August 2003
(July 2003 is here...)

Duncan Gets his Bus Pass!
August 17th was the 65th birthday of Big L's deepest-voiced DJ, Duncan Johnson – who has very kindly shared with us some photos from his celebration.

Congratulations to Duncan from Radio London and all our site visitors!

Revolting Pirates
First mentioned on 'Happenings' some weeks ago, part one of ex-Big L DJ Pete 'Dum Dum' Drummond's 2-hour documentary 'The Radio Revolutionaries' will be broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on Tuesday, August 26th at 2030 BST. Part two follows on Tuesday, September 2nd.

'The Radio Revolutionaries' which traces the history of pirate radio from the 1930s, is produced by Nick St George, for independent company Heavy Entertainment. Interviewees include Paul Hollingdale and Peter Moore. Clips from Tony Blackburn, Kenny Everett and Johnnie Walker are promised, plus jingles, ads and music.

(To listen via the Internet, go to Click on 'Launch BBC Radio Player', click on 'Radio 2'. You'll need RealAudio already installed on your computer.)

Thanks to this programme, Radio London and Radio Caroline both receive two mentions in the Radio Times dated 23-29th August, on pages 24 and 114. (Radio Luxembourg also gets a mention.) Both London and Caroline also get name-checks in The Times online (thanks to Mike Terry).

On the same subject, Mike Brand has alerted us to a timely article about the importance of radio, and specifically, the transistor radio, in relation to the recent power blackout in the USA and Canada.
Bob's Revolting!
Radio City DJ Bob Le-Roi is one of those 'revolting' pirate interviewees participating in the 'Dum Dum' documentary!

In his latest site update, Bob's 'One Subject One Link' is about, "Connecting with your listener. Stuff we learnt the hard way years ago and now in everyone's good books – but who honestly does it?"

Bob also offers 'Sealand One', a numbered, limited edition VCD containing the first set of pictures from earlier this year in the site's 'Scrapbook'. The VCD has over 130 pictures, complete with an audio tour of the fort and some fascinating history.
Johnnie has a "Well 'Ard" Haircut
Many people have been anxious for news of Johnnie Walker, so Radio London is pleased to report that on August 15th, Johnnie posted a positive and humorous progress report on his cancer treatment on the Radio Two website.

Expressing gratitude for all the public support he has received, Johnnie said his treatment was progressing well, although he had lost some weight. The doctor has apparently prescribed an increased intake of ice cream and chocolate!

Johnnie also reveals he is sporting a "Vinnie Jones 'Well 'Ard' Haircut" and signs himself, "Lots of Love, Baldy".

Citybeat Beats the Competition
Kenny Tosh's July 27th Citybeat offshore special, featuring special guest Ben Healy, was a great show and Ben was delighted to receive on-air phonecalls from his ex-Radio Scotland colleagues Tony Allan and Jimmy Mack.

Anyone who was unable to listen to the show can e-mail Kenny, who now has a cassette recording available.

Right: With Kenny Tosh, this is the first picture we've seen of Ben (left) since the Sixties! (©Kenny Tosh 2003)

Kenny tells us that his next offshore special is scheduled for Sunday 28th September, when Caroline's Mike Ahern will be his guest on The Revival Show from 9am to 1pm.

The award-winning Citybeat continues to go from strength-to-strength. The Belfast station recently won two Sony Gold Awards and was named 'ntl Commercial Radio Station of the Year'. Now the latest RAJAR audience figures show that Citybeat reaches 179,000 adults weekly, all tuning-in for an average of eight hours, the most time spent with any commercial station in its area.

Ben's Royal Treatment:
Wow Chris and Mary: If this is the treatment I get for mentioning your name on the Kenny Tosh show...! Thank you so much for the picture and the mention.

My time with Kenny was awesome and truly amazing. I got the Royal treatment in Belfast and people were so welcoming and had a great knowledge of Radio Scotland and myself.

I talked about you both to Kenny off the air quite a bit and I truly believe you have both touched a lot of lives in a very positive way by bringing so many people together, including my visit to City Beat. You seem to care so much for people in a very unselfish way and believe me you are much appreciated by a number of people I have been in contact with.

I look forward to meeting with you on my next visit to London and thanking you personally for all you have done for offshore radio.

Love, Ben

A Stamp For Marvin – thousands respond world-wide
From The Motown Alumni Association, Los Angeles Chapter:
Thousands of fans have responded to the intensive 3-month world-wide "grass roots" campaign of support launched two months ago by the Motown Alumni Association, Los Angeles chapter, to get a commemorative U.S. postage stamp for legendary Motown singer Marvin Gaye.

"Letters, petitions and post cards have been received from all across the nation as well as around the world, including Britain, Norway and Sweden," says Ron Brewington, Executive Director, LA Chapter, MAA.

"The fans are loudly saying they would like to see a postage stamp for Marvin," says Brewington.

The campaign will end September 15th, in time for a meeting of the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee, U.S. Postal Service, scheduled for October.

During the last month of the campaign, fans have numerous options to express their support to the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee, U.S. Postal Service in Washington, DC so that Gaye can get the stamp on what would have been his 65th birthday on April 2, 2004. They can either send a letter or post card saying "I support a stamp for Marvin Gaye" to:

Dr. Virginia Noelke, Chair, Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW, Room 5670, Washington, DC 20260-2437.

Or fans can go to the Motown Alumni Association website for a pre-written, printable form that they can send to the committee.*

Gaye has received numerous honors for his musical achievements, including inclusion into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), a Grammy Award, and a star on the world famous Hollywood Walk of Fame.

*Webmasters' note: It does not appear to be possible to forward this petition form via e-mail. Appropriately for a postage stamp campaign, you will have to mail it. Marvin fans living outside the USA will need to send their forms soon.

August 14th 1967:
The Wombat Never Forgets

It does not seem a whole year since the 35th Anniversary Offshore Reunion, but August has come round once again. Ian 'Wombat' Damon, who was very disappointed not to have been able to attend last year's nostalgic event, phoned the Radio London webmasters on Friday, August 8th to remind us that it was 36 years to the day that he had left the Galaxy in the company of the late Chuck Blair. The photo was taken when they came ashore at Harwich.

The Wombat never forgets August 14th and said he would be holding his own one-minute silence at 3.00pm in Norfolk. Ian and his wife Janice were also unfortunately unable to join a small group of friends who met on August 9th (below).


As there was to be no 2003 reunion and no offshore RSLs, a non-reunion drink was arranged. We can assure viewers that the red faces are due to the effects of the record-breaking heatwave, and not to an excess of alcohol...

Left to right: Chris, John, Alan (who's quite fab), Mary, Pauline, Dave, Jon and Really Fab Alan
We'll Never Forget

Kenny Tosh (who sent us the terrific photo taken with Ben Healy – see 'Citybeat Beats the Competition', above) wrote on the 10th: "What can I say? One year ago today, we were all in Blackfriars! Wow, I had to really take in that really fab weekend. It was all thanks to you both." Kenny broadcast another of his Citybeat Sunday offshore specials on Sunday 17th. He included his interview with Johnnie Walker, the hits from August 1967, and The Radio Caroline Story.

Roger Twiggy Day, appropriately presented the 1pm till 3pm show on Radio Caroline on the 14th, and received many messages and calls from listeners reminiscing about August 14th 1967, with requests for the music of the time.

Roger had intended to end with 'We Shall Overcome', but admitted he had left the record on his kitchen table! However, a recent single provided the perfect substitute – Tom Petty's 'The Last DJ'.

Meanwhile, John Baynton, Colin Lees and Peter Herring made a day-trip pilgrimage to the Essex coast on the 14th to commemorate the anniversary.

Finally, the following message received from Mike Terry, sums up the mood of that sombre day in 1967:

I was youth hostelling in the Lake District and everyone had their trannies tuned to the Big L closedown and afterwards that evening there was a very sombre mood in the Youth Hostel. A part of the youth of the nation died that day - sounds unbelievable now I know. I really believe it was a case of officialdom killing off youthful freedoms.

Links on this website to help you reminisce about August 14th:

Lil's 60s Scrapbook, particularly David Skeates and the late Geoff Killick's article

Mini-Memories of Big L and especially that fateful day

Radio London's Final Fab Forty

Last year's incredible Offshore Reunion. See who you can spot!

Each summer, Roger and Fran Cooper, and Colin and Jacky Pattenden hold a picnic for anyone who wants to go. You can bring anyone you like – they don't have to be known to the others. It's a great idea, and this year's saw us at Runnymede near Windsor, on a very hot August afternoon. (You can also see the organisers participating in the 2001 RSL, here.) You'll be wondering about the pig... It shows the location of the picnic for arriving participants! (Read more about the picnic on Roger and Fran's website, here.)
Roger, Mary, Colin and Jacky
Mary, Chris, Fab Alan, Pauline and Dave give their knees an airing
"If I'd known you were coming..."
Fran cuts the celebratory cake
Superstar Jackie Lynton and Roger do the Hokey-Cokey in the sun

Mike's Planned Relaunch of Voice of Peace
Mike Brand writes:

Myself and Noam Tal (a fellow member of our group planning on bringing back the offshore radio station, the Voice of Peace) were interviewed on BBC Radio Five Live on Sunday, 17th August.

The programme is about the Middle East, and we were interviewed about our plans to revive the Voice Of Peace.

Thank you very much to the OLD WIRELESS WAFFLER for recording it. (Listen here)

Alan's TV Campaign
Alan Long writes:

I'm very impressed with the history site of Big L. I was 13 when the station closed down, yet to my mind nothing has ever come near it in terms of quality broadcast. Even early Radio One came nowhere near it! I've been wandering around the site today and have one heck of a suggestion to make which I think will appeal to everyone of all ages (and sizes) who loved the pirates.

I would like to start a one-off campaign to get one of the terrestrial TV stations BBC1, 2, ITV 1, C4 or C5 interested in making a series of documentary programmes on the UK offshore pirate radio years. I often feel that this neglected subject is worthy of a series of programmes that many of us old goats (speak for myself) would love to see.

I need a project to work on and don't mind forwarding emails in support of this to whatever TV station you think most likely to produce a programme or six on pirate radio. If anyone emailed me I would respond.

Read Alan's idea in full, here, on our 14th August special mini-memories page, from where you can send him your comments.
Otway – always an education!
Patsy Andrews, the major co-ordinator for last year's successful Otway Hit campaign, has been contacted by Graeme Scarfe, a teacher who intends to use John Otway's unique musical interpretation of 'The Highwayman' to teach the Alfred Noyes poem to a class of thirteen-year-olds. Patsy had already received news of last year's number 9 hit, 'Bunsen Burner' assisting in educating a science class. When the song was in the charts, its lyrics prompted the Society of Chemists to send Otway one of their exclusive T-shirts. (You don't get many hit records starting with the words, "There's a rare isotope of hydrogen...." )

Now Patsy is wondering if any of Otway's other songs have been utilised in the classroom.

Mary and Chris think 'A413' and 'Louisa on a Horse', both of which contain references to places in Buckinghamshire, might well come in handy for a geography lesson also. It would certainly beat having to talk about crop-yields!

What have Tarantulas, Whipped-cream and Nudity got to do with Radio?
In Issue #19 of The Radio Wave, editor Ian MacRae has a feature about the lengths some female radio listeners were prepared to go to in order to win tickets to see their favourite group. These included one woman who endured putting a tarantula into her mouth and another who went walkabout wearing nothing more than a 'sprayed-on' bikini of whipped cream. (They must have been a very popular group.) Then there's a report of going to extremes to win listeners, which led to a DJ being charged with public nudity and disorderly conduct.

Ian has also investigated an 'America's Radio DJ competition' which has a strong whiff of 'scam' about it.

Doing a 'Quo'!
Mike Brand in Israel has sent an edited version of an article that appeared in YNET, a Hebrew on-line newspaper:

Natan Cohen, a singer with the Pure Soles, a big hit group in Israel 30 years ago, is boycotting the Army's 24-hour-a-day music and traffic station, Galgalatz, and forbidding them to play his music.

Cohen claims that the station only plays the band's old songs, and has totally ignored their newer material. "We have made dozens of new songs over the past ten years, but for Galgalatz, we are just nostalgia," he complained.

In a meeting with AKUM (The Performers and Writers Guild), Cohen's request was granted, even though AKUM admitted that they had never received a request like that before.

The Pure Soles suffered a policy that tens of other artists suffered from too - The Galgalatz Playlist. The station's policy is that only one song from an artist's last album will be played on the station, causing many artists' songs not to be played, therefore not known by the listeners.

Cohen continues, "Many artists suffer from Galgalatz. We should all stop complaining and DO something! My music serves the station's interests, but the station does not serve mine, and it's time to end this now."

Galgalatz says, "Natan Cohen is an important performer and writer, and he has been given time on both Army and the traffic station. Each song that reaches the station, is judged by the professional team we have. It is about time that things should be clear once and for all. There is no commitment from any station in the world, private or public, to broadcast every song that reaches its doors. No threats or bans will move us a centimetre from our professional way, to serve our listeners."

Deja Vu: Didn't Status Quo stage a similar protest a few years back, when Radio One refused to play their current material? Many artists who enjoyed hits decades ago are still producing excellent new material - a good example being Blunstone and Argent. But how likely is the public to be allowed to hear their music on any UK stations where the playlists consist of warbling covers of old hits, performed by manufactured bands?
Kerry Loses Cancer Battle

Kerry Juby
January 1948 – July 2003
In 1967, Kerry Juby had a very short-lived offshore career as a DJ aboard Radio Caroline South, where he went by the name of Kerry Clarke. But he will be best remembered by listeners to London's Capital Radio, which he joined at its launch in 1973 (in the company of numerous other ex-Wets) and stayed with the station for many years. In 1980, Kerry produced a Capital documentary about Radio Caroline called 'Adios Mi Amigo'. (Thanks to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame)

Kerry was also an author, and published biographies of Kate Bush and David Bowie.

Peter Young, who worked with Kerry at Capital Radio describes him as:

"A genuine down-to-earth bloke, who was very easy to get along with. We worked together on Saturday mornings for quite a few years. I've got some great memories of him using two K-Tel compilations to cover an entire show! And of course there was the classic catch phrase "Gawd, I feel evil this morning"! I can't think of another broadcaster who was more 'himself' on the air than Kerry."

Roy Orbison Fab Disc on SOTS
By coincidence, the Roy Orbison disc which features as a picture sleeve at the top of the Fab Forty for 1st August 1965, was played on Sounds of the Sixties on the day that this particular chart was placed on the Radio London website (2nd August).

Not one of Roy's best-known songs, '(Say) You're My Girl' is a rock 'n' roll reworking of an old Italian classic, 'Santa Lucia'.

Over 270 Offshore Recordings
With Jonathan's August update of The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame the site now has more than 270 recordings from the heyday of British offshore radio. New this month are tapes from the private collection of Britain Radio presenter Tom Cooper. There's news of a proposed Radio City reunion and that mystery half-naked news man remains unidentified!
KLIF Helps Celebrate US Radio Landmarks
Mike Terry tells us that the 70th US National Radio Club convention will be held in Dallas, Texas, Friday August 29 through Sunday August 31, 2003.

A guest speaker will be Steve Eberhart, who runs the History of KLIF website. Steve will: "Talk about KLIF, the legacy of its founder Gordon McLendon, and the incredible influence the Mighty 1190 had on not only Dallas/Fort Worth but as a pioneer of Top 40 radio in the United States."

...and of course KLIF, being the template for Radio London, also had a big influence on Top 40 radio in the UK.

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