ECN Electrical Forum - Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#152655 - 11/13/05 08:25 AM Pirate Radio, 1960s
pauluk Offline
Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7520
Loc: Norfolk, England
I've just uploaded a couple of MP3 files for another group, and as I know we have some folk here interested in old radio, I thought I'd post the links here as well.

These audio files are a montage of clips from two of the most well-known "pirate" radio stations which broadcasted here in the 1960s.

For those unfamiliar with the situation in Britain, radio broadcasting at that time was strictly a BBC monopoly, and people were expected to pay for a radio-receiving license too. It was simply not possible to legally set-up an independent radio broadcast station in the 1960s.

The pirate stations transmitted from ships anchored just beyond the 3-mile limit of British territorial waters, so that they were outside the jurisdiction of U.K. laws.

There were many other pirate stations around the coast of Great Britain which came and went, but Caroline and London were about the most famous, both starting in 1964.

The British government did not take too kindly to the "pirates," but had no power to actually close them down since they were outside British jurisdiction. What did eventually happen, however, is that in August 1967 they passed the draconian Marine Broadcasting Act which effectively made it illegal for anybody within the U.K. to support them in any way -- including sending supplies to the ships or placing advertising with them.

Radio London decided it was not worth continuing and closed down on the afternoon of 8/14/67.

Radio Caroline decided to fight, and you can hear a clip as the midnight deadline is passed and a rendition of We Shall Overcome as they vow to continue broadcasting.

There are some great old jingles and commercials here, as well as many clips of DJs who would later work for the BBC in more conventional broadcast environments. There's a clip near the beginning of the Caroline file in which DJ Simon Dee gives a brief rundown on some of the equipment on board.


Radio London (MP3, approx. 4.7MB, runs 27 mins.)

Radio Caroline (MP3, approx. 3.8MB, runs 21 mins.)

These will probably run best if you download to your hard disk rather than streaming them.

[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 11-13-2005).]
Tools for Electricians:
#152656 - 11/13/05 02:54 PM Re: Pirate Radio, 1960s
NJwirenut Offline
Registered: 09/15/01
Posts: 806
Loc: Bergen County, NJ
I'm also a fan (and long-ago participant ) of pirate radio.

Another notable station of the '60s/'70s was "Radio First Termer", which was operated by a US airman stationed in Vietnam. An alternative to Armed Forces Radio, it broadcast antiwar (and borderline treasonous ) commentary with a steady diet of drug culture references and psychedelic rock.

Lots of .MP3s available at:

Warning--strong language and insightful/inciteful political content...
#152657 - 11/13/05 04:07 PM Re: Pirate Radio, 1960s
Alan Belson Offline
Registered: 03/23/05
Posts: 1803
Loc: Mayenne N. France
Remember the era well! Beach Boys, Byrds, Beatles, Stones, Dylan, Kinks. Tony Blackburn's stupid jokes. Trying to kill myself with a Norton Atlas on the North Circular Road at 110mph. The 'May-day' on air when Radio Caroline caught fire. Keith Skues, Simon Dee, the pathetic mid-Atlantic accents. Then Radio One foisted on us by Auntie. Not the same, was it? Just like a party with your parents in the next room.
BTW, remember that brilliant send-up of typicallY doltish DJs by Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse on 'Radio Fab FM' a few years ago, as Smashie and Nicey "doin' a biddawork for charidy"?
"You Ain't Seen Nuthin' Yet!"
Lets Rock!
(Cue Backman Turner Overdrive!).

PS Seem to remember one station boasting how many thousands of kw's of transmitter power they had on board. Must have been one heck of a gen-set!

[This message has been edited by Alan Belson (edited 11-13-2005).]
Wood work but can't!
#152658 - 11/14/05 12:08 AM Re: Pirate Radio, 1960s
dougwells Offline

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1137
Loc: kamloops BC Canada
Thanks paul
I have reformated since i got some files from you quite awhile ago.
#152659 - 11/15/05 08:02 AM Re: Pirate Radio, 1960s
pauluk Offline
Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7520
Loc: Norfolk, England
Seem to remember one station boasting how many thousands of kw's of transmitter power they had on board.

Possibly Radio London? There are a couple of jingles among those clips which refer 75kW.

I found some interesting technical anecdotes about the transmitters for Caroline on the following link. Look at "The Carl Thomson Story," starting about halfway down the page;

[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 11-15-2005).]

Member Spotlight
Member Since: 11/17/00
Posts: 2232
New in the Gallery:
SE cable question

2017 NEC and Related
2017 NEC
Now Available!

Shout Box

Who's Online
0 registered (), 45 Guests and 8 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
New in the Gallery:
SE cable question
Top Posters (30 Days)
Admin 47
HotLine1 43
gfretwell 19
Ruben Rocha 12
Trumpy 9
Newest Members
Freecrowder, clee512, Jdscott2005, FAIZAN, Regitest2

ECN Electrical Forums - sponsored by Electrical Contractor Network - Electrical and Code Related Discussion for Electrical Contractors, Electricians, Inspectors, Instructors, Engineers and other related Professionals