December 2003
(November 2003 is here...)

Stamp of Approval from us!
(Sorry, really sorry, no we are...)

Ron Buninga, son of the mv Galaxy's Captain Buninga, told us he was sending us a surprise artifact from Radio London.

We were naturally most intrigued!

From the picture, it's pretty obvious what the surprise is, but click on the stamp for the full story and to see what the resultant ink impression looks like.

Undercover Radio!

BFBS Radio is renowned for providing music for the troops in hostile war-torn areas of the world. The BFBS studio in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, has certainly taken a battering over the twelve or so years that it's been there.

On a recent engineering maintenance trip, Chris found the studio covered with a tarpaulin. 'Rain on the Roof' is not the DJs' favourite song, as theirs leaks like a sieve. Years of Irish weather have finally taken their toll! Fortunately, the radio personnel are moving into a new building in the Spring of 2004, weather permitting. It won't be a moment too soon!

As this view of the Mountains of Mourne taken from Ballykinler shows, spectacular weather does have its compensations.
Click on it for a much bigger version.

Who Knows the History of the Shield?

Ron Buninga has also sent a photo of this mystery object – a shield depicting the Three Legs of Man with the Caroline North ship's name at the bottom. So far, we have no information as to the item's history, but perhaps some of our ex-Caroline North friends can help?

Island Swopping

Someone who will soon be leaving the Three Legs of Man behind, is former RNI and Manx Radio DJ, Louise Quirk. In the New Year, she will be departing from her homeland, bound for Cyprus.

Louise, husband Harry and other family members will be opening a restaurant in Limassol. The couple have worked in the pub and catering trade for many years and most recently ran the Viking Hotel in Castletown.

We wish them every success in their new venture.

Right: Louise with her second cousin Chris

New Year date for Manx Communications Commission Hearing

IMIB Press release:
The Petition of Doleance against the Communications Commission has finally been listed for hearing in January. The case will commence on Monday 19th at 10am in the High Court in Douglas and due to the length of the pleading by the Petitioner, Mr L N Cussons of Bride is scheduled to last four days.

The Petition claims that the Communications Commission (part of the Isle of Man Government) acted unreasonably in awarding the Broadcast Licence, considered things they ought not to have done and ignored matters they should have considered. The claims will be robustly rejected by the Government Advocate, Stephen Harding and by Seth Caine, Advocate for Isle of Man International Broadcasting plc. The Petition, a form of request for judicial review, alleges noise, interference, health risks, dangers to navigation and a host of other emotive and imagined effects, all of which have been judged by experts to be unfounded.

"We have moved the transmission facility several kilometres offshore and even if any of the claims held water, the effect at such a distance would be insignificant," explains project founder Paul Rusling.

Geoffrey Holliman, IMIB's Director of Marketing commented: "Our original schedule would have seen us launch into a period when the broadcast industry was suffering from a slump in advertising. This may have made life a little difficult for us in our launch year, however radio revenues are now improving with most other stations experiencing substantial increases in revenues of late, particularly national AM stations,. The delays caused by the legal challenge may well prove to be fortuitous, moving our launch into this rather more bouyant period for radio."

"It's rather sad however, that at the time when our Island really needed the publicity our radio station will bring, post the foot and mouth crisis and a time when growth in tourism was retarded, we couldn't help," rued Mr Rusling. "The recent downturn in employment on the Island will however make the 40 or 50 job opportunities the radio station will create even more welcome."

25 Years Later
On December 4th, Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio clocked up twenty-five years of broadcasting. Joining Martin Kinch in the studios to talk about the station's early days during a special Silver Birthday show, were Freda Roberts, MBE, JP (President since the station's beginning) and Chris and Mary Payne.

Martin included clips of the launch night of the station originally called Radio Park Sound, reminding us that the ubiquitous Les Reed instrumental 'Man of Action' was used as station's opening music, as well as a 'borrowed' TV jingle, "Let us be the one you turn to".

One of the circuit boards which Chris made and installed in the studio in 1978 and had been in continuous use until the summer of 2003, was recently retired from active service and returned to Chris for framing!

Photo: Freda Roberts, Mike Cole, Martin Kinch, Mary and Chris

Knees to See You!

Proving that they are really getting about these days, the Radio London directors also paid a visit to Glasgow to see their old friend Tony Currie.

Tony, whose voice, or more appropriately in his case, whose many voices, have graced numerous offshore RSLs, occasionally has to work for a living at BBC Scotland. But as the photograph shows, he is a man of exquisite taste in the choice of websites he likes to peruse in between reading the news and playing out programmes.

Guest speakers: (left) Stuart Brand, Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Philip Rutnam, Senior Partner in the newly-formed Ofcom

Ofcom 'Determined to make Community Radio successful'
The Community Media Association's (CMA) conference and AGM at The Lighthouse in Glasgow on November 15th, was a landmark event for the organisation. In the past year, there have been several experimental community radio stations in action around the UK, providing a presence on the airwaves for groups of people which would otherwise not be well-served by current radio stations.

Through the success of the trial stations, borne out by the report for the Radio Authority by Professor Anthony Everitt, the CMA applied considerable pressure on the government and Ofcom to have Community Radio included in the Communications Act which was passed last summer. The CMA's hard work has paid off, with the invitation from Ofcom for the first applications possibly being announced in the spring of 2004, and the prospect of licences being awarded in the autumn.

The identification of areas suitable for Community Radio will be up to applicants, and not part of a 'working list' as previously operated by the Radio Authority.

The stations will be 'not for profit', but will be able to take sponsorship, presumably under the same terms as charities, such as Hospital Radio stations.

The Department of Culture, Music and Sport (DCMS) has announced a fund that will be available to help stations get on the air. A figure of 6m was discussed at the conference, with possible awards to applicants of 30,000. Organisiations may have to 'match-fund', which means that they will be required to raise an equal amount before the DCMS money is awarded. The full details have yet to be decided.

Community Media Association


John Makes History
John S Platt writes:

The US Navy has a website called 'The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships' which contains a history of every American ship that was in their Navy. I wrote to them to explain to them what had happened to the USS Density after she left their Navy. This site has updated the records of the 'Galaxy/Density' to include her history in the 1960's.

It appears that I am the only non-American who has ever been allowed to add to the history of an American ship.

Congratulations on that honour, John, and very well deserved.
New Acclaim for Peelie
John Peel has joined Radio London shipmates Tony Blackburn and Kenny Everett as one of the latest entrants to the Radio Academy Hall of Fame. "These icons of our broadcasting set a standard to which all those who follow can aspire," says the site.
However, Mike Terry quickly spotted a boob in the Peel bio on the Academy website and contacted the webmaster to correct it.

They couldn't have been more wrong than when they claimed that Peelie presented The Perfumed Garden between 1967 and '69 on a station in London which was run by the British Bucket Company.

Christmas Bumper Bundle
Jonathan tells us his packed December update to The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame contains:

Some fantastic photographs taken on board Radio Caroline South in 1966, more cuttings from Radio Scotland's 242 Showbeat magazine and pictures of a recent daytrip to visit the Thames forts. Another name has been added to the roll of honour - Radio 390's "voice of business", Dominic LeFoe, we hear from the daughter of Radio Caroline's Paul "Nutty" Noble and, sadly, there is another offshore death to report. That of Radio 390's senior presenter Edward Cole.

On top of all that, there is an update to the traditional "Christmas on the North Sea" page with even more audio clips.

The next update will be on New Year's Eve so, in the meantime, I hope you have a great Christmas.

We hope you do too, Jonathan!
Please don't ask about the guy who got sacked!
Volume 23 of Ian MacRae's on-line newsletter The Radio Wave, is also a packed end-of-year edition.

We've already mentioned the AGM of the UK Community Media Association and Ian has heard from someone who is aiming to start an Australian website for people in community radio who wish to share skills, knowledge and sound files. There's also news from Keith Lake from The Last Radio Station, which was mentioned in a previous newsletter a while back.

And the Silly Stunts section, carries its usual collection of crazy, tasteless and downright irresponsible publicity ideas that must have seemed like a good idea when they were hatched. This includes the outcome of the court case against a woman who carried out a radio station 'dare' to have sex in church.

Apparently, enquiries are still arriving about a story from a previous newsletter concerning a remark which got a New York DJ sacked. Ian reiterates that he did not know previously what this remark was and he still does not know, so please stop asking him!
A double festive treat from Kenny
Kenny Tosh features two of his popular offshore specials on award-winning station Citybeat during December. As usual, those outside Belfast can enjoy the shows via the Internet.

On Sunday 21st December, Kenny will hand over his Revival Show Empire to the rule of the irrepressible Rosko and a week later sees the return of a much-loved guest from Caroline North, Mick Luvzit – who is sure to be bringing his granny along to join in the fun. Tune in to Kenny from 9am to 1pm.

Rare Radio Essex
Bob Le-Roi's site updates continue the Radio Essex feature with the station life as BBMS, including some more very rare material, and add Part 5 of the Radio Sutch and City series. Bob says:

Thank you for your contributions, support, encouragement and appreciation over the past year. We wish you a joyous Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

You too, Bob!

'The End?'

Mike Brand in Israel sends further news of Arutz 7.

After having a conversation with Yoel Tzur, one of the managers of Arutz 7, and one of the Arutz 7 10, awaiting their sentences at the end of this year for illegal broadcasting, he informed me that the Arutz 7 ship has been broken up.

He told me that the deal was brokered through a company in Piraeus, and the station got a very good deal. I informed the station of two people who wanted to use the ship (for legal purposes!), but my inquiry came too late, as the deal had already been finalised.

He also went on to tell me that the station will, in future, operate only within the framework of the law, and are awaiting the Knesset to introduce legislation for the station to be legalised.

If what Yoel Tzur told me is true, then this really is the end of offshore radio broadcasting from the high seas.

Mike has received photographs from the Turkish shipyard where the Arutz 7 ship has been sent to be dismantled, but he says he finds them puzzling:

These pictures show several differences. Just one small example: Look at where the name is painted. It has moved slightly to the left. Also, on my Internet site, are pictures that Dr.Martin van der Ven and I took when we went to visit the ship(s) about 4 years ago, with close-ups of the A7 ship

Mike also reports that:

Apparently not satisfied with the closure of Arutz 7 Radio, Attorney-General Elyakim Rubenstein has instructed the police to launch an investigation against the managers of the Arutz 7 website.

"The main thing is that the ship is a deeper blue than when she was anchored off the Israeli coast. In the last published picture of the boat, about a month ago, it was still light blue, and had rust all along its right side (looking from the front - forgive my lack of seaman's language). So why the repaint? To get broken up?"

Radio London Kneesflash!
Hot tip from the Big L parrot: Check US site Radio Picture of the Week commencing November 28th is a photo of someone very familiar to listeners of the Radio London RSLs. Our lips are sealed!

Back to 'Kneesflashes'