sure sonically superior recordings of this are undoubtedly available elsewhere.)

Radio Caroline – Tribute to Buster Pearson

PS: Here is a brief lo-fi aircheck of Radio Caroline September 1976 I’ve just found whilst looking for something more interesting….


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.

Monitor 10

Monitor 11

Monitor 12

Monitor 13

Monitor 14

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.