April 2004(March 2004 is here...)
Our thanks go to Big L's Duncan Johnson for sending some lovely pictures from the greatest offshore tribute broadcast there has been for many years.
What a week to remember... Our own report and photos are here
Picture © Duncan Johnson 2004
Radio London originals Dave Cash and Keith Skues, OBKnee, were the first to sign-up as LV18 shipmates and have been aboard since Monday. Mike Ahern, Paul Burnett, Ian 'Wombat' Damon, Roger Day, Tom Edwards and Mark West were all there at the Easter weekend, with Pete Brady appearing on Bank Holiday Monday. Duncan Johnson will be visiting the ship on Friday 16th to guest with Dave Cash. Listeners can contact the presenters via a knee-mail address which has been set up for the week at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The studio equipment aboard the LV18 is similar to that used by pirate presenters of forty years ago. The Radio Essex 'pirates' use turntables, cart machines and a special reverb unit which all help to recreate that authentic offshore radio sound. Pirate BBC Essex has also been broadcasting Retro News on the half hour, featuring stories from the week April 12 16, 1964.
Of the thousands of requests received for offshore memories, the most popular
tune has been the Big Lil theme,
aka the Sonowaltz!
The station is aboard the LV18 lightship, (left) which is now anchored in the historic Harwich harbour and accessible only by tender. Harwich has its own reason to celebrate in 2004, this year being the 400th anniversary of the granting of the town charter by King James I. LV18 is, of course, well-known to offshore fans, as she has hosted several RSL broadcasts in recent years. During the recreations of RNI, she gained the nickname, 'Mebo III' or for Knees Club members, 'Kneebo III'. The ship is being restored by the Pharos Trust, which is aiming to obtain a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to continue the expensive work.
During the week of the broadcast, an Offshore Radio Exhibition has been staged at Harwich's Halfpenny Pier, where visitors are able to make a short recording as 'an offshore DJ'. Tony O'Neil, curator of the town's National Vintage Wireless and Television Museum at the High Lighthouse, has loaned some of the museum's treasures. For safety reasons, it has not been possible for visitors to board the LV18 during the broadcast, but webcams in the Pirate BBC Essex studio have been revealing what's going on.
The patellae of Knees Club founder, Mary Payne, were proud to appear with their owner as surprise guests on Dave Cash's Easter Monday show and both Chris and Mary were filmed by BBC TV for the 'Look East' news programme.
It's very nice indeed to see that 'ex-pirates' such as Mark
Roman, Brian Vaughan and Graham Webb have
taken the trouble to add their own comments to the Pirate
BBC Essex Noticeboard (and have made such flattering comments about the
Radio London webmasters!) I'm sure they won't mind us including short quotes
from their postings.
Big Lil was a kind of family, she had a personality, and you could always recognise her, and after so many years the fact that she has never been equalled or surpassed is a lasting tribute to all those who lived with her, especially the legion of fans around the world and of course to the continuing great efforts and love for "LIL" that is reflected in Chris and Mary Payne's great website.
It seems only yesterday that I refused a traineeship with the BBC to join Radio Atlanta in December 1963... It really was the best time of my life.
Messages have also been received during the broadcast from Rosko, Steve Young and Mick Luvzit.
My greatest regret this year was not getting to the BBC Essex "happening" though I did get to the 35th Anniversary reunion and it was great to meet up again with so many old mates. People dear to my heart such as Mick Luvzit, Dave Lee Travis, Robbie Dale, John Hatt, Dave Williams, Gordy Cruise, Keith Skues and so many more.
Mark Keable writes:
Visit Mark's website and sign his petition here.
I ran an offshore mag in the 80s, Offshore Radio Print-out, and was also good friends with the much missed Buster Pearson.
I have a small website which unfortunately, I don't get much chance to update, but it's getting quite a few hits per week.
Now I'm trying to campaign for Pirate BBC Essex to continue full time.
Warmest Regards, Mark Keable
Ben Healy pictured with Kenny when participating in his Citybeat Offshore Radio Special, July 27, 2003.
Photo courtesy of Kenny Tosh
The Radio London website was saddened to hear from Kenny Tosh of the sad demise of his Revival Show. The programme has constantly pioneered offshore radio and its music, neither of which is appreciated by the new station management of Belfast's Citybeat.
Kenny has asked us to add the following personal message:
Kenny, there are many of us who do appreciate the work you
have done, and will do in the future, to keep the memory of offshore radio
alive. We shall miss the Revival Show.
With a select few of us meeting to commemorate the anniversary we'd still love to hear from you if you had anything to do with the fort stations.
After a full three years of absence, in 1983 Radio Caroline again could be heard, now airing its programmes from the MV Ross Revenge. The ship was anchored only twelve miles away from the spot where the former Caroline ship did sink in March 1980. Though the name and location of the station were the same, the programme format would change dramatically, Ronan O'Rahilly announced to the press.
Indeed, it did change but, as Hans Knot argues, for the worse and not for the better.
Hans already has over 3000 e-mail subscribers to his International Radio Report, which is an open forum on all radio-related topics, but he welcomes any new subscribers who would like to sign up to receive it. The latest International Radio Report covers radio April Fools gags with a witty comment from Andy Archer regarding Twiggy Day's Caroline Reunion. Andy and Chris Baird also add personal memories of Carl Mitchell. Contact Hans at email@example.comAlso, many congratulations from the Radio London website to Hans and Jana on their fifth wedding anniversary, March 24th!
Read Hans's story of the popularity of Big L in Finland, here.
Regarding the 40 years anniversary of Radio Caroline, I wrote a small story for the Swedish-speaking local newspaper here (www.vasabladet.fi) to be published sometime during the Easter holidays. The plot is to show that modern radio as it is today and taken for granted by the younger audience, is just a result of the ground-breaking work that the offshore-radio stations made in the 1960s. I have concentrated on the history of Radio Caroline and in the story I give the credits to Keith Skues: 'Pop Went the Pirates', Chris Elliot: 'The Wonderful Radio London Story', your website (of course!) and many more websites dealing with offshore radio.
I'm looking forward to the BBC programmes from LV18 and I hope to catch some of it on MW as well, but Radio Essex on MW is very weak here. Every now and then I can hear some fragments on my Sony SW-ICF 7600 GR and on my IC-706 when using DSP and Noise-reduction.
Happy Birthday, Hall of Fame!
This is a popular time for celebrations especially ones with a 'four' in and April sees The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame celebrating its fourth birthday.Somehow, there always seem to be a marvellous collections of offshore photos lurking in people's attics, and the latest HoF update includes the first instalment of gems from the photo album of Roger Scott, aka Greg Bance. The pictures date from his time with Radio Essex. Greg also appears in Jonathan's 2-page collection of personal photos taken at the Caroline 40th birthday party, March 28th. There's also a sneak preview of one of the specially-recorded Pirate BBC Essex jingles. It's voiced by an ex-Big L DJ with a DEEP voice!
Many Happy Returns to Jonathan and the Hall of Fame, from Chris, Mary and Radio London.
Click on the book jacket to buy Life on the Oceaan Waves
Caroline North Rockin' and Rollin'
Radio Caroline North... ISBN 1-874366-04-7 PRICE: £8.00. inc. postage. Bob Preedy, Wetherby Cinema, Caxton St, Wetherby LS22 4RU.
Beat Fleet by Mike Leonard, published by Forest Press, March 26th, 2004
Radio historian, Mike Leonard, tells the behind-the-scenes story of the Sixties ‘pirate’ radio stations – the competition, rivalry, threats and even violence, as stations tried to capture a share of the lucrative commercial radio market, as well as the fight to stay on the air in the face of government action.
The Beat Fleet brings together all the events of four hectic years that changed the face of British radio forever.
ISBN 0 9527684. PRICE: £9.99 plus £2.75(UK) postage and packing, £6.50 p & p Europe, including Eire. Other destinations on application
Forest Press, P O Box 1, Heswall, Wirral CH60 3TH. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
|Sadly, we have four obituaries to add|
Of the recording of 'Odessey and Oracle', Paul said, "That was a fantastic summer. We had these wonderful songs, we rehearsed them all very carefully and we went into Abbey Road to record. My memory of that is the best of any of our recording sessions."*
(thanks to Mike Terry) *Quotes from: 'The Zombies – Hung Up on a Dream' by Claes Johansen
Soul singer, writer and producer, Johnny Bristol died in Michigan on March 21st, aged 65.
It was Johnny who spotted Jnr Walker and the Allstars and recommended them to Harvey Fuqua, who signed them to his own Harvey label, which was eventually taken over by Motown. Johnny, who was at one time married to Iris Gordy, co-produced with Harvey, their hits, 'How Sweet it Is', 'Pucker Up Buttercup' and 'What Does it Take'. 'Pucker Up Buttercup' was chosen as Mark Roman's climber.
Johnny was producer and backing-vocalist on the Supremes' 'Someday We'll Be Together'. His best-known solo hit was 'Hang on in There Baby'.
Letter From America was first broadcast in 1946 and ran continuously for more than 2,500 shows, making it the world's longest-running radio programme.
(thanks to Trevor Bailey)
Montréal, My Home Town!
Canadian radio personality and bilingual voice talent Marc Denis who wrote from Québec to tell us about The 98 CKGM Super 70s Tribute Page, has sparked off fascinating memories from Radio London fan, Keith Milborrow. The promised full story is now in Mini-memories, while Marc's own story of his broadcasting hero Roger Scott, is in Otherwaves.
Click the logo to visit The 98 CKGM Super 70s