Radio News and Happenings circa 1999

Mary and Chris have a Chinese in Frinton

In June, while Paul Graham was getting Lightship 18 ready for the RNI RSL, we went to Frinton to meet up with a few radio friends. Left to right: David & Pauline Miller, Ray Anderson, Mary & Chris and Paul Graham.

I think we put the radio world to rights. We'll see if it has any lasting effect!

The next day, Paul gave us a superb guided tour of Lightship 18 (now renamed Mebo III), and our exclusive photographic report can be found here...


PY Has the Boldest Knees!

Illustrious Jazz FM presenter, Peter Young, has become the latest member of the Knees Club. He is only the third person whose knees have been deemed acceptable for membership since the club's demise in 1967.

Says Founder, Mary Payne, "This is an honour bestowed on very few. Don't spread this around, but even Chris Payne isn't a member! These days, KC membership normally entails an on-air initiation, but I made an exception for PY, an exceptional candidate. Our new Member 379's knees have spent 29 years in radio. They probably qualify as the knees with the shortest offshore radio career, surviving the tender trip out to RNI, but never making it to air because of violent seasickness. They have never allowed playlists or political correctness to get in their way, and they never update either their jokes or their jingles. They can be relied upon to make us laugh and we all love them for that. "

In 1995, PY's Knees were awarded the Smashey and Nicey Award for 25 years of services to broadcasting.

Picture: A cry of stunned delight from PY as Mary pats his patellas with her ceremonial sword.


Chris Visits Oracle Broadcasting's New Studios

Oracle Broadcasting Ltd have built new studios in Reading, Berks, in order to service the requirements of future RSLs for the area. First on the list was Kiddz FM, in aid of the "International Week of the Child". The broadcast was sponsored by Reading Council, and the station was on the air from 24th May to 6th June. Following that broadcast will be the fourth RSL for Reading 107 from July 4th to 30th.

The new studios were in the early stages of construction, and mainly consisted of masking tape on the floor to denote where the walls were going to be built! Also present on Chris's visit, were Tom Collins of "Sea Poodle" fame (see his contribution on our Radio London pages), Peter Messingfeld, and George Saunders. Peter is very well-known in offshore radio enthusiast circles, has a superb web site and spends a large amount of his spare time visiting radio stations in the UK and Europe. George was Radio Caroline's Chief Engineer. Even though he's retired, you can't keep him away from radio, so he's helping and advising Oracle with their plans for the studios.

It was a memorable day indeed, in the presence of such luminaries in radio. You really can't beat eating omelette and chips in the best cafe in Reading (The Gorge), while hearing hilarious and fascinating anecdotes about life aboard both Caroline ships from their Chief Engineer!

Since writing this, George Saunders (Radio Caroline's former Chief Engineer) has sent us some lesser-known interesting information about Radio London's mv Galaxy. He was also involved when it was proposed to sell the ship when she was taken to Germany after the closedown in August 1967. Now read more in an article by George himself!


Nearly Dan!

Since originally publishing the following piece, we've had a very nice email from Robert Rolph of Nearly Dan:

"Just read the 'Nearly Dan' honourable mention on your site - I'd just like to say many thanks! One gig the band won't forget either because of the wonderful audience! We hope to be back - at least on an annual basis."

Thanks Robert - it's a pleasure. Here's looking forward to the next one!

Recently, Mary and Chris saw brilliant Steely Dan tribute band, Nearly Dan, at John Dankworth and Cleo Laine's Stables theatre in the village of Wavendon, near Milton Keynes, Bucks. Loving the music of Steely Dan, but being unfamiliar with this band, we trusted in the Stables' impeccable reputation for booking only top-class acts, and were not disappointed. The ten-piece group was formed in 1996, and you can believe it when they say how long and hard they worked to reach their present high standard. Fagin and Becker's music can't be the easiest in the world to play, but Nearly Dan reproduced the essence of the real thing accurately, without falling into the trap of becoming cardboard replicas. Favourite Steely Dan tracks were performed with the tightness of a very experienced and funky band. (They're all so young too!) Because the members come from the Midlands, and have full-time jobs, they rarely perform very far from home, so the Stables was honoured indeed.

Audience members at the gig who had seen recent performances by the genuine Dan, expressed some disappointment in the 'originals'. Their performances were described as rambling into self-indulgent jazz-type areas, thus depriving the audience of hearing the music played as they knew and loved it. Maybe in future, Nearly Dan will be the only chance audiences get to hear the 'real' thing! 'Danoraks' can take it from the us that they won't be disappointed with Nearly Dan.

You can find out more about Nearly Dan and see a gig list on their web site at:

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