Hans Knot's International Radio Report - April 2006 (2) 

 

Thanks, as always for all your answers and memories which came in during the past few weeks and let�s go first to Western Australia and see a warm welcome to one of our new readers, Dyo. He�s been living in Perth for 22 years and is now living in Mandurah. Dyo left Europe some 24 years ago. In summer the temperature is a bit too hot, he wrote me and in winter it can be very cold (18 degrees above Zero). From a young age he�s heavily into jingles and all other things related to radio. That, all with a big thank you to the offshore stations in the sixties. So welcome Dyo and hopefully you will enjoy all the memories and news in this report, which comes out 20 times a year. 

Early March 2006 I was phoned on my answering machine at the University Groningen by a lady with the name Hoodle van Leeuwen. She told she had read my name again, this time in the NRC Newspaper and wanted to speak to me as soon as possible. She had tried before to get in contact but in no way she succeeded as she didn�t know where to look for me and this time it was mentioned that I was working at the University in Groningen. She was living together with her husband, in the late sixties, at the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam and had rented several rooms in their big house to artists, ballet dancers as well as deejays. The last group partly consisted of former Carolinedeejays and some club deejays. One of them had rented a room till early 1971 and left then to Denmark with the ultimate wish to come back and take his personal belongings to his next living place. Also he promised to pay his rent, which was already gone up till 800 guilders (that�s in 1971!).

CONCEPT TEXT WRITTEN BY CARL MITCHELL

Up till March 2006, so 35 years later, the money never had been paid although several letters have been exchanged between the van Leeuwen family and the deejay in the seventies. Still the personal belongings of the deejays were there, although husband Tom wanted to throw it away at several occasions. In the boxes in the basement of their house, they�re living now, were several things including hundreds of listeners letters from the days at Radio Caroline as well as RNI. Many never opened before. Next to that photographs, bills and bills, recorder tapes, a handwritten interview with John and Yoko Lennon (Ono) which was done by Robbie Dale. Also a lot of letters from former listeners who all thought they were swindled as they had paid for a book and an LP but the deejay never sent anything back. I found also personal cuff links, a call to serve in the US Army, personal poems written during depressive periods and above all a thick notebook with personal memories of his time on the MEBO II in 1970. 

In an earlier phone call with the very nice Mrs Hoodle van Leeuwen she asked me if I knew where the person, who�s personal belongings were still in Amsterdam after 3,5 decades, was living nowadays and it was a pity to announce he died in the early nineties. She promised me that I could get all the material for historic research and so I went to Amsterdam Friday March 31st to get all the material belonging from a guy officially named David Carmichael. It was also very good to see there were photos and letters too from the period he worked in our local Discotheque in Groningen, the �Berenkuil�, late 1969 and early 1970 and surely I will come back in the future with the personal memories to and from Carl Mitchell, also known as Carlos and The Weird Beard.

CARL MITCHELL AT THE BERENKUIL 1969 (ARCHIVE HANS KNOT)

Mail from Elaine Parks from Canada: �Dear Hans, I was reading your website recently and was so sad to hear the news about Roger (via Steve Young's letter). I met him here in Toronto and always wished I had gotten to know him better. I am doing a bit of research on pirate radio and would like to chat more with anyone who knew him...and those early, crazy days in the UK. Please write me back or pass my address on to anyone whom you think might want to correspond about this. Regards, Elaine.� 

Elaine can be reached at southseadreamer@yahoo.ca

Clive Corell about John Bennett�s story in last issue: �Dear Hans, I enjoyed enormously reading the reports about Radio Caroline North. I think I was only about 16 or 17 when I first heard it. I lived in a village called Hightown, mid-way between Liverpool and the Victorian coastal resort, Southport. Even then I was a radio fanatic and had an ex-army 1155 set, a sensitive valve radio. I had a 160-foot long wire aerial and built a two-valve RF amplifier to pick up very weak signals. I used to listen to Caroline South using this setup. And so when South announced that Caroline North was about to set sail, I began to listen in on the new frequency. It's a long time ago, but my memory tells me that it was actually broadcasting most of the way up the coast, finally anchoring in the Irish Sea. Since it rounded Wales I had a pretty good signal. My late mum entered what must have been one of, if not the first, phone-in competitions, on Caroline North. It was sponsored by Golden Wonder. She won a year's supply of Golden Wonder peanuts. In due course, an enormous box of peanuts was delivered. By the end of the year I no longer wanted to ever see another peanut. 

The first record I heard played on Caroline North was a Bob Dylan track. I had never heard anything like it. Until then it was mainly a mixture of soupy US pop from Radio Luxembourg, fading in and out at night. This was typical of Caroline North's output, one of the most avant-garde music stations of its time. Purely excellent. It put a stinking great signal across Liverpool Bay and out as far as Manchester, I think. Not to mention the Irish audience. At seventeen years of age I was not to know that my fascination with radio, especially with 'pirate' radio, would lead to a tiny studio on the Caroline of 1974. What goes around ... Clive'

Chris Darnett reflects on a question in an earlier edition: �Hans, and once more a very big �Thank You� for your excellent Report. I have a little information on the RADIO 270 film clip you mentioned in the latest report. 

Someone mentioned that they had seen a clip of Radio 270 on BBC Look North - that is my local BBC TV opt out too, and I have seen this clip before. It was featured on another BBC TV programme about two years ago called �Inside Out�. This show was a very local production, and had three segments of around 9 minutes each. One such segment made reference to Radio 270 off the coast of Scarborough. It featured Ex Radio One and long time UK Oldie DJ Jimmy Saville in Scarborough harbour raving on about the 60's and how great radio 270 was etc. Where actually - He had never worked for the station, and had never been onto the ship! I made several requests to the BBC in Leeds and London to see about getting a copy of the clip, but was told in no uncertain terms that they did not give out addresses of owners of the material that they use in features such as this. I thought I had drawn a complete blank until last year when I sold a recording of Radio 270 on E-Bay. It went to a fellow in North Yorkshire who sent me a number of e-mails about his recollections of Radio 270. He knew of a number of people, whom I identified as being shareholders of Ellemaber Investments - the owners of the station. Apparently he and another young chap - as 13year olds, used to go into Scarborough every Saturday and hand out leaflets to holidaymakers advertising Radio 270. He and his friend were paid around 1/6 for an afternoons work (about 7-1/2pence in UK money). Anyway - to cut a long story short - he is the 'keeper' of this 270 film. I did not say the owner, as the film was given to him by another person who's late father had some involvement with Radio 270, and took the footage on one of many visits to the ship. This film is in storage, and try as I might, I could not get the guy to let me have a copy of it. He did say that he would recover it from where it is being kept and that he might consider releasing it, but this was all very vague. I have tried to contact him a number of times, but he has not answered my e-mails. - I have a recording of the �Look North� item so if anyone wants a copy ask them to contact me - galaxy266@ntlword.com 

Thanks Chris, I do indeed remember the clip now you told us and anyone interested can contact him directly.

Another surprising mail in the box: �Just to correct one item, the LP with �Around Midnight� came ashore when we grounded tuck under my shirt with one of the station crystals in my pocket. Keep up the good work. Carl Thomson, Radio Caroline Engineer 1965-1967.

Amazingly more and more former people, who worked in offshore radio, are readers of the Knot International Radio Report. Any questions or memories can be sent to Hknot@home.nl

It was Martin Kayne who came with the catch phrase a couple of issues ago and asking who used it. Mike Lennox was one of the answers and now we have another option. Peter Agate from Essex wrote: �Hans, I�m sure I remember Chuck Blair on Radio London having the same or a very similar catchphrase on his breakfast show. (Ladies & Gentlemen etc etc.) I�ll see if I can dig out the tape I have! Cheers.�

Well hope the tape still plays and we hear from you again.

Again another site which has decided to bring the Knot International Report. Thanks so to the people behind www.radiodagblad.nl

From Canada news from Tom Lodge: �Hello Hans, This is to let you know that the Tom Lodge Show will also be on Radio Caroline, Wednesday Mornings 9.00 am, British Time, as well as the usual 11.00 pm Saturday nights. My son (Tom Lodge Jr.) and I are very please to be on at this time as well. We had received many requests for this, from those who use to listen to us in the 60�s and couldn't stay up so late on a Saturday night. So I wish to thank Peter Moore, Martin Lee and Patrick Edison for this. Thank you all Tom Lodge.� 

The last time Tom Lodge could be heard live from one of the Caroline ships was in London Dockyards way back in 1997, when he was taking part in one of the Caroline RSL�s. Could luck both!

Next one is from Glen Jarnold, one of the more younger generation offshore radio listeners: �Hi Hans, excellent reports as usual! I wondered if any of your readers would like to correspond radio memories with me at my e-mail address. It's nearly 21 years now since 'Eurosiege', of course, and I've been very nostalgic lately listening to my many, many hours of Laser 558 recordings. Laser 558 was the station which began my interest in Offshore Radio all those years ago! Here is my story (please forgive me for it being quite long!) My first encounter with Offshore Radio...I remember it well. I'd always been a bit of a radio buff since my 'membership' of the cb-radio fraternity began in 1981. I'd had a slight interest in receiving overseas broadcasts and regional Independent Local Radio type stuff not local to me. But I hadn't heard of Pirate/Free/Offshore Radio until that fateful day on Saturday 26th May 1984! Four of us lads from the U.K. Midlands were just piling our stuff into our chalet, having arrived at the Ladbrokes Caister holiday camp sometime in the early afternoon. Of course, lads being lads (and yes...we did get a chalet for us four even though single sex groups were not allowed but we got round it! Chalet 161 on the corner opposite Neptune's Palace...is it still called that now?) Anyway, the 'standard issue' portable radio cassette stereo (about 24" x 8" x 6" - remember them?) had made the trip with us plus a huge amount of cassette tapes - obviously.

Hans Knot at Mistley and Communicator (1986 Photo Karel Gerbers)

Me being the 'anorak', I decided to have a quick sweep of the radio bands, starting dutifully at the bottom of the Medium Wave...hello, what was this? Chart type stuff (which was decent then if a little cheesy, not like some of the manufactured drivel and rubbish in the charts today, but that's another discussion I suppose!) and oh the style of those deejays, the patter, short and sweet, and the 'never more than a minute away from music' policy. We were hooked big time and, needless to say, the large quantity of cassettes we brought with us lay in the corner gathering dust all week while we kept the radio on all listening to the newborn (well, 2 days old) Laser 558. And so it continued, right through long after the holiday, through thick and thin, EuroSiege etc right through to the final days of a landmark in Free Radio! We'll miss you Laser! Glenn.

Indeed a very interesting time as I recall. Almost twenty years after Radio London, one of my own favourite station, Laser 558 hit the airwaves and I was struck again. Glenn, by the way, can be contacted at: Glenjarnold@aol.com

After a long time we can add another nickname. Listening to an old Caroline International program from 1968 I learnt that Henry Morgan (I�m sorry to say in my ears he was one of the worst ever) mentioned himself Captain Henry Morgan. 

One of the readers who reflects a lot comes from Beverly Hills and has still great memories to his time in Europe. He was on board the MEBO II and RNI in 1970 when Carl was there too, so I informed him about my earlier mentioned �treasure� I found in Amsterdam. Larry Tremaine: �Hans, very interesting the things we find and how we find them. Carl was a really nice guy. I never got to know him well as I did some of the other DJ's that I hired, but he always did a great job and had some very good ideas. All is well in Beverly Hills. I put a sound bite on my website www.art90210.com that you or someone sent me long time ago. Lots of fun with the old days. Keep the fun come in. Larry Tremaine.�

Thanks Larry and indeed have a look at Larry's site and learn more about art as well as �history in radio�. 

Many former colleagues of Carl Mitchell were informed on forehand and here�s a part of what Robbie Dale wrote to me: �Hola, Hans, Fascinating, I know Carl shared a flat with some other deejays on the Prinsengracht right next door to one of Stella�s fashion shops. He lived a wild life at that time. This would have been about the last time I spoke with Carl. I don�t know how he came into possession of the John & Yoko notes. Yes, I made an interview with them in the Amsterdam Hilton shortly after they married in Gibraltar it was a special on the TROS TV . John recorded a copy and included some of the funny bits on The Wedding Album on Apple. I have a copy of the LP and some photos of the three of us on the bed in their room. Hans your email has triggered some fond memories. Greetings. Robbie �.

Colin Nichol gives an answer to a question published in last issue: Hello Hans, just back from a short holiday in the south of this state - a short drive (for here) of about 1500km. In response to Alan Hamblin about Patrick Starling being called the �Mad Scientist�. I recall this was due to his dedication to his job and his great abilities even as young as he was. He was always experimenting and could solve most technical problems for us. Regards, Colin�.

On www.hansknot.com you can find also the list with all the female deejays in offshore radio. I have added a new one which was not listed yet. Hanna Berk worked on Veronica and did present in 1965 the program Ouverture. 


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The Medium Wave Circle has just published two new CDs of interest to offshore radio enthusiasts.* Radio Caroline 1983-1987 and * Laser 558 1984-1986

 www.mwcircle.org/mcd.htm 

On the website you can listen to unique extracts from the Radio Caroline and Laser 558 CDs. The website also includes full ordering information - orders can be by mail order or on-line. We have recently introduced secure on-line payment via credit card or PayPal account at www.mwcircle.org/shop.htm .

SUMMARY OF CD CONTENTS

Radio Caroline 1983-1987 This is a double CD set of original off air recordings of Radio Caroline in mp3 format made between 1983 & 1987 and contains 50+ hours! Included is the opening hour of official broadcasts on 20th August 1983 with Tom Anderson, a 2 hour tour around the Ross Revenge with Bruce Purdy on Christmas Day 1984, New Year's Eve 1984 Party, Knock Deep Tea party with John Ford, New Year's Eve 1985 party, Christmas Day 1985 etc. Recordings include Keith King, Neil Francis, Paul McKenna, Simon Barrett, Stuart Vincent, Susan Charles, Tony Peters, Kevin Turner, Peter Phillips, Nigel Roberts, Bob Matthews, Dave Collins, Dave Windsor, Jay Jackson, John Lewis, David Andrews, Andy Johnson etc, etc

Laser 558 1984-1986 This is a double CD in mp3 format of original off air recordings of Laser 558, the famous offshore radio pirate, made between 1984 & 1986. Included in the 35+ hours is a 90 minute test transmission from the Communicator on 729 kHz in February 1984. There are 3 hours from Laser 558's official opening day on 24th May 1984, 1 hour from Steve Masters and 2 hours from Jessie Brandon. There are more than 7 hours from Charlie Wolf including "Euro Siege" recordings. There are many hours of Sixties Sunday programming from various DJ's such as Dave Chaney, David Lee Stone, Jay Mack, Junell, Craig Novak, Jeff Davis, Tommy Rivers, Chris Carson, Holly Michaels, Rick Harris, Liz West, Erin Kelly, John Leeds. There are recordings from seldom heard Mighty Joe Young and Paul Dean. There's also 2 hours of programming from Laser's brief reincarnation as Laser Hot Hits on 576 kHz with John Anthony and KC.

CD PRICING CD Title UK Europe Rest Of World Radio Caroline 1984-1986 Double CD �9 ?15 US $18 Laser Radio 1984-1986 Double CD �9 ?15 US $18
Prices include post & packing. www.mwcircle.org/shop.htm

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April 15th was a very special day this year as our Aussie Dutchmen Graham Gill, Griselda for the incrowd, celebrated his 70th birthday in Amsterdam, where he is living already since decades. Radio Maribu celebrated this in shortwave during a special program. Graham came to Europe in the sixties to work for several offshore radio stations like Britain Radio, Swinging Radio England, Radio London, Radio 390, RNI and Radio Caroline. He also worked for a longer period with Radio Netherlands World Service. Graham still enjoying the good old days, visits every year the annual Radio Days in Amsterdam as well in Erkhart and still loves to sing �Way back home� on such occasions. Happy birthday Graham!

Graham Gill (photo Martin van der Ven)

I was very surprised to find in my mailbox an e mail from someone we�ve been searching for a long time ago. The guy was warned by a client at his company that he was searched for. Indeed I mentioned the name several times in the Knot International Report during 2003 and 2004.
Remember the days of Mi Amigo that there was also a deejay during the first period called Frans van der Drift. So he�s back and is a financial adviser in Rotterdam. He wrote that�s a pity the Class of 73-74 reunion had taken place already, Welcome to our readership Frans.

FRANS VAN DER DRIFT AT HILVERSUM 3 ARCHIVE HANS KNOT

Sven Martinsen from Norway has opened his special pages about all that happened on the Olga Patricia aka Laissez Faire. In cooperation with some other people he made a very long history in words as well as historic documents and so I do invite you to have hours of pleasure at his internet site: www.northernstar.no/olgapatricia5.htm

A few times her name appeared already in the Knot International Radio Report. Tara Jeffries; this as she was a presenter at the Voice of Peace and we would like to invite her too for the VOP reunion, which will take place on November 4th in Amsterdam. In May all the people who have worked for the VOP and which addresses are known will get a full information e mail. Tara, so we found out via Simon Smith in London, has worked in 1978 at LBC, the London News station. There she was presenter from Monday till Friday for the �Night Extra� program, which went out from 1 to 5 AM. But still the question who knows where Tara is nowadays? Answers to Hknot@home.nl

Once again we go back to the item �Sport on Offshore Radio� and this time we go way back 30 years in time to 1976. On Caroline there was a mentioning of football as on June 25th James Ross didn�t appear for his afternoon programme. Both Tom Anderson and Jimmy James, who took turns to sit in for him, explained that he was playing football on a sandbank. Football on a sandbank? Yes indeed. A trip out to a sandbank in those days was much fun for the Caroline team as a trip out to the Mi Amigo for some avid listeners. The next day on the station we learnt more from Tony: �Well we got out our little rubber boat out and put the engine on the back and we went for a run round the ship, which was nice to start with. The sun was belting down absolutely gorgeous. And then we decided we�d go for a run �upstream� as it were; what you basically is head into the tide so that if the engine breaks down you can come back to the ship!. Our transmitter engineer was there and the captain was there. And Tom Anderson and James Ross as well as Samantha were there for a while as well. We all went out, and we went round and round the ship and we met up with a fishing boat that came from Zeebrugge in Belgium. I want to say hello to them, Z444 is their number. Nice bunch of guys and we said hello to them, and they�re going back. After that we went over to the sands, because there are sandbanks in the North Sea and we went over to have a look at them. It�s quite ridiculous because some of these sandbanks are about two feet under water so we anchored on one of them and walked around and played some football and it�s very strange feeling being in the middle of the ocean and you�re walking around with the water just above your ankles and all around you is water, so far as you can see. A super day it was, I really enjoyed myself.�

Next one is from Don Stevens who has more than one thing to say:

�Peace Hans, I attach a couple of photos from the reunion in Essex last weekend of the Concord 230 and Dynamite 235 crew. A number of guests arrived from various parts of the world, but Phil Bendle from New Zealand did not make it, well, its a huge distance. If you like Hans, you may send him a copy of the group photo as he is a subscriber to your publication. We had hoped that Kelvin O'Shea and Phil Mitchell would turn up but they failed to appear sadly, so Yorkie, Simon and I spent the best part of the evening talking radio. James Ross and Kelvin O�Shea are one and the same. James Ross of Caroline and Voice of Peace, with Phil Mitchell, were part of the team that created Concord 230, Dynamite 235 and WFRL in London during the late 1960's and early 1970's, and we went on to become the players in offshore radio and the Irish scene afterwards. Unlike the 1960's offshore jocks, and the late 70's DJ's, we all had a background in engineering, production and programming so many of us spent a lot of time in the background, pushing radio projects forward and leaving airtime for the 'superstars' unless we were compelled to broadcast due to staff shortages. 

Hence, for example, Keith York and I appearing on so many stations like Caroline, VOP, Nova, South Coast Radio, Atlantic Sound, WLS Music Radio, Atlantic 252, Radio Aire, Coast FM, Country Music Radio WMAQ and Sovereign Radio. We often went 'on air' to show the staff how to utilise and implement formats and equipment.

Keith York 2006 collection Don Stevens

It's so good to see that Mary and her Radio London site are going from strength to strength and are now celebrating 7 years of promoting the Wonderful Big L. I love her enthusiasm for the station, the last time we met she regaled me with stories of 'the knees' and Big L while we enjoyed the late afternoon sunshine on Walton Pier with Big L RSL on the radio. We watched the vessel as the hot day became cool and the sun cast a golden glow over the ship, it was a fun moment in 1997 and Mary spoke of her hope to commemorate big L in a more permanent way. She has done that with the website, really beautiful. I should really pop over and say 'hi' to her and the crew as they are located fairly near my English hideout and the local pubs serve real English ale. Live Long and Prosper, Don.�

Don Stevens at the reunion in England

Thanks Don and we must have a drink next time I�m over in England together with Rob, Chris and Mary and you and maybe some other unexpected guests. 

It�s a long way from birds in the summer to a nickname Hitler in the winter and we have to go back to 1976. Here�s what the Monitor Magazine published about the birds: �In the summer the deejays and crew aboard the MV Mi Amigo, the radio ship from Radio Caroline, were visited a lot by several forms of bird live. Hundreds and hundreds were there around late September and it seemed that the ship was anchored on the migration route from Scandinavia and on several mornings the crew awoke to find out that they had been joined by masses of exhausted fieldfares and redwings, resting on their way to their winter feeding grounds in Britain. Every last inch of the mast was covered with thin, tired birds, grateful for the unexpected refuge: yet even so, some, much to the distress of Samantha, didn�t survive to fly on with their companions. Another bird who had appeared at the time was described as �very big and it�s got a black beak and brown wing feathers�. It was ravenously hungry and stayed on board for all the food the deejays were willing to donate! This was probably an immature herring-gull.� An oily seagull turned up in December that year; it was very weak but soon recovered it�s strength and self-confidence after being cleaned, warmed, fed and fussed over by all the volunteer nurses on the radio ship. All the birds left the ship in the end an it was the late Samantha Dubois who reflected on the leave: �Since the Yugoslavian captain left the Mi Amigo the pigeons have disappeared. The new Dutch captain doesn�t like pigeons because he thinks that they make too much mess. He is a horrible man; he doesn�t like the English deejays at all and makes life hell for them. We�ve nicknamed him Hitler.�

Well to those who were on the ship in those days, what do you remember more about those two captains. And maybe some of the crew members do remember the moment the radio ship was visited by a lot of wasps on the ship.

As always news, memories and other things can be forwarded to Hknot@home.nl

Well this finishes this report and so may I wish you all the best and till next month

Hans Knot

 

 

Offshore Deejays' Nicknames

 

Female Offshore Radio Deejays

 

Read Hans Knot's former report