Radio Caroline: The True Story of the Boat that Rocked
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Radio Caroline was the world’s most famous pirate radio station during its heyday in the 1960s and ‘70s, but did the thousands of people tuning in realize just what battles went on behind the scenes? Financed by respected city money men, this is a story of human endeavor and risk, international politics, business success, and financial failures. This is a story of innovation, technical challenges, changing attitudes, unimaginable battles with nature, disasters, frustrations, challenging authority, and the promotion of love and peace while, at times, harmony was far from evident behind the scenes. For one person to tell the full Radio Caroline story is impossible, but there are many who have been involved over the years whose memories and experiences bring this modern day adventure story of fighting overwhelming odds to life. Featuring many rare photographs and unpublished interviews with the "pirates" who were there, Ray Clark, once a Radio Caroline disc jockey himself, tells the captivating story of the boat that rocked!
and he also performed at the Scene, and it was Ronan’s attempts to promote a recording of Georgie Fame that, he claims, led him to start a radio station: I can remember well going round with an acetate of Georgie after I’d discovered that the BBC wouldn’t play it at all because it wasn’t on EMI or Decca, and I suddenly realised that the whole thing was locked up. I remember sitting with the head of Luxembourg and he had two of his colleagues in the office with him and I said, ‘here’s the
of the voices heard throughout the voyage: O’Rahilly and Crawford, two bosses, two ships, one business. (Associated Newspapers/Rex Features) I was offered a choice of staying south or going north. It was midnight on that Friday that we set off on that epic voyage. At about 8 o’clock the next morning Tom burst into my cabin and said take a look through the porthole, and the whole of Beachy Head was just packed with people, Saturday morning, a nice summer’s day. I went up to the bridge and
get Caroline back on air, making a fresh start from another ship. A trusted team were enlisted to be part of a new Caroline, with negotiations to buy the former Radio 270 ship, the Oceaan 7 which was still moored in Whitby, where she had lain since 14 August 1967, when Radio 270 had closed. With financial assistance from the Free Radio Association, the plan was to relaunch Caroline from the fully fitted radio ship that had been used off the Yorkshire coast until the anti-pirate law was
materialise.2 Radio Veronica had been on air off the coast of Holland since 1960 and was accepted as part of daily life in the Netherlands, but in January 1970 a new radio ship anchored close to the Norderney, Veronica’s ship. Radio North Sea International (RNI) broadcast from the multi-coloured Mebo 2, the best-equipped radio ship yet, bristling with a variety of transmitters and modern studio equipment. But RNI struggled to establish itself, despite former Caroline DJs Roger Day, Andy Archer
the British pirate ships in the Sixties. NOTES 1.National Archive HO_255_1210. Government Document 2.National Archive HO_255_1211. Government Document 3.Interview Bill Rollins 4.‘Caroline TV fails first test’, The Times, 2 July 1970 5.Interview RC 23 Unseaworthy and Barely Habitable On 29 May 1972, the two former Radio Caroline ships were put up for auction. Both ships had been ransacked and were in a near-derelict state after being abandoned four years earlier. The MV Caroline was sold