Caroline by Penny Bowskill
There was a spell, before Jason and I met the dates elude me
now when Jason was erecting aerials on top of the BBC building
in order to broadcast Radio Free London! He had a 'Jason Wolfe Pack'
fan club, and was talking at meetings in Trafalgar Square, promoting
independent radio. He also wrote articles for Wavelength and Script
Magazine, mainly promoting independent radio, but also some quirky stuff.
When I met Jason in 1969 he was sharing a flat with ex-Caroline jock
Jumbo Jim Gordon (Guy Blackmore). They formed a company together called
Orphean Honk(!) putting discos and dancers into London pubs. Jason himself
did The Greyhound every Sunday lunchtime. It was great fun! We were
married in 1972 at Caxton Hall very 70s! He freelanced with the
BBC, LBC, Radio Nordzee (with Don Allen) and Capital.
In 1976 we moved to San Francisco (on my Green Card) and Jason freelanced
with PBS Radio and had a weekend slot on KALX, the local Berkeley University
radio station. Again he wrote articles for local publications, mostly
on a variety of nutty stuff and some poems too. Johnnie Walker was in
SF briefly whilst we were there, and I think they met up. Before we
arrived in San Francisco we did that deal they have in the US where
you drive and deliver a car from one coast to another. We drove from
New York to San Francisco this way, and on the way met up with Bud Ballou
(ex-Caroline jock Howie Castle) in Syracuse, New York, for a couple
of days. That was a fun visit. We had also (on our honeymoon I think)
met up with Manfred Sommer (ex-Caroline engineer) in Graz, Austria.
So Radio Caroline was quite an item in my life, even though it was pretty
much all over by the time I met Jason.
So, as you can tell, I was greatly influenced by Jason in this independent
radio business. Encouraged by him, I went on to work as PA to Terry
Bate who, at that time (1972-ish), was leading the franchise bid for
the London News commercial radio station on behalf of The Evening Standard
and Beaverbrook Newspapers. Radio Caroline (well, Ronan O'Rahilly) had
brought Terry over from Canada prior to this, where he had been quite
an innovator at the Radio Advertising Bureau in Toronto, working with
Howard Heller. He was appointed Advertising Director for Radio Caroline,
bringing with him a wealth of expertise in that field. His franchise
for Beaverbrook Broadcasting unfortunately did not win the bid, but
I moved on to the people who did, as PA to the Chairman and CEO of LBC.
It was a couple of years later that we moved to San Francisco.
We returned to the UK in 1983 with a son and a daughter. BBC Radio Reading
actually interviewed Jason live on air about the Radio Caroline Days,
which is a bit of a turn around. He worked for Radio Thamesmead back
in London and did film-extra work ,whilst taking a year's course at
the City Lit in drama, he had lots of small character-parts in film
and TV and a couple of TV commercials. He lectured regularly to the
police on how to handle radio and TV interviews, and was actually leading
quite a stable life at this point! Then his health started failing and
in 1986 he died of cancer. Our kids were 4 and 6 years old.
Our son Drummond is now an actor in London, mostly for the love of it
at this point, despite 3 years' professional training and an MA! But
enjoying life a lot. And our daughter Polly is a groom and horse trainer
in the Malvern Hills in Worcester, which she loves. Jason was a great
believer in working at a job which you enjoy, life's too short not to.
Jumbo Jim Gordon (Guy Blackmore) went on to be a regular Presenter for
Thames Television before he returned to Australia with an Australian
wife he met in London. Sadly, Guy also died, a few years ago now. I
am in close touch with Wendy Blackmore and also Guy's sister Liz who
lives in LA.
Very many thanks to Penny, and to George, for
putting us in touch.