Page Seven

The late John Bennett aka 'Sloopy John B' bought an item from the Fredericia – after a 34-year wait!

It's incredible, massive and well lovverly!!!!! Guess what I found on eBay? An actual piece from the MV Fredericia, home of Radio Caroline North!

OK, here I was, decorating my lounge (third day and still not done!) overalls splashed with emulsion and paint and just about getting on the home run.

I had moved my PC to another part of the room, and then I set it all up again (Spaghetti junction. I went on line to do a test transmission and found an actual piece from the MV Fredericia on eBay!

I've been after anything from the Fredericia for a little while - namely since 1970! I've placed adverts all over the place since 1970, Isle of Man newspapers, all the Radio anorak magazines - you name it, I've advertised in it.

Ironically, in redecorating the lounge I also took the opportunity to give my model of the Fredericia a small refit: new power supply, replace loose mast stays and a hell of a spring clean. Also, Easter Sunday is traditionally the time of celebration of Caroline's birthday. As she's forty this year, I believe this was fated to happen!

The item is part of the Caroline North Advert Log, from March 1965. When a jock plays a commercial, as per the Ad Log, it's usual to scribble one's name or initial next to it to say it's been transmitted. The station keeps a copy just in case an advertiser tries to claim that the commercial was not transmitted and so forth.

The log I have purchased says "panel operator", which is misleading in the first instance. Initially, Caroline operated on the BBC principle, which was to have a panel operator firing-in disc and jingles, commercials and effects, along with opening and closing the mikes.

When Caroline's first US and Canadian jocks arrived, later in 1964, they said, "Why the hell are you doing it this way?" They explained that in the north Americas a jock was totally "self-op", and fired commercials, jingles, FX, mics and everything him or herself. This was a revolution, at the time. Self-Op means one is in total control, and can mould and 'feel' the show.

(Click on the picture to see a much larger version)

In all my years in radio, I have never ever had to work with a panel-op. Self-operation means that one has to have four arms and hands, but it is the best way to work.

The signatures on this Ad Log will, in light of the aforementioned, be that of the DJs rather than Panel Operatives, so it's quite a valuable document.

Yes, I know I'm silly, stupid and the world's worst Radio Anorak, but, wow!

Having filled in thousands of the things over the years - I wonder if - sometime in the future; someone will be selling an Ad Log that I have signed? Of course, they will say, "Who the hell is John Bennett?"

Thanks for letting me share this with you.


Very sadly, John passed away in September 2014.

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