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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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:
LUXEMBOURG - 8,818,000
CAROLINE - 8,818,000
LONDON - 8,140,000
390 - 2,633,000
ENGLAND - 2,274,000
SCOTLAND - 2,195,000
RADIO - 718,000
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.........