December 2002
(November is here...)



Johnnie Walker announced his marriage to Tiggy on December 21st 2002.

He revealed that, breaking with tradition, he and his lovely new bride walked down the aisle to the sound of 'Light My Fire'!

The happy couple were photographed at the 35th Anniversary Reunion by Martin van der Ven

From Johnnie, December 28th – "Many thanks for your good wishes – we're very happy. Johnnie & Tigs"

Martin Newton – Pioneering Engineer
Chris Edwards from Offshore Echoes sent us the sad news of the death, on December 8th, of Martin Newton.

Martin's offshore career began with some pioneering engineering on behalf of the fledgling Radio Caroline. This included the technical challenge of the first live musical performance from an offshore station, when jazz organist Jimmy Smith bravely allowed his Hammond to be winched aboard the Mi Amigo in May 1965. It was probably the only outdoor performance from an offshore station, as Jimmy was obliged to play the Hammond on deck when it proved too big to be moved into the studio. Martin also engineered a programme called 'Around the World', which was recorded at Chesterfield Gardens. Presented by Keith Skues and starring the Beatles, the Christmas special was aired from both the north and south ships on December 26th, 1964.

Martin went on to become Caroline's Chief Engineer, before transferring to Radio London's Galaxy, where he was involved in the studio refit of Spring 1966.

When Martin contacted the Radio London site for the first time in September 2002, he gave us a potted history of his career in watery wireless. You can read this here. We exchanged several friendly messages, and Martin had planned to write more about his offshore days for inclusion on the site. Sadly, this was never to be.

It seems appropriate to include here a comment received this week from John ('The Paper Boy') Newstead, whose reminiscences of Caroline North appear in the Caroline section of the site (halfway down the 60's Scrapbook's page 4):

"Do you think that they have the Internet in Heaven? Well, if they do, to all the ex-offshore people who have passed away since 1967, I hope that you read this and know that you have given joy and happiness to millions of people."

JY on Radio Luxembourg (pic thanks to Hans Knot)

The Knights before Christmas

Sir Trevor MacDonald is to present a BBC Radio Two Christmas Eve tribute to Sir Jimmy Young and his 30-year career at the BBC, between noon and 14.00.

Sir Jimmy – known to his listeners as JY – has made it plain he was reluctant to relinquish his Radio 2 show. A feature about JY's final prog is here and you can also listen to his 1955 chart-topper, Unchained Melody. (Yes he beat the Righteous Brothers into the charts by a decade!)

Listeners' views on the JY's enforced 'retirement' can be read here and well-wishers can also leave farewell messages for him until 30th December.

Radio Plays Major Part in Bushfire Warnings
In the December issue of online newsletter, The Radio Wave (Issue #13) editor Ian MacRae tells how radio stations serving the drought-ridden Sydney area have played a major part in keeping the public informed of bushfire dangers:

Sydney has been ringed by bushfires. Over 40 homes and properties have been lost at the time of writing. Radio played an extremely important role in disaster, keeping people informed and updated on what was happening and warning of dangerous situations.

The talk stations especially did a magnificent job dropping their usual programmes to make way for a full emergency coverage. In a situation such as this, radio comes into its own. However it was notable that some FM music stations still went to automation at the normal time closing off any coverage and virtually pretending that nothing was happening even though the entire metropolitan area was blanketed in smoke.

To read the full story (and much more) you must subscribe to the newsletter:

The Hall in December

Jonathan's December update to the The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame

"Among the goodies this month... we hear the dramatic tale of a young man who helped dismantle Radio City's 'tower of power', there are some additions to the traditional Christmas page, and there's news of a John Peel CD release. There is also an archive magazine article about Tony Prince's Caroline memories – the first of a series – and more audio, including Fame Academy's Richard Park, as he was in 1967.."

A transmitter on a ship, a trannie on a bike and a hot bird!
Mike Terry kindly alerted us to a trio of stories concerning a ship in Seattle housing a transmitter (what a novel idea!), how Ralph Bernard, the GLR chairman, loved listening to Caroline and something the chairman probably won't love, the new Caroline satellite test transmissions!

1) Shipborne in Seattle
At the start of 2002, Seattle's 1300 KKOL, (known locally as KOL) became the only licensed station operating in the United States to have its 1000 Watt transmitter sited aboard a ship. The owners of the talk station, which subtitles itself 'The Source', came to an agreement with the Port of Seattle to abandon their previous site on Harbour Island, and were granted a licence for the transmitter to be temporarily housed aboard a 175ft cargo vessel. The Valcom fibreglass whip antenna has worked perfectly during the year it has been operational aboard the ship Coastal Ranger, anchored in Seattle's Elliott Bay. Story with pictures here.

2) Caroline's a Hot Bird
To hear the Radio Caroline test transmissions via Hotbird: "Hotbird 6; Transponder 94; 12597GHz Vertical; Symbol Rate 27.5; FEC 3/4; Enter WRN for hire 3 and you will find Caroline."

3) The chairman of the board of the happiness corporation?
John Newstead is not the only ex-paper boy who enjoyed listening to his trannie. GWR chairman and Radio Caroline fan, Ralph Bernard, told the Times that he kept a trannie strapped to his bike when he used to do his paper round and that he idolised Johnnie Walker and Tony Blackburn.

But Ralph had a depressing forecast for all lovers of real radio. He foresees mergers of many of the current giants, leaving the UK with perhaps only two or three major radio groups. And what he doesn't mention because everyone already knows, is that all the stations owned by these groups will sound exactly the same. Perhaps we should be glad we have the Beeb after all?

And talking of soundalike stations...

Tony's All Gold
Tony Blackburn is leaving Capital Gold to host the breakfast show on the Classic Gold's nationwide network. Tony, (pictured in Big L days) who's a bit of a dab hand at the breakfast slot, says he is excited at the prospect of returning to his breakfast roots. (Being vegetarian, he's far more likely to be returning to roots than bacon and sausages!)

Wouldn't it be great if Radio London had a time machine and could announce that Tony was leaving Capital Gold to host the breakfast show on the Galaxy? Now there's something that would attract a MASSIVE audience!

...And still talking of soundalike stations...
Bob le Roi's 'One Subject One Link' feature this month concentrates on that very subject and is titled 'Same, Same, Shame'! In his 'Scrapbook' Bob is sharing more of his archives of Radios Sutch, City and Radio Essex. There's also recent pictures and classic audio from Knock John, and Kevin Turner sharing Eighties good times in 'Caroline and Kevin'.
Radio Friends pay tribute to Kenny
On October 10th in London, the Radio Academy presented a tribute evening to the genius of Kenny Everett. The panel of Kenny's friends was (back row) Howard Hughes – who produced and hosted the evening, David Briggs, Cleo Rocos and Michael Bukht. Front row Angela Bond, Dave Cash and Paul Burnett.

At the end of a most enjoyable evening, a young lady from Radio One (apparently Emma B) asked Dave Cash how many weeks at a time he and Kenny were obliged to spend aboard 'Radio Luxembourg'. Er.... we don't believe Luxembourg is a country possessing a great deal of ocean in which to accommodate floating radio stations.

Kenny is the first inductee to the Radio Academy Hall of Fame and his entry contains MP3 files from various stages of his career, including of course Big L.

Beeb series admits Big L influence
In the recent Radio Two series commemorating 50 years of record charts, great mention was made of the 'pirate' charts and in particular, the influence of the Big L Fab Forty on the national charts. Bob Harris described the Fab as 'essential listening', while Tommy Vance spoke of of both Caroline and London charts. Tommy recalled with delight the 'massive amount of music' the record companies made available to the offshore stations.

Peelie Picks the Pops
John Peel has finally been persuaded to present a Radio One top forty show on January 12th. Since his Big L days Peelie has made it clear that he is not over-fond of current best-selling pop singles, even though he was obliged to play them on the Galaxy (see Fab March 5th 1967). In his early weeks on the station, John was allocated a few climbers extremely inappropriate for his musical tastes, 'Ciao Baby' by the Montanas being a good example.

The ex-perfumed gardener has avoided doing any chart rundowns for the duration of his 35-year Radio One career, but has agreed to present the January 12th chart as a one-off. A shame Peelie wasn't doing the rundown the week when Otway hit number 9!

"I said we would not give up and I meant it"

From the US, John Schneider tells how he continues with his battle against the CARP rulings:

On November 14th, the Senate and House both passed H.R. 5469, the Small Webcaster Settlement Act of 2002. This legislation allows webcasters to "negotiate" royalty agreements with the recording industry, instead of paying the fees mandated by the Librarian of Congress in June.

While some are hailing this as a major victory for webcasters, the fact remains: the SWSA does NOT level the playing field, as webcasters will still be forced to pay a "performance royalty fee" that does not exist (and never has!) for traditional broadcast radio. This is because current copyright law states that the promotional value of airplay is sufficient compensation to offset the lack of a performance royalty fee.

What they are essentially saying is that Internet radio has NO PROMOTIONAL VALUE to record companies, and therefore webcasters must pay an extra fee that traditional radio does not have to pay.

Full story here.
...A Partridge in...
In an interview with BBC Radio Norfolk, County Councillor Charles Joyce complained that Steve Coogan's spoof DJ, Alan Partridge, is damaging Norfolk's image as "a place to do business". However, Cllr Joyce is not supported by Council Leader and Partridge fan, Alison King. Along with many of us in the broadcasting industry, Alison appreciates Coogan's appalling late-night DJ and his dreadful show on the fictional Radio Norwich for what it is – a caricature.

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