Britain Radio/Radio England
40th Anniversary Reunion

May 13th, 2006

Having been instrumental in setting up Radio London, in 1966, Texans Don Pierson and Tom Danaher set about kitting out another radio ship to sail across the Atlantic. The ship was the Olga Patricia, later known as the Laissez-Faire and she became home to twin stations Radio England and Britain Radio. The 'twins' were far from identical. Swinging Radio England operated under the high-speed US Top Forty format, led by Ron O'Quinn and his team of experienced American Boss Jocks. Britain Radio went for a totally different audience and focussed on more genteel, middle-of-the-road music, under the slogan 'hallmark of quality'. However, the DJs were frequently required to present shows on both stations, under different guises. Don Pierson formed Peir-Vick Ltd to run the stations, with Bill Vick as the company MD. They set up luxurious offices in London's Curzon Street, almost directly opposite the Radio London offices. Sadly, Don's ambitious venture was short-lived and Britain Radio and Radio England were gone before the year ended, but they have never been forgotten.

Both Don and Bill Vick are sadly no longer with us, but in 2006, Don's son Grey organised a reunion in London for those who had been involved in his father's project and their families.

Grey says: "The summer of 1966 was a special time in my life. I was a 15-year-old kid from rural west Texas who found himself suddenly turned loose in a city that, at the time, was the vibrant, exciting center of the world. I have wonderful, fun memories of that marvelous place and time."

– This is the Radio London montage of photos of the event –

(l to r) Ron O'Quinn, Brian Tylney, Colin Nicol, Larry Dean,
Rick Randall, Johnnie Walker and Roger Day. Behind the mike, Jerry Smithwick

(above) Jack calling 'from another continent'.

Jack Curtiss, who was unable to attend, but stayed up late to phone the guys at the reunion from his home in Australia, pointed out a remarkable coincidence. " I noticed a truly curious thing in the above May 1966 publicity photo. Everyone on the far side of the control board (Larry Dean, Rick Randell, Johnnie Walker and Roger Day) managed to reunite in the same room 40 years later, while those on the opposite side did not. I was still on another continent when that original photo was taken... and 40 years on, it's the same thing!"

(below) A happy reunion for Phil Martin with the 'boys on the far side', Roger Day, Johnnie Walker, Rick Randell and Larry Dean.

In case you are wondering about the photo of the archway at the top of the page, it's from the garden of the former SRE HQ at 32 Curzon Street. Like everything else in Offshore Radio, it has a story! See 'Page One', below.

Page One – Photo montage from 32 Curzon Street, past and present. Guests in the garden.
Page Two – The garden and back stairs
Page Three – Inside #32
Page Four – Back to the reunion to meet other guests
Page Five – MC Twiggy introduces the Boss Jocks
Page Six – More Boss Jocks take the mike and enjoy reunion dinner
Page Seven – A final montage from a memorable occasion

Photos © Chris and Mary Payne and Radio London, 2006, unless otherwise specified

Jack Curtiss pictures by Brynna McPherson (Jack's stepdaughter)

For comprehensive histories of Swinging Radio England, Britain Radio and the ship Olga Patricia, visit the following websites:

The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame (six-page anniversary special)

Svenn Martenson's essay 'A Radio Rose of Texas'

Offshore Echoes' Story of Radio England also has reunion photos

Bob le-Roi's two page Britain Radio/Radio England feature

a new drama documentary by Greene HD Productions concerning....
"Pirate Radio in England in 1966, and more specifically, Radio London and Radio England and the americanization of rock music in Great Britain. Shot on location in London and Texas, this program is fun, hip, and exciting while presenting the musical climate of the 60s and the history of this great rebellion in a way that will inform even the most knowledgeable of music historians."

Click the pirate flag for Fort Worth premiere photos