Lorne King

(Lorne Gary Kassian)

1943 – 2023

Radio London DJ
from February to May 1967

(Left) signed Big L publicity shot

Tribute by Mary Payne

In September 2023, our friend Kenny Tosh received the sad news from Lorne's daughter Cindy that her father had died of cancer in Edmonton in May of that year.

In 'The London Sound' Brian Long gives Lorne's real name as Paul May, but this was possibly an on-air name he had used. The Canadian's broadcasting career began at the age of 19, as an announcer on CKSA AM radio and TV in Lloydminster, Alberta, where he also compered live shows. He moved to Red Deer and CKRD AM radio and TV and hosted a breakfast show and afternoon programme.

Lorne had embarked on a tour of North Africa and Europe in 1966 and arrived in England at the end of that year. He joined Big L on 8th February 1967, shortly after his 24th birthday. Lorne's shows, known as 'The King Thing' proved popular, bringing his unique style of broadcasting, to the regular Radio London format, where Big L revived 45s came from 'the King groove yard'. However, 'Mrs King's favourite son' became confused over the nationality of Lulu, announcing her as an Irish singer. The resulting torrent of mail from Big L listeners, informing him of Lulu's birthplace in Glasgow, indicated the sizeable audience that Lorne attracted. The incident resulted in Lulu not only forgiving Lorne, but recording a promo for his show, including a plug for her latest release, 'The Boat That I Row'. (MP3 from 1st May 1967 on The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame)

Lorne left Radio London on May 30th, like many of the DJs, departing ahead of the station's impending doom at the hand of the UK Government's Marine Offences Bill.

After his short stint on Radio London, Lorne returned to Calgary working at CLJH TV, then CJCA and CHQT Edmonton.

In July 2004, I was fortunate enough to attend the First North American Offshore Reunion in Vancouver, and Lorne was there too, thanks to the generosity of fellow offshore DJ Ben Healy, from Radio Scotland, who also lived in Edmonton. All the photos below were taken at that reunion. Unfortunately, Lorne did not have Internet access, so I was able to contact him only via letter. I did receive news of him occasionally from Ben Healy.

Lorne had joined Radio London too late to become a member of the Knees Club, which had closed in January '67. This situation was rectified when Lorne was finally inducted as member #388 in Vancouver. I was delighted when Lorne presented me with his Radio London identity bracelet. The silver-plated bracelets, part of a large range of Radio London merchandise, were sold with 'Big L 266' engraved on the back (as shown) and the other side left blank for personalisation. Presumably Radlon management gave one to each DJ so that fans would see them wearing them at public appearances and want to purchase one. Unfortunately, Lorne had never had his bracelet personalised, but he clearly treasured it and wore it regularly. It had obviously meant a lot to him and I felt very honoured to be given it.

Tribute from Mark Roman
Lorne was not on the Galaxy for long, but I found him to be most professional, knew what he was talking about, and had a good sense of humour. The prime quality of working on the ship was the ability to get on with the other guys, and he did. What happened to him after we closed I had no idea, as we all pretty much went our ways, I to Australia a year and a day after we closed.

Tribute from Steve Young
I first remember hearing Lorne broadcasting on CKRD in Red Deer, AB (just south of Edmonton) in 1963, if memory serves me correctly. That was the year before I came over to the UK and then wound up working for Caroline South a couple of years later. Lorne also worked for a while in Lethbridge in southwestern Alberta, which coincidentally was a city in which I lived when our family first moved to Canada from the UK in the late Fifties. It was in Lethbridge that I got my first real taste of North American radio, listening to CJOC (a.k.a. C-Jock) and marvelling at the warm, professional sound of their on-air personnel. Some years later, Lorne worked at CJCA (Tiger Radio) in Edmonton where, again coincidentally, my wife Trish had worked for a few years as their record librarian, although this was not during Lorne's tenure there.

It was on the tender that I first met Lorne, when he was leaving Big L to go on his regular week's shore leave. Both being Alberta boy,s we compared notes and promised each other that we would meet up for a pint (or two) the next chance we had. Unfortunately that chance never came and it wasn't until the Vancouver pirate radio reunion in 2004 that we met again. He was a nice guy and I'm sad to learn that he has passed on.

Lorne signs in for the 2004 First North American Offshore Reunion (the lady on the left is Steve Young's wife Trish). All the attendees with the exception of myself and Kenny Tosh, were broadcasters from the radio ships off the coasts of the UK during the 1960s.

The offshore delegation visits a local radio station

An interview for a TV documentary

A visit to Stanley Park
Lorne, with Caroline's Bryan Vaughan

The pirates take over a Vancouver pleasureboat

Lorne with Kenny Tosh.

When Kenny met Lorne again in 2007, he recorded drop-ins for Kenny's Revival Show on Radio Six International.

An octet of offshore legends – plus Mary and Kenny

Mary and Lorne fly the flag for Radio London

Extract from 'The King Thing' show on Radio London from May 1st, 1967

Kenny Tosh has found a video clip from 2007 of Lorne in great voice, recording promos and drop-ins for Kenny's regular Revival Show on Radio Six International.

Lorne's obituary posted by his family

Contact us to add your own memories of Lorne

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