September/October 2001

Give Peace A Chance
Mike Brand reports from Israel:
There is a plan by a Dutch TV producer – Harry de Winter – to start a new offshore Peace station off the coast of Israel. As far as I know, this is NOT an attempt to refloat the Voice of Peace (the name is copyrighted to Abie Nathan ), but to start a new offshore station dedicated to peace. It is being talked about on the web and in other circles, so I can write to you and tell you.

Let me direct you to the Radio Visie site, where you will find more on the proposed station, and my comments on it.

I just hope that this is not another attempt to start a peace station like about 2-3 years ago, when I got involved with a Canadian who wanted to restart the VOP, and when he realized how much time and money it would take to get it going, ran back to Canada.

When I can reveal more, I will be in touch.

Still Numero Uno
Our Man in San Diego, Howie Castle, has forwarded the latest Arbitron listening figures, which reveal that KOGO is once again the Number One station in the city. KOGO is also the recent winner of the National Association of Broadcasters' Marconi Award for the large market radio station of the year. It just goes to show what a station can achieve by employing a star of Radio London RSLs...

Nuggets found in Charing Cross

Keith King wrote:

I have received a copy from the States of the new 4 CD Rhino box set Nuggets 2, containing many rare 60's British Psychedelic singles. It's complete with a book packed with detailed information about many artists featured on Big L such as Dantalion's Chariot, Episode 6, Davy Jones and the Lower 3rd, etc. It features a reprinted "pop art" 1967 Raver's Map of London's West End with Boutiques, Eateries and Discotheques. The Big L Discotheque is shown on Charing Cross Road near Soho Square. Do you have any information about this, for example was there a connection with the station or was it just people trying to cash in on the Station's popularity at the time?
Interestingly enough, I read a review of Nuggets 2 while we were in the States recently. The track the reviewer regarded as outstanding was 'Going Nowhere' by Los Bravos, which of course was in the Fab Forty in Dec '66, having been Tony Blackburn's climber. It was played it quite a lot during Big L '97.

According to Chris Elliot's 'The Wonderful Radio London Story' (p129), on Dec 3rd 1965, the Radio London Club joined forces with J Lyons Ltd (remember the Lyons corner houses?) to launch the Big L discotheque at 122 Charing Cross Rd. Two female DJs played discs between 8pm and 2am daily, and at weekends there were additional afternoon shows. Big L DJs and celebs of the day made frequent appearances.
So the answer is, yes, this was a genuine Big L club!

"You're living in the past." (Doo, doo de doo)

The Radio Magazine recently published two articles by Tony Currie. In them he contemplates whether radio has lost its way, and whether there is a place for the sort of programming that are a feature of the Radio London, RNI and other, RSLs, or are we all living in the past.

Both articles can be found on Hans Knot's Soundscapes site:

Lessons From The Past

Living In The Past

Tony: Lost, or just living in the past?

Real Radio Susy
The following arrived too late for inclusion in our pre-Dallas site update. Ian Temple (Purple Hayes) of Susy Radio, writes:

Hi, good day to you, Big Lil.
Just dropping you a quick E to say, looks like you had a great time with your most recent RSL. We were doing ours at the same time, up on 531khz. Which for us "Old Hacks" was a REAL pleasure and a treat doing "Medium Wave" again. Real Radio!!! Sadly I couldn't pick you up over here in West London (Hounslow), but maybe one day I shall. Keep up the great work. Enjoyed browsing the web-site.

Thanks, Ian. We're glad to hear that everyone at Susy Radio had as much fun recreating Real Radio as we did with Big L.

Rock of the North
Robin Davey at the Museum of Commercial Radio tells us:
The Museum of Commercial Radio has just launched a new station called GRI2 - ROCK OF THE NORTH and it appears on the museum website alongside Golden Radio International. This is a great station to have playing all the time as it is 24/7 with NO repeats. The format is the best in classic rock, soul and a sprinkling of contemporary country. Some really great stuff, old and new.
The host is and it is a very clean audio stream using their own system. Either link from the museum at or use this:

Out of the shed and into The Hall

The October update to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame, includes a gallery of photos taken during his time aboard the Galaxy, by Big L's tall guy, Duncan

Says Jonathan:

"The indoor photos (Kenny and Cash, TW) are a bit blurry because they were taken without a flash but I think they are still worth bringing to a wider audience. I have been nagging Duncan for ages to dig them out from his garden shed so I am glad he has finally done it. He has also given me some photos from his time on RNI so if I ever extend the Hall of Fame to cover the seventies I have some pictures ready to roll."

Wall-to-wall war
Howie Castle (pictured below with Johnnie Walker) sent a brief report on the difficulties of his current working situation, in his role as a newscaster for San Diego's KOGO. KOGO is the winner of the National Association of Broadcasters' Marconi Award for large market radio station of the year:

Oct 8th
"Just when I've been able to catch my breath from the events of September 11, the retaliation began yesterday during my shift at KOGO. We immediately went to wall-to-wall "war" coverage and called in all available news people. After beginning my shift at 4am, I was finally allowed to leave around 2pm. Tired?? You bet. And I have to go in again shortly for another long shift."

Pioneering charts
John Shirley comments:

Interesting to see Radio London charts published. If there was a book, I would certainly subscribe to it. I was actually a 70s teenager and an avid listener to the Luxembourg Top 30, and particularly Capital Radio's Capital Countdown, which tended to ignore the sales of records if it didn't agree with them, e.g. no novelty records, but Peter Gabriel or Bob Marley at number 2, even pre-releases and a Stevie Wonder LP track in the chart! Most commercial radio stations used to do this sort of chart in the 70s and even then, I was aware that Radio London had pioneered this approach in Britain. I listened to Radio Caroline and RNI in the mid-70s so I was always interested in offshore radio.

From September 16th to October 3rd, Chris and Mary were in St Petersburg near Tampa, Florida!

Better than Clacton beach, but not the same without Big L!

The usually busy St Pete's Beach is all but deserted.

The tourist industry in the US is suffering from cancelled vacations. Beach bars and hotels are nearly empty. As well as tourists, many hotels on the Florida coastline usually accommodate company courses, seminars and meetings.

Flags fly at half-mast everywhere, while people try and get on with their lives as best they can.

Another sad loss to broadcasting

Peter Young has sent us the sad news that award-winning writer and broadcaster, Jeremy Pascall, passed away on August 30th after a long fight against throat cancer.

Jeremy made an impact both as a broadcaster and a writer. He was the devisor and presenter of Capital Radio (London)'s comedy quiz show You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet and Brunch. Brunch, an innovative Sunday morning mixture of music and comedy, was fronted by the late Roger Scott, featured Paul Burnett and early appearances of Angus Deayton, Jan Ravens and Steve Brown. Jeremy Pascal, Angus Deayton and Geoffrey Perkins, co-wrote The Uncyclopaedia of Rock, the winner of the 1986 Monaco International Radio Festival Award, which also appeared as a book.

Jeremy co-wrote the current Radio Four sketch show, The Right Time.

PY, who regularly appeared on YAHNY, says:

Those shows we did all those years ago are something I treasure, and we had a lot of laughs both on and off the air. May he rest in peace.

Jeremy's funeral will be on Wednesday, September 12th.

New Free Radio List...

Andy Cadier says:

Could I point people to the recently formed which is happy to let people talk about anything and everything related to 'free radio'. It's not a list specifically for one station, but for anybody who's an anorak, so you're never 'off-topic'. There are already nearly 100 members, and nearly 50 postings, and it's only been going a week!

To join it send a blank mail to
and or go to

JW and BB enhance RL
– the Website, that is!

More Radio London Exclusives!

You loved our exclusive photograph of a special offshore reunion in August's What's Happening and now Howie Castle, aka Bud Ballou, has very kindly forwarded this photo which was taken in the BBC Radio Two studios when he visited the Johnnie Walker Show in July 2001.

Differences between radio in the UK and the USA are marked. Johnny was amused to hear from Howie, who works as a news anchor for KOGO in San Diego, California, that while 'travel news' here refers to traffic jams, in San Diego the travel news concerns airline information!

Just as we were putting the site to bed, the following news arrived hotfoot from Howie at KOGO:

"I'm proud to say that KOGO has been named the winner of the National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Award for large market radio station of the year!"

Terrific news, Howie, and we're glad we received it on time! Congratulations to you and to all the hard-working team at KOGO.

Referring to the C-A-R-O-L-I-N-E story, below, Howie says:

"Many thanks for sending the link to the C-A-R-O-L-I-N-E audio clip. I still can't believe I heard that song while sitting on the pier in Clacton and asked who the artist was, which then led to the solving of the Caroline jingle mystery."

Neither can we! Thinking about it, that song bears more than a passing resemblance to V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N, by Connie Francis – a summer hit in '62.

Laminated and preserved for posterity
During Chris and Mary Payne's Absolutely Fabulous II, on August 27th, Alan Field not only appeared as a guest, talking about Field's Fab Forties, but made his debut as a Big L newsreader. This week, we sent Alan a special present as a 'thank you'. He says:
Typically, I spent quite a few minutes looking at the envelope, trying to work out what it was... why do people do that instead of just getting on and opening it? Well I could never have guessed... my very first (and probably my very last) news-script, laminated and preserved for posterity! What a lovely idea, thank you.

I've now played back most of the programme and it all sounds rather good. That'll bring back a lot of happy memories in the years to come. I thought the interview and newscasts went pretty well, and even dared to play them over to a couple of friends this morning.

We Fort The Law: Knock John, now derelict and eerie,
was once home to Radio Essex

Andy Cadier aka Martin Kane, reports:

At noon on Saturday Sept 1st, most of the former staff from the offshore pirate station Radio Essex (later known as BBMS) attended a luncheon in a banqueting suite at Kettner's Restaurant in Romilly Street, London W1. The event celebrated the memories of the fort "Knock John" and the little radio station that was so very active 35 years ago. Radio Essex was the first British station to broadcast 24 hours a day and the only pirate at that time to dedicate itself as a pioneer to local commercial radio.

Prime guests were the Bates family who owned the station, but were forced to close it after a wrangle over the issue of British territorial waters.

Guest included wives and partners, and some of the best known people behind the station.

Roy Bates (aka Prince Roy of Sealand) Station owner/business manager
Joan Bates (aka Princess Joan of Sealand) Catering and supplies manager
Michael Bates (who was only 12 in 1966)

Chris Stewart/John Aston (former programme controller)
Roger Scott/Greg Bance (presenter)
Guy Hamilton/Gerry Zeirler
Martin Kayne/Andy Cadier
Mark West/Mark Wesley
Dick Dixon (radio engineer)

Dick Palmer, the former Fort Captain was unable to attend, as was presenter Dave Sinclair, who now lives in Canada. Much of the event was filmed by Mark Wesley who works in television advertising and John Aston, who is in special effects for the film industry. Scenes from this shooting will be spliced into the existing Radio Essex film to hopefully create a station history. Gerry Zeirler now has his own company selling satellite TV airtime. Andy Cadier works at a Social Education Centre and writes radio-related magazine articles. Dick Dixon lectures at Canterbury University. Greg Bance still does freelance work for commercial radio.

The event ended at 5.30pm with happy and perhaps slightly tipsy, emotional goodbyes as most of us had not met as a group since they left the station almost 35 years ago.

Final thoughts... A great and memorable occasion. Would we do offshore radio again? If we were in our early twenties, definitely yes! The Bates family have invited former staff to visit their new enterprise at "Sealand" based on Roughs Tower, 7 miles off Harwich. (Another story perhaps!)

Andy R.J. Cadier. Off The Record, Short Wave Magazine, PW Publishing Ltd., Arrowsmith Court, Station Approach, Broadstone, Dorset. BH18 8PW
E-mail –

Both Mary and Chris, and Jonathan at The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame were contacted to assist the Radio Essex crew in finding their missing friend, Vince 'Rusty' Allen, in order that he could be invited to the reunion, but unfortunately, we met with no success. Talking of the Hall of Fame, which we were....

Hall of Fame Discovers Doug Kerr
Of the September update to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame, Jonathan says:

Among the goodies this month are: three audio clips from Radio 270, plus a couple from Caroline and one from Radio Atlanta, more names have been inducted into the roll of honour, we hear from Steve Merike and the long-lost Doug Kerr.


Radio Two assists listeners to find Big L 2001!

Congratulations to Jonathan on his site being Radio Two Website of the Week!

Jonathan says:
You might have heard the Hall of Fame mentioned on BBC Radio 2 on 15th August. There was a sudden surge in visitor numbers (nearly 1500 people visited on the following day) and even now, two weeks later, there are between 150 and 200 people accessing it each day. 4912 in total this month. It's good to know that so many people are still fascinated by the subject after all this time. It's not just me!

Of course not, Jonathan! There were thousands of avid listeners to the offshore stations and they haven't all emigrated!

Luckily for Big L 2001, this huge publicity boost for the Hall of Fame coincided with Jonathan having placed links to our pages about the RSL from his site's Home Page. Great stuff!
I Dewtron-tron-tron, I Dewtron Tron!
Remember the Sixties advert read out during Chris and Mary Payne's Absolutely Fabulous II, which read:

"Trouble getting Luxembourg, Caroline, London? They're all yours for only 39/6 with the fabulous Dewtron wave trap. Just place near your transistor portable and boost all distant stations! Extend battery life! Use in car instead of aerial!"?

RNI's Dave Rogers, one of the star presenters of Big L 2001, whom we were pleased to meet up with again during the RSL, tells us that he owned a Dewtron wave trap and that it proved to be an extremely useful gadget. Dave says when he lived in the West Country during the Sixties, the Dewtron, a device about double the size of a matchbox, enabled him to listen to Big L on the beach at Weston-Super-Mare. People would come up to him and say, "That's a good radio station. What is it?"

Unfortunately, without the Dewtron, it was impossible for anyone so far out of the transmission area to tune in to Radio London on 266 using only a regular trannie.

Threat of Thrashing With a Wet Lettuce
We hear that John Ross-Barnard is threatening to severely chastise Knees Club Official 381, Pauline Miller with a wet lettuce, in retribution for a recent small lapse of memorknee. Of course, this would never have happened if J R-B hadn't told the Knees Club Officials he was going to be doing one thing and then proceeded to thoroughknee confuse us by doing something completely different. You just can't trust these watery wireless jocks - they all have water on the knees!

Meanwhile, Ian 'Wombat' Damon revealed yesterday (September 1st) how disappointed he was to wake up on a Saturday and NOT have to drive to Clacton. Instead, he went to a different seaside – Brighton. The Wombat, who has thoroughly enjoyed presenting shows on the four Saturday afternoons of the August RSL, is hoping to record a Big L 'Christmas Special' for Internet transmission.

E-D-I-T-I-N-G J-I-N-G-L-E-S on C-A-R-O-L-I-N-E!

On August 14th, Big L 2001 received an unexpected exclusive offshore news story from Bud Ballou. A little after 3.00pm, Dennis Jason played the single, C-A-R-O-L-I-N-E by Roy Hastings. Bud, who was shortly due to depart for his return trip to California, was on the opposite side of the pier, looking out to sea, and listening with a group of friends. He was amazed to hear the Roy Hastings single, because that was the very record he had edited to make a Caroline jingle, while aboard the Mi Amigo ! He was amazed to hear that Caroline still uses it today!

Mary immediately hustled Bud into the Big L studio to tell Dennis the whole story of how that jingle came about, a story which we intend to bring you in detail at a later date.

There must surely have been more than mere luck involved here, because had Dennis played that single only an hour later, Bud Ballou would have already left to catch his train to London and would never have heard it.

Meanwhile, Alan Field has kindly supplied us with the links to the record which appear on Offshore Echoes' Offshore Themes site:

Ballou samples a brew: taking a break from editing jingles

Arrrrrr, Matey!
A recent, unfortunate gardening accident resulted in Dave 'Li-Lo' Windsor having to go to hospital to have a splinter removed from his eye. When the doctor suggested that Dave would be required to wear an eye patch, much to the consternation of the doctor, DW laughed out loud and said that he may have been a DJ aboard Radio Caroline, but he'd never before been asked to wear the full pirate regalia!
Painter Man
Just a few days before departing for Clacton for a second stint, to present Chris and Mary Payne's Absolutely Fabulous II, we received a message from Hans Astrom in Finland, asking if Summertime by Billy Stewart was ever in the Fab Forty. If just so happened that we were planning to play that very track, so we were able to inform Hans that it had, indeed, been in the Fab, reaching the dizzy heights of #4 on 11th Sept 66, and were able to throw in the good piece of trivia that the drummer on Summertime was Maurice White, founder of Earth Wind and Fire.

Hans was only able to listen to part of the show via the net feed, so it was extremely fortunate that he heard the relevant segment. He wrote:

Listening to your web feed from Clacton Pier at 18:48 GMT on I heard you playing Summertime with Billy Stewart and speaking out my name....! I have not heard that one for decades! Thank you very much for the information Mary! And thank you for Painter Man by the Creation also. Wow, what a great record it was and brought up some good memories from the winter and spring early 1967.

My eldest son, born 1974, graduated from high-school 1994 and then I gave him a cheque and a dedication containing quotes from Painter Man. If you take a look at his website: I think you will understand why.
Yes, you are quite right, his fling for pinball-games and machines is a result of overexposure to the "Tommy" album as a small baby...

As viewers can probably guess, Hans's son Markus became an artist. Markus's work can be viewed at the URL above.
Have mercy! Can you dig the Emperor on digital?
Hot from his Big L 2001 appearances, the Emperor Rosko will be presenting a Saturday lunchtime show, 12 to 3pm, on Classic Gold Digital. His Emperorness, who received a well-deserved plug for his new show during Radio London's final hour, tells us he also has a new CD compilation out. Titled Best of the Rosko Show, it's available from Amazon at
Sunday will never be the same

Stevie Gordon tells us:

The winter schedule is upon us, and the Stevie Gordon Show has been upgraded into a better slot. (At least, I suppose it's a better slot). Every week, from Sunday, August 26th, the programme will be going out live between 10am and midday CET. Your requests, dedications and anorak gossip, are all welcome either at or

For those of you living outside the service area, remember our address is but only with Media Player.

Please tune in. I am looking forward to talking to you on Sunday morning.

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