Offshore Radio News

The latest offshore radio related news by reporters from Europe and the Middle East, updated whenever there is a new item. Please feel free to contribute via


 

Sunday April 13th 2003

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6 - 10 Ships Broadcasting To Iraq

By Mika Mäkeläinen, Camp as-Sayliyah, Qatar
(published on April 5th, 2003, sligthly updated later)

Surrender or die is the message beamed at the remaining Iraqi Republican Guard soldiers in trenches around Baghdad. Coalition propaganda is aired 24 hours a day over Information Radio, part of a sophisticated psychological warfare operation aimed at winning the war in Iraq with less fighting, less casualties - and more clever persuasion.
With emphasis on the technical aspects, this article is the most comprehensive report published so far of the ongoing Iraqi mission of Information Radio.

Information Radio, Radiyo al-Ma'ulumat in Arabic, is a US military Special Operations radio station broadcasting anti-Saddam Hussein messages, which are aimed at weakening his support among the Iraqi people and military.

The programs however are well-known - or at least they should be - because that is the purpose of the mission. Each program normally lasts about an hour and contains an introduction, combinations of regional and Western music and an information message. (...)

In mid-February 2003, Information Radio transmissions were extended. "We're currently broadcasting on five different radio frequencies 24 hours a day and have been doing so since the 17th of February," said Brigadier General Vincent Brooks in a Central Command press briefing on March 25. However, it was not the five frequencies nor the 24-hour transmissions that were new. What Brooks failed to mention is that for the first time Coalition partners were involved - and that the extended transmissions originated from ships.

Broadcasts began from coalition naval vessels patrolling in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman in the northern Arabian Sea. One ship at a time, primarily performing maritime interdiction missions, has been relaying Information Radio programming using whatever transmitters have been available on the particular ships, says Major Peter Mitchell, US Marines Public Affairs official at Central Command forward headquarters in Qatar.

Currently the ships are broadcasting only on 9715 kHz shortwave. Transmitter power depends on the ship in question. Broadcasts begin at 23.00 Baghdad time - when Commando Solo [on board a U.S. Air Force EC-130E aircraft] heads back to its base - and end at 18.00 Baghdad time, when Commando Solo once again begins its five-hour broadcast. Together these platforms make 9715 kHz available for 24 hours a day.

Ships from at least three Coalition countries (US, UK and Australia) are rotated so that each ship transmits a few days at a time, before handing over responsibility to another ship. In late March 3-4 ships were rotating, but since the beginning of the naval transmissions in February, a total of 6-10 ships have been involved in the broadcasts.

Coalition partners have been reluctant to identify the ships in question to maintain operational security. As far as the United Kingdom is concerned, there are three frigates (HMS Chatham, HMS Marlborough and HMS Richmond) and three destroyers (HMS Liverpool, HMS Edinburgh and HMS York) which could be involved. HMS Chatham has previously been reported operating as a platform for broadcasts to Iraq. (...)

Taken from: http://dxing.info/profiles/clandestine_information_iraq.dx

The Type 22 frigate HMS Chatham (...) broadcasts programmes dubbed ‘Radio Free Iraq’, consisting of a mix of modern Middle East music interspersed with messages of peace – and warnings that the Allies will use extreme force against those who do not surrender.

(published on March 25th, 2003)

Taken from: http://www.navynews.co.uk/articles/2003/0303/0003032501.asp

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Vrijdag 18 april, precies 30 jaar na de grote demonstratie tot behoud van Veronica, gaat Radio 192 terug naar Den Haag. Vanaf de Pier in Scheveningen wordt een 7 uur durend live programma gemaakt, waarin wordt teruggeblikt op één van de meest gedenkwaardige dagen in de geschiedenis van Radio Veronica. Op diezelfde 18de april 1973 werd ook het zendschip De Norderney weer vlotgetrokken, nadat het ruim twee weken op het strand van Scheveningen aangespoeld had geleden.

Klik HIER voor meer details.


 

Tuesday April 1st 2003

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The VOP is to return

Plans are under way to salvage the former VOP ship from the Mediterranean Sea.

A group of Israeli left wing and peace supporters are financing a project to salvage the Peace ship from the depths of the Mediterranean Sea. Plans to bring back the Voice of Peace have been underway for a while now, and today I have been given the go-ahead to publish the story.

If all goes well, the ship will be brought to the surface within the next few days. The salvage was delayed because of the bad weather we have been having here in Israel these past few weeks. As the weather for the next week is going to be hot and sunny, it was decided to go ahead without delay.

If all goes well, after the ship is brought to the surface, it will be taken to Ashdod port for a thorough drying, clean out and paint job. After this, it is to be fitted out with new transmitting equipment, and antenna.

The date given for the station to go on the air is at the moment the 1st July . 

Plans were accelerated recently after the start of the war in Iraq, and the appointment of a Palestinian Prime Minister.

Many names that were part of the original VOP are to take part in the new station, but I have been asked not to reveal them at this point of time. The frequency for the station will be given close to start date. The old VOP frequencies cannot be used, as they are now taken by legal commercial radio stations now broadcasting in Israel, that were not around when the former VOP ceased to broadcast in 1993.

I will update you with more news when I have it.

Mike Brand

Israel


 

Friday March 28th 2003

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Hans Knot reporting from the Dutch radio scene:

The international news for the month of March 2003. 

Hi and welcome to the news which came along in the month of March, ending on the 27th. As always a lot of thanks for the enormous response I got from the e-mail report and the other readers of the report, which can be found on four different sites in Holland, Germany and England.

In last month report I mentioned the rumours, which were going that the Nozema should be going to get their transmitters from the MV Communicator. Late in the evening of February 28th I got an e-mail from Peter Vrakking, who wrote that he saw that the container, with the generators, were not anymore on the quay side. Also the big satellite dish was not there anymore. The entrance to the ship, which was damaged a long time ago, was repaired. Of course there was no possibility to climb aboard. Later this month some other people went into the ship and saw that terrible damage was done to the doors, rooms and other material. 

This month I would like to ask you to visit the version of Wim van de Water, who runs Mediapages in Holland, which has a great variety on news and historical photos having been given to him by several people. www.mediapages.nl

During the past 8 months, one by one, the readers brang in a lot of nicknames, and still they’re coming in more and more. It was Peter from England who did remind us that Neil Gates from Radio Caroline also was named ‘Nellie’ Gates. Then another one we didn’t mention, I found back in the French language edition of Offshore Echoes. His real name is Kirk Clyaat and worked in the eighties for Laser Hot Hits as KC ‘in the morning’. 

Radio Caroline had the luck again. For the month of March 2003, the encrypted signal of Caroline on the Worldspace satellite was again free to air. This gave all recent purchasers of Wordspace radio sets across the Afristar reception area a chance to sample Radio Caroline. This fact was promoted on other Worldspace channels. National Public Radio USA adjacent to Radio Caroline was also free to air for the same period. 

Early March arrived an e-mail from Karl Heinz Frings. He was born in 1956 and has, since his 3rd year in his life, visited the Belgian Coast on a yearly base: ‘I’ve grown up with stations like RNI, Mi Amigo, Radio Veronica and Radio Caroline. I’ve listened to the last minutes of a radio station and as I recall, I think it must have been RNI. This when also was announced that the owners would tow the radio ship from outside the three miles limit to a Dutch harbour.” Well Karl told also he enjoyed the RNI series, which can be found partly in Dutch, German as well as in English on www.soundscapes.info

Well Karl, from Germany, thanks a lot for writing to us. That reminds me to the old days in radio. One of my books, ‘25 Years Radio Caroline Memories’, was released in 1989 and got some attention on the program of Radio Netherlands World Service. Of course behind the ‘then’ iron curtain a lot of people tuned in without permission. Letters sent away from those countries often never reached the one who the letter was addressed to. One day a letter came from Russia with one dollar enclosed. The reader told honestly that it was impossible to sent more but he also asked if I would sent him a copy of the book. Well I hope he still enjoys the stories from Radio Caroline. 

Then another e-mail from Germany came in from Peter Wollert. He also mentioned his Internet site and I had a look. Interesting to visit as it gives information about radio, has air checks, info about jingles, nice photographs and an item about historical radios: www.radioseiten.de

Classic FM, not only active with a radio station in England but also, thanks Paul, in Holland, has gained more listeners than ever before. In the period December 2002 up till January 2003 10.1 % of the Dutch people tuned in. That will say the listeners from above the 10 year age. During the past two years the listener ship has grown with 2%.

In the meantime we move a 300 kilometres away from Groningen, where the editorial of this monthly report is, to Rotterdam. De SLOR, which is the foundation responsible for the programs of the local station Stads Radio Rotterdam, is looking for a strong partner. Co-operation can be on the editorial side as well as the technical site. But above all they think about a commercial partnership. SLOR is in talks for this purpose with one of the two regional stations for the Province of Zuid Holland, RTV Rijnmond.

Nice to see that also people who were working on the MV Ross Revenge during the non-communicating period, so the one when the station was not on the air, is reading my monthly report. One of them is Paul Johnson, who was on board several times including in 1994 when it was 30 years ago Radio Caroline came on the air for the first time. 

It was also nice to get a message from Canada again: ‘Hi Hans and thanks again for your great and informative reports. A real pleasure and it keeps us 60's Pirate Rock Jocks up to date as what's happening. I just got off the phone with Mike Ahern (Radio Caroline South). He went missing and quite a few of us were concerned. It seems he wasn't feeling well so went directly to the local hospital in London and the Doctors examined him then immediately checked him into the hospital right away, even though Mike hadn’t brought anything with him to use while in hospital. He spent 15 days there approximately and is now well and feeling fine. Mike told me he is thinking about rturning to Australia, where he worked successfully for many years. After talking to Mike, I did e-mail Emperor Rosko (who I keep in touch with) and told him the news. Rosko says "Mike is a pal and a great deejay” (and I agree) and was glad to hear the news that Mike is in the land of the living and feeling much better. "Anyway...keep up the great work It is truly appreciated! Your Canadian friend & Pirate DJ Mick Luvzit"

There are people who do think that everything received, either at my desk or at the desks of the editorial staff of the Soundscapes site is used. Of course just a small part of the stories and articles can be used. Anyway, we got an e-mail from which we are not certain if it comes from John England in the USA. Just some of the things he (they) wrote to me. This is going about my report that John/Paul thinks there was no ‘Caroline Kennedy’ on the cover of the ‘Look’ magazine Ronan saw in the airplane. Here’s John’s comment: ‘Perhaps there was something lost in the translation, but when we read your comments about Ronan it seemed as if you doubted what we reported about the famous (and it is) 'LOOK' magazine photo feature of JFK, Caroline and John-John. I am sure that you can go to the university library and get hold of the issue, I have seen it many times in various libraries.'

Ronan always claimed that Caroline Kennedy and he father were on the cover of the magazine, which gave him the idea to name his radio station Radio Caroline. In a big book about advertisements and magazines in the sixties I saw that the magazine had indeed John and Little John on the cover one day. Also in a later issue it was Jackie Kennedy and little John. And as Ronan never mentioned a date of the publishing or flying in the plane, it can be everything. But John England went further with investigation and here’s the reason why he think it must have been ‘John with little John’ on the cover of the issue of Look Magazine: 

´When "theglobe.com" was going we had a big Caroline feature up there to debunk Malcolm and his ilk. On one of the pages we even had this same story about "Radio John-John" with a picture of him crawling under the desk of JFK in the White House. So to answer your own question: "And who told the truth? Ronan, or the writer of this, Paul John Lilburne-Byford?" Just go and find the back issue of this award-winning photo essay from the early 1960s and you will see it for yourself. Ronan took the story of John-John making government stop while his very young son crawled around under JFK's desk in the Oval Office and Ronan attributed this story to his older sister Caroline. It makes for good sexist mythology but it just isn't true. On the other hand Caroline sounds better than John-John. But then we think that ‘London’ or ‘England’ or ‘Britain’ or ‘Scotland’ were better names than ‘Caroline’. But since that is the name it is high time that someone told the truth about how it came to be. Ronan says that he saw the essay while flying across the Atlantic to visit Continental transmitters in Dallas. That part probably is true and it is also possible that Ronan remembered the essay but did not go back and take a look at it again when he picked the name Caroline and someone asked him why that name? He may have been confused or he may have decided what the heck, no one will look this one up and his version sounded like a good explanation. But we did ‘look’ it up. We also traced his movements to Houston where he tried to buy the Mi Amigo. We were told that all he succeeded in doing in Houston (up the road from Galveston where the Mi Amigo was docked and down the road from Dallas), was to buy a pair of cowboy boots. That trivia either came from a Mi Amigo engineer or from someone at Continental, not sure which and that may or may not be true. Maybe he bought a cowboy hat instead! Whatever.’ Well it seems we had there another ‘myth’ of Ronan, which isn’t true. 

One of the people who always are in contact after receiving the international news report is Robin Ross. This time he goes back to the early days with the Ross Revenge and the comments I wrote last time about the deejay who never made it on Radio Caroline: ‘Interesting story regarding Dave Simmons and he did not make it on air but only in the early press shots. While working at Jazz fm 100.4 a few years ago I was walking across the complex where the station is based in Manchester and heard the familiar cry of ... Robin.. Robin and low and behold it was Dixie Peach who now works in I.T. and has a home outside Manchester, still the really nice guy he always was.’

Robin had also a memory to the days the Ross Revenge was fitted out: ‘I also had an e-mail from Tone the Moan who did some overnight shows on the Ross Revenge as well as cook and we met up in Blackpool a few weeks ago. When I first went to Santander I met up with a presenter who worked on Radio Santander. He was called Manuel who was really good to me, we used to present a show on Radio Santander when the Brittany Ferries used to dock in Santander and he would broadcast in Spanish and me in English. Unfortunately he could not pay me so he always bought me breakfast! He is well and still broadcasting in Santander. As you probably know the Ross Revenge was fitted out in Astilleros a small fishing yard just a few kilometres outside Santander in Northern Spain.’ 

Too less time is the reason that I cannot write all the stories I do on Soundscapes in English and Dutch. Really a pity but we have to make choices. In February, for instant, we published an article called ‘The Hits just keep on coming’. It’s a long review on a book written by the one time editor of the Magazine Rolling Stone. In this book he writes about the History of American Top 40 Radio. Really a book whereby you loose the time and read on and on till the last page, without doing anything else. Beng Fong-Torres, the writer of the book, is a kind of anorak of American Top 40 radio. It seems he has followed every step of all the top deejays in the country but, when reading, it seems he has a really good network too. It was nice to see him on one of the pages as a very young lad with his favourite deejay of those days, Gary Owens. Ben called himself a radio groupie.

Indeed he wrote about everything within the Top 40 industry and did particular good research on the subject of American Radio. However he became very unreliable when writing about Offshore Radio. The reason why is he interviewed a person who told him that he had worked for Radio Caroline. The chapter in the book is called: ‘British Radio, Sink the Pirates’. After a short introduction he wrote that John Peel was one of the people who made Radio London from the very start in 1964 very popular. Well we all know that Peel only arrived in May 1967, just a few months before the MOA arrived. But then Ben comes with the interview. It’s no Robbie Dale, no Johnnie Walker, no Archer, no Carl Michell he interviewed about the times after the MOA. No, a guy who claims to have worked for Radio Caroline for a 8 months period in 1968. Lawrence Diggs is his name and he also claimed that he was the very first Negro deejay on Radio Caroline. In the chapter Lawrence tells a few inside stories in the live of an offshore radio deejay: ‘each time we’re brought from Amsterdam with little dinghy’s to the radio ship off the British coast’. Well see it yourself, going with a dinghy from Amsterdam to the Thames? Further on he told that he always wanted to speak to the listener in the same tone as they were used to be when they heard Barry White singing. Well Barry only made it in the early seventies and the Radio Caroline listeners hadn’t heard him in the sixties. But the most interesting thing was that he told Ben Fong-Torres that the director of Radio Caroline was so friendly that each week a few hookers were sent out to the MV Mi Amigo to get the boys in good shape again! Well and reading that chapter was really the end of reading of the book for me. Of course there’s a big myth around offshore radio, but this was far too much!

Jeff Martin wrote in to tell news about another former offshore lad from way back in the sixties: ‘Former Radio Scotland, Radio Caroline and RNI presenter Stevie Merike is back on the radio. He is doing the Sunday Breakfast Show 6am-10am on Saga 106.6 FM. The station broadcasts to the East Midlands (UK). He sounds really good and I recorded 3 hours of the show on Sunday. Ex-Caroline man Peter Quinn (eighties) was also meant to be on the station but pulled out due to personal reasons.’ 

Jan Sundermann sent a message about the
yearly radio day, which will be held in Germany On September 13rd. From 12 noon up till 8 in the evening the German version (3rd year in a row) from the famous Dutch Radio Day (25th year in a row) will be held at Sternwarte Neanderhöhe (Obeservatorium) SNH, 40699 Erkrath. For more info sent an e-mail to Jan Sundermann: rp10510@online-club.de

And this month congratulations are going to Bart and Ada Serlie for the birth of their son Cesar Ross. He is the son of the Dutch deejay Bart (The Floating Dutchman) who could be mainly heard in (Cloggie) English on several RSL’s from the LV18 (Radio Mi Amigo and RNI) during the past years. Also Ada did a lot of cooking and assorted work (including her famous Cloggie weather) during several RSL periods. Here's just a little snap (more on www.babyalbum.com/bb5beede_Cesar_; including the motive for his second  name) of the young boy, who was already on the radio within 100 hours. He will probably get a microphone for his first birthday and a mini radio ship when he’s 5 years of age. The both of you take care and again congratulations.

On March the 6th there was the four days a week program on Radio 2 called ‘Theatre of the sentiment’. Every time they go back to a special year with the exact day of transmissions. On the 6th it was 32 years ago all people in Holland could hear for the very first time Radio Noordzee, the Dutch Service of RNI. This happened on 220 metres as well on FM and SW. The first team consisted out of three people. Well known Jan van Veen as well as Joost den Draayer. Newcomer Ferry Maat was there too. He became famous too and was guest today in the program of the KRO on Radio 2. 

One needs more than another, I mean ‘attention’. No problem, everyone can get as much as they want in this international report. One day however, they have to pay back. Keep on your feet everybody for here’s Mick.

‘Hi Hans...hope you are well & happy. A former Caroline North Listener sent me this article where he saw my name mentioned under LG73 was home to some of the greats: It was a pleasant surprise as I had never read the article and it gives a little of the station. We were # 1 in Canada's 2nd largest Major Radio Market here in Vancouver and beat out a station called CKNW98 that had never been beaten before. We had top notch Program Director and a great crew of professional jocks. Thought you might enjoy some of the history of the station. Cheers Mick.’

Well the article came from John Bennet: ‘At 12 midnight, the music died. One of the last Top 40 Greats expired. LG73, officially known as CKLG AM 730 Vancouver was no more. Over the last few years LG73 slowly ran into the ground. CKLG originally signed on February 2, 1955 at 1070 khz with a 1,000 watt transmitter at Blair Range in North Vancouver. The "LG" in the call letters stood for Lions Gate, with the owner Lions Gate Broadcasters. The night time interference from 50 kilowatt KNX Los Angeles on the same frequency necessitated a frequency change to 730 on August 18, 1958. The Top 40 era began at CKLG on August 22, 1964, when the station took on the other Vancouver Top 40 station, CFUN AM 1410. The two ran head to head (except for a brief time when CFUN was All News CKVN) until the mid eighties when CFUN turned to soft rock and then to talk. LG73 was home to some of the greats: John Buchanan, Timothy M. Burge, Daryl "B" Burlingham, Donny Burns, Frank Callaghan, Pat Cardinal, Raccoon Carney, Howie "The Hitman" Cogan (eve/PMD 88-93), Cal Coleman, Merv Connelly, Kate Corman, Erin Davis, Wayne Deschover, Stirling Faux, Dave Gordon, Steve (Little Stevie Wonder) Grossman, Kirk Hansen, Doc Harris (AMD 75-83), Graham Hatch, Jim Hault, Roy Hennessy (eve/AMD 64-74), Dean Hill (AMD 88-95), Sam Holman, Rick Honey, Samantha Howe, Russell James, Stu Jeffries (AMD 96-97), David Kaye, Roger "Roger Kelly" Kettyls, Trevor Kidd, Glen Lamont (Uncle Angus), Jerry Landa, Fred Latrimoulle, Mick Luvzit, Nails Mahoney 1990-93, Frank "Emporer" Malone, Stu McAllister (news/AMD 88-97), Mike McCoy, Jay McPhail, Ched Miller, Dave Mitchell, Tank Montana, Ronald J. Morey, Charlee Morgan 88-89, Michael Morgan, Bob Morris, John Moxin, Terry David Mulligan (AMD 83-84), Al Murdoch, Ellie O'Day, Brad Phillips, Stone Phillips, Jeff Rechner (eve/PMD 85-89), Bill Reiter, Kevin Ribble, Don Richards, Gord Robson, Gary Russell, J.B. Shayne, Russ Simpson (PMD 63-66), Tamara Stanners, Kat Stewart, Don Stevens, Ingrid Tammen, Jim Van Horn, Sky Walker, Dan Williamson, Rita Woodman (eve 84), Steve Woodman and others still to be uncovered. This list is in alphabetical order and will be continuously updated. When LG73 died, there was no fanfare, just an appropriate final song, "I Will Remember You" by Sarah McLachan. (CHUM AM 1050 Toronto, which had a similar lengthy run, evolving into an oldies station, went out later in 2001 in a blaze of glory and nostalgia, with a tribute befitting of the station.) LG73, many years down the road, I will remember you. On February 1, 2001 LG73's owner, Corus Communications changed it to All News CJNW or "NW2" in an attempt to capture listeners from existing News 1130 CKWX

About 15 months later, at 5 a.m. on May 28, 2002 All News programming ended and the station switched to automated rock, but continued carrying Stanley Cup Playoff games. On June 14, "NW2" went off the air for transmitter and tower upgrades. It returned July 19th with a continuation of its rock stunting. At 6 a.m. on August 6th CJNW AM 730 Vancouver officially launched as MOJO Radio, an offshoot of its Toronto all-guy format.‘


Next year the harbour of Scheveningen, near to The Hague, will be 100 year old. A lot of festivities will be held. One of them will be a huge Pirate Music Festival. This means that all kind of pop groups, which were made big by the former offshore radio stations RNI and Radio Veronica will be on stage. Some of them will be playing for the first time since many years. The reason for this festival is that both stations for tendering the radio ships MV MEBO II, as well as the Norderney used the Inner side harbour of Scheveningen.

On March 14th I got an e-mail from Rob Roskam, who is the pressman for Dutch Company Nozema. He stated that the rumours that all the transmitters and equipment, owned by Nozema, was taken away from the MV Communicator on February 28th. He also told that the owner of the ship has sold the ship for scrap. He couldn’t mention a name so our search goes on.

Could to see also that former Radio Atlantis deejay Dave Owen, who also did some stints on Radio Caroline in the seventies, has bought the rights for using a licence in England. For the price of 1 Pound he and some partners – who were all involved in the land-based pirate radio station Radio Jackie in the seventies – they bought Thames FM in Kingston upon Thames. The station was first on air in 1996 and since then former owner Radio Investments Ltd didn’t succeed in turning the station into profits. It’s not known if Owen and his friends will use the name Radio Jackie again in the future.

Back on the radio soon for Ferry Maat and Bart van Leeuwen as within weeks they can be heard on Radio 10FM. Van Leeuwen started his radio career in 1973 with the offshore station Radio Veronica. After that he worked for Radio Mi Amigo, VOO, RTL Rock Radio, Happy RTL, Radio 538 and Radio Nationaal. Maat started his work in 1971 with RNI. Then he had a long spell with TROS radio. Other stations he worked for include Radio 10FM, Radio 538, NCRV and Radio 192. Ferry´s last program on Radio 192 could be heard on Radio 192 on March 20th. A day before it was Ferry Eden who remembered RNI days of Ferry on the station while playing 'Drie om drie' or Three in a row on the same subject.

Some comments came on last month remarks about Radio 10 from Dunblane in Scotland. It’s Graeme Stevenson who tells me that the signal of 675 kHz is very powerful during the mornings and evenings: ‘In fact, I even listen to it going to work at 7 in the morning. I also enjoyed your comments on starting a radio station with a Radio 390 format. I now have a DAB tuner and really enjoy Prime Time Radio, which carries songs from the 1940’s up till the 1990’s. A very good mix.’

Graeme, who is the editor of ‘Tune into yesterday’ also wrote about an interesting article he has read: ‘The March 2003 edition of ‘New Scientist’ Magazine had an excellent article by Barry Fox about the deterioration and preservation of archive recordings. One of the most interesting parts was the final paragraph where Fox stated that CD’s were not as good for preservation as people had been led to believe. That is why Barry Hill, the largest private archivist in the world, has chosen to preserve a vast amount of his archive on mini-disc!’

Graeme als sent a copy of ‘Tune into yesterday’ which is a information bulletin on real old time radio. Radio of the early days up till the sixties. For more info about this bulletin you can contact Graeme at: Graeme.Stevenson@FVAH.SCOT.NHS.UK

One of the readers who knew that I had to go to England this March wrote me an e mail, which was one my computer arriving back. It was from former Harwich inhabitant Shaun Brennan. He nowadays lives in California and wrote: ‘Welcome home! Hopefully you had a good time in Ye Old England. I hope the LV18 is still there? Is it out in the river, or back on Harwich Quay? Hmm, wonder what's going on there. I've heard stories that there's a lot of infighting going on between the various parties involved...hey, just like real offshore radio! Seems a shame that the boat's not being used now, eh? ‘ Well Shaun talked about the Light Vessel number 18, which is anchored in the river and can be seen very clearly passing it on the ship from Stena Line, which I used for the crossing this time. The ship was used for several RSL’s during the last years. In 2002 it became Radio Mi Amigo during 28 days and the name is still painted on the ship. It is not known if the ship will be used again this year.

Shaun´s mother is recording programs for Shaun, so he can hear on a regular base radio from his home country. One of the programs he like a lot was the Keith Skues Show on Eastern Counties Radio. But during the last days he hadn’t too much fun. He wrote: ‘worrying development. Skues is now talking about the "Music Man" play out system in the BBC Norwich studio. If what I'm hearing is correct, he now has to pick most of his music from a ‘central’ play list put together by BBC Local Radio. You can sure hear a difference. Much more normal music can now be heard in the Skues program and not so many of the great old 40s-50s recordings. Mr Skues does not sound like a happy man.’ 

From Germany an e-mail came in asking for a searched person. Jorg-Clemens Hoffmann wrote: ‘Now I have a question. Two or three years ago I lost contact with my good friend Martin 0´Poultry from Amsterdam. He was operator of Radio Iris. Maybe you know this station, which broadcasted on SW and FM. Martin had closer contact with Johan Visser. Together with Johan and Martin I spent some enjoyable evenings in Amsterdam, way back in the early 80s. As I like to get in touch with Martin again I like to ask you if you have an e-mail address from Johan Visser, so I can contact him. Maybe he knows something about Martin. Many thanks for your help’. Well I hope Jorg can be in contact with Martin in some days. Who has the answer on his question can email him on jc-hoffmann@gmx.de

Around March 20th this month’s edition of the Radio Review arrived from England and yet Geoff Baldwin and his team succeeded in bringing a most informative bulletin. As a long time ago promised by Geoff, in this bulletin the very first episode of ‘TV Flashback’ of what he hopes becomes a regular feature. There are more than 10 pages going back in time with the high days of television. Good work and if you want a copy of the magazine I can advise you to sent 2 Pounds to Radio Review, PO Box 46 Romford, Essex, RM7 8AY England.

On the MV Mi Amigo we can mention that it was this month 19th that 23 years ago the good Old Lady sunk to the bottom of the Knock Deep, were rest in the sand. Ben Bode, who was not only the person behind the ill fated Radio Paradijs project in 1981 but also one of the people behind the rebirth of Radio Caroline in 1979, remembers the day: ‘ Is it really 23 years ago? Time goes by very quickly if you’ve your daily proportion of fun. I do remember very well that it was my ‘good friend’ Danny Vulsteke who heard that the ship was in problems he went to some potential advertisers to bring in some new money. And he did succeed although he knew that the station would not be on the air anymore the next day. We all know that in times of problems certain numbers were transmitted by the deejays. When I looked in our code list, in the studio in the Hague, I did found out that some of our food was out of store. We didn’t know that the English had changed the list again. But in the future minutes we found out that it was really a very bad condition, the MV Mi Amigo was in. We made contact with no one else than Tom van der Linden. Well people who followed the offshore radio world all know that he was one of the three persons who were sentenced after placing the bomb on the MEBO II in 1971. We made a plan to save the Mi Amigo. Tom was paid with 25.000 Dutch guilders and when he succeeded to save the ship he would get the same amount. He promised to get some stuff from the salving company Wijsmuller and he would rent the Tender Trip from Roos Company from Scheveningen to go out to the Mi Amigo. Well we never saw Tom back with results, either the money given to him. When hearing about the problems I was also very quickly on the phone with Ronan and the only comment he did give was ‘the lady will tell her self when she is ready'.

Then something about the Internet pages of my very good friend since 1978 (yes Bob we’ve something to celebrate next we meet again for a drink) Bob LeRoi. Every month Bob tries to make an update and just have a look again on his site for some wonderful new photos have been put into his scrapbook: www.bobleroi.co.uk.

I do remember very well the day Wolfman Jack suddenly died in 1995. I sat down that evening to write a long story about this wonderful deejay with the title ‘Heaven Radio’, an article which you can find in Volume 1 of www.soundscapes.info. It’s Andy Sennit who mentioned the following in his weekly Media Network Report from Radio Netherlands: ‘ The Texas city of Del Rio, on the border with Mexico, plans to erect a statue of the legendary disc jockey Wolfman Jack, who died in 1995 aged just 57. A miniature wax replica of the statue was unveiled on Saturday at a music festival held in his honour. The Wolfman, whose real name was plain Robert Smith, became a broadcasting legend in the 1960's. This with rock and roll shows on radio station XERF across the Mexican border in Ciudad Acuña. His trademark was his gravely voice and wolf howls, which became famous worldwide when he appeared in the 1973 film ‘ American Graffiti’. Of course Wolfman could also be heard on several songs during the years. ‘ 

Then the good news from the Van den Ende Foundation, which is grounded some years ago by Joop van den Ende, who became very rich by producing world wide television programs, and his wife Janine. They’ve given 400.000 Euro to the former Dutch NAA, nowadays ‘Museum voor Beeld en Geluid’ (Vision and Sound). This Museum is building a whole new complex in Hilversum, which must be ready in 2005. The complete building will cost 50 million Euro and will arise at the Media Park in Hilversum, where most of the broadcasting societies have their offices and studios. When it’s ready 150.000 people are expected to visit the museum on a yearly basis. 

On March 25th we heard for the first time since 1967 back on the radio Bob Lens. I know you’re thinking yourself ‘Who is Bob Lens’. Well those who have the opening program of Radio 227 on tape can hear him. He was only a few weeks onboard the Laissez Faire as ‘deejay’ had no future for him. In the early seventies he became known as illustrator for several album sleeves and still today he is famous for art and illustrations in several European countries. Today he was guest in the Radio 2 program ‘Theater of the Sentiment’ to talk about his album cover period. 

The latest listening figures in Holland give a lesser listener ship for Sky Radio during the period January/February. They lost 1% and have an average of 12.4%. But they have a strong competitor with Radio 2. This station lost 0,2% and have now also 12.4%. For the first time in many years Sky Radio doesn’t top alone. Another winner this time is Radio Noordzee FM, which made 1.2% more listeners and has now an average of 5.3%. This is the station bought by John de Mol jr and headed by Erik de Zwart.

And to close this edition the good news that after decades Hans Hogendoorn (Hans ten Hoge) on RNI can be heard on Saturday March 29th on Radio 192. He will present the Radio Noordzee Top 50 of 30 years ago.

I wish you all the best and as always let your memories, news and question come in. We all like to share them and have a nice April.

Hans Knot


 

Sunday March 23rd 2002

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Een commentaar door Rob Olthof (SMC):

MEER VAN HETZELFDE?

Je vraagt je af of de luisteraar gebaat is bij steeds meer van hetzelfde? Zoals bekend gaat de overheid tussen de golfoorlog perikelen, alsmede narigheid in de familie van Beatrix. Dit inzake een prinsesje wier moeder tegen bomen praat en een licht criminele echtgenoot heeft en dan ook nog de economische crisis in Nederland, ook nog wat FM frequenties verkopen aan de meest biedende. Dat wordt een feest straks! Er worden negen kavels verdeeld, die natuurlijk onder Sky Radio, Radio 538, Radio Noordzee,
Radio10 en Yorin FM verdeeld worden. Als ze mazzel hebben zit ook Classic FM goed. Volgens peilingen zou ook Nederlands talig het 'goed' doen, alsmede een nieuwsstation. Ik dacht dat wel Radio 1 al hadden? Merkwaardig is dat Nederlandstalig goed zou scoren. Holland FM is aan het 'succes' ten onder gegaan, maar misschien is niet alle hoop vervlogen voor Radio Nationaal. Tot in Polen kon met 'genieten' van André Hazes en de zijnen, maar er werd geen enkele commercial op dit station verkocht. 

37% van de luisteraars wil classic rock horen, dat zal je niet zeggen als je de toch nog wat teleurstellende cijfers van Arrow Classic Rock ziet. Wellicht dat dit met de AM frequentie te maken heeft. 19% van de luisteraars wil alternatieve rock horen, dat is in schril contrast met de luistercijfers van Kink FM, maar ja, die zit alleen maar op de kabel. 31 % wil vervolgens R&B horen en die komen dus wel aan hun trekken. De 20% country luisteraars ook wel via Country FM, maar waar blijft een easy listening station? De enquêteur houdt kennelijk niet van dit genre, want deze staat niet in het lijstje. Kennelijk vindt men dat Sky Radio aan deze behoefte voldoet. Echte easy listening luisteraars kunnen beter een schotel aanschaffen en naar Prime Time Radio luisteren (op 28 graden oost, precies die richting waar Radio Caroline ook met haar signaal op zit). 

Merkwaardig is ook dat als een commercieel station zou moeten afvallen alseerste Radio 10 sneuvelt en dan Yorin FM (aldus de zelfde enquête). De directie van Radio 10 zou eens met de directie van Radio 192 om de tafel moeten gaan zitten. Kennelijk heeft de luisteraar nu genoeg van de Arcade cd's die men continue draait. Maar er is hoop, want broeder John de Molheeft ook Radio10 opgekocht en vast en zeker zal hij wat coryfeeën opscharrelen op de populariteit van het station op te laten krikken. Dat opkrikken van luistercijfers zou ook op deze manier kunnen:

Wat dacht je van tante Trix voor het koffie-uurtje en Margareta en Roy Inbrekerstein voor de middaguren, kan ze mooi nog wat brieven tussen de platen voorlezen en iets vertellen over afluisterpraktijken bij haar familie. Gegarandeerd trekt dit luisteraars.

Dan 's avonds nog het programma Bedtime met Clinton en Monika Lewinsky die meteen hun laatste cd single 'Have a cigar my lovely' promoten. Zeker weten dat de populariteit boven die van Sky Radio uitkomt. Bolkestein zou nog een uurtje in de ochtend kunnen doen en meteen iets vertellen over de treurige beurskoersen. Succes verzekerd!

Mochten er té weinig FM-frequenties zijn voor de kleinere stations, dan kunnen die uitwijken naar de middengolf: de 1008, 675, 1395, 828, 1224, 891, 1332, 1035, 1584, 1602, 1485 en 1557 kHz gaan in de verkoop. Onbegrijpelijk dat de 747 kHz, waar nu een publiek station opzit waar echt niemand naar luistert, niet in de verkoop gaat. Voor Radio Caroline Nederland is een goede middengolf frequentie een manier om glorieus terug te keren en luisteraars aan zich te binden. Het zou mooi zijn als Sietse en Co. bijvoorbeeld de 828 of 1224 kHz zouden krijgen. Tenminste ¾ van Nederland zou hun signaal kunnen ontvangen, zeker als men er ook nog een lokale steunzender bij neemt: zoals bijv. de 1602 kHz voor Leeuwarden, de 1557 kHz voor Amsterdam en de 1485 kHz voor Den Haag. 

Gaat het toch nog gezellig worden. En als er dan toch nog wat geld overblijft zou men bijvoorbeeld. voor een goede Astra uplink kunnen zorgen, want het blikkerige geluid van Radio Caroline Engeland op de Eurobird gaat toch wel erg tegenstaan. Zelfs ondergetekende van 57 jaar hoort dat. Helaas blijkt nu dat de luistercijfers toch bedroevend zijn wat ik zo hier en daar hoor van de insiders. Misschien vindt Malcolm (Peter Moore) het allemaal best zo, kan de hele administratie op de achterkant van een postzegel. Beter zou zijn (als voor Caroline Nederland de beschikbare frequenties bekend zijn) Sietse nog een keer naar Londen gaat en dan tegen Malcolm zegt: wij zorgen voor de uplink en jullie nemen wat programma's md of cd op en wij zenden het uit. 

Leuk gedagdroomd Olthof: in de praktijk gebeurt dit niet en wel hierom niet: de horizon eindigt voor Engelsen aan de kust en op het continent wonen alleen maar bosjesmannen. Nooit lees je in een Engels tijdschrift over zeezenders over de prestaties va Nederlanders en Belgen, die notabene Caroline financieel op de been hebben gehouden. En nu in het satelliettijdperk doen de Duitsers het met hun gehuurde uurtjes! Malcolm is een aardig mens, maar geen manager. Misschien dat ooit Bob Leroi..

ROB OLTHOF

 

Saturday March 1st 2003

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Hans Knot reporting from the Dutch radio scene:

Well dear radio friends another month has gone and being a short month not too much news and gossip. Thanks for the enormous response on my last newsletter. Some of you will be mentioned (again). Most of you I've answered personally. 

On the evening that I was sending out all the reports last months it was very nice to see that the NOS Journaal, which is the official news bulletin from the public broadcasters, paid 4 minutes long attention to the fact that on the same day the program Candlelight was for the last time on Sky Radio. It is the longest running (it started 35 years ago on Radio Veronica) show on Dutch radio presented by the same man, Jan van Veen. Well not only the offshore radio station Veronica had Jan van Veen in the team but also the Dutch service of RNI in the early seventies. Jan, by the way, married one of the daughters of Dirk Verwey - one of the former Veronica directors who died a couple of years ago. 

Then Robin Ross responded on my request for television work: 'I am looking for radio work not television work. As they say I have a great face for radio. So if anyone has a vacancy in radio within England please contact Robin at: robinross@blueyonder.co.uk

Early February: And Robin, who told us last month that, following the words of one of his friends, the MV Communicator has now been registered with Cambodia and plans are afoot. Well Nozema still thinks the ship is owned by the American Company Clear Channel Communications. Rob van der Vegt, former Q-The Beat director, is back. He couldn't be found last month due to a holiday. From another source we hear that our earlier mentioned Englishman is not alone. Together with his partner O'Conner he should have paid the first amount of money for buying the Communicator. So hopefully one day it will become clear what will happen to the former Laser ship. 

Then it was Paul de Haan who responded: 'During last week I was from Wednesday up till Friday with my colleagues for a trainee course in Hotel Oranje at Noordwijk. Friday it was an excellent sunny day and on the horizon I saw, although on distance, the former REM Island. It's still standing there, after it was built almost 40 years ago. The 'Island' is still in use as a sort of weather and wind station. On my way back home I took a short break at the place where the MV Communicator is anchored and indeed it's very tragic to see it in these sad circumstances. As I read before it looks more and more like the circumstances in the seventies with the MV Galaxy, the former Radio London ship, which was anchored then in Hamburg harbour. As I read in the international report someone has plans for a museum on the ship. Well, in my opinion these are wild ideas and not attainable. One way Nozema can't give permission, as they're not the owners. Secondly someone who wants to open a museum on the ship will never get permission to have a big group of persons on the ship and thirdly there's a big asbestos problem on the ship. Warnings are everywhere inside the MV Communicator. It will cost a lot of money to get rid of it as well as rebuilding the ship into a good condition. I think that possibly we will never hear any more music from the former Laser ship and a better name then MV Non Communicator cannot be chosen.' If you haven't seen the site on Internet, which is run by Paul and his son Mark, go and get it. It tells a lot of the ships and the technical installations on the several radio ships, through the sixties, seventies and eighties of the last century: www.marine-broadcasters.com

But more people are focused on the MV Communicator. Ruud Poeze, former Radio Paradise land based station from Utrecht, was on the telephone and he stated that it wasn't a too big problem to buy the radio ship. He tried to hire the transmitter for the Christmas and New Year period but couldn't get it completely arranged due to the fact one of the people involved didn't want to give permission. I think personally he could hire the transmitter but couldn't get the money. Following Ruud's words it wouldn't be a problem with the owner, the quicker they get rid of the ship, the better. It's so cheap that everybody (well almost) can buy the ship, as it is cheap. But then comes the problem of the Nozema transmitter. The licence for the 1224 frequency is given away up till June 1st. Ruud thinks also that going to international waters with the ship is impossible, but he has other remarks than Paul Jan de Haan has: 'Juridical and technical it is impossible and we haven't talked yet about the maintenance which has to be done on the radio ship.'

Talking about Internet sites, we got an e-mail from the webmaster of another marvellous site on the history on Offshore Radio: 'I have now carried out the February update to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame. I have added ten more audio clips and some more photos; we hear from someone who worked on two offshore radio projects way back in 1960/1962 - before Radio Caroline was even thought of; there are more vintage press cuttings of Tony Prince's Caroline memories and a recording of Radio London on 277 metres (instead of the usual 266). Also there is news of a proposed TV documentary about Radio Scotland. All this and much more can be found at The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame: www.offshoreradio.co.uk'

Then our good old friend Roger 'Twiggy' Day responded. Of course he has a lot of memories to the good old days in Offshore Radio and he's still looking for two old shipmates. First of all he's looking for Carl Mitchell. He worked with Roger on Radio Caroline International on the MV Mi Amigo in 1967/1968 as well as on RNI - the MEBO II in 1970. I know that in the time between Carl Mitchell worked in Groningen city in the Discotheque 'Berenkuil'. After his period on Radio Northsea International Carl first went to Denmark again and later on he was in Canada. Present whereabouts unknown. So who will and can help us with information on Carl 'The weird beard' Mitchell? The second person who Roger Day is looking for is Lee Green. He was one of the crewmembers on the MV Mi Amigo and was working for the Wijsmuller Company from Baarn in Holland, the company which provided the crews for several radio ships in the sixties. 

A person whom I met for the first time on February 27th 1973 way back was then 17 years of age. I was going out to the MV Mi Amigo and this then young lad had to go too for his very first trip. He has a three-piece suit on and his name was 'Young' Paul Rusling. Almost every year we meet up and he sent in his response on last month report with some nice memories:

'I enjoyed seeing the pictures of the Communicator. I recognise the equipment of course - one nice Alice Chalmers generator I think that I bought for $9,000 cash at a hospital in London, and sent on a truck to Ireland to fit on the ship in New Ross! A good machine it was too! There is an interesting picture of me sat on the cables in my Lid Off Laser 558 book. 

Well of course I do remember Zeezenders 20, which was the very first offshore convention held in The Netherlands. Also, Noordwijkerhout that weekend was on the Honeymoon Tour of Paul and Anne Rusling, when they got married, 25 years ago this year.' Well before I do forget Anne and Paul congratulations with this silver marriage later this year in July. 

Nice to see that always old lads do remember little things. Here's what Paul wrote on the fact that Kord, an old Caroline man, had his own Radio Mi Amigo on the Canaries:

'Kord, yes, I remember him. A good helper he was then at the van-Hoogendorpstraat-16 studios. I think he got the carpet tiles for Chris Cary. He took me for the first time to the Post Office with big bundles of international reply coupons to get stamps, and also showed me a few bars too. I could show him a few now of course!'

And like nobody is perfect Paul wrote about a terrible mistake I made in my last report: 'And I see now that I am as good as Hans Knot, who makes my mistakes with the keyboard and shows Mike Bass as being Mike Batt. (Mike Batt was a very famous producer and musician in England in the 1970s, responsible for giving birth to The Wombles!)' Sorry for that one Paul! 

And referring to the nicknames we mentioned in last month's report: 'Graham finally mentioned Mike 'The Poet'. This was Michael Wall-Garland (his correct name, according to his passport) who sadly died in the mid 1970s by an accident in Italy. He came to the MV Mi Amigo as a diesel engineer (sent out by Chris Cary) and used to write poetry. So we got him to read it on the air sometimes. I still have him on tape with a nice short simple one.

'Caroline, it sounds fine
on 389 and 259
All alone in the great North Sea
Playing Music for you and me
when you hear our bell
stay on the line
Its your very own Caroline'

I still can hear his voice, quite a posh upper class voice, but a wonderful man. Very helpful.' Thanks Paul for sending this poem on the day that Holland had the annual national poetry day.

And Paul is planning to come to the Radio Day once again, this year for the 25th year in a row organised by Freewave Media Magazine and The Foundation for media communication. 

Paul about this event: 'Anyway, I did put the 'Radiodag' down in my Agenda and I will definitely be there in Rocktober. It will be good to see those old rogues once again and be entertained with some stories! Of course, by then I hope to be in Amsterdam on official business - measuring the signal strength on 279 KHz. 'Sounds Fine - 2 7 9'

Everybody must have seen the miss typing of Mick Luvzit's name. (I wrote Mike and Luvzitt) sorry for that. 

Keith Knight wrote us: 'A superb report as usual! Have you sampled my clip programme 'wireless waves' on my sound and vision site http://homepage.ntlworld.com/waffler/ it is in the current sound section?' Yes, I did Keith and I must say I enjoyed it truly. Next to some offshore sounds there are a lot of radio stations worldwide to be heard. Have a look on Keith's site. But there was more as he asked me: 'I don't suppose you could turn things round in 2003 and put the Ross Revenge back out to sea and run it efficiently and at a profit?' Well here is the answer I wrote back: 'If I would be rich I would buy a decent Dutch coaster built in Groningen, like the Peace ship. (I lived only 200 meter away from where the ship was in Groningen harbour for more than 4 years, before Abe bought it.) I would start two stations:
One oldies station and one very laid back middle of the road station. This as Radio 390 was one of my favourite stations.' And now Keiths answer to that: 'The Radio 390 format - fifteen to thirty minutes of music - could come back from the Isle of Man. Meanwhile try out the UK's talksport on am 1089, 1053, 1107 - not sure which will be the strongest in Holland. Between 8pm and 11pm on Saturdays (tomorrow!) Gerald Harper has a really good lounge music show Champagne and Roses - like he did on UK radio in the 70s for Capital FM - but even older music. I like rock up to date hits but also love oldies - even 78s from the 30s and 40s (I am 51).' So you see what kind of ideas he and I have on stations we would like today. Please give your comment.

There were nicknames not only for deejays but of course also for technicians. On the Veronica reunion in 1999 Sietze Gardenier met again old colleague Anneke and married her a year later. Yes 25 years after Veronica closed down as a radio station from international waters. It was Eddie Becker who remembered the nickname for Sietze, which was Sietze 'scharnier' Gardenier. And while writing this I do remember the nickname for Eddie himself 'Eddie Becker de man met de wekker'(The man with the alarm clock - as he did the breakfast show on Radio Veronica).

Greetings to all from Bob Noakes, above all to his former mates from the MEBO II and Mi Amigo. After his time on the Mi Amigo Bob found a living in Holland and still Amsterdam is his home. Bob and I stayed in contact all those years and now and then we hang on the phone line for 40 minutes to get informed from each other. Every year he visits the Radio Day so if anyone wants to meet him, Amsterdam can be the place on October 25th.

Concerning the stories about Ronan O'Rahilly and his connections with the Beatles it's this month Robb Eden who wants to add something to all what has been written before on this subject. 'You may also have heard that there was a period in the late sixties (just before Allen Klein took over), when Ronan effectively became the Beatles manager through his association with George Harrison.' Every now and then it's also mentioned that George made some cash flow so Ronan could go on with his beloved Radio Caroline. But another one writing in on my comments about Ronan wrote: ' I like your stuff on Ronan and Georgie Fame. You might want to add that Ronan's famous story about Caroline Kennedy is not true either: get the original "LOOK" magazine photo story and you will see that it was John John (who recently died in a plane crash) who was the focus of the magazine article: but "Radio John-John"? Doesn't sound too good, does it? Ronan made a lot of stuff up or he stretched the truth until it looked like pure fiction.' And who told the truth? Ronan, or the writer of this, Paul John Lilburne-Byford? 

And as we wrote about the death of Mike Bass, Robb added: 'Anyone who knew Mike Bass can add his or her thoughts at jacobsladder.org.uk. Robin Adcroft is busy writing a special piece. This will be posted as soon as received.'

Robb wants to inform all readers of the monthly report on his new music project that 'Surefire' is doing well. 'They were interviewed by Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of Iron Maiden, on his BBC 6Music show last Saturday. Also the group is interviewed on TotalRock and gig at The Borderline in London early February. The promoter at The Borderline is an old mate, Barry Everitt, who was on Radio Geronimo. Thanks for the newsletter. It keeps everyone informed of what's going on. Robb' Well thanks Robb. Barry Everitt, I do remember, made also a short stay at the MV Mi Amigo in the mid seventies.

One of the other former Mi Amigo guys is 'Morning lads' Johnny Lewis. We had our regular drink with each other in Whistable for many years and during the last years we didn't succeed to get a date. So Johnny made contact by mail to see when I'm over this year. He also told me about the current state of Radio Caroline England: 'Not too much going on with Caroline apart from loads of new computers have arrived in Maidstone and since Sky has been on the calls and e-mails have gone up over 200% or more. So let's see where we go from here! Best wishes Johnny.' And when I'm talking about Caroline I've to congratulate Peter Moore with his birthday on the 25th. Many years Malcolm!

Well some months ago I told you about the plans restarting a new Radio 227. The man behind this project is the former Radio Dolfijn and Radio 227 deejay Look Boden. Early February he made an update about the project and wrote: 'During the past period our handsome technicians have made many hours to get a good result for our transmissions on Internet. We're not totally happy but work goes on. Also the last technical activities in the studio are done. New MD-players are installed, also a new mixing table and a new software program. Pruko a specialised company from Sliedrecht has built our studio design. In the meantime also a jingle package has been produced to give us our own special sound. A few of the old Radio Dolfijn and Radio 227 deejays as well as some new ones have spoken with us for making programs. The names will be unfolded at a later stage. We hope to get permission from a few cable companies to get our signal on their network. It can take longer time than expected. UPC is now planning the period up till April 2004. Essent will make a planning in April and what Casema wants to do is unknown. Also we're looking into the possibilities to use a satellite channel, as well we're bidding for one of the new frequencies.' Let's hope Look and his friends will be successful. 

And that the international report has its former offshore deejays among the readers is known for some time. But one you haven't seen mentioned by me is a veteran. Way back in the sixties he worked on '242' or Radio Scotland. That's one of the more regional radio stations, which were active from international waters. Radio Scotland, funny enough, was reasonable receivable in the north of Holland (Groningen). I know from friends in the centre of Holland as well as Amsterdam, that they hardly could get a signal out of their tranny on '242'. Here are some very nice words Ben Healy wrote to me from Canada: 'Hi Hans: I want to let you know that you are a terrific source for news and information about offshore radio. You are a real gem so keep up the great work'. Healy who always started his program with 'Hi my name is Ben Healy. What's yours?'

Paul John Lilburne-Byford wrote me with a question, which I can't answer. Who does know more on the following subject. Paul John: 'Paul Rusling posted a history on Martin van der Ven's site of the Bacardi built offshore station that was involved a latter day reincarnation when it was bought by Sir James Goldsmith for use by his Referendum Party in the 1997 UK General Election. It was supposedly docked at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and to be brought to a point off Kent, where it would begin transmissions with a 100kW transmitter. I have asked Martin about this and his only source is Paul Rusling. We have other sources that we are following up, but as you could see from the letter to the DTI Insolvency Agency this story is very important to us and to me in particular. (The letter can be found on www.soundscapes.info under Volume 5.) Our other sources in Goldsmith's old party are checking for us, but do you know anything about this story? Any help that you can provide will be appreciated. 1) Have you heard this story before? 2) Did you get it from Rusling or from another source? 3) Do you have any additional information other than what Martin put on his site? So anyone who has more on the subject, please inform me on email: Hknot@home.nl

And then an e-mail came in from Johnny 'Pirate Memories'. He wrote: 'Hi there Hans, and thank you once again for a really good report. It was good to read about radio happenings in Holland and beyond. I see that very good photograph of Robin Ross, and the other DJ's when Radio Caroline came back on air in August 1983. I met and worked with Dave Simmons for a short while at Viking FM in Hull, England, where I was commercial production engineer at the time. He was a very talented broadcaster and very easy to get on with. He left in 1992, and I last heard that he was manager of a Hotel somewhere in Lancashire, England.'

What John however didn't know was that Dave Simmons never made it on the air on Radio Caroline. The photograph was shot at the press conference on board the Ross Revenge, a few days before the station came on the air. Stories are going that he went back with the tender to England due to the fact he wasn't happy with the fact that Dixie Peach was also in the deejay team. He should have made more than once comments on the fact Dixie was there. 

Lucky enough there are still those old DX'ers who want to listen either to far away stations on short wave or on AM. One of them is Herman Content from Belgium, who asked me to inform all of you on an Internet site:
http://users.pandora.be/hermanb/Emwg/index.htm

Jan van Jager is currently living in England and he also wants some publicity for a new radio project: 'I'm e-mailing from the the United Kingdom with some news, a new project is under way, it's going to be hard going to turn it into a reality, the job has just recently been started. What is the project? The return of 'The Voice of Peace', not from a ship as we are not that rich, we are just a group of people who are fed up with listening to the claptrap that's being spouted from news bulletins....and now feel it's time to voice the words of peace to all nations. We hope to be on a short-wave outlet via a 10kw relay service and thanks to other stations offering there support we relay via JRRI thanks must go to Joe who runs JRRI. This should be starting soon (details will be posted on our website soon). Our websites can be found at the following URL: http://radio-rainbow.tripod.com

Our group is not out to spread propaganda, it's to say to our respective governments. Please listen to us! No one is taking any notice of those who do protest marches in the name of peace there have to be another way to stop a war? We are a group of people, some out of work, some disabled, all believe in peace and the project. I must say via your pages, thank you so much Mike Brand for you help turn a project into reality. We would of liked to tell the original founder Abe Nathan, but we cant as Abe has had a second stroke and is not very good in health. We all send our wishes to him none the less, this is the idea that he started way back in 1969 and the original project actually took of in 1973. And in 2003 we are determined to continue the fight for a free and peaceful world, the more help we get the better. Respectfully, Jan Van Jager.'

Then something else about land based radio, although we could better speak about radio from pirates on land. From all broadcasts which are coming from the Dutch 'pirate police' 30% comes from Twente, just a small region in the east of Holland near the German border. A recent report showed that from the 2700 pirate radio stations, which have been active on the air in 2002 some 850 are from that area. The people living in that area are called 'the farmers' and they very proud of it. As far as possible they try to work as hard as they can during the week and celebrating far much harder during the weekend drinking and making music. And as you can see from the results a lot of radio transmitters are used for this. Maybe Peter Verbruggen, also reader of the monthly report, could write something about one of those stations for a future publication. Dutch pirate police stated that at one time it was almost impossible to listen to the public radio station Radio 1 in the surroundings of Enschede, the biggest town in Twente. Funny enough nobodies complained about the interference.

One of the regional radio stations in the Province of Zuid Holland, Radio West, will change the format from March 1st. They will only bring news and information during daytime. For the evening and nightly hours the computer will be a jukebox. In this way program director Jeroen Soer, whom we know as Jeroen Woelwater of Caroline days in 1979, thinks that the station can be more attractive for the listeners. However I think that he forgets all those elderly people who tune in a lot to their regional stations in the Netherlands.

Stuart wrote in and told me: 'Another nick name, if it qualifies. I don't think you will believe me, so again, I attach the proof. Johnnie Walker once called himself Rodney Fortesque.' Well thanks Stuart, the attached mp3, you've sent me, proofed you're 100% right. Well maybe Johnny can react and tell us why he mentioned himself Rodney Fortesque! The recording from Stuart was from late 1967, the period Johnny Walker could be heard on Radio Caroline International.

But there are more to mention. While listening to an very old program of Tony Allan on Radio Scotland he invited a fellow deejay to do some imitations and so I heard 'Jacko' Jack McLaughlin and 'Jacko, your main man' McLaughlin. Another one on Radio Scotland was Richard 'Loves Radio' Park, followed by Bob 'Your main man' Spencer. Maybe Ben Healy, who's a regular reader of the international report, can fill in with some more nick names from his former friends on board the MV Comet.

Congratulations to Grant Benson. Yes, he was on the MV Ceto for the Voice of Peace and on the Ross Revenge for Radio Caroline in his young days. This month he becomes 40 years, which he shall celebrate with family and friends in Watford. Grant lives and works at the Riviera with one of the many RTL stations in Europe and is very successful. You can listen to him in the evening on Internet:
www.hitchannel.tv/tuttiprogrammi.asp?pr=2

Mike Terry sent us a report on the activities of the Radio Communications Agency, which have been on search for illegal broadcasters. And of course they're right because they're paid for it. Mike sent us a report from the Evening Star in which was mentioned that a man has been convicted of running a pirate radio station from a base in the Black Country following a sophisticated surveillance operation. It's Ryan Evans, aged 27, of Kendal House, Oldbury, and he admitted breaching the Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1949, when he appeared before Dudley magistrates on January 31. He was given an 18-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £250. The court was told that officers from the Radio Communications Agency had managed to trace the unlicensed radio transmissions, from a pirate station named Groove FM, to an address in Clent Court, Dudley. The officers were able to secretly film Evans as he was installing transmitting equipment at the address. The Radio Communications Agency, which is an executive agency of the Department of Trade and Industry, last year carried out 1,042 operations against 209 pirate radio stations in the UK resulting in a total of 49 people being prosecuted.

But he brought in also some other news from ARNewsline: A United States appeals court has upheld as constitutional a law that bans a pirate broadcaster from ever obtaining a license for a low-power FM radio station. In fact, it bars a current or former pirate broadcaster from even being involved with a station. In its action, the full court reversed a ruling last year by a three-judge panel of a court that had struck the law down. By a 7 to 1 vote it ruled the law and the government regulations implementing it do not violate free speech rights under the First Amendment. Back in 2001 Congress mandated that the FCC adopt rules to ban anyone who had been a pirate broadcaster or currently was broadcasting illegally from obtaining a license for a new low-power station. The appeals court appears to have taken this one step further in banning any affiliation but current or former pirates with a legitimate FCC licensed broadcast operation.

People at the commercial radio station Sky Radio, including director Ton Lathouwers (way back in 1980 Hans Verlaan, the last Dutch deejay ever on Caroline before the MV Mi Amigo sunk), must be very happy. They have a 10.6 million different listeners, who tune in on a regular base. This figure comes from a recent research done by Intomart. Radio 538 became second with 7.9 million. Radio 1, one of the public radio stations, became third with 7.7 million. Radio 10 I finally like to mention, as this station is also popular in England and Ireland. They reached an average of 5.3 million different listeners (the foreign ones not counted). This result is still a very good one.

Since 18th of February, after earlier close down of the signal on the cable network UPC, Radio Caroline in Holland, has also closed down on the Essent cable network. This one was one the most important one with million plus connection. Reason is that the station hasn't the money to go further with these transmissions. It opened in a glorious way more than a year ago but as the Dutch government still has no made a decision for reschedule the frequencies more and more stations are getting in financial problems. Advertisers as well as investors don't want to pay for transmissions on cable net works. Now Dutch Caroline can only be heard on Internet. 

Let's take one historical view in my photo archive for a moment. This photo shows the transmitter room of the MV Nannell. One of the ships which failed to bring us real radio. On the photo, which is taken by Tom de Munck in the Eighties, you also see José van Groningen, for many years working on Veronica and later for Laser as well as the people behind the MV Nannell.

In the middle of February in other countries apart from Holland a TV program could be followed which was called 'Het beste van Nederland' (the best of Dutch TV) in which for 30 minutes the new programme director of Radio Noordzee (yes the land based version from John de Mol jr.) was interviewed. The PD is Erik de Zwart (Paul de Wit on Radio Caroline) and he told very honestly that one time (1979) he shared cabins and the same radio ship where Jeroen Soer (Jeroen Woelwater) and Ruud Hendriks (Rob Hudson) worked. Both have also become millionaires in Holland with their radio work. Of course not forgetting that Ruud was one time boss at NBC in London. Never forget I did met him in those days in the White Horse in Parsons Green during dinner time. He was constantly phoned and so dinner was short, as he had to go. But coming back to Erik he told in the program that the only demonstration he had been to was the one which was held on April 18th 1973 in the Haque in support of the offshore radio stations and against the plan of the Dutch government to close down those. Hope Erik will succeed in making a big station out of the new Radio Noordzee.

Then we got an email from Alex Jenkins who thinks he can find a record, played a lot on Radio Veronica and RNI in the seventies by writing in the following: 'Some time ago I managed to obtain a copy of the Continental Uptight Band's single 'Out On The Ride'. I am not sure who sent it to me. However I have had a very unfortunate accident with my PC and have sadly lost all of my audio recordings. Does have anyone a copy of this song, if so could you please e-mail me a copy in MP3? If you have please email Alex at: alex.jenkins1@ntlworld.com

He also wrote that recently he joined the team at Weekend Music Radio, 7526 KHz, who are probably the longest running unlicensed station in the UK having been broadcasting regular programming since the early 70's, and still going. I wish Alex and the whole team at WMR a lot of success for the decades to come.

There are talks between the people from the local radio station Stadsradio The Hague and those of the regional radio station Radio West. The town government of the Hague, which is after Amsterdam and Rotterdam at place three in Holland, when we do talk about inhabitants, wants the local station to survive. As it's in constant financial problems during the past years they want to see if it's possible to get the station under the wings of the regional station. Jeroen Soer, director of Radio West, stated that there are talks but he didn't want to go into details. The only thing he stated was that it has nothing to do with the rescheduling of programs on Radio West, which is currently worked on.

Then we had an e-mail from Michael Klosinski from Germany who wants everybody to know that his internet station can now be heard on several hours a week. Michael is a real anorak from Viersen in Germany and go to his site for total information and transmission schedule:
http://www.wfcc-media-service-company.com

The directors of he Financial Daily (Financieel Dagblad) have made the decision to buy the complete shares from Business News Radio to become the owners of the station from March 1st. Next to the radio station the company runs the Financial Daily as printed media as well as a internet site. With the three media together they think to bring a fast and honest information flow to listeners and readers as the editorial staffs of the three can work very close together and share the info which each other.

It was an e-mail from Steve Szmidt which exactly brought what I thought about the return of Radio Caroline, on Friday February 21 on the digital Sky. 'Almost to the minute that they disappeared from the Sky 28 degrees satellite platform, two weeks previously, UK Radio Caroline returned at 11.20 hours (GMT) on Friday the 21st February 2003. Unfortunately the frequency has changed, thus wasting all of the previous publicity (newspaper articles, fans making family, friends and work colleagues aware etc.). Also features in current publications in the market place will cause confusion and are a lost opportunity. The new frequency is 11.585 GHz, Polarity Horizontal, Symbol Rate 27,500, FEC 2/3. Caroline Sales are planning a 'Caroline on Sky Campaign' by distributing flyers (leaflets), so hopefully the new frequency will be more permanent than what 11623 was! For details of how to obtain Black and White copies of these write to: Caroline Sales, 148 Grange Road, Ramsgate, Kent. CT11 9PR or for a colour version see the attached or email Barry Crompton at barry@crompton.evesham.net.

Probably to coincide with the launch of two new Worldspace receivers, UK Radio Caroline will be encryption free for one month starting the 1st of March 2003. The new receivers are a welcome. One is at a much needed price point of £99 GBP, for a basic single speaker mono model (Stereo through an earphone/external line socket, if the broadcasts are in Stereo) and a more expensive two speaker stereo model. Both models feature a normal AM/FM receiver. It is disappointing that there is no Long Wave, for reception of a certain new radio station from the Isle of Man, planning to launch later this year! For more details visit the Worldspace website at www.worldspace.com

By the way the reason Caroline was off air for two weeks had nothing to do with the technical uplink between the WRN building in Vauxhall and the GPO Tower in the DockYards in London. The reason was that the first frequency was given away to another organisation than Caroline at an earlier point of time. So I think a little bit of mismanagement at Sky. If you want to see recent photographs of the studios in Maidstone I can advice you at the new pages from Peter Messingfeld, who was in Kent recently: www.travelseries.de/trav2003/trav03_1.htm
When I go back thinking about the radio I liked in the early seventies, next to RNI, I must agree that I've listened a lot to the programs of BBC Radio One and still in my archive are a lot of recordings from that year. When you want to go back to the good old radio of those Radio One days, I suggest having a look on the Internet site: www.radiorewind.co.uk

And talking about BBC it's good to hear that DLT, or Dave Lee Travis, had found his way on the Sunday mornings where he can be listened on BBC Three Counties Radio from 9 up till 12 in the morning.

Together with Leen Vingerling (idea) and some other people I'm working on a new item for this international report as well as for The Soundscapes Journal (www.soundscapes.info). We try to make a list of people who have worked in offshore radio and also have done stints on television. And that means not that you've to be seen in on television but also announcers and voice-overs. If so, please let me know at my e mail address: HKnot@home.nl

Talpa Radio International BV, part of the investment company from John de Mol jr, will make a deal with The Foundation Management and Publishing Company Wegener to buy 100% shares of Radio 10FM. Already for more than a year the radio station was for sale. It is not know yet if the format will be changed. Talpa Radio International bought a few months ago Noordzee FM. And bringing some memories back on the RNI days of Johnny de Mol, here's a photo of one of RNI tenders, the Trip Tender.

And just before ending this international report, which I did around 11 o'clock PM on Thursday 27th of February, I got a phone call from a person who told me that he heard that on Friday Morning the Nozema, which is partly responsible for the transmitters in use in Holland, will start on Friday morning to get all their equipment, including the transmitters, from the MV Communicator. The ship, rumours are going, has been sold for scrap. I couldn't get a confirmation late in the evening, so next month more on this subject.

And finally I would like to invite you to the latest update from the site of Paul and Mark de Haan in Holland. In their update they bring a wonderful page about 'Why the computer killed real radio?' Have a look at: http://www.marine-broadcasters.com/links%205.htm

As always, if you've any news or you want to share your memories with us, just write to me at:
HKnot@home.nl

Greetings and till next month

Hans Knot


 

News Archive:

25th December 2002 to 14th February 2003

11th September to 10th December 2002

18th July to 1st September 2002

29th May to 12th July 2002

 

 

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