June 2004
(May 2004 is here...)

Not the first time Pirates have been "Shakin' All Over"!

Bud Ballou, aka Howie Castle, wrote from California to tell us how pleased he was to see the photos of his friend and ex-shipmate, Jason Wolfe on the site. He then told us:

We had an earthquake here earlier this week. A 5.2, centered about 50 miles southwest of San Diego, off the Mexican coast...about 20 miles west of Rosarito beach. It was the strongest quake I've felt since moving here. It knocked all my pictures crooked and some items fell over...including my Radio London "Daft Old Pirate" award from the top of the Monty Python Canned Dead Parrot can (stll unopened). Even the trees outside my apartment were swaying. It was all over in about 10 seconds and I'm happy to report no major damage.

Howie was presented with the Radio London Daft Old Pirate and Monty Python Canned Dead Parrot Awards at the 2001 Offshore Reunion in Harwich.

Right: The 'Daft Old Pirate' in question. Photos of Jason are here.


Surely it's not April 1st again #1
Tony Blackburn has enjoyed 'sensational' news coverage over his suspension (and subsequent reinstatement) from Classic Gold Digital for the serious crime of playing Cliff Richard records requested by listeners. Cliff, surely the UK's ultimate Golden Oldie, was described by the station as the 'wrong brand' for Classic Gold – whatever that means. Nothing at all to do with radio, or with listener choice, it seems.

As similar tales have hit the headlines in the past, sceptics believe that the whole fiasco was a publicity exercise. The story has certainly gone international – John Preston reported that he heard it on the news in Brisbane! But rather than attract a new audience, such tales are more likely to turn off the discerning listener who wants to hear a radio station not a 'brand'.


Surely it's not April 1st again #2
Plans are afoot in the town of Soap Lake in Washington State, USA, to build the ultimate tourist attraction for Sixties fans – a 60ft lava lamp!

The Giant Lava Lamp website explains that the region is one of the last areas of the earth to have had a massive flow of lava. This is why it was felt that the lamp would be 'a wonderfully whimsical and appropriate theme structure for Soap Lake'.

Locals Brent Blake and John Glassco form the team behind the concept. "Visitors will be thrilled to see such a thing and will be rewarded by its scale, show of light and constantly changing elements," they say.

The Lava Lamp is proposed to be around 60ft tall, with a diameter of around 18ft.

If you think we are winding you up, you can visit the website and make up your own mind!


International Radio Report – June #2
In Hans Knot's second newsletter for this month (to sign up, contact Hans at hknot@home.nl) Phil Mitchell writes about his about Radio Seagull programme, there's wedding bells for Charlie Seawolf and more news of the guests attending the Caroline Class of 73/4 Reunion (see feature further down the page).

Voice Demos from John
John Schneider of radiopoly.com writes:

Call it shameless self promotion, but I just wanted to let as many people as possible know that my new 2 minute, 55 second Mp3 voiceover demo has been posted at www.squawk.us. Once there, click on "Voice Demos" and then the date next to my name to hear my demo, which features sample reads of commercials, movie trailers and TV promos. If you know of any companies or individuals that need a voice, I would really appreciate it if you sent them here. I'm working on getting set up here at home to record and send voice work over the Internet.

My voice coach is Don Morrow, who is one of the premier voices in the industry. He's been doing this stuff for over 50 years and lives right here in Danbury. You've heard his voice on movie trailers for Titanic, Saving Private Ryan, Harry Potter and a bunch of others. Check out his resume here.


Ray Charles 1930-2004
"I just want to make my mark, leave something musically good behind"

Born Ray Charles Robinson in Georgia, the musician, singer and songwriter known aptly as 'The Genius', died on June 10th at his Beverly Hills home.

Ray's creativity encompassed a wealth of musical styles from country to jazz, blues and soul and his versatility won him twelve Grammies. He began playing piano at the age of three. Ray had lost his sight by the time he was seven, but none of his creativity. "What'd I Say," became his first big US hit in 1959. His greatest UK success was "I Can't Stop Loving You', a #1 in 1962.

When early biographies were despatched by the Beatles' fan club, Ray was listed as John Lennon's favourite singer. Six Ray Charles singles appeared on the Radio London playlists.

On April 30th this year, the recording studios he had built in Los Angeles in 1964, were designated a historic landmark.

We were fortunate to see Ray perform with the Ray Charles Orchestra at the Hammersmith Apollo, during his European tour of 1993. (Photo: Chris Payne)

Left: Tour T-shirt

Ray Charles website: www.raycharles.com


Bob's Forts Reunion
Bob le Roi's Scrapbook has a photo report of his recent forts reunion, held at that popular venue for such events, the Dickens Inn, St Katharine's Dock.

Among the distinguished guests were Reg Calvert's daughter Candy and grand-daughter Kirsty, and Thomas Long, from Pinkerton's Assorted Colours. Darryl Moreno, son of the late Ed Moreno, travelled from the USA to attend.

Also in this update, with the much-heralded anniversary of UK Commercial Radio "One Subject One Link" asks if you remember the WOW factor.
Impossible Discographies
Chris Edwards from Offshore Echoes has pointed us to a Swedish site called Impossible Discographies. One of these discographies will be of particular interest to offshore radio fans as it relates to the Major Minor record label. Whilst Bud Ballou, Twiggy Day, Johnnie Walker et al tend to recall mainly the joys of being obliged to air the likes of Freddy 'Parrot Face' Davis and the Dubliners, aboard Caroline in the 'outlaw' days of 1967/8, there were of course a number of great artists on Major Minor. Cissy Houston, Kim Weston and Johnny Nash were among them!

The site also features bios of some of our Fab Forty stars such as Heinz, DDDBMT, the Honeycombs and Napoleon X1V (see FF 14/08/66).

The Knees Club Founder is also kneelighted to see that Major Minor release # 532 was a single by Los Canarios called 'Get on Your Knees'!

Rumours of Frank's Death are greatly exaggerated!

Not long ago, Radio Two's Sounds of the Sixties broadcast a message from a listener claiming that Frank Ifield is dead. He is, we are pleased to report, very much alive and well!

In the Sixties, Frank's singles enhanced many a Radio London playlist, and rumours that this was because he was a friend of TW's are probably true!

In January 2003 a plaque was unveiled, commemorating Frank's induction as a member of the Roll of Renown, Australia's most prestigious award for country music artists.

No longer performing himself, Frank now promotes country bands and artists in his native Australia. He is currently on the extensive 'All Roads' tour of the UK with the talented and beautiful singer, Donna Boyd. Donna won the 2003 'International Frank Ifield Spur Award', for aspiring new talent.

'All Roads' is the title of Donna's CD, and Frank reports via his website that public response to it and to her performances during the tour has been 'nothing short of wildly enthusiastic'.

Pictured left with Frank is Pauline Halford, his biographer. Many Radio London visitors will recall Pauline's guest appearance on Keith Skues's show during the Big L 2001 broadcast. The biography will be published in two volumes, with volume one now nearing completion. Frank is somewhat tied up with the tour at present, but watch this space for more news!

Donna's website and diary of the 'All Roads' tour is here.

Frank's own website (goodness knows why SOTS failed to find it to confirm that he is alive and kicking) is here.

The photos were taken at the Brewer's Tap in Abingdon, by Mary Payne.


Python Assists in 'Save Radio' Campaign
Ian MacRae writes in his on-line newsletter The Radio Wave, #28:

In America the campaign by the Federal Communications Commission against so-called indecency has just become stupid. Jocks and their stations can be fined for using language that would be considered tame in your average school yard.

A non-profit organisation has been formed by Detroit-based radio consulting firm, Jacobs Media. Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs said, "There is a large gap between the opinions about indecency that are being expressed by the FCC and Congress and what we're hearing radio listeners in America."

On the site youll find some good radio spots produced by various stations including one by ex-Python Eric Idle with a song hes written about the FCC (R rated!) Since this newsletter first started 27 issues back, I've had ongoing letters... (from) people with a passion for radio whose passion has turned to a disgust with what's happening in some areas of the business.

As usual, Ian's newsletter relates some of the wackier tales from the wonderful world of radio...

A couple of 10 year old kids put non-commercial urban station KMOJ in Minneapolis-St. Paul off the air for 17 hours when they got into some heavy equipment at a construction site and managed to do half a million dollars' worth of damage.

....and will make you wonder at the lengths people will go to in order to win prizes offered by radio stations!
Reunion for the Caroline Class of 1973/74
The annual Radio Day, organised by the Foundation for Media Communication and Freewave Media Magazine will be held on October 2nd, 2004. The venue is Casa 400 in Amsterdam, close to the Amstel railroad station.

Andy Archer, Elija van den Berg, Brian Anderson and Teun Visser (the so-called organising committee!), are working on getting together as many people as possible who worked on Radio Caroline in 1973/1974. Confirmed guests so far: Captain Jaap Taal (now 84), Captain Aad Meyer, Charlotte Ribbelink (the office manager), Johnny Jason, Robert de Goede (aka Ad Roberts), Bob Noakes, Dennis King, Graeme Gill, Will van der Steen (aka Bill Stones), Peter van Dam, Bert Bennett, Jaap de Haan (engineer, who has a wonderful film which he is bringing with him), Peter and Koos van Dijken (crew members), Leon Keezer and Robb Eden. Most of the 'classmates' have not seen each other since 1974!

The committee is still trying to track down 'classmates' Mike Storms, Leo de Later and Jeremy Bender. Also Peter Hayes (known as the Cheshire Flyer) who was an engineer who did programmes in 1974, Ren van der Snoeck, who worked in the office. Graham Kay (English service of Radio Mi Amigo) from Australia, and Eddie de Boeck who was Sylvan Tack's representative in The Hague (a very funny man!). If anyone knows their whereabouts, please get in touch with Hans Knot at hknot@home.nl

At the Radio Day, former Radio 227 deejay Look Boden will also be interviewed about Radio 227 in the past and at present, and it is hoped that Jessie Brandon will come over from the States to talk about her career on Laser 558 and afterwards.

Thirty-seven years later, Chris and Alan realise what they started

Radio West Mid Relaunches
Radio West Middlesex, the hospital radio station which Chris Payne and Alan Hardy started in 1967, has held an official launch for the opening of its new studios.

It was May 1967 when Chris and Alan, apprentices at the famous EMI in Hayes, Middlesex, obtained permission to record shows for the benefit of patients at West Middlesex hospital. Eventually, the service evolved into a full-blown radio station, which has started many a broadcasting career.

On June 2nd, an official opening was attended by members past and present, plus local dignitaries, inluding the appropriately-named MP, Alan Keen!

Chris introduced 'All You Need is Love', as he might have done back in '67, and the official opening of the new studios was performed by one of the patients.

Chris explains the meaning of 'reel-to-reel tape recorders' and 'carts'

From Harwich to New York
Radio London is delighted to report that Ray Clark from Pirate BBC Essex (and of course, Caroline) is a finalist in the New York Festivals Radio Programming Awards 2004.

Pirate Clark, who has to pretend to be a landlubber in order to broadcast daily on BBC Cambridgeshire and on Non-Pirate BBC Essex on Saturdays, has been short-listed for his great offshore documentary 'All At Sea'. The winners will be announced on June 25th.

'All At Sea' features listeners relating personal memories of the pirates and how much the stations meant to them. Vivian Barnard, who was lucky enough to go out to the ships many times on boat trips, reads extracts from her diaries. Vivian recalls how she came within an inch of boarding the Mi Amigo to go and awaken Keefers, when she was refused permission because the Coast Guard might be watching through binoculars!

Anyone who missed Ray's 54-minute documentary, can listen to it here .

'Tops Day' in Michigan commemorates two 'Fifties'
Wednesday, May 26th was declared 'Tops Day' in Michigan in honour of Motown's legendary Four Tops.

To a backing of Tops music, the three surviving original members, Renaldo 'Obie' Benson, Abdul 'Duke' Fakir and Levi Stubbs, were honoured on the State Senate floor.

Two 'fifties' were commemorated – the group's 50th anniversary and their sales of over 50 million records. The Tops, who were thanked for sharing the gift of song with the world, replied that they were grateful and proud to have been born and raised in Michigan and Detroit. Sadly, the fourth Top, Lawrence Payton, died in 1997.
MORE Fortieth Anniversaries!
The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame marks the fortieth anniversary of the first broadcasts from Britain's fourth offshore station, Radio Invicta, with some exclusive photos once owned by the station boss, the late Tom Pepper; there is part three of Roger Scott's photo album – this month pictures dating from his time on Radio 390 – and there are some more recent pictures of Red Sands Fort, the home of both these stations. Plus, some extra bits of memorabilia, a couple of new audio clips and news that Tommy Vance is set to rock the airwaves again!

A House Move for Pirate Alley
Mark Keable, who runs Pirate Alley UK, writes:

I finally moved and updated my site, spent all weekend redesigning it and now need to get into scanning the 100+ photos I have of Caroline from the 80s to post on there along with the numerous articles.

So firstly it's just a house move and in the coming weeks, time permitting, an editiorial update.

New address for Pirate Alley UK: www.thunderbaynet.com/pirate


My best radio moment ever? – KENNY AND CASH of course!
As part of this year's Radio Festival, the Radio Academy has been inviting nominations for 'My best radio moment ever', from which they intend to compile a chart. (Lisa Smith from the Academy tells us that Captain Kremmen is already on the list.)

This is Radio London's nomination:

KENNY AND CASH 1965 - THEY CHANGED THE FACE OF UK RADIO FOR EVER

The most memorable moment in radio was in April 1965, when the Kenny and Cash show was born on the new and exciting offshore radio station, Radio London. The station's Texan PD, Ben Toney, gave Kenny Everett and the more-experienced broadcaster, Dave Cash, tapes of the Charlie and Harrigan show from KLIF in Dallas. Bowled over by what they heard, Everett and Cash decided they would like to attempt a similar, zany programme. Within weeks, this anarchic and hilarious programme achieved cult status, and changed the face of UK radio for ever. It has been copied, but never bettered.

The show was on the air for only a matter of months, but it has never been forgotten. Rare recordings of it are treasured by air-check collectors and Dave Cash is amazed at how people still talk to him about a show that ran for such a short time, back in 1965!

Let's hope the Dynamic Duo wins!
Wild Thing – The Sixties DVD Jukebox
A Radio London visitor has drawn our attention to a DVD compilation of twenty performances from the German TV show Beat Club, called 'Wild Thing - The Sixties DVD Jukebox'. (Click on the sleeve photo for more information)

Some of the songs are well-known numbers, others less so, although of course those which are unfamiliar in the UK, may well have enjoyed greater chart action in Germany.

Oddly, when the Troggs appear on this DVD called 'Wild Thing', the song they perform is not their most famous hit, but their '68 single, 'Hip Hip Hooray'! In fact, the only track with the word 'Wild' in the title is the Move's 'Wild Tiger Woman'. The Who perform their Fab Forty Christmas #1, 'Happy Jack', but also sing 'So Sad About Us', while Small Faces fans will be pleased to see them sing both 'Itchycoo Park' and 'I Can't Make it'. Perhaps the most unusual performance of the compilation is Status Quo, from their psychedelic era, and 'Technicolor Dreams'. (What a shame it's in black and white!) This was the A-side of a 1968 Pye single which was subsequently withdrawn, meaning that copies can now fetch between 300 and 750!

There's also a 22-track Beat Club Seventies compilation, where hits include the Walker Brothers, 'No Regrets', 10cc, 'I'm Not in Love', T Rex, 'Ride a White Swan' and Brian Ferry, 'Hard Rain's Gonna Fall'. There are lesser-known songs from the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Stealer's Wheel, Joe Cocker and the Jeff Beck Group. Chuck Berry also manages to sneak in with 'Johnny B Goode'. Hardly a Seventies song, but that must have been the era when he performed it on Beat Club.

National Nostalgia Magazine features Offshore Radio 40th Anniversary
The Best of British – Britain's most popular nostalgia magazine – carries an article in its June issue about the 40th Anniversary of the British offshore radio stations.

The article – The Sound of the Nation – was written by Mike Leonard, author of the new book The Beat Fleet that tells the full behind-the-scenes story of the British offshore stations of the 1960s.

Mike says:

It is good to know that a major national glossy magazine such as The Best of British is prepared to acknowledge the significance of the 60s offshore stations and the impact they made on their audiences and on the whole music industry. Their contribution to changing the course of British radio history should never be forgotten.

Mary had considered submitting an article about the anniversary of Radio London to this magazine, but had decided it would be pointless, seeing as the station arrived with Texan backers, a Texan PD, an Australian Head DJ and PAMS jingles produced in Dallas, Texas, and narrowly missed being called KLIF London! She felt it would perhaps not be regarded as being entirely 'British'!

To purchase The Beat Fleet click on the book cover.

Offshore Music Radio – playing the hits from that radio ship!
The MV Communicator is open to the public again on the weekend of the 19th and 20th of June and for the first time in about 20 years, live programmes will be coming from the ship. Offshore Music Radio will be presenting an outside broadcast, right across the weekend, live from the old Laser 558 studios.
The ship is berthed in the trawl dock in Lowestoft.

Staff DJs Colin Stevens and Keith Travis will be joined by guest DJs Alan West and Dave Asher. Visitors will be asked to pay for requests, to raise funds for the RNLI.

More information about the open days and the broadcast can be found here.

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