March 2003
(February 2003 is here...)

'Evil' Limerick

The Evil Victor Hartman (not looking especially evil in this photo by Pauline Miller) has just returned from Gibraltar in time to send us an appropriate Limerick for St Patrick's Day, March 17th:

There was a young man from Greenore
Who was sick of the BBC bore.
He bought an old boat
And got it afloat
Transmitting 5 miles off the shore.


Nick Bailey (left) Classic FM's Sony Award-Winner, who started his broadcasting career aboard Radio Caroline, is featured as the Radio Times (15th-21st March)'Face Behind the Voice' (p113).

Listeners to Keith Skues's show on Big L 2001, may recall Keith's interview with the Nashville Teens's Colin Pattenden (right, with wife Jacky. Photo: Pauline Miller). Colin has recorded an appearance on 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks', Monday 17th March, BBC2 2100 -2130, repeated Sunday 23rd, midnight to 0030.

A Sad State of Affairs for Toby
The Webmasters were extremely sorry to hear that Toby Walker has been forced to close his excellent website Soulwalking, after being threatened by legal action over a copyright issue. Like the Radio London site, Soulwalking has been a massive labour of love. We understand exactly what it's like to devote most of your free time to a project which you know from the masses of positive feedback is enjoyed and appreciated by many people. To have to give up his site is a sad state of affairs for Toby, and you can read his reasons for having to do so here. We wish Toby all the best for any future ventures.
Ron's Dream Continues

Ron Murch writes:

Do You may remember that last year I wrote to you to tell you how, after 35 years of dreaming about it, I had finally become a broadcaster. (Happenings, August 02)

Well the good news is that since January 2003, I have been hosting my own show called Soul Trax on Cable Radio Milton Keynes (89.8fm). As I said before, you can only hear the station if you live in the newer part of Milton Keynes and are connected to the NTL cable service here.

The show is crammed with classic Soul, Motown, Reggae, Disco and Northern Soul from the 60's to early 80's and goes out live on Wednesday evenings from 8-10pm. The station has two websites, ( and, the former is unfortunate enough to have a picture of me buried away under Meet The Presenters!

As well as the music, I usually manage to slip in a classic jingle or two, harking back to the golden age of Offshore Radio.

If any of your visitors live in Milton Keynes, perhaps they would like to tune in and call me in the studio on Milton Keynes 265-266. Yes that really is our phone number. Every time I give it out I want to follow it with 'Big L'! Or text me on 07789 19 55 09. We have a wide range of musical styles in our schedule and do not use a playlist, so people might like to give it a try as an alternative to the other stations locally.

The e-mail address for my show is

So far we do not broadcast on the net, but we are working on that.

Thanks for reading this. Keep The Faith, Ron

Adam Faith
23rd June 1940 – 8th March 2003

Adam Faith, who had survived open-heart surgery in 1986, passed away on March 8th from a heart attack.

The former Terry Nelham's biggest hits occurred before Big L came on the air, but his singles did appear in the Fab Forty for several weeks. Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself was in the Fab during February and March 1965, peaking at #12. Between 1959 and 1966 Adam clocked up 25 top forty entries – 11 of them Top Ten – in the UK national charts. His final chart entry (and his final Fab Forty entry, peaking at #37) in 1966, was with Bob Lind's Cheryl's Going Home – a song now best known as an integral part of John Otway's stage set.

Adam's talents were far from confined to singing and he forged successful careers in record production, financial consulting and acting. In 2002 he starred in a new TV sitcom, 'The House That Jack Built'.

A good biography of Adam can be found here. Paul Kay from Telford kindly pointed us to a link on the German Caroline Support Group website, where Adam is pictured in 1964 with Simon Dee, aboard the mv Caroline.

The Anorak Shopping List

Paul and Mark de Haan have updated their Marine Broadcasters site with a great 'Anorak Fantasy'. The feature offers a shopping list of items and equipment required for running a proper radio station and an escape from 'liner card hell' – including a studio containing portholes!

(left) Chris, Mary and Caroline's Steve Young have a suggestion for another item that Paul might care to add to the list.

...and for 'the truly committed anorak'

Jonathan, Webmaster of the The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame has added a number of Big L-related photos, included a 1988 reunion photo from Mitch the Steward's personal collection. What's more:

"There are also ten new audio clips plus, for the truly committed anorak, the floorplans of Radio Essex's Knock John fort! Next month: Radio City's."

Jonathan also informs us that the London ITV programme 'S.O.U.L.' which according to the listing was supposed to have been about the link between offshore radio and the popularity of soul music, failed to mention the subject of offshore radio at all.

Bad Taste Repeats

In the March issue of online newsletter, The Radio Wave (Issue #15) editor Ian MacRae writes on the subject of broadcasting bad taste jokes. As Ian says, the on-air gag about the Columbia space shuttle tragedy which caused listener protest in South Africa, isn't even funny. As a 'joke' that was around at the time of the Challenger tragedy in 1986, it is not the sort of thing that improves with age.

Ian also has a couple of topical features on the subject of war, and points out that one of the songs regarded in the US as appropriate playlist fodder for a 'let's bomb Saddam' situation, is in fact an anti-war protest.

To enjoy these stories in full (and much more) subscribe to the newsletter:

Fab Feature on Bob Baker

Spreading his radio wings a little further 'afield' Fab Alan Field has collaborated on a feature about the career of the late Roger Scott for Radio Rewind, a site dedicated to the history of BBC Radio One.

Few will recall that Roger's radio career began on WPTR in Albany, New York in 1966, or that he appeared on Radio One in 1973 under the name of Bob Baker. Roger is of course fondly remembered as the long-standing afternoon DJ on London's first commercial music station, Capital Radio. A famous feature of Roger's show was the Three O'Clock Thrill. The title and theme were taken from the B-side of the Kalin Twins' 1958 hit 'When'. By coincidence, in one of Alan's audio clips from the Radio One appearance, 'Bob Baker' challenges listeners to identify clips from six 1958 hits – 'When' being amongst them. (Maybe I shouldn't admit to being able to ID all six of them! – Mary). In another Radio One clip, 'Bob' plays 'Louie Louie' by the Sandpipers, a track heard very little since it was featured in the Big L 'Family Forty' over the Christmas period, 1966.

(Left) Roger in the days of Capital – 1978

The Radio Rewind website is full of DJ information and includes a number of audio clips for which a user name and password are required. Alan adds that he has found the site to be of great interest, and heartily recommends it. As he points out, early Radio One and the late Radio London have a fair bit in common. (As indeed do Capital Radio and Big L.) 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.
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