June 2001

Farewell to another friend

Chris and Mary were very sad to learn that one of Radio London's most loyal supporters, Geoff Killick, had passed away on April 3rd, 2001. Geoff appears on the site with his life-long friend, David Skeates, in David's story of their adventure on August 14th 1967, when they went to Liverpool Street station to join the throngs welcoming the Big L jocks from Harwich. In August 1997, I (Mary) spent a very enjoyable afternoon in a pub in Walton with David and Geoff, whose love of Radio London absolutely shone. Sadly we were never to meet again, but I shall always remember that day. Thank you for sharing that afternoon with me, Geoff.

Steve not-feeling-quite-so Young

Steve Young tells us that he has just become a grandfather, with the birth of a first child to his elder daughter, Heather and her husband Marc.

"I gotta say, it makes me feel a little bit older than I really think I am," the 'Curly-Headed Kid' admits.

Welcome to the new little girl and congratulations to her proud parents, Heather and Marc, and grandparents, Steve and Trish.

All the Youngs and more - PY update

Suffering from withdrawal symptoms since Peter Young left Jazz FM? The good news from Pease Pottage is that PY is keeping pretty busy. Internet subscribers can continue to listen to his shows on ejazz.fm. PY has also been approached to compile CDs of both soul classics and 'funky stuff' and has just voiced a TV commercial for a new triple-CD of John Barry covers. Just call him 'Double O Three-and-a-half!'

Both Peter Young AND Radio London are 'still Wonderful', and this site will keep you informed about his career moves, but don't forget he'll be broadcasting on Big L 2001 on August Bank Holiday Monday!

Details here!

WPTR – Clone of the Good Guys!

Mike Corrigan drew my attention to the fact that Norman Barrington's Radio Pages features a WPTR jingle from the 'That Man' package that Larry Dean brought with him when he joined Radio England, listing station personnel as Boom Boom Brannigan, Johnnie Walker, Chuck Blair and Larry Dean.

This prompted me to embark upon a search for WPTR info, which led me to discovering a note from Andrew MacKenzie, who had worked on the station in 1968. This is the message I sent to Andrew:

"I was searching for info about WPTR in the Sixties, when I came across your name and e-mail address.

Larry Dean (Frank Laseter) has confirmed with me that he brought the WPTR jingle package with him when he came to the UK in 1966 to join the newest offshore station, Swinging Radio England aboard the ship Laissez Faire. Many of the Radio England DJs subsequently took new names from those existing jingles. This is why a station on this side of the pond ended up with a Johnnie Walker, a Chuck Blair a Boom Boom Brannigan and a Bruce Wayne! Nobody can recall now who 'Boom Boom Brannigan' and 'Bruce Wayne' really were. Sadly , 'Boom Boom' died in a car crash in the States in the early Seventies. There were two stations aboard the ship, Radio England was fast, brash and aimed at teenagers and Britain Radio was MOR. As neither audience was likely to tune in to the other station, the DJs frequently worked shifts on both, using two separate IDs. 'Bruce Wayne' and 'Boom Boom Brannigan' might well have been the same person.

I am particularly interested to know if there were DJs working for WPTR under the IDs featured on that package around that time, or were these just generic 'radio names' where the DJ picked the one he liked best? We know WPTR had a Boom Boom Brannigan and a Bruce Wayne, but was there a Chuck Blair and a Johnnie Walker on the station too?

Hope you can shed some light on this, Mary"

Andrew Replied:

Hi Mary,
Fascinating story, Thank you for writing! WPTR had many, many jocks in the 1960's. That station seemed to have a 'revolving door' when it came to talent. The name Chuck Blair doesn't ring a bell for me, but Johnnie Walker does. I believe he worked for both Top 40 outlets here in the Albany area in the 1960's and early 70's (WPTR & WTRY). I know the Boom Boom Brannigan name. He is still on WPTR weekday mornings!

Because of the popularity of some of these DJ's, and their desire to also try to have some sort of personal life at the same time, they did choose 'on-air' names. Bruce Wayne is a very good example of such. But they held onto those names even after they left the station. When a new jock was brought in, they would have PAMS, or whoever did the jingle package, record a new ID. Sometimes, DJ's would bring their ID's to the new station and be all set and ready to go. Dan Ingram in New York City (WABC)is a good example of someone who took his ID package with him when he went to Los Angeles. I believe he still uses that ID to this day over at WCBS-FM.

I hope I was able to answer your question! Andrew MacKenzie

No luck with Chuck, but it looks like we've found another Johnnie Walker! Many thanks both to Andrew and to Mike.

New Edition of RNI Fanclub Mag

We are indebted to Colin Lamb for sending a copy of Issue Four of the RNI Fanclub Magazine

Features include a ' Where Are They Now' about Mark Wesley, a bio of Les Reed, the man who wrote and recorded RNI theme Man of Action and a strange item reproduced from this site, about someone called Mary Payne.

Phonecalls from the LV18 and recordings kindly supplied by Victor Hartman and Pauline Miller confirm that the current RSL is going great guns. Well done to Colin and the team!

If you missed Tony Allan's guest appearance on the RNI RSL, you can download a (rather large) MP3 file of it from Martin van der Ven's Offshore Radio Guide www.offshoreradio.de

The RNI website is at www.rni.org.uk and Colin would be delighted to recruit new club members.

Thanks for the emails!

If you've just joined us, sorry but you've missed an opportunity to send an email dedication to Bud Ballou and Norman St John for their respective (or is it respectable?!) shows that they're recording especially for our Big L 2001 broadcast in August from Clacton pier.

After so many years, let's hope Norman has figured out the right way to put on his headphones!

Paul Graham is working hard on the schedule for the broadcast and there are so many surprises in store, it's "gonna be a GREAT one"!

Up-to-date details can always be found in the RSL section of the site!

Des Cox remembered to call Mary after an historic car journey, but it took him 34 years to get together enough small change and find a phonebox that still took 1d coins...

Dave and Des. Can you make sure you stand the right way round for photographs in the future, please...

Radio London recently received a phonecall from Des Cox, a Knees Club member Mary had not heard from since 1967!

January 22nd 1966 had been her first visit (with friend and Club Official Lynn, KC member #4) to London's Marquee Club in Wardour Street, for the Radio London Afternoon. The afternoon, described in Mary's diary as 'fab', was enhanced by meeting the Patron Saint of Knees and our Club President, Tony Windsor (#11), who was too bashful to show us his knees.

From Mary's home town of High Wycombe, duo Des and Dave, (Des Cox (#48) and Dave Collier (#49)), were duly signed up as new members and gave Mary and Lynn a lift back home in Des's sports car. They accepted the offer despite the fact that the vehicle was not designed to take two back-seat passengers and had already bought return train tickets! It was not the most comfortable one-hour journey of their lives, but the Knees Club Officials were thrilled to bits because two pop stars had offered them a lift!

Des has had an extremely varied and interesting career since the exciting day when he joined the KC and we shall be featuring his exploits in more detail in the future. His current project involves shooting documentaries about the great liners, and is featured on Des's website: www.snowbowproductions.co.uk.

Des shares his birthday on June 24th with member #247, Jeff Beck, so greetings to them both!

Paul Graham is big in Maidstone!

Ever wondered what Paul Graham does when he's not having breakfast on Clacton Pier at a Radio London RSL (bottom of page)? Well, we can reveal that he runs RSLs for other people!

Currently on air in Maidstone on 87.7MHz FM you'll find a station with more than a few DJs well-known to offshore enthusiasts.

Check out their website at www.maidstoneradio.com. Click on "Meet the Team" for a few surprises!

An afternoon's hard work was lost by Paul when who should come into the studios to have a look, but Woolf Byrne! Woolf, who was on Radio City, Britain Radio, 355 and 390, now lives in the area, had been shopping and decided to take a look at this upstart station!

An 'insufferable know-it-all' speaks!

Peter Tomlinson says:

While browsing through "Field's Fab Forty" during the course of my first visit to your (superlative!) site, I noticed a bit regarding the lyric heard as "flowery bum" on the Falling Leaves' UK version of the 4 Seasons' "Beggars' Parade". Being the insufferable know-it-all I am wont to be, I thought I'd inform the writer that the phrase is in fact "Bowery bum", a reference of course to New York City's infamous Skid Row of the 1800s up until recently, when it acquired a bit of hip cachet as home to equally infamous punk club CBGB.

Once again – a super-cool site. Thanks.

Radio London needs 'insufferable know-it-alls' to assist us in acquiring great snippets of info like that! Thanks to Peter, the Fab for June 12th has been duly amended.

An update to the 'Songs For Swinging Prison Breaks' Saga

David Lee wrote:

Greetings! I love your web site! I was wondering if you have any knowledge of a record played on Radio City by Ian MacRae on the 'Breakaway' programmes, about jail escapes? All I can remember is, it gave the escape results from various prisons and was a bit of a laugh. Any news or even a copy of the record on cassette would be nice after all these years.

Also, I dug out of the loft the other day my autograph book from the Sixties, with most of the Big L jocks' sigs in and also a lot of the Caroline South's jocks. It has black finger marks on the pages from the tyres along the Mi Amigo as the jocks were signing my book!

Radio London asked the 'Breakaway' man himself, Ian MacRae, (right) who replied:

Hi Mary,

My God, these people remember most of which I've forgotten!

I really can't recall if we actually had an opening theme as such for the Breakaway Club. All I remember is that, at the time, there were almost daily breakouts from the jails. So, just for a stunt, I played appropriate records for the escapees along with personal (made up) messages for them. Plus I'd give the results of the escapes from the various prisons as if it were a competition.

So we'd have such stuff as "Keep on Running", "Catch us if you Can", "My Boyfriend's Back", "Jailhouse Rock", "Day Tripper", "Nowhere Man" etc. and there'd be songs for the coppers such as "Keep Searching."

Regards, Ian MacRae

A follow-up has been received from 'The Old Wireless Waffler':

Radio London is a "boss" site - you seem to get much more feedback on the nostalgia front than I do on my site!

I remember the Radio City show which announced people breaking out of prison. Like David, I remember a song with the lyrics "over the wall we go - all coppers are nanas". I can hear it in my head, rather like the roaring sixties "We love the Pirate Stations" in a way. It was a "turntable" hit and therefore not in the standard works like the Guinness Book of Records.

It did coincide with a time when all sorts of people were getting out of jail (free - like in the game of Monopoly)!

The Old Wireless Waffler wirelesswaffle.0catch.com

NOW we know which record David meant! By a 'Twilight Zone' coincidence, the artist in question features in this week's Fab Forty! We think you'll be surprised by the identity of both the songwriter and the recording artist!

From Our Reporter on the Beach in San Diego, Howie (Sand) Castle

I'm proud to tell you that the 2001 Marconi Awards nominees were announced yesterday and KOGO has been nominated for "Large Market Station of the Year" by the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters). Winners will be announced September 7 at the NAB Radio Show in New Orleans.

Well done to everyone at KOGO! We'll have our fingers and knees crossed for you on September 7th.

Shipshape RNI

Station Manager Colin Lamb reports:

One of the highlights of the opening two weeks of the current 28-day tribute to Radio Northsea International, being broadcast from the Wilkin and Son-sponsored vessel, the former Light Vessel No. 18 in Harwich, was the surprise appearance Monday June 11th, of former RNI original DJ Tony Allen.

Tony was magnificent and sounded as good as he did in the 70s. It really was as if time had stood still.

The whole broadcast is being received extremely well and the audience feedback has exceeded all expectations. Everywhere I go, people are telling me how much they’re enjoying what we're doing and that they're hearing records they've not heard for ages. Ex-Radio Caroline DJ, Norman Barrington, received 125 e-mails after the first of the five programmes he broadcast!

The principal DJ in week two is Tony Currie, (see item below) who lines up alongside regulars Phil Mitchell, Bart Serlie, Dave Kent, Victor Hartman, Kevin Peters, Jim Gregory, Tony Carnell, Clive Boutell and Dave Hunter. DJs appearing in the final two weeks include Ben Meijering, Bob Leroi and Kevin Turner.

Radio Northsea International can be heard on 1503 kHz on mediumwave and also via the Internet at rni.btodbits.com. This makes use of the very latest BT technology where, in addition to hearing the current broadcast, listeners can also hear previously broadcast programmes. Colin said, "Obviously we are extremely grateful to BT for their assistance in bringing RNI to a world-wide audience, but without the contribution of Graham Vine this would not have been possible."

Colin Lamb again wishes to pay tribute to all the sponsors and advertisers, particularly: station sponsors Wilkin & Sons, makers of the world famous Tiptree Jams, and Clacton Factory Shopping Village, Plastic Mountain, Original Landscape Designs and Lancaster House Antiques, who between them sponsor the 4 main daytime shows.

For all the latest news, programme schedules and details of the RNI charts and DJ hitpicks, visit the RNI website at www.rni.org.uk

Disappointment has been expressed by several members of the RNI team that Mary and Chris were unfortunately unable to make it to Harwich to visit this year's broadcast, due to overwhelming commitments to Big L 2001. Glad to know we're wanted!

'Great Taste in Music'

Grover reports:

Saw you in the guestbook at www.bad-company.com so I know you have great taste in music! Check out my music at www.tshed.com. I have 4 tunes on real player, reviews, bio and a links page to some of the best bands. Give it a listen, you might like it.

First Anniversary of 'Wedding of The Year 2000'

From our good friends Michelle and Carl Dixon:

We are celebrating our 1st anniversary on the 16th June and have created a wedding web site to honour this occasion. This contains many photos, stunning video, poems, speeches etc. and can be viewed at web.ukonline.co.uk/michelle.melkman

Please enjoy, The Newly Weds

Chris and Mary send their heartfelt congratulations!

Radio4free is faster

Howard informs us that Radio4free has been slightly redesigned to speed up loading times.

Radio Nostalgia From www.radio4free.co.uk

New Station for the Isle of Man has Radio Caroline Connections!

The Isle of Man is renowned for being a pioneer of radio. Radio Caroline North was anchored off its shores, the island opposed the Marine Offences Act that silenced the pirates, and Manx Radio was the first legal commercial station in the UK.

Manx Radio has been the only island-based radio station up to now. Juan Turner, a former Manx Radio presenter, along with business partner David Scambler have obtained a licence from the Isle of Man Communications Commission to operate a weekends-only radio station to be called Galaxy Radio, and will broadcast from Douglas. The station is a music-based station aimed at the under-35 market, and its format will be similar to the Galaxy stations in the UK.

Juan said, 'We are aiming to provide a music and entertainment-based weekend service from 5pm on Friday through until midnight on Sunday. This is a great moment for radio broadcasting in the Isle of Man. Until now the younger market has only been catered for by off-Island broadcasters and the new station, Galaxy FM, should complement existing services rather than compete.

'There is room for limited competition on the radio dial in the Isle of Man,' he said. 'My own view is that Manx Radio should remain the national broadcaster focusing on local issues and be the premier service in terms of output. A pop music station should be funded and operated by the commercial sector with community input.'

As the station will only broadcast at weekends Juan and David have been in discussion with the Isle of Man College and Manx Multi-Media Centre to allow them to use the studio for training during the week, free of charge.

Keeping it in the family, Juan's father, nicknamed 'Nod', worked aboard Radio Caroline North as part of their crew. While on-shore he was studio engineer and personal assistant to senior presenter, Tom Lodge.

You can read more about Nod and Caroline North, controversy over an Animals' record, and how Sandie Shaw got her first hit, on a page of Manx Radio's site: www.manxradio.com/Caroline/Juan.htm

Galaxy FM's will be on 98.6MHz, and their website is at: www.galaxyfm.net

Thanks to Paul Rusling for some of the info.

Geoff Joins the 'Big L Basket Cases'

Geoff Posner writes:

I've just found your site. The great thing about the Internet is that when you think you are a sad basket case with memories of Radio London helping you through O-Levels and A-Levels, but that no-one else would remember, suddenly you find a whole bevy of sites dedicated just to this station! And with the same amount of details that I was into: I kept a scrapbook of arrivals and departures, a limited amount of DJ rotas and charts from late 1966 to the close. Suddenly, gaps in information are closed: here are lists of DJs, dates, and charts from the summer of 1966!

Well done: I've still got lots of sites to surf, but it's sheer joy to know that there are others like me out there!

There are a lot of us 'sad basket cases' out there, Geoff – it's nice to know we're appreciated! Just think, your greatest thrill in life could have been stamp-collecting!

Rosko On the Cheeta II

Paul de Haan corrects an error for us:

There is a nice picture of Rosko on your Big L 2001 Schedule, next to the one of Keefers, on board NOT the Mi Amigo, but Cheeta II. The tape recorders in the background and the big window behind Rosko show it's the Cheeta II, used in 66. Not many pictures around of Rosko onboard the Cheeta, so it's a unique picture. The Spotmaster jingle machines came from the Mi Amigo. The old lady was in Holland for repairs in 66.

Greetings from Groningen Holland: Paul de Haan

Thanks for putting us straight about that, Paul. The picture came from 'Emperor Rosko's DJ Book' (used with permission). The book gives no indication of where the photograph (one of several used to illustrate our Rosko Interview) was taken.

RNI Ready for the Big Turn-On

Colin Lamb reports:

Radio Northsea International takes to the air again, on 1503 kHz medium wave on Sunday June 3rd. The sounds of 'a young Europe' will hit the airwaves of North Essex and South Suffolk when Station Manager, Colin Lamb, kicks things off at 0600 with the Breakfast Show.

The sponsors of the 28-day broadcast are again the world-famous 'Tiptree Preserves', produced by Wilkin and Sons, whose 'Tiptree' logo is painted on the bridge of the Light Vessel 18, which is again the base for the third RNI revival. Other supporters of the project include: Clacton Factory Shopping Village, Original Landscape Designs, Plastic Mountain, Martello Bay Caravan Park, Track Night Club, Lancaster House Antiques, The Juke Box, Card Corner, Euro Car and Old Road Paint and Wallpaper Supplies. As Colin says: 'We are very grateful to all our supporters as without their help, this broadcast would not be possible. I would also like to convey our sincere thanks to Hutchison Port for all their assistance this time around.'

Internet users will also be able to access programmes on the world-wide web, as the entire four-week broadcast will be heard live as it happens, giving the many RNI fans across the world a chance to revive memories of one of offshore radio's most famous pirate stations.

DJs include former offshore favourites Phil Mitchell, Tony Currie, Bob Leroi, Kevin Turner and Victor Hartman along with Dave Kent, ex-Mellow presenters Graham Vine, Kevin Peters and James Howes. Local doyen of the scissors, Pete Salberg will again be getting listeners jiving with his acclaimed rock 'n' roll show on Sundays and this year's broadcast will also include two Dutch DJs: Ben Meijering and Bart 'The Floating Dutchman' Serlie.

Colin says: 'Our intention is to recreate the fun sound of the 1970s, by playing the records RNI did. We will be using the actual RNI Top 50 charts and most of what we play will be on vinyl, so it all adds to the realism of the event. The excitement will certainly build as we approach the start of the broadcast and I'm sure there will be a lump in the throat when I commence proceedings with RNI's theme 'Man of Action' by Les Reed at 0600 on Sunday.

There is still time to advertise on the Station and any interested parties are asked to contact Colin Lamb on 01255 431936.

For all the latest news and programme schedules check out the RNI website on www.rni.org.uk


Currie On Radio

Tony Currie, who makes his third RNI appearance aboard the Mebo III from June 11th to 17th, has his newly-published book (mentioned previously) on sale as a special offer in the June 2nd to 8th edition of Radio Times. The Radio Times Story is available at the reduced price of £16.95, postage included. Cheques, made payable to RT Shop, should be sent to: RT Story Offer, JEM House, Littlemead, Cranleigh, GU6 8TT, or call 0870 727 4188.

All in the Hall

Jonathan's June update to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame includes an unusual entry, in the form of the short-lived radio career of photographer, Martin Stevens. There are also some new photos, and added audio clips include Henry Morgan, Dave MacKaye and Bryan Vaughan.

Archive of Wonderful Memories

Mike Terry from Bournemouth says, "Nothing has ever surpassed Big L in my radio memories, wonderful teenage memories", a statement with which we heartily agree! Mike tells us of a news item on The Old Wireless Waffler's site.

"Discovered yesterday that Kenny Everett donated all of his tapes to the National Sound Archive in London. This includes his rehearsal tapes, personal archive and programme tapes from days on Radio London on the North Sea in the 60s, BBC, Capital Radio and others. The public can gain access to this material, but only listen to at the British Library in London or Boston Spa Yorkshire. The National Sound Archive is a very interesting operation and accessible for research purposes to the public. You do need to get a readers pass first though. I will be running a feature and putting a link to their site in a week or so!"

Chris and I did already know about this, but thought it was worthwhile posting the info on the Radio London site for anyone who may not have heard about it.

Luxembourg, BHB (Before Horace Batchelor)

Hans Knot has written an essay on the early years of Radio Luxembourg (1932-1940). Although the article is written in Dutch, there are many exclusive photographs and airchecks from those early days, which will still be of interest to those who do not speak the language.

The essay can be read in the online journal for media and music culture on the university of Groningen.
Open Volume IV and select the article called, 'Het was een zogenaamde wilde zender'

New MP for Barking?

Fed-up with hearing all the buzzcocks about the General Election? The Sea Poodle has mounted his own election campaign, standing as Monster/Raving Loony Party candidate for the new constituency of Virtual Reality. His election manifesto can be read in full at www.seapoodle.co.uk, but as a taster, the cunning canine's plans for broadcasting include:

Handing over BBC Radio Two, Three and Five to Radio Caroline, abolishing ILR and best of all, awarding an offshore radio license, complete with free ship, to every Anorak!

The Poodle campaign song is believed to be A Salty Dog, by Procol Harum.

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