January 2002

Still in Top Thirty after Thirty-five Years!

The Radio Times for 26th January to 1st February contains a new 'Top Thirty Chart' of readers' favourite female and male broadcasting voices. Voters' Number One choices were Charlotte Green and Terry Wogan, while two ex-Big L jocks were discerningly placed in the Male Top Ten. John Peel was fourth and Ed Stewart, eighth, although this somewhat important aspect of both their careers is noticeably missing from the RT blurb. Many congratulations to Peelie and Stewpot and particularly to the eleventh-placed Johnnie Walker. Three ex-pirate voices enhancing the Top Ten would have been – well – WONDERFUL!

Peelie's Radio London roots go back to even before his short spell aboard the Galaxy, when he appeared on KLIF, the station that was arguably Big L's Texan Godfather. Radio London narrowly missed being christened 'KLIF London - Big K'. While John was in Dallas, admiring Charlie and Harrigan, Kenny and Cash were creating their own version of the show on Big L.

(Photos: Stewpot enjoys being a part of Big L '97. A concerned Peelie contemplates in the Radio One Annual whether he should really have nicked that bath-plug.)

In BBC Radio One's 35th anniversary year, it's interesting to recall that half of the twenty-two DJs pictured on the steps of Broadcasting House in the famous pre-launch publicity photo of September 1967, had come ashore from Radio London, namely: Tony Blackburn, Pete Brady, Dave Cash, Chris Denning, Pete Drummond, Kenny Everett, Duncan Johnson, Mike Lennox, John Peel, Keith Skues and Ed Stewart.

Two other former pirates in the line-up, with Beeb stalwarts such as Pete Murray and Jimmy Young, are Mike Ahern and Mike Raven. Three more Big L jocks, Mark Roman, Tony Brandon, Tommy Vance, plus numerous other watery wireless favourites, subsequently joined the Beeb's 'pirate replacement' station. Few were surprised, however, that it proved impossible to recreate the atmosphere of offshore radio.

John Peel is, of course, the only remaining original jock on Radio One. It's doubtful if his opinion has changed much from this quote published in the Radio One Annual (1969):

"Radio should be the medium where intelligent music and broadcasts are offered. No mediocrity"

So far, our Radio London website Viewers' DJ Top Tens have been selected on personality and entertainment value, rather than by voice alone, but if anyone wants to add a Voice Top Ten, they are welcome to do so.

Steve Makes Our Day

I wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying the Radio London site. I am from the USA and had heard stories of the pirate stations of the 60's. It's hard for an American to understand not having access to pop music on the radio, but apparently that was the case there in the early 60's! I read Mary's account of the Knees Club, very interesting. You are a most talented writer.

The Top 40 charts are interesting as well. They vary quite a bit from the charts here in America at the time. Some really great obscure stuff and some not so great.

This site is why I love the Internet - something that would otherwise be forgotten lives on because of you. Thanks for all your efforts.

Steve Atkinson, Eagle, Wisconsin, USA

Thank you, Steve. Chris and I really appreciate your kind comments. Whenever we start suffering from 'Website Exhaustion Syndrome' we'll reread your message!

Rare Radio Mercur

Hans Knot was pleased to tell us that his Soundscapes site now includes rare photos taken aboard Radio Mercur, by Erik Lindhardt, who worked as an engineer aboard of the mv Lucky Star. Erik is now living in retirement in Australia.


Caught in the Net

Sick of finding your mailbox clogged with chain letters, 'true stories' and virus hoax warnings? We've all been caught in this time-wasting trap of well-meaningly forwarding 'warnings' to others. A couple of well-known ex-offshore jocks have recently fallen foul of the 'SULFNBK.EXE' hoax message that incites recipients to urgently remove a (necessary but harmless) file from their system before said file causes destruction, devastation and the end of their computer as they know it.

In the interests of sanity, the Radio London website would like to recommend Urban Legends. On this illuminating site, maintained by David Emery, you will find links leading to the truth, including a Top Ten of Net Hoaxes and another devoted to current virus hoaxes. You will also be led to the sources of untrue stories and con tricks, and find connections to the weird, wonderful and humorous. However, the main thing you will discover is that a scary percentage of the on-line community has absolutely nothing to do but play stupid tricks on the rest of the world.

Who Dunn It – solved!

In December's 'Happenings', mention was made of 'RT presents ten of the best' which appeared in the Radio Times for December 15-21. Emperor Rosko's entry in this 'Top Ten' referred to John Dunn's sarcastic, 'Now here is the news... in English', remark, which was made half-way through Rosko's first Radio One Midday Spin. Rosko's opinion on the subject can be read here.

Chris Clark wrote:

I was interested to read that it was John Dunn who said "Now here is the news in English".

I listened to that broadcast and have always believed that the newsreader was Roger Moffatt. It just shows you how your memory can play tricks on you. I've probably told that story a dozen times (a couple of them on the air) and have always said it was Roger Moffatt. I would have been prepared to put money on it.
Having never heard the broadcast ourselves, we asked Peter Young for his comments about it. He said:

The comment has always been attributed to John Dunn but that doesn't mean it's correct. I remember hearing it, but didn't know John Dunn's voice well at the time. It has been mentioned in several books over the years and they always quote Dunn. Thinking back, Roger Moffat was the last voice to be heard on the old BBC Light Programme. He closed the station down at 2.00am on Saturday Sept 30th. It's therefore unlikely that he would have been back to read the news on the Rosko show 10 hours later, but you never know. I believe the early 'Midday Spins' with Rosko were pre-recorded.

Rosko himself seemed to think it was Dunn, in the interview that you did for your site.

Now Paul Coates has contacted us with the answer:

On the subject of Rosko's first Radio One show on September 30th 1967 and that infamous news broadcast 'in English'. I have a recording of that particular Midday Spin and I would say the news was read by John Dunn. He doesn't actually give his name, but it sure sounds like John Dunn to me. I have a recording of Roger Moffatt on Radio Two from 1969; comparing this recording with the Rosko news broadcast, they are similar in that both have that 'BBC announcer's' voice, my opinion is that it is not Roger on the news, but John Dunn.

One other point mentioned about those early Radio One Rosko shows is that they were pre-recorded. Certainly the first one was, as the news comes in rather abruptly as if the tape of Rosko was stopped in a convenient place - in this case after Rosko announcing the record he'd just played (Traffic - Smiling Phases). There is no mention of the news by Rosko either before or after the event.

Hope this is of some help. Keep up the great work you have a brilliant site.

Thanks, Paul. We knew someone, somewhere would have a recording!

The Wolf gets his teeth into Cork's first late night talk show

Charlie Wolf announces his new project in an open letter to broadcasting colleagues everywhere:

I have just completed my final show on TalkSPORT last week. The response from listeners was phenomenal - I'm still getting e-mails from listeners who want to download shows from my new gig.

I am helping Henry Owens (formerly of Atlantic 252 where we worked together, and lately as PD at Virgin) launch a brand new station in Cork, Eire. Henry has created a great 18-35 brand: Red FM. We sign on January 16th and I will be doing Cork's first late night talk show. I'll be on air Sunday – Thursday from 10pm – 1am. The website is not up yet, but the address is: www.redfm.ie. This is a great challenge and also an opportunity to raise my game a bit more as I continue in my recent guise of phone-in radio star!

It was strange doing a last show. Most of us in radio do not get that opportunity: Going into a programme and knowing it is our last – and by our choice. Most of us find out we did our last show on a station usually at the end of said last show when management swiftly shows us the door. In some respects I really think I messed things up by leaving TalkSPORT on such good terms – obviously I wasn't doing my job right and I am a complete non-talent. It was Larry Lujack who advised to break format three times a day and constantly keep management 'pissed-off' at you. This time I am a wretched failure!! And for my reward I am going to a station where I will be in the EUROZONE!!

This is not the end of me and broadcasting in the UK by a long shot. Bill Ridley at Talk has told me to stay in regular contact with him and I am hoping to do some fill-in work from time-to-time on the station. I'm also looking at some other ideas, projects, and hopefully designing some training.
Let me just finish by wishing all a very prosperous 2002. Broadcasting was going through a hell of a time as it was with the current economic climate that hit our sector in particular; Then came the tragic events of 9-11, that I am sure are still with many of us. We really deserve all the hopes, dreams and blessings that the good Lord has in store for us.

None Can Topple KOGO

Reports KOGO News Anchor, Howie Castle:

Once again, KOGO is #1, although there was a bit of slippage, partly due to the baseball season ending in September. However, our breakfast show, a 4-hour news block, San Diego's First News scored #1 in its time period. No complaints from management!

Peace Put on Hold

Mike Brand reports from Israel:

In a not really surprising move, the people behind the project to bring a new peace station to Israel have put it on a 'back burner ' for the meanwhile.

The results of a feasibility study made here recently by the Harry de Winter group, showed that it is not ready to start a radio station with a peace-oriented theme at this time under the present Israeli broadcasting laws, and the offshore option was also ruled out. A spokesman for the project told me that they will approach the subject (of peace) from 'other angles'.

Beam me up, Nick!

Nick Wythe ("Laserbeam") writes:

Just to let you know there is an offshore radio competition on my Flare Radio website. The prize is one of my own Laser 558 recordings on CD. The first competition is fairly difficult for younger anoraks and may require quite a bit of research. Closing date for entries is 15th January 2002.

I shall be very grateful for a mention on your fantastic website.
Thanks for the compliment, Nick. It's great to spot some well-known faces sporting familiar Big L t-shirts on the Flare Radio Home Page!

New 'Teens' Website

Roger Cooper has relaunched his website for the Nashville Teens. Roger and Fran wish everyone a Happy New Year and urge them to visit the site! Roger warns, however, that another version of the Nashville Teens site name has been misappropriated by a West Coast USA corporation which has linked it to a porn site and is asking a ransom from the band to "buy their name back". The band does not propose to respond to this blackmail and apologises if any genuine fans have been offended by accidentally accessing the rogue site.

Longwave in the News Again!

After last month's announcement that the Isle of Man longwave radio station can now go ahead, we now have news of the fate of the Delta 171 station that was to be set up in Holland.

Hans Knot writes:

On December 28th it became known that the organization behind the planned longwave radio project Delta 171 will not get another chance to start a station from a platform in the North Sea. They got a temporary license which would have changed into a definitive license if they could prove to be building the platform before November 1st 2001 and being on the air on January 1st 2000. As they did not build before November 1st the Dutch government took back the temporary license. Delta then went to court but the judge decided that they cannot start in the future as they have not succeeded following the line of the temporary license. In the meantime the Caroline organization has asked the Dutch organization responsible for the licenses to get an option to use the 171 from a ship in the future as a low-powered longwave station. Without going into further detail, this request from Peter Moore must be seen as another 'joke' from the Highgate manager and his friends in Holland to start something on paper, but not for real. And with his friends in Holland I don't mean Sietse Brouwer and his gang who will be responsible soon for Caroline Nederland.

On January 26th, Radio Caroline will be transmitting for the first time on several cable networks in the north and east of Holland, aiming at a potential of 2.5 million listeners. From that day partly non-stop programs and partly presented shows will be on cable. For the very first day several former deejays like Tom Anderson, Graham Gill and Johnny Lewis have been asked to do a one-time show. Congratulations to Sietse Brouwer and his crew to come to this historical moment, something in which the English management has failed during the past years: getting Radio Caroline on air again for longer than only 28 days. So we wish the Dutch team, with studios in Harlingen, a lot of success for the future.

We will watch developments on the Caroline front with interest!

Rare Paul Kaye promo found

It was ironic that over Christmas we were treated to a documentary about Kenny Everett working on several local radio stations in the UK after he left Big L, and now we have been reminded that Radio London's Paul Kaye worked for local commercial station Radio Hallam in Sheffield before his untimely death on 4th November 1980. He also worked for Radio Tees and Pennine Radio.

Dave from the Vintage Broadcasting website says:

Whilst I was preparing a Roger Moffatt page for my site and going through an old tape, I came across a promo. It was made in 1980 and features Paul Kaye promoting his Sunday night show on Radio Hallam. I've added it to my Radio London page. Recordings of him after 1967 do seem a bit thin on the ground. Hope you enjoy it.

Yes we did! The recording can be heard on Dave's Radio London page, here.

Thanks to Raoul Verolleman for the picture

More amazing stuff in the Hall of Fame

The first update of 2002 to The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame includes more audio clips, communications from ex-personnel of Radio 270 and Britain Radio and photos of Caroline North's Errol Bruce and Caroline South's Bud Ballou! Yes, Jonathan has found an old photo of Bud, where everyone else – including Bud's alter ego, Howie Castle – had failed! The Hall also has a link to a clip from Bud Ballou's first show on Caroline, amazingly, recorded in Morocco!

Comments Howie:
"The picture of me on the Pirate Hall of Fame site was a publicity photo circa 1970 from my WOLF days. I still have the vest! (The shirt was purple!) I was 23 at the time. The air-check of my first show on Caroline turned up on the Northeast Airchecks site a few months ago. I knew after the first few seconds it was my first show. I "broke in" during the 12am-2am shift. It's unbelievable all the stuff that turns up on the Internet!"
What we want to know is, did Howie wear the purple shirt with that trendy orange suit that we know he kept in his wardrobe for appearances at Caroline discos? We bet there was a kipper tie in there too!

Forum Get-together

The forum guides of Media UK wish you a Happy New Year and wish to let you know about a get-together coming up fairly soon for Media UK forum users. It'll be on 23rd February, somewhere in central London.

If you'd like more information, 'twongmin' is sorting stuff. e-mail him at twongmin@yahoo.com or find more at forums.mediauk.com/forumdisplay.php?forumid=35


Bob Rendle writes from Stokenchurch, Bucks:

Sad to see the demise of Atlantic 252 this week. It doesn't appear to have aired any warning, and won't affect our lives too much. It probably won't affect its dwindled audience like Radio London, because there are many similar stations of better quality now, but we know what it must be like for its few millions to lose a friend.

Team Talk took it over in December to relaunch on 25 February as a rolling fan-based continual excitement of how wonderful is Manchester Utd - the test transmission speaks for itself. I know not where Team Talk came from but tis not Talk Sport.

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