Jan 13th 2000
Mike Portas has been involved in a bit of offshore sleuthing. With the aid of his Junior Detective Kit (1966), Mike has established that Vince Allen did work for Southend Council until 1983, when he moved to the South West to pursue a career in professional photography. Mike managed to find someone with a contact address who promised to forward letters, but has received no reply from Vince. The immediate conclusion would be that Vince wishes to distance himself from his radio days. However, Mike has no personal confirmation of that, so without evidence that Vince actually received Mike's letters, Vince remains on the list until we hear otherwise.
Feb 21st 2000
After meeting Ed Stewpot for the first time in 30-odd years at DLT's 'This Is Your Life', Keefers was hoping to be able to stay in touch by knee-mail. Unfortunately, Stewpot does not currently have Net access, so I had to pass a message on from him to Keefers, who replied:
Thanx so much for forwarding on the message from Stewpot. It's a shame he's not on the Internet. I managed to send a message to 2SM Radio in Oz, enquiring after Ian MacRae. I received a reply from someone this morning, suggesting I give him a phone call of all things!!! Isn't that why they invented the Internet? I've also been trying to buy a copy of "Pop Went The Pirates", but no-one seems to be able to help me.
Luckily, we were able to send knee-mail addresses for both Ian and Cardboard Shoes to Keefers, which should, hopefully, solve his problems!
Feb 27th 2000
At last, Chris and I are able to present news of Chuck Blair to the world! Read the beginning of an incredible story that looks set to run and run! Now that the page is in place, I realised that both Colin Nichol and Bill Berry would have been aboard the Laissez-Faire witb Chuck, so I have added them both to the 'Missing Persons' list, and begun another search. According to Mr Skues, Colin has quit the broadcasting business and manages shopping precincts in Australia.
March 2nd 2000
Oz Supersleuth (try saying THAT after a couple of pints of XXXX) John Preston reports another poignant tale:
I thought you might be interested to know that 'A Current Affair' (believe it or not, it's a current affairs program on Channel 9 here) did a story last night on Graham 'Spider' Webb, who used to be on Caroline.
The story concerned a funeral directors, which Graham was approached to invest money in. He didn't check out their history and the couple concerned went overseas leaving debts etc., and Graham in a bad situation. He admits he was silly, but the story was quite sad as his wife had died from cancer a few years ago, and he has two young sons to bring up.
His house is on the Gold Coast (about 60k south of Brisbane) and it is now rented out, and Graham has moved to where the Funeral Directors is in Gayndah, about 4/5 hours north of Brisbane and inland. It's famous for its oranges! He is running the business so he doesn't have to go bankrupt, and to pay off the debts.
I don't think Graham was on your list of people to find, however, I thought you may be interested in the news about him.
With John's assistance, were eventually able to contact Graham. Read his story here.
March 25th 2000
While scanning through my memorabilia, I came across a letter from Radio City DJ, Phil Jay. I met Phil a few times at dances, and allowed him to join the Knees Club because he told me he knew the Radio London jocks! So the question is, where are the patellas of member 287 now?
From Håkan Widenstedt in Sweden
I was seaching for Larry Tremaine, "The Geeter with the heater"
(RNI and Radio Kaleidoscope) on the web some while ago, with no success. Do
you have any more information?
Best Regards, Håkan
Larry's now on the list, Håkan.
May 14th 2000
From Graham Webb , via our friends at the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame, we have received the sad news that Guy Blackmore died several years ago from cancer. Guy presented shows on Caroline South and Radio 390, changing his name to Jimmy Gordon before joining Caroline North. Chris Payne remembers working with Guy at Thames Television.
Guy was one of the in-vision announcers at Thames TV in the 70s.
I worked in the Presentation control room, where the programmes were switched
to air. Guy was an affable Australian who knew what he wanted out of life, and
didn't mince his words. However, he was given as good as he gave!
We used to play tricks on Guy. One was that the Transmission Controller would tell him he'd got 30 seconds to fill, when in fact he'd got 45. He'd be waiting to see the next programme roll on his monitor, but nothing would happen. Guy would be livid, and the air would be blue, but he knew he'd probably wound someone up earlier in the day, so he deserved it!
At closedown, we used to play a nondescript record over the next day's evening schedule. Guy got into trouble by dedicating this record to people he knew, and even said hello to Mary's Dad one night! For a short time, he went to LBC, the (at that time) talk station in London. They were allowed to play a certain amount of classical music, but Guy was fired for using up all their needle-time because he hated talk radio!
While working with him, I don't think his offshore history ever came out. Why, I really don't know.
I'll remember him fondly as the kind, jolly person that was Guy. He was always happy, and never took any nonsense from anyone. Perhaps there's a lesson for us all?
May 28th 2000
Keith 'Cardboard Shoes' Skues, is by no means a 'lost jock', but Kathy Cohen has asked us to point out that he is still broadcasting to the same East of England audience as he did from Radios Caroline and London in the 60s. Kathy writes:
Keith is on BBC Eastern Counties Radio from 10pm till 1am, Monday
to Friday, and has been for the past five years! Eastern Counties is all the
local radio stations joined together on one "piece of string" or router for
the more technically minded. BBC Essex, BBC Radio Suffolk, BBC Radio Norfolk,
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire with Peterborough, BBC Radio Northampton and 3CR (that's
Beds, Herts & Bucks). All frequencies and details can be found in the local
radio pages of the Radio Times (other publications are available as they say).
John Peel has given Keith many mentions on his own show, and in his RT column, and was even used in a TV trail for the show. Keith does a Pirate Radio tribute every year on 14th August, and did a 30 year special in 1997.
He can be contacted at BBC for the Eastern Counties, Norfolk Tower, Surrey Street, Norwich NR1 3PA, or email@example.com
Hope this is useful,
Kathy Cohen :-)
Alan Field asks:
Hi Chris & Mary,
I probably have lots of memories to share, and a great number of other questions to ask, but the first thing that occurred to me reading the list of Big L DJs is, who were John Sedd and John York(e)? I'm guessing that they either didn't last very long, or were on the station towards the beginning rather than the end of its time on air. I remember all the other DJs in the list, and can't think why I don't remember these two. Can you help, please????
John Sedd and John York are regularly forgotten as Big L jocks, as they both broadcast on the station for only a short time, and info about them is scant.
John Sedd spent just two weeks as a Big
L broadcaster, in September 1965! John Sedd was the DJ persona of John Crosse,
who had been employed by Roger Seddon in Big L's Curzon Street offices. When
John's job entailed spending time aboard the Galaxy assisting with administration,
Tony Windsor heard his voice and felt it would be good for newsreading. After
receiving training from Paul Kaye, the admin. man found himself behind the microphone
as John Sedd, but unfortunately, the job did not work out for him and he returned
to working in the Radio London office.
John York, or Yorke, depending on which book you read, was a DJ who had broadcast under the name of John Young in New York. It doesn't take huge imagination to guess that the city inspired his new, Big L on-air name, when he arrived aboard the Galaxy in March or April of 1967. Unfortunately, as had already been discovered with Radio England, the fast-and-furious US radio style did not always prove successful with UK audiences, and John returned to America in May.
June 11th 2000. An update from our friends at the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame includes some sad news
Former LBC newsman Ken Guy has taken it upon himself to try to track down some of the Aussie ex-pirates for the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame. He's doing a fantastic job - although keeps discovering that some of them are no longer with us . The latest he's told us about are Jon Sydney and Bob Larkins, both ex-Caroline and now both deceased.
He's also tracked down Norman St.John. Norm has apparently given up radio, is working in the steel industry and living in Brisbane. We've sent him an e-mail but, so far, not had any reply.
We'll keep you posted with any developments.
June 23rd 2000. Lovely to hear from Mick Luvzit in Canada
Hi Mary....this is Mick Luvzit formerly of Radio Caroline North who worked there with Jerry Leighton....Don Allen....Bob Stewart...Tony Prince...Jerry King and Gordie Cruse as well as Dave Williams & Nick Bailey. Jim Murphy...'Murf The Surf' was there for a short time when I joined up. I was married on the ship to Janet Teret the sister of Ugli Ray Teret (who when I joined was leaving to start the "Ugli Bug Boutique" on the Isle of Man) and the wedding was broadcast on both Caroline South & North.
It was an exciting time. I also recorded a song for Decca called "Long Time Between Lovers" backed with "Though I Still Love You". I'm in contact with Bob Stewart & Jim Murphy...Graham Webb and have talked to Dave Williams plus a lot from the south ship like Rosko... Steve Young... DLT... Mike Ahern.... Keith Hampshire. I hope to be putting together a web site with these jocks as well and will be working with Kenny Tosh to put it together. Anyway enough of that.
Keep on Rockin' & God Bless.
Mick Luvzit......."the Micker" (handle the kids gave me in Rock Radio)
September 2000 additions:
John Ross-Barnard has asked us to add Tom Hatala, Bruce Holland and Ron Rose (aka Ted Delaney) to the 'missing' list. Ron has, in fact been on it since we established the site in 1999, with no clues received as yet. Brian Long, author of definitive Radio London book 'The London Sound', wishes to contact Brenda Cogdell, who worked in the Curzon Street Promotions Department. Radio London onshore personnel have proved particularly difficult to trace, and we would love to hear from any former staff members. Brian also wants to hear from any Anoraks who kept diaries of the Big L charts and climbers, to help him fill a few gaps in his research. We will pass on any messages to Brian
Iain Purdon has been in touch to say that Radio City's Phil Jay is working for BFBS 2, Forces Radio. Not only that, but he can be found lurking locally at BFBS's centre in Chalfont St Giles, which ironically is where Chris works as a freelance engineer, but hadn't realised that Phil was there! A meeting will be arranged when Chris gets his act together!
Jonathan from the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame reports:
I've noticed that you've added Bruce Holland to your "missing list" at the request of John Ross-Barnard. I'm afraid to say that Bruce's sister Wendy has been in touch with The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame to tell us that he has passed on. Wendy has written a brief biography on Bruce which will be appearing on the October site update. She has sent me some studio quality tapes of Bruce on Invicta and King - and an extract from one of them will also be included.
Many thanks for that news, Jonathan. We look
forward to the October update.
Great to hear from Radio England's Jerry Smithwick!
Hello Mary and Chris,
Driving along in my car on Thursday, September 14, 2000, when my cell phone rang. On the other end was an unmistakable voice which I had not heard in maybe 15 years or more. It was Frank Laseter aka Larry Dean. We had a great reunion conversation during which, as you might expect, we briefly revisited our Pirate Radio days of the 60's on Swinging Radio England and the Olga Patricia/Laissez-Faire. During the conversation Frank told me of your web site, so here we are.
I presently live (since 1987) in Panama City, Florida, which is located in the panhandle of Northwest Florida. Fairly small community (150,000 or so) with beautiful beach and emerald green water. I split my time between my home in Panama City and my office which is located in Florida's Capital City, Tallahassee (approximately 100 miles away). I am District Director (Florida Chief of Staff) for a United States Congressman.
After leaving Radio England, I stayed in radio in various U.S. markets including Miami, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; Cincinnati, Ohio; and finally in Lake Charles, Louisiana. While in Lake Charles, in 1974, I moved from radio to television and managed NBC Network television affiliates in Lake Charles, Louisiana; Albany, Georgia; and Panama City, Florida. In 1994 I left the broadcasting industry and did a couple of years of consulting work before taking the position I am presently in. I have not made the best effort over the years of keeping track of the radio industry and former friends I have worked with. Not because of a lack of interest, but because, I suppose, of my involvement with television, my family and other interest. I can say without doubt that my time in England & Offshore was one of the greatest periods of my life. I often think about that time and will look back through some of the keepsakes that I have or will listen to an old aircheck tape. I have also had the good fortune of meeting a number of U.K. citizens who live in Panama City, or were visiting, that actually remembered the Pirates and a couple that actually remembered Swinging Radio England.
Don't want to bore you, so I will say that is all for now, but do look forward to more of a chat soon.
Bore us? Are you kidding? So Jerry is driving along in Florida and receives a call from Frank in North Carolina, telling him about the Radio London website, which is run from Stoke Mandeville, but the web server is in California. How cool is that?!
Chris Dannett is on the sleuth again:
To the best of my knowledge:
Tony Prince is responsible for the DMC - Disco Mix Club - here in the UK. I saw him last September at the PLASA (disco sound and lighting) exhibition in London. (Also went this year - but did not see him) The club sells CDs and organises live events for night club and mobile disco DJs around the country. The club's CDs are available at many disco stores, therefore, Tony's whereabouts should be fairly easy to trace.
After not getting a licence to operate his pirate station "Sunshine Radio" legally in Dublin - Robbie Dale surfaced in Majorca and tried to set up a similar operation there, according to my sources. This was two or three years ago - will try and get more info.
In 1997, Mike Ahearn was briefly on air at Radio Aire in Leeds, and was staying with a friend of mine there. I'll try and find out if my colleague has any up-to-date info.
Jonathan from the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame follows up the request from John Ross-Barnard:
I wondered who "Ron Rose" was when you first mentioned he was on your "missing" list. Now you have added that he was "Ted Delaney" as well it all makes sense - but I always thought that Britain Radio's Ted Delaney was called "Mark Stevens" when he was on Radio England. Was Ron Rose his real name? How many names does one person need?
(Chuck Blair obviously thought anything
less than four was not enough!)
My latest project it to try to track down Graham Johns (Radio Essex) also known as Tim Yale on Caroline South and Radio Scotland. Keith Skues's book says his real name was Graham Dubber and I have found four "Graham Dubbers" so far - no joy yet! By a lucky coincidence, the first one I tried had bought one of those Burke's Peerage-type lists of everyone with the same surname and was able to supply me with a list! I'll let you know how I get on with the search.
'Dubber' sounds a very apt name for a
DJ. Can anyone offer the key to the whereabouts of Tim Yale (sorry).
Alive and well on the shores of beautiful Lake Simcoe in Ontario, Canada, I sit here wondering what that ever-elusive Tom Lodge is up to these days? It's bound to be something very interesting & probably quite exciting with it.
Oh, if anyone should know where to find Mike Ahern, it's Mark Sloane (Patrick Hammerton).They have always kept in touch.
Can you help, Pat?
Tony Currie asks:
Can we add CATHY SPENCE to the missing list? She was - as far as I know - the only female DJ on a 60s offshore station.
(Cardboard Shoes lists Radio City as having had THREE - Reg Calvert's daughter Candy, Peggy Knight and Janice Nicholls.)
Cathy ran Radio Scotland's "Clan 242" club and hosted the "Clan 242" show on Saturdays. Nobody seems to know where she went, and both Richard Park and I have had various attempts to find her. Perhaps she could also be described as 'missing in action'. (She had a gigantic crush on Gene Pitney - mebbe he knows where she is!)
Well, we can try asking Gene...
We're delighted to hear from Colin Nicol:
Apparently I' m lost. I suppose it's the old expression that applies - "no, not dead, just living in Australia". With persistence, I can be found under both spellings of my name with a good search engine - much to my surprise!
I was back in the UK for a short (touristy) visit in April last year, but did not get in as much catching up with old pirate days friends as I would have liked. I was there on the 35th anniversary of Caroline, if my calculations are correct.
Having been recruited in September 1963, I still claim to be the first pirate DJ!
Regards, COLIN NICOL (Colin Nichol)
First of all, let me just say thanks for caring about all us old
I just came back from a brief visit to Tom Lodge's web-site at Breatherapy. Wow! He is really out there! Anyhoo, I have just sent him off a short note to play catch-up!
Barbara Apostolides (whose name will be familiar to all Big L afficionados) is writing a biography of Keith Skues and we were able to put her in touch with Graham Webb. Finding Norman St John was proving much harder, but we're pleased to report that Barbara has now received an e-mail from Norman. For news of Norman, a link to the Breatherapy site and a new entry for Bud Ballou, see the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame.
As soon as we hear from Norman ourselves, he will be removed from the 'missing' list.
writes from Belgium:
I had the privilege to spend a couple of weeks on the Comet (Radio Scotland) in July 1967, just a couple of weeks before the shutdown. I even have a picture of myself at the mixing desk. My cabin mate was Tony Allan, who later worked for RNI, Radio Caroline, the Peace Ship and others. Unfortunately, my efforts to re-locate and get in touch with him were unsuccessful.
Can you help me ?
Raoul has kindly supplied a copy of the picture mentioned above, and more '242' memorabilia, which has been added to the History of Radio Scotland. Meanwhile, Tony Currie replies concerning Tony Allan:
Tony and I were at hospital Radio Phoenix in Glasgow together back in 1969, (after his days at sea with Radio Scotland and others) and I've known him ever since. I last worked with Tony at Radio Nova where we made the JINGLES ALL THE WAY documentary and Tony panel operated for me. I heard from him once a few years back, but have received no news of him recently.
Hans Knot disputes info given above about Robbie Dale:
Kenny Tosh is wrong in writing that Robbie is running a radio station at Lanzarote. Let me say this, I did a special in Freewave Media Magazine very recently, as one of the former Monique deejays visited Robbie on his big camping and holiday park and he's not running a radio station. If you want a recent photo I can send you one. And Kenny: I did sent you a Don Allen tape and you promised me one back more than a year ago!!
Come on Kenny, cough up! News of Hans' on-line journal, Soundscapes, can be found on the Links page.
Paul Kay from Telford says:
I last heard of Tony Allan doing guest shows and commercials on Radio Caroline's September/October 1995 RSL on 87.7 from the London Docklands. Before that, he had been heard on voice-overs/production on Liverpool's former Radio City Gold in the early 90's. I believe he is still around the London area somewhere.
It appears that Oz Supersleuth, John Preston was responsible for Colin Nicol being 'rediscovered'. Colin apparently spotted a notice that John had posted on an Oz website. Many thanks to John, who has also found some more fascinating info for our site, which we shall be bringing you in due course.
Hans Knott writes about Graham Gill:
I met Graham for the first time in 1972 and since then he stayed most of the time in Holland. Of course all anoraks know he worked for RNI and Caroline, live from the Mebo II as well as from the Mi Amigo, but also with recorded programmes, which were taped either at the Van Hoogendorpstreet in The Hague or in a record shop in Amsterdam. What many people don't know is that the technician for his programmes from the recordshops was sometimes Ad Roberts, who came famous at a later stage as a deejay on some Dutch offshore stations.
After 1974 Graham worked for many years in Hilversum at the Dutch Radio Netherlands at the English Service. He still lives in Amsterdam and did some work with me when I produced the double CD on Big L in 1994. Last time I saw him was 1996 but I spoke to him last year on the phone and he's doing well. In the Soundscapes files on Big L you can find old material as well as a photo of him in 1996 when I interviewed him on the Dutch annual Radioday.
Go to photofile number 16 at: www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes
Graham, we'd love to hear from you!