500kW Longwave Station Gets Approval
After eight years of hard work and seemingly insurmountable hurdles
that would have made many people give up much earlier, Isle of Man
International Broadcasting PLC now have agreement in principal to
build the UK's most powerful music station.
We hope to bring you the full, fascinating story of the project in detail, some time in the future.
Top picture: Ramsey Bay, Isle of Man. Pictures © Chris Payne 2001
"What a lovely surprise to hear from you just before Christmas!
I DO remember the Knees Club. It was one of those flowerings of youthful
innocence and silliness which couldn't really happen anywhere else except
I am so pleased to hear that you remember me in connection with David Bowie. I have been trying to contact Bowie for ages just to 'shoot the breeze' about the old Radio London/Marquee Club days, but as yet no luck. If you have any contact information for him, I would love to get in touch.
This is such a great surprise. If you ever want to listen to classical music, the station I'm on now plays the good stuff. WCPE-FM, Raleigh, North Carolina. We're 5 hours apart, so I should be on at morning drive time, your time, if you have a Net radio or a PC you can be bothered to start up at that time in the morning!"
Saturday December 15th, 2001, BBC Radio
Four, The Archive Hour: DJ Culture
"Mark Lamarr counts down a Top Ten of the greatest DJs ever and tells the history of such related themes as payola, jingles, corny jokes and silly voices." Radio Times
Rufus Thomas, the man who until recent months was still doing the
Funky Chicken and calling himself the world's oldest teenager, died
on December 15th, aged 84.
Many British teens first encountered his music in 1964, when 'Walkin' The Dog' became the final track of the Stones' first LP. Keith Richards repaid the compliment when he joined an amazing line-up of musicians who backed Rufus during his performance of 'Dust My Broom' at his 1992 Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame induction.
Described by Sun Records' founder Sam Phillips as a "consummate showman" Rufus was the ultimate pioneer of black music in Memphis and in addition to carving his own successful recording career, assisted in launching those of many others, including B B King. He became one of the longest-standing DJ personalities at AM station WDIA, the first black-staffed station in the US. Rufus joined in 1951, and was presenting a regular four-hour Blues Saturday show there until only recently.
WDIA jocks appeared at Rufus's 80th birthday tribute alongside B B King, William Bell and Millie Jackson. The birthday was declared 'Rufus Thomas Day' in Tennessee and civic honours included the renaming of a Memphis street as Rufus Thomas Boulevard.
Rufus was a perennial favourite at the annual Memphis in May festival, making his final appearance there in 2000.
Says Howie Castle:
I saw Rufus many times while living and working in Memphis, but I never had a conversation with him. When I'd see him I'd just say "Good Morning" (or whatever) and go on my way. I saw him on Beale Street a number of times. It's the main thoroughfare of the city's entertainment district and was also home to the studios of WEGR, where I worked at the time.
Geoff Tyrell reports:
There was a bit in a Chelmsford newspaper about an RSL for the oldies (do they mean us?). Anyway, it's from 28th December on 87.7FM in the Chelmsford area and is aimed at people around 60 years old (that's next year for me) with an enthusiastic team led (it says here) by Sunny Jim a local builder.
They are going to be playing Anne Shelton, Billy Cotton and Max Miller, (maybe the latter, but not the other two for me) plus comedy from Hancock and the Goons! They say that they have "two turntables for playing 78s" but a lot of stuff is on CDs. Apparently they were on the air back in July and had over 10,000 listeners!
Otway at Abbey Road
Since our earlier report on the campaign to get John
Otway a second hit as a 50th birthday gift, we admit to having
been unable to keep up with full coverage of the 'Hit Squad' activities.
This is to let all our Radio London viewers know that they can appear
on Otway's birthday hit single by participating in a special recording
at the famous Abbey Road studios on Easter Saturday,
March 30th, 2002. Otway is famous for his audience-participation
version of the Animals' hit, 'The House of the Rising Sun', which
goes something like:
(Left: Otway's ho-ho-hoping for a hit next year!)
No nothing to do with the Beeb! Radio 2 is a new Oz AM station serving Sydney's Greater West. The station, which will provide news, information, sports and lifestyle features someone well-known to offshore radio Ian MacRae hosting the Breakfast Show. Says the station presser:
'Radio 2 has developed a close association with the Club Managers' Association Australia, the NSW Leagues Club Association and Clubs NSW, which offers the club industry a strong voice in the West'.
A dedicated programme called The Club Show, will be presented by Ian MacRae and Mike Bailey.Many thanks to John Preston for the info.
On Radio Two's Sounds of the Sixties for November 17th, Brian Matthew played a request for ex-Caroline DJ, Keith Hampshire. The sender was Eric Williams of Liverpool, who had stayed on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. There, he had met Bob Andressen, a former DJ with American Forces Network. Bob was a friend of Keefers, who recalled him playing the Young Rascals' Groovin' on his final Caroline show and Eric had requested that Brian play the record in honour of Keefers' birthday (November 23rd). Happy birthday, Keefers!
Radio London sent Keefers a copy of their Absolutely Fabulous Show #2, and tacked the SOTS request on the end of it. Keefers has sent the following comments:
Today I finally had a chance to listen to the tapes of "Ab Fab" on Radio London for the first time. What joy!!! With almost every selection, the little gray cells were activated and the memories came flooding back! Thank you so much for sending me a copy. Your show was both informative and entertaining. I enjoyed myself immensely. I shall listen to it again and again, I know.
Thanks also for the kind words and for using one of my clips. I'm afraid mine really paled in comparison to some of the others. The other old-timers sounded great! They surely haven't lost their chops!!
The dedication clip you tagged onto the end was rather puzzling because I honestly cannot remember anyone by that name. Bob Andreson?? Do you think I may be able to get more information about my mystery friend? The suspense will kill me. It certainly was nice that someone remembered my birthday without any prompting, but it's a shame they could not remember the name of my radio show. Keefers' Kingdom??? Whazzat?
Thanks again for thinking of me. All my best, Keith.
Frequent subjects of messages received at the Radio London site
are fond memories of both the 'Big Lil' theme (aka the PAMS Sonowaltz),
and of the station's final hour. Both of these and many other fascinating
soundbites from Big L, can be heard via the Vintage
Broadcasting site www.vintagebroadcasting.org.uk/biglrn.htm
Congratulations to webmaster Dave, on a great page of excellent-quality Radio London clips, which make very enjoyable listening. Vintage Broadcasting is well worth a long visit, to explore the many pages devoted to a variety of stations including London's Capital and early Radio One. Visitors can also place messages on the site Noticeboard. Updates are made regularly and the next is due January 3rd.
Recent additions have included two pages dedicated Radio Caroline and Radio Nordsee jingles.Dave also runs a site selling broadcast memorabilia at www.flashbacksales.co.uk
Trouble at the Top, Tuesday, December 18th, BBC 2, 2100 to 2200, told the tale of Torquil Silvanus Matthew Septimus Riley-Smith, founder of gay station, LBH. Said the Radio Times:
'Despite the fact that he knows absolutely nothing about running a radio station or being gay he plans to open Europe's first 24-hour radio station for gay listeners.
... He doesn't have any money... and yet he secures 500,000 from some City brokers for the station's first four months.
... He attempts to buy a mixing desk from a salvage yard in Yorkshire'
'Whatever his bizarre schemes, people can't help liking him.'
sponsor of the Keith Skues Show on Radio London, Diana
Lambing has found new fame as an accordion-playing calendar girl
with Sompting Village Morris. The traditional
dance troupe, decided to produce a unique calendar for 2002. With pages
sponsored by local pubs and aided and abetted by The
Beer Seller, the calendar is being sold in aid of a special unit
at Southlands Hospital, in memory of the group's friend, Lyn Matthews.
Overseas visitors who are unfamiliar with the traditional British Morris dancer, should understand that they are usually renowned for their dangling ribbons and jangling bells. In The Morris Calendar, we find them displaying dangling ribbons and jangling bells plus DANGLY BITS! As it says on the front page, "They certainly have guts and most of them are on show!" The calendar's photographic uncoverage has naturally attracted a fair amount of press coverage.
"It's a bit scary at first, if you're not used to taking your clothes off in public, but once the morris dancers had been exposed to the elements for half-an-hour or so, they got quite blasé about it all and we ended up doing at least half-a-dozen sessions in different settings over the following two weeks! We've got a two-page spread in December's 'Sussex Life' glossy magazine!"
Next stop, Playboy?
(You can take the T-shirt off now, Mrs Woman!" Only one of these
three people appears in the Sompting Morris Calendar)
Kenny Everett: The Local Radio Years
Known to Radio London fans as a popular star of Big L 97, aboard both
the Yeoman Rose and the Ocean Defender, BBC Radio Derby's Chris
Baird has assisted programme-maker Paul Rowley
in unearthing a lost archive tape for his Kenny Everett documentary (previously
mentioned in this November's Happenings)
which is to be heard on BBC local radio over the Christmas period.
Help to 'Deck the Hall'!
...And speaking of Kenny Everett, which we were... In Jonathan's Christmas update to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame you will find a new page devoted to Kenny, complete with soundbites and photos. There is news of ex-jocks from Radios 270 and Caroline, and a complete list of potential inductees to the HoF if only Jonathan could discover their whereabouts. Maybe you can help?
Robin at the Museum of Commercial Radio recommends:
We did, and this extremely well-designed site left us wishing we could speak Dutch!
Check out this site www.radio192.nl Dutch offshore radio lives on here - listen on-line.
As Radio Two's Sounds of the Sixties is prerecorded,
it was too late for a tribute to George Harrison to be included in the show
for December 1st. It did, however, seem fitting that, on that date, the programme's
long-running A-Z of the Beatles feature reached
its conclusion. The final track to be played was Thank
Howie Castle in San Diego says:
listened to the six-minute mp3 high-quality stereo audio file on our big
speakers, we have to say, "Wow!". It was eerie indeed hearing some of
what we've come to know as the underlying themes of Big L (and other stations')
jingles being brought right up-to-date and used to promote a new station.
It will be interesting to see whether the 'sound' of the service fits
in with what is essentially a jingle sound we identify with the sixties.
Maybe we've been right all along; they are timeless!
I Wasn't Born to Wonder
Dave Plum of record company Octopus Recordings was kind enough to send us a review copy of a recent release, The Unknown Mystery 60s Group, Vol II.
Radio London's Mr DUAC - Down Under Anorak Correspondent John Preston, was the 35,000th visitor to our site. John, a sensible and level-headed man, uses the Radio London Home Page as his browser's default home page, so no-one could be more well-deserving of a 'Keefer', which is, of course, the offshore equivalent of an Oscar; a nicely moulded statuette made from seawater-corroded rusty iron and melted-down vinyl. Well done, John!