March 2004
(February 2004 is here...)

(Photo courtesy of Hans Knot)

Carl Mitchell – a genuinely nice guy
The ex-Caroline crew, the Radio London website, Hans Knot, the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame and numerous others, have been appealing for information about Carl for several years, but to no avail. Now his ex-shipmate, Roger 'Twiggy' Day, has finally discovered that Carl, sadly, is deceased. He died in New York in 1991, after a long illness.

Carl, who also used the name Steve Michaels, was known as the Weird Beard. He originated from the New York City area, but attended Syracuse University, as did fellow-DJ, Bud Ballou. Thus the two shipmates found they had much in common. "He and I spent many hours talking about 'home'," recalls Bud. The two Americans also found they were the only guys on the ship who appreciated Indonesian cooking (the others preferring less-exotic fare) and peanut butter!

Bud tells how Carl's cabin, situated in the foc'stle, beneath the antenna, became the Caroline social club. The floor was painted black, with a red-and-white eye in the centre. The lighting was red, to compliment the red walls, and there was always incense burning. Accessible only by a ladder, it was named The Bag of Nails, after the famous London club.

Roger remembers his friend Carl as, "a genuinely nice guy with a wicked sense of humour".

Licence to Print Money?
Our old friend Steve Young says: "Despite what the owners, programmers and consultants all say, the business of radio is still a licence to print money... read on!"

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has issued its annual report of statistical and financial data for private commercial radio in Canada for the years 1999 to 2003.

The report reveals that over the five years, revenues for private Canadian commercial radio increased by 22% and net profits by 137.3%. Between 2002 to 2003, revenues rose by 7.8% to almost $1.2 billion, and net profits grew by 31%, reaching $210.4 million in 2003.

In addition, 17 new radio stations began operations in various Canadian markets, and the industry employed nearly 9,000 people in 2003.

The Sincerest Form of Flattery?

Kjell Dhal in Norway has sent us a link to Norwegian national station, NRK, which he tells us will be presenting jingles, commercials and DJs from Radio Luxembourg on March 25th.

A great idea, but what a pity the station couldn't have made up a logo of its own to represent its Luxy recreation, instead of nicking the one from the Radio London website that Chris painstakingly created from several pictures! (left)

Maybe we should feel flattered that they were so impressed with it that they considered it worth purloining! But it would have been nice to have been asked...

Webby's Wonderful Fifty Years!
(Graham 'Spider' Webb sends his own story, from Down Under )

This is my 50th year in radio, having started on February 26th, 1954. I became a learner with Brian Bury and with the old master teacher Eric Wright, when I was a telegram boy at Sydney's Royal Exchange Post Office.

Lyal Richardson (your "old Platter Pilot") on 2KY took me under his wing. He presented "Toast of the Town" from Chequers Nightclub and "Talk of the Town" from the window of Goblin Electrics in Pitt Street, Sydney. I found myself doing the daily live show with Lyal and June Dally Watkins, plus Wednesday and Saturday nights on "Toast of the Town" from Chequers. It was my mentor Lyal Richardson who got me a job in September of 1954 on 2TM Tamworth (his home town).

In 1956 I moved on from Tamworth to become the "junior" announcer on 4BH Brisbane (basically as Bob Rogers' Panel-Operator). 4BH then sent me to their other station, 4GY, to gain more experience. After a stint in the National Service, I decided to return home to Sydney, where in 1957, I got the job of the announcer on the Sunday Religious Programmes on 2CH, and subsequently, became Reg Grundy's off-sider on the Radio Version of "The Wheel Of Fortune" game show. This went on to became a TV Show, on which I was, for a time, the Voice-Over Announcer.

My big break came when Ken Stone invited me to join John Laws, Bob Rogers, Tony Withers and Garry O'Callahan as one of the 2UE Top 40 DJs. Later came television; "The Westinghouse World of Sport", "Saturday Date", "Blind Date", "Jeopardy", "Spotlight" (in Perth) and "Sound Unlimited". First, I was Host then later Executive Producer, of "Sounds" with Donnie Sutherland on the 7 Network. For almost 20 years, mine was the "voice" of the Channel 7 Network on their Promos. In between, I was DJ, Programme Controller and News Director of Radio Caroline, the "Pirate" Radio Station in England, between 1965 and 1966 (still be found on their website after all these years).

I've since become a founding member of a Sunshine Coast Community Radio Station, 104.9 Sunshine FM. I am currently Music and Programme Director as well as the 7-day-a-week Breakfast Announcer but because the Station is totally computerised using a "programme that runs-the-Programme" called SmartSound, I don't get out of bed before 6.30. Great at my age - 68 on the 19th of April! Incidentally, because of "SmartSound" I find myself also doing the Breakfast Programme in Suva, Fiji, the Afternoon show in Nelson Bay, the morning show in Kingaroy, Gatton and Nanango, the overnight show on 2HHH Hornsby and stints on Northern Rivers Radio in Coraki, NSW and CityBeat, Dublin! I'm also heard in Bundeburg, Qld, Portland, Victoria and in Harvey Bay, Sandgate and Gayndah, Qld.

I just wanted to say how proud I am of having served my 50 years. I feel privileged to still be in Radio after so long and hope to spend many more years in the business.

Webby: "privileged to still be in Radio after so long."

Also from Down Under...
In Volume 25 of Ian MacRae's on-line newsletter The Radio Wave, Ian offers his usual interesting mix of stories and commentaries from around the globe.

Commenting on recent Clear Channel sackings, Ian says (of Rick Dees),

"You'd think that being a breakfast/morning drive host on the same station for 22 years deserved a reward. For Rick Dees on KIIS-FM Los Angeles, the reward was getting the flick."

(and of Howard Stern),

"While it has to be admitted that some presenters have been going a bit over the top lately, the fact remains it didn't do their ratings any harm. Ergo – people wanted to listen.

Censorship of any kind worries me and especially when it is instigated by politicians. What gives them the power to say what is indecent or 'appropriate' and what is not?"

Sign up for The Radio Wave from the link above and read Ian's comments in full.
Bob's Tribute to Mike Bass
Bob le Roi's March site update has a special 'Scrapbook' tribute to Engineer Mike Bass who sadly passed away in 2003. Bob says: "I knew Mike over the past 25 years or so, but he was such a modest man that I never fully appreciated his contribution to free radio. Mike was a staunch supporter of free speech and there are many pictures from his personal albums."

More Amazing Photos
The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame recently spent some time off the air, but thanks to the hard work of the team at Broadcast Computers, the problem has now been fixed.

While the server was down, any e-mails sent to the Hall of Fame address were bounced back as "undeliverable". If you wrote during that period, Jonathan asks that you please resend your e-mail.

March's site update to the Hall includes two more pages of photos taken on Radio 390 from senior presenter Edward Cole's amazing photo album and news of the celebrations marking Caroline's launch at Easter 1964.

Is Arnold Coming Too?
Tony Blackburn will be returning to BBC local radio to present a new Monday evening Soul Show from 2000-2200 on BBC LDN 94.9 from 8 March. Following his career launch on Radio Caroline, his refusal to join Radio London to become 'Mark Roman' and his subsequent successful move to Big L under his own name, Tony came ashore to launch Radio One. He spent some time with the national station before joining the then BBC Radio London in the late Eighties, where he became renowned for his Soul Show.
'She's Not Forty'
In Issue #18 of the Colin Blunstone Fanzine 'Photograph', Andy Barnes reminds us of another ruby anniversary. 2004 marks the 40th birthday of the amazing 'She's Not there', which has 'received over two million radio airplays around the world and continues to be the epitome of what a three-minute pop song is all about'.
Andy also previews tracks from the upcoming Colin Blunstone/Rod Argent studio album, 'As Far As I Can See', due for release on April 26th on Redhouse REDHCD3. (Click on title to order the CD from Amazon)
A radio edit CD single of the track 'In My Mind A Miracle' will be out on April 12th, CDREDH 103.

John Lennon's Jukebox
ITV's South Bank Show on March 14th, was devoted to the music that influenced John Lennon. The programme interspersed interviews with musicians such as Fontella Bass, the Isley Brothers and Bobby Parker, with archive footage. John Lennon's Jukebox features records which were on the contents list of a portable jukebox that he once owned, and the programme explores how the music inspired John as a songwriter.
(Click on picture to order the CD from Amazon)
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