60s Hits — and The History of Offshore Radio

60 years ago, on East­er Sat­ur­day 1964, Radio Car­o­line began reg­u­lar broad­casts at noon on 1520kHz, “199 metres”, from the MV Car­o­line (for­mer­ly the Fred­eri­cia), anchored off Felixs­towe, Suf­folk, from where it had begun test trans­mis­sions the pre­vi­ous day. The first pro­gramme was host­ed by Chris Moore. Radio Car­o­line’s first musi­cal theme was Jim­my McGrif­f’s “Round Mid­night”, a jazz stan­dard co-com­posed by Thelo­nious Monk. In March 1964, The For­tunes record­ed Car­o­line, which became the sta­tion’s theme. The sta­tion’s slo­gan was “Your all-day music sta­tion”. It was the start of a three and a half years that changed the face of British broadcasting.

In mem­o­ry of the immense changes and ben­e­fits the off­shore sta­tions brought to music radio and to lis­ten­ers in search of pop­u­lar music on the air around the coasts of Britain and Europe, we are com­mem­o­rat­ing the event today with a spe­cial pro­gramme of music from the 1960s, as you might have heard on the off­shore sta­tions, plus a spe­cial broad­cast of a 1970 radio doc­u­men­tary by Paul Har­ris, “The His­to­ry of Off­shore Radio”. The doc­u­men­tary cov­ers the peri­od 1958 to 1970 and includes the ear­li­est Scan­di­na­vian sta­tions such as Radio Mer­cur and Radio Nord, as well as more famil­iar sta­tions like Radio Lon­don, Radio Car­o­line* and Radio Veron­i­ca. The peri­od is illus­trat­ed by many airchecks from the major­i­ty of the sta­tions oper­at­ing in this peri­od in addi­tion to a com­men­tary which tells the sto­ry, from ear­ly begin­nings, to years of suc­cess and some­times dark deeds. The pro­gramme is par­tic­u­lar­ly notable in that it was made in 1970 — soon after the events it depicts occurred,

Tune in for this spe­cial pro­gramme at 2pm Pacific/SLT.

We’ll also be broad­cast­ing episodes of “Where Have You Been?”  at the usu­al time of 12 noon and 4pm Pacific/SLT, and “Engines of Our Inge­nu­ity” from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Hous­ton, every 240 min­utes from 4am Pacific.

*Radio Car­o­line is now a licensed com­mu­ni­ty radio sta­tion based in SE Eng­land. You can vis­it them here.