November 2000

Many thanks to Hakan Widenstedt in Sweden and Jonathan from the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame, for alerting us to the following on the ReelRadio website:

Richard Irwin writes:

This interview is a gift from Pete Townshend to his friends and fans at REELRADIO. Pete visited the site, got caught up in the magic of a few classic airchecks, and wrote mean an e-mail. I didn't believe it was him and asked for an interview. He agreed.

We asked Pete Townshend to talk about radio, Internet radio, and the Internet, which he did, most eloquently. I couldn't resist trying to make a radio program from the raw materials. Our questions were recorded on August 18th. Pete's answers were recorded on September 14th. The program was produced in October and November (2000). Joining REELRADIO founder Uncle Ricky as interviewers were ex-deejays Dennis Newhall and Tony Cox. Zack Boles is featured as our announcer. The running time is 58:34 and the program is presented in three parts.

Part One includes:
AFN, Radio Luxembourg, Skiffle, the BBC, first impressions of AM radio in New York, Progressive radio and string quartets.

From December 3 . . .
Pirate Radio, Jingles and Sellout.

You may already have read John S Platt's feature about the Density Reunion 2001 in Texas. Organiser, Tanya Baugus, has written to us and issued a warm personal invitation to all interested parties to attend. Tanya says:

"My father served aboard the minesweeper USS Density AM 218 in World War II. Ever since 1965, the shipmates have held a reunion every two-to-four years to get back together and reminisce. We only found out about the Density's second life as Radio London this past year, when a Mr. John Platt in the UK contacted us and let us know about her famous 'second life'. All the shipmates thought she had been turned into scrap metal. They had no idea of the wonderful future she had after she was decommissioned from the US Navy."

It's incredible that the original Density shipmates were holding their first reunion in 1965, during the ship's first full year serving as home to Radio London, yet remained totally unaware of Big L until very recently!

Tanya appreciates that not many people will be able to make the journey to Texas, but adds:

"If you can't attend but have anything you would like to send over for the guys to see, that would be wonderful, also."

Details of arrangements for the Density Reunion 2001 will be posted on this web site when they are received.

Victor Hartman just couldn't resist telling us how GREAT the weather is in Andalucia...


Hi there!
Many thanks for posting my piccy on your site. Much appreciated!
I notice that the Grandaddy of all Anoraks, Dave Windsor, has dropped the "Dutch uncle" tag of late, though the major anoraking continues unabated on BFBS2. How DOES he get away with such blatant self-indulgence?
Been lovely and warm today in Andalucia. 21 degrees and wall-to-wall yellow ball in the sky. Lovely Jublee!!!

Hope you like the photo taken by me in Holland in 1983 only days before Caroline burst onto the airwaves on 963kHz from the jolly ol' Ross.

Best wishes, Victor


Our Man in San Diego, Howie Castle, has some local radio news

K-BEST suddenly switched formats about two weeks ago, dropping their 50's & 60's oldies in favor of "All the 80's and more"...a pop/rock mix. Their new identity is "The new B94.9 FM", and they're running without presenters or commercials now, playing "10,000 songs in a row". The music sounds pretty good... so far. Meanwhile, Clear Channel's KJQY (K-JOY) has begun to adopt more of the oldies to move into that position. Unlike the UK, formats are not regulated. Once you have the license you can "let the marketplace decide".

Now THERE'S a novel idea!

Robert Magniez has forwarded a document from the France Radio Club concerning a campaign which the club wishes to bring to the attention of as many people as possible. We are only too happy to post it on the Radio London site and know it will provide plenty of food for thought.


European coasts were destroyed by oil from the sunken tanker Erika. What can we now expect from the Ievoli Sun, the tanker that recently sank off the French coast?

We 'd like to let you know our point of view in this dreadful matter.

Our association, France Radio Club has been dedicated to independent broadcasting for over 26 years. One could say there's no link. Unfortunately there is a strong one.

What will follow will shock you because it's only the truth, another truth.

Before all this, let's talk about the accomplices.

The accomplices are those who govern the countries, which today say how sorry they feel. They tell us they are helpless as far as oil companies, ship owners, vessels or flags of convenience are concerned. The reality is different.

Governments world-wide, and politicians have the power to enforce laws and to have them respected. We are referring to international agreements.


1. Whenever vessels didn't reach safety standards or were caught discharging oil into the sea, governments didn't have international agreements respected.

2. Whenever they did try to have them respected, they were not applicable and they were not dissuasive.

Why was nothing done? There was no answer from the officials, and some of them pretended that it is not up to governments to take those kind of measures.

On the other hand, by signing international agreements, and having those agreements respected, it means they share a common interest.

The United Nation Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), sometimes also known as the Montego Bay agreement, were proposed by world-wide governments. They could have done something but they didn't. On the other hand they have protected themselves against something a lot more dangerous than crude oil:

Whereas it is not possible to control at sea any dangerous or possibly dangerous vessel, any government is able to go onto international seas to arrest people by sheer force, to tow their ship into a harbour and have her held there, because she is suspected of carrying a radio transmitter on board. This is considered legal, and on top of it can be done without any agreement from the country she belonged to.

Articles 109 and 110 of UNCLOS allow such behaviour. The British government added another one which granted total immunity to the people who carried out these acts. They could even resort to killing without any problem or control (UK Broadcast Act 1990). As for the unfortunates who could get injured, they were not given the right to appeal to justice for a fair trial. If a journalist writes about one of these radio stations in one of his articles, he takes the risk of being imprisoned for two years. It is the same for those who bring supplies to these very dangerous ships.

Therefore, it is possible to control and arrest dangerous ships. It is possible to act against those who are responsible but only when radio stations broadcasting from a ship are concerned. This type of action is not even allowed for ships transporting drugs!

Thanks to International agreements, it is easier to transport drugs or oil in dilapidated holds, rather than transport radio transmitters.

Governments have obtained what they were looking for. Because of the laws about offshore radio stations, 40 armed officials attacked Radio Caroline's transmitter, reducing to silence the most famous independent radio station of all times. The fear is still strong among those who wish to bring back to life this legend of the world of the media.

Governments can act when they want to. They found the will to protect themselves against free programmes broadcast from ships playing the music they wished to play without the control of anyone.

What about ships transporting nuclear waste and hazardous rubbish who sail near our coasts and destroy them? They have done nothing. Absolutely nothing! Do independent radio stations pollute more than the oil we now find on our beaches?

Measures should be taken immediately so that our coasts and the coasts of other countries are not destroyed by irresponsible people.

There is a very simple solution: to modify the international agreements on the rights at sea in articles 109 and 110 and turn "ships suspected of containing transmitters" into "ships suspected of causing possible dangerous ecological damage".

All the people mentioned share an equal responsibility. All equally agreed on granting more importance to their political environment than to our natural environment.

What sentence should be pronounced?

They should be condemned to allowing an offshore radio station such as Radio Caroline to come back to the free international waters of North sea. It would be an extremely powerful means of exerting pressure over our governments to fight ecological catastrophes in the sea and to take this cause seriously into account.

6 rue Brasseur

Instead of blowing our own trumpets, we've given the brass section over to Radio Scotland's Ben Healy:

Hi Chris & Mary
I have visited your site many times in the past couple of months and as always "It's First Class". Most of us visiting your wonderful site tend to take it for granted but I can assure you that your dedication is greatly appreciated and is always a wonderful read.
All the very best to both of you and thank you once again.
Ben Healy

A picture postcard from Victor Hartman, the man who has appeared on more RSLs than you can shake a hood at!

Hi Mary!
This is my camper van on the frontier at Spain & Gib. Hope you like it! Sorry no pics of me in shorts! Weather here nice and balmy, like Dave Windsor!!! Been listening to his progs on BFBS2. Wot an Anorak!! "It's your Dutch Uncle, Dave Windsor here!"
Hope to be back in the New Year for any RNI, Caroline and Big L RSLs.
Will keep in touch,


Fab Forty feedback from Paul Kay in Telford, who describes himself as: 'a bit of a 'Slade' fanatic and interested in Midlands/Shropshire acts that made it big!':

Re 'Take A Heart' by The Sorrows in the 1965 Big L Chart you've put up onto the website – this was also recorded by an early line-up of a band that evolved into the most successful 'Glam Rock' band of the 1970s!

The first line up of a popular 1960s Wolverhampton band called 'The 'N Betweens' recorded 2 EPs for the French label 'Barclay Records'. The first EP was never officially released, but on the second EP, this band recorded a version of The Sorrows' 'hit' at the PYE Records studio in Birmingham.

The first line up of 'The 'N Betweens' featured drummer Don Powell and guitarist Dave Hill. When in mid-1966, the other 3 members of this band left, they were replaced by Neville 'Noddy' Holder MBE, on vocals/guitar and Jimmy Lea on bass. The second version of the 'N'Betweens' recorded for EMI's Columbia Records in 1966 and went on to become 'Ambrose Slade' on Fontana in 1969. By 1970, they became just Slade with the hit-making songwriting talents of Mr Holder and Mr Lea – the rest you probably already know!

Ironically, the current line up of Slade II takes everything back to the mid-60s days when the line up was just Don and Dave and 2 or 3 other members!

Noddy Holder currently presents 70s music radio shows on Century Radio and Capital Gold!!

Indeed, the only record listed in the Record Collector Price Guide 2000 by 'N Betweens is 'You Better Run/Evil Witchman' on Columbia DB 8080 from 1966 and is priced at £200! As users of the guide will know, you can spend many an hour following links to other bands in the book! The 'N Betweens entry mentions 'Vendors'. Looking them up, reveals a 1964 Domino Studios recording (4 tracks - EP?) on acetate, of which it's known that 12 copies were made. Yours for £500+... Oddly there's no link to 'Ambrose Slade', but their entry does link to Slade. Ambrose Slade's 69 Fontana single, Genesis/Roach Daddy is priced at £125 – their album, 'Beginnings', at £175, but beware of "counterfeits with matt sleeve & black and white label"!

Paul replies:

You're correct with your comments about the other Vendors/Ambrose Slade stuff! Much of the stuff released by Slade between 1977 and 1980 is also very collectable and fetches quite a lot of money too!

The only possible copy still in existence of the 1st Barclay Records EP is/was believed to be in the possession of Johnny Howells (he was the vocalist that Noddy Holder replaced and sings on Take A Heart), who is still active in the Wolverhampton music scene and helps run a Jazz music club at a hotel/pub in Albrighton.

Paul has kindly supplied additional pre-Slade info. It's a little too long to include here, but we will be happy to forward it to anyone who wishes to have it.

From: Howard, webmaster at The Brilliant Kenny Everett website:

"If Radio London ever does any live streaming on the internet, always let me know and I'll gladly give you a live link from the Kenny Everett site, after all he was on Big L. As long as big L hasn't gone dance or acid like every other station on earth".

Thank you, Howard. We can safely say a) that Kenny was Big L's greatest star and b) that Radio London will go 'dance' over our dead bodies!

Radio Nostalgia From

The Brilliant Kenny Everett

Our sympathy goes out to everyone who is suffering from waterlogged knees as a result of the recent floods. We are pleased to kneeport that Big L 2000 Star Guest Ian Damon and his wife Janice, who reside in Uckfield, Sussex, one of the worst-hit areas, live on high ground and are safe from the torrents that devastated the town.

Another Big L 2000 Star Guest, Howie Castle, has been covering the US presidential election for San Diego's top station KOGO. He reports:

What a night it was! First the news organizations project Gore winning Florida, based on exit polls. Then, a couple of hours later, they change it to Bush. Shortly after 11pm, Pacific time, they figure Bush has enough electoral votes (nationally) to win the election so they declare him the winner. But wait! The vote in Florida was so close (only 1200 separating the two) they took away Florida's 25 electoral votes from Bush, leaving both candidates short of the 270 needed. Under Florida election law a recount has to take place if the difference is less than half of a percent, so the recount has begun. Whoever wins Florida wins the Presidency. This is one for the history books! One more thing - Al Gore is winning the popular vote nationwide, but can still lose the election. I finally got to bed around 2:30am after a rollercoaster night at KOGO, and I'm going back in today at noon. I disdain politics, but I have to tell you that this is positively exciting. I told you over the weekend this looked like a photo-finish, but............

From November 6th - 10th, another Big L 2000 Star Guest Peter Young was stand-in presenter of London's Jazz FM 4-6 Drivetime show.

This gave PY the perfect opportunity to air some wonderful 'Take me 'ome, Mr Young' jingles which had been made for him by Kenny Everett in the days when they were both jocks on Capital Radio. Meanwhile, the US election provided plenty of fuel for gags.

Gag 1
When George Bush senior was standing for president years ago, his democratic rival was Senator Gary Hart, a good looking geezer. A lady being interviewed on American TV about her political preferences said: "Well my heart tells me Bush, but my bush tells me Hart!" PY was unfortunately unable to follow this up with 'Soul Sister' by Allen Toussaint.

For those unfamiliar with the song, it begins, "Hey you! You with the curly bush on your head..."!

Gag 2
We've just heard that after the last 48 hours of uncertainty, Al Gore is feeling the strain and has consulted a sex therapist, as he's suffering from premature congratulation!

Very bold!

35 Years Late...
Remember Knees Club member 127, David Bowie, and his single, 'Can't Help Thinking About Me'? It spent six weeks on the Fab Forty in 1966, peaking at number 14 on 20th February, but never did a thing in the national charts. Amazingly, the single was played recently on BBC Radio Two by Jonathan Ross. Not being yer regular 'Saturday Club' material, what's the betting that this was the first time in nearly 35 years that the Beeb had ever aired the track?

...and talking of Radio Two, which we were.... Tom Wilson reports:

I was listening to the Jonathan Ross show on Radio 2 and one of his guests was Keith Floyd. When asked had he any regrets in his life, he said yes, that he did not join J Walker and co on the pirates in the mid-sixties. I changed my opinion of him after that, thinking there goes a man with similar thoughts to my own.

Sad news from TTS-Mediapro

Brian Pithers, Rock Radio and club DJ, died suddenly in October 2000 at the age of 51.

TTS-Mediapro has opened a Tribute Page in memory of Brian and it can be found via the TTS-Mediapro index page or for direct access go to

Further tributes would be welcome, just e-mail

Hans Knot says:

Have a look in the on-line journal Soundscapes which is a journal for media and music cultural run by us here on the University in Groningen. I've opened my massive archive on Big L, which you can find under Volume 3. The first 200 documents and photos are already on the net but hundreds more will come in the forthcoming months. Currently we are making more and more visitors. Last month more than 8900 people took a view on Soundscapes.

Go to the archive at:

Hans has some wonderful photos on the site, but be warned, there are also some very sad ones of the Galaxy sinking in Kiel harbour.

All the Nudes and More on 104
(reported in The Radio Newsletter )

Composer Tim James of the Bespoke Music Company was contracted to compose and produce new jingles for the relaunched BBC Wiltshire Sound (countywide on 104.3, 104.9 and 103.5). Tim, who works from the loft of his home, had a challenging time getting a cello up the ladder to the roof, only to discover that the accompanying male cellist preferred to play in the raw. The resulting 'nude' cuts are deemed to add a whole new meaning to the term 'jingle package'!

John Sales (whose healthy, glowing profile proves that the sun DID shine in Clacton this summer) enjoyed reading about the Recollection Exhibition

I write to congratulate you on the latest update of your world famous website! Many items of interest here and yet another picture of ME(!!!), this time with a very red face! Not due to excessive alcohol consumption (I'm very sorry to say) but it's what the sun does to you when you stand on the end of Clacton Pier during a few hot weeks in August.

I very much liked the photo of Chris in the Thames TV studio in the seventies. How we have all changed! It is interesting to note that, although we didn't get to meet for about another 25 years, if Chris was working at Thames TV in Euston Road, then I worked very close by. I was at Bedford College which was, up to 1986, in the centre of Regents Park. I started working there in September 1970 as a technician – no, I wasn't a student. I often used to walk past Thames TV on my way to Tottenham Court Road to buy various electronic bits and pieces. I had a lot more time to build things and experiment in those days. So, it would seem, we weren't a million miles away from each other!

Also, relating to the Texas SR 10 or SR 11 electronic calculator, we purchased about ten of these for our students to use. Before this we only had desk sized machines and most of these were mechanical, though we did have a couple of electronic ones. One of these, I clearly remember, was made by "Casio" who, at the time, were almost completely unknown in this country. Once again how times have changed! Later on we bought some SR 51's which were much more sophisticated and had many more functions. I also purchased one of these for my own use, and I've still got it. In their day the SR 10 and SR 11 were quite something that had never been seen before. I hate to say it but, in later years, to the best of my knowledge, they were all thrown into the skip! How very sad, but, fortunately, you obviously kept yours!

Jonathan from the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame remarked recently that it's odd how the Canadian and Australian ex-offshore DJs seem more enthusiastic about getting in touch than the British ones. We'd certainly agree with that! Following the link from Jonathan's site, it was interesting to read the profile about Pete Drummond which is posted on his agency, Yakety Yak's, website. The glaring omission of Pete's career on Radio London was a big disappointment, especially when his spell on Radio One was mentioned with pride. But I found it somewhat ironic that, listening to the voice samples on that page, Pete advertises that brand of Scotch called.... Johnnie Walker! Now there's a man who's always been more than proud of his pirate roots.

Knees Report from the Sea Poodle at TTS-Mediapro:

Former Big L roadshow DJ, Mike Quinn, has been back on the air with Crown 107FM.

For all the details go to Mike's web

Back to 'Kneesflashes'