MDS975 logo PIRATE RADIO
The Story Of Offshore
and Pirate Radio
By Mike Smith
MDS975 logo

Radio Jackie
.

The Smallest Pirate
.

Radio Stations
     & Memorabilia
.

Airwaves


AUDIO: Offshore pirate
      radio documentaries


Radio Links







Other Radio Related Things:

If you are interested in pirate radio, you may just want to visit the crystal sets and trf radio pages.






Click to visit today's station

RADIO CAROLINE
Caroline
Good Ship Caroline
The MV Ross Revenge
used by Radio Caroline until 1991

RADIO LONDON

It's smooth sailing, With the highly successful sound, of Wonderful Radio London.

The Galaxy
The Galaxy

QSL
A QSL card from 1997 when Radio London returned for an RSL broadcast from Frinton on Sea between 18th July & 14th August.  Using 1Watt on 1134 kHz medium wave (the old 266 metres!) the station could be heard in the midlands!

RADIO 390

Radio 390, from the Red Sands fort with a huge transmitter and very slick programmes of lighter music
Visit Radio 390
PROJECT REDSANDS

This information from reader Tony: It must be noted that numerous websites have been created by someone called Paul Fransis. Apparently Paul Francis has nothing to do with Redsands Project, but he does seem to enjoy building sites and has been caught out on many occassions - they seem to stay on line for a month or two before disappearing. His latest creation is supposed to be from Germany, however he also uses one or two names from the past and of course the ex-390 presenters have left the adio industry or have other jobs.

However Project Redsands is due to be on air from the redsands fort around the 14th of July 2007.

Check out:




RADIO SUTCH & CITY
Shivering Sands
The Shivering Sands fort used by Radio Sutch and later by Radio City.

RADIO 270
Radio 270 logo
Radio 270 ship
Ocean 7 -The Radio 270 ship

sunk!
Sunk. The Mi Amigo in 1980

LASER 558
MV Communicator
The MV Communicator

Pop went the Pirates
If this subject interests you, I recommend that you obtain the book 'Pop Went The Pirates' by the fine broadcaster Kieth Skues. ISBN-0907398-03-0
The book covers everything in minute detail.





The 1960's Pop Radio Pirate Stations - by RADARC
The 1960's Pop Radio Pirate
Stations - from RADARC
Click the image to read the
full article in PDF format






The Story of Offshore & Pirate Radio

If you are a radio fan, you may know much about pirate radio era, there is masses of information on the internet.  But here is a brief history:


LORD REITH

From the 1920's the BBC had been providing quality, informative and educating programming, in accordance with the Reithian principles.  What the BBC did not provide however was a regular output of popular music from the 'Hit Parade'.  Despite this Britain was rapidly changing in character and, to borrow a phrase for Prime Minister Harold Wilson, 1960's Britain was "burning with the white heat of technology" and young Britons in their the teens and twenties were shaking off the dour image of the post war ways days and a new swingin' and groovy youth culture was evolving, together with revolutionary new styles in pop and rock music. 

At the forefront of this swinging' musical revolution were bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and young consumers seemingly could not get enough of this hip new music but BBC radio, which had remained almost unchanged since the end of the war ¹, played very little from the current Hit Parade and had only one programme per week dedicated to such material.  The only real outlet for listeners to hear all the new records was Radio Luxembourg and many British listeners tuned into Radio Luxembourg (The Great 208), but that was only available in the evenings and the signal would often fade or become distorted as the night time propagation changed and listeners had to endure regular periods of poor reception, even though the Luxembourg transmitter used a million watts of power.  Nevertheless it was extremely popular because it played continuous popular hit music and was great fun to listen to.

The other big problem with Radio Luxembourg was for the recording artists themselves because Radio Luxembourg operated a system of 'Payola' where by only the artists signed to major record labels that would pay a fee to the station would get their latest records heavily promoted.  So a situation existed whereby the BBC played very few records at all from the Hit Parade and Radio Luxembourg operated the restrictive payola system, and this constantly frustrated the managers of new artists and pop groups.  Without a contract with a big record company there was little chance of obtaining enough airplay to develop the careers of new artists.



CAROLINE

Ronan O'Rahilly was one manager frustrated by the BBC / Luxembourg problem.  O'Rahilly represented Georgie Fame and he saw that offshore 'pirate' radio stations had been set up in Scandanavia.  In 1958 Radio Mercury began transmitting to Denmark and Radio Syd and Radio Nord transmitting to Sweden from boats bobbing around in the North Sea.  In 1960 Radio Veronica commenced transmissions to Holland from a boat called the Borkem Riff initially in Dutch and later in English from 1961 with programmes supplied by the Commercial Neutral Broadcasting Company (CNBC).  The English programmes only lasted for a short time however, as they raised no advertising revenue, but the idea of an English offshore radio station had been set in O'Rahilly's mind.

Ronan decided that he could establish his own station, and purchased a vessel called the Frederica which he fitted with studios, a 165ft radio mast and two 10kW transmitters at his family's port in Greenore, Southern Ireland.  Renaming it the MV Caroline, after John F Kennedy's daughter, in the Easter of 1964 he dropped anchor 3 miles off the coast of Felixstowe, and therefore in International Waters and beyond British law, and commenced broadcasts as 'Radio Caroline 199'.  The actual frequency was 1520 KHz, which was expressed as a wavelength of 199metres.  Do you remember the Radio Caroline bell?

Radio Caroline employed some the greatest DJ's who became very much loved household names.  Those names include: Roger (Twiggy) Day, Simon Dee, Johnnie Walker, Keith Skues and Roger Scott.  Radio Caroline was so popular that within months of going on air the station had more listeners than BBC radio.

Shortly after Radio Caroline commenced programmes she was joined by the MV Mi Amigo carrying the station 'Radio Atlanta' on 201metres (1493 KHz).  Radio Atlanta and the Mi Amigo had also been fitted out in O'Rahilly's port in Greenore in a deal done between O'Rahilly and Radio Atlanta's Australian owner Alan Crawford.  Radio Caroline was the more popular of the two stations and they soon merged.  In July 1964 Atlanta was renamed Radio Caroline South and changed wavelength to 259m (1187kHz) using 30kW, while the MV Caroline sailed to Ramsey Bay, continuing to broadcast as she went, where she commenced duties as Radio Caroline North. 

The address of Radio Caroline North was Box 3, Ramsey, Isle of Man.


The Caroline stations were amazingly successful, and this prompted many other stations to join them.  Radio  London (Big L) was perhaps the largest and was established by MD Philip Birch on 12th December 1964 and broadcast from the MV Galaxy on 266m (1137kHz) with a powerful and clear 50kW Ampliphase transmitter and wonderful Amercian jingles produced by the PAMS jingle production house.  Radio London employed great broadcasting names including Kenny Everett, Dave Cash, Tony Windsor, Ed Stewart, Tony Blackburn, Tommy Vance, Tony Brandon and, later, Kieth Skues who had left Radio Caroline.  Big L was not just a radio station, it was a highly professional and slick business and marketing organisation that ensured that programmes would have the widest possible audience appeal and be attractive (and inoffensive) to potential advertisers, thereby generating maximum revenue.

Radio London became even more successful than Radio Caroline South, having
an audience of nearly 10 million at its peak in 1966, while Radio Caroline South enjoyed the company of around 2 million listeners.  The combined audience for Radio Caroline North and South was around 9 million listeners.



SCEAMING LORD SUTCH

There were other radio ships too:  Radio 270 arrived in November 1965 on 270m (1115KHz) from the vessel Ocean 7, broadcasting off the Yorkshire coast;  Radio Scotland was swinging to you on 242m off the Ayeshire coast, from the a converted lightship called The Comet, from new years eve 1965;  

Swinging Radio England/Radio Dolfijn broadcast from 3rd May 1966 from the MV Olga Patricia (later renamed the Laissez Faire) with 55kW on 355 meters, later moving to 227metres medium wave:  The MV Olga Patricia was shared with Britain Radio, which used the 355 metres wavelength and which later changed its name to 'Radio 355'.  


Apart from the pirate ships, some enterprising organisations established their stations on old wartime forts off the Essex coast.  One such station was 'Radio Sutch'.  Screaming Lord Sutch (the pop singer whose real name was David Sutch) of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, established this short lived station on the Shivering Sands fort.  He had been a parliamentary candidate in John Profumo's Stratford upon Avon constituency.  He believed in commercial radio and since the British government would not legalise it, on the 25th of May 1964, shortly after Radio Caroline went on air, he set up Radio Sutch as a protest and used it as an organ for his own self publicity!

Radio Sutch used 197 metres (1542 KHz), but it was not a professional sounding station and suffered many technical faults. In September 1964 Sutch's manager, Reg Calvert, took over Shivering Sands fort and Radio Sutch, changed the station name to 'Radio City' and the wavelength to 299m (1034kHz).  The format was changed to a mainstream Top 60 with much wider appeal with a much more professional sound.

Radio Invicta was another fort based station, commencing programmes on 29th July 1964 from the Red Sands ack ack forts in the Thames Estuary on 306m (985Khz). It broadcast from 6am to 6pm when the signals were swamped by Radio Algiers.  Invicta had a small but regular audience but closed in February 1965 , the Red Sands forts were taken over by KING Radio which used 238m (1289Khz).  Subsequently 'Radio 390' owned by Ted Allbeury took over KING in September 1965.

Radio 390 used 773 kHz from a 35 KW transmitter, the most powerful of the fort based stations and which provided a very robust signal. The programmes commenced on 25th September 1965.  Radio 390 marketed itself as the housewives choice playing 'sweet music, in a style more akin to The Light Programme than the brash style of Radios Caroline and London.  Radio 390 was also a very professional sounding station with wide appeal amongst its target audience and as such became very popular.

Tower Radio was set up by Eric Sullivan and commenced programmes on the 22nd October 1965 from the Sunk Head Tower fort using 236 metres (1268 kHz) - "Get A Fix On  236" was their slogan.  Meanwhile Radio Essex used the Knock John fort from 27th October 1965, these transmissions were on 222m, with only 200 watts it was most definitely a local station.  It later changed identity and became BBMS (Britain's Better Music Station).

The 1960's saw the wide adoption of the transistorised radio set, commonly called 'a transistor',  between them all these stations had a vast number of these transistors tuned away from the BBC and into the hip, new, swinging, fun, sound of offshore pirate radio.  At its peak, the offshore pirate stations commanded an audience of around 20 million listeners, with a larger audience share than the BBC at the time!

Legally the stations were not pirates at all, because they were all broadcasting from outside the British territorial limit and therefore in international waters, beyond the reach of British broadcasting laws.


Craig Robey informs me that his uncle, Eric Sullivan of Radio Tower, sadly passed away on October the 31st 2012, in Colchester General hospital. He was 80-years old. Craig says that "He was a wonderful man and will be sadly missed by all those who knew him".





SHOT!

The government was not pleased, but the offshore pirates remained for some years. Some stations suffered with lack of audience and changed ownership and format.  Other stations endured bad weather and severe storm damage,  Radio Invicta suffered the tragedy of the loss of three lives when a supply boat sank.  Legal actions against the Radio Essex / BBMS station owner eventually forced the operation off the air.

Perhaps one event, more than any other, spurred the government into action against the offshore broadcasters, this was the death of Reg Calvert, owner of Radio City, at the hands of a competitor, Major Oliver Smedley.  Calvert had been in negotiations with Radio Caroline with a view to take over Radio City, Caroline subsequently delivered a powerful new transmitter to the Radio City fort at Shivering Sands, but the deal collapsed.  A subsequent deal with another organisation also fell through, as did a deal with Radio London.

Calvert still had the transmitter that the Caroline organisation had supplied, but had not paid for it.  It was Major Oliver Smedley that organised a boarding party that took over Radio City by force on 20th June 1966, and therefore regained the transmitter said to be worth £10,000.

When Calvert visited Major Smedley at his home in Essex the next evening a fight broke out and Smedley produced a shotgun and killed Calvert.  As the killing was deemed to be in self defence, Smedley could not be tried for murder, and after being tried for unlawful killing he was found not guilty.  Radio City closed on 10th February 1967.


The True Story:

Now that the archives are being released - the true story can be told behind the shooting of Reg Calvert.
 
Major Smedley offered him a 'new' transmitter.  When it arrived in December 1965 - it was old - about 30 years - and useless.  Reg Calvert's engineers and Smedley's engineers tried to make it work - but it used too much power.
 
It was left for 6 months while Major Smedley could have collected it at any time. He did however leave my father with a hefty bill to pay for transporting a worthless transmitter from Texas.
 
Major Smedley had two attempts at running a radio station.  Both flopped - and he was almost bankrupt - so he had no money to purchase a new transmitter.
 
This can be verified by reading the Radio City Engineer reports on the web concerning the transmitter.
 
In June 1965 Radio London offered Reg Calvert a partnership deal to establish the most powerful station transmitting from the towers, which would provide a programme of easy listening music.
 
A few days before the partnership was to be signed - Major Smedley boarded the station and took it over.  He immediately went to Phillip Birch, the M.D. at Radio London, and insisted that the deal should now be with him as he had taken possession.  Phillip Birch refused and said he would only go into partnership with Reg Calvert.
 
The police told Calvert to visit Smedley, giving him his address. Calvert was not in any way a violent man, no one had ever seen him lose his temper; he always spoke quietly and talked his way out of any trouble. He was an entertainer - and very concerned for the safety of his men on the tower.
 
As he arrived at the house Major Smedley went out with his loaded gun, he told a neighbour that there was going to be trouble and went back in and shot Reg Calvert at point blank range. He then pointed the gun at Alan Arnold who was terrified and ran.
 
MDorothy Calvert (Reg's wife) had to go to the police station where she could hear Major Smedley. The police all said they had never seen anyone shot in cold blood before, but he was so calm she knew he knew he was going to get away with it.
 
All evidence was 'lost' proving that the transmitter was old. All the witnesses on Calvert's side were cancelled. Kitty Black's web entry even mentions that the Prosecution called her a a 'witness' and she said it was odd, as she was a friend of Smedley.
 
Photographs, that have only recently been released, may have proved that this incident was a case of murder. Calvert's left had glove had been removed and the statue he was supposed to be holding laid down by his side. His right hand glove was still on. Calvert was right handed and he had a smallpox injection in his left arm and could hardly move it, which is why Alan Arnold (who owned the aerial) drove him down.
 
Alan Arnold was terrified at the hearing and trial and did not reveal the truth. Dorothy Calvert, was repeatedly threatened as she continued to run the station.
 
There has been a 'D' notice on theses events.  The government at the time were very keen to stop pirate radio in what ever way they could and the murder of my father was their opportunity.
 
Reg Calvert's daughter has written a play about these events and story behind pirate radio. 

Information provided by Susan Moore (nee Calvert) - Reg Calvert's daughter.




These incidents effectively sealed the end of the offshore stations. Parliament passed the Marine etc & Broadcasting Offences Act which was designed to prevent supply to the ships from the British mainland and to disallow British companies from placing advertising with the offshore stations, thereby effectively starving them off the air.  The Act required that the stations that were still broadcasting were closed down on the 14th August 1967. 

Radio London famously closed down with the final, and wonderful,  record "A Day In The Life Of" by the Beatles.  The Radio London organisation returned to make several licenced RSL broadcasts in the 1990's, and have recently obatained a licence to broadcast from The Netherlands on 1008 kHz from either Flevoland or possibly the disused offshore survey platform, REM Island, which would be a fitting location for their transmitter.


The only stations that disobeyed the law were Radio Caroline South and Radio Caroline North which continued to broadcast beyond August 15th 1967.  As a result of the Act, Caroline could no longer take advertising from the UK so revenue was obtained from European advertisers.  The stations were financially weakened though, and were taken off the air in March 1968 after non payment of tender fees.



ONE-DERFUL

After the audience successes of offshore radio, the postmaster general, Edward Short,  announced that the BBC would create a new pop channel designed by the BBC with the working title 'Radio 247'.  To make room for the new service the 'Light Programme' lost the use of its 247metre (1214kHz) wavelengths and was renamed 'Radio Two'.  The 247m transmitters were reorganised and handed over to the new wonderful 'Radio One' which launched on September 30th 1967.  The 'Third Programme 'became 'Radio Three' while The 'Home Service' became 'Radio Four'

The new Radio One was modelled on the sound of Radio London and employed many of the old offshore radio DJ's, the BBC even bought an American PAMS jingle package in an attempt to re-create a station with the Radio London sound.  Unlike the offshore stations, however, Radio One was effectively a part-time station initially on the air for 5½ hours per day because of a limited budget and 'needletime' restrictions, sharing programmes with Radio Two up until the 1980's.

Radio Caroline was re-launched on September 30th 1972 by some enthusiasts that purchased the old Mi Amigo ship.  Initially the station only transmitted test transmissions on 1187 kHz. Later, in December 1972 the radio ship went on the air with the name "Radio 199". Three weeks later the Radio Caroline name returned to the airwaves, the ship being located near Sheveningen off the Dutch coast.

By June 1973 Radio Caroline broadcast two services; Radio Caroline 1, with a programme of Top 40 pop on 773 kHz* (announced as 389 meters), and Radio Caroline 2, with a programme of easy listening music, on 259 meters. DJ's included Paul Alexander, aka Paul Rusling, Andy Archer, Steve England, Spangles Muldoon, Dick Palmerm Robin Banks, Peter Chicago and taped ontributions from Roger Day. 

[ *774 kHz was used later in 1980 by official Independent Local Radio station Severn Sound in Gloucester
shire.]

From July 1973 Radio Atlantis and Radio Seagull also broadcast from the Mi Amigo. Radio Atlantis was a Belgian station broadcasting in Flemish although it later left the Mi Amigo when the station, operated by Adriaan Van Landschoot, obtained its own ship called The Janine, and its transmissions from the Mi Amigo were replaced by Radio Mi Amigo.

From March 1974 Radio Caroline was to return again, replacing Radio Seagull from the Mi Amigo.
The relaunched Caroline later broadcast from the Essex coast until 1980 when a storm drove her into a sandbank where she sank. 

Three years later Radio Caroline returned from a different ship, the Ross Revenge, with a powerful transmitter using 963kHz, latterly changing frequencies to 576kHz.  The programmes consisted of an album format during this period.  Radio Caroline continued broadcasting on medium wave, but the station suffered at the hands of the weather and the authorities;  a severe storm felled the massive 300ft mast in 1987, but brave the station was finally taken off the air in 1991 during a armed raid by the UK government.  The Ross Revenge was later relocated to inland coastal waters in Kent and several legal RSL (Restricted Service Licence) broadcasts, licensed by the Radio Authority, have been made from the ship during the 1990's. Radio Caroline continues broadcasting today, but legally, via digital methods on satellite and the internet.

'Laser 558' also joined Caroline in January 1984, from the MV Communicator using a hugely powerful transmitter, Laser 558's fast-paced American 'all-hits' style was a big success and gained an audience of many millions across Britain and especially in the South-East.  The success of these two stations prompted the DTI to use their own ship, The Dioptric Surveyor, to try to prevent supplies from reaching the radio ships and force the pair off the air.  This human effort did not work though, and it was mother nature and the gales of the 6th November 1985 that eventually took Laser 558 off the air, when the ship lost anchor and drifted helplessly until rescued by the coastguard.  Laser did come back on air about a year later, but was weakened and eventually ceased broadcasting after many technical troubles in early 1987.



LIFE ON THE POP RADIO PIRATES

Thank you to Min Standen  G0JMS for passing on the story of former pirate radio engineer, Eric G3PGM (now 'Silent Key'), while working on the 1960's pop radio pirates. To read the full story, published by the Reading & District Amateur Radio Club (RADARC) click the image below to download the PDF document:

The 1960's Pop Radio Pirate Stations - by RADARC
The 1960's Pop Radio Pirate Stations
Life On Radio Invicta  - from The
Reading & District Amateur Radio Club
Click the image to read the full article in PDF format

Thank you
to Min Standen G0JMS for the above publication :  http://www.radarc.org/g3pgm.htm


MORE......

Radio Free London and Radio Free Helen

In 1968 - 1969 some land based pirates endeavoured to replace the sounds lost when the main offshore pirate radio ships were cloed down by the government.

Radio Free London was formed and became two stations; Radio Free London North and Radio Free London South. Both stations shared 255 metres medium wave and took it in turn to broadcast.

There was also the Radio Helen Broadcasting Network which had many stations time-sharing the wavelength of 197metres medium wave. The Helen network consisted of Radio Helen 1, 2 and 3 (later Radio Helen North and South), Radio Revenge, Radio Freedom, Radio Apollo, Radio Telstar and Radio Spectrum all broadcasting in turn, from different locations but using the same frequency. It was an ambitious project to get a number of stations to share one frequency by time, and in time the network broke up some stations dropped out of the scheme.



The Finest Land Based Pirate

In 1969 came Radio Jackie, which was to become one of the finest pirate radio stations of its time producing a professional local radio service to the area it served. Radio Jackie mainly broadcast on medium wave (240 metres / 1161 kHz but more latterly on 227 metres). For a time Radio Jackie provided a high quality programme service on VHF / FM using 94.4MHz.



The London Transmitter Of Independent Radio

Abe Coen initially approached Radio Jackie, offering some useful equipment and services. Coen went on to establish "The London Transmitter Of Independent Radio" - or L.T.I.R. 

L.T.I.R. grew out of Radio Jackie's original use of a high quality VHF transmitter on Saturday nights on 94.4 MHz and was set up with the intention of providing its high quality VHF signal to other radio stations. Between 1971 and 1972 the L.T.I.R. broadcast different radio stations four nights a week, each providing different programme and music styles.

Abe Coen built the VHF transmitter  and was referred to as the Executive Producer on air with Jim and Robert being referred to as the Transmitter Engineers.

The stations that used the L.T.I.R VHF / FM facility were:


Radio Aquarius - Broadcast on Friday nights providing light music with Barry as the Disc Engineer.  An instrumental version of The Age Of Aquarius by James Last was used by Radio Aquarius as their theme music.

Radio London Underground (growing out of Radio Jackie's programmes)  - From 1971 - in April 1972 broadcast regularly on Sunday evenings / nights for eight months. Progressive music, pop and classical plus documentaries. Telephone: 01 549 0659   Address: 70 Clifton Rd, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey.

Radio Classic

Radio Odyssey

Radio Jackie / Radio Star

There is an audio documentary here: 
http://www.transdiffusion.org/media/podcasts/On-The-Run-1973.m4a

Here some links to more detailed articles:

http://www.transdiffusion.org/radio/features/on_the_run_the

http://www.radiokaleidoscope.co.uk/makingof.html

http://www.transdiffusion.org/radio/offshore/free_radio_40_years on

http://radio.eric.tripod.com/radio_jackie.htm

http://www.gunfleet.com/home#TOC-Landbased-London-1968-1977-Originally-published-in-Free-Radio-Focus-1978




UPTOWN RADIO - 94.4 VHF / FM

Many land based pirate radio stations came and went during the 1970's and 1980's. I remember tuning to E.S.T. on 94.3 in Birmingham, Bromley Sound on 94.2, Radio Invicta on 92.4 and JFM. Many were in the London area and perhaps one of the most professional sounding and intriguing stations was Uptown Radio transmitting in the Chertsey area which started life in 1978. 

Uptown Radio had a fairly strong signal in the west London area, around Chertsey, initially using a 50 watt transmitter and a J-Pole aerial that had a low radiation angle. This gave the signal some apparent gain so Uptown Radio claimed an e.r.p. of 85 watts. Transmission sites used included Egham Hill, Runnymede and Horsenden Hill. From 1982 Uptown Radio used a 175 watt transmitter placed on a tower block in Hounslow. Sound quality was good and I listened several times in the car when travelling from Esher, past Chertsey and Staines and onwards up to the M40 (This was possibly at the time they were transmitting from Egham or Hounslow area I cannot remember the year). 

I do remember that I immediately liked Terry Anderson's programme of rock and alternative music, amusing comments and letters from listeners. This show was broadcast from 7pm to 8pm on a Sunday evening followed by Bob Earl from 8pm to 9pm and finally Topper Lindsey from  9pm to 10pm.

After suffering interference from another pirate station, Horizon Radio, which started in 1982 using the same frequency, and DTI raids, Uptown Radio ceased broadcasting in 1983. Read more here:  http://radio.eric.tripod.com/uptown_radio.htm




The World's Smallest Pirate Radio Station?

There is also a story about what may arguably be the worlds smallest pirate radio station.  The station was called Radio Liveridge, it broadcast every Sunday in the early 1980's on a frequency of 97.5 MHz and was a firm favourite!  It is this frequency that lends the numbers 975 to this site and coupled with the author's initials provides the site name - MDS975.  So there's your answer - and here's another question, "What is the answer to life, the universe and everything?"

The Second World War 1939 to 1945]




40th ANNIVERSARY OF OFFSHORE RADIO
CELEBRATED BY THE BBC

The BBC celebrated the 40th anniversary of pirate radio broadcasting from the seas around the UK in great style with special programmes from the 10th to 17th of April 2004 as radio station BBC Essex handed over its medium wave frequencies to "Pirate BBC Essex" broadcasting from lightship LV18 anchored off Harwich and recreating the fab sounds of the pirate stations from 1964 to 1967. 

DJ's involved in Pirate BBC Essex included pirate radio veterans Tom Edwards, Keith Skues, Roger (Twiggy) Day, Pete Brady, Paul Burnett, Mike Ahern and Dave Cash and the project helped raise money to convert the vessel into and educational centre and visitor attraction.  Pirate BBC Essex made use of the BBC Essex medium wave transmitters at Chelmsford, Manningtree and Southend, all of which could be heard outside the Essex and East Anglia region.  To make the historical broadcast available worldwide the BBC also aranged a live RealPlayer feed via www.bbc.co.uk/essex/pirate

Everyone involved in the event certainly worked very hard to provide the best radio station of 2004!   Roger Day sent an e-mail proclaiming the event to be a most enjoyable success, which it undoubtably was.  Tom Edwards also sent an e-mail saying how much he enjoyed appearing on his Easter Sunday show.  You may like to E-Mail Tom Edwards, he'd love to hear from you.

The programmes were really excellent and provided a feel for those listeners to young to remember just how some of the ship born pirate stations sounded and, no doubt, brought back some fond memories of the sixties for those in the audience who could remember the likes of Radio 390, Radio Caroline and Radio London.

Offshore Radio Documentaries:


ALL AT SEA

The Story of Offshore 'Pirate' Radio in the 1960's by Ray Clark

It was interesting that it was the BBC that took it upon itself to provide an outlet for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of pirate radio as it was 1960's BBC Radio that was in the firing line of these stations at the time.  Ironically the event was almost comletely ignored by UK commercial radio, an industry that would probably have not been born without the experience of the pirate radio era! 

SAGA Radio was an exception and did devote a day to recollections of the pirate stations of the 1960's. Well done to the BBC and everyone involved in the Pirate BBC Essex broadcasts!

Tape recording   PLAY : All At Sea - part 1    Tape recording
The story of offshore pirate radio in the 1960's - the award winning documentary.
Presented bt Ray Clark and broadcast on Pirate BBC Essex during Easter 2004

Tape recording     PLAY : All At Sea - part 2 - What Happened Next {enhanced}  Tape recording
The continuing story of offshore pirate radio and the closure of most of the
popular radio stations by the government on 14th August 1967.
Presented bt Ray Clark and broadcast on Pirate BBC Essex in August 2007


BBC Essex was on 103.5 & 95.2 vhf/fm and 729, 765 and 1530 am/medium wave as well as DAB digital radio in the Essex area.  

BBC Essex - local radio for Essex                                                                             www.bbc.co.uk





WHEN PIRATES RULED THE WAVES
A story of Offshore Radio
Written and Presented by Paul Rowley

for BBC Local Radio
As broadcast on BBC Radio Shropshire
Tape recording   PLAY : When Pirates Ruled The Waves - by Paul Rowley   Tape recording


BBC Radio Shropshire                                                                                               www.bbc.co.uk





WHEN PIRATES RULED THE AIRWAVES
A story of Offshore Radio presented by Nill Nighy on Real Radio

Tape recording  PLAY : When Pirates Ruled The Airwaves - with Bill Nighy  Tape recording


visit - Real Radio  -  visit Smooth Radio





THE RADIO REVOLUTIONARIES
The story of the 1960's offshore radio pop pirates
Tape recording   PLAY : The Radio Revolutionaries - BBC Radio Two    Tape recording


www.bbc.co.uk




Radio Caroline Feature on RadioFax

A feature transmitted by RadioFax in 1992, recorded from from the RadioFax short wave service (3910 & 6205 kHz):





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