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

Thirty-five years in radio – insert jokes about brain damage here!

Thanks to Hans Knot, who informed us that Ian MacRae has written a book titled The Beginner's Guide To Becoming a Radio Star, which is available to download from Ian's website. Says Ian in his introduction:

My name is Ian MacRae and I've spent close to 35 years of my life working in radio. (Insert jokes about brain damage here!)

I have worked on-air in country and city stations and even had a two-year stint working on the U.K. offshore 'pirate' stations of the time.

There's been some great times and some bad (really bad!) times. Highs and lows and some boring bits in between.

But one thing that has kept me going is the love of radio and all it can offer.

Any More Charts?

Paul Sexton of Paul's Radio Museum says:
I love your Big L site, absolutely "Wonderful". Particularly the Fab 40 pages, so many memories of those songs I've not heard since they were broadcast from the Galaxy. It was good to see Soft Machine in the Fab 40 a couple of weeks back and I laughed out loud when I read that "Yellow Balloon" by Jan and Dean was John Peel's 'climber'!

I'd like to see the charts of Radio Caroline, Radio City and Radio England but have never found them in any books or websites.

All the best, Paul
Thanks a lot, Paul. Does anyone have any other watery charts? They would be very interesting to compare with the Fabs.

The Originals

Perusing the WPTR tribute site, Alan Field noticed in their Hall of Fame:

Pictures of the late Roger Scott, (Radio One/Capital) looking very young, and the original US Johnnie Walker.

Thanks, Alan. Not much resemblance between the original Johnnie and our Radio Two man!

Cardboard Shoes was right – give that man a Sony!

In February's Happenings, we reported that Paul Rowley had received over 100 messages of congratulations since the broadcast of his superb documentary, Kenny Everett - The BBC Local Radio Years on most of the Beeb's local stations over the 2001 Christmas 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 described the documentary as, "First class, fully professional, and most entertaining" and Peter Young called it, "A joy. Well put together and researched by someone who knew their subject through and through."

Cardboard Shoes was convinced the programme would be entered for a Sony award, and it has! Paul tells us that his documentary has been nominated for a Sony in the 'Music Special' category. The awards ceremony takes place on May 2nd, 2002.

The full list of nominations is: Music special – Badly Drawn America (BBC Radio 1); Ilkley Moor Blues (BBC Radio 4); Kenny Everett: The BBC Local Radio Years (BBC Local Radio); The House That Jack Built (Vibe FM); World Routes: Kershaw In Iraq (BBC Radio 3).

A repeat of the programme can be heard on BBC Radio Kent on Good Friday, March 29th, 1700, and Radios Berkshire and Oxford, at 1300 on Easter Monday, April 1.

We shall all have our fingers (and knees) crossed for Paul on May 2nd!

DJ Mike Read "Tells It Like It Is" about the South Coast in the 60s, Man!

You may be surprised to learn that this is Mike's thirty-first book! Whereas there has always been a plethora of books written about Liverpool, Manchester and other cities renowned for their part in the music scene of the sixties, who would have thought that the British South Coast would hold so many treasures? Popular beat venues also get their doors opened to reveal many surprises. Move over Cavern Club!

Mary's fresh-air review of such sea-shore shenanigans can be found here...

The Future of Internet Radio Desperately Needs Your Help...

Earlier this month (here), John Schneider brought our attention to the fight against CARP (Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel), which threatens to silence many Internet radio stations, because of the sheer cost of playing music. CARP wants to charge a fee from the audio streaming companies on a "per song, per listener" basis! They also propose to collect information about who's listening. Things are hotting up. John says:

Hi everybody,

Here's the link: It's filled with all kinds of info on how the currently proposed fees came to be, how people can help, message boards, etc. I really hope you can take a minute to check it out and pass it along!

Thank you!!

Last month, John told us about his own Internet radio project. Read about it here.

Yoko Buys John Lennon's House

John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, has bought the late Beatle's childhood home and donated it to the National Trust. The full BBC report is here... The page also contains more related links.

Dutch Radio Day Success

Hans Knot reports that the Dutch Radio Day on March 3rd was most successful, with over 300 people attending. Graeme Gill was one of the special guests and can be seen in photos of the event on Martin van der Ven's site. (Scroll down on the Home page.)

Hans writes:

February 11th: Today Graham Gill was again on Dutch cable Radio Caroline and it was very nice to hear he had a short telephone call with Tony Allen. More than 25 years ago they were heard for the last time together on the English Radio Caroline.

Jonathan Waxes Lyrical

A very nice MP3 greeting arrived this week at Radio London, from Jonathan. With the greeting:

I love what you do! And I dedicate this tune to you! Here are quotes from the song Pins (NeedLes) by Mindshift – "Stand up for yourself. The bigger they come, is the harder they fall!" This is sincerely dedicated to you and all others who support Free Radio, and the spirit you breathe.

Thank you Jonathan, very much appreciated.

Site Update News

Peter has a great Dutch site dedicated to RNI, with many photos taken by on-board personnel. Peter urges anyone who previously signed his guestbook to visit and sign in again, as the previous guestbook has been lost .

Rod Argent sends news that the dates of the current Argent and Blunstone tour are now on his website. The site also has major news updates and a new on-line merchandise outlet called Shopfactory.

Spike Milligan 1918 - 2002

Spike inspired us all – a personal tribute by Mary

"The Goon Show! That was the highlight of the week." Kenny Everett, in The Custard Stops at Hatfield, 1982.

On February 27th, 2002, comedy-lovers throughout the world said a fond farewell to Spike Milligan, the last of the Goons, who departed for the Great Radio Station in the Sky, at the age of 83.

Spike enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the field of entertainment, which like the careers of so many others in showbusiness, was launched via radio. Life-long fans of the medium appreciate that the Goon Show was a radio milestone. Written by Spike, it starred manic caricature characters that evolved over the weeks via the comic creativeness of Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine. The show gave Auntie Beeb an early 'wake-up call' to the potential of innovative comedy.

Originally called 'Crazy People', The Goon Show ran between 1951 and 1960. In 1951, now-defunct daily, the News Chronicle reported, "Goon humour is obviously crazy and clever. It will either be loved or detested." Crazy People took eight months to evolve into the Goon Show as it is remembered today, and it was not till the change of name that began with the new series broadcast in January 1952, that the now well-loved characters began to emerge.

A young Kenny Everett would tune in to The Goon Show on his parents' Marconiphone radio.

"Every Thursday everyone would congregate around the little magic box and sit glued to the silliness of Spike, Sellers, Secombe, Bentine and all the sound effects. It was the talking point for a whole week until the next broadcast: 'Did you hear that bit when Eccles said so-and so.. and when Bluebottle did this?' "

Kenny and Cash may have taken their inspiration as a double-act from Charlie and Harrigan on KLIF, but much of their humour stemmed from fan-worship of the Goons, as illustrated by their predilection for using sound effects and their tendency to call everyone 'Neddie'. Kenny and Cash were, in turn, to inspire the humour of Knees Monthly, as can be witnessed in the extracts reproduced in the 2001 Christmas Annual. Knees Monthly also spawned a character called Secret Agent 266, Neddie London.

Big L listeners, fans of Cuddly Ken, Monty Python and even the members of the Knees Club, owe a great deal to Spike Milligan. Spike will also be greatly missed by the many charities he supported. He was an environmentalist, vegetarian and supporter of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Spike, thanks for supplying a laugh-track to our lives – and when the old gang has recorded a few Heavenly Goon Shows, please beam 'em down!

The Offshore Echoes site has reproduced an hilarious item written by Spike on the subject of Watery Wireless.

Big L Bathing Beauties Reveal All!

Martin van der Ven's Offshore Radio site has been updated to include some wonderful slides taken aboard the Galaxy and Offshore I , featuring Mark Roman, Peelie, Johnnie Walker and Robbie Dale, amongst others, plus some Galaxy 'candid bathing trucks' shots! Some of the people in the pictures have proved difficult to identify, but Big L engineer Dave 'Hermione' Hawkins, has kindly agreed to assist with the task when he returns from a trip abroad.

...and talking of watery photographs, which we were...

Jonathan's March update of The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame includes memorabilia provided by Jack Curtiss from his days with Britain Radio and Radio Dolfijn and the first instalment of some photos from Tom Lodge, dating from his time on Caroline North and South.

... and even MORE - a Mi Amigo Update!

Paul de Haan and son Mark say:

We have updated Marine Broadcasters with mv Mi Amigo photopages and a story from Lasse Karlsson during his work onboard in 1961/62 when the old lady was broadcasting as Radio Nord.

Beetles For Sale

A new ray of sunshine, glowing amongst racks of terminally-dull magazines devoted to gossip about soap-stars, footballers and current teen-throbs, is NME Originals. A brilliant idea, the magazine reproduces articles, reviews, letters, photos and adverts from originals that appeared in the New Musical Express, many exactly as they were originally seen. Each month, a different subject will be covered, and issue no. 1 for March 2002, is the story of the Beatles, from 1962 to '67. It's fascinating stuff, with the inclusion of some brilliant ads for spurious 'Beetle' (sic) merchandise

Two major stories do seem to be missing. While the Dec 6th, 1963 Northern Fan Club Convention, (which incorporated the special edition of Juke Box Jury with the Fabs as panellists), is extensively covered, there is no mention of the Southern Fan Club Convention at the Wimbledon Palais – the one I attended the following week. Nor is there anything about Radio London's sneaky pre-release exclusive on the Sgt Pepper album. Have no fear, though, that story will be covered on the Radio London site when we reach the appropriate Fab Forty.

The mag is pricey – 4.99 – but it does contains 146 pages and very few (current) adverts. The list of subjects and eras from which the editors have to choose for future editions, is endless, and means that NME Originals could get a different readership every month. Hopefully the editors will eventually devote an edition to the subject of Offshore Radio. Unfortunateknee, the April issue will be of no interest to the webmasters, as it covers the Punk era, and neither of us has ever been into Mohican hairdos or bondage-trousers. Will this edition of NME Originals be safety-pinned together, rather than stapled?

News From the USA

John Schneider reports on a disturbing development for Internet radio:

The Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP) has set royalty rates for broadcasters who stream music online. CARP was designated to create a royalty rate as part of 1998's Digital Millennium Copyright Act after broadcasters and Webcasters could not agree with the record community on the amount to pay the artists and the labels.

Under the plan outlined by CARP, commercial radio stations that stream their signal over the Internet would pay 0.07 cents per performance. A "performance" is defined as "each instance in which any portion of a sound recording is publicly performed to a listener via a Web site transmission or retransmission." Which means the streaming of any portion of a single track from a CD to one listener.

Webcasters who retransmit over-the-air AM or FM broadcasts, such as Yahoo! and StreamAudio, will pay the same rate as traditional broadcasters – 0.07 cents per performance. However, Internet-only broadcasters will pay 0.14 cents per performance.

The CARP report will be reviewed by the Copyright Office, which will recommend to the Librarian of Congress whether to accept, reject or modify the rates and terms in the report. The Librarian must accept or reject the report no later than May 21, 2002.

We need it to be REJECTED, folks. If the fees stay in any form or fashion, not only will traditional radio have to stop simulcasting on line completely, but Internet-only stations (like Radiopoly) will never have a chance to succeed. My music friends (many of whom are among the nearly 100 people on my e-mail list) know that I would NEVER even CONSIDER trying to shortchange them with regard to being compensated for their work. But the proposed new royalty fees (which would be in ADDITION to the already existing ASCAP and BMI fees that compensate artists) are not really about artist compensation. They're about the record companies seeking to gain as much control as possible over music on the Internet.


This goes WAY BEYOND whether or not our web site makes it. The recording industry is trying to hijack the Internet, plain and simple. Think I'm crazy? Read on.

In addition to the proposed fees that by themselves would make it impossible for Internet broadcasters to remain viable, there is ALSO an absolutely insane set of proposed rules for keeping records of music streamed on line. I've pasted the info below, but you can also find it here:

If the proposal makes it into law, those who stream music online would be required to report a lot of information, including: Name of the service; the channel of the program (station call letters); date of transmission; time of transmission; time zone of original transmission; numeric designation of the place of the sound recording within the program; duration of transmission; sound recording title; the ISRC code of the recording; the album release date (year); featured recording artist; retail album title; record label; the UPC code on album; the catalog number; the copyright owner information; and the musical genre of the channel or program (or station format).

Broadcasters would also be required to provide a listener's log that lists: the name of the service; the channel or program; date and time the listener logged in; date and time the listener logged out; time zone where the signal was received; unique user identifier; and the country of the listener.

THIS MUST NOT HAPPEN!! You can

To download the files you'll need the "Adobe Acrobat" reader (the files are PDF), which can be downloaded for free. The e-mail address for public comment on the webcasting fee issue is: Just put "webcasting fees" in the subject line, and tell them to REJECT THE PROPOSED FEES AND REGULATIONS COMPLETELY.If you have already voiced your opinion at I thank you. If not, PLEASE take a minute to do it. They're accepting public comment until March 11th.

Longwave In the News Again! How'd You Like To Be "Cruisin' on Long Wave"?

Svenn Martinsen the CEO/Chairman of Northern Star International Broadcasters AS, informs us that his company is the conditional licence-holder of new Norwegian-based station, with the working title of Cruisin' 216. The station intends to broadcast in English to Scandinavia, the British Isles and many areas of Western Europe by means of a 1.2 million-Watt transmitter on 216 kHz AM Long Wave. The station will also be heard around the world in other media, such as the Internet.

Northern Star International Broadcasters AS is a registered Norwegian broadcasting shareholding company whose aim is to hold commercial radio licenses, and to trade in commercial radio and related media on a Christian foundation.

The station website has information about the company, the history of the project, and the team involved.
(Look out for a familiar face!)

This is a corrected version of an item which previously appeared in February's 'Happenings'. Sincere apologies to Svenn for erroneously stating that the new station was in Sweden. The corrected item is above, with thanks to Paul Rusling for spotting the mistake.

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