The archived Happenings index
November 2000 – June 2012 is here...

Archived Stories beginning July 2012 – Page 1

Nita's 1965 Fab Forty hit now reissued
It's been a long time coming, but Nita Rossi has finally had the pleasure of seeing her 1965 Fab Forty top ten hit, 'Untrue, Unfaithful', reissued on iTunes. The song was picked as the backing music in a trailer promoting the 40th anniversary week of Emmerdale (October 2012). (The ITV soap opera was originally called Emmerdale Farm.) The trailer created new interest in 'Untrue, Unfaithful', which had already proved popular during the Pirate BBC Essex broadcasts.

(left) The picture sleeve with the mis-spelt 'B' side

Originally from Bournemouth, Nita now lives in Italy. She told the Bournemouth Echo, "I am over the moon about the whole thing. Whoever thought that after 47 years this would happen to me? I feel so proud." (Thanks to Mike Terry)

Sixties Stars on the Arthur Haynes Show
Ray Reynolds writes:

Just to let you know that collectors like myself of pop video clips of the Sixties will be very interested to hear that The Arthur Haynes Show Volume 5, from Network dvd has just been released and contains very rare, never-before-available footage of guest artistes. All the music clips are from early 1964 (just pre-Radio Caroline). Best featured artistes are Marty Wilde & the Wildcats, The Dave Clark 5, Joe Brown and the Bruvvers, The Rolling Stones, Freddie & the Dreamers, The Bachelors and Gerry & the Pacemakers.

Sadly footage of The Searchers and Swinging Blue Jeans songs was wiped and does not appear.

I must just say what a pleasure it is still to listen and record the Fab 40 and climbers each week. It still gives me a buzz just like the old days,and I very much appreciate just how much time and effort has gone into such an amazing project, as with the rest of the website.

With best wishes and lots of love, Ray

The Beatles Live! Project
The Beatles Live! Project has been launched by OVOW Productions Inc., a feature film production company working with the support of The Beatles' company Apple Corps Ltd. It's a collaborative global quest to find and reveal hidden films, sound recordings, stories, photographs, and other media artifacts that were captured during The Beatles' concert tours. The best media and stories will be showcased in a planned feature film about Fab Four's concert tours. This project provides a one-time opportunity for the fans to collaborate with The Beatles in a planned feature film.

OVOW Productions has assembled a global team of archivists, collectors, information specialists, artists, social media strategists, amateur media groups, The Beatles fan clubs, writers, academics, and film restoration experts to support the activities in the field. The research was active through December of 2012.

Judging by the response to Ray Clark's 'My Beatles Story' day on all BBC local radio stations(see story lower down the page) there should be plenty of contributors.

Radio London meets Radio Essex
Captain Buninga's son Ron met up in the Netherlands with Paul Freeman from Radio Essex. Accompanied by friends Ton Beekes and Geoff Kemp, they visited the Hilversum Media Experience and kindly shared their photos.

(Left) Top of the Pops, as hosted by Ton

(Below, left) a soft-shoe shuffle by Ron and Paul

(Below, right) Paul, Ton and Geoff outside the museum

Webby's offer to community stations
After nearly 60 years in Radio, Australia's veteran broadcaster and ex-Caroline DJ Graham Webb has a show that represents virtually an audiobook of his life in radio and the big part that music has played in it.

"It's not just about the people and performers who played a part in my life", he says, "It's about informing and  entertaining the only 'loyal' radio listeners left, the older generation. Young people today have far too many diversifications to build a loyalty to any one medium."

Webby is seeking sponsors for the 'Golden Years' show, which is currently in a 3-hour format 0800-1100 Sundays in Coraki NSW on Richmond Valley Community Radio and 1500-1800 Sundays on Sunshine FM 104.9 on the Sunshine Coast (Also streaming on the Net).

Webby's also editing the 3-hour series into 2-hour generic shows, which he's offering free to any and all interested Community Stations in Australia.

"If there any interested sponsors or Community Radio stations reading this, I'd be thrilled for them to contact me."

He might even consider extending the offer to UK community stations.
(Thanks to Down-Under Correspondent, John Preston)

He'll need a new shelf
Ray Clark will need to put up another 'Awards Shelf' to accommodate his growing collection. He's just won a Gold Gillard for the best BBC local radio breakfast show. Congratulations, Ray! (Photos: Ray Clark Website) Ariel feature on Ray, his award and his famous psychic banana!

The BBC Essex Breakfast Show Team:
Ben (Sports), Ray, Claire (Producer) and Sonia (News)
Some of Ray's Awards collection

Knock John
Ray Clark has shared this lovely photo of the former naval fort where Roy Bates founded Radio Essex.
Ray says: "I went out on the Waverley paddle steamer on October 7th with Kevin Turner... amazingly calm seas and wonderful light."

Boss Radio
Voices of East Anglia has put together a collection of Sixties and Seventies promo material for 93KHJ Boss Radio, in Los Angeles, including the station's Top Three Hundred from 1966 and 67. Among a collection of other interesting items, there are ten radio film trailers that aired in London, including the big hits of the day, 'Alien', 'Star Wars' and 'The Empire Strikes Back'.
"It's actually quite amazing how dated the ads sound now, " say the Webmaster. "
Some of us can remember when this was cutting edge!"

My Beatles Story
A nationwide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the release of Love Me Do, 5th October 1962, spilled over into October 6th. All 39 BBC local radio stations were inundated with listeners' memories of the Fab Four for 'My Beatles Story Day'. The Beeb also commissioned a survey of 12,000 local radio listeners to determine the nation's favourite Beatles track, with Paul McCartney songs proving the most popular and 'Hey Jude' topping the list. The idea was the brainchild of pirate broadcaster extraordinaire, Ray Clark, of BBC Essex. Originally conceived as a one-hour documentary, the idea snowballed.
"It went a bit Beatletastic," says Ray.

Webmaster Mary Payne participated with her own Beatles story, concerning meeting the Fabs at the Southern Area Fan Club Convention at the Wimbledon Palais in 1963, where the compere was 208 DJ Ray Orchard. She was on BBC 3CR during the morning of Saturday 6th October on Justin Dealey's programme. (Audio clip here, used by kind permission of Justin.) Shortly after Mary's appearance, Caroline's Colin Berry (see story further down page) told his own tale of seeing the Fabs from the front row of the London Palladium.

Ray Reynolds was kind enough to put his friend Norman Scott in touch with us and he shared the following story and some fantastic photos from his collection of memorabilia.

In 1963 I was working as a DJ at a place called Leyton Baths in East London which was an indoor swimming pool during the summer and a dance venue in the winter. Various groups and artists of the time played there and the Beatles made one of their last dance hall appearances there in 1963 and previewed their new single, 'From Me to You'. I went to see them in their dressing room and had a great chat to them and as the venue didn’t sell alcohol I went to the pub opposite and brought back four beers for them.

They agreed to let me take a photo of them so John Lennon lined the group up for a pose and when he shouted ‘three’ that was the cue to take the photo. So when everybody was ready John said one, two, THREE. He shouted THREE so loud that the rest of us all jumped, including Paul who just before was about to clean his teeth and had a tube of toothpaste in his hand. He jumped so much that he squeezed the tube and the toothpaste shot out down his trouser leg. We all fell about laughing but once composed I finally got my pic with Paul discretely hiding the toothpaste stain with his hand.

The next time I met the Beatles I took the photo with me which they all signed and I still have it now.
I did meet the band a few times and lent John Lennon all of my Jerry Lee Lewis albums. I also got to know Brian Epstein’s business partner Terry Doran. They owned a showroom selling upmarket cars (of course) and Terry would come and visit me in Chingford driving a car he borrowed from the showrooms. Each time he came he used a different ‘posh’ car so my neighbours must have thought we knew some very rich people. Terry once drove me to Camber Sands in Brian’s Bentley and I also got an invite to a party Brian held at his Mayfair flat. He went on to run the Apple offices for the Beatles and I still have his business card.

Radio 2 has been running a Beatles Season from 3rd October, including David Quantick's 'Blaggers' Guide to the Beatles' and a documentary presented by original Beatles drummer Pete Best entitled 'The Casbah Club: Birthplace of Merseybeat'. The Casbah (Below) was a club run by Pete's mother in the cellar of her house, where she put the likes of John lennon to work, painting the walls!

(Above, left) Terry Doran' business card. (Left) The Fab Five - Norm with the boys. (Both © Norman Scott)

Also on Radio 2, Liverpudlian poet Roger McGough tells the story of the Beatles' breakthrough in 'Year in the Life: Beatles '62' and Craig Charles presents 'Beatleland', in which he revisits his home town to investigate the group's legacy and how Liverpool informed their music.

On Saturday October 5th, 2145 BST, BBC 2 is showing Arena: Magical Mystery Tour Revisited followed at 2245 by the first screening of the MMT itself. "Arena presents the greatest Beatles story never told, a blockbuster double-bill. Beginning with a documentary full of fabulous Beatles archive material never shown before anywhere in the world. Songs you'll never forget, the film you've never seen and a story that's never been heard." (See story below)

'Love Me Do – the Beatles '62', is an hour-long BBC4 documentary fronted by Stuart Maconie, Sunday October 6th, 2200 - 2300. The programme analyses how Liverpool's combination of a busy port – the first landing place for imported American records – with high unemployment and a buzzing pop culture made it the ideal breeding ground for the biggest band in the world.

Magical Mystery Tour Released on iTunes

"The long out-of-print, classic feature film makes its worldwide digital release debut, exclusively on The iTunes Store, with a remastered and remixed soundtrack and iTunes Extras featuring extensive bonus features and detailed art, including a companion booklet.

Seven iTunes-exclusive Magical Mystery Tour ringtones also debut today, joining a broad selection of Beatles songs available for ringtone purchase on The iTunes Store."

Previously unseen footage that was originally shot during the making of MMT has now been made available too.

Magical Mystery Tour is also released on DVD.


PY recalls Cuddly Ken handovers
Prompted by theBBC4 Everett docudrama, Jazz FM's Peter Young (shows, Saturdays, 1500 - 1800) recalls the days at Capital Radio when he presented the show before Cuddly Ken and became the subject of his jokes during the handovers between shows.

"Thank you Peter Young – tall, dark and well two out of three isn’t bad."
"Thank you Peter Young – number one in the ratings – the  Navy ratings."
"Thank you Peter Young – a monument to ineptitude."
"Thank you Peter Young – the world’s only living Meccano set."
and "Keep trying Peter, you’ll be funny – one day."
There was one occasion when I left him speechless. After the news I said, "Well I’m off now, before you cut me off in my pri......" and just left him sitting there. It was about 5 seconds before he reacted to that, a long time in radio. Eventually Ken said, "Thank you for that old radio gag, nice to hear it again."
Another moment I recall was from a handover to Ken from Graham Dene. Graham made some joke and Kenny just left a pause, so that the joke died completely. Then he said "Oh – bugger off"!

It should be mentioned that PY is himself a master of the art of the scathing handover.

Thirtieth birthday of CDs
Compact discs are now thirty years old. "In the UK, Dire Straits' 1985-released 'Brothers in Arms' was immediately snatched up by early adopters keen to put their new CD players through their paces. It was one of the first CDs produced from a digital master made from digital recordings - a so-called 'DDD' album."

Johnnie Walker Names Clacton Lifeboat
The RNLI has posted a 7-minute video of Johnnie Walker, on great form as he named the new Clacton Atlantic 85 lifeboat.

A public ceremony on Saturday September 22nd at 1400, included a flypast by the RAF Sea King search and rescue helicopter and a demonstration launch of the lifeboat. The 28ft vessel, which has been funded thanks to the generosity of the people of Clacton, is named the David Porter MPS, after the late Clacton RNLI Chairman.

On September 4th 1967, the lifeboat was called to the assistance of the Mi Amigo as she was dragging her anchor in gale-force winds.

Richard Walker, chairman of Clacton RNLI, said, "That was the first call to an offshore radio station since the MOA came into force and those on board the radio ship could have found themselves in a tricky legal position if she had reached territorial waters, but luckily she did not. There was also the question as to whether the lifeboat crew were breaking the law going to the assistance of Radio Caroline.

"Johnnie Walker was one of those on board at the time, and we are very pleased he agreed to officially name our new lifeboat."

RNLI Press Release (Thanks to Mike Barraclough)

Radio Reunited
BBC Radio celebrated its 90th birthday on Weds, November 14th. To mark the occasion, Tony Blackburn guested on Simon Mayo's live broadcast from the Science Museum. At 17.33, the exact time that of the first transmission in 1922, a special 3-minute live simulcast went out on all networks.

BBC Radio at 90

Bay FM
Our 'Down Under' correspondent John Preston says:

I thought you might like to read 'Sittin' on the dock of Bay FM' from Radioinfo, as it mentions two people you might know... .a Mr Withers and a Mr Webb.

Presenter set on fire
This disturbing story was spotted by Caroline's Steve Young

Tony's Big L Haven
A Daily Mail photo-feature about Tony Blackburn shows the ex-Radio London DJ relaxing in his conservatory, surrounded by the things most important in his life. A dominant item is a huge portrait of the Galaxy. "Big L was the best radio station this country's ever had," Tony told the Mail. "It’s the one many others have modelled themselves on because it was the first to use American-style jingles."

Rocking the Boat, Westminster Reference Library September 18th
Mike Barraclough has kindly written a review of this recent offshore event.

I had been to the library venue before, a couple of years ago, for a book launch and a documentary on Arthur Lee and Love, chaired by the author and Jon Mills of Shindig magazine. Afterwards, I had chatted to one of the library staff, having picked up on a comment of his about how he first heard the band and lots of other new music on Radio London. It turned out he had been a very regular Big L listener and the station had meant a lot to him. This was Peter Collins, the Arts Librarian for Westminster Reference Library.

Peter organised the current meeting and the seating was full with some attendees standing or sitting on a table at the back; in all, around 120 people. There was a good display of the library's broadcasting books at the rear of the room.

Prior to the talk, Mark Wesley's 8mm film showing life aboard the Knock John Tower with Radio Essex was screened. Audio extracts from the Big L Story narrated by Keith Skues were played between questions from Peter to the panel. His first question concerned how they became involved in offshore radio. Other questions included how the pirates changed the style of UK radio including the introduction of jingles, their effect on the 1960s music scene and what audience response the offshore stations got. Short extracts were shown from 'Dateline Diamonds' and 'The Boat that Rocked', but I didn't think this worked too well. The event did require some knowledge of 60s pirate radio to be fully appreciated. It might have been better to have had a brief introduction to the subject, a map of where the stations were and perhaps some clips of the stations/DJ's on the panel before the questions. Most of the audience though, consisted of former listeners to the offshore stations.

Left: panellist Mark Wesley, Pirate BBC Essex 2009

Having said all that, I enjoyed the evening, which went slightly over the two hours. I had a brief chat afterwards with Paul Burnett who I used to wake up to every morning when he was on 270 and I was living on the North Yorkshire coast. The panel was able to cover a range of stations; Essex, which was very small, 390 the 'sweet music' station, 270 and London. Greg Bance also mentioned his brief time on Caroline North. Keith Rogers, aka Dave Rogers on RNI, was in the audience, and he spoke about that station for a few minutes, with shipmates with Mark and Greg. Keith was onboard when the Mebo caught fire and he broadcast some of the Mayday calls.

Panellist Mike Hayes was unfortunately unable to participate, so the Wombat, Ian Damon took his place at short notice. It was good to have someone from Radio London who knew about the huge impact of the station, the response it got and the closedown. Ian chatted about the crowd scenes at Liverpool Street station. Ian also mentioned the Oldies Project and its playing of a weekly Big L Fab 40.

The formal part of the evening ended with Peter putting up on screen details of three websites for people to look at for more information; yours, Jon Myer's Pirate Radio Hall of Fame and Radio Caroline.

'DJ Idol' Show Scrapped
At the beginning of the year, Simon Cowell's Syco Entertainment unveiled the format of an all-new show: a live, international contest to 'find the world’s greatest DJs'. It was to be a joint production of Syco and Overbrook to 'capture the incredible rise of the DJ phenomena'.

Simon Cowell said at the time: "We have been working on this show for over a year and we wanted to partner with the right people. As soon as I met Jada and Miguel from Overbrook, I knew they would be our ideal partners. DJs are the new rock stars, it feels like the right time to make this show."

Now, the New York Post reports that the show has been scrapped after a legal battle over top-billing on the credits between the production companies while other sources claimed different reasons for the fall-out.

(Story from Music Week.) Thanks to Alan Hardy.

Museum of Commercial Radio
Robin Dee has sent an update about his 'Museum of Commercial Radio':

"We have two on-line stations. The first, Golden Radio International features weekly shows from personality DJs playing the best in copyright-free Indie, Pop and Rock from new unsigned artistes with their own original material. The other station, Overdrive 192, has a weekly Rock Show with mainly Progressive and Alternative Rock, again from new unsigned artistes."

Fab 60th
Radio London's Fab Forty compiler extraordinaire, Fab Alan Field, recently celebrated his 60th birthday with a pirate party and of course, a Fab cake.

Short-sighted Ears
Hans Knot kindly passed on an appeal from Peter Hobden:

As a very young London advertising copywriter, I wrote some commercials for Ever Ready Batteries in 1965 for Radio London which I remember recording with Dave Cash. The copy went something like - "Don't put up with short-sighted ears" - followed by the jingle. I remember hearing them on the station at the time, but have no audio copy now. Do you remember these commercials - and if so, do you have any recordings?

I went on to become Creative Director of a large London agency working mainly on Nike, Mary Quant and Mercedes. I am now a freelance writer.

Big L was the centre of my music universe in the sixties. The PAMS jingles were a touch of pure magic. You are fortunate to be part of a much-treasured piece of British pop history.

We do remember the Dave Cash Ever Ready commercial and are hoping that someone can help Peter find a recording of it.

A to Z of Radio Two announcers
Andy Walmsley's blog 'Random Radio Jottings' has an A-Z of Radio 2 announcers, which of course includes former renegades Tom Edwards, Colin Berry and Keith Skues - although Skuesy is currently absent from the list. There's also a page dedicated to the much-missed Alan Freeman with great audio clips.
(Thanks to Jon Myer)
Remembering engineer Ted
Peter Herring:
I have just looked through the photos of the Caroline 40th at the Red Lion. I see some pics of George Saunders the Caroline Engineer from the Sixties.
I thought I would mention that in the Seventies, a friend of mine used to live in Aveley, Essex, a few doors away to Ted Walters, another Caroline Sixties engineer. Ted also was on the Galaxy and I believe the Laissez Faire. I believe Ted is no longer with us.

If anyone has any more information about Ted, please let us know.

Another offshore drama
On August 31st, the Radio Waddenzee/Radio Seagull former lightvessel, renamed in honour of our late friend Jenni Baynton, became stuck on a sandbank off the Dutch coast in a storm. Sietse Brouwer and technician Walter Galle were on-board. The Jenni Baynton was approximately 6.5 miles out to sea while the station was conducting 1395 kHz test transmissions when she became stuck, but was safely towed to harbour the next day.

Normally, she is moored in Harlingen harbour, where Hans Knot and Martin van der Ven visited her on August 15th. (Thanks to Hans for his updates)

The failure of Pirate TV
Ronan O'Rahilly planned an ill-fated pirate TV project and he wasn't the only one. Hans Knot has also reprinted his own feature about failed TV stations in his International Newsletter for September 2012.
Radio World Cover Star
Our friend Ed Ryba in Los Angeles was a cover star recently for Radio World magazine, which published a feature by Ken Deutsch, 'What Comes After Radio?' Ed and other former radio personalities answered the question, 'what do you do when you find yourself no longer working in radio?'

Ed was very interested to listen to the special 45th anniversary Tony Currie Show from the LV18 (see story further down the page).

'I listened to it in my studio, which you see some of in the photo (and recorded it through my phone company's crappy DSL connection, so it dropped out in a few places, then picked up again where it left off) and I must say the show was quite delightful. Even though I wasn't in England back in the '60s, the way Tony put it together made me feel as though I were. The original "Wonderful Radio London" PAMS jingles were a real treat to hear... and I can sing you other versions of those same jingles which were made for other stations!

I grew up listening to L.A. radio, which is where stations in every other city stole the ideas and techniques used in Top-40 Radio - in fact, many stations in many other cities sent their Program Directors here, with orders to aircheck the L.A. stations (especially 93/KHJ and KFWB Channel 98) and bring those airchecks back with them. The station's higher-ups and air staff would then listen to these airchecks and they would all put their heads together to formulate what they were going to do on-air and how they were going to do it. They did the same thing with New York stations (mostly 77WABC), but they had their own style and flavor - some of which crept into the sound of the British Pirates, as well as the sound of Gordon McLendon's KLIF in Dallas, but L.A. radio seems to me to have had a MUCH bigger influence on how the Pirates presented themselves.

I must say that Tony could easily have fit right in as a KHJ 'Boss Jock" here in L.A. KHJ called itself "BOSS Radio" for quite some time. "Boss" at the time was slang for "cool", "great", etc. In fact, the Ford Motor Company actually researched, built and sold a LOT of their  "Boss Mustang" around 1967 - '68 - '69, designed and built ONLY for California, which had every option imaginable. I have no idea how many horsepower this beast could generate, but it could get quite frightening!'

(Photo: Jennifer Ryba )

Webmaster's Footnote: I believe Caroline adopted the 'Boss Jocks' term for a while, but it didn't catch on. However, we had a few of them on Radio England, not forgetting 'that man' Ron O'Quinn, who arrived hot from WFUN Miami.

And talking of Ron... Familiar Voices for Radio Northern Star
Radio Northern Star is proud to welcome new broadcasters and programming to the station.

Adam O' Quinn will be hosting "Country Roads" with great Country Classics on Saturdays at 2200-0000 CET,
Ron O' Quinn is the host of "Northern Star Rewind" playing great oldies on Sundays at 2000-2200 CET from August.

Paul Graham's "Soundtrack of the 60s" is on Radio Northern Star Saturdays at 1800-1900 CET, and his show is repeated on Tuesdays 0100-0200 CET.

Dave Gillbee's and Mal Dunn's documentary "The Rusty Ships" comes to The Northern Star on Friday, August 31st 2100-0000 CET with a repeat on Saturday September 1st 1900-2200 CET. This radio documentary featuring Dave, the late "TW" Tony Windsor and Eddie Blackwell is being broadcast up to, as well as on, an important date for free radio fans:

At Midnight, Sept 1st, 1967 Radio Caroline North went 'International' as the Marine Offences Act was extended to the Isle of Man. On the same date 1974 was the end of Radio Atlantis, RNI/ Radio Noordzee Internationaal, and Radio Veronica. Once again, Radio Caroline/Radio Mi Amigo continued broadcasting that day in 1974 off the Essex coast.

A full press release is on the Radio Northern Star website.

Mark's charity fundraiser
The first voice on Radio Essex, Mark West, who transferred to 270 and was later known on RNI and 208 as Mark Wesley, took part in a charity fundraiser from an extremely scaled-down 'pirate ship'

Haven't we been saying this for years...?
...Asks Steve Young aka The Curly Headed Kid in the 3rd Row

"Fred Jacobs' blog, 'Building Better DJs' is definitely a worthwhile read, despite the main thrust of this story, which revolves around the use of Social Media, it pretty well confirms everything that we know about our profession, but which the 'people upstairs in the suits' still fail to grasp. People listen because they bond to the personality of the deejays on their favourite station."

Jingles all the way
1) Radio 1 scrapped sung jingles on its breakfast show when Nick Grimshaw took over from Chris Moyles.

2) WNYC news has an audio and written feature on The Not-So-Distant History Of Radio Jingles
(Thanks to John Preston)

False Alarm
Keith Milborrow writes:
"I was looking out to sea from Worthing on 14th August 2012 and spotted a tall mast on the horizon in roughly the position I had seen the MV Caroline back in 1964 when she was moving from her old anchorage off Frinton to a new one off the Isle of Man.
What was this? A new radio ship? Was this some sort of time-warp and I was looking at what I had seen 48 years ago? Sadly, the answer was a lot less exciting. What I viewed was the Weather Station installed several miles off the Sussex Coast in advance of the proposed Rampion Wind Farm, presumably with a radio link to the shore to allow a constant data flow. No broadcasting connection then, but think of all the kilowatts that might be generated in future from the wind turbines. It's a shame this technology was not around fifty years ago. All the radio ships could then have just 'plugged into the mains' to power their transmitters!"

Big L going underground?
Peter Herring writes:
"I wonder if you know where on the London Underground 'BIG L 266' is painted on a tunnel wall? It had been put there in the Sixties and I know it was still visible ten years ago or so, although it might have gone by now."
We don't - but someone else probably does.

45 YEARS ON – the memories flood in
Forty-five years on and the Who end the Olympics and the Kinks contribute. Neither of these would have had a career without the 'Pirates'. Thanks for your continued loyalty and dedication to LIL. Stay well. Mark Roman, The Roman Emperor.

Thank you to everyone for their kind words – Mary and Chris

(15/08) Jazz FM's Peter Young posted the following tribute on his Facebook page and says he has never had such a good reaction to a post.

Today August 14th, marks the 45th anniversary of the enforced closure of the Sixties pirate stations. Only the two original Caroline ships kept going for another seven months.
For those of us who grew up during the exciting era of 1964 – 67, it was a huge loss and created an enormous gap in our daily lives. Today, I would like to single out Kenny Everett, still the only true radio genius. Dave Cash, whose fast style, razor wit and delivery, made me want to try to do the same. John Peel, whose ‘Perfumed Garden’ opened up completely new styles of music to an impressionable 15-year-old. Peel’s humour on Radio London daytime shows, where he was obliged to present straight pop music hasn’t dated one bit.
And massive respect to Mike Raven, Emperor Rosko and Johnnie Walker for inspiring and igniting my lifelong love of soul music and rhythm ‘n’ blues. We will never forget.

On BBC Radio Kent, Roger Twiggy Day did us proud with his August 14th special. Roger, of course, will never forget what happened on that date and it will be sad if the campaign to save his show fails and he isn't there to commemorate it next year.

"Big L time is 3 o'clock and Radio London is now closing down" – Paul Kaye's words have been etched in my radio memory for 45 years, and it will still bring a shiver down my spine when I recall it at 3pm on 14th August, and indeed we "have never seen the like of it again".

However, we are so very fortunate to have yours and Chris's dedication to maintaining the website and publishing so much information, so this unique part of our radio heritage is never forgotten. My personal thanks to you both for all your hard work.

Francis Pullen (Cambridge)

On this 45th Anniversary of the Big L Closedown, this is just a brief note to thank you for keeping the memory of Radio London alive. I just wonder how many of today's radio stations will acknowledge the anniversary? Radio London led the way in creating a new sound for British Radio – jingles, three-hour shows and a music format – a concept still in use today. However, nothing lives up to the original – 'often imitated, never duplicated' B-I-G-L.
Did I ever mention the occasion late in 1997 when I returned to Sussex after a day on board the MV Ocean Defender in St Katharine's Dock, London? Still wearing my Radio London sweat-shirt I adjourned to a local hostelry for a swift half (or maybe more) when one of the locals spotted my clothing and came over to me and sang 'Wonderful Radio London'! It reminded me of Paul Kaye's story, as told during the Final Hour. This character, though, took some convincing that Radio London was back on the air, albeit as a low-power RSL only heard in the heart of London.
Keith Milborrow reporting...
At 06:51 BST BBC Solent played the 'It's Smooth Sailing...' Radio London jingle then Dave Adcock, a guest and anorak, recounted his memories of August 14th 1967, when he was twelve. The feature closed 3 minutes later with the Sonovox theme. At 06:58 the 'Hallmark of Quality Britain Radio' jingle was played, still sounding great. It's wonderful that so many remember a mere 45 years ago and its influence on radio today and that other stations will be carrying features this week.

The programme will be available on Listen Again. (Thanks to Mike Barraclough)
Mike Terry

...and talking of Radio Six International
A special 45th anniversary Tony Currie Show on August 14th came from the LV18. Tony's guests included Keith Skues (ex-Radio Caroline and Radio London), Paul Freeman (Radio Essex) (above photo, white teeshirt) and others involved in watery wireless including Emperor Rosko (Caroline), Dave Cash (Radio London) and Ben Healy (Radio Scotland). Tony (second from left, above) also talked to Tony O'Neil from the Pharos Trust (red shirt) who own and operate the LV18 which now has a new berth in Harwich and is open to the public as a museum. The programme included a chat concerning patellae with a certain Radio London webmaster also pictured above.

...and talking of LV18
David Cleveland has written a booket telling the history of the lightships off the Essex and Suffolk coast and what life was like to work on them. It's available onboard the LV18. (Thanks to John Sales)

Lord Skues of Sealand

The Keith Skues Fan Group and friends held a very successful Annual Meet in Harwich on Thursday, August 2nd. During 'An Audience with Keith Skues' the title of Lord Skues of Sealand was conferred upon the pioneer of Watery Wireless. A fitting honour for Cardboard Shoes, who broadcast from both Caroline and London and luckily he did not have to go to Sealand to collect the certificate.

Left: Lord Skues joins a few commoners on the LV18 gangplank. Photo courtesy of Tony L. Paul Freeman of Radio Essex (purple shirt) dressed down for the occasion!

Some people were still in Harwich the following day, when the Motley crew below consisting of three Tonys, one Paul and one Geoff were on hand to pipe Mary and Chris aboard the LV18. The former lightship has in recent years has been home to revival broadcasts from Radio Northsea International, Radio Caroline, Radio Mi Amigo and Pirate BBC Essex, as well as Radio Six International.

Above photo: Chris Payne

Stones' "top ten of top tens"
As the Rolling Stones celebrate the 50th anniversary of their first gig at London's Marquee Club, PPL has compiled the UK’s top ten most-loved songs from the band.

Jonathan Morrish, Director of PR and Corporate Communications commented: "It’s rare to find a top ten in which every song holds some significant cultural impact but that is what we have here.
"Each of these songs is era-defining and resonates with music lovers of all ages. This is the top ten of top tens."

Seven of those ten singles fall within Radio London's lifespan.

'The Last Time' (#7) was the band's first release after the station came on the air and was soon in the Fab Forty top twenty. The song reappeared as Disc of the Week in 1967, when the Who released their version as a tribute to the recently-incarcerated members of the Stones.

Few artists held the top of the Radio London chart for more than a week, but the song voted top of the 'most-loved' pops is 'Satisfaction', which spent 2 weeks as a Fab Forty #1; fifth most popular, 'Get Off Of My Cloud' also enjoyed a 2-week stint topping the Big L chart.

It was also rare to see a double-sided Fab Forty #1, but 'Ruby Tuesday' (rated 9th most played) paired with 'Let's Spend the Night Together' (10th) also achieved that accolade.

The fourth most popular song on the list, 'Paint it Black' also spent 7 weeks on the Big L playlist and topped the Fab Forty.

The 'top ten of top tens' is compiled from PPL’s exclusive data which includes TV, radio and online usage as well as songs played in the many public places that use music.
These were not, of course, the only Stones' releases to appear on the Radio London playlist and there were many other Fab Forty entries for recordings of the band's songs released by other artists.
(Thanks to Alan Hardy)

Radio Sutch "He combined pop music with Lady Chatterley’s Lover
Colin Liversidge relates his memories of Radio Sutch and its loony instigator to the Huddersfield Daily Examiner.

A Heritage Foundation Blue Plaque to commemorate Lord Sutch's life is being unveiled on Sunday, November 4th (six days before what would have been his 72nd birthday) at the world-famous Ace Café in London. Spectators will be welcome. The Ace website has its own Sutch tribute page.

July Birthdays
Another trio of Big L favourites have birthdays in July. Dave Cash hit the big 70 milestone on the 18th, Willy Walker celebrated on the 25th and Pete Drummond's special day is the 29th. Greetings to you all.

(Right) Dave with fellow birthday boy (and fellow Canadian) Cousin Moosie, the Superstar who celebrated his 8th birthday on July 19th.

Radio Pirates drop anchor on www
Hank Hayes and Jim Nazium have been sailing the mediumwaves in Brooklyn since 1975 have now become internet broadcasters.

Ed wore his Big L teeshirt in Zurich with pride

Broadcasting 'nobility' catch the bus
Participants in last year's International Radio Festival 'Tribute to the Offshore Pirates' in Zurich, were back on the air in July - this time from a bus in London!

HRH the Royal Ruling Prince Tony (Radio Caroline South and North), The Emperor Rosko (Radio Caroline) and 'commoners' Tony Blackburn (Radio Caroline & London) and Ed Stewart (Radio London) guested on a DAB broadcast from the official Swiss hospitality centre at the Olympic Games. The temporary station was on the air between July 20th to August 12th, via the Switchdigital multiplex. Tony Prince hit the airwaves on July 31st.
The founders of the Swiss festival (taking place this year in September), Miguel Alvarez and Darryl von Däniken, were behind the broadcast.
(Thanks to Alan Hardy)

Scotland's Pirate Pioneers hijacked BBC TV
A government ban on broadcasts by Scottish nationalists on the BBC was circumvented in 1956 by the SNP national treasurer David Rollo. Assisted by the owner of Townhead Cafe, Alvaro Rossi, he created a transmitter capable of broadcasting sound on the BBC’s television frequency.
Radio Free Scotland broadcast on the BBC after television programming finished at 11pm and was heralded by a blast of ‘Scotland the Brave'.
Kirkintilloch Herald
"I had friends that would pull up in front of the house and turn on the radio"
Bob Ancheta, an Oregon DJ who is hanging up his cans after 43 years in radio, started his broadcasting career with his own pirate station. He told Oregon live:

"This little pirate station I had went for five blocks. I talked my electronics teacher into letting me build a bigger transmitter than the other kids, so he gave me a schematic. I had neighbors that would listen. I had friends that would pull up in front of the house and turn on the radio, and I got excited about that. My parents would hate when the request line would ring after midnight -- it was their home phone number."

Happy retirement, Bob!


A Good Lunch
The Wombat has kindly sent the picture on the left of himself, Cardboard Shoes and John Ross-Barnard, enjoying a good lunch at the Ferry Inn, Norwich in June.

End of an era as ex-pirate closes 'Britain's Rudest Shop'
Paul Peters (Paul Freeman, Radio Essex), who was nicknamed 'The YTS Pirate' by Dave Cash during the 2009 Pirate BBC Essex broadcast, writes:

"Geoff and I close our shop (Palfrey and Kemp in Lymington, Hants) for good on 16th June and we have had so much press coverage for 'Britain's Rudest Shop To Close After 170 years'. We have been in just about every newspaper in the land, on Dave Cash's Show, and Julian Clegg's Radio Solent Show. Dave and Sally Cash are coming to make a quick visit on Thursday week, as Sally so much wants to see the place before we finally leave. We even made it onto last week's 'Have I Got News For You'. If you Google 'Britain's Rudest Shop, you will see what I mean. There is even a little video on YouTube, put on by one of the papers! It's had well over 11,000 hits!"

Close-down report in the Independent

The Palfrey and Kemp premises is to be turned into a Wetherspoons pub and Paul and Geoff are retiring. The duo, broadcast on Forest FM92.3, (photo, left, courtesy of Paul, wearing checked shirt)

Laaaargest Pirate Gathering: Hastings regains Guinness World Record
Hastings in East Sussex held its annual Pirate Day on Sunday July 22nd and reclaimed the Guinness World Record for the Largest Gathering of Pirates, which the town previously won in 2010.

In 2011, Penzance beat their record, with 8,734 piratically-attired people, but this year Hastings battled back with a massive 14,231 cutlass-waving participants. The Guinness rules are quite strict and require participants to wear "a pirate hat or bandana, pirate-style trousers or skirt, shirt and an accessory along the lines of a sword, hook, eye patch, pistol, flag or parrot."

The Hastings Borough Council website says:

"The whole town entered into the spirit of the day with pirate themed events, shops and streets decorated with pirate regalia and staff wearing pirate costume.

Pirate couple Emma Drury and Jim Ward were married in the Town Hall by Kate Dyer, the Deputy Superintendent Registrar and Linda Miller the Deputy Registrar also dressed as pirates and, to add a final flourish, the Town Hall flagpole flew the skull and crossbones."

Visit the Pirate Day website where there's a gallery of photos from previous years, including the one on the right, taken by Matt Stabeler.
Keith Milborrow, who notified us of this important event, says: "Contrary to popular belief, the existing world record was not set at the Ha’penny Pier in Harwich back in 2009, although possibly, an earlier record attempt was made at Liverpool Street railway station on Monday, August 14th, 1967!"

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