February 2002 (last month's is here...)

Can't Help Thinking About Missing Bowie Dates

Paul Kinder, who runs the David Bowie website, was amazed to discover reference on the Radio London site to David's appearance at the Target Club, High Wycombe, with David Ballantyne. This appearance had previously remained undocumented, and had proved a useful find to Paul, who is trying to fill in details of promotional appearances made by David in March 1966. If you can fill in the missing venues for any of the dates listed on Paul's Tour Date page please get in touch with him via the website. Some of them are known to have been merely visits to record shops

Previously included in the Fab Forty for May 8th 1966, the story of the visit to the Target Club by David Ballantyne, David Bowie and Earl Richmond, has now been given a new page outside the Fab Forty, and expanded and updated to include comments by David Ballantyne and Paul Kinder.

Fancy Digging That Up!
There's nothing like a good ol' death-disc to cheer everyone up. BBC Radio Two's Sounds of the Sixties on February 23rd, brought back fond(?) memories of Kenny Everett's World's Worst Wireless Show, by disinterring Major Minor's grimmest offering, 'The Deal' by Pat Campbell. The lyrics tell how Pat makes a deal with God that if the Almighty will save the lives of his wife and new-born, he wonÕt object to being struck down instead. God is only too happy to oblige him. Cuddly Ken's listeners gladly voted the death-ditty into the World's Worst Top Ten.
Graeme Sounds Great!
On February 17th, Chris and I spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon enjoying a fascinating telephone conversation with Graeme Gill. Sounding in great voice, he told us of his early broadcasting career in Australia and how he had barely arrived in England when he became involved in the world of watery wireless. He talked at length about his stints on various offshore stations and of on-shore meetings with pop celebrities of the time. Graeme unfortunately did not recall being member number 236 of the Knees Club.

Graeme explained that he changed the spelling of his first name to 'Graham' mainly because that was the way most listeners spelt it when they wrote to him. I shall, therefore, revert to using the original spelling.

We have already assisted Graeme in getting in touch with his old pals he worked with from Down Under, Alan Freeman and Ian Damon. Interestingly, Graeme had never been aware that Ian had followed him in becoming a Radio London DJ, joining in June 1967.

Looking good too: Graeme (right) with Hans Knot, who very kindly sent us this picture taken by Martin Van der Ven at the launch of the Radio Caroline Dutch cable service, 26th January 2002.

Manx Communications Commission Grants Licence for 279kHz Long Wave

News Release: The Isle of Man Communications Commission (Oaseirys Chellinsh) has today (13 February 2002) announced the grant of a substantive licence to Isle of Man International Broadcasting plc (IMIB).

The licence, under the Broadcasting Act 1993 (of Tynwald), is to enable IMIB to provide a long wave radio service broadcasting on 279 kHz, and will be for a ten-year period. The service, provisionally called MusicMann 279, will be music-led and will target an audience across Britain and Ireland. It is expected to launch towards the end of 2003.

IMIB plans to install the transmission antenna on an offshore platform in Manx waters some 9 km northeast of Ramsey, Isle of Man, near the spot Radio Caroline was anchored in the 1960s. Some 50 new jobs, both full and part time, will be created in the town where the studios will be located. As well as its Isle of Man broadcasting licence, IMIB will hold a Wireless Telegraphy licence from the United Kingdom Radiocommunications Agency.

Announcing the grant of the licence, the Chairman of the Communications Commission, the Hon Phil Braidwood, MHK, said, "The Isle of Man first sought a high power broadcasting frequency four decades ago. IMIB now has the opportunity to demonstrate that the Island is again a vibrant source entertaining radio for the whole of the British Isles."

The Director of the Commission, Anthony Hewitt, added, "It is now nearly 3 years since the selection of IMIB to exploit this opportunity was approved. With planning issues behind them, the way is now clear for IMIB and its backers to get the station on air and to realise its full commercial potential." ENDS

Chris says: At last things can move forward! With a power of 500kW, the station will reach well into Europe – truly international. Previous coverage of the story is here.

Rosko Socks It To 'Em on the Web! He Says:

Hi Everyone,

As a member of the media and DJ with no small ego I am promoting myself! I have decided to launch my own radio station and hope you will help me let the secret out of the bag!! I thought it might be nice if the information I am about to divulge went directly to you, as I am about to rock! I am offering the Best of Rosko on the Internet. I will be starting with 5 hours and will expand it to 50 hours over the coming months. There will more details at the new web site www.emperorrosko.com.

The site, also in its infancy, will be expanded soon.

I am continually bombarded with requests for shows on tape, station information, etc, so, I thought in light of my global reach, I will make myself available on the Internet. You asked for it, you got it! The station can be found at: www.roskoradio.com.

For the time being the station will be commercial free. I may have to take ads in the future to ensure that the quality, availability, and continuity remain first class.

I am featuring music I have played for you over the years at different times and at different stations, as well as all the little productions and your favorite jingles. I will be reviewing new product and will devote a selection of hours to the best of what's cutting edge.

I will also be featuring new writers, composers and artists with finished material who are looking for deals, publishing, and distribution.

A few of you grew up listening to the Emperor on Radio Caroline (South), Luxembourg, Europe #1, Radio Monte Carlo, Radio One, Virgin, Merlin, EKR, and many of the ILR stations. For those of the younger journalistic generation please allow me to introduce myself... More information is at my web site. www.emperorrosko.com.

As with any start-up operations, I hope we won't drop the ball too much. Your input once you have had a taste, will always be welcome. Thank you for your loyalty over the years and now, enjoy!

The UK group I am sure know where to find me - Saturday noon till three on Classic Gold. The program continues to grow and if you have Sky Digital, we are on channel 859. Negotiations with many others continue and we look forward to the next UK tour that could be this summer 2002.

Now, if each one of you turns a friend or two or three, on to the new Station, www.roskoradio.com we could start something!!

Regards, Emperor Rosko

The Sister Salvation Sonowaltz

In January's Happenings, night-owl, Philip Lowe asked:

Can you tell me the name of the music played at the close of the day's transmissions of Radio London and who played it? In the same way that Caroline used to play out with Jimmy McGriff Round Midnight, so Radio London played out with something similar. The name Sister's Salvation springs to mind, but I'm not sure.

Many thanks, Phil Lowe

Alan Field discovered a link to a track called Sister Salvation. Written and recorded in 1961 by jazz trombonist Slide Hampton and his Octet, it's available on a recently-released CD. Phil recalls a piece of music similar to Round Midnight. There is no similarity whatsoever between Sister Salvation and Jimmy Mc Griff's famous recording of the Thelonous Monk composition, but it transpires that Sister Salvation sounds so similar to the Big Lil Sonowaltz that the listener could mistake it for two different arrangements of the same music. The 'Wonderful Big L' Sonovox inserts recorded for Big Lil, would fit Sister Salvation perfectly. The PAMS Sonowaltz recording was made around the same time as Slide Hampton's. It was part of the 'Sonosational' Series 18, which was written by Euel Box. There is no apparent connection to Slide Hampton.

Alan has since gone into detective overdrive and has contacted US jingles expert, Ken R. (www.kenr.com) Ken comments:

I think it's very likely that Sister Salvation was the inspiration for the Sonowaltz.

It's not big news that Euel Box, the main writer of Series 18 borrowed styles that were popular in 1961 when the series was written. One of the cuts is even named "Prado" after Perez Prado who provided the inspiration for that cut.

Other cuts in the series were based on Henry Mancini riffs and other well-known composers of the time. There's a definite "Mr. Lucky" sound to one if you listen closely.

Most people are not aware of this, but it went on with almost every series. In the mid 60s the bossa nova cut from Series 29 was a direct rip-off of a Ray Charles song!

In the late 60s Spanky and Our Gang, Sergio Mendez and others influenced the writers. In the early 70s it was the Carpenters, Blood Sweat and Tears and Chicago.

It always surprises people who hear these jingles for the first time, because they are more familiar with the songs than the jingles. To us jingle collectors, we are so used to the jingles that we almost forgot that most of them were "borrowed" from popular artists.
Links: Barnes and Noble sell the new CD; to hear an extract from Sister Salvation (RealAudio).

'Radio-Free' Radio

"His radio is on, but he has tuned it out. He wishes he had a CD player in his car..."

In 2000, Roger Day had his own rant on the subject of the state of UK radio. Now Howie Castle has kindly sent us a link to an item bemoaning the current state of US radio, written by John Schneider, which begins:

Unfortunately, today's radio is not the medium I was so incredibly enamored of as a youngster. Not even close. It is not the business I joined with wide-eyed enthusiasm, getting my first gig in 1984. Today's radio is barely recognizable. It is radio in the technical sense only; devoid of just about anything and everything that made this once great medium what it was. Today's radio is 'radio-free'.

From all over the nation, we could hear cries of "Amen to that!". John has since been in touch to tell us of the huge response he has received to his article, which comes as no surprise to us.

Hi Mary & Chris!

Thanks for taking the time to drop me a line. I can't believe the response that article is getting! I thought I might get a couple of e-mails, and maybe a couple of response posts on the two message boards I posted to. Well, I am nearing 30 e-mails in response (all but 5 or so from people I didn't previously know), the message boards are showing many replies, and now I've made it 'across the pond'! Amazing. Thank you so much for the link as well! Very kind of you.
We're still looking for the funding we need to launch our audio and aggressively market our site. Hopefully we'll have it soon. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks again! Let's keep in touch!

Warm regards, John Schneider

John may have been writing about abysmal broadcasting in the USA, but his comments are equally relevant here. For lovers of real radio, this is highly-recommended reading. www.radiopoly.com/radio/ We wish John the very best of luck with his Internet radio project.

While we're on the subject, in an email we received from Steve Atkinson of Wisconsin, who in the Sixties had a listening choice of two local rock stations, plus two Chicago stations, including the legendary WLS – lucky devil – says:

I agree with you 100% on the sad state of oldies radio stations. There was so much good music that came from the 1955-1975 era and so little gets played. Our stations here rotate the same 300 songs over and over. I guess they have determined that playing familiar music draws the most listeners and generates the most revenue. I know the guy who is the morning DJ here in Milwaukee and he just shakes his head in sadness every time I complain to him.

When it comes to the dire state of radio, there's a "whole lotta (sad head-) shakin' goin' on" around the world.

Big L Newsflash! Grocer Has Stork Delivery, and It's Not Margarine!

Star of the winter Big L RSL from St Katharine's Dock, London, Steve 'Grocer Jack' Garlick, has some great news. His wife Debbie gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in the early hours of February 6th 2002. The new arrival has been named Emily Alice and Steve, ever the DJ, quips that he, "can't wait for her to play!"

The Grocer was with us at the Brian Wilson concert with his mobile phone switched to 'vibrate', in case Debbie should go into labour prematurely. Relieved that the only 'good vibrations' turned out to be those emanating from the stage, Steve says

"I enjoyed your review of the Brian Wilson concert - it certainly was a special night. Thanks should go to Emily for not putting in an early appearance a week early."

(The reason for all these 'Grocer' references can be found here... Steve doesn't mind being reminded of it really!)

Death of the DJ Who Gave The Beatles Their Big Break

Liverpool's Cavern Club owes much of its success and popularity not only to the Beatles, but to the venue's resident DJ and Promoter, Bob Wooler, who died at the age of 76 on February 8th.

He is credited with launching the career of the Beatles after their return from Hamburg, by persuading the Cavern's owner, Ray McFall, to allow them to do a lunchtime session on February 9th 1961.

Bob: "There were five Beatles then. They got paid six pounds. Not each, but for the whole group. That's a pound a man plus a pound for the driver." The Beatles played 274 times at the Cavern during the next two and a half years.

He was present at the Beatles' first meeting with manager Brian Epstein and was invited to follow them when they moved to London, but chose to stay in his native Liverpool.

It's easy to forget that other stars of pop performed at the Cavern. Bob Wooler had become the driving force behind the Beat scene in the Cavern and by the summer of 1962 had persuaded Ray McFall that the time was right to start booking big names. The first was Gene Vincent who, with the Beatles on the same bill, made his debut at the Cavern on 1 July 1962.

More history of the Cavern can be found here.

'The Big Three At The Cavern' EP is one of the few recordings made at the venue, and has Bob introducing the band. He also wrote the sleeve notes, and talks about "the subterranean sweatiness and oven-like temperature of this famous stomping scene!" Nice...

Alan Hardy, Chris and Mary Payne and Peter Young, who were lucky enough to attend the concert on Tuesday, January 29th, 2002, share their experience with Radio London viewers here.

Nothing 'Duff' About Otway

Otway Hit Squad Queen Bee, Patsy, reports that a new beer called Otway's Next Hit is due to be launched by Crouch Vale brewery on February 3rd at the man's Sheffield gig. Says Otway:

I think it's a wonderful piece of publicity. It's one thing to have a street or building named after you, but a beer is just so much more 'Rock and Roll'. I love the idea of people asking for "three pints of Otway's Next Hit"! We're getting beer mats done too!
Read a progress report on the Hit Campaign, with a 'phabulous photo' of the Hit Squad T-shirt, and Otway's current tour dates here.
Give that Man a Sony!
Paul Rowley has received over 100 messages of congratulations since the broadcast of his superb documentary, Kenny Everett - The Local Radio Years on most of the Beeb's local stations over the festive period. The 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 describes the documentary as, "First class, fully professional, and most entertaining" and Peter Young calls it, "A joy. Well put together and researched by someone who knew their subject through and through."

Cardboard Shoes is sure the programme will be entered for a Sony award. Paul certainly deserves it.

Barefoot in the Hall of Fame
In the February update of The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame Jonathan has finally found 270's 'Neddy' Noel Miller and has a great new photo taken at the offshore wedding of Mick Luvzit and his barefoot bride Janet. There's also a whole page of audio clips and photos of Johnnie Walker, although I couldn't help but notice that the one taken from 'Disc' magazine appears to have captured Johnnie just before he metamorphosed into a werewolf!

Hands up if you're still FAB!
Forgotten heroes from the Big L Fab Forty, take note! The Virgin Radio Breakfast Show wants former pop stars or one-hit-wonders to contact the station. Three lucky stars will be chosen to sing on next Friday's breakfast programme under the banner of 'Faded Pop Idols'. The act voted most popular by listeners, will be awarded a whole show to promote its unfaded talents. virginradio.co.uk

Watery Friends in the Radio Newsletter
(To Subscribe: The-Radio-Newsletter-subscribe@yahoogroups.com)

Eddie Blackwell, who was recruited as a Radio London Salesman in August 1965 and remained with the station till the close-down two years later, has been appointed Chairman of Essex FM's Local Advisory Board. His job is to ensure that the station acts in the best interests of the community.

Eddie had the dubious honour of selling the final Big L advertising slot for August 14th 1967 – a commercial that would nowadays be outlawed, being for Rothmans' Consulate cigarettes.

Talking of commercials.... which we were, John Peel has signed up as the voice behind the 2002 radio advertising campaign for DAB Digital Radio. Set to run nationally throughout the year, the commercials feature Peelie explaining various aspects of 'Digital Radio for Beginners'.

Meanwhile, one of the stars of Big L 2001, Bob Le Roi, has joined Malta's Calypso FM as programme director and presenter of the afternoon drive-time show.

Finally... Mike Read, the man who fulfilled a broadcasting ambition when he made his watery wireless debut on RNI 1999, is named as a member of the application team bidding for the Worthing Radio licence.

Back to 'Kneesflashes'