Happenings, June 2002 – Piracy in the Potteries.
October 2003, news from 'DS – the Man from Thrush'!

In Happenings, June 2002, Pete Hobson asked: Can anyone shed any light on the workings of BOSS RADIO?
He continued:
This is a long shot, I know, but I'm trying to find out if anybody remembers a land-based pirate station in the Potteries called Boss Radio. This would be 1966 or thereabouts on 213 metres MW. The station broadcast at weekends in the winter for an hour at a time, noon till 1.00pm, while in the summer it went out between 6.30 and 7.30 weekday evenings.

It may have been a bit amateurish, (they didn't seem to know how to cue up records), but it was rather exciting for pop radio nuts like myself, [the station] being local and unlicensed. The deejays were a couple of characters called - wait for it! - 'DS, the Man from Thrush' (clearly a 'Man From U.N.C.L.E.' fan) and 'Count Dracula' (whose theme was 'Monster Mash' by Bobby 'Boris' Pickett; the first time I'd ever heard that record). Later they were joined on tape by my mate John who masqueraded under the 'nom de wireless' of 'Sexy Steve Summerfield' along with a girl he fancied called 'Wendy Watt' and someone else whose name escapes me. Probably a good job!

They even had some home -made ropy jingles, a few of them later furnished for them by me courtesy of my Grundig tape recorder. I was about 14 at the time and alerted my pal to Boss Radio's existence when we met up at school in the week. Because he was rich, he had sufficient equipment to put some shows together with his pals in Cheadle (Staffs). That meant that he could then pass his tapes on to them with his shows. The station did have a mailing address in North Staffs, possibly in Trentham. I did write to them but can't exactly remember those details now.

The station relied on tapes of the current chart hits - lifted no doubt from 'Pick Of The Pops' on Sunday afternoons. No voice-overs on that show, as I recall, so easier to record cleanly! They added records of an older vintage from their own collections. Lots of Shads, Duane Eddy, early Beatles and Beach Boys. My mate did actually show me a couple of pictures of their studio - a purpose-built unit containing a rudimentary console, a tape deck and a Dansette turntable pillaged from a record player. All a bit 'Radio Sutch' really!

It was a bit of fun really but I'd still like to find out a bit more about it. I wonder if any of your site's visitors who lived up that way that way ever listened in? I know that from that point on, I fantasised about setting up my own station. It never happened, but it was nice to think about it at least. And I never did find out who the deejays really were, except that the name Dave Steele keeps coming into my mind, though I don't really know why.

October 2003 – Pete got his answer from the Boss of Boss Radio – Dave Steele!

I stumbled across your extremely interesting site recently to find to my surprise an e-mail from a correspondent, Pete Hobson, asking for information about a land-based 1960s pirate station in the Potteries called Boss Radio (What's Happening, June 2002). I was even more amazed how accurate the description of its activities was recalled by Pete.

I'm sure the passage of time can allow me to reveal that I was the young man in the 1960s behind Boss Radio. And yes, Pete was quite correct my name is Dave Steele and I did assume the name of DS, The Man From Thrush.

I have retained many of the letters we received, and newspaper cuttings of Boss Radio's activities and so I can piece together something of a resume.

It was my interest of radio/music/electronics that brought about the launch of the station in 1966. With the help of a school friend, Eric Price, alias Count Dracula, we started broadcasting to the Potteries on a Wavelength of 213 Metres with just 10 Watts of power. Our studio was an attic room, a good vantage point to watch out for GPO detector vans!

Boss Radio remained on the air until July 1969, transmitting for a couple of hours each weekend, and for an hour in the evenings in summer when the weak signal was not drowned by other stations. By that time headlines in the local newspaper, The Newcastle-Under-Lyme Times, attracted attention from the authorities, and the station closed down.

The other DJ whose name Pete could not remember, was Lord Ghost, but he, like most of the characters involved with the station, I lost contact with many years ago. Only Count Dracula, now working and living in Vienna, keeps in contact, and he like myself remembers with happy memories those days of Boss Radio.

After Boss Radio closed, I briefly appeared on another station called Radio Jesamine, also in Stoke-On-Trent. I then joined The North Staffs Hospital Radio as an announcer, and was given a half-hour programme, known to the listeners as 'The Friendly One'. Apart from the odd disco in the 70s that was to be the end of my aspirations of becoming a professional DJ.

All programmes on Boss Radio were live, and since the tape recorder was used to play some of the music, no tapes of the programmes can be found. If anyone has a recording please let me know.

Incredibly, a copy of one of our home-made jingles was heard on the 2003 Pete Drummond Radio 2 documentary, The Radio Revolutionaries!

Many thanks to Dave for resolving another mystery and for the picture of his collection of mail and memorabilia.

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