Radio Caroline

“Radio Caroline was begun by Irish musician manager and businessman Ronan O’Rahilly. O’Rahilly failed to obtain airplay on Radio Luxembourg for Georgie Fame‘s records because its airtime was committed to sponsored programmes promoting the major record labels; EMIDecca,Pye and Philips.

Encouraged by the presence of the Scandinavian and Dutch pirates, Ronan O’Rahilly raised the capital to purchase a suitable vessel. In February 1964, O’Rahilly obtained the 702-ton former Danish passenger ferry, Fredericia, which was converted into a radio ship at the Irish port of Greenore, owned by O’Rahilly’s father. At the same time, Allan Crawford’s Project Atlanta organisation was equipping theMV Mi Amigo at Greenore, where the two competed to be first on air.[2]

Financial backing for the venture came from six investors, including Jocelyn Stevens of Queen magazine, with which Radio Caroline shared its first office.[3]O’Rahilly named the station after Caroline Kennedy, daughter of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.[4] On a fund-raising trip to the US, O’Rahilly reportedly saw a Life Magazine photograph of Kennedy and his children in the Oval Office that served as the inspiration for the name “Caroline Radio”. In an extant photo, Caroline Kennedy and her brother, John F. Kennedy Jr., are apparently dancing in the oval office as their father looks on, an activity which O’Rahilly reportedly interpreted as a playful disruption of government.[5][6] ,”  from Wikipedia

On 2 July 1964, Radio Atlanta and Radio Caroline’s companies, Project Atlanta and Planet Productions Ltd., announced that the stations were to be merged, with Crawford and O’Rahilly as joint managing directors. At 8pm that day, Radio Atlanta closed. It was re-branded Radio Caroline South and MV Mi Amigo remained offFrinton-on-Sea while MV Caroline would broadcast as Radio Caroline NorthMV Caroline sailed from Felixstowe around the coast of Great Britain to the Isle of Man, broadcasting as she went. The only broadcast staff on board were Tom Lodge and Jerry LeightonMV Caroline arrived at her new anchorage on 13 July 1964.[2] The two stations were thus able to cover most of the British Isles. Later, some programmes were pre-recorded on land and broadcast simultaneously from both ships.

Forward to Radio Caroline: The True Story of the Boat that Rocked by Ray Clark, out in printed form spring 2014:

“Radio Caroline was the centre of attraction in the Swinging Sixties and the first station that pop stars would turn to in having their records played.  Listeners loved the music and the DJs.  In turn Caroline helped bring about the deregulation of British radio with BBC Radio 1 and BBC local radio in the 1960’s. A number of offshore DJs joined Radio 1 in 1967. We had to wait until the 1970’s for the introduction of independent (commercial) radio.”  Keith Scues, 2014, who worked for Radio Caroline.

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