Ronan O’Rahilly

May 1, 2020

21.05.1940 – 20.04.2020

The Nineteen Seventies

The Nineteen Eighties

Caroline’s radio

Feb 1, 2019

This catchy tune never made the charts. It doesn’t seem to have received the number of UToob visitors it deserves. Some crap videos receive literally millions of “hits”. What is wrong with people?

Radio Seagull

Aug 1, 2018

The first version of Radio Seagull appeared quite unexpectedly from the Radio ship Mi Amigo at 9pm on the 24th July 1973. I recorded extracts over the next few days on my (t)rusty reel to reel tape recorder. But only having a 30 minute reel to spare I had to just record the DJs rather than the music. So a few years ago I was pleased to see someone else with more blank tapes/money than I had recorded an hour of Barry Everitt from 26th July 1973 of not just the links as heard on my recording but also included the music and placed it on the Azanorak site. Barry had been involved in the music scene, the underground scene and Radio Geronimo prior to his few weeks aboard the Mi Amigo (First Radio Seagull show: 24th July, Last show: 7th September). He would go to the States where he continued DJing. Later back in the UK he remained in the music business. He passed away in 2017.

Radio Seagull Barry Everitt 26th July 1973 

Barry is third from the left, arm raised, behind Andy Archer.

 

Here are a couple more copies of Monitor magazine covering the first period when Radio Seagull was broadcasting from the Mi Amigo. (Aerial trouble beginning 1st October would put the station onto low power and eventually completely off the air from 18th October 1973. Radio Caroline managed to return for a couple of days over the Xmas period. Radio Seagull would re-commence 7th January 1974 until 22nd February 1974 when the powers that be decided the station should once again be called Radio Caroline).

Monitor 04 Summer 1973

Monitor 05 Winter 1973

Last words

Aug 1, 2017

At 11pm on the 19th March 1980 the numbers 59, 60 and 25 were announced over the air and not long after that:

“Radio Caroline broadcasting on 319m, 963khz. Well we’re sorry to tell you that  due to the severe (con) weather conditions  and also to the fact that we’re shipping quite a lot of water, we’re closing down and the crew are at this stage leaving the ship. Obviously we hope to be back with you as soon as possible but we’d just like to assure you all on land that there’s nothing to worry about. We’re all quite safe. Just for the moment we’d like to say goodbye. Tom?”.

“Yeah. It’s not a very good occasion really. We have to hurry this because the lifeboat is standing by. We’re not leaving and disappearing. We’re going onto the lifeboat hoping that the pumps can take it. If they can we’ll be back. If not, well I don’t like to say it”.

“I think we’ll be back one way or another Tom”.

“From all of us for the moment goodbye and God Bless”.

  • Caroline by the Fortunes.
  • Silence for the next three years……

Top Fifteen

Aug 1, 2017

For the last twenty years Radio Caroline has been available first via the Astra satellite and then later via the Internet. Later this year they will be returning (legally) to 648khz on the Medium wave band (Note: This officially/actually happened on Dec 22nd 2017) , but you’ll only be able to listen using that “old fashioned” method if you are in the Suffolk or Essex areas. Although no doubt “anoraks” living far further afield will manage to hear it too! I recently visited the Radio Caroline website and saw that they broadcast a Top 15 chosen by listeners each weekday morning. They give you a clickable list of their Top 500 albums to select your Top 15 from. I struggled to find much there. How many more times can people listen to “Dark Side of the Moon” or “Stairway to Heaven”? Anyway this was the list I ultimately chose:-

15 Janis Joplin – Mercedes Benz
14 Lou Reed – Perfect Day
13 Loving Awareness Band – Existence
12 Hazel O’Connor – Will You
11 John Lennon – Gimme Some Truth
10 Bob Dylan – I Want You
09 Alice Cooper – Poison
08 Love – Alone Again Or
07 Iggy Pop – Some Weird Sin
06 Argent – God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll To You
05 Beach Boys – Here Today
04 Frankie Goes To Hollywood – The Power Of Love
03 Earth & Fire – Maybe Tomorrow, Maybe Tonight
02 Elvis Costello – What’s So Funny ’bout (Peace, Love & Understanding)
01 Shakespear’s Sister – Hello (Turn Your Radio On)

It was only after I’d submitted that list that I discovered I could have chosen tunes not in the Top 500 albums, but they’d only be used if Radio Caroline had the songs in their library so I’m sure that would exclude most of my current favourites. I doubt they’d play Robb Storme’s version of “Here Today” if I’d asked them, much as that is the sort of variety they should be aiming for.

 

My Top 15 was played on Radio Caroline a couple of weeks ago. But given free rein and my very own radio station I would no doubt be subjecting people to stuff like this:-

Thirty Two

Thirty Three

Thirty Five

Test Transmissions

Aug 1, 2016

A side

It’s almost a third of a century since Radio Caroline began broadcasting on 319m from the Ross Revenge. As Peter Moore wrote elsewhere on the Interweb, “So, from the best radio ship ever built, albeit painted the wrong colour, on the wrong date, wrong channel and with the wrong music policy, Radio Caroline had returned”. (Ronan had expected the new station to be transmitting on 558m and with a “Pop” format. The hippies on board had other ideas.) There was only a day or so of “test transmissions” beginning on Friday 19th August (having missed Ronan’s hoped for start date of the historically significant August 14th) before “official” programming began at noon on Saturday 20th August 1983. I couldn’t tell the difference. Most of the “tests” had consisted of near-continuous music/whole sides of live LPs along with announcements either twice or four times an hour. Normal programming was all too often the same. Three or four bland “Adult oriented Rock” tunes followed by an announcement or a tedious advert for a foreign lottery. So underwhelmed was I with this “new” Radio Caroline that I was pleased when they were joined in the north sea by the far jollier Laser 558.

B side

These Test transmissions of Caroline 319 are already available elsewhere on the Interweb (although they do suffer from the accompaniment of a most annoying mains hum) which saves me bothering to upload my recordings. But here’s a brief aircheck to add to my audio library before I chuck my tapes in the bin.

Rocking the boat

Mar 1, 2016

Rocking

Sometime around Easter 2014 when Radio Caroline celebrated her 50th birthday this (mostly correct) article appeared in a women’s magazine.

Booklet

Jun 1, 2015

Compared to the organised chaos of its’ 1970s and 1980s versions, 1960s Radio Caroline presented quite a professional appearance with offices in central London and promotional material like this.

cover

Radio Caroline Booklet

compliment slip

Posters

Feb 1, 2014

Radio Caroline Poster


RNI Poster

For much of the 1980s The Ross Revenge had three transmitters on board although all three weren’t operational all the time. Two transmitters were for the Medium wave and one was for Short wave. The logic behind this was that a second MW transmitter could be used for Dutch and/or Evangelical programming. The income from that subsidised the running of Radio Caroline. Despite Ronan’s optimism in 1983 adverts on Radio Caroline itself varied between once an hour or none for months so the income stream there wouldn’t even cover the cost of toilet rolls. In the bad old days of 1989 even the small SW transmitter had to be adapted to work on MW to (just about) keep the station on air.

Radio Caroline spent a number of years searching for the “right” spot on the Medium wave.In the 1970s they moved around from 773kHz to 1562kHz, 1187kHz, 953kHz, 962kHz and 1412kHz and probably more. In the 1980s the main frequencies used were 963kHz, 576kHz, 585kHz, 558kHz and 819kHz.

rr

Consequently there were often days when announcements were made that they would be closing down for “maintenance” and would be back “stronger than ever” at a new spot on the dial a few days later. For a couple of days before 9th of July 1988 announcements were made that Radio Caroline would be closing for 4 weeks and during that period the english service would be replaced by a Dutch station (apparently called Radio 558). Surprisingly this period isn’t covered in AZAnorak’s extensive archive. Yours truly is always pleased to find an excuse to foist another lo-fi recording on the world at large. Here is Radio Caroline on the 8th of July 1988 and a few minutes from around 6AM on the 9th of July as Radio Caroline performs another closedown and hands over to the “new station”. I presume english programming continued in the evenings? Over the summer they were working on improving the aerial. Perhaps they needed “all hands on deck”?? Problems with the mast/aerial was something I don’t think they ever got satisfactorily sorted before the final final closedown a couple of years later

PS: And harking back to an even earlier age of Offshore Radio, I note that Wilfred Proudfoot died recently. He was a backer and later Managing Director of the Pirate Radio Station Radio 270. He was a vocal supporter of commercial radio in the early 1970s and at various times an MP, a Supermarket chain entrepreneur and a Hypnotist. You couldn’t make it up.

Warning

Jun 1, 2013

warning

Ellen Kraal was a fairly regular Radio Caroline DJ on the Mi Amigo between 1973 and 1978 using the name “Samantha” and most often heard on the after-midnight shifts. Surprisingly she re-appeared on the Ross Revenge in September 1984 and again in late October/November 1984 for what would be her final offshore broadcasts. Sadly it was reported that she died in 1992 when she must only have been in her early forties.

Here is a recording from September 1984 featuring Samantha. Unfortunately when I began “project downsizing” five years ago one of the first things skipped was a box containing hundreds of cassette tapes of 1970s/1980s Radio Caroline. Somehow this cassette has survived. WARNING: The quality of this recording is poor I’m afraid and is only suitable for anoraks . Reception of Radio Caroline from the Ross Revenge on 319m was excellent here in the daytime but alas went downhill in the evenings due to the close proximity of Radio Tunisia. The fact that my “equipment” was an Amstrad Radio/Cassette didn’t help!

PS: They climbed Everest because it was there. I post these occasional lo-fi recordings because they are here. Having spent/wasted an hour copying another old cassette of Radio Caroline from April 1984 to mp3 why should I be the only one to suffer. Actually this hour may be unique. It is the only hour from the Ross Revenge in the 1980s I’ve heard that (in my humble opinion) doesn’t contain a single duff tune. (Duff quality recording again though….)