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   Offshore Pirate Radio

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      1965 - 1966      

ss The start of 1965 saw some 'big guns' lining up against the pop pirates when, on January 22nd, the governments of Belgium, France, Greece, Sweden, Luxembourg, Denmark and Britain signed a Council of Europe Agreement that not only banned broadcasts 'on board ships, aircraft or any other floating or airborne objects' but also banned anyone from those countries from supplying the pirates with materials, supplies or equipment.
The stations were forced to obtain new sources of supply from either Holland or Spain, neither of whom had been party to the agreement. Due to the distances involved this proved to be an expensive exercise and it wasn't long before RADIO LONDON, RADIO CAROLINE and later RADIO ENGLAND all used the same Dutch supply company and vessels, presumably to cut costs. 

Three tenders were operated out of Holland from a salvage company owned by the Wijsmuller brothers. 'Offshore I' and 'Offshore II' supplied the ships on the east coast while the larger 'Offshore III' was capable of making the run to supply RADIO CAROLINE NORTH on the west coast. 'Caroline' was also in the happier position of being able to obtain supplies from Dublin or even the Isle of Man as the Manx government were reluctant to ratify legislation against the ship due to the trade and tourism she brought to the island.

Caroline North

Knock John

February found Reg Calvert* planning another new radio station to be situated on the fort at Knock John Sands but the site was also keenly sought after by Roy Bates which led to a series of confrontations later that year. In March he announced a plan to start a station that would cover the West Country and South Wales by broadcasting from an ex-Navy supply ship anchored near Lundy Island outside the Bristol Channel. (* also see David St.John's 'The Reg Calvert Story' - great info and some fab, unique pictures)
Following the tragic deaths at Red Sands a group of Kent businessmen headed by Charles Evans ( one of the original owners of RADIO INVICTA ) and David Lye took over. New equipment was installed to improve its output at a cost of about £7,000 and on March 2nd it started test transmissions on both 237 metres and 238 metres. RADIO INVICTA officially closed down on March 21st, returning to the air three days later as KING RADIO whose disc jockeys included Mike Raven ( now part of the management team ), Eddie Hinkins and Frank Smith who had been heard as Eddie Gerold on RADIO INVICTA.

Their format was light, middle of the road music essentially aimed at listening housewives but proved to be comparatively unsuccessful despite such grandiose self-description such as 'your monarch of music for the metropolis' and 'the most melodic delicatessen on the medium wave'. KING RADIO had originally been planned as a brand new station and not as a reincarnation of RADIO INVICTA. This was evident from the pre-recorded test broadcasts which gave their location as the Nore tower which was their original intended base. Announcements for planned future regular programmes included shows called 'South East Special' 'Mardi Gras' 'Fiesta' and 'Candlelight And Wine' although no such named shows were ever broadcast.

KING Radio

Another interesting fact about the stations is that all early mail to RADIO INVICTA received replies from a department within Polydor records whose output was also heavily plugged by KING RADIO. This suggested that the major record companies were taking a much bigger interest and working part in the pirate stations than they were prepared to admit to at the time.

Simon Dee made his last broadcast for RADIO CAROLINE from the 'Mi Amigo' in March 1965 but continued to work at the company's London offices for a few months afterwards.
In April, a proposed project called RADEX announced that it would be on air in the next few months broadcasting round the clock pop from a ship off Whitstable. It also planned to transmit television programmes using Channel 6 on 405 lines ( which had already been allocated to Radio Astronomy Services of Cambridge ). Although the project was reported to have American backing to the sum of £1 million, this was subsequently withdrawn and it never got further than the planning stage.

On April 10th tapes arrived in London for the first ever record company-sponsored show on pirate radio. American label Roulette Records had signed a two-year contract with RADIO CAROLINE which included spot advertising and, despite written 'objections' by E.M.I. who were the U.K. licensee, the shows were first transmitted on April 12th.

May 13th saw a station called RADIO PAMELA starting to make test transmissions on 233 metres 1343kHz from a ship ( 'Pamela'? ) anchored off Clacton. I have no other information regarding the success ( or not ) of this enterprise. RADIO CITY increased their transmitter power from 3.5kW to 10kW in June and also extended their broadcasting hours.

In June or July a local land-based pirate station identifying itself as RADIO SHANUS (often misquoted as 'SHAMELESS') began broadcasting in the Wimbledon area of London. One of the 'pirates', Martin Macgregor (who also broadcast from Radio Essex as ‘Peter Lane’ and was involved in Roy Bates’ ill-fated attempt at a Radio Kent on Tongue Sands off Margate), confirms "It was actually Radio Shanus…please do not ask why…just the name that a bunch of us came up with."

Peggy Knight Radio City

Financial problems for KING RADIO eventually resulted in an expensive takeover on June 7th 1965 by Ted Allbeury's company, Estuary Radio Limited, who spent the next couple of months refitting the station at a cost of about £150,000 , including an RCA 10KW transmitter and a 297 foot aerial. Two custom-built air-conditioned studios were used, fitted with twin tables, seven-channel mixers and twin tape recorders.

Radio 390 EVE

The total power output capability was some 35KW ( although it only normally used about 10KW ) and it resumed transmissions with Glen Miller's 'Moonlight Serenade' on September 22nd broadcasting on 388.1 metres under the name of RADIO 390, with such programmes as 'EVE - the woman's magazine of the air' which was the station's original planned name. This idea was not followed through due to the fact that it was not 'snappy' enough and failed to include an advertisement for its wavelength.

The station was not one of the purist 'pop pirates' but still proved very popular, pushing out a mixture of light classical and jazz amongst other musical types. It claimed to be the most powerful of the Sixties offshore transmitters, broadcasting from 6:30a.m. until midnight with a signal strength that allowed it to reach most of the country. Programmes tended to be in 15 and 30 minute slots as opposed to the three and four-hour shows of the pop stations and were inclined to be a kind of 'radio magazine'. As well as 'Eve', daily output included titles such as 'Melody Fair', 'Tea-Time Tunes' and 'Keyboard Cavalcade'. There was a daily ten-minute programme for children called 'Playtime', a five-minute sound cartoon called 'Moonmice' and even a radio soap opera entitled 'Dr.Paul'. Ted Allbeury himself presented a Sunday evening show called 'Red Sands Rendezvous' and in July 1966 a twice-daily half-hour business programme called 'Voice of Business' was introduced which ran until the station's demise.

Early in September Reg Calvert transported about £3,000 worth of broadcasting equipment onto Knock John tower, off the coast of Whitstable and about 4 miles from Shivering Sands. RADIO CITY had planned, initially, to use the fort as a base to test equipment. A week later ex-fisherman Roy Bates arrived at the tower to set up RADIO ESSEX only to find it already occupied. After a minor 'war' involving several boardings and take-over bids by each side, agreement was finally reached between them.

The station started regular programmes on 7th November, initially closing down at 10p.m. but later going to 24 hours. Its format was fairly successful, playing middle-of-the-road music during the day and top 40 records into the evening but its range was extremely limited as the transmitter was a 1kW ex-U.S. Air Force beacon which had been converted for broadcasting.

In October 1965 Knock John tower was acquired by Bates, having 'won' his battle with Reg Calvert. Test transmissions commenced on October 25th , one of the first voices heard being that of disc jockey Mark Wesley ( West ) saying 'This is RADIO ESSEX the voice of Essex on 222 metres and this is a test transmission'. In an effort to expand his service Roy Bates also made an abortive attempt to start up RADIO KENT from the Tongue Sands fort, about twelve miles off Canvey Island, which was rather quickly abandoned when the structure threatened to disintegrate during a storm.

In October of 1965 RADIO LONDON became a film star when the ship and crew were used for the storyline and location sequences in a feature film called 'Dateline Diamonds', released in 1966, with brief appearances by Phillip Birch, Earl Richmond and Ben Toney.

Radio Essex

During this period there had been some discussion between Ronan O'Rahilly and Reg Calvert regarding a possible amalgamation with RADIO CITY which involved the sales teams merging but programming remaining independent and with Caroline providing a news service. O'Rahilly's plan was to eventually use Shivering Sands to broadcast as RADIO CAROLINE SOUTH and move the 'Mi Amigo' to either the Bristol Channel or the north-east coast. A 10kW transmitter was supplied by Major Oliver Smedley, through Project Atlanta, and 'loaned' to RADIO CITY for possible use when the new service started. The equipment was in fact a 25 year old unit from the KCUL station in Fort Worth which was subsequently declared obsolete by RADIO CITY engineers but was given a value of £10,000 by Smedley. The 'combined' service operated for a short time towards the end of the year but the joint company was soon in debt and it stopped in December, but was never formally terminated.

All the finances had been handled through Project Atlanta which ended up owing RADIO CITY something in the region of £8,000. Planet Productions took over the assets and liabilities of Project Atlanta in December following which Allan Crawford resigned from the board. It was believed that all connection with Atlanta's ex-chairman and major shareholder, Oliver Smedley, had been severed at this time but he was known to still be holding 60,000 Atlanta shares as late as 1972.

After a somewhat controversial career, RADIO LONDON finally really sacked Kenny Everett ( he had been sacked and quickly reinstated several times previously ) in October 1965 after he made irreverent comments about Garner Ted Armstrong, one of the station's main religious sponsors. Such was Kenny's popularity though that he was re-employed in June 1966 after a suitable 'cooling-off period'.

A company called Ellambar Investments Limited was set up in November by a group of businessmen headed by Wilf Proudfoot, who had been the Conservative M.P. for Cleveland between 1959 and 1964, with the intention of setting up a 'pirate' radio station to service the north of England from off the coast of Scarborough. The chairman was Leonard Dale of Dale Group which manufactured marine generators and the managing director was Don Robinson, a wrestling promoter, who had interests in various leisure facilities around the country.

Radio Scotland COMET

New year's eve 1965 brought another new station. After dropping anchor, rather fittingly on hogmanay, RADIO SCOTLAND commenced broadcasting at ten minutes to midnight on 242 metres 1241kHz, 'Swinging to you on 242' from a converted lightship off the east coast of Scotland 4 miles out from Dunbar in the Firth of Forth.

The opening announcements were made by television actor and nouveau disc jockey Paul Young and Tommy Shields, the managing director of its operating company City and County Commercial Radio ( Scotland ) Ltd. which had been formed in October 1964. Being an ex-lightship, 'The Comet' was effectively just a floating platform with no engines which had to be towed everywhere.

It was unable to operate its transmitter at full power until January 16th and soon after changed its frequency to 1260kHz. RADIO SCOTLAND had the distinction of being the only Scottish offshore station and was run by mostly local people, broadcasting a varied selection of programmes including ceilidh music and pop.

January 1966 saw the end of the six-month life of land-based RADIO SHANUS. The transmitter was confiscated and 18 year old Martin Macgregor, who had started the station as part of a college rag week stunt, was fined £2. Martin adds: "....and please do not forget the 3 guineas costs!"

In the early hours of January 12th the Clacton lifeboat was launched to attend the RADIO LONDON ship 'Galaxy' which had dragged her anchor in a force 8 gale, ending up close to Clacton and necessitating shutdown of transmission while it was within territorial waters. The pirates, even in adversity, were never short of a sense of humour and the first record played on resuming programme transmission was 'Day Tripper' by The Beatles.

The winter conditions of that year caused many problems for the North Sea pirates. On January 20th 'Cheeta II' was forced to move from her anchorage due to a build-up of pack ice! Being unable to return to her former position, she set sail for the English coast.
On the same day, 'Mi Amigo' broke her anchor chain and ended up aground on the beach at Frinton having somehow avoided the multitude of concrete groynes which protruded all along that coast. Several staff had to be taken off the ship by breeches buoy, including Dave Lee Travis and Tony Blackburn. The ship was kedged off and refloated on the 22nd following which she was taken to Zaandam for a damage inspection.

RADIO CAROLINE SOUTH resumed programme transmissions on the 31st, albeit with a weaker signal, from the 'Cheeta II' which had arrived off the coast of Harwich and, having little else to do, was hired to Ronan O'Rahilly for £750 a week - cash!

Caroline aground at Frinton

The station had been losing listeners to RADIO LONDON for a while and during this period wholesale changes to the broadcasting staff were made when Tom Lodge was brought in to revamp the operation. He gave the remaining disc jockeys a much bigger say in programme content and had injected a new enthusiasm and more spontaneous style into their presentation by the time the 'Mi Amigo' started broadcasting again on 27th February from Holland, relaying through the 'Cheeta II'. She left Holland on April 5th with a new 50kW transmitter. 'Mi Amigo' developed a fault on her aerial mast on the 18th which engineers refused to go aloft and fix due to the prevailing bad weather conditions. Thus was born one of the great pirate legends when Tony Blackburn was 'elected' to climb the mast to make the necessary repairs!

Around this time 'Mi Amigo' began test transmissions on 259 metres 1169kHz with her new equipment and until May 1st, when 'Cheeta II' stopped broadcasting on behalf of RADIO CAROLINE SOUTH, the station effectively had two ships 'online' who made a great thing out of 'talking' to one another on-air.

During the early part of 1966 an audience survey was commissioned from National Opinion Polls Ltd. by Brian Scudder, the sales director of RADIO CAROLINE. The company reported that during the period of the survey about 45% of the population listened to Luxembourg or offshore stations.
The listening figures ( as reported ) were:


          RADIO CAROLINE - 8,818,000

                    RADIO LONDON - 8,140,000

                              RADIO 390 - 2,633,000

                                        RADIO ENGLAND - 2,274,000

                                                  RADIO SCOTLAND - 2,195,000

                                                            BRITAIN RADIO - 718,000

Radio Caroline Studio

Phil Solomon, previously with Decca and an agent for The Bachelors and Them, joined Planet Productions in February as a director. One of his first suggestions was for RADIO CAROLINE to start up its own record label and talks took place with Ember records regarding distribution. Their own records were being distributed by a subsidiary of Decca called Selecta who delayed the launch of the label from September to November by their prevarication on involvement with 'pop pirates'. They had already refused to distribute a record called 'We Love The Pirates', made by members of The Ivy League under the name 'The Roaring Sixties', but finally came to an arrangement with Planet Productions and the 'Major Minor' label was launched on 25th November 1966. The discs were to be manufactured by CBS and distributed by Selecta.

The first two releases on the new label were by the O'Brien Brothers and Odin's People who were previously unknown Irish artists. Recordings were mostly of Irish showbands and balladeers with some light classical performers such as the Raymond LeFevre Orchestra and the Roberto Mann Singers and the occasional 'novelty' record. Other artists included the Wheels and The Gibsons. Later on, deals were made with American labels which brought artists such as Johnny Nash and The Isley Brothers to the British airwaves

The label was immediately given much airtime on RADIO CAROLINE but very few of the earlier records troubled the national charts as they were the only station promoting them. Plugs for the label continued to the point where the disc jockeys were getting pretty fed up with it and Emperor Rosko was allegedly 'sacked' several times for refusing to play them. Eventually, sometime after The Marine etc, Broadcasting ( Offences ) Act became effective, Johnnie Walker made the best practical objection when he played The Bachelors for about an hour and a half, non-stop, introducing each track as the next item on his official playlist.
In March a proposed station called RADIO MAYFLOWER announced that it planned to start a service in April, transmitting from The Wash near Boston.

Sunk Head Radio Tower

Another intended new station, RADIO TOWER, made a few test transmissions on 236 metres during April 1966 from Sunk Head fort 14 miles south-east of Felixstowe. Joint managing directors Peter Jeeves and Eric Sullivan intended to operate the station primarily as a local radio service with over half the content being devoted to local items of interest. Some sources maintain that it commenced broadcasting on 5th March 1966 but, although it was due to go on air on April 21st, the project was eventually abandoned on May 4th as the continuing bad weather conditions made the fort impossible to supply by tender.

Also during April RADIO CHANNEL was believed to be preparing to broadcast from off the coast of Bexhill, Sussex and a station called RADIO DYNAVISION was heard, but as very little else materialised after that it may have only been a test transmission. Yet another short-lived transmission in May identified itself as RADIO JIM.

On April 22nd, because of the frequently adverse weather conditions and poor mainland signal reception being experienced by RADIO SCOTLAND, an operation began to transfer 'Comet' to a new position three miles off Troon on the west coast. The ship continued broadcasting programmes as it was towed for the best part of a thousand miles around the north of Scotland. They could hardly have picked a worse time of year and the voyage was horrific. There were storms, a fire broke out in her generator room while she was off Peterhead, and at one point she was shipping so much water that her own pumps couldn't cope and they were forced to request someone to send an extra pump by making an appeal during programme transmissions.

On May 3rd 1966, 'swinging' RADIO ENGLAND and BRITAIN RADIO began test transmissions, regular three and four-hour programmes starting on the 18th and 19th of June respectively.

There is a good story connected with this as RADIO CAROLINE SOUTH disc jockeys allegedly 'stole' many of the RADIO ENGLAND jingles by recording them as they were played in their entirety, without interruption, during the test transmissions. The station name was edited and changed and they took great joy in playing the newly-customised jingles on air the same day that RADIO ENGLAND went 'live'. So good were the copies that RADIO ENGLAND were even accused of 'stealing' them from RADIO CAROLINE.

By the end of the year nearly every pirate station had its own complete set of these customised jingles.

Laissez Faire Britain Radio Radio England

The twin stations were created by some of the Texan backers who had broken away from RADIO LONDON. Both stations operated from the same ship, owned by Pier-Vick Ltd. which consisted of Don Pierson, Bill Vick, general manager Jack Curtiss ( grateful thanks to Jack for providing information corrections ) and programme director Ron O'Quinn. The twin-studio ship was originally a World War II "Liberty Ship" named 'Olga Patricia' but had been refitted, renamed 'Laissez Faire' and was anchored three miles off the coast of Walton on the Naze.

During World War II, 2711 of these ships were built in U.S. shipyards and saw action in the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific but were probably most remembered for the dreaded 'Russian Convoys' through northern seas past Norway to the Russian port of Murmansk. Their lack of speed made them an easy U-boat target and about 200 were lost through enemy action. Their expected life span was a mere five years but, even so, such was the likely casualty rate that the Navy considered one safe voyage to be a ship's full quota.

RADIO ENGLAND, initially on 355 metres 845kHz, changed to 227 metres 1320kHz after complaints of interference from Italy. At one point, the numbers 227 were clearly visible on the bows, but not in the image above.

More vehement complaints of interference received on June 3rd from RADIO ROMA II resulted in it reverting to its original wavelength and frequency. Its weekday output consisted of non-stop pop and chart music using experienced American disc jockeys with their own style of broadcasting, the weekend being largely devoted to 'golden oldies'. Because of its - to British listeners - unusual American broadcasting style it failed to attract advertisers ( as was the fear of RADIO LONDON ) and was less successful than it really deserved. BRITAIN RADIO on 227 metres 1320kHz was more middle-of-the-road easy listening in style.

May saw some major changes for RADIO VERONICA. The station altered its format from half-hour programmes to two-hour ones and replaced their ship, the ageing 'Borkum Riff', with the 'Nordeney', a better equipped ( 10kW ) and 'more luxurious' converted trawler from which the station continued transmitting throughout the Sixties. The old converted lightship was towed into harbour and broken up for scrap. That month also saw a £50,000 refit for the RADIO LONDON ship 'Galaxy' with the intention of increasing her transmitter power to around 75kW and there was some press speculation about a new pirate station planned for August which intended to carry out wide-ranging political broadcasting from a position off the Thames Estuary.

Although intending to go on air on April 1st 1966, various problems delayed the ill-fated RADIO 270, owned by Ellambar Investments and run by managing director Wilfred Proudfoot, from starting regular transmissions on 270 metres 1115kHz until 4th June. Throughout its life it suffered from constant technical and electrical supply problems which was a bit of an embarrassment for Leonard Dale whose company's generators it was using and adverts for which were prominently featured. The station broadcast from m.v.'Oceaan VII', anchored at first off Scarborough then moving to Bridlington Bay during the following winter. 'Oceaan VII' was unique in that it was the only pirate radio ship that used to come to the mainland to avoid the roughest weather, often taking the opportunity to replenish her supplies while doing so.

The other ships, barring emergencies, stayed out at sea and were serviced solely by supply tenders. RADIO 270 would finish transmissions before high tide and sail into Bridlington to load up overnight and return to its anchorage on the morning tide, weather permitting.

Some time previously another bid for RADIO CITY had been received, this time from Philip Birch of RADIO LONDON, who had plans to set up a station to be called UKGM ( United Kingdom Good Music ) which would broadcast light music. The proposal involved a joint sales company and a service agreement between the two stations with RADIO LONDON managing the operation and taking 55% of the advertising revenue while Reg Calvert retained ownership.

It may have been part of another project in the planning stage called RADIO MANCHESTER which was to be a sister station for RADIO LONDON. Similar to the RADIO CAROLINE idea, it involved finding an alternative base for the southern station so that the 'Galaxy' could be moved and anchored off Fleetwood, Lancashire, to serve the north-west of England. The agreement was finalised in May and had been due to start on June 1st. In order to get a better idea of what was going to be required, disc jockeys Duncan Johnson and Keith Skues, engineer Martin Newton and the RADIO LONDON office manager Dennis Maitland went with Reg Calvert to inspect the installation at Shivering Sands but were not overly impressed by the spartan conditions and lack of facilities.

Reg and Dorothy Calvert

All through this period a separate partnership deal with Reg Calvert was being sought by the former head of Project Atlanta, retired Major Oliver Smedley, with various offers which included one for £10,000 cash and another involving shares in a joint stock company. Already being in discussion with RADIO LONDON Calvert refused to commit himself to any firm decision and the subsequent agreement with Philip Birch led Smedley to think that he was in danger of losing the value of the transmitter which he had been involved in supplying but had still not been paid for so he decided to take more direct action.
June 20th 1966 saw the start of a train of events which was to scandalise the pirate radio business when Oliver Smedley, along with ten others, forcibly boarded the RADIO CITY platform at Shivering Sands and repossessed the expensive transmitting crystal of their transmitter. So, RADIO CITY went off the air and Smedley departed, leaving his boarding party in control of the station. A heated meeting ensued in Soho later that day between Calvert, Birch, Smedley and three people from Project Atlanta including another shareholder, Horace Leggett, during which Smedley made a financial proposition that Philip Birch considered to be bordering on blackmail and withdrew the RADIO LONDON interest.

Calvert allegedly threatened to use nerve gas on his station to get rid of Smedley's boarding party and the meeting broke up in acrimony. The following day Reg Calvert visited Scotland Yard where he was refused any assistance and, still incensed, was driven down to 'visit' Oliver Smedley at his home in Saffron Walden at about 11p.m. that evening where, after allegedly attacking him or one of his staff with 'a heavy statue', he was killed by Smedley with a shotgun blast to the chest. Back out on the fort the remaining members of the boarding party left, for no apparent reason, a week later.
Reg Calvert Oliver Smedley
The transmitter was fairly quickly repaired with a spare crystal which the RADIO CITY staff had kept hidden from the intruders and the station, now under the control of Calvert's widow Dorothy, recommenced broadcasting that day, Sunday 26th June, at 10p.m. Smedley was charged with murder on July 18th but this was subsequently reduced to manslaughter. The trial opened at Chelmsford assizes on October 11th where a day and a half later, without even retiring, the jury decided that he had acted in self defence and pronounced him 'not guilty'. RADIO CAROLINE was later to claim that it had severed all connections with Project Atlanta in December 1964 and the provenance of the transmitter remained a matter for dispute.

During June more new stations were believed to be coming on line. These were RADIO CAESAR ( which made a few test transmissions ) , RADIO 365 ( which was planned to cover the north of England on VHF ) and RADIO FREEDOM. None of these stations ( as far as I can find out ) ever managed to get on air with regular programmes possibly due to the increasing likelihood of the government bringing in their intended 'anti-pirate' laws and the consequential withdrawal of financial backing although another scenario is that these, and other short-lived 'stations' such as RADIO ALF, RADIO SHEILA and RADIO ALBATROSS, were the results of enthusiastic amateurs having some fun with the Wireless and Telegraphy Act. Also in June, RADIO 390 announced plans to buy the 'Cheeta II' which was still lying unused off the coast of Harwich, with the intention of operating it as RADIO 390 NORTH. This was intended to have been anchored off Colwyn Bay in North Wales but never materialised due to legal problems over ownership of the vessel.

The British government published The Marine etc, Broadcasting ( Offences ) Bill on July 2nd, the provisions of which would make it unlawful to broadcast from ships or marine structures. It would also be unlawful to 'instigate, finance, provide goods or in any other way aid' such an enterprise. The maximum penalty proposed was two years' imprisonment, a fine or both. It was the beginning of the end for pirate radio in its existing form.

'Cheeta II' set sail for Las Palmas on December 3rd and eventually arrived in The Gambia later that month, there to end her useful life as a floating restaurant in Bathurst harbour.

On 21st September, in his capacity as secretary of Estuary Radio Limited, David Lye was summonsed for contravention of the 1949 Wireless Telegraphy Act when he visited Scotland Yard to investigate a claim that 390 was to be seized by the authorities. This followed a visit by the police to their London office on 17th August to warn them that they were broadcasting without a licence.
When a similar summons was served against RADIO ESSEX on 28th September 1966 for contravening the Act, station owner Roy Bates vowed that he would fight the action and promptly installed a new, more powerful transmitter, re-naming the station BBMS ( Britain's Better Music Station ) which continued transmitting on 222 metres pending an appeal.

At this time the station's output became more formalised, the hours from 9p.m. to 6a.m. being aimed at the youth and teenage audience while daytime programming was geared to more adult easy-listening music.

RADIO CAROLINE closed down at 8:30p.m. as usual on October 31st coming back on air at 10:30p.m. to carry out test transmissions on 257 metres 1169kHz. These continued nightly until November 24th, the station making the decision to change to the new wavelength and frequency on December 18th.

November 11th ( some accounts say 4th but it was Armistice Day ) saw the end of RADIO ENGLAND which was replaced by the Dutch station RADIO DOLFIJN using much the same format and was, predictably, popularly known as RADIO FLIPPER. Its sister station, BRITAIN RADIO, struggled on for another few months.

David Lye and Ted Allbeury appeared before three magistrates at Longport Magistrates Court on November 24th. Radio 390 had already closed down, Ted Allbeury having sent a taped message to the station:

"Hello there, this is Ted Allbeury speaking. I can not believe that this is the end. I am advised that it might take three or four weeks for an appeal to be heard. If we win, we would start broadcasting again immediately. However, if we lose, it would mean that we should have to cease broadcasting from the fort. I should expect to make some alternative arrangements. For now, all I can say is what I have always said - take care of yourselves and God bless."

This was transmitted by D.J. Steven West who then announced "We are now closing down". The national anthem was broadcast and the 390 wavelength went silent.

After two days of debate and presentations on the location of the fort, Estuary Radio were found guilty and fined £100. However, an application by the G.P.O. to have their equipment confiscated was rejected and the two men were given absolute discharges.

After a five-week closedown due to court proceedings RADIO 390 returned to the air on December 19th ( accounts differ as to the actual date ) with the record "This Could Be The Start Of Something Big" and an announcement by Ted Allbeury:

"It's great to be back on the air and, furthermore, we shall stay on the air this time. We have new evidence that the fort is at least a mile and a half outside territorial waters. The survey was executed in accordance with Admiralty practice and the G.P.O. will have to summons us again if they feel they have a case".

This statement was based on a hydrographer's findings that Middle Sands was 'always covered with water at low tide', technically making Red Sands Fort outside U.K. territorial broadcasting limits, but the authorities were apparently determined to get them by fair means or foul.........


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