When Radio Northsea International began on the 23rd January 1970 it broadcast from a number of different Medium wave frequencies before finally settling on 220m. But its shortwave transmissions were always either 31m or 49m or both. The station closed on the 24th September 1970 and returned 19th January 1971. Within a few months the RNI “World Service” added to the one hour A J Beirens Northsea goes DX  shows on shortwave and began broadcasting in English all day every Sunday 9am to 7pm on 31m/49m with different programming to the daytime Medium Wave output (which was usually in Dutch). 

I recorded a number of the Northsea goes DX shows that featured A J. Beirens’  histories of earlier offshore stations along with airchecks. I also recorded some of the other shows broadcast by RNI on shortwave in English on Sunday mornings/afternoons until the SW signal began to fade. Of course the contents of those reels were mostly wiped when I became a musical snob and decided I preferred 1970s Radio Caroline “album” output rather than early 1970s RNI Europop. 

I have posted this short RNI World Service recording previously but I still find it interesting. Mike Ross (real name Colin Novelle) appeared on RNI on and off between September 1970 and January 1974. Sadly he died in 2017 aged 70. 

This RNI World Service recording from 14th November 1971 of Jane Ballantyne (her only live broadcast from the Mebo 2 unless you know otherwise) is longer than the version currently available to download at the Azanorak site. She had a great radio voice and an engaging personality. It’s a shame her stay on the Mebo 2 was so short.

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RNI World Service

May 1, 2016

rni

Radio Northsea International broadcast from International waters via the Mebo 2 from early 1970 until August 1974 (with a break between September 1970 and January 1971) on a variety of Medium wave frequencies at first before settling on 220m. They also broadcast on FM to Holland and often on 49m and 31m shortwave to the rest of the world. Interestingly, in 1971 and 1972 the daytime shortwave broadcasts on Sundays were in English supplied by the DJs on board, whilst 220m medium wave carried Dutch programming, only some of which was live. The rest of the Dutch daytime shows consisted of tape recordings prepared earlier on land as often happened with Radio Veronica. Evenings on 220m Medium wave usually reverted to live English speaking DJs from 7pm or 8pm onwards.

There are many many hours of recordings of RNI available around the Interwebs. If you click here or click the image below you can hear a recording of A.J. Bierens on RNI on Shortwave that I made on my (t)rusty Philips reel to reel tape recorder on a Sunday morning circa 1971/1972.

RNI

After August 1974 The Mebo 11 moved to the Mediterranean Sea and apparently ended it’s days being “used as target practice by the Libyan Navy in the 1980s and sunk in the Gulf of Sidra”.

Posters

Feb 1, 2014

Radio Caroline Poster


RNI Poster

Sometimes a certain song becomes indelibly attached to a time/place/person. Listening to The Buoys with “Give up your guns” and I’m propelled back to the summer of 1972 (for 4.05 minutes anyway). The outro/instrumental is the best part. Actually a lot of of the songs on this chart stick in my mind. Do you remember “We’re on our way” by Chris Hodge ?? I took my little russian portable radio (with its cute leather case) everywhere I went back then.

PS: The Buoys only other hit was “Timothy” which made the US charts even though it was all about cannibalism !!

PPS: If anyone should want to look at other Dutch Pop charts from the early 1970s you will find them right here.

More RNI

Jun 1, 2010

The nerve centre of the whole operation is two turntables on a bench in a room (cabin actually…) with scruffy pegboard walls. Well what did you expect ??  The analogue early 1970s is a world away from the computer-programmed radio stations of today. No computer screens to look at. Just a board reminding them of the station id.

Here is a short extract from Radio Northsea International one evening in late August 1974. Its lo-fi because I recorded it on my primitive equipment a few days before the offshore pirate radio station  closed down for good. The DJ sitting on the chair in the photo  and playing the records is Robin Banks (Adcroft ?).

RNI first began official broadcasts in early 1970 and for reasons that are still unclear ceased transmissions in September of that year after an eventful 9 months. They would return however in early 1971 and continue to broadcast pop music from the Mebo 2 anchored in the North Sea (obviously) to a “young Europe” on MW/VHF/SW until August 1974. I won’t bore you with the details. There are many other places on the Interweb already covering the details well.

Radio Nordsee International

I must have purchased this 12 page booklet detailing RNI’s “history” to date in late 1970 or early 1971. Most likely it would have been via a classified advert in the UK pop music newspaper “Disc and Music Echo”. That was where I’d find info to send off for “Newsletters” about Offshore Pirate Radio news of the time. The best of those publications was “Monitor”. This began as a few foolscap sheets of coloured paper stapled together and ended up as an A5 booklet printed roughly 4 times a year containing fantastically detailed accounts of the comings and goings of the DJs on Radio Caroline/Veronica/Mi Amigo/Atlantis etc throughout the 1970s and 1980s. This magazine was published by the late Buster Pearson using a remarkably enlightened (LA….Loving Awareness) approach. The magazine had no fixed price!!! Buster asked you just to send what you could afford!!!!. When I was a penniless student I just sent him a few shillings per issue. Once I was in gainful employment I tried to send a few £££s per issue. Buster only printed an issue once he had collected enough funds from the previous issue to finance the next one. This next issue would be posted out to all the people on his mailing list and he would just trust that they would send him money to pay for it. This system operated for many many years with Buster never soliciting any money up front. I don’t think you’ll find too many people using that business model today. But of course Buster wasn’t doing it for the money…just his love of the Pirate Radio scene of those times.

Roland C. “Buster” Pearson (1928-1985) was honoured with this documentary on Radio Caroline.(Evening reception was always variable on Medium Wave and my radio/cassette recorder basic but I thought the subject matter makes it interesting).

Also see here. And here for links to more Offshore Radio stuff.

 

I must dig out a few copies of “Monitor” but for now click below for a pdf file of the Radio Nordsee International Booklet from 1970 written by Russel Carey with help from Fred Grilge,Eric Clapton,Emiline Crungebucket and many more.

RADIO NORDSEE INTERNATIONAL BIRTH OF A STATION by RUSSEL CAREY 1970 printed by Minster Press