Anyone remember Square One?
This is Radio Caroline’s 648 kHz omnidirectional mast in Orfordness, originally a spare mast for BBC’s directional 648 service aimed at mainland Europe (see 4 of the 5 masts in the background). It’s professional build, perfect tuning and grounding plus its position near the sea make it the perfect antenna to get the most out of Caroline’s limited 1 kilowatt, enabling the signal to cover large parts of the UK as well as all of the Netherlands and other parts of mainland Europe.
Josie Lawson… I loved listening to Radio Caroline..
Nick Prince… You can again
Tiffany Barton… Retro sound is so much better. I listened in Aberdeenshire and so excited to hear on 648.
Alan Wood… Driving around with caroline on ,,who would have believed it !!!!!! Makes me forget I’m an old fart !!
Josie Lawson… thanks Nick but I haven’t got A.M. now. Only FM and DAB on my RNIB radio. Can it be found on the iPad anywhere’s?
Jim Breeds… Josie, Listen on their website. http://www.radiocaroline.co.uk/#home.html
Andre Palfrey-martin collection
Andre Martin….Dateline: 19.00hrs [BST] 27 March 1964 – read on………………….
Birth of Pirate Radio in Britain – April 1964
Fifty three years ago, the radio world was going to be changed forever for the listeners in the United Kingdom. In the February of 1964, Irish musician manager and businessman Ronan O’Rahilly obtained the 702-ton former Danish passenger ferry, Fredericia, which was converted into a radio ship at the Southern Irish port of Greenore.
The Fredericia was renamed MV Caroline [after the daughter of the late President Kennedy] On 26th March the MV Caroline set sail under the command of Captain Baeker. Her destination was given as Spain. A Royal Navy destroyer inspected the MV Caroline as she passed Plymouth. On Good Friday – Friday, 27 March 1964, at 18:00 hours the MV Caroline dropped anchor off the coast of Felixstowe, Suffolk, and started test transmissions. The following day – Saturday, 28 March, broadcasting regular programming started at 12 noon on 197 meters on the medium wave band (announced as 199 meters)
The official opening was undertaken by Simon Dee. And the first programme, which had been pre-recorded, was hosted by Chris Moore. The first record that was played on Radio Caroline was “Not Fade Away” by The Rolling Stones. Radio Caroline’s first musical theme was Jimmy McGriff’s “Round Midnight”, a jazz standard co-composed by Thelonious Monk. In March 1964, Birmingham band The Fortunes recorded the song “Caroline”, which later became the station’s theme song. The station’s slogan was “Your all-day music station”.
Broadcasting hours were between 6 am and 6 pm to avoid competition from Radio Luxembourg. After its 6 pm close-down, the station returned to the air at 8 pm and continued until after midnight. This was to avoid direct competition with popular television programmes
What was on offer to the young people in Britain when Radio Caroline launched? It must be remembered that, the Radio Networks were under state control, and the amount of time allowed each day for “recorded music”! ie record was about 5 hours spread across all the networks – Light Programme, Home Service and Radio Three. Because of this restriction much of the music provided was “live” performance or recorded programmes, ie bands, groups and singers. The main competition would have come from Radio Luxemburg broadcasting from the Grand Duchy of Luzemburg, and not being subject to British Laws – the English service was using a lot of pre-recorded programmes, all being sponsored by one of the major record labels, ie DECCA, EMI, PYE etc. It had been because of this “ closed shop” policy that Ronan O’Rahilly had started “ pirate radio” he wanted to promote a Georgie Fame single – but could not break the hold of the big companies and let the independent record labels have air time.
A typical weekends broadcasting would have looked something like this – let’s look first at Saturday – 8.00-10.00 Children’s Choice : 10.00 – 12.00 Saturday Club with Brian Matthews featuring some current pop records, studio recordings and live bands : 13.00-13.30 Jack Jackson and then from 13.30 onwards to about 18.00 –Sports afternoon. The evening would have been made up of musical, comedy and concerts.
Sundays – 9.00 – 10.00 Children’s Favourites: 10.30 – 11.30 Easy Beat with Brian Matthews, records, studio recordings and live bands: 11.31 – 12.00 Religious Service: 12.noon – 13.30 Two Way Family Favourites – BBC London and BFBS[British Forces Broadcasting Service] Cologne [Koln Germany] record requests and dedications – we still had service personnel stationed throughout the world: 13.30 – 14.00 Billy Cotton Band Show, Variety show: 14.00-14.30 Comedy – Navy Lark, Hancock etc.. also on a Sunday afternoon you would have “Top of the Pops” with Fluff – Alan Freeman, another regular show was “Movie Go Round” and of course “Sing Something Simple”
About the only other legal radio source of popular music would have been if you had been lucky enough to be able to tune into American Forces Network – the sources were Holland and France, but this was very much hit and miss as it was dependent on the atmospheric conditions and direction of the transmission – there were only a few US bases in Britain, and they would not have been allowed to broadcast in UK because of the GPO.
Jim Breeds… Worth noting that Caroline is still ‘on the air’ at http://radiocaroline.co.uk/#home.html and occasionally on 1368kHz if you’re in the north.
Alan Esdaile… I was listening to a great show from Clive Garrard last week.
Robert Searle… The very first day Radio Caroline aired,I heard Simon Dee show,it was the first time I actually heard a Bob Dylan record on the radio.
Eric Harmer… I think Simon Dee’s parents lived in Westfield Lane.
Graham How… It certainly is Simon Dee!
Coastal Ham Radio https://coastalhamradio.wordpress.com… guess for its day it “dared to go where…..” well you know the rest. Hard to imagine it just celebrated its 53rd birthday.
cutting supplied by Sarah Harvey
Sarah Harvey….February 3rd, 1968 – Seeing as The Fortunes returned to Hastings January 17th last year (This time at The White Rock Theatre for their ‘Past And Present’ show)…. I wonder if this was the last time they appeared in Hastings? Anyone know? Apparently they played in Battle, one of the band members tell me.
Gary Kinch…. ….it’s a storm in a teacup. Great sing along pop stuff.
Mick O’Dowd…I have Great Expectations every week but I still can’t win the Lottery!
Barry French… Hi Sarah, Yes the Fortunes did play at “Battle Rocks” about four years ago. Not sure if there were any original members still in the band, but the keyboard player was from Bad Finger & I believe the drummer was from Love Affair.
supplied by Kevin Carlyon
Kevin Carlyon… Used to print these for myself to give out to people in 1977/1978. It got around the law by advising people not to listen!! I printed thousands to distribute.
Jan Warren… No, don’t remember the flyers as I moved to London in early 1974, but I remember the pirate radio stations in the 60s, especially Radio Caroline, and all the “jingles”!! – happy days!! 🙂
Leigh Wieland Boys… I am sure a local Hastings lad (friend of my brother’s) possibly called Dave Cox? Became a DJ with Radio Caroline – does that ring a bell with any one?
Andre Martin…. Thought for today – For those who remember – today say the end of many of the off-shore radio stations, under the Marine Offences Bill – 14 August 1967 was the date and our choice of music supplier was restricted by Government Application of the Law – a sad day. Would radio in this country have been any better if Radio Caroline, London etc had been given broadcasting licences and allowed on land !- Big L closed down at 3.00pm but Radio Caroline kept going. Here are some memories from the Big L Final Day.
photo source http://www.offshoreradio.co.uk: Spangles Muldoon in the Radio Northsea International studio in 1970. Photo from the ‘RNI-book’ published by Hit-Publications, Switzerland.
Nick Prince… Spangles Muldoon also had a very short period on Radio Luxembourg. Still didn’t we all. Lol. Chris Carey also worked on Radio North Sea International and Radio Nova. He died in 2008 following two massive strokes.
Mick O’Dowd… Wasn’t he a Caroline DJ? I think Andre might have info on that.
Andre Martin… Hi I promoted this at the Regent Hotel, we renamed this the Broken Wheel for a short while and Spangles who was real name Chris Carey, living in Cambridge at the time. Paul was also involved in this project. the advert is for the first night, I have to say that it did not pull too many punters. Another little piece of the Past. Mick – your quite right, we also did a couple of gigs for us at Bluies-Canterbury around the same time as this. He was ex Radio Caroline South.He ended up working for commercial radio in Ireland.
source: Euan Walker – Growing up in U.K. in the 50’s/60’s
Thanks to Barry Newton for finding this.
Gary Sykes… Yeah, used to listen to Caroline on a small transistor radio in my bedroom living in Ramsgate.
Ernest Ballard… Great radio station from my youth x
Martyn Baker… “Loving Awareness” (not completely sure what is was, but it sounded good – and could be used as a chat up line!) was the theme to my Hastings summer c.1976. Klaatu featured heavily on Caroline that summer.
Nigel Goodman… Ex grimsby trawler the Ross Revenge.
Joe Knight… NOW 65 HA!!ha!!
Mick O’Dowd… Those were the days my friends!
Josie Lawson… I do. My dad bought me His Masters Voice transistor radio from a shop along the seafront near London Road called Attwells. From then I loved listening to Radio Caroline…
Philip John… Back in the day I joined a group set up by Ronan O’Rahilly called ‘Broadside Free Radio’ in support of Radio Caroline and we walked from Edinburgh to London. Stopping off at various places along the way for public meeting and to get our petition signed in support of the Pirate stations, finally delivering it to Buckingham Palace to hopefully be viewed by her Majesty. Didn’t change a thing.
Andre Martin… NUMBER ONE on Radio Caroline w/c 8th January 1966 – 50 YEARS AGO !
Judith Monk… loved this one
Alan Esdaile… Yes like this.
Geoff Peckham… I bought this a day or two after its release at a record shop in Queens Road – don’t remember which one. Loved it! It must have been the bass intro!
Mike Curtis… And the fuzz-box guitar. If that’s what it was!
Andre Martin… Great sound to start the great year of 1966.