Like most people opening their first email account, we found we had a deal with free web space thrown in. Having got over the shock of receiving knee-mails, we decided to try and put together a small website; but what to write about? It didn't take us long to decide what the site should be about, of course, but little did we realise what we'd started! Sometimes we think the site's got a mind of its own, and material just pops out of the woodwork, keeping us busy at weekends when we should be doing...? Well, what else is there to do at the weekend? As our readers will no doubt realise, it's just about as much fun you can have with a computer!
(Picture: VIP guests assemble
with the Paynes at Studio Anorak to toast the site's first birthday. L to R:
Chris in RNI sweatshirt, Mary in Radio London site t-shirt, Pauline 'Ask Me
a Silly Question' Miller, Dave 'Cuprinol Knees' Miller, Jenni 'Pancakes' Baynton)
The Radio London website, which started life as the Studio Anorak website, was a year old on March 25th 2000. During that time it has received over 4,200 hits, but Chris and I have received NOT ONE single negative comment about the site or its contents. The reason for this is probably that we do our utmost to present our stories in a professional manner, and we refuse to become involved in any mud-slinging that may be happening in the wonderful world of wireless. We go out of our way to seek out ex-offshore personnel, to tell unusual stories and relive happy memories, with the aim of entertaining people by keeping everything light-hearted. It is extremely flattering to know that radio professionals have such high regard for our site that they are prepared to give us exclusive stories.
(Picture: We couldn't leave Alan
Hardy out, could we? (Someone had to take the first picture!) Chris and
Alan have been doing radio 'things' for nearly 34 years... Oh, crikey...)
Chris and I want to thank all our supporters and contributors, who have been such an enormous source of help and inspiration. We have to give particular mention and gratitude to Jenni Baynton, Howie Castle, Tom 'Sea Poodle' Collins, John Cookson, Kjell Dahl, Ben Healy, Peter Herring, Keefers, Carleton Penn III, John S Platt, Colin Lees, Pauline Miller, Dave 'Cuprinol Knees' Miller, John Sales, George Saunders, Keith Skues, John Statham, Bob Stewart, Allan Trainer, Dave Williams, Garry Williams and Peter Young for valuable contributions and/or incriminating photographs. Also, to Per Alarud, Lars Holm, Jon Myer, Mike Portas, John Preston, and numerous friends who have assisted in the search for missing jocks. I think it's safe to say that every little shred of information received at Radio London leads us to exploring another new avenue. We must also thank everyone who has been kind enough to place links from their sites to ours.
Who could forget Ray Anderson? His
kindness and support enables us to give Lil the visibility she so richly deserves.
This is an attempt to define highlights of the website's year. The huge number of 'lost' ex-offshore personnel we have succeeded in contacting continues to expand. Incredibly, so many of the people who were involved in broadcasting in adverse conditions from ships and forts, still view the experience with affection. Almost without exception, they are proud to have been part of the radio revolution in the UK. You only have to read a few newspaper clippings from the time to appreciate what a far-reaching effect offshore radio had throughout this country.
Possibly the most exciting contact of all for us, was establishing a knee-mail friendship with Caroline's Bud Ballou, now known by his real name of Howie Castle, and then meeting him and enjoying his tremendous hospitality in July of '99 in San Diego.
Another great highlight to the year, was making contact with a great unsung hero off pirate radio, Radio City and Radio Scotland's Ben Healy, who lives in Canada. Ben kindly agreed to be interviewed for the website, and now the records have been set straight in our Radio Scotland section.
We were honoured when Caroline North's Dave Williams trusted our discretion in handling the details of Bob Stewart's serious illness. We have received a number of get-well messages to pass on to Bob, who gets in touch with us when he can, and continues to make good progress. Several of the senders of those messages have since become regular correspondents with us.
The highlight of the site year would have to be acquiring the Radio London domain name on October 13th 1999. We did wonder at the time if we would receive negative reactions to our doing this, but not one objection has ever reached us.
(Picture: Mary wears the Official Site T-shirt with the slogan: "It's smooth surfing with the highly successful site at www.radiolondon.co.uk', a gift from Chris. She holds the ultimate in Anorak gifts, a cartoon of 'Fort Knock-kneed John', presented to her by Pauline and Dave.)
Christmas Day 1999, is also worthy
of mention. Because we are true Anoraks, Chris and I interrupted our celebrations
to update the site to include the story of Radio Caroline's Ross Revenge
running aground. We knew that the Caroline organisation would require support
and donations as quickly as possible to pay the resulting bills.
We are proud of our recent 'scoop' story from Keefers on the 'behind-the-scenes' happenings at DLT's 'This Is Your Life'. This was followed swiftly by what must be our Scoop of the Year, the incredible story of Chuck Blair, which is updated regularly as we continue to receive new information.
Chris and I have always aimed to give the Radio London site a club atmosphere. With 'members' in Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden and the USA, I think we can safely say that it is a club with international membership! Radio London could successfully enter a great International Team for the Anorak Olympics. Happy Annkneeversary to you all!
Not by way of any criticism
towards the other superb sites, offshore radio isn't just about nostalgia. As
we have discovered in the past year, a surprising number of the original DJs
are still in contact with each other , and the atmosphere of the 60s is very
much a part of what they and we do in our everyday lives. It's a part of us
that's not going to go away, and we don't need to make excuses to anyone for
holding on to the feeling! All we ask is for a great radio station playing the
familiar and not-so-familiar music from the era, keeping us informed about 60s
bands still doing the rounds, and playing new releases that fit the 60s feeling.
Piece of cake! Not too much to ask, is it?
Finally, we'd like to share with you a message received from Ben Healy. Whenever we begin to doubt our sanity for spending so much time working on the website, messages like this keep us going:
Hi Mary and Chris:
Your website is such a treat to visit and the information you put on it is so great, and it almost seems like you take people back to the 60s with your very good writing skills.
I read your e-mail regarding Chuck Blair and it had a very sad tone about it but it was very well written.
Thank you once again for your wonderful website and the very hard work you put into it.