Offshore Radio

A Celebration of Offshore Radio

4th August 07

Sugar Reef, 42-44 Great Windmill Street, London

To mark the fortieth anniversary of ‘pirate’ radio pioneers being forced off the air, the Radio Academy is celebrating their achievements with an afternoon of audio, movies and memories. We have invited dozens of former offshore disc-jockeys to join us at Sugar Reef in London to relive that golden era of music radio.

Some are famous names, still successfully broadcasting today. Others moved on from radio when the pirates closed down and now work in different fields altogether. But all of them have fond memories of those pioneering days and will be sharing their stories with fans, listeners and the current generation of broadcasting professionals. A number are flying in especially from Australia and Canada to attend.

Event Schedule

12.00 – Delegate registration opens

13.00 – Conference starts

13.05 – The Sound of the Nation

The beginning is in the past, the middle is now and the end is….” Well there is no end. Forty years on those words still send a tingle down the back of radio listeners of a certain age but what is really encouraging are the number of young people who are enthralled by the Caroline Story and want to know so much more about the “Men of a new Breed”. We are truly blessed today to have 5 of those great pioneers on stage covering the Lady from Easter Sunday 1964 and before right up to August 14th 1967. Australians Bryan Vaughan and Graham Webb join Keith Skues, Roger Twiggy Day and Nick Bailey as once more it “sounds fine it’s Caroline”.

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13.55 – The Stations on Sticks

The Thames Estuary spawned a number of stations which preferred studios and bunks that didn’t move about! WW2 anti-aircraft forts off the Kent and Essex coasts produced some of the earliest and, some would say, some of the most entrepreneurial of the offshore stations. Certainly, they operated on a shoestring and produced a lot of excitement and sometimes drama for those on board. The panel is David Allan (Radio 390), Tom Edwards (Radio City), Guy Hamilton (Radio Essex/BBMS) and Brian Cullingford (KING Radio/Radio 390). The session is Chaired by Ralph Bernard CBE, Chief Executive of GCap Media plc.

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14.45 – The Jocks who Rocked the Ocean

Although most of the offshore stations of the sixties were clustered round the south-east corner of England, pirate radio was not restricted to the home counties. In this session we meet four DJs who worked, for at least part of their careers, further north: Mike Ahern (Caroline North), Paul Burnett (Radio 270), Ben Healy and Jack McLaughlin (both Radio Scotland). Session chaired by Tony Currie (BBC Scotland).

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15.15 – Afternoon Tea

15.50 – It’s Smooth Sailing with the Highly Successful Sound of Wonderful Radio London

…according to one of Radio London’s most popular jingles. Founded by Texans, Big L was the first to introduce American-style radio, complete with jingles and a Top Forty format, to British audiences. Between 1964 and 67, Radio London, with its powerful 50KW transmitter, gained millions of listeners. Our panellists are Tony Blackburn (aboard June 66 – July 67), Duncan Johnson (Feb 65 – July 66), Norman St John (July 66 – Feb 67) and Ed ‘Stewpot’ Stewart (July 65 – Aug 67).

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Chaired by Radio Academy Director Trevor Dann.

16.40 – No Man will Ever Forget…

The session title comes from a broadcast by Johnnie Walker in which he claimed that “no man will ever forget Monday August 14th 1967”. Certainly no one in this room will ever forget it. At midnight that Monday, the new law came into effect outlawing offshore radio. Two broadcasters were on the air on Caroline South as millions tuned in to hear them challenge the legislation. And they are with us today to tell the tale: Robbie Dale and Johnnie Walker. Session chaired by Phil Martin.

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17.00 – Conference Close, Drinks in the bar

Links

Radio London

Offshore Radio Guide

Offshore Radio

Al’s Soul Shack