April 2005
(March 2005 is
here...). Archive Happenings index is here.... News starts here

The Swinging Sixies!

The Radio London website celebrated its 6th birthday at the end of March. We (Chris and Mary) are proud of what has been achieved during that time and we know from your responses that you love visiting the site.

Maintaining a 700-page site is a very costly, demanding and time-consuming job. If you appreciate our achievements, and have enjoyed the free service we have provided for six years, we'd love it if you would support us by buying a tee-shirt from the Radio London Store!

You're a winner with... Radio London Fab at 40 competition!
(March 05)

Question: The first few notes of a famous Sixties song appear as three bars of music which is used as a graphic throughout the Fab 40 charts.

Can you identify the song, which was a UK hit for a famous solo artist, towards the end of 1964?

Answer: Pretty Woman, by Roy Orbison

Lil, the Radio London parrot*, who can be seen misbehaving herself further down this page, made a draw on February 12th from correct answers, and the winner, Stephen Chesney (aka ChesKNEE) received one of our Fab at 40 teeshirts! Stephen loves the shirt and kindly sent us a photo of him wearing it. He says

I'm a solicitor and I decided to have my picture taken at my office in Chelmsford. You will see the law books in the background. On my bookshelves at home I have "Offshore Radio" by Gerry Bishop, "Pop went the Pirates" by Keith Skues, "The Wonderful Radio London Story" by Chris Elliot and Brian Long's masterpiece, "The London Sound".
(* If Lil looks familiar it's because a very similar parrot can be seen attending the First North American Offshore Reunion. The bird in question is Lil's sister Caroline, and she now resides in Victoria, BC, with Steve Young and his wife Trish.

Stephen looking glamorous in his prize!

You too could look this good! Visit our store page now!

Seven pages of photos from the belated Radio London 40th Anniversary Reunion, 26/02/05!

"You two were so kind to have arranged the entire event. Like I've said before, all the blood, sweat and tears would only be an occasional memory in the cobwebs of my mind if it were not for you two." Radio London founder,Tom Danaher

New page added March 25, and the thanks page was updated April 1.
Click on the pirates to find out more!

Big L Fab 40 updates
April 05
West Five Cannon Brothers
An update to the fascinating Chuck Blair saga reveals that Chuck applied to join Radio Caroline!
An ex-Caroline jock turned author proves that he is not 'missing'!
Mini Memories Page 6 (updated March 05) The Pall Mall contract for a £700 single!

Caroline Towed Away
In March 1968, Caroline's broadcasts ended abruptly when both North and South ships were unceremoniously towed to Amsterdam, where they were to remain for several years. New visitors will enjoy our feature, where Bud Ballou talks about being on a radio station that was being towed away, while Martin Kayne tells how he heard what happened while on shore leave. The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame has great photos of the two vessels which were taken in 1970, some of them aboard the Fredericia.

Mi Amigo Sinking (new March 05)
In our Radio Caroline section, we've added a newspaper report from the Evening News, March 20th, 1980.

April 20th 1965, Radio London saves the life of a US Airman. Full story on the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame.

And now, the news....

Kenny, Cash and Charlie

Before the start of Radio London in 1964, KLIF in Dallas had a show called Charlie and Harrigan. The DJs hosting it were Dan McCurdy, in the role of Charlie Brown and Ron Chapman, who went on air as Irving Harrington. Ben Toney brought a tape of that show over to England to give the DJs aboard the Galaxy an idea of the sort of radio that Radio London's Texan backers were hoping to emulate.

The young Messrs Kenny Everett and Dave Cash heard the Charlie and Harrigan show and decided they could produce their own version, adding a dash of the very British humour of the Goon Show. Because the Kenny and Cash Show was unlike anything else to be heard on the radio, it caught on like wildfire. The show lasted just six months, but its influence is indicated by the fact that it is still fondly remembered forty years later.

It was by sheer chance that in April 2005, the month of the 40th Anniversary of the start of Kenny and Cash, Radio London made contact with Dan McCurdy. Dan, who in 2004 was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame, wrote:

What a terrific thrill it was to get your email re Charlie & Harrigan and the influence the show had on British radio. I was surprised at the impact and delighted to read the links you provided. How very much I appreciate your contact and information!

Do you know where Ben Toney is at present? He asked me to join him on his UK adventure many years ago and I declined – looking back, it would have been fun.

We have now put Dan in touch with Ben.

To commemorate the Kenny and Cash anniversary, Radio London brings you a page of Kenny and Cash Kolumns from 'Music Echo'.

When California was in Dunstable
Anyone who enjoyed attending live gigs in their youth (which is most of us) will love Jaybee's California Ballroom website.

A venue the size of a barn, the 'Cali' in Dunstable was for twenty years the place to go for music. Contributors to the site frequently remark on the siting of a bar above the stage which enabled disgruntled (or simply inebriated) punters to tip their beer over the luckless performers. It's fun just browsing through gig lists from the early Sixties to discover bands called The Bumps in the Night, Brian Something and the Whatsits and Fernando & the Hide-a-ways. In amongst them I found our local heroes from High Wycombe, Jimmy Mac and the Beatfinders (later the UK's).

The 'Cali' finally closed its doors on New Year's Eve 1979, with a disco hosted by Robbie Vincent.

Pirate Sony Nominees
Johnnie Walker and BBC Essex Pirate Ray Clark are nominees for this year's Sony Radio Academy awards. Johnnie's Radio 2 show is up for The Daily Music Show of the Year while The Ray Clark Afternoon Show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Live from Normandy is in line for The Event Award

The Sony Radio Academy Awards Ceremony will be held on Monday 9 May at Grosvenor House Hotel, London.

Amateur Documentary Outranks Professionals

Patrick Mountenay, aka Pat Edison, has written and produced an excellent documentary, 'Free Radio – the Story of Clandestine Radio in the UK', telling the little-known story of the land-based pirates that sprang up following the demise of the offshore stations. The tale emerges via interviews with key personnel from the likes of Radio Jackie, Radio Kaleidoscope, Invicta and Skyline.

The 65-minute documentary is available on DVD, and Patrick has a 'making of' section on his Radio Kaleidoscope site, which also gives purchasing details.

The Radio London reviewers were very impressed by the high standard Patrick has achieved and found the documentary superior in quality to many which have appeared on television.

Cashbox Charts
Alan Hardy reports, "An interesting website of the (now hard to get hold of) American Cashbox magazine charts. Every week of every decade of the Cashbox 100 singles online! Although the Billboard charts are readily available in book form, it's interesting to be able to see the Cashbox charts, and online. I think Caroline used them for the weekly US Hot 100 show.

Pirate BBC Essex plans Knees-up with Daphknee for 2007!

Saturday March 26th was when the clocks went forward and the years rolled back to Easter 1965. When Pirate BBC Essex played the offshore hits from 40 years ago, they sadly could not broadcast from the correct ship for the period, with both original Caroline vessels Mi Amigo and Fredericia long gone. But this slightly bizarre and historically-unique occasion saw Pirate BBC Essex broadcasting from a crowded studio aboard the Ross Revenge, while Radio Caroline broadcast its own programmes from the ship's other studio!

Pirate Steve Scruton was at the helm, with contributions from renegades Tim Gillett, Ray Clark, Ian Wyatt and Twiggy Day. During the 4-hour programme, Caroline's current engineer, Alan Beech, took listeners on an audio tour of the transmitter and other original equipment which he had painstakingly reconstructed. LV18's Captain Tim visited the Ross and Tony (O'Neil) and Alan, aboard the Harwich Ferry, sent a text revealing how lonely the ship's glamour-girl Daphne, had been since Easter 2004. Text messages and e-mails came thick and fast from around the globe.

Dave Cash, Keith Skues and Daph-knee, copyright Pirate BBC Essex, 2004.

At the end of the programme, it was announced that Pirate BBC Essex will return to Harwich and the LV18 in 2007, broadcasting from August 4th to 14th, to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the enforced closure of the majority of the offshore stations.

Photos from the 2005 broadcast are on Martin van der Ven's site. For more about the 2004 Pirate BBC Essex broadcast from aboard the LV18, read our report and visit the Pirate BBC Essex's own website.

Newsflash: Very early in April, Radio London's correspondent in California, Ranny Teebus, sent us this report about a ship destined to go into the history books of offshore radio. We can exclusively reveal that a potential successor to the original Radio London is nearly on the high-seas again, but this time in America!

Remembering Cuddly Ken

April 4th 2005 marked the tenth anniversary of the untimely death of Kenny Everett.

A new page has been added to Radio London's own collection of tributes, bringing the total to five. The 2005 addition contains newspaper clips from 1980. (See also our new page of Kenny and Cash Kolumns)

Paul Rowley's superb documentary Kenny Everett – The BBC Local Radio Years was rebroadcast by many BBC local radio stations over Easter, but there are still chances to hear it. Paul says:

From April 4th, Southern Counties Radio, which covers Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire put out my documentary in 10-minute chunks on their mid-morning show every day between Monday and Friday.

The station was Kenny's 'local' during his spell when he worked for BBC Local Radio, as he produced the programmes from his farm at Cowfold in Sussex in the early 70s. One of the six stations he worked for at the time was BBC Radio Brighton, which was the forerunner of Southern Counties. The boss of the station is Neil Pringle, who worked with Kenny at Capital Radio, and is the twin brother of Keith Pringle, the current boss at Capital.

A number of listeners phoned Southern Counties Radio after the extracts were played. One wanted to know whether the show was being released commercially! I also got an e-mail from a listener in Shropshire, thanking me for making his weekend, when he heard the show on Radio Shropshire.

BBC Radio Devon were due to re-broadcast "Kenny Everett : the BBC Radio Years" on April 4, but because of the death of Pope John Paul the Second, the management thought it might be inappropriate, and postponed the broadcast . So they will now put it out at 1800 on the May Bank Holiday May 2 instead.

Being brought up as a Catholic, I'm sure Cuddly Ken would have found it funny. I suspect the pair of them are up there now laughing at it now. Ev would probably be saying "there were almost as many at MY funeral".

GMR (Greater Manchester Radio) are also scheduling the programme for May 2nd. These days BBC local stations are available on the web. (Click on Local Stations. Please check broadcast dates and times on individual station websites.)

Paul's hour-long programme tells how Cuddly Ken, anxious to continue his radio career after his sacking from Radio One, recorded shows for many BBC local stations in return for very little money. Fortunately, fans lurked everywhere amongst the BBC staff, and tapes of the shows, which were supposed to have been recycled to save money, were rescued for posterity.

Keith Skues described the documentary as, "First class, fully professional, and most entertaining" and Peter Young called it, "A joy. Well put together and researched by someone who knew their subject through and through."
Dr Don Rose July 1934 – March 2005
Howie Castle reports from California that legendary DJ Dr. Don Rose, died in his sleep on March 30th. One of Top 40 radio's most admired morning personalities – famous for his rapid-fire delivery and unending good humor – Don had a long run at KFRC, San Francisco and before that WFIL, Philadelphia. He also touched down in markets like Atlanta, San Antonio and Omaha (at the legendary KOIL). Don's KFRC morning program was #1 for a solid decade!

Don's name will be familiar to fans of the 'Cruisin'' series of album recreations of top US stations of the Fifties and Sixties. He featured on the 1967 album, WQXI Atlanta Georgia – "Quicksie in Dixie" as he used to call it.

Alan Hardy says: "I thought he was one of the best – if not the best – of the DJs in that Cruisin' series. Fast-paced, punchy, great jingles – and the music of '67 helped too! Sadly, I haven't heard him on 'real' recordings from anywhere else."

To gain an understanding of why Ron's show was at the top for ten years, visit his website, and make sure you read the section about how he created his 'dog' Roscoe. Don said, "It seemed that Roscoe could get away with things I could never get away with! He was an integral part of the program!"

Thanks to Howie Castle, Alan Hardy and Peter Young
Rare Studio Recordings
This month the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame commemorates the April 1965 Radio London rescue of an American pilot from the North Sea. The recent Radio King feature has been updated with a number of rare studio recordings from Patrick Hammerton's personal collection. There is another Record Retailer summary of the offshore radio charts – this time from October 1966 – and an archive photo of Swinging Radio England's Boom Boom Brannigan (Robert E Klingeman) from 1967.

Red Relics
Bob le Roi's Home Page reveals slide shows of the forts. His new 'Scrapbook' feature for April, called 'Red Relics' reveals what happened to the Radio 390 Studio Equipment.

Summer Fab 40 stays at 11.00am
An Oldies Project spokesman tells us that the extremely popular Radio London Fab 40 will continue to run on Sunday mornings at 1100 UK time, despite the introduction of British Summer Time on March 26th, when clocks went forward one hour. The show, previously broadcast at 1100 GMT, will now be at 1100 BST. Requests have been made for the Fab 40 to be repeated on a weekday evening. So far, this has not proved possible, but it may happen in the future.

Radio London has received so much positive reaction to the Oldies Project, its amazing selection of music, and the Sunday Fab 40s, that we have compiled a new page of comments.

John Peel Features
Mike Terry drew our attention to an excellent long feature about John Peel by Tom Roche. Another, by Dave Fisher, is here.
More Cuddly Ken!

Chris Edwards has updated his Offshore Themes website. He says:

There are now more than 550 (558 to be exact!) theme clips on the site. There's a new title page, a few more pictures, some updates and corrections.

In the Tributes section, Tony Aldridge, drummer with the Pathfinders has been in touch with some information on their song "I love you Caroline". Under "Deejays Sing", Ed Stewart croons "I like my Toys", while Kenny Everett gets on his "Knees". (More about the 'Knees' single here) Meanwhile Kees Manders (of RNI hijacking infamy) tries to grab vocal fame.

'I Like My Toys' was written by Jeff Lynne and appeared on the first Idle Race album' Birthday Party'. Stewpot was not the only Big L DJ to use the song. Kenny Everett (a huge fan of the Idle Race) adapted it for a Capital Radio jingle in the 70s.

Idle Race and Stewpot's version says: "I have a train set and a garage full of toys and a soldier with a gun..."

Kenny's says: "I have a trannie and it's permanently tuned to the station I adore..."

Back to 'Kneesflashes'