Editor :- Roland C. Pearson. Editorial Office:
Sub-Editors :- Ineke Jager & 31, Avondale Road,
Penelope Page. Benfleet.
Technical Adviser :- Don Scott. Essex SS7 1EH,
Circulation Officer :- Diane Foale. ENGLAND.
Issue Number 5.
Price 12p (Overseas 3 IRC's)
EDITORIAL. The first, and most important, thing to say in this, the fifth issue of "Monitor" is 'WELCOME BACK RADIO CAROLINE/SEAGULL:' We do appreciate your great efforts, boys; let's hope it is a permanent Return this time. Once again, Ronan, more thanks to you than words can ever express.
Readers in South Essex: will no doubt have noticed that "Monitor" has been mentioned in the "Evening Echo" (Sept. 19th and the "Southend Standard" (Sept. 27th). Many thanks to the respective Editors; and to reporter John Ellegard and photographer Roger Nadal for their most capable efforts.
All "Monitor" staff would like to thank our sub-editor Ineke Jager for the hard work she has put in on the magazine during her 18 months in England. Best of luck with your new job in Den Haag, Ineke!.
So now let us delay you no longer. Here is the 3rd thrilling- instalment of the Caroline ‘'73 adventures; you'll also find within our pages articles about Belgian radio, RNI, Britain's new commercial network, and, as they say in the trade, much, much, more! Good reading, and happy listening in 1974.
In the second episode of this account I covered events up to the opening of Radio Atlantis on July 15th. Now for the full story which has since come to light. Mr. Adriaan van Landschoot, a 25 year old Belgian financier and the man behind Atlantis, had negotiated a 3 month contract with the Caroline organisation for the use of their 259 metre transmitter for thirteen hours per day. He was to provide all the programmes on tape and these would be recorded in his own studios in Oostburg, a small town in the South of Holland near the Belgian frontier. Press coverage in Britain of this news was understandably sparse, but on July 18th both the "Daily Express" and the "Sun" reported that Radio Caroline was back on the air' Then on July 19th the "Times" printed an item about Radio Atlantis and the Belgian Government. Incidentally, the English-language "Holland Herald" Volume 8 No. 3 contained an illustrated article entitled 'Mutiny on the Caroline'. The commencement of Radio Seagull on July 24th was briefly reported on page 16 of our last issue: this station, also on 259 metres, catered in the main for lovers of progressive music. Broadcasting live programmes in English nine hours a day it could be heard nightly between 21.00-06.00 BST/CET, whilst Atlantis utilised the same transmitter for its Flemish programmes that were broadcast from 06.00-19.00 BST/CET.
A good example of a day's programming at this time was that of July 25th. (Atlantis) 06.00-07.00 Non-stop music, 07.00-09.00 Luk van Kapellen, 09.00-11.00 Bert Bennett, 11.00-12.00 Peter van Dam, 12.00-14.00 Tony Houston, 14.00-16.00 Joop Verhoof, 16.00-18.00 Peter van Dam, 18.00-19.00 Luk Van Kapellen. (Seagull) 21.002;.00 Andy Archer, 24.00-03.00 Barry Everett, 03.00-06.00 BST Norman Barrington. Technical problems were evident on July 28; continuous music was played instead of the usual Radio Atlantis programmes, and there were several breaks in transmission. Radio Seagull opened up on time, but broadcasting ceased at 21.11BST. The trouble was due to cracks suddenly appearing in one of the three large ceramic insulators at the base of the new antenna mast. Throughout the following day silence reigned on the 259 metre airwaves, but on the morning of July 30th uninterrupted music could be heard on the channel, and twelve noon saw the resumption of normal Atlantis programming. On Aug. 4 th the Dutch newspaper "De Valkskrant" printed a full page account about Radio Atlantis plus photographs of Adriaan van Landschoot with his wife Janine, and also the "Mi Amigo".
The next major milestone in the history of Caroline occurred on Aug. l0th when the Station Mananer Chris Cary, better known as Spangles Muldoon, and his wife Kate parted company with the organisation after bang in charge of the office for very nearly twelve months. The running of Caroline House was now left in the arable hands of Charlotte Ribbelink, a glamorous 18 year old Dutch girl. Charlotte had joined the staff as a secretary some six weeks earlier on June 25th. Mean while out on the "Mi Amigo" things ,were proceeding smoothly, a typical 24 hours transmission during this era was Aug. 16th, which ran as follows:- (Atlantis) 6.00~07.00 Non-stop Music,
07.00-09.00 Luk van Kapellen, 09.00-11 .00 Bert Bennett, 11.00-12.00 Luk van Kapellen, 12.00-14.00 Tony Houston, 14.00-16.00 Joop Verhoof, 16.00-18.00 Bert
Bennett, 18.00-19.00 Alfred van den Bos. (Seagull) 21.00-23.00 Andy Archer, 23.0024.00 Bob Noakes, 24.00-03.00 Hugh Nolan, 03.00-06.00 John Farlow. A noteworthy fact that might have escaped the listening audience was that Seagull DJ's Barry Everett & Hugh Nolan had both previously worked for Radio Geronimo, so were no strangers to the broadcasting scene. On Aug. 17th Andy Archer opened up Seagull at 20.00 BST, one hour earlier than the previous day, but before commencing his programme he introduced listeners to an unexpected visitor whom he had in the studio, it was none other than Charlotte, who had decided to come out to the boat for a tour of inspection. After assuring herself that everything was okay on board she returned to shore an hour later on the tender that had brought her.
At about this time Wil van der Steen, another ex-Caroline Dutch Service DJ, joined the staff of Radio Atlantis, however, his role on this occasion was that of studio technician. He had, back in 1964, served as a technician on the REM island. For the remainder of the month of August things proceeded uneventfully; the big Continental-Electronics Type 317C 50 kW transmitter was performing perfectly on high power, and quality-wise its signal was first rate. A further example of the programmes at this stage shows that few fundamental alterations had taken place, I quote from Aug. 30th. (Atlantis) As Aug. 16th, except for following changes:- 11.0012.00 Joop Verhoof, 16.00-18.00 Alfred van den Bos, & 18.00-19.00 Luk van Kapellen. (Seagull) 21.00-23.00 Bob Noakes, 23.00-01.00 Andy Archer, 01.00-03.00 Barry Everett, 03.00-05.00 Phil Randall, 05.00-06.00 BST Continuous Jazz Music. Rough weather prevented the delivery of the Atlantis programme tapes for Saturday Sept. 1st, so instead, we were treated to a day of non-stop music with Andy Archer presenting live shows between 10.00-12.00 & 13.00-16.00. Seagull broke new ground on Sept. 10th when at 21.00 BST a programme entitled "Beatle Special" was heard - nine solid hours of Beatle records, these were introduced by Norman Barrington from 21.00-23.00, Andy Archer from 23.00-01.00, and Norman again between 01.00-06.00 BST. Food poisoning struck the "Mi Amigo" on Sept. 11th, and both Captain Meyer and Andy Archer had to be taken off by tender for medical attention, fortunately their attacks proved to be of a mild variety and they quickly recovered.
Andy was fit enough to return to the boat on Sept. 14th, and with him on the tender came Johnny Jason, who was to join the team of Seagull DJ's. That evening at 21.00 BST Andy welcomed Johnny to the station before handing over the programme to him for the next three hours. Programmes for Sept. 17th were as follows:- (Atlantis) 06.00-07.00 Non-stop Music, 07.00-09.00 Alfred van den Bos, 09.00-11.00 Bert Bennett, 11.00-12.00 Joop Verhoof, 12.00-14.00 Tony Houston, 14.00-17.00 "Top 40" Tony Houston & Luk van Kapellen, 17.00-18.00 Joop Verhoof, 18.00-19.00 Luk van Kapellen. (Seagull) 21.00-24.00 Johnny Jason, 24.00-03.00 Andy Archer, 03.00-06.00 BST Baas. On Sept. 17th Radio Seagull featured two more groups, between 21.00-24.00 Johnny Jason presented the "Rolling Stones Special", and from 24.00-03.00 Andy continued in a similar vein with the "Moody Blues Special" finally, Baas contributed a programme of Dutch Rock between 03.00-06.00 BST. The tender on Sunday Sept. 23rd brought back Tony Allan, who since leaving Radio Caroline in February had been working in the Mediterranean on board "The Voice of Peace"; the tender also brought out the new relief skipper, Captain Roos.
An important event occurred on Saturday Sept. 29th. A completely new Belgian company had been active behind the scenes and had purchased one of the two unused hours between 19.00 BST when Radio Atlantis programmes terminated, and 21.00 BST when the shows of Radio Seagull started. The first of their own taped programmes was transmitted from 19.00-20.00 BST. "Joepie" was the name given to the station, and their DJ was Bart van de Iaar, who was assisted by a technician called Eddie; while the wavelength was given out as 385 metres: The station was on the air again at the same time the following evening, once more Bart van de Laar was the DJ, but on this occasion he gave the call-sign as "Station 385". No one could have foreseen that disaster would strike the "Mi Amigo" twice within the space of twelve months, but at 13.41 BST on the afternoon of Oct. 1st the newly erected 180 ft. mast, weakened by a weekend of gale-force winds, came crashing down leaving only a 26 ft. section still standing. Mercifully none of the crew members or DJ's were injured, and no structural damage was sustained by the ship. The "Evening News" in their Stop Press on Oct. 2nd reported that Radio Caroline was in danger of sinking! Not to be outdone, the "Sun" on Oct. 3rd printed an account which stated that Radio Caroline was missing with 12 people on board!!.
For the next two days all broadcasting was stopped. During this time Chicago rigged up a temporary aerial that consisted of four wires in parallel strung from what remained of the old antenna to the 15 metre high after mast, which was then linked via a feeder cable to one of the Continental-Electronics Type 316B 10 kW transmitters. Had Chicago continued to operate the 50 kW transmitter he would have undoubtedly overloaded the makeshift aerial system. Everything was ready for use by Oct. 4th, and the first test started at about 07.00 BST and it continued until 11.32 BST. In between the Beatle records that were played during this transmission idents were given by
Norman Barrington & Johnny Jason, and "Mi Amigo" crew members Peter, Hans, Jan & Jaap all took a turn at making announcements in Dutch. That night the programmes of Radio Seagull re-started, and by the following morning Radio Atlantis had returned to 259 metres and this too was now broadcasting normally, On Saturday Oct. 6th "Joepie"/ "Station 385" reappeared with their third one-hour programme, the only difference being that the station had changed its name yet again and was now calling itself Radio Mi Amigo. A well-written article concerning the radio-ship "Mi Amigo" and the various stations that broadcast from her was included in the October 6th issue of "Sounds".
A run-down of the programmes for Oct. 7th makes interesting reading, for it reveals that all but twenty-five minutes of air-time on Sundays was now being used. (Atlantis) 06.00-07.00 Non-stop Music, 07.00-09.00 Mire Moorkens, 09.00-11.00 Bert Bennett, 11.00-12,00 Joop Verhoof, 12.00-14.00 Tony Houston, 14.00-17.00 "Top 40", 17.00-18.00 Joop Verhoof, 18.00-19.00 Mike Moorkens. (Radio Mi Amigo) 19.00-20.00 Peter van Dam (1st programme) aided by Eddie. Dominee Toornvliet, the 'Pirate Vicar' was heard between 20.00-20.35. (Seagull) 21.00-24.00 Johnny Jason, 24.00-03.00 Tony Allan, 03.00-05.00 Bob Noakes, 05.00-06.00 BST Continuous Music, From Monday October 8th Radio "Mi Amigo programmes were transmitted daily between 19.00-20.00 BST instead of at weekends only, as had previously been the case. The supply of taped programmes for Radio Atlantis began to run out on October 9th, and non-stop music had to be substituted between 11.00-13.00 & 14.00-19.00 BST, by the 10th it had dried up completely and non-stop music was played all day. The 10th was also notable for a midweek edition of Dominee Toornvliet, this was aired from 20.00-20.36 BST. Throughout Oct. 11th & 12th there was again non-stop music in lieu of the regular Radio Atlantis programmes; the Radio Mi Amigo slots for these two dates also consisted of continuous music.
October 13th saw further changes. To overcome the problem caused through the non-arrival of fresh Radio Atlantis material, shows that had been broadcast before over the station were repeated, and during the day even a couple of Radio Mi Amigo programmes were slipped in to help fill up the gaps. Thus the day's schedule ran as follows:- 06.00-07.00 Non-stop Music, 07.00-09.00 ?, 09.00-10.00 Alfred van den Bos (Repeat of Oct. 1st show), 10.00-11.00 Non-stop Music, 11.00-12.00 Joop Verhoof (Repeat), 12.00-13.00 Bart van de Laar (Radio Mi Amigo show), 13.00-14.00 Tony Houston (Repeat), 14.00-15.00 Jeep Verhoof (Repeat), 15.00-16.00 Non-stop Music, 16.00-17.00 Peter van Dam (Radio Mi Amigo show), 17.00-18.00 Alfred van den Bos (Repeat), & 18.00-19.00 BST Non-stop Music. The next day, Sunday the 14th, is also worth quoting in detail.- (Atlantis) 06.00-07.00 Non-stop Music, 07.00-08.00 ? 08.0010.00 Bert Bennett (Repeat), 10.00-11.00 Bart van de Laar (Radio Mi Amigo show , 11.00-12.00 Joop Verhoof (Repeat), 12.00-13.00 Tony Houston (Repeat), 13.00-13.13 Dead air, 13.13-14.00 (An unidentified DJ), 14.00-15.00 Non-stop Music, 15.00-16.00 "Top 40" with Alfred van den Bos (Repeat), 16.00-17.00 Bart van de Laar (Radio Mi Amigo show), 18.00-19.00 Mike Moorkens (Repeat). (Mi Amigo) 19.00-20.00 Peter van Dam. Between 20.00-20.32 was Dorninee Toornvliet, and from 20.32-20.57 unannounced classical music. (Seagull) 21.00-24,00 Johnny Jason, 24.00-03.00 Tony Allan, 03.00-06.00 BST Bob Noakes.
In the magazine supplement of the "Sunday Times" dated 14-10-73 an article headed 'Calling The Tune' described Radio Seagull as the "best popular music station currently broadcasting". Repeats of old programmes were again evident on Oct. 15th. That evening, when the Radio Mi Amigo hour had ended at 20.00 BST, a familiar voice came to the microphone to announce that Radio Seagull would be starting in an hour's time, it was Ian Anderson, who had recently arrived out on the "Mi Amigo". For the next two days the broadcasting of previously aired shows was replaced by continuous music, with the occasional live programme presented in Dutch by "Mi Amigo" crewmember Harry Bergman. On the 16th he was heard between 08.20 (possibly earlier) and 10.00 & 16.00-18.00; and on the 17th from 08.00-09.00 & 14-00-16.00 BST. At 17.31 BST on the 17th the station abruptly went off the air, but had returned in time for the Radio Seagull programmes at 21.00 BST that night. The following day, Tuesday October 18th, the station was to suffer another set-back, Radio Seagull closed at 03-00 BST after Tony Allan had finished his three-hour programme, and Radio Atlantis operations commenced at 06.00 BST with continuous music. Then at approximately 09.20 BST broadcasting suddenly stopped. The breakdown was caused by a further collapse of the already damaged antenna mast, but this time it was a total write-off and nothing further was heard on 259 metres until many weeks later, when a new mast had been constructed.
A curious thing about the Radio Atlantis broadcasts was that during their entire time on the air their DJ's always gave the station wavelength as 385 metres - it was even printed on their green &. white stickers! Turning for a moment to the newspaper front, the "Sunday Times" dated 21-10-73, published on its Readers' Letters page a missive that made mention of Radio Seagull, next to which appeared an ancient photograph snowing the "Mi Amigo" aground on Frinton beach. For those who are interested in seeing a complete list of all the Atlantis and Seagull disc-jockeys, and I know
that there are many of you, I will enumerate them in tabulation form, together with the dates of their first and last programmes :-
DJ Name. First Show. Last Show.
TONY HOUSTON 15-7-73 15-10-73 (Repeated programme).
PETER VAN DAM 15-7-73 11-8-73
LUK VATT KAPELLEN 15-7-73 22-9-73
MILE MOORKENS 15-7-73 20-7-73
'' " 23-9-73 15-10-73 (Repeated programme).
JOOP VERHOOF 20-7-73 15-10-73 (Repeated programme).
BERT BENNETT 20-7-73 15-10-73 (Repeated programme).
ALFRED VAN DEN BOS 9-8-73 15-10-73 (Repeated programme).
ANDY ARCHER 24-7-73 23-9-73
BARRY EVERETT 24-7-73 7-9-73 (Live), 12--9-73 (On tape).
NORMAN BARRINGTON 24-7-73 13-9-73
BOB NOAKES* 28-7-73 15-10-73
JOHN FARLOW 10-8-73 22-8-73
HUGH NOLAN 11-8-73 24-8-73
DICK PALMER 12-8-73 19-8-73
RUSSELL TOLLERFIELD 21-8-73 (1 programme only).
PHIL RANDALL 26-8-73 7-9-73
CHICAGO 12-9-73 1-10-73
PETER VAN DYKEN 12-9-73 (1 programme only).
BAAS 13-9-73 22-9-73
JOHNNY JASON 14-9-73 17-10-73
TONY ALLAN 23-9-73 18-10-73
*Bob, like Chicago, is primarily a transmitter-engineer, he started working aboard the "Mi amigo" on June 22nd.
Progress with the erection of the Mi Amigo's new mast was painfully slow, but by November 23rd it was up five sections high with only four more to go. On December 21st Caroline's tender set sail from Scheveningen harbour bound for the radio-ship her passengers included Andy Archer, Chicago & Norman Barrington, en route they called in on the "Mebo II" to deliver Christmas presents and flowers. It was also about now that Tony Allan, for the second time, left the employment of the station. An unprecedented period of squalls and gale-force winds had prevented any work being done on the mast during the previous four weeks, however, just before Christmas a few days of calm weather prevailed and this enabled -the team of professional aerial riggers to finish their task by the morning of Xmas Eve. The completed mast which, incidentally, was designed by Wil van der Steen, is painted yellow and stands 165 feet high. Chicago wasted no time in connecting up one of the 10 kW transmitters, and that afternoon at approximately 14.45 GMT a carrier appeared on 259 metres. The first music was heard at 15.02 GMT and the "Caroline" record was played at 15.08 GMT, then we had continuous music up until 16.00 GMT when Andy Archer announced the names of the artists whose records were to be played during the next hour, he did the same at 17.00 & 18.00 GMT. The Caroline bell and jingles were heard at frequent intervals throughout this test transmission, which terminated at 19.06 GMT. Mention was made of Caroline's return to the airwaves on LBC's 5.30 p.m. newscast!
The following day (Dec. 25th) saw Norman Barrington opening up the station at 08.00 GMT; he told us that continuous music was to be played, and this lasted until 10.00 GMT when Andy Archer took over with the main Christmas Day programme, this went on till 12.08 GMT and Yuletide greetings were included from Chicago, Norman, Michael Wall-Garland, Capt. Meyer and his crew, to their respective families and friends. Between 12.08-13.00 GMT Norman returned as host; this was followed by an hour of non-stop music, and then Peter van Dyken presented a programme in Dutch from 14.00-15.00 GMT. During the day it was announced that a new Australian DJ named Russell Guy would shortly be joining the station. Andy was heard again from 15.00-17.00 GMT, and there were then two more hours of continuous music. Andy and Norman jointly compared the 19.00-20.50 GMT spot. At 20.00 Andy presented a show entitled "Toad at Nine", he also kept the festive scene going between 21.00-23.00 GMT. Throughout the evening newscasts were relayed from RNI on the hour, and the entire Robb Eden Show was relayed between 23.00-24.00 GMT with remarks thrown in by Andy. The final show of this special transmission lasted from midnight until 01.08 GMT, and Andy was once more in charge of the proceedings. Several listeners have expressed their disappointment to me that Andy's idea for a short Xmas Day link-up with the "Mebo II" should have been turned down in quite the way it was. Boxing Day was something of an anti-climax, the station did not switch on until 09.15 GMT, and after playing some continuous music
vanished at 09.46 GMT as suddenly as it had appeared; Thus, Radio Caroline celebrated Christmas 1973.
The next series of test transmissions on 259 metres were conducted on behalf of Radio Mi Amigo, the new Belgian organisation who were now hiring the transmitter in place of Radio Atlantis who now had their own boat. Their first test programme commenced at 05.00 GMT on December 28th and all the chat was, of course, in the Flemish language. They were all on tape, and continued for a further three days, usually ending at around 20.00 GMT each night and an unmodulated signal was then emitted by the tranmitter, the reason for this was to keep the aerial dry and to maintain an even temperature in the transmitting-room. On December 31st the 50 kW transmitter took over from the smaller 10 kW one, and an all-round improvement in signal strength was immediately noticeable. To mark the entry of New Year's Day a brief programme was presented by Norman Barrington, it started at 00.04 GMT and lasted until 00.21 GMT. Tuesday, January 1st was chosen for Radio Mi Amigo's official opening. The morning started with the familiar continuous music, then at precisely 11.00 GMT a special hour-long inaugural programme commenced, it was obvious from hearing this that the new station was aiming at very high standards, the jingles, for example, were most impressive, as too was the quality of their studio equipment. Sadly the first day of broadcasting was marred by a generator failure which silenced the station at 12.09 GMT, but this was speedily rectified and they were back on the air by the following day.
The re-opening date of Radio Seagull was January 7th, and they marked their first day back on the air by playing nine hours of George Harrison's music, it was divided up as follows: 20.00-22.00 Andy Archer (on tape), 22.00-24.00 Johnny Jason, & 24.00-05.00 GMT Bob Noakes (aided by Norman Barrington and Johnny Jason). A new DJ was heard between 20.00-22.00 MIT on January 11th, this was Brian Anderson; and a new American DJ, named Michael Hagler, arrived on the boat on January 18th, his first programme was aired between 22.00-01.00 GMT on the 20th. Back at Caroline House Berlin-born Dennis King had returned after an absence of twelve months, and Dennis is now employed there as a studio technician working for Radio Seagull. With regard to the future, the all-day English Service of Radio Caroline is expected to resume in March, the exact date and wavelength will be announced in due course over Radio Seagull. There are, at the present time, five transmitters on board the "Mi Amigo" - one 50 kW, three 10 kW, and a 1 kW VHF-AM which Chicago hopes some day to convert to FM Stereo. Two of the 10 kW transmitters will eventually be coupled together to provide Radio Caroline with a power output of 20 kW. Finally, here are the full station addresses:-
Radio Mi Amigo,
P.O. Box 847,
Radio Seagull & Radio Caroline,
both c/o Caroline House,
Van Hogendorpstraat 16,
Roland C. Pearson, Editor.
Belgium is situated very well from a radio enthusiasts point of view. It is a little country where one can easily receive lots of foreign stations, but even being so little it does have a lot of its own stations: no less than six. The main reason for this is that there are two language communities (Flemish and Walloon), and you can't give the one anything without giving the other just the same. So there are two completely separate government-operated broadcasting corporations: Belgische Radio en Televisie (BRT) for the Flemish past, and for the French-speaking part the Radio et Television Belge (RTB). Each corporation comprises three stations. BRT-1 is the national service, with the general news and spoken programmes along with sweet and classical music. The sound of BRT-2 comes from five local studios, each one with a certain portion of the day to fill. Here you'll hear both sweet music and pop. BRT-3 is only on FM and in stereo, and the broadcasts consist entirely of classical and jazz music. At night BRT-1 relays BRT-2. For the RTB there are similar regulations. Each station broadcasts on a different Medium-Wave frequency, and in FM also. If you'd like to pick them up in Britain, maybe this can help you:
Station Metres kHz Transmission power Location
BRT-1 324 926 150 kW Veltem
BRT-2 198 1511 20 kW Veltem
RTB-1 484 620 10 kW Anlier
RTB-2 288 1043 10 kW Ougree
" 267 1124 10 kW Anlier
Concerning Free Radio, there is first one big reservation that has to be made: only Flemish people care much about it. Whereas they have Veronica, RNI, Atlantis & Mi Amigo; French people have their Luxembourg (LW 1293 m), and Europe 1 (LW 1647 m) - those are legal French commercial stations (on which you can hear "legal" ads for Belgian firms!). If you call "free Radio" that which radio-freaks get out of their
self-built, you can say that over the whole of our little country there's quite a lot of activity - although these stations cannot claim a very wide audience. Our GPO is very active as regards such "pirates" - the latest news from that front is the seizure of Radio Nefertiti and Radio Little Albert during the end of November.
Flemish people have always loved the offshore stations, especially the Dutch ones: they broadcast in our own language (Flemish indeed doesn't differ more from Dutch than American from English). However, Veronica on 192 m could only be received in a small part of Flanders. That's why RNI's Dutch Service (far more powerful) became so imnensely popular over here. In the polls it appeared in the first place, before Veronica. When Veronica changed her wavelength, the reception was at once as good as BRT's and Veronica again became the more popular station. However, quite a lot of people living near the coast now turn again to RNI, due to the interference the IBA station in London causes to Veronica in these areas. Belgium has also had its own pirates. The first one lasted only 65 days, in the autumn of 1962 Radio Uilenspiegel (Radio Antwerpen), owned by the then 73 year-old Georges De Caluwe. Its broadcasts were in Flemish and French on 1492 kHz MW and in the 41 metre-band. The ship was lost completely in a storm.
In early '71 there were again rumours of a Belgian pirate: Radio Marina. It was to transmit on 244 m MW and 6205 kHz SW. Backers were two people from Ghent, Valere and Cecile Broucke. All the Belgian newspapers received letters informing them that Marina would buy broadcasting time from RNI, starting from February 15th, 1971. The negotiations, however, failed. After that Radio Marina had the opportunity to hire Capital Radio's ship "King David" for 3 months, at a cost of 5 million BF (about £50,000). After Capital Radio had signed the contract, Valere Broucke asked for one day's delay. He went to Mr. Verwey of Veronica, showed him the contract and demanded to be payed 10 million BF to cancel his plans. A simple phone-call by Veronica's lawyer put an end to Radio Marina. Top of the list comes Radio Atlantis of course. Mr. Adriaan van Landschoot, who is a member of the council of a town called Adegem, set up the whole station. It was on July 15th, 1973 at 12 noon that the station started - hiring a transmitter from Caroline. Mr. van Landschoot has already claimed he was preparing his own ship, that's why he didn't renew his contract with Caroline after October 15th. He said: "Within a few weeks Atlantis will be back, on a good wavelength, and with a power that will make the rest of the pirates turn white". At the time of writing this broadcasting has just been resumed, and can be heard on 270 metres. The station now operates from the M.S. "Jeanine" anchored in international waters off the coast of Belgium.
Another Belgian organisation has now hired Caroline's 259 metre transmitter and broadcasts under the name of Radio Mi Amigo. One may wonder how long all this will last; it is not Mr. van Landschoot's intention for it to end. He proposed that RNI and Veronica should co-operate with him for collective survival. He even spoke of a joint studio complex in Liechtenstein, and of supplying the boats by helicopter from there... he claims that by this method he could run Atlantis for years, without one penny coming from advertising. We can only wait and see. What is true anyway, is that Atlantis was immediately a terrific success in Belgium. The (very big) drive-in show has been an unprecedented success, and the Flemish pop industry received an enormous impulse, as did the BRT. I am sorry I must express the personal opinion that only good entertaining programmes from BRT are those that are non-stop music. I don't feel that Atlantis DJ's are all that good either, but at least they play an acceptable variety of music. Atlantis has captured an entirely different audience than that of Veronica's and RNI.
The Free Radio campaigning over here is very poor. The Belgian FRC Branch seems to have collapsed with the departure for national service of Pierre Deseyn. If there are (Belgian) people reading this and interested in Free Radio campaigning,
please write direct to me at the address given below (don't forget return postage!). Let us hope we will continue to have the opportunity to tune into a radio-station providing an alternative to the competition-less government-directed service. After all, we have got three AFN-FM stations here in Belgium...
John Troukens, FRC-Belgium, P.O. Box 21, B-1050 Llsene 2, Belgium.
So you think Radio Atlantis is Belgium's first offshore station? Not at all! Way back in 1962 the Belgian people had their own pirate station for 65 days. This short life had, however, had a long pre-history. Before the second World War Belgium had some ten private-owned, mostly commercial, radio-stations. One of them, Radio Antwerpen, was owned by a Mr. Georges De Caluwe, a radio-technician in Antwerp who obtained his transmitting-licence in 1922. The antenna of Radio Antwerpen was placed upon a protestant church tower, and for this reason the station soon got the nickname "Radio Kerkske" (Radio Little Church). Its official call-sign was ON4ED. In 1935
a Friends Circle was founded; balls and festivities followed in the whole of Belgium. In 1940, when the German Army stood before Antwerp, De Caluwe ceased broadcasting and destroyed his transmitter so that it would not be used for propaganda purposes. As soon as the Germans began their retreat, Radio Kerkske returned to the air with a new transmitter. But when the Belgian Government returned from London, they declared they had passed a law introducing state-monopolised radio, and Radio Kerkske had to close down. The studio and transmitting equipment was claimed by the authorities in order for it to be used for the local Antwerp service. There was much protesting from the listeners, but all in vain. For Georges De Caluwe, of course, this was a big disappointment. He tried and tried to regain a licence. He was even supported by a political party, but it was no use, even though in Brussels the minister had to give back a licence to the commercial station Radio Conference, after the listeners protested vehemently against the enforced close-down. Some commercial stations were so popular that they were able to remain undisturbed on the air, illegally, for some years.
Finally, in the early sixties, Mr. De Caluwe decided to follow the example of the Swedish offshore broadcasters, and in 1962 he bought the ex-French Navy supply ship "Crocodile", for a cost of about £40,000. The length of the concrete-built ship was 70 feet. It was renamed "Uilenspiegel" (= owl-mirror) after a legendary Flemish hero, and the tender was called "Nele" after Uilenspiegel's wife. The ship was converted to a radio-ship in Antwerp, by the installation of a 10 kW MW transmitter. On October 12th, after some troubles with the authorities, the Panamanian-registered ship left harbour and anchored 7 km. (5 miles) off Zeebrugge. On October 15th at 14.25 on 201•7 metres Georges' voice was heard on the air again, triumphantly announcing "This is Radio Antwerpen from the ship Uilenspiegel on the North Sea". The programmes were in Flemish from 7 in the morning till midnight. Every day a French show of half an hour called "Il y a de la musique" was broadcast at 16.30. Operas and classical music were also programmed. The programmes were mostly pre-recorded in a studio in Edegem (near Antwerp). The official station BRT at once extended their broadcasting time by one hour, from 23.00 to midnight; the success of Radio Uilenspiegel was outstanding in more ways than one!
Although at that time De Caluwe had reached the age of 73, he was regularly on board his ship, where he spoke on the air about the situation on board, the reception reports, or thanked the fishermen for offerings from their catch. One day he had a surprise for his listeners: in his almost daily little chat at 12.25, after the request-show "Greetings from Uilenspiegel", he announced that a short-wave transmitter had been brought on board! It was used to broadcast in the 41 metre-band on a frequency of 7600 kHz. Reception reports were received from as far away as Canada. Radio Uilenspiegel experienced the starting troubles of any offshore station, but sadly it was unable to survive them. For some days interference on the whole of the MW band along the Belgian coast was caused by modulation problems; in November the station went off the air after broadcasting a distress call, but the next day it returned; the antenna-mast fell down on the MW transmitter. On December 13th Georges De Caluwe died in Antwerp following an operation. His death saved him from the worst experience of his life: a few days later, at night, the Uilenspiegel went adrift during a storm.
The crew members put out alarm signs by firing rockets and burning clothes, eventually they were taken on board a salvage snip, but during the rescue one man was crushed between the two ships - he died shortly afterwards. Still transmitting, but not well modulated, the ship drifted for some time, until a Dutch tug got a line aboard. At midnight the tape ended: ""Till tomorrow, and a good night". There was no more tomorrow for the station, because Uilenspiegel ran aground some 450 yards north of the Belgian-Dutch border, at Retranchement near Cadzand. It was, then and later, plundered by tourists - and others. So some time ago (when Veronica was on the beach) the last programme tape of Radio Uilenspiegel was heard once again, this time on the BRT. In the meantime, on December 18th 1962, the Belgian Parliament passed a law similar to the British M.O, act, by a vote of 123 for: 35 against, with 5 abstentions. This took away the last hope for the people who would have liked to refloat Radio Antwerpen. The ship sank in the sand; in 1971 the wreck was considered to be a safety hazard, so it was blown up. Who knows what could have become of the little station? To make a comparison with another popular station, Veronica at that time certainly wasn't as powerful, as professional or as successful as our own Radio Uilenspiegel!
John Troukens. FRC Belgium.
SDFRC "Info-sheet" No,6 (Forerunner of "Monitor") Definitely a collector's item - priced at only 8p (Overseas 2 IRC).
"Monitor" Nos. 2, 3 & 4 at 10 ½ p each, while stocks last. (Overseas 3 IRC's each). All the above publications are available from the Editorial address.
DJ PROFILES_ NO. 2 JOHNNY JASON.
The life story of Johnny Jason, one of Radio Seagull's top DJ's, reads like a travelogue - London, Peru, Germany, Australia, America, and now: The North Sea! Yes, although the story is yet only 25 years long, already it would fill more than one book! But here for your information and entertainment are a few of the main points. Johnny was born in London on September 13th 1948. He does indeed live there now when not aboard the "Mi Amigo", he loves the international flavour of the place. He would rather be there than anywhere else in the world; but the most interesting place he's ever been to he names as Peru in South America. Johnny grew up there, and likes best the relaxed life style. He speaks Spanish fairly well, but his knowledge of the German language is much better, as he was at school in Germany. While he was there he played "mediocre guitar" in a band; the guitar, in fact, is the only musical instrument that he can play. Johnny has many interesting free-radio memories - here's just one from last year on the "Mi Amigo". "We had a great time catching Jelly Fish. I don't remember who discovered the sport, but there was a great deal of skill involved. Norman Barrington would go up front of the ship as look out, while Steve England and myself would await the 'enemy' armed with buckets tied to rope. Hysterical screams of laughter followed every victory or failure. To anyone looking on we must have seemed completely mad!"
It was in Australia that Johnny began his career as a disc-jockey. His first appearance was on station 4PUC in Mackay, in January 1972. He admits to being very nervous, and failed even to tell the time correctly! It was in Sydney, where he appeared on station 2SDT, that the name "Johnny Jason" was chosen for him, by a retired actress. He liked the name instantly (But "Johnny Jason" sounded even better than "Johnny Instantly"!). Johnny names the lady who suggested it as the greatest influence he's had on his career, along with his parents. While Johnny was in Australia he also appeared on station 4LM in Mount Isa, and made his first (and, so far, only appearance on TV as a guest announcer "and general chatterbox" on a 'telethon' on Channel 7 in Sydney. This was in October 1972. Johnny has a burning ambition to have his own talk chat show on TV; he's totally confident he will do, one day: If he was to leave the field of radio behind him, it would be to work in TV in the U.S.A. Johnny is no stranger to America, as last year he spent some time travelling around that country, getting to know the people and the country on a personal level.
Johnny, what do you think you look like? "My ego says I'm lovely, but I doubt it! Johnny is very influenced by what his fans say. He makes a point of acknowledging all fan letters on the air, and everyone who takes the trouble to write receives a personal reply. Johnny loves writing letters, but says "meeting someone in person is the real test - and a gas!" His favourite type of music is country-rock; he admits to playing a lot of his own personal favourites on the air if station policy allows. Johnny hopes that his style isn't influenced by other DJ's - "It's meant to be the real me" - and has no set approach - "I vary my style and presentation according to the time slot; it's an essential part of programming". His own favourite DJ is Kenny Everett; as a breakfast DJ he names Ian Macrae of Sydney's 2SM the tops. But the programme he remembers with the most affection is Dick Palmer's "Night Trip" on our very own Caroline. Johnny's theme tune is 'Welcome' off the album "Recall the Beginning, A Journey from Eden" by the Steve Miller Band - "The title says it all!"
Tell us about the most impressive memory you have of free radio, Johnny? "That was seeing Chicago fall into Scheveningen Harbour fully clothed, after the gangplank tipped over!" Girls - if you want Johnny to notice you you must have a "bubbling personality"; that's the thing that impresses him most. He makes friends easily. He likes best positive-minded people, and dislikes pessimists. Johnny admits to being a critical person, and openly expresses his opinions - "Whether they're good or not is another matter!" If Johnny is working with someone he doesn't like, his philosophy is "Try to adapt; if all else fails, leave the job!" But really, Johnny gets on well with almost everybody; he believes in letting them 'do their own thing'! He reacts favourably to new ideas, but is frustrated by indecisive people. Johnny admits that he's not an organised person at all - except in money matters.
What's the first thing you do when you get off the boat, Johnny? "Have a good wash, a good meal and a nice long sleep- in that order!" The colour Johnny likes best is blue. His favourite food is very hot goulash, Brussels sprouts, and good wine. He loves driving, preferably in a Range Rover, or a Lamborghini. Johnny likes sport, particularly tennis, motor racing, American football and swimming. He prefers to take part whenever possible rather than just watch. A favourite recreation of his is investigating passive demonstrations, disccvering what they're all about, why they happen. "I find it a great way to get involved with other people and find out about them". One thing that Johnny finds most unpleasant is the fact that there are "too many people out to 'con' others". Johnny doesn't consider himself to be technically minded, but he is very interested in space and oceanography. TV, Films and the
theatre: "Anything visual is entertaining". He likes dancing and concerts; but he considers that the best type of entertainment is found just with friends.
Now tell us, Johnny, what is the most humorous thing that has happened to you aboard the "Mi Amigo"? "Having shaving-cream or washing-up liquid poured into my coffee and taking the whole cupful before I realised that something was terribly wrong!". Thank you for talking to us Johnny; I'm sure we all know you a lot better now. You once gave yourself some good advice - and took it. What was that? "Whatever you do, be happy". What more can one say? Until you get your TV show, Johnny, long may we hear you - and your happiness - on Radio Seagull and Caroline!
If you are the Chinese-restaurant owner who was awoken to answer the telephone at almost 4 o'clock one morning only to be asked "Is that Capital Radio? And are you Sean Kelly?", DON'T READ ANY FURTHER! You already know the success story of London's new commercial stations; how London Broadcasting Company (L.B.C.) took 8,000 calls in their first three days of operation, and how the response to Capital Radio's phone in shows is so great that the automatic exchange has been known to freak out and reroute Capital's calls all over London. But if you are not that unfortunate gentleman and you would like to know more, do read on......
Legal independent radio first arrived in England on 15th January last year when, to the great frustration of Radio Veronica listeners in the area, a strong signal was heard on 557 kHz (539 m), the frequency to which Veronica had moved only fifteen weeks before. From then on, tests ensued on this frequency almost continually, mostly with music, sometimes with a tuning whistle. Lots Road power station in Chelsea was the site of the revolution. Here between the two main chimney stacks an aerial had been erected, a 275 ft. vertical top loaded by a 212 ft. horizontal. This aerial, which soon earned the station the affectionate nick-name 'Radio Clothesline' is omnidirectional and is still in use at the time of writing. The original. transmitter, a Marconi B 6023, was joined a few months later by another of the swage type broadcasting on 719 kHz (417m). Both were carrying the same programme, each with an ERP of 500 watts.The quality of the signal was found to be good not only in the intended reception area but over most of South and East England. The music? Well, in the words of the I.B.A's Engineering Officer, Mr. John Lovell: "The music being broadcast for our engineering tests has been selected by our engineers, and probably bears no relation to the programmes that will be broadcast. However, many complimentary letters and telephone calls about the choice of music have been received". (April 1973).
By the time the two now stations were ready to officially open, FM transmitters had already been added to the network. Both are a Marconi B 6523 type with a power output of 400 watts, 2 kw ERP circularly polarised. They are situated at the I.B.A. site at South dorwood Hill, London SE.25, and are linked to the studios by land-line in such a way that full stereo is available. People living close to the transmitter site had no need to fear that they would be unable to tune into the stations because of the high power of the signal, a special aerial has been developed in six tiers so that receivers within a mile radius of the VHF transmitters "see" less than 100 watts ERP. At last tile great day arrived: October 8th 1973. This was the day of the opening of England's very first legal commercial station - London's "News" station, L.B.C.
The very concept of L.B.C. is new to Britain. On the station you will not generally find music, drama or 'light entertainment' of any type, just news, information, programmes of topical interest and, of course, discussions and opinions. L.B.C. already proved that the people of London were ready and waiting for a station of this type, for not only are discussions and opinions the privilege of persons actually in the studio, the listeners also have the chance to participate. At any time, Londoners may dial 353 1010 and be in contact with the station. 8,000 people did just that within the first 100 hours of broadcasting; it was estimated by experienced engineers that a further 20,000 persons were trying to reach the station, but because of the overvwhelming pressure of calls were unable to get through on any of L.B.C's 10 lines. No one had expected that the station would be so very popular, and L.B.C. admitted to being embarrassed by the unslackening response to their programmes. On October 12th, tens of thousands of handbills were presented to home-going commuters at underground stations to apologise to those people who had been unlucky, and to promise them "your turn will come (even if, like Andre Previn, it's 3.15 in the morning)". L.B.C., in conjunction with Independent Radio News, has the main function of presenting to the people of London details of what is going on around teem. Not a task to be taken lightly; but one that it has so far proved itself capable of undertaking. At first, L.B.C. made the fullest use of its connections with A.B.C. and
WABC (New York World glide) to bring the listeners the major amount of international news; but in the face of Public Opinion, the predominance has now changed to national and local news. Of course, news analysis and top-line interviews play a large part in any important story, and L.B.C. has the power to "drop everything" when it is necessary to give full coverage to items of consequence. On the first day of broadcasting that prerogative was claimed to bring us full, on-the-spot details of a major press conference given by our Prime Minister, Mr. Heath. Offshore fans are no doubt delighted to hear a few old friends on L.B.C.; Phil Jay and Adrian Love of Radio City fame, and Steve Merricke, late of Radio Scotland, Caroline South and R.N.I. (Since this article was written Steve has left L.B.C. to join Piccadilly Radio in Manchester. Editor). You can write to these and all other presenters on the station at P. 0. Box 269, Communications House, Gough Square, Fleet Street, London EC4P 4LP, or, if you prefer to do things in style, send a telegram to "Radio News LDN"!
The second Big Event for the listeners in London occurred on October 16th. This was the day of the opening of the 'General Entertainment' station, Capital Radio. 'Entertainment' is the word - and the intention. In true free radio fashion, Capital aims to be a station that listens to the listeners, giving the citizens of London what they want to hear. To a great extent, as may be expected, this is MUSIC. Music, of all types but mainly 'popular contemporary music', plays such a large part in Capital's day that it is difficult to remember that, like the B.B.C., Capital (as all other I.B.A. stations) has to abide by the Musicians Union's 'needletime' restrictions. On L.B.C., music is a rare and precious event; Capital uses every available minute of 'needletime' to its best advantage. But although music is a most important aspect of Capital programming, the station is by no means restricted to the point of existing only as a reedy-made music-box. Many other features play their part to make Capital, in the words of Michael Bukht, Programme Controller, "a coherent one sound, one style station, not bits and pieces which happen to be on the same wavelength". Both of London's new stations follow a pattern, but whereas L.B.C's is a pattern of organised flexibility, Capital's pattern is more simple to the mind of the casual listener. Day time listening gives background entertainment; a pleasant companion to hear without, in the main, having to listen to. Evening programmes are aimed at particular interest-groups, programmes with a purpose, to provide not only entertainment but information and opinions for the benefit of the community in general. From one o'clock until six every morning we have Night Flight, a programme unique in British Broadcasting. Capital is talking not TO but WITH the night workers, the insomniacs, the lonely. Lift the phone - dial 388 1255 - and YOU could within minutes be speaking on the air. So passes Capital's day: music, serials, news-on-the-hour (and on how many stations could an announcer comment "Oh, don't bother with the barometer reading.... nobody's interested in it anyway"?), chat, information, and most of all, two way communication with the listener.
Like L.B.C., Capital has its share of ex-offshore announcers. At the time of writing, these are: Dave Cash (Radio London and Tommy Vance (Radio London and Caroline South), both of whom, will also be remembered for their part on Radio Monte Carlo's short lived follow-up programmes to Radio Geronimo, and Kenny Everett (Radio London), far too notorious for comment to be necessary here. Kenny, along with Dave Cash, can be heard every weekday morning with their popular "Kenny and, Cash" extravaganza. Capital is also proud to present for our entertainment Nicky Horne, late of the United Biscuit Network "Supersound" system. Only one type of music could he present in his daily programme entitled "Your Mother Wouldn't Like It"! Special shows are presented to us at weekends, too, such as "Hullabaloo", especially for children, and the hospital show, "Person to Person". Capital's studios and offices may be found at Euston Tower, London NW1 3DR; communications to the station may also be addressed to Capital Radio, P. 0. Box 539, London NW1 3DR.
So Britain, who has for so long looked upon Manx Radio as the lone voice of legal commercial radio crying in -the wilderness of our Islands, now has the beginnings of a nation-wide network of independent radio stations. Eventually the I.B.A. intends to set up sixty stations, which should give I.L.R. to 60-65 per cent of the population of Britain. The first seven of these should all be in operation by this summer; the third station opened on December 31st. This is Radio Clyde broadcasting to Glasgow area on 261 m. (1151 kHz) from Dechmont Hill and on 95•1 MHz VHF from the I.B.A's Black Hill site. Three familiar names on the station are Jack MacLaughlin, Richard Park and Tony Meehan, all "came ashore" from Radio Scotland! The next two stations are Birmingham Broadcasting Ltd. (BRMB), which opened on February 19th, and Piccadilly Radio which will begin broadcasting to the Manohester area in April. These stations will transmit on FM frequencies of 94•8 MHz and 97 MHz respectively, and both will use 261 metres MW. Contracts have also been allocated for Swansea and Tyneside/Wearside.
The I.B.A. stations so far open in London have been generally praised for their technical standards by experts and public alike. There have, of course, been small problems, such as on the day that we lost Capital for several minutes when something want wrong' with the regular change over of transmitters necessary to a twenty-four-
hour-day station. On the whole, however, the I.B.A. has no cause to be dissatisfied with the service provided; on the contrary, as A. R. Bradbury, officer of the I.B.A's Engineering Information Service, commented to ":Monitor", "you will understand the professional pride generated within the Authority by achievements to date". (October 1973).
What about the coverage of the stations? Do they meet with the standards set down for them? Indeed they do. The two London stations were, long before their opening, intended to cover an area bound by Barnet in the North, Gatwick in the South, Epping in the East, and Staines in the West. Both are certainly covering this area. The FM/VHF stations, L.B.C. on 97•3MHz, and Capital on 95•8 MHz, are received well not only in the immediate areas of transmission, but in surrounding regions such as Essex and Kent. It was noted that when the synchronized tests ended on 417 metres and 539 metres and programming began from L.B.C., the strength of the signal on 417 m. dropped considerably so that the semi-national coverage that we had been enjoying was no longer operative. However, the 539 m. transmissions did not suffer the same fate. Capital's medium-wave signal is covering a very wide area; already it has been mentioned on the station that they have listeners as far away as Bristol and Lincoln - distances of 110 and 130 miles! "Not bad", you may say, "for a local station...."; but this situation is not to continue. The I.B.A. transmitter site at Chelsea is only temporary. When the transmitters are moved, probably at the end of this year, to their permanent home in Saffron Green, Barnet, in Hertfordshire, a complex system of directional aerials will be used, and signal strength maintained to ensure that the station reaches as far as it should - and no further. At the time of this move, to, no doubt, the delight and relief of all Veronica fans in the London area, Capital will vacate 539 metres, and take up permanent residence on 194 metres 1546 kHz. At the same time, L.B.C. will lay claim to their allocated frequency of 1151 kHz (261 metres), and so leave 719 1kHz.
In conclusion, "Monitor" would like to thank everyone who has helped with the compilation of this article, especially Edna Tromans, Press Officer Capital Radio, Jason Pollock, Press Officer L.B.C., and A. P. Bradbury of the I.B.A. Engineering Information Service. We in Britain have achieved our objective: Free Radio is here to stay. Congratulations to us all!
Penelope Page, Sub- Editor.
How has Radio Northsea International fared in 1973? its been a, year of many changes - and many improvements! Let's look at some of the highlights of this years broadcasting from the "Mebo II".
Technically, RNl's always high standards have been on the whole maintained. There have, of course, been small problems: For several weeks the FM transmitter was off the air after it had blown its main valve; a studio fault (actually a break in the lead between the patch-panel in the production studio and the transmitter-room) has upon occasion caused us to lose the popular "A.J. on Sunday" feature; the signal on 49 metres has suffered power--drops or at times even disappeared altogether this last two months due to the extremely rough weather causing water to penetrate a certain stage of the antenna. However, on the other side of the coin much improvement has been made. On April 7th we were informed that our reception should never have been better: for the first time ever RNI was broadcasting not only on full power of 105 kW, but also with 100 per cent modulation; We have not enjoyed full power all year, though. In February the signal came to us on only 10 kW while the big transmitter was overhauled for the first time in its three years of duty on board the Mebo. On November 12th, when there was too much sea water running over the deck in force 10 gales to risk high power transmissions, the opportunity was again taken to use the 10 kW standby transmitter. Reception reports were requested; later these were acknowledged on the air, and we were told that the broadcasts had proved entirely satisfactory. Reports were also requested on November 23rd, when the final hour of the "Skyline" programme was transmitted live from the new studios which had only just been completed. The main studio received new equipment in May. Remarks were heard from at least one announcer that if ever a more efficient panel is invented it will present the programme all on its own! Constant tests are, of coarse, made to ensure the highest possible quality of the signal; generally these are made in the early hours of the morning, as it is sometimes necessary for modulation to be dropped for a few minutes to enable the engineers to check the modulation level of the transmitters. The 31 metre transmitter has been tested 3 times this year, on January 26th & 29th, and February 4th. All tests were on a frequency of 9760 kHz. In October the deck generator was overhauled. A huge crane was at the time taken on board the "Mebo II"; this was used to haul the generator part-way up the medium-wave mast before the main-tenance work could begin. In February now radar equipment was installed. On the non-
technical side, much new carpentry work can be seen on board, including new cassette racks and special fitments for holding bottles and cans of beverages so that they don't lose their contents onto the floor in rough weather! Last, but not least, in May the "Mebo II" was repainted and a new floor of checkerboard tiles laid in the studio.
There was a new arrival with a difference on board in April, by the name of Boro. He comes from Dusseldorf and likes to eat apples and DJ's feet! Yes Boro, who has stayed on the Mebo several times this year, is a dog. He belongs to Rudy the engineer.
Four films have been made on board the Mebo this year. For one of them, a 15 minute documentary filmed in May the German TV company concerned provided special RNI T-shirts to all broadcasting staff, while crew members were fitted out with boiler suits of a highly colourful design. An English company made the mistake of filming in October. The weather was so bad for them that upon one occasion only one member of their team was not seasick - a young lady director from Norway! One of the other films was made by an English team in March, the fourth one was shot during November.
Amongst the famous people to visit the "Mebo II" this year was chart-topper Judge Dread. He is the first to admit that RNI was instrumental in introducing his records to the world at large, and has given the station much favourable publicity.
Although RNI has been a much more settled station in 1973 than in previous years there has been some turnover of announcers on both the Dutch and International Services. Popular "Driemaster" DJ Nico Steenbergen can no longer be heard; Peter Holland, too, has departed. His first broadcast on RNI was the first edition of "Doorsnee Noordzee" on May 1st, 1971. He continued to present this programme until August 4th this year. "Doorsnee Noordzee" was then hosted for three weeks by Peter van Dyk; on August 27th a new regular DJ appeared. This turned out to be ex-Radio Caroline International's Ted Bouwens. Peter was heard again on Noordzee on October 29th hosting the 11.0013.00 GMT programme; that show is now the responsibility of Tony Berk. The first departure of the year on the International Service was Mark Slate, His last live show, on February 15th, came only two months after his first appearence. Mark had previously worked on Caroline North under the name Dee Harrison; he gave his reason for leaving as the fact he'd been accepted for another job for which he'd applied months earlier. His replacement, however, was a member of the RNI team for an even shorter length of time - a mere 11 days! This was Steve King, a popular disco DJ who made his radio debut on February 25th. During this programme he was sea-sick (February and November are traditionally the worst times to join a pop ship in Scheveningen bay! and after the first half-hour his show was taken over by Ian Anderson. Ian had arrived on board on February 9th. He was chief news editor and a temporary DJ. His first programme was on the 49 metre-band World Service on February 18th; his last on May 17th. Ian, who comes from Lerwick in the Shetland Isles was closely associated with Radio Geronimo, and was heard, together with his girlfriend Barbara, on the air live from the "Mi Amigo" in October. Although he was with RNI only for a short time he became a great favourite. Another most popular announcer who has departed from RNI this year is Arnold Layne, whose last live show was broadcast on July 19th. He was last heard on a recorded programme, on the "Skyline" show on July 29th. One of RNI's most original and best-liked DJ's, Arnold previously broadcast on Radios Essex, 390, 270 and Caroline North under the name of Roger Scott. Not to be forgotten is Steve Berry, RNI's American transmitter engineer. Steve's last show was on April 24th; he left the ship on May 12th. A surprise arrival on March 16th was Australian DJ Graham Gill - only four days previously Graham had been broadcasting from the "Mi Amigo"! Graham previously worked on Radios London, England and Britain Radio (Graham was our featured DJ in "Monitor" No.4 - a limited number of copies are still available, see page 7 for details). Those of us who were listening to Radio Seagull on the morning of August 25th were puzzled by Norman Barrington's greetings and good wishes to "Mr. Banks over there". However, anyone who was tuned into RNI at the time would have noted, no doubt to their surprise and delight, that yet another Radio Caroline voice had turned up on 220! This programme, from 03.00-05.00 CET, was the first appearence of Robin Banks. Robin's first radio experience was with Channel Radio, where he broadcast under the. name Roger Lane. He joined the Radio Caroline Organisation as an engineer, and was responsible for much essential and important work both on board the "Mi Amigo" and on land. Using his own name, Robin Adcroft, he broadcast several times on Radio Caroline; although his programmes were all too infrequent he became extremely popular. However, since he has been part of the RNI team, the observation has been made that Robin's skill as a DJ has improved considerably; certainly his programmes are presented in a most professional manner. On August 3rd we heard another familiar voice, Robbie Eden. Although Robbie, who has for some time been the Mebo company's representative in London, has been on board the "Mebo II" several times this year, that was his first programme since December 28th, 1972. Robbie is now broadcasting again regularly. On April 15th we were treated to a programme from a guest DJ during the "Skyline" show from 05.00-07.00 CET. This was Trevor Campbell, who was visiting the Mobo with Dave Johns from Long Wittenham. Dave was on board to interview the announcers for the
magazine "Dee Jay and Radio Monthly".
At the time of the discussions on the future of the offshore stations in the Dutch Parliament ALL programmes from the Mebo were broadcast live. In the interests of "up to the minute news" no expense was spared - it was even known for the tender to make SEVEN trips in one day! On June 26th Noordzee announced their "Hou 'm in de Lucht" action, so that listeners in Holland could "keep us on the air". Within days enough people had joined the scheme to ensure the station airtime on the legal Dutch networks. On June 28th, RNI's International Service News calmly announced that the Dutch government had voted to ratify the treaty of Strasbourg and so outlaw the offshore stations. In July the Mebo was invaded by what was described as a "honeycomb of bumblebees". No one knew from where they had come, but Don Allen was heard to remark "if they're Chris Cary's, he can have them back"! On the best run boats there are accidents, and RNI has proved no exception this year. Fortunately they have been relatively minor. The most serious was on April 5th, when Graham had his finger crushed in a slammed door. He had to go ashore at once for treatment, and has lost the nail of that finger. The accident that caused the most humour on board was the occasion when Don's chair collapsed under him while he was on the air! He could hear everyone laughing at him upstairs - at least it proves they listen to your show, Don! On May 27th we heard the last edition of the World Service on the 49 metre-band. However, the services are still split every Sunday morning from 09.00-11.00 GMT to allow A. J. Beirens two taped programmes, "Northsea Goes DX" and "Our World in Action" to be transmitted on 6205 kHz, under the title of "A. J. on Sunday". When Britain changed from CET to GMT on October 28th, RNI's International Service was extended by one extra hour, for close-down to be at 03.00 GMT. The extra hour proved to be unnecessary, though, as since November 11th RNI has broadcast 24-hours-per-day, with a 2-hour closedown maintenance period every Monday morning from 03.00 to 05.00 GMT. There are now six special programmes broadcast each weekend. The "International Pop 30" and the "Mike Ross Hitback Show" remain the same, at the start of the International Service on Fridays and Sundays respectively. Brian McKenzie's "Rock 'n Roll Special" is now transmitted at 22.00 CET on Friday; you can hear the Don Allen "Country and Western Jamboree" at 22.00 CET on Saturday night. For six consecutive weeks this programme was recorded, as Don was on holiday in the U.S.A. and Canada. On April 29th "By popular demand" the RNI Request Show" returned to the airwaves. This two-hour programme can be heard every Sunday at 22.00 CET, and has since its inception been hosted by Graham Gill.
Since October 29th, we have been able to listen to a "Contemporary Music" programme each Monday morning from 02.00 CET until close-down. Presented by Robbie Eden, this show is usually recorded on land and contains interviews and features of the musicians in the programme. Complete LP's are played at listeners' request, and Robbie is always interested to hear of new and unusual talent to bring to us. In a poll organised by "Record Mirror" this year, RNI was voted most popular radio station, with a phenomenal 51 per cent of the total votes! In August Graham appealed for someone in Holland to run a branch of his fan-club for him. He already has an established fanclub in England run by Mrs. Pam Wood. Don admitted that he finds it boring to reply to all his fan-mail; yet he like Graham is one of the rare breed of announcers who make sure that every letter is acknowledged on the air, and the sender receives a reply by post.
Many new jingles and promos have been heard on RNI these past few months. Some are imported from America, yet many have been made on board the Mebo. The International Service announcers spent some time making jingles on October 2nd; then Mike discovered that he'd forgotten to put in the preemphasis curves, and they had to be done all over again! The Dutch-language promos for the English shows are the handiwork of Gerrit de Wynter. Gerrit has been heard many times presenting half an hour of music before the start of the Dutch Service, for the purpose of maintenance tests. Always the first record of his small show is dedicated to his wife. Noordzee's Dick der Graff was married on November 23rd. Congratulations, Dick!
On September 17th, Don played for us the whole of the "War of the Worlds" double album which had just been released in Europe. This is the recording of the radio drama that paniced America in 1938, when it was widely believed that the "Martians" really had invaded Earth! The recording, which lasted over an hour, was the actual, unabridged version that was broadcast by the "Mercury Theatre of the Air" to the whole of America on C.B.S. radio. It starred the famous Orson Wells and was transmitted especially for Halloween just 35 years ago; While the records were playing, the announcers on board the Mebo sat and listened to them in the darkened studio. Graham was reported to have chewed off all of his fingernails during the performance! On November 5th, the English announcers wanted to set off some fireworks on board the Mebo to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day - but the Captain would not allow it, as the lights could easily have been mistaken by passing ships for distress flares. So they had to be content instead with a few indoor fireworks below decks.
Christmas celebrations aboard the "Mebo II" were more subdued than on previous years. Festive programmes were given throughout the holiday period by Robbie Eden, Brian McKenzie, Graham Gill & Robin Banks. A well-known Belgian guest on the ship during this time was Albert J. Beirens. Albert who has done so much to promote the cause of free radio made numerous appearances on the Yuletide shows, and on the night of December 27th he presented a programme of his own entitled "Tribute to UNICEF". And so, to the tune of "RNI is here to stay", we leave the Mebo for this year. 1973 turned out to be a happy and successful year for the "Sound of a Young Europe" - on behalf of our staff and readers, "Monitor" wishes RNI many more years like that!
On September 19th, 1973, the U.S.A. was treated to its first taste of offshore radio - but of a very different type to the European "pirates". Radio Free America, broadcasting off the coast of New Jersey from a converted Minesweeper the "Columbus", is a politically oriented station owned by the Rev. Carl McIntire, whose legal station in Pennsylvania was closed down by the Federal Communications Commission. RFA's first broadcasts on 1150 kHz were discontinued when it was discovered that interference was being caused to another station. RFA's transmitter has a power output of 10 kW. The station was later reported to be transmitting on approximately 1330 kHz, 24 hours a day. Unconfirmed rumours from America report that the "Columbus" has now been impounded by the authorities.
On September 14th, 1973, the Editor of "Monitor" dispatched the following communication to the Dutch Ambassador, His Excellency W. Gevers, for the attention of the Eerste Kamer der Staten Generaal in 's-Gravenhage:-
"On behalf of our readers and all free radio listeners in Britain, we hereby present our petition.
We consider it to be a negative move on the part of your Government to ratify the Treaty of Strasbourg and so withdraw all Dutch support from the offshore stations at present broadcasting in international waters off the coast of Holland.
In the interest of continued favourable relationships between the people of Holland and those of Britain and the remainder of Europe, and in support of freedom and democracy, we request that the pertinent legislation be withdrawn and that these stations be allowed to continue to provide their unequalled service to our respective countries with the support of the Dutch people". So far no reply or acknowledgement has been received.
Earlier last year, individuals who wrote to the Dutch Consulate in London to request that the offshore stations continue to be ignored by officialdom each received two replies. The first was a printed note from the Royal Netherlands Embassy, signed by D. J. van Wijnen, Counsellor for Press and Cultural Affairs, which gave the assurance "Your letter on the radio stations operating off the Dutch coast has been received and your views have been brought to the attention of the appropriate authorities at The Hague". This was followed by a personal letter from Mr. D. Wechgelaer, Deputy Chief of the Radio, Television and Press Department of the Ministerie van Cultuur, Recreatie en Maatschappelijk Work in Rijswijk (ZH), which, in true diplomatic fashion, said precisely nothing in an extremely polite and friendly way.
The latest information we have concerning the situation is that the Upper House of the Dutch Parliament voted in favour of ratification in their debate on January 15th. It appears, however, that all the offshore stations will be permitted to continue unmolested until a wavelength can be found for Veronica to use when she eventually comes on land - as various international bodies will presumably have to be consulted this could take quite some time!
Here we are once again facing the snow-white Croxley Script Personal Typewriting Paper (50 sheets, 14 ½ p.), and it's time for another S.E. Loonabout on the keys. Well, this month's subject is Me, or rather the lack of Me, on the air. What's my excuse??? Eh????!!
Well kids, Debbie and I returned to Holland in October last year and spent the first few days in a recording studio preparing, and producing jingles for Radio Mi Amigo, the project that has taken over the use of the spare TX from Atlantis. I hope you got to hear those jingles, and the Sonovox I did, I think it was rather together. The story continues when I was offered the job as studio technician in Caroline
House, where the Mi Amigo project was building and renovating the existing studios.
It all seemed rather good, especially financially - we had had rather a difficult year, and they were offering me a £50 a week, 3 monthly contract. It sounded just great. I won't pretend that we were happy after that; I have always rather different ideas regarding production (the preparation of pre-recorded presentation for use in the show, i.e. jingles, commercials, promos, etc.), and the overall sound of the station. Being in the position of studio technician, I was a little frustrated at having no control over the studio's sound, which is wrong on my part, as I should really have had no say in the station policy anyway. Well, I wasn't very happy at the job, and on top of that I was finding it extremely difficult to work and live with the same people (we had a communal flat in The Waaldorperweg). The situation was ridiculous, not a day went by without us ordering a taxi to take us to the station for the ferry home, then cancelling it when it came. It was costing us a fortune in unused taxis!
At the end of the third week, it became obvious that if I didn't leave soon, I would be fired, so Mi Amigo and I decided to part on good terms, and Debbie and I came back to the UK. On the ferry we met, purely by chance, Ian Anderson and his girlfriend Barbara, who had also been on the radio-ship and were returning home. We all went back to Deal together, then rented a flat in London for a few weeks before Christmas, whilst I took a temporary job at John Lewis, Oxford Street, Ian got a job at Tooting Bee Hospital, and Debbie and Barbara went to work at CBS Records. Then just before Christmas, Ian and Barbara went home to the Shetland Isles, and we came back to delightful Deal. That's it.... over Christmas, we were working in a hotel in Folkestone, running the discotheque, and after that .... well, who knows? Your guess is as good as mine! Sorry this column isn't as hairy funny as it usually is, I thought it would make a change for you, plus the fact that I couldn't be bothered to think up any jokes (and Buster wouldn't let me look at his Christmas cracker mottos). So until next time, when I shall be starring on Sunday Night at the London Palladium, Radio Jacket, or the Deal Labour Exchange, this is Steve England, on behalf of the entire crew and staff of Steve England wishing you Goodnight and Godbless..... Goodnight. XXXXX.
(Editor's Note: Since writing this Steve has joined Radio Atlantis).
When their three-month contract ended with the Caroline Organisation in mid-October the owner of Radio Atlantis, Belgian textile millionaire Adriaan van Landschoot, started looking around for a radio-ship of his own. An obvious choice was the Radio Condor boat that had been anchored off the coast of Holland since July, and which was rumoured to be owned by the evangelists Johann Maasbach and Dominee Toornvliet. Before the end of the month Mr. van Landschoot had successfully acquired the vessel. The first test transmissions were carried out on November 3rd from a small 500 Watt . transmitter on 227 metres, and were composed entirely of music. She was next in the headlines on November 6th when Robin Banks, who was reading the 20.00 GMT RNI News, reported that the Radio Condor ship had broken her anchor for the second time this year and was drifting towards Zandvoort. Luckily disaster was averted when the Wijsmuller tug "Titaan", that had come to her assistance, succeeded in getting a line aboard. It was decided to tow the radio-ship to Cuxhaven in West Germany where a new heavy duty anchor could be fitted. She remained in the West German harbour for some six weeks, and it was whilst there that her name was changed to "Jeanine". Upon her departure on December 22nd she was towed to a new anchorage off the Belgian coast, 12 ½ miles from Knokke.
The first test conducted on 270 metres (1115 kHz) took place the next day, December 23rd, this was on very low power, in fact, a mere 100 Watts. Further testing took place on the morning of the 24th with the 500 W. transmitter; and again that night between 21.30-23.00 GMT radiating a carrier only, but using the bigger transmitter that was on the boat that had previously been used on REM Island, its power output on this occasion was 1 kW, at 23.00 GMT music was transmitted. Christmas Day 1973 will be long remembered by free radio fans living in the South East of England; for not only were they able to hear Caroline, but if they had taken the trouble to tune down the medium-wave band to 270 metres they would have heard Radio Atlantis broadcasting in English! The station came on the air at 11.58 GMT with a special Christmas show presented by Crispian St. John, the then Programme Director., this was Cris at his very best injecting an enthusiasm into his show which few DJ's these days seem able to do. The programme could be heard until 15.25 GMT when it was lost under interference from the Italian station that uses the same channel. During the middle part of the day, however, the station was coming in loud and clear despite its relatively low power of 1 kW. It could be heard once again rather weakly from 23.15 GMT onwards, C.S.J. was still DJing and he continued behind the microphone till 01.00 GMT on Boxing Day.
For the remainder of December 26th the programme run-down was as follows:-
01.00-03.00 Andy Anderson (the transmitter engineer who hails from Tonbridge Wells),
03.00-05.00 Johnny Dwyer (the ship's cook, he comes from the Liverpool area), 05.00-
07.00 Non-stop Music, 07.00-08.00 ?, 08.00-09.00 Non-stop Music, 09.00-12.00 C.S.J., 12.00-14.00 Non-stop Music, 14.00-15.00 C.S.J., 15.00 (more non-stop music, but as on the previous day the signal soon deteriorated); 19.00-23.00 Andy Anderson, 23.00 until 05.00 GMT the next day was C.S.J. again. A similar pattern of English programmes continued up to and including December 29th.
Most of these broadcasts were test transmissions in preparation for Radio Atlantis forthcoming Flemish-language service.
The Official Opening Day of the station, and the start of the Flemish Service, was on Sunday the 30th December, 1973. The first day's programmes were as follows :(FLEMISH SERVICE) 05.00-07.00 Non-stop Music, 07.00-08.00 Dave Jones, 08.00-10.00 ?, 10.00-11.00 "Vlaamse Top 15" Alfred van den Bos, 12.00-15.00 "Radio Atlantis Top 40" Moses van de Berg, 15.00-17.00 Alfred van den Bos, 17.00-18.00 Theo van der Velden. (INTERNATIONAL SERVICE) 18.00-20.00 C.S.J., 20.00-22.00 Johnny Dwyer, 22.00-24.00 Andy Anderson, 24.00-05.00 GMT C.S.J. That night Cris related a sad little incident that had taken place earlier in the day - a short break had occurred in transmission between 13.00-13.05 GMT, and Cris explained that this was due to a bird being sucked into the air-intake of the generator, and that they had switched it off for a few minutes in order to free it, but unfortunately the bird was already dead. At 13.00 GMT on January 1st Cris had to cut into a Flemish programme, which incidentally are all on tape, and request that the office urgently send out a transmitter valve No. 6146 and a very hot Calor Gas soldering iron. Technical troubles put the station off the air for the next few days, but they were back on the air by the evening of the 5th. 2.5 kW was being squeezed out of the ex-REM Island transmitter during the test transmission on January 6th. The familiar voice of Gerald van der Zee was heard doing a programme between 12.00-13.00 GMT on January 8th. Another newcomer to the station at this time was a DJ called Frans (later known as Frans van Brugge), his first show was presented on January 9th, and was broadcast between 05.00-06.00 GMT. Next came Steve England, he did his first programme on January 27th having arrived on the boat a week earlier. There were two departures from the Flemish Service at about the end of January, these were Dave Jones and Gerald van der Zee.
Luk van Kapellen was logged doing a show on February 5th, and Debbie England joined her husband aboard the radio-ship on the 13th and she did a show of her own from 22.00-24.00 GMT the same day. One Sunday at the beginning of February (date unknown) Radio Atlantis carried out an unpublicized test transmission on 201 metres. Steve announced that the new English schedule would be from 22.00-06.00 GMT nightly, and this came into effect from February 13th. Two of the "Jeanine"s engineers made their DJ debut on the 15th when they jointly compared the "Starshine" programme, their names were Derek Jones and James Raffertv. On February 18th the last C.S.J. show was heard, it was a tape recording and was broadcast between 00.00-01.00 GMT. By now programme nameshad been introduced for the various time slots on the International Service, 22.00-24.00 GMT was "Starshine", 21.00-03.00 GMT is called "Midnight Special", & 03.00-06.00 GMT became "Yawn into Dawn". Towards the end of the month Steve England was appointed Programme Director in place of C.S.J. who had had to relinquish the position. Steve will undoubtedly maintain and improve on the high standards set by his predecessor, and the Editorial staff of "Monitor" would like to offer Steve our heartiest congratulations upon his new post. The station was off the air on the morning of February 28th, this was because a new modulation choke was being fitted to the transmitter, and when it was switched on again at 12.57 GMT for the resumption of programming, it had, to everyones amazement, quadrupled the signal strength, although the actual power output was, and still is, only 1 ½ kW! That evening test broadcasts in English filled in the 18.00-22.00 GMT gap.
At 14.48 GMT on the afternoon of Sunday March 3rd it was suddenly announced in English that the station would be leaving 270 metres at 15.00 GMT, and would resume broadcasting at 16.00 GMT on a new wavelength of 227 metres (1331 kHz). It was nearer 16.30 GMT before Atlantis reappeared on 227 metres (To be strictly accurate the new wavelength is 225•4 metres). From 16.30-17.00 GMT there were many breaks in transmission, but the fault was soon put right, and between 17.06-21.00 GMT we had the pleasure of listening to a new English DJ who had only arrived on the ship that morning, this was Dave Owen, a recruit from Radio Jackie. The wavelength change has resulted in the International Service being extended from eight hours a day to twelve, and it is now heard from 19.00-07.00 BST/CET. The station's mailing address is as follows:- Radio Atlantis, International Service, P.O. Box 385, Oostburg Holland.
As these words are written news reaches us that Dave Rogers (of RNI fame) will shortly be becoming a member of the Atlantis DJ team.
We earnestly suggest that, if you have not already done so, you tune into 227 metres and take a listen to "Radio Atlantis ... The First Name in European Radio", you'll not be disappointed!
The Editor acknowledges with gratitude the assistance of the following who have helped with the production of this issue:- Andy Archer, Roy Brooker, Emiel Clarijs, Steve England, Colin Howard, Dave Jay, Frans Reynders, Paul Southgate, and John Troukens.