Editor:- Roland C. Pearson. Editorial Office:
Sub-Editor:- Penelope Page. 31, Avondale Road,
Issue Number 8. Peace Ship Edition. Essex SS7 1EH,
Price 20p (Overseas 3 IRC's) ENGLAND.
EDITORIAL. No, we are not writing this from a prison cell! No doubt you have Heard that we encountered problems with the Home Office. This was indeed the reason for the long delay in publication, for the matter was sub judice. But that has now been sorted out, so here we axe at last.
With each issue we have a greater number of readers who neither pay for nor return their copy and so have to be removed from our mailing-list. Last time about 130 people fell into this category. Their magazines were compensated for by those 27 readers who paid extra for their own copy, and to these people we extend our grateful thanks. Without your support this edition might not have existed.
Due to the revival of topical interest in the Voice of Peace, whose signals have lately been reaching these shores, we have decided to pay our own tribute to them by inviting TONY ALLAN to relate to you the full story of the birth of the station in this special Peace Ship souvenir edition. Of course you will also find within our pages many more items to interest you, so...read on;
Abie Nathan comes from Iran, and he made his name in 1947 when he was involved in ferrying refugees in and out of India during the Indo-Pakistan hostilities. He was working for the Indian Government, flying Hindus from Pakistan to India and Moslems home to Pakistan. After he'd been through all that, he was in London when somebody approached him and said "You're Jewish, and we're going to start this Jewish state in Palestine when the mandate runs out, and we need pilots for our Air Force". So Abie joined the Israeli Air Force, which at that time was an undercover operation, and became their ace bomber pilot when he was only about 22. He bombed Arab villages; he bombed one bunker which had five Arab officers in it. Four of them were killed. The name of the only one left alive was Nasser; he became President of Egypt after that. Abie was flying six or seven bombing missions a day; bombing, bombing, bombing. And then one night he was supposed to bomb an Arab settlement and, he doesn't know why, he just said "I ain't gonna bomb this village', and he ordered his crew not to bomb, he flew out over the sea to drop his bombs - and flew back to find that about ten minutes before he had been due to bomb the village the cease-fire had been called. So from that point, it was all over.
He became an international playboy. He opened a famous restaurant, a very chic kind of place on Dizengoff, the major street in Tel Aviv. All the artists used to go there; singers, dancers and everything, and Abie made a lot of money and he used to go all over the world "doing his thing" as it were up until 1965, when he just decided they should try to stop the war that was going to come. In 1967 he got so involved trying to stop the war that he sold up his restaurant and everything for the Peace Ship; he'd heard about the pirates and thought it'd be a nice idea. But the first Peace Ship wasn't a radio station. That was just to take food into Biafra. When the war was on he just said "Give me a million dollars and I will hire a ship". People will give you money for that sort of thing if you ask them. He got it, and he shipped food into Biafra, Then he got involved in Nicaragua, where there was an earthquake. He was in New York when the news came on TV, and he got on an airplane and was down there the following morning. He got some people in New York to organise money for him, and he got a truck and filled it up with food and went around the country feeding people who didn't have any food.
After that, he got back to the Peace Ship project and spent his entire time with it. This ship was bought for him by the people of Holland; she was built there as a cargo boat, and was the very last vessel to get out of the Netherlands in 1940 before the Germans invaded. She's properly registered, in Panama, as the MV "Peace". We were originally in the New York side of the harbour down by the United Nations building, but we had to move the ship and we ended up on the other side of the East River in New Jersey. We were served a summons by the New York City Authorities who stated that we were a danger to the health and welfare of the citizens of New York City'. I don't know why - maybe because Abie did a fast for ten days to raise money. We called up all the TV networks - NBC were fantastic. Whenever we did interviews with radio and TV stations and with newspapers we always said "The report is great, lovely to have you writing about us; the most important thing is, please put out the address where people can send money". Obviously a lot of people would want to help, but they didn't know where to send money. But on television interviews in the United States you're not allowed to give the address to send money unless there's people dying. NBC have this programme in
the morning called "Today", it's networked right across the States and everybody watches it. Suddenly they said on there "You've got seven minutes with a commercial break in the middle to say what you want about the station". Seven minutes is unheard of! And this chick on there, Barbara, broke in and said "let me stop you - where can they send money?". We got 65,000 dollars in two days. It was just what we needed.
Abie lives on the ship, and everything is run from the ship, but we had an address in New York and a committee in Toronto. We put an ad in the "Toronto Star" and a nice guy, John Thompson, who used to work for Toronto University Radio answered it. To start with there was only John, Abie and myself to do all the broadcasts. We also had on board a Catholic priest, called Fr. Charles McTague. He was born in Canada but lived most of his time in New York; we had a Norwegian Captain and an English first mate; the senior and second engineer, who were both Norwegian and didn't speak a word of English, had been on ships before, but apart from a little Portugese guy none of the rest of the crew had ever been on a ship in their lives. Bill Benson was on the ship the whole time when we went from New York. But he's not a transmitter engineer; Bill was the guy who put in our studios for us, he's a sound engineer. The transmitter engineer was a chap from the Philippines; he sailed with us but he had a wife and kids, so he was only with us for 3 months. In those 3 months he taught Bill all he knew about the transmitters, then Bill took over.
The two transmitters are in Collins cases but they're actually custom-built. There's a group of Catholic priests in California and they run an organisation for underprivileged kids and for immigrants. The way they make all their money is very simple. If I own a radio station and I want to buy a new transmitter, what I do is I give my old transmitter to the Catholic Church, and I get it back on the tax. Now these priests take all these transmitters and they rebuild them. They're all qualified engineers and they put our two transmitters together for us. The two 25 kW transmitters go into a combiner into the mast, to give a 50 kW output. The mast is exactly the same mast as is on the Mebo; in fact the mast that is on the Peace Ship was originally supposed to go on the Mebo. It was the one that was bought to be put on the Mebo in 1969 when the Mebo was being converted. We didn't have a proper aerial mast so Bollier and Meister gave it to us. It's a Mebo mast from their own company in Switzerland, and they flew it over to New York for us. There are four studios. The largest one has just really got a table in it and lots of chairs for a discussion-room, with a control room next to it. The control room is the main on-air studio as well, and has a Gates mixer in it, a big 24 channel thing, Gates turntables and Gates cartridge machines.
The microphones are Electrovoice, which are very nice; you can plug them in all over the ship. Everything was paid for, more or less, by subscriptions from all over the world - from everywhere people sent money, just ordinary people sent in a dollar or a dime or something, it all adds up. We got a load of food from different companies; Campbell's gave us tins and tins of soups. There was a whole bunch of tins that had been wrongly labeled, and a whole bunch of tins that didn't have any labels on at all; but we knew what they were, so that was okay.
The first time we turned the transmitters on was on March 15th 1973, in New York harbour. That was about 11 o'clock at night. We were leaving the next morning, the day before St. Patrick's Day, and we got everybody off the ship. We didn't tell them why, we said like "well, we're going tomorrow, you might as well go out tonight and have a few drinks", so everybody went off the ship - and we turned on the transmitters! And they worked, so we sailed on March 16th. We started broadcasting at about 7 o'clock in the evening; we broadcast for just one evening. We came on and did station identification for about ½ an hour - just one of my little cassettes going around - and then we told people who tuned in what it was all about and where they could send money. Then we went into programming. At this point we were in quite a gale. The weather forecast had been for good weather; when we got outside New York, about 3 or 4 hours out, we hit a Force 11 gale. And we sprang a leak up forward; it was a very big leak actually. Abie laid it all down, the whole rap, he'd given the address, and I came in to him while the record was playing and said "By the way, come out here and have a look at this".
It was amazing - water just pouring in. It was no problem, we just cemented it up. But Abie came on and said "Well, I don't want to alarm any of you, but I just heard while that record was on that we've sprung a leak" - and we went off the air! Our committee were all tuned in; the last thing they heard was that we'd gone off the air with this leak, so they were really all terrified. We just disappeared without trace; it was 4 days before anybody saw us because the weather was really so bad. All the Captain ever used to say was "It's getting better"; and the weather got continually worse, "getting better". There were 2 Norwegian ships that went down in our area, we were out searching for them as well. Another thing that happened to us was that we developed a leak between two tanks. Unfortunately it was between a water tank and an oil tank, so we had oil in all the water and water in all the oil. The engines kept stopping, so we really had bad problems. We decided we'd better head South; so we headed South and stopped at Bermuda for two days.
We had a great time in Bermuda, really nice. It was very funny because we had arrived, and there was this local taxi-driver, he thought he'd come down and show these guys the town, make himself a few bob showing them around. So he came screaming down, he ran up the gangplank, he was a real jet black guy, and his head popped down round into the galley, the room I was in; he said "Hey man, I've come to take you dudes out to show you de ..."then he saw the Catholic priest, and said "de..de...Cathedral, and de churches, and de ..."! It was beautiful, it was just like something out of a film, you know? I got ripped out of my brain in a local pub with the Chief Inspector of Police, who was an Englishman. I didn't even know who he was, I just wandered into this bar and he came and said '"You're a stranger on the island?", and I said "Yes"; he said "You're English?", and I said "Yes"; we had a few drinks, a few more drinks, a few more drinks.... I said "What do you do?", and he said "I'm the Chief of Police here"...
A very nice guy. So, we stopped at Bermuda and had some repairs done. Our generators had gone all strange at that point as well, so we flew down a guy from a generator company in Miami, he came down and fixed 'em.
We sailed from Bermuda and we sailed across to Madeira, where we dropped Abie off. He was going to fly to Malta and we were going to take the ship in there to do the repairs. There was quite a lot wrong with the ship by that time, we had to pump out the tanks and clean out all the oil tanks and the water tanks. We would have to recement the insides of them. It took us longer to cross the Atlantic than Christopher Columbus! The crew by this time were pretty well pissed-off, the lot of them, including the Captain and the First Mate. Anyway, Abie left. We were supposed to sail into Cadiz and meet Abie there, so sailed into Cadiz in Spain on a Sunday morning. There was a telegram waiting to say "Don't wait for me in Cadiz, I'm not here, I'll be in Malaga". So we sailed out of Cadiz and up the coast to Malaga, which isn't all that far. What we didn't know was it was a holy festival, and General Franco was in Malaga that day presiding over this religious festival. He had been in Cadiz that morning, and our ship followed his yacht all the way up the coast. We had no idea about this, but the Authorities tended to freak. They did freak, totally. There was this white boat with "Peace" written all over it, and a great radio transmitting mast on it, following Franco up the coast. So we sailed into Malaga and were promptly arrested. They let us all free, and everybody went ashore, there were just two men on board on watch. As soon as everybody was ashore they came back, and they ripped the ship to pieces - they tore out the doors, floors, ceilings, everything. They were obviously looking for guns or drugs or both; they didn't find anything. So they said "You must leave by midnight". I had to literally run round the town with two other guys looking for our crew. We didn't know where they were so I just went into every bar and tried to get them.
We sailed out and anchored about 4 miles outside Malaga, hoping that Abie would come. The following morning he did come. He'd flown in from Portugal, and they arrested him at the airport. He had been in prison all night in Malaga, he had talked his way out of it and he came out on a boat to see us. He said "I'm going back in to arrange everything, I'll be back tomorrow at midday". The following day he didn't come by midday. At that point there was a bit of a problem on the ship. The Captain and Mate were freaking-out, and they said "We're going". I said "There's no need to go, we are not in any hurry, we can wait for Abie". But obviously I couldn't override the Captain, so we were in two camps and the feeling on the ship was pretty bad, tempers were running high. So they decided to sail, we sailed up to Marseilles and we sat outside the harbour for an entire day. The Captain said "We can't go in because we haven't got enough money". I said "Worry about that when we are in there"; but oh, no, he wouldn't go in. I was furious about that. We were sitting there the following morning, a really beautiful sunny day, and another boat came past with two very beautiful young girls on board. It was the tender boat that goes out and supplies all the lightships and lighthouses. The Captain was Francois Bonzon, and his daughters had seen "Make Love Not War" on the side of the boat and they'd said "We want to go and see what this is". So he sailed over and came on board, and brought over some bottles of wine, and he took the ship into Marseilles and found us a parking spot, which he got for us for free, because he's the chief man in Marseilles. At that point our Captain decided to leave; half the crew split, they weren't prepared to stay on any more. We were without a Captain, so Francois chucked in his job and he joined us. He is about 45, very suave, very debonaire, speaks fluent English; speaks it delightfully with a French accent. He set up everything. Abie joined us in Marseilles the day after we arrived.
We were in Marseilles for 3 ½ weeks. We had to take all the tanks to pieces.That was hard work, actually getting down all the cement and everything. We had to actually get down there with cloths and scrape the oil off it. At that point I had to put together somehow all these programmes. What we wanted to do was play a programme which told all the history of what we had been through so far, what it was all about and where to send money. We were going to out of France, past Italy and past Greece. So I had to organise programmes in French, Italian and Greek. I don't speak a word of Greek,
but that didn't matter, we found people to do it for us. It was really nice; I found 2 Moroccan kids that were at a naval school and they came in and recorded some little bits in Arabic for me. ode had a ball in Marseilles, because we were working really haxd during the day, and at night we used to go out and get ripped out of our brains in all the cafes. We used to walk into the cafes and they all said "Ah! Batteau de la Paix" and you wouldn!t have to pay anything, they'd just say "Oh no, no money, no money" - people took you out everywhere; it was a really remarkable three weeks. Duri that three weeks we had to raise some money as well, but we did that okay because Francois is a lady's man, and Abie is a lady's man, and the two of them got all the prostitutes of Marseilles to donate one night's earnings to the Peace Ship, and all the girls handed over one night's money. We eventually sailed, and we stopped in Sicily for a day to look up some friends of Francois and then we sailed straight over to the Middle East. We got there about May 8th and anchored right off Tel Aviv. We wanted to go to Cyprus but at that time there was a lot of difficulty in Cyprus. The war hadn't started but there were signs of it and we didn't get involved with Cyprus at all. When we got to Tel Aviv we just rang up everybody from the telephone on the ship, all of Abie's friends in Israel. They knew we were coming; the day before we arrived we were listening to the Israeli Radio and they said "Abie Nathan's Peace Ship is coming". Just about every television station in the world came out and covered it when we got there.
We used to play "All we are saying is Give Peace a Chance" by John & Yoko Lennon all the time. We played Western music the most; we used to play a lot of French music, all the Arab countries speak French. We started off at midday and went through until two in the morning. Midday till six was rock 'n' roll music. Then I used to do a classical programme from six to sever.; that would go up until the sun started to set. So I'd do about 45-50 minutes of classical music, and then we would do The Sunset.
Three minutes before the sun was due to go down we would do a live broadcast every night from the bridge upstairs on deck. We would talk the sun down, we'd say "Whatever you're doing now, STOP, wherever you are, and look towards the west and watch the greatest free show in the world, the Sunset. And whether you are in Cairo, or whether you're in Alexandria, or whether you're in Jerusalem or whether you're in Tel Aviv or whether you're
in Beirut, or whether you're in Cyprus, or whether you're in Athens - just remember that all those other people in all those other places are doing the same thing, and we are all brothers together doing it". And the Sun would go down. Then we'd go into our Love and Peace gig, two hours all of Love and Peace music up until nine. Then at 9 o'clock we had an hour of Arabic; we had an Arab guy come out to do a programme for us. Ten to eleven was Hebrew. Abie did that programme. I used to panel operate for him and held sit there and just rabbit. Eleven to two was back to rock music, although after midnight it tended to get sweeter. Abie also did midnight till two, in English. He used to enjoy that. Our other broadcaster was an American. He was in Israel in a kibbutz and he just came out to join us for a little while. His name was David; I don't remember his other name, we never used to use second names.
Abie used to freak because I'd go swimming in the nude. I don't wear pyjamas, I never have. I'd climb out of bed in the morning, walk upstairs, no clothes on, out on the deck and over the side into the sea and go swimming - really nice. Abie used to freak, he'd say "I wish you'd put swimming trunks on", because we used to have the Israeli Navy gunboats out from Ashdod, and the kids in the Israeli Army and Navy, maybe 19, 20, 21 years old, would pile into these gunboats to come out to see us, and throw us oranges and things. Abie used to say it wasn't quite the sort of thing to be done to have all these chicks going around on these gunboats watching me swimming in the nude! Once we had twenty kids on board. They were amazing, they came out and worked on the ship during the day, painting and things, and lying about in the sun, and at night they went into the studio from seven till nine and we just flipped on the mikes and let them rabbit on. There were West Bank Arabs and Israelis sitting around the one table talking. That was the way we did it, people discussing what they thought; they came up with some great ideas. All the pop stars from Israel came out and sat round a table and discussed what they thought could be done to stop the war. The jocks never used to get involved in that one. Abie mostly chaired it; I chaired a couple of them when they were in English. They were quite good; it was fun. We had reception reports from India, and some from Russia; in the Central African Republic somebody picked us up, and we got a report from South Africa once.
We used to have a tender come out from Ashdod, Israel. It was our own launch, we bought it and had it anchored alongside our ship. We used to go in with it every day; it only took 45 minutes, We did actually take the ship in once, for one day; we decided we had to fill up with oil. We filled up at New York; we'd built in Christ knows how many tanks underneath especially for oil, we were a floating oil-rig when we left New York! When the ship was full of oil it had enough to last eight months. So we said "We wont be on the air tomorrow because we wont be here we'll be in Ashdod harbour". This was on September 12th. Me and Abie, we stayed on the ship all the time.
Everybody else went off, but it was difficult for me because there was nobody to replace me. But Abie is liable for the Israeli reserve army and he was a bit scared that they might call him up. So what we did was anchor our launch, put the sea anchor on it, sailed the ship in and left Abie on the launch outside in the middle of the sea. I prepared all this food for him, a monster basket full of all sorts of goodies - and they forgot to give it to him, so he didn't really have much, he even ran out of cigarettes. We made a propaganda thing about Abie being still out there. There was no way they could arrest our ship when we took it in because Abie was still stuck out in the middle of the sea. When we sailed in they were very polite actually, they were very nice to us and very helpful. I flew home then. Then they came out of Ashdod harbour and sailed down to the Lebanon and into Beirut harbour, and it was the first ship for 25 years that had sailed out of an Israeli port into an Arab port. On October 6th, the war broke out. The Voice of Peace was broadcasting during the war but they went off the air afterwards.
From the end of 1973, when Abie brought the ship North in a desperate and unsuccessful quest for the necessary funds to continue, MV "Peace" lay silent and almost deserted in Marseilles. But the time came for the broadcasts to again spring to life; Although rumours had abounded, the first definite news we had was when on May 19th Bob Noakes told us by phone that he was leaving the very next day to join the Voice of Peace. At that time the ship was in drydock being repainted ready to journey down to the Levant broadcasting en route when abeam of Italy. Bob believed that some money had been provided by the Vatican; -they had apparently enough financial backing for an operation lasting three months. When Bob arrived on May 21st he found engineer Bill Benson already aboard, and before long they were joined by Capital's Keith Ashton. A card from Lob, posted in Marseilles on May 27th, informed us that "We're setting-off tomorrow morning, definitely for the Middle Last. Conditions on board excellent and atmosphere is great".
When MV "Peace" left harbour on May 28th it was with the intention of joining the first convoy to sail through -the Suez canal when it was reopened on June 5th. Abie had applied for permission to do this, and to broadcast all the way in an effort to reawaken interest in his message, but at that time no reply had been received. The plan was to turn around at the South end of the canal and sail right back, and then to anchor off Israel and resume normal broadcasts.
We kept an ear to 195 metres (1540 kHz) and did hear a heterodyne, caused by the proximity (1538 kHz of the 700 kW station at Mainflingen, West Germany, on more than one occasion. Firstly it came in on June 3rd from 23.35 BST/CET, and secondly the signal was audible at 21.30 on the following day. This proved that the Voice of Peace was indeed broadcasting even though no actual programmes were resolved. June 5th was the big day for the Suez Canal. already some of the ships that had been trapped in the Great Bitter Lake by the Six Day War were being removed, and so the first convoy was ready to move off at 08.30 BST/CET from Port Said. Unfortunately Abie did not receive permission to join the convoy and MV "Peace" was prevented from doing so. However President Sadat obviously held some of Abie's principles in mind, for in his speech he said of the canal that he was "Reopening it to international navigation and making it as it was always meant to be; a tributary of Peace and a channel to prosperity and co-operation among men".
We did not hear the Voice of Peace again until June 25th, when a heterodyne was noted at 21.40 BST/CET. This time we could detect a programme in progress - and the signal was travelling over 2,200 miles to reach us! The following night we listened again, to find a heterodyne audible from 20.30. Programming was coming in quite clearly by 21.30, at which time we heard Keith announce that they had 29 ½ hours left to broadcast. At the time we did not realise the full significance of that remark; Tony told us that "broadcasting marathons" were not unusual on the station, and we assumed that the Voice of Peace was involved in one of these. The next night, June 27th, it was Bob whom we heard from 21.00 BST/CET. Midnight passed, and at 01.00 "Man of Action" was played. Then it was at 03.00 that the station closed down. We have not picked them up since.
Dutch television then carried the news that the Voice of Peace was gone for good. A report in a newspaper from Holland, headlined "Abie Nathan Gives Up The Peace Ship Project", informs us that on the afternoon of Saturday, June 28th, MV "Peace" sailed into the harbour of Haifa, where Abie stated that he intends either to sell the ship, and have schools built in Jerusalem and Nazareth where Jewish and Arab children can be taught together, or, for the same purpose, to start a commercial radio station. Abie, however, denies that he will ever accept advertising; he claims "The only financial base I want to work from is the support of people of all races all over the world". An optimistic note has reached us from Bob. He wrote to us from Israel: "Since we
couldn't get into Suez, although we waited 20 days anchored in the bay of Port Said, we've come here to Haifa where we'll raise funds in the next few weeks, if possible, to take the ship out again. Everything here's fine", We at "Monitor" join our readers in hoping that it remains fine, and that we will hear the Voice of Peace broadcasting again very soon!
CAMPUS RADIO - SIX YEARS 0N
I am delighted to take this opportunity to give "Monitor" readers an account, from the inside, of a form of alternative radio which has developed largely unnoticed since 1968; Campus Radio, only by relating my personal experiences at University Radio Bailrigg can I adequately convey the unique flavour of this form of broadcasting, therefore I intend to devote a large part of the account to that particular station. But we have to turn back the clock seven years to find the beginning of our story. Radio 270 had provided Yorkshire with a form of radio catering for an age-group not adequately served by existing stations, and after its closure University students, who had been able to get much effective publicity for rag weeks and social events, particularly missed the benefits of offshore stations as well as their music. It was perhaps inevitable therefore that a section of the population noted for "getting things done' would take steps to rectify the situation. History records that it was the students of York University who first approached the Authorities with the idea of providing their own radio-service; and it was the transmission method decided upon at York in 1968 that became the foundation of a whole new concept in British radio.
First of all I will try to explain the technical characteristics involved in campus broadcasting. A listener on the University campus should be able to receive the station on an ordinary MW radio, indoors or outdoors. An ordinary transmitter is used but the power is much lower than a broadcasting station would normally use. But in order for the Authorities to allow the station to broadcast, steps have to be taken to prevent the signal from being received outside the University boundary. In effect, having produced a signal from the transmitter the task is to prevent it from escaping beyond the permitted limits; the reverse of most stations, which obviously try to make their signals reach as far as possible. The method chosen to fulfil the task of restricting the signal involves the use of coaxial cable not unlike the type used to connect a TV aerial to the set. Placing the cable in the form of a closed loop and feeding the signal into this loop results in a strong signal being heard inside the loop but beyond its immediate vicinity the signal strength is negligible. Several loops connected by co-axial cable can be used but the larger the number of loops the more difficult it becomes to keep them all working properly, since mutual interaction can occur to spoil their performance. Apart from this unusual aerial system the technical features of a campus station are basically the same as any MW station. MWwas chosen because few students possess VHF radios, and had VHF been used there would have been additional technical problems. York was allocated a frequency of 998 kHz (300•6metres) and later other stations were allocated either this or 962 kHz (312metres).
At about the same time York first went on the air, across the Pennines at Lancaster plans were started for a similar station. By describing the Lancaster situation I hope to answer the questions you would ask about the early days of any campus station. The proposed station had been tentatively called "Radio Bailrigg" after the hamlet where the campus is situated. The plan was for the station to be financed from Students Union funds in order for it to be without undue control by the Administration, but it was realised that as the Administration would have to provide accommodation for the station it would feel some inclination to influence the general pattern of activities. Thus some form of dual control, with students interests predominant, was seen as the likely outcome. The next step was to seek approval from the Student Council, who were to finance it. 'The results of a questionaire circulated amongst the students convinced them of the demand for a radio station, and a detailed feasibility study was produced covering findings and proposals on potential programmes, staffing, control, accommodation, capital and running costs. A motion stated that the Student Council should "consider itself under obligation to make the necessary capital available if funds permit". In light of experience at York, it was possible to reduce the potential setting-up costs to as little as £855 for the studio and £340 for the transmitter and aerial system, with annual running costs of £505 including depreciation. By normal standards this is extremely cheap but even so financial difficulties were to figure prominently in the coming months. The Student Council were unable to provide sufficient funds straightaway for the station to be set up so the radio Bailrig team looked for other possible ways of obtaining money. It so happens that Lancaster University has an arrangement whereby students from three American colleges can attend Lancaster for one year; in return these colleges as a goodwill gesture give an annual sum of £1,000 which is spent on a project of benefit to the student community, decided by a referendum of all students. So this was the obvious chance to acquire £1,000 to
purchase the initial equipment. Radio Bailrigg did well in the referendum, but it was won by another project. However this referendum had been held up for two terms due to some administrative blunder; the next followed just a few months later, Radio Bailrigg again applied and came second. In the meanwhile it had been discovered that the other project would cost far more than had been envisaged so it was abandoned - and it was decided that the first £1,000 should go to Radio Bailrigg. At last the station was in business!
Now a place had to be found for the studio, and agreement was reached to use two rooms in the recently-opened Furness College. One of these rooms was insulated by sticking dozens of egg boxes round the walls and painting them bright orange, and after a bit of a tussle permission was granted to cut a square in the dividing wall for the familiar "glass panel" enabling visual contact to be maintained while broadcasting is in progress. Meanwhile a radio amateur was converting an old transmitter to operate on 998 kHz, and others were installing the loop aerials. After consultation with the Building Development Officer permission was given for the cables to be installed in the network of tunnels under the ground floors of the various colleges. These tunnels carry water, electricity and other cables, but unfortunately they also at certain times carry several inches of sewage, and the temperatures inside them make prolonged installation work a very uncomfortable experience; However they have the advantage of running directly underneath the very areas which are the main targets for reception of the station, namely the college residential areas. After frantic preparations, the very first test transmission of Radio Bailrigg was broadcast on the last day of the Spring term 1971.
Reception on the campus was very good, but it was discovered that the signal was reaching well beyond the permitted reception area. When steps were taken to limit this illegal radiation, by making adjustments to the aerial system, numerous technical problems emerged. The transmitter's output was not being transferred effectively to the aerials and the general performance of the whole system was extremely inefficient. But reception was still possible in some parts of the campus, and while the engineering staff tried to improve things, programme staff were being recruited and taught how to operate the studio equipment. The second room, which housed the transmitter, also served as the store, engineering workshop and office, so often things became very crowded! But nobody minded the cramped conditions in those days, as there was still sufficient euphoria to make all difficulties seem minor ones. At this stage almost the entire output of the station consisted of music programmes. The novelty of "being a DJ" invariably attracts people other than genuinely committed broadcasters, and so it was not long before those who had done all the groundwork found themselves overshadowed by certain "ego-trippers" who appeared with a whole army of friends and hangers-on, took over the studio completely and tried to create the impression that they were the "stars" of the station. This posed fundamental problems of conscience, for the station had always used as one of its main campaigning themes the notion of being open to all who wanted to broadcast. But suddenly this commendable theory seemed to be disintegrating as numerous cases of extreme incompetence, drunkenness and even drug taking began to threaten the reputation and possibly the whole future of the station. At the same time some of the studio equipment was showing serious signs of wear after only a few months, and a number of breakdowns occurred. The original feasibility report had specified suitable equipment for the studio but the actual equipment purchased differed considerably from the recommendations. When the time came to buy the equipment, lack of understanding of the essential characteristics of a radio station became a stumbling block. Those involved in the planning of the studio equipment were basically Hi-Fi enthusiasts, with the result that they purchased the equipment on its merits for domestic Hi-fi applications, forgetting the very important requirement of its being able to withstand constant heavy use. It was therefore the Station Director's decision to bring transmissions to a halt while these problems were considered.
A committee of enquiry was set up, which found that money had been wasted, but nevertheless concluded that a further sum should be allowed for the station to purchase more reliable equipment. £638 was calculated as the minimum desirable figure; it was also recommended that the annual licence fee, which is £50, should be charged separately to the Student Council. The result of this enquiry was to give the station a vote of confidence, so it was decided to aim at getting the new equipment installed ready to start transmissions again at the start of the next academic year. Despite the fact the Director and another student spent several weeks of the summer vacation working on the studio and aerial system there was still a last minute rush to get everything ready in time; but the station managed to return to the air by the deadline. The existing staff of the station had dwindled to only those genuinely interested, so now a recruitment campaign was again necessary to build up the numbers. Halfway through the term we were still officially on test transmissions, as we were supposed to be given a technical inspection before the MinPoTel would allow us to broadcast a full programme service. However, the Director realised that putting out month after month of disc-
jockey programmes was giving us an image which we wished to avoid, so it was decided to start progammes unofficially and hope the Authorities would turn a blind eye to the fact. These programmes began with an opening speech by Princess Alexandra, who is the University's chancellor.
Through a member of staff who had experience as a freelance broadcaster on BBC radio, a producer and presenter from Radio Merseyside, Tony Wolfe, heard about our station. He came along with a taperecorder and took away enough interviews, discussions and programme excerpts to turn into a half-hour feature, which was broadcast on Merseyside one Wednesday evening. But Tony's visit provided URB's most embarrassing moment! We had planned a discussion and phone-in on the role of radio in the community, and at the end of our discussion session for the BBC programme, recorded in our college bar, a colleague dashed down to the studio to switch on the transmitter ready for the broadcast. There were two switches to turn on, one which put the transmitter on "warm-up" and the second to actually start it broadcasting. He switched to "warm-up" but when starting time arrived he just forgot all about the second switch! Normally someone would have spotted the error, but we were more concerned with playing host to Tony. He did think it odd that not a single telephone call had come in during the course of the discussion, and a few minutes after Tony left for Liverpool we discovered why: I laugh about it now, but it didn't seem quite so funny at the time. My other embarrassing moment was when I stayed in the studio after 2 a.m. closedown to edit a programme tape. At about 3.30 a.m. when I switched off the lights to leave, I noticed that the transmitter was still glowing! If anyone had tuned in, they would have heard me edit an entire programme on the air, complete with certain choice comments into the mike when I made a mistake in the narration!
Copy right Andy Sennitt 1975
Part Two of this article will appear in "Monitor" 9. Meanwhile, if you would like more specific information on campus radio write enclosing a SAE and we will forward your enquiry to Andy.
Sad news for all of us who had the pleasure of Michael Wall-Garland's company on Radio Seagull. After leaving the station Mike, who was an extremely good driver, took a position as an ambassadorial chauffeur. "lie job took 27-year-old Mike to Alassio in Italy, where he met an untimely death in a car crash on December 17th. What more can one say? He lives still in fond memories. Mike regularly read poetry on Seagull, and upon several occasions stepped in to present a programme for us.
BOOK REVIEW"OFFSHORE RADIO"
We have received from Gerry Bishop an advance copy, of his eagerly-awaited book "Offshore Radio". This valuable contribution to free radio history contains the full facts on every offshore station right back to Radio Mercur in 1958. Within its 125 pages, A4 size and of the highest quality paper, you will find not only detailed histories of each station but also technical data, particulars of the boats involved, specimen programme schedules and lists of DJ's. By our calculations, you will find this 1 ½ lb paperback embodies 183 photographs and illustrations! We have no hesitation in recommending this volume. It is obtainable from: East Anglian Productions, 7 Horsey Road, Kirby-le-Soken, Frinton-on-Sea, Essex C013 ODZ. Price £5 inc. p & p.
RECORD REVIEW"RADIO CAROLINE: THE TRUE STORY UNTIL 1974"
This is an album that Will Mean nothing to anybody not in on the scene, but it is guaranteed to send all faithful listeners into uncontrollable ecstasies. All human life is here; well, as much as they dare put on record for sale to the general public, anyway. It is all a Caroline souvenir ought to be, and a truly excellent production; but do not worry about what you will find on it, just GET IT - or you will soon wish you had! Kneedeep! It is available from FRC Holland, P. 0. Box 9460, The Hague 2040, Holland. An IRC will bring you full details of this and many other free radio offers.
Where have you stuck them all? In very prominent places we hope! The stickers we are talking about are the free "Radio Caroline" ones that the FRC have been distributing. So far they have given away over 24,000! That has cost them not only the expense of producing them, but also 1 ½ p for every letter they have received at their Mono-mark address. Yet, as if that was not enough, they are eager to spend yet more of their hard-earned cash by giving away superb three-colour Caroline posters for merely the cost-price of 10 for 90p, plus postage, from: FREE RADIO CAMPAIGN, BM-FRC, London WC1V 6XX. If you would like one as a sample, just send them 10p.
A HISTORY OF RADIO NORDSEE INTERNATIONAL. By Jeremy C-G. Arnold.
Part II. The Return, 1971.
After the close-down of Radio Nordsee International on 24th September 1970, apparently to help Radio Veronica by not antagonising the Dutch Government, the Mebo II was supposed to enter Scheveningen harbour, later to leave for a non-Daropean destination, probably Africa. It seemed to be the end after a very gallant fight, there was no precedent for an offshore station to reopen after closure. Many tributes appeared in the music Press under such headings as "Last Hope Sunk!" "RNI Sacrificed for Veronica?" "Sunk with Dignity".
Hope returned when it was revealed that the Mebo II had not entered harbour, nor had it left for Africa or anywhere else but was still at anchor off Scheveningen. The ship was apparently for sale, and an African concern had been interested but had not proceeded any further. It seemed that if the Mebo was not sold there was an increasing chance that it would resume broadcasting. During the next few weeks there were many wild rumours about imminent returns of RNI, and of other stations starting up. It was suggested that RNI would return under a different name such as Radio Marina, or that it would have a new wavelength such as the 266 metres formerly used by the offshore Radio London, or that there would not be any British DJ's employed. All proved to be incorrect.
It was not until early 1971, after RNI had started broadcasting again, that the story of the closure and subsequent reopening started to emerge. In order to understand the reasons for this it is necessary to go back into 1970. The story concerns Radio Veronica, the Dutch offshore station which at this time had been broadcasting for eleven years, far longer than any other offshore station. The reason why Veronica had survived so long was that it was easily the most popular station in Holland, so apart from the occasional threatening noises, the Government tolerated it. As the Government only had a small majority it had little choice, to have tried to close Veronica would have been suicide.
However the arrival in 1970 of the powerful Radio Nordsee International threatened this status quo. Not only might RNI detract from Veronica's popularity, her main defensive weapon, it might goad the Government into action or cause international pressure to be exerted on it. So when Mebo II moved to the Essex coast in March 1970 Veronica must have been greatly relieved, indeed it is even conceivable that she helped behind the scenes to instigate the Mebo's move.
In the middle of July the Veronica radioship "Norderney" was joined by the "King David", briefly to be the home of the sweet music station Capital Radio until it ran aground in November. The 24th July saw the Mebo II once again anchored off Scheveningen, now making a threesome. The Dutch Government was starting to make threatening noises again.
Veronica decided that the only way disaster could be averted was to silence RNI, but how? Now that the jamming had stopped things began to look more settled for RNI, but the months of operating in a hostile environment with little or no income had taken their toll. RNI was short of money (the attempt to tow away the Mebo II on 29th August was promoted by people who claimed they were owed money). So when Veronica came along with a tempting offer to hire the Mebo II, the offer was accepted. Veronica of course did not want to broadcast from the radioship, they just wanted to silence it, and so big a threat did they consider it, they were prepared to pay handsomely.
The agreement between Veronica and Mebo Ltd. meant that Veronica hired the Mebo II and paid one million guilders (£100,000) to Messrs. Meister and Bollier on condition that they did not broadcast in Dutch or broadcast from off the coast of Holland. This agreement later became the subject of legal action. Mebo Ltd. maintained that the agreement was for two months only, and that all they needed to do to end the contract was to return the million guilders. Veronica took the view that they had the option to renew the agreement indefinitely. This seems to be the most likely version of what happened, though there were other slight variations based on the same general theme.
Messrs. Meister and Bollier, encouraged by the large number of people that had asked for RNI to return, and having been approached by a Dutch record company, decided to restart RNI. A young producer called Victor Pelli was appointed as Production Director, quietly he started to get things organised. When the charter agreement expired (as Mebo Ltd. Maintained) Mr. Bollier went to the Veronica offices in Hilversum, with him he took two suitcases containing one million guilders worth of Deutschmarks. The Veronica management refused to accept the money, and refused to dissolve the contract. Mebo Ltd. asserted that as they had offered the money they were entitled to resume operations.
Mr. Bollier then went out to the Mebo II and dismissed the captain who immediately went ashore to phone the Veronica management. As the captain had technically deserted his ship, Mr. Bollier, who of course still owned the ship, took over as
captain. When the ex-captain and some crew members tried to return later Mr. Bollier threatened to use the ship's pistol if necessary, and an attempt at boarding was repelled with fire extinguishers. They returned to shore rather wet, and so ended Veronica's possession of the Mebo II. A few days later she sailed to a new anchorage off Belgium.
The engineers had much work ahead of them to get all the equipment back in working order. It was later claimed that during their tenancy the Veronica staff had done considerable damage, with the probable intention of delaying or preventing a resumption of transmissions. Nonetheless on Friday 29th January 1971 continuous music was heard, on 220 metres MW and 49 metres SW. If anyone had any doubts about where this powerful signal came from, then the occasional playing of the distinctive RNI theme tune "Man of Action" would surely have provided the necessary proof. There were no announcements, though late that night a voice was heard to say "Klaas, please will you bring me down a glass of milk?"!
For the next two weeks test broadcasts continued with nonstop music, though sometimes all that could be heard was the buzz of the carrier wave. On some days tests only lasted two or three hours, on other days they lasted twelve hours or more. Early in February the Mebo II moved back to its original position off Scheveningen. On the evening of Sunday 14th February the first DJ announcements were heard, though they did not identify themselves until the official opening of the station. At this stage there were only two DJ's on board. The first announcement came from Stevi Merike who said "This is a test transmission from Radio Nordsee International broadcasting on 220 metres medium wave band, that's 1367 kilocycles, and on Channel 44, that's 100 megacycles in the FM band, and short wave at 6205 kilocycles in the European band. We're very very pleased to have you around, may I cordially suggest that you might like to call up your friends on the telephone and let them know that Radio Nordsee International is back, 220 on their dial...". He then asked for reception reports to be sent to PO Box 113 in Zurich 8047. A reply in the form of one of the beautifully colourful RNI QSL cards was promised to those who sent International Reply Coupons. Next day similar announcements came from an anonymous but easily recognised Alan West.
In Britain it was impossible to respond by post to the appeal for reception reports because of the Post Office strike, and even when the strike was over, IRC's were not available in some areas because of the change to decimal currency! This strike also made it impossible to obey the "Save The Mebo" advertisements which mysteriously appeared in the music Press. These said "We've given up car stickers and taken to sending hard cash to RADIO NORTH SEA, Mebo Ltd, PO Box 113, Zurich 8047, Switzerland. International money orders are available at any Post Office. If every RNI supporter sent only 5/- RNI would receive several million pounds. How about you?"
If RNI's future was to be assured it was essential to see to it that this time they had a regular income from commercials. To this end, now that the station was test broadcasting, negotiations were conducted with a Dutch music publishing company, Basart NV, with a view to them buying airtime on RNI. Agreement was reached and a new company, Exploitatie Maatschappij Radio Noordzee NV, was set up to back the station. The day to day running of the station was now to be organised from Holland, so RNI was given a new address, Postbus 117, Hilversum.
At 1.56pm on Sunday 21st February 1971 test programmes ceased. At 2.Opm, preceded by "Man of Action" and a fanfare, Alan West gave the station identification and introduced Production Director Mr. Victor Pelli who had been very actively involved with the return of RNI, and who also had published the RNI Souvenir Book. He said "A new and different chapter of Radio Nordsee International begins at this time. On behalf of the owners Mr. Meister and Mr. Bollier I would like to bid you welcome to the new RNI. In the years to come Radio Nordsee International will bring you the best possible entertainment".
Then came Stevi Merike who had been appointed Head of the English Service. It was great to be back he said, and this time things would "definitely be together". "...About Radio Nordsee International, the format and things like that will be geared especially for you, and we ask you, especially because this is the station for you, to write and let us know exactly how you like our station..." Once again there was a station that cared about its listeners and was prepared to talk to them and not just at them.
Also introduced in the opening programme were DJ's Martin Kayne, Tony Allan, Dave Rogers and Crispian St. John. Alan West had been on RNI in 1970 virtually from the beginning, and Dave Rogers had joined just a few days before the close-down. At 3.Opm normal programmes began with Tony Allan introducing the Top Fifty Show.
To begin with programmes were all in English, but Dutch language shows started on 6th March. These ran during the daytime from 9.0am to 4.Opm (hours which were soon to be extended and were hosted by two ex-Veronica DJ's Joost de Draaijer and Jan van Veen, who were later joined by Ferry Maat and Peter Holland. The Dutch side of RNI
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had its own studios in a house in Hilversum where the programmes were prerecorded and sent out to the Mebo II on tape. Some people were disappointed at the loss of all-day English programmes, but this was inevitable if RNI was to receive the financial backing it needed to continue. As it was, the Dutch programmes during the day also provided the revenue to pay for the English (International) programmes in the evening.
The apparently impossible had been achieved, RNI was back in business, but the continuing story was not to be uneventful, the station was to face violent events and violent storms. Again, miraculously, RNI was to triumph, a tribute to the courage and determination of all who worked for her.
Mebo - Ten Months in Slikkerveer
The past few months have been eventful for Mebo Ltd., for although RNI has been absent from the airwaves there have been several court cases in Holland since the ship was impounded.
The order for the Mebo II to be chained up on October 10th was given by the "officier van justitie" (attorney-general) of Amsterdam, Mr. H. Remmers de Vries. Work was still in progress on board when this totally unexpected event occurred; BOB NOAKES told us how he first heard of the decisions "Robin was putting in the studios and Bruno and I were working on the transmitters when three or four smartly-dressed men arrived. I thought they were from the Press, because one of them had a camera and another a cassette-recorder. But when I went into the studios, Robin told me they were plain-clothes policemen, which seemed odd. Bruno was quite happy about the whole thing. He seemed quite confident that he had an open-and-shut legal case, and was showing them around the transmitter room with great relish just as he used to do with pressmen. It was actually unfortunate that they'd come around at that time, for that very afternoon we'd just got the transmitters back together again and started running them up. Naturally we hadn't got any exciters or anything in them but we had the filaments running and the blowers running, so of course when the policemen opened the door to the transmitter room they were greeted by a great blast of heat and all the red and green lights showing! It was a bit embarrassing trying to tell them that they weren't running transmitters when there they were chugging away with all the meters reading and the lights on; and with generators running as well, for there wasn't enough power on the dock to run the blowers.
There were six policemen in uniform patrolling the dock with guns. We had to all stay on board until the ship had been cleared; we weren't even allowed to send any message off the ship in any way. Eventually we were allowed to go, but before they left they sealed the transmitters with bits of wire through the doors. They did have a look around, but they certainly didn't strip the ship to pieces. The following day the Customs and Shoreline Police came round again and opened the cabins that'd previously been sealed, and had a poke around inside there - I don't know what they did but they sealed them up again afterwards. The transmitter cabinets remained sealed; for some strange reason one of the seals got broken. We don't know who broke it or why or when, but one of the plain-clothes policemen was very agreeable and just came around and mended it. They'd also sealed the wheel of the ship - put a bit of wire around it and just clipped it. Anybody could have broken the wire with their hands, but it was a legal token; we weren't in a position to break it".
The public prosecutor of Rotterdam, Mr. de Hoogh, brought a case against Herr Bollier of knowingly bringing into Holland illegal radio transmitters. As the law in Holland stated that it is only illegal to operate a transmitter, not to own it, Herr Bollier disputed this charge. His lawyer, Mr. Geleynse, told the court that vital parts had been removed from the transmitters so that it was impossible for radiation to have taken places and that if Mebo Ltd. were guilty of breaking the law then so was everyone who'd been involved with the ship since its entry into Holland, including about a hundred people who had worked on board, the "Smit Tak" company who had towed in the Mebo II, the ship yard itself and even the Dutch Customs of Rotterdam! The final hearing of the first case was on December 10th, and as is the custom in Holland, the decision was deferred for two weeks, and therefore it was on Christmas Eve that the result was confirmed, The Dutch Press, not allowed to publish the name of the Judge or the full name of the defendant, announced that Edwin B. had been found guilty, and although he was not fined, the order that the radio installations should be confiscated was to be carried out. The Dutch courts were to pay 350,000 Guilders compensation for the transmitters, and as soon as they were removed the Mebo II would be free to go. But until then the impoundment order still stood, regardless of the fact Mebo offered
take the ship directly to the Gambia, Africa, (already the home of ex-Swedish offshore station Radio Syd) where they have a licence to operate; even accompanied by a marine escort if the Government insisted!
The Post Office wanted to remove the transmitters at once, but naturally no one connected with the Mebo wanted this to happen after all the work that had been done on
board. Also, the compensation judged by the court to be the the value of the equipment would by no means pay for the installations to be replaced in some foreign port. Therefore bearing in mind that the Mebo II is registered in Panama and that legally not even the Dutch police are authorised to board the ship without the permission of the Panamanian Ambassador, this gentleman was called in to seal up the whole of the transmitter area: Herr Bollier then took a further case to the court in the Hague in which he claimed that the transmitters were cargo on board a Panamanian-registered ship. Apparently this was acceptable to the court, for this time the ruling given on March 3rd was that the ship could be moved intact but must stay out of European waters for at least two years, and an indemnity to this effect must be paid to the Dutch courts. The price of the indemnity was set at 800,000 Guilders. A further hearing decided on March 25th that the price would be reduced to 250,000 Guilders, but upheld the ruling that the Mebo II must stay away from Europe for twenty-four calendar months; and added that it must leave harbour within three months of the date of this decision, otherwise it would be taken over by the authorities and broken up as a potential 'pirate' station. The Mebo company was willing to pay this indemnity, which will be refunded with interest at the end of the specified period, and an agreement has been signed that should they break the terms of the court's ruling they are prepared for the ship to be taken in by the authorities. But they were not willing to pay the enormous harbour fees that have mounted up during the time the Mebo II and her sister ship Angela (the original Mebo) have been held up in Slikkerveer. They asseverate that the courts are responsible for these fees, and should pay compensation for at least part of them. The matter is still the subject of continuing litigation.
Before he left England in May to join the Voice of Peace, Bob expressed the opinion to us that the Mebo will still be in harbour when he returns in three months! But he also tells us that if they do broadcast again they'll have the freedom of the whole Medium Waveband, as they now have three sets of frequency determining parts on board for the main transmitter, and can therefore go on any frequency between about 610 kHz and 1300 kHz. In our last issue we reported that in order to allow the Mebo II to enter Slikkerveer the lift-bridge had to be raised to its highest point, and the mast just cleared it with half a metre to spare. Then we told you that an extra three metres had been added to the height of the mast; so we've had many enquiries as to just how the ship would be able to leave harbour again! This is the explanation Bob gave us: "When we got to Rotterdam we lowered the top section, the capacity hat, down. It's a tubular section about three inches in diameter; you undo the nuts and that slides down inside the lattice section. The old tube has been scrapped; the whole top fitting had to be sawn off, it was so badly corroded, so that prompted us to put a new tubular section on it, and it was decided to make it longer. At the moment it's fixed up with just a nylon rope which runs down to the deck. All we have to do to get it down is to loosen off that rope; one man is strong enough to lower it. Pulling it up and down at the moment can be done by means of this rope, but of course once it is up somebody will have to go up to the top and do the bolts up tight - that's all there is to it. It looks to be dangerous - it leans over a bit at the top because it's not properly fixed, but obviously there's no danger of it coming down in the dock".
I am sure we have all wondered just why it was decided to take the Mebo II into harbour in Holland after the Dutch MOA had come into effect. One possible reason is that it was at the De Groot en van Vliet shipyard that she was originally built in 1948! Then called the "Silvretta"9 she returned there in 1969 to be converted from a 437 ton cargo-carrier to a radioship. If you have a copy of the "RNI Souvenir Book" you can see apicture of her there during the conversion. If the Mebo II does ever return to the airwaves, from whatever coastline, the 347 ton Angela will accompany her
as a supply vessel. Of Norwegian construction, she was completed during 1941 by the Trondhjems M/V A/S in Trondheim, and named "Bjarkoy". At the time of writing her colour-scheme is a white hull with grey boot-topping.
Capital Radio and L.B.C. officially moved on March 4th to their permanent positions on the dial, 194 m and 261 m respectively. For three months the stations simulcast on their old and new frequencies to give the listeners a chance to get used to the changeover. The transmitters are sited at Saffron Green, near Borehamwood, and share a common aerial with four 234ft. mast-radiators directing the main power southeast across central London.
KANAR.All of you who can read French will be interested in the magazine "Kanar", which can be obtained for 3 IRC's from Pascal Vanbremeersch, Route Saint-Eloi, 59114 Steenvoorde, France. This is an illustrated student publication which devotes a considerable proportion of its contents to the offshore radio scene, both past and present.
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The advent of independent local radio in Britain has provided opportunities for many of our old friends to "come ashore" and work in a new type of radio. All the stations now operating are different to one another but most are pleased to take advantage of the talents of people who learned their trade on the offshore stations.
Let us look for instance at SWANSEA SOUND, the only commercial station serving Wales. CRIS ST. JOHN was part of the station even before the opening on Sept. 30th. He tells us that almost everything on the first day went smoothly; in fact the only technical hitch was during his own morning programme, when he had a studio guest: "Paul Hollingdale, who originally came from the area, and opened Radio's One and Two on the same day in 1967, was in the studio to be interviewed by Phil Fothergill (Ex-Radio Brighton and CSJ's Producer) ... a microphone was not plugged in and there was just deadly silence! After another disc the interview, which proved most interesting, did get underway". Because the Post Office had not completed work on installing the phone-in service, the first few "phone-in" programmes became studio discussions. One of the first was to introduce the DJ's to the listeners, and included references by CSJ to the pirate radio-ships he had worked on. He also said how much we all owed to them - stating again that it was due to the 'pirates' that we now had commercial radio landbased, and with a lot of potential.
Possibly the station that has realised its potential the most is PICCADILLY RADIO in Manchester. Many people describe it as "Radio London come on land"'. Why? Possibly because Radio London's PHIL BIRCH is the station's Managing Director. He says "On 2nd April 1974, Piccadilly Radio went on the air. Since that time it has built up an audience of 14 million listeners within the area. It strives to provide balanced and interesting programmes appealing to all tastes and all age-groups, and it welcomes advice and suggestions from its listeners". Piccadilly opened with an all-star cast that included RAY TERET, ROGER DAY and STEVE MERIKE (previously with LBC); they were soon joined by STEVE ENGLAND. Roger Day's name was in the news in a big way when, beginning at 10.00 am on Monday, March 3rd, he set up a record for non-stop broadcasting. He was on the air 21 hours a day, sleeping the remaining 3 hours in the studio, with his meals served to him by a bunny-girl from Manchester's Playboy Club. This marathon ended after 74 hours; the previous British record was only 66 hours. Congrats, Roger! Steve Merike has not been content to allow his success at Piccadilly to let him rest on his laurels and settle there. He has moved on to the new independent station at Bradford, taking the position of Assistant Programme Director. Best of luck, Steve!
When RADIO CITY opened in Liverpool at 6 a.m. on October 21st last year, it was ROBB EDEN who was Production Manager. Here is what he told us about the set-up: "The station is basically American Middle of the Road featuring the best pop records around the charts and lots of mind-blowing oldies. As a station it's pretty together with some good music being pumped out and quite a few good jocks on the air. However I'm not yet one as I've been too busy getting the commercials on the air: a very difficult task, making about forty ads a week. I enjoy making commercials but I'm looking forward to the time all the builders are out and have finished; when I've got our main production studio in operation I should have more time to do programmes. It's certainly different than on the ships and you have to conform a lot more. The station's doing very well". To the frustration of City's listeners, however, Robbie still cannot be heard live on the air! He left the station in March to tour with the Dutch group Kayak, and later took part in the Earth and Fire tour that he has been organising for some time. Now he has joined EMI as label manager for Capitol Records. Likewise DAVE KEITH ROGERS has left City to concentrate on disco work. For a time he put out a breakfast show of oldies on Saturdays and Sundays.
Sheffield's RADIO HALLAM is not outdone, for on that station you will find none other than KEITH SKUES and MICHAEL LINDSAY; who not only presents a "Rock and Soul" show every Saturday but also holds the position of Production Manager with the station.
One interesting thing about Hallam's studios is that they are built over a pub (and that, according to someone who has previously worked with one of the station's non-exoffshore presenters, was a very bad idea!). Hallam, which is perhaps less 'pop' oriented than most of the ILR stations, is distinguished in that it has two separate VHF frequencies, necessary because it serves a very hilly region, a condition unfavourable to FM reception.
Not to be forgotten is DAVE GREGORY, sole ex-'pirate' of METRO, Metropolitan Radio serving Tyneside/Wearside. The station is based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and is built over the River Derwent (work that one out!). Radio TEES, which opened on June 24th, also has only one shipmate signed on so far: BRIAN ANDERSON. Brian, who was with Tees when the test-transmissions began on May 30th, tells us it is particularly exciting working for a really new station as "We're actually helping to build the thing up". He meant that quite literally - when he phoned us he was sitting on the floor, at the time they had no furniture in the premises!. Just like old times, Brian, when you helped to build the office-studio at Van Hogendorpstraat 16?
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Moving North to Edinburgh, Scotland's second commercial station, RADIO FORTH, opened on January 22nd. IAN ANDERSON described the project as "Lotsa work, Lotsa fun! We're gonna make this a good one;" Ian is Senior Music Presenter, a position he describes as "Sort of Senior Deejay and Music Freak". The first Scottish station, RADIO CLYDE, now has only one ex-'pirate', RICHARD PARK; and LBC, too, is left with only ADRIAN LOVE to represent the offshore days. But CAPITAL's famous names still include TOMMY VANCE, KENNY EVERETT and DAVE CASH. Dave's P.A., Liza Myers, assures us that "They are all dedicated to commercial radio and much happier now that it is legalised". Capital also had the distinction of being the first IBA station to employ an offshore-DJ-with-a-difference; KEITH ASHTON, who once worked for New Zealand's only offshore station RADIO HAURAKI. After five months with Capital's "London Link", Keith has now moved on to the Peace Ship.
It is not only on radio that our friends are displaying their talents of course; many TV companies have benefited too. For instance ANDY ARCHER is impressing viewers and managements alike with his abilities as an interviewer, particularly on outside broadcasts, in the North of England. ARNOLD LAYNE, too, as a freelance broadcaster has done TV work with several companies, including Granada, Grampian, Anglia & Thames. It seems he is also into recording commercials, and has been heard performing this function for LBC and for Radio City.
Holland, too, is still enjoying watching and listening to personalities who have come ashore; the closure of Veronica, Noordzee and Atlantis has caused an influx of talent into 'legal' landbased radio. NCRV present every Saturday "ANDRE VAN DUYN's Dik Voor Mekaar Show", with ex-RNI engineer FERRY DE GROOT, EDDY BECKER and others. VARA has gained the services of ALFRED LAGARDE and LEO VAN DER GOOT. Leo takes part in a programme called "brie op je Boterham" (Three on your slice of Bread and Butter). TOM MULDER still uses the name KLAAS VAAK (the Dutch equivalent of The Sandman) for his late-night programmes on TROS; he shares one now, "De Nachtwacht" (Night Watchmen) with RON BRANDSTEDEN, AD ROLAND (Ad Petersen) and FERRY MATT. Ferry also presents "De Hitmeesters" (The Hitmasters), that is the Veronica chart under its new name of "De Nationale Top 40", followed by his own "Soul Top 10", every Thursday. Ad takes part in a non-pop programme of people, opinions and music, called "Hartje Amsterdam", each Saturday. While Klaas was on holiday in Spain, his programmes were taken over by TOM COLLINS and LEX HARDING, neither of whom had been heard on the radio for about ten months. the TROS radio team of ex-pirates is completed by GERARD DE VRIES, whom our Dutch readers will remember from early Veronica days.
The first shipmate to be signed for NOS-TV was PETER VAN DIJK (alias Gordon Walker), whose debut was on December 8th. Sometimes TINEKE presents the NOS "Een op Zondag" (One on Sunday) programme. On June 10th, NOS broadcast interviews with ex pirate people under the title "What has become of the pirates since last year?" NICO STEENBERGEN did the interviewing. The only ex-offshore who is seen on TV more than once a month is WILL LUIKINGA; he presents a naughts-and-crosses game known as "Boter, Kaas en Eieren" (Butter, cheese and eggs) for TROS. Another TROS programme is "Op Losse Groeven" (On loose grooves), a "top of the pops" for Dutch and Belgian artists, with CHIEL MONTAGNE. On NCRV, EDDY BECKER has his own "Eddy Ready Go Round Show". A humorous sports programme is "FC Avondrood". This is presented for VARA by FELIX MEURDERS together with FRITZ BARLEND and HENK VAN DORP, who used to introduce Veronica's "Sportief Zijn Beter Worden".
Finally, a mention of a few shipmates who are not working in commercial radio now. BRIAN McKENZIE has by now left the sauna-bath that he was managing in Swiss Cottage, and then we last heard of him he was presenting discos at the Nova Park Hotel in Zurich. DEREK JONES has stayed with the Van Den Akker tender company who used to serve Atlantis. TERRY DAVIS is studying at Hull University; popular place, Hull, for PAUL ALEXANDER is also there. When he is not working as a ship's radio-operator in the Merchant Navy he has been sitting exams for further technical qualifications. Best of luck to you both, lads! MIKE HAGLER has been having fun driving coach loads of tourists between Holland and Morocco; he currently has plans to equip a coach for a mobile-disco to tour Europe.ANDY ANDERSON is working hard making custom-built audio equipment; remember that when you or your local disco needs some! (Bona fide enquiries to Tunbridge Wells 29810). CRIS ST. JOHN and MARK STEWART have both set up production studios for themselves in Brighton. ROBIN BANKS is doing 'drive-ins' with Robb Eden in Belgium at weekends, and on weekdays he is assisting CHRIS CARY, who has recently formed a small company to manufacture electronic ball-games. Chris' previous assistant was BOB NOAKES before he left England to join the Voice of Peace. GRAM KAY (whose facinating biography will be featured in our next issue) has filled the vacancy on the Kimberly Clarke Network internal broadcast system left by Brian Anderson. As we go to press we learn that BOB SNYDER has taken over as Programme Director at the newly-opened RADIO TRENT, Bob formerly worked for Piccadilly Radio and before that was on Radio 270.
And to end the article on a happy note, our congratulations to NORMAN BARRINGTON who was married in April to his Dutch girlfriend DOOR. They're now farming in Scotland.
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THE CAROLINE CHRONICLE by Roland C. Pearson
On January 31st I had the dubious honour oF being visited by three officials from the Home Office, they were accompanied by a Sergeant of the Essex Constabuary. During the 2 ½ hours of their stay Section 5 of the Marine, &c., Broadcasting (Offences) Act 1967 was read aloud to me. And so, with a recently acquired copy of the Act at my elbow, I write this latest instalment of the Caroline Chronicle. If news of particular interest to you is missing from the following account you now know the reason why!
Let us commence by scrutinizing some Press cuttings that have been sent in by "Monitor" readers, they come mainly from provincial newspapers, but excerpts from a number of them are well worth quoting. Take for instance the Colchester "Evening Gazette" dated 6-11-74, under the headline Secrecy veils 'pop supplies raid',their reporter Mike Beharrel goes on to say: "A tight veil of secrecy has been drawn over a remarkable 'commando' style boarding of a launch ferrying supplies to the pirate radio vessel home of Radio Caroline. Essex River police, Post Office men and Home Office officials are known to have combined in the late night swoop on the launch as it entered the River Crouch. But spokesmen from all three groups have refused to say anything about the boarding - other than it actually took place. It is known that the launch, from the Mi Amigo, the Radio Caroline ship, at present anchored off Clacton, was intercepted by River Police and boarded as it entered the Crouch. Four men were on board and they were questioned - but not arrested. These facts were confirmed by Essex Police HQ. The men were told that the facts would be reported. The Post Office said that they were involved as agents of the Home Office. A spokesman said that a Government department dealing with radio interference had been monitoring the Caroline transmission. He said that the affair was the responsibility of the Home Office. But a Home Office spokesman said that the matter was being dealt with by the Essex Police. A spokesman added that they had been monitoring the broadcast ship for possible action under the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act". This incident was also mentioned in the "Dally Mirror" on 6-11-74, and in the "East Anglian Daily Times" and "Maldon & Burnham Standard" on the 7-11-74.
A headline in the "East Essex Gazette" of 11-4-75 read Radio system in _loft used as link with Radio Caroline, and went on to say: "A Holland-on-Sea man who delivered messages between people in London and others on board the pirate radio ship Mi Amigo - from which Radio Caroline is broadcast - via an illegal radio system in his loft was ordered to pay a total of £100 by Clacton magistrates on Monday. Peter Jackson, who admitted establishing a wireless station without a licence and using a station for wireless telegraphy without a licence on two occasions, was fined £25 on each of the three cases; ordered to pay £25 costs and forfeit the equipment, which was valued at about £46.10. Mr. Peter Hawkins, prosecuting on behalf of the Post Office, told the court that in November last year Post Office engineers discovered a station operating between the pirate radio-ship Mi Amigo, which is anchored in the Thames estuary, and an address in Holland-on-Sea for which there was no wireless telegraph licence in force. After obtaining a warrant, the Post Office searched the Jackson house. In the loft they found an assortment of radio-receiver and transmitter equipment, plus a telephone which was connected to an ordinary telephone downstairs".
Ian Markham-Smith writing in the influential "Sunday Telegraph" on 25-5-75 headed his article Pirate pop ship may be closed, he then said: "The Government is planning to stop the activities of a pirate radio ship, the Mi Amigo, 274 tons, which is anchored in the Thames estuary and beaming pop programmes to Europe. In a friendly gesture to Belgium and Holland, who have been annoyed at the ship's continued broadcasts, police have compiled a comprehensive report on the operations of Mi Amigo, whose revenue is said to be £1 million a year. It has been vetted by the Home Office and is being considered by the Director of Public Prosecutions. Essex detectives have boarded tenders supplying the ship with fresh provisions and interviewed traders.
Under British law it has been illegal to aid pirate radio stations or support them with commercial advertising since pirate stations appeared in the North Sea in the early 1960's".
This story was taken up the following day (26-5-75) by the Southend "Evening Echo" whose front page headlines read Police siege on the radio pirates, they then had this to say: "A pirate radio ship anchored off Essex is under siege. A swarm of police launches and coastguards are today on the lookout for any vessel which may be supplying the 274-ton Mi Amigo with fresh food or equipment. It follows a Government alert to all water authorities in and near the Thames Estuary. For the past eight months, from its anchorage near the Kentish frock sands outside British territorial waters, the Mi Amigo has fired continuous pop-music broadsides towards Holland, Belgium and England. The alert is part of a new British Government clampdown on the Mi Amigo, which uses the name Radio Caroline. Already Essex detectives have boarded the ship's supply tenders and interviewed traders. They have behind them the force of the law - which states that it is illegal to aid radio "pirates" or to support them with advertising. Police
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are also ready to pounce on any disc jockeys who might go ashore to Britain on leave. A spokesma for Southend coastguard said today: 'A notice has gone out to all shipping pointing out that it is an offence to supply an illegal radio station with provisions or equipment. We are keeping our eyes pealed - and if we do come across offenders we shall report it immediately to all seaborne police around the Essex coast. Police launches are patrolling Blackwater, the Crouch and the Thames Estuary’".
On now to the disc jockeys, several of whom have left the station since our last issue; as usual, I am giving the relevant details in table-forms
Number of hours on the air
JOHN BRUCE MAIR
(40 ½ )
*Excluding the broadcasts made by Andy during 1967-68 and 1972-73. **Amendment to date published on page sixteen of "Monitor" No.7.
By way of compensation a number of new voices have been heard first of these was Simon Barrett who did his initial programme between 00.00-03.00 GMT on 29-11-74. The next newcomer was Don Stevens, he was heard for the first time from 21.00-24,00 GMT on 3-3-75. After him came Alan Symonds whose first show was aired on 26-4-75 starting at 22.00 BST. The latest arrivals are Phil Mitchell & Kelvin Carter;Phil's introduction to the two-five-nine airwaves took place between 22.00-24.00 BST on June 14th, to be followed by Kelvin from 00.00-02.00 BST on the 15th.
Meanwhile, on the RADIO MI AMIGO front, the principal events have been the comings and goings of their personel. A number of DJ's were unwilling to move out to Spain when the station's recording studios there became fully operational earlier this year. On the departure list were Frans van der Drift, whose special farewell programme with various guests was broadcast between 14.00-16.00 CET on January 18th; the next to leave was Mike Moorkens, his last show was heard on the morning February 7th, although an occasional tape of his has probably been played since this date; he was followed by Norbert who presented the final edition of "Mi Amigo's Weekend Showtrein" on February 9th from 10.00-12.00 CET; and last but not least was Patrick du Bateau whose French language programmes proved so popular with Belgian listeners, he was heard for the last time between 16.30-18.00 CET on Sunday, February 16th.
An interesting innovation was experimented with when Peter van Dam arrived out on the boat in February to do his shows live; the first one that I noted was on the 28th, and his stay aboard lasted until March 23rd - thereafter all his programmes were recorded in Playa de Aro. His place on board was then by ex-Radio Atlantis disc-jockey Rob Ronder, Rob's first show was aired between 09.00-10.00 CET on March 24th and he stayed until April 25th, doing his final programme that day between 16.00-18.00 CET. He has not been heard again since leaving the ship.
The new recruits to the broadcasting staff are ex-Radio Veronica DJ Stan Haag, he presented his first programme for them on Monday, February 10th, it was transmitted between 10.00-12.00 CET. Two new names were heard on May 17th when the station introduced the first of what was to be a weekly twenty minute programme devoted to sports news, entitled the "Mi Amigo's Sport Show" it is broadcast every Saturday from 10.00-10.20 CET. Its two hosts call themselves Johan Friso and Willem Kapel, their appellations are a pun on the Johan Willem Friso Kapel, a well-known Dutch military band! The most recent newcomer is a charming young Dutch girl named Michelle, her first broadcast went out over Radio Mi Amigo between 09.00-10.00 CET on June 30th. Her weekday programme, "Schijven Voor Bedrijven", is a factory request show. Every Saturday morning from 09.00-10.00 CET she presents "Koffie Met Of Zonder", and on Sundays she plays hostess between 12.00-14.00 CET on a programme called "Groeten Uit Playa de Aro".
SOME HAPPY NEWS;
Congratulations to our friend GRAEME KAY and his brand-new fiancee SANDRA BROADERS! Graeme and Sandra, who is 19 years old and comes from Maidstone in Kent, plan to be married in December. The very best to you both from us all!
With the exception of "Monitor" No-7 (which is still available from the Editorial Office price 20p) our stock of back issues is completely exhausted.
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