Having been instrumental in setting up Radio London, in 1966, Texans Don Pierson and Tom Danaher set about kitting out another radio ship to sail across the Atlantic. The ship was the Olga Patricia, later known as the Laissez-Faire and she became home to twin stations Radio England and Britain Radio. The 'twins' were far from identical. Swinging Radio England operated under the high-speed US Top Forty format, led by Ron O'Quinn and his team of experienced American Boss Jocks. Britain Radio went for a totally different audience and focussed on more genteel, middle-of-the-road music, under the slogan 'hallmark of quality'. However, the DJs were frequently required to present shows on both stations, under different guises. Don Pierson formed Peir-Vick Ltd to run the stations, with Bill Vick as the company MD. They set up luxurious offices in London's Curzon Street, almost directly opposite the Radio London offices. Sadly, Don's ambitious venture was short-lived and Britain Radio and Radio England were gone before the year ended, but they have never been forgotten.
Don and Bill Vick are sadly no longer with us, but in 2006, Don's
son Grey organised a reunion in London for those who had been involved
in his father's project and their families.
Grey says: "The summer of 1966 was a special time in my life. I was a 15-year-old kid from rural west Texas who found himself suddenly turned loose in a city that, at the time, was the vibrant, exciting center of the world. I have wonderful, fun memories of that marvelous place and time."
This is the Radio London montage of photos of the event
In case you are wondering about the photo of the archway at the top of the page, it's from the garden of the former SRE HQ at 32 Curzon Street. Like everything else in Offshore Radio, it has a story! See 'Page One', below.
Jack Curtiss pictures by Brynna McPherson (Jack's stepdaughter)
For comprehensive histories of Swinging Radio England, Britain Radio and the ship Olga Patricia, visit the following websites:
The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame (six-page anniversary special)
Svenn Martenson's essay 'A Radio Rose of Texas'
Offshore Echoes' Story of Radio England also has reunion photosBob le-Roi's two page Britain Radio/Radio England feature