M O N I T O R
Editors: - Roland C. Pearson. Editorial Offices: -
Sub-Editors: - Penelope Page. 31, Avondale Road,
Technical Adviser: - Don Scott. Benfleet,
Circulation Officers: - Diane Foals. Essex SS7 1EH,
Issue Number 7.
RNI Souvenir Edition. Price 15p (Overseas 3 IRC's)
EDITORIAL. Here's what you've all been waiting for: "Monitor" F0.7, a special "RNI" issue! Read all the latest details and news of the station, plus Part I of RNI's exciting and action-packed life history, which begins on page 8. In addition to this, within our pages you'll find a complete analysis of the political scene affecting offshore radio in Holland (starting on page 2), Part III of the Atlantis Story (see page 4), and as usual all the up-to-the-minute happenings of Radio Caroline/Mi Amigo.
Our apologies to the Caroline listeners who sent for a "Monitor" No.6 and didn't receive one! This was due to the fact that we quickly sold out o£ every copy; and all copies of previous issues have now been purchased, too, so if you have a complete set you're in possession of a real collectors item!
63people who received a copy of our last edition to buy-or-return did neither. Because of this and increased costs, "Monitor" would have been in severe financial difficulties had it not been for a handful o£ loyal readers who remitted more than the required purchase price for their copies. "Monitor" 7 may not have existed without these people, so it is dedicated to them, with all of L. A.
On the morning of August 29th, the "Mi Amigo" was anchored off the Dutch coastline, where she had been for almost two years. But exciting things were due to happen! At 16.00 BST she began to move, under her own power - towards England! She was accompanied by a tug carrying a new anchor, which was put down at approximately 15.00 BST on August 30th, between two sandbanks, 5 miles to starboard of the Kentish Knock light vessel. Her position now is 510 41' 5" North, 10 35' East. On the evening of the move, a newsreel film showing the departure was screened on Dutch television, but no mention of the event was made on Caroline herself!
September 1974 dawned on a new law affecting the people of Holland; an Act that makes operating or assisting any offshore radio station an offence, punishable by up to 5,000 guilders (about E500) in fines, or six months imprisonment.
The result of this new Act has been the closure of 3of the 4stations operating from ships anchored off the Dutch coastline. The first station to close down was Radio Veronica, Holland's longest-serving and best-loved "pirate". The final day's broadcasting comprised special "good-bye" programmes from all the DJ's, including Tineke & Stan Haag, who had both already officially left the station. Tineke made a presentation of the "Bloemetje van der Dag" (Flower of the Day) to Rob Out, senior DJ and programme director, in recognition of his dedication and faithful service to Veronica. The Final Hour was particularly poignant. As the Veronica clock ticked away the last moments of the station's life offshore, we heard the- final farewells amidst many favourite records that have meant so much to the listeners over the years - such as "All you need is Love"; and not forgetting the newer song, appropriately named "Veronica Sorry", which subsequently became a No.1 record in the Netherlands. Towards the. end of the Hour, one of the brothers who owns the station, Bull Verweij, made quite a long speech. He assured us that although Veronica is badly wounded she is not dead! He also expressed the opinion that part of the democracy of the Netherlands was being lost with the station.
The last person to speak on the station was Rob Out. Then the End came, at 18.00 BST. Programming ended with the Dutch national anthem; this was followed by the first thing we heard from Veronica on their "new" frequency of 557 kHz a little over a year ago, a "Veronica - Veronica" jingle. Midway through this jingle, an intrinsic part of the sound of the station, the transmitter was abruptly switched off - we were left Alone - no more sound; no more music; - no more Veronica. All of the final day's transmissions had been live from the ship. Now all that remains of the 14 years of offshore radio history that the stretch of ocean a few miles away from Scheveningen has known is the "Norderney", still at her moorings; proud, but alone - and silent...
Just one hour later, Radio Atlantis took her final leave of the airwaves. And finally, at 20.00 BST on August 31st, Nordsee's Dutch Service closed for the last time. The silent, empty wavelengths speak for themselves; we may never know radio like this again. Now turn our pages and read of all the good-byes - and hopes for the future.
Throughout history mankind has faxed mental pressure and tyranny. Throughout history people have fought the one man deciding for all when his decisions gave results which were against the people's interest. When democracy was at stake, and personal freedom involved, people have rebelled and even fought wars. They still do. Since the existence of earth mankind has longed for a society founded on democracy, giving equal rights to every living soul. Up till now with the result, as far as the occidental part of the world is concerned, that although decisions may be taken in which the opinion of the minorities is not represented, sometimes even the majority is disregarded.
Ruling is not an easy job. Therefore, every member of any government should have his or her feet planted firmly on the ground, should have ears and eyes wide open for the opinions of every single person he or she represents, and above all, should be full of integrity and completely without prejudice. The voice of the government should be the voice of the nation. Unfortunately it quite often is not. In such cases what we really and truly should have is a referendum, a system very often used in, for instance, Switzerland. However, our system does not have room for that possibility. The Dutch Prime-Minister is selected by the Crown, and if he succeeds in getting a group of people together with whom he can work, and who represent a good part (if possible a majority of Parliament, he can then get to work. The members of his cabinet axe there to rule under the control of both Houses of Parliament. So Parliament can reject a cabinet suggestion if it seems to be against the people's interest, or accept it if it is a good suggestion. That is the basic idea of our democratic government; but there are more factors in the political game than a basic idea, and sometimes the undercurrents can get so strong that Parliament has to give in and accept something it dislikes in order to preserve something of greater value.
When Mr. van Doorn was chosen secretary of Culture, Recreation and Social Work in the cabinet of Mr. den Uyl, nobody suspected that September 1974 would see the disappearance of the offshore stations brought about by him. As I explained in "Monitor" No-4 nobody, neither inside nor outside the government felt happy when this ex-chairman of one of the Broadcasting Companies started to nag about signing the Treaty of Strasbourg. However, Dutch governments had broken their necks before in tripping over the Broadcasting Law. If the rest of the cabinet had not supported Mr. van Doorn in his intentions to do away with the radio-ships he would not have stood a chance in Parliament, but it would also have meant a split in the composition of the cabinet, and as a split cabinet cannot govern it would have had to go; unless Mr. van Doorn had resigned, which he definitely had no intention of doing. The same criterion applies when the cabinet takes a prestige Bill to Parliament. If Parliament rejects it, the entire cabinet goes. In this particular case, Mr. van Doorn picked his moment very well indeed. The Netherlands could not afford another period of non-government after all the trouble in getting the present one together. To save the national economy Mr. van Doorn had to be given the radio ships to play with.
Although it seems strange that a thing like that can happen, in spite of nobody wanting it, it wasn't that that made people feel as bitter about the whole thing as they do now. For as long as Mr. van Doorn had been saying that the offshore stations were illegal and would have to go, he had also promised us "Room for Offshore Ways" within the existing broadcasting system.
It appeared that Veronica, as well as RNI, would have to leave the sea; but both of them would be welcomed ashore. In a different formation to fit in with the system, but welcome they would be. That was a generally accepted thought. As "De Telegraaf" stated on 10-10-73: "The House of Lords will accept the 'Veronica strangulation laws'. Radio Veronica will have to go before the end of the year. Unfortunately the new Hilversum Broadcasting Company Radio Veronica will not come into being before early next year, due to technical problems". We were living in a dream world.... including the press!
As soon as it became clear that there was no chance of saving the radio-ships Radio Veronica formed the V.O.S. (short for: Veronica Broadcasting Foundation on June 20th, 1973. This was done in order to be able to remove every legal obstacle in the way of a fourth legal Dutch radio station. (Up till now we had three: Hilversum I, II and III. But during the debates on June 26th and 27th Mr. van Doorn stated that there was no chance of a fourth station. We could not get another wavelength; there was no money, and it wouldn't be fair to the other Broadcasting Companies who had to share the other three stations.
A small majority in Parliament was against Veronica, but the fact that the political parties to which the members belonged, who had voted against Veronica's request for the fourth Dutch non-commercial station, had strong connections themselves with certain Broadcasting Companies was quickly brushed under the carpet. Even with these connections it had taken Mr, van Doorn a hell of a long time to get this small majority anyway, On the 28th of June, numb because of the pressure of the leaders
concerned, Parliament voted against Veronica's request for the fourth station. Immediately, Veronica announced the birth of the V.0.O.
(Veronica Broadcasting Organisation), an organisation giving support to the V.O.S., and also an organisation wanting to become a Broadcasting Company providing programmes for radio and television, as required by the broadcasting Law. This means a system of programmes giving: Culture, Information, Education and Amusement.
Every organisation having a certain number of supporting members can became a candidate Broadcasting Company, getting a relatively small amount of time on Radio and Television. If the candidate company manages to get more members (at least 100,000) during its trial periods, the organisation can than become a licenced Broadcasting Company Grade C. Holland has Broadcasting Companies in the grades A, B and C; the broadcasting time on radio and television (as well as the obligations for informative educative, and cultural programmes) is commensurate with the number of members.
A member of a Broadcasting Company is somebody who pays the government's radio and television license fees; the Broadcasting Company's subscription, and who receives the Broadcasting Company's programme guide....or it was until a few months ago!
On July 30th, 1973 the V.0.0. applied for broadcasting time on the basis of having more than 100,000 paying members in their organisation. On August 8th, 1973 Mr. van Doorn stated in a TV interview that the V.0.0, would certainly be admitted if it fulfilled the' requirements of the Broadcasting Law.
But, of course, the intentions of the V.O.O. had to be investigated, and the number of members had to be checked.. When this happened Mr. van Doorn had Just invented a brand new system of counting, A system which would eliminate an enormous number of members. Every time Veronica's members were counted and proved to be over the limit a new regulation was made and applied. The last, and neck-breaking rule, was that if anyone named for instance Elizabeth Maria Smith and usually called Liz, had her membership card in the nameof Liz Smiths, instead of Elizabeth M. Smith, her membership would be invalid as far as the government was concerned.
It was the application of this last regulation that made Veronica's number of members drop below the red line (as was Mr. van Doorn's obvious intention). It was also this last regulation which gave a lot of supporters the bitter taste of threatening failure.
As far as government pronouncements about this case are concerned I must state that the government departments involved seem to have taken great pains in taking care that everything about the case would be as clear as mud to the public, due to the formal., if not incredibly formal language used when talking and writing about it. Beneath the surface there undoubtedly has been and still is a lot more than I can tell you. Simply because we were not told everything, and the things we were told, we first had to translate into normal Dutch to be able to grasp the meaning of it at all.
Still, all this mucking about with foundations, organisations, members, laws and regulations did not improve the state of blank confusion and disbelief. Quite a few, if not a great many people, never really believed that the offshore stations would have to go until they had actually gone. The fact that Radio Veronica announced every hour how many more there were to go (e.g. only 52 hours to go, only 51 hours to go... did not make a much difference. Everybody hoped for, no, counted on a last minute miracle, A nation so used to a democratic government simply could not believe the government could do a thing so anti-social as closing down the radio ships, thus depriving thousands of their harmless pleasure, and some people even of their livelihoods, For who has the right to rob the elderly and/or handicapped of their special programmes likes for example, Frans Nienhuys' "Men Vraagt en Wij Draaien" on Radio Veronica; who has the right to take away Tony Berk's "Prijsbewust", on every day at lunchtime on R.N.I., a programme so popular (not only with the housewives for whom it was originally intended that you could hear it in every shop or cafe you went into. And most of all, in this era of high unemployment, who has the right to sacrifice the jobs of his fellow beings, with the threat of more to follow (the closing down of the, radio ships did not only hit their staffs; but the record world has also received a body blow), in order to fulfil a promise of revenge, given some years ago to other Broadcasting Companies, and the satisfaction of his own ego?
Holland knows no Watergate, but its own private mud-pool it surely has.
Though, naive as the Dutch are in matters like' this, we not only didn't believe it, we did not even think it possible, So it wasn't until the evening of August'31sts 1974 that we realised "Yes, it's really true. They have closed them down. The last minute miracle hasn't come". After the last bars of the national anthem had faded out and 538 metres gave nothing but the sound of crackling empty air, I felt like just having
attended the funeral of quite a bit more than the offshore stations. I felt I had attended the funeral of democracy and everything that I always hoped my country had stood for. R.N.I closed down two hours later, but by then nobody was hoping anymore. After all, R.N.I. was fantastic in its own particular way, but Veronica had always been the national symbol of freedom. Veronica was more than a radio station; it was
an institution like in a different way Caroline is. After it had been proved that everything was really and truly finished all sorts of things happened. A lot of people had taped Veronica's last hour; a lot more sat with their silent radios for minutes, with tears in their eyes and even streaming down their faces. Not because they were sentimental old suckers. Some have confessed to me this had happened to themand they are still confused as to what brought it on. Maybe we all realised, subconsciously, that now we had the proof that our democracy is not what it should be, and that it is in fact quite a dangerous one.
There was not only sadness and confusion that evening, there was rage too. Rioting had started down at the Binnenhof (our government centre). Furious supporters drew pistols and knives on the police,and the police hit back and arrested. Mr. van Doorn had to ask police protection for himself and his family after all the windowsof his villa had been broken by thrown bricks; and somebody cut the mooring ropesof his boat and set it adrift, hoping it would run aground and be damaged, thus givingrevenge for a far more important ship which ran aground (figuratively speaking) because of Mr. van Doorn. All this I can understand; but personally I don't think it's the right way to protest. Much better, I thought, were thedemonstrations down at Scheveningen Harbour on the Saturday evening and Sunday morning when the staffs of respectivelyVeronica and R.N.I. returned from their last trip out. Literallythousandshadgathered at the quayside - sympathy was all around, and so strong that: it overpowered even the sadness of the moment.
On Sunday; afternoon the Veronica and R.N.I. soccer teams played each other in a final friendly match at the Feyenoord stadium in Rotterdam,which was another stimulusfor further demonstrations.(The game was a draw, each side scoring 3 goals. Ed.) After that turbulent weekend silence fell; but not for long. Veronica has made an appeal to the Crown, wherethe case will bedealt with in mid-November. This on the basis of thestrange new method of counting used (used only for Veronica, not forthe other Broadcasting Companies), smelling of discrimination; and of not having had their programme plans accepted by Mr. Van Doorn, while these plans seemed perfectly satisfactory to people who understand these matters. What Veronica's chances are are difficult to predict at this stage. The highest body in the country often thinks differently from cabinet and Parliament, and, of course, the Crown can declarea Parliamentary decision void if, in the Crown's opinion, it is wrongor unjust.Who knows whether this will happen?
R.N.I. has, in fact, quietly applied for a candidate's license, and will most probably get it. What the results of that will be I do not yet know. Meanwhile, there is still one ship anchored four miles off the coast near Scheveningen. A few weeks ago there were three in a row. First the "MI AMIGO" left (for happier shores and times I hope). Then in September I saw from my office window the "MEBO II"being towed away from its familiar anchorage, and now, when the weather is clear, there is the sad sight of an abandoned "NORDERNEY", which without its friendly rivals looks lonely and forlorn. In my opinion it should stay out there, if possible moving in a little closer to the beach, as a monument to remind us all of the danger that lies in investing too much power in one man. Power that can be turned against us if the man concerned proves unequal to the occasion, A memorial for democracy, which, if we go on like this, will gradually be killed by the society we created.
Here's hoping that the last offshore station MI AMIGO/CAROLINE will be able to overcome the problems caused by their new position, and wishing everybody aboard (and ashore in the studios) the fortitude they will need to stay with us. And last, but not least, only by a united effort willwe be able to stand up; against this sort of injustice and, prevent further failures in the future.
THINK VERY CAREFULLY ABOUT IT!
Ineke Jager, October 10th, 1974.
Monitor's Correspondent in The Hague
In our last episode we left Atlantis on 312 metres (962 kHz), where it was acquiring a sizeable audience on both sides of the North Sea. However, little did we know then that in 2 ½ months time Henri van Doorn's Marine Offences bill would silence the station! It is the events that took place during these two and a half months that will occupy the third and final part of our story.
To return to the narrative - the next entry' in the "Monitor" logbookwas for 14th June, and it records that the supply tender from Vlissingen brought out and fitted a new 4 ton anchor, this replaced the temporary lightweight one which had been used since the original was lost in the gale incident of June 6 /7th. Between 23.00-24.00 BST, on June15th, we heard the first "Michael 0. Soul Show", this was one of the few recorded programmes to be broadcast on the International Service. Michael 0. was, of course, none other than our good friend A. J. Beirens of "Northsea Goes DX"
fame. Meanwhile, on the Flemish Service, some personnel changes were occurring. Victor van Rijn was heard for the last, time on the 17th (09.00-11.00 BST - not quite 41s usual time slot!); and another departure from the station during the month was Luc van Kapellen. A new DJ, RobRonder, was airborne for the first time from 08.00-09.00 BST on the 20th; and onto same day Peter de Vries, who had arrived by tender at 00.30 BST that very morning, did his first show between 10.00-12.00 BST, in it he announced that it was the first LIVE Flemish programme transmitted from the "Janiene" (Note corrected spelling!). By the 21st the Flemish Service programme schedule was as follows: - 07.00-08.00 Peter de Vries (live), 08.00-09.00 Rob Ronder, 09.00-10.00 Ellie Prins, 10.00-12.00 Peter de Vries (live), 12.00-13.00 Tony Houston, 13.00-15.00 Theo van der Velden, 15.00-17.00 Fred van den Bos, & 17.00-18.00 BST Ellie Prins.
Another person who was on the tender that brought out Peter de Vries was Don Scott, Monitor's technical adviser. Don spent a week on board working on various items of equipment; within a few hours of being on the ship he_ had installed a radiation meter in the main studio, from which the DJ's could tell at a glance if their shows were actually going out over the air: The one and only programme to be done by the Black Printz was heard on the 23rd (00.00-01.00 BST). Printz is a well-known London discotheque DJ and an ardent free radio supporter, his show which was taped, was relaxed and made enjoyable listening. A further tender arrived on the 26th, this took off Don Scott and deposited Terry Davis. Terry's home town is Barkingside in Essex, and he is no stranger to radio-ships having broadcast for a year on R.N.I. That evening he read the 18.30 BST newscast, but he did not present his first record show until 23.00 BST the following night. The final new name to appear during the month of June was that of Dave Townsend, he introduced a taped show entitled the "Synthesizer
Experience", the first of which was aired between 00.00-01.00 BST on the 30th,This proved to be a highly original programme devoted entirely to electronic music. Radio Atlantis entered July minus its Chief Engineer, Andy Anderson, who was away on his honeymoon, and as so often happens when key people are off a ship, problems develop! Within hours of Andy's departure the transmitter became temperamental, which in turn caused a marked drop in signal strength. Peter de Vries did his final programme for the station between. 07.00-09,00 BST on July 5th, andthen left on the afternoon tender never to be heard again. During the 16 days he spent on the radio-ship he did a total of 33 hours live on the air. The aforementioned tender had rushed out trouble-shooter Tom Barker, who had been hurriedly sent for to sort out the worsening transmitter problems. The job had to be done quickly as the tender could only wait for him 2 ½ hours. Afterwards, Tom told our Editor: "One of the main problems was that they had had a "ceramic capacitor blow out and had put in a vacuum, and adjusted it to the same capacitance as the ceramic that had blown out; but in earthing it had created one big RF earth loop and, of course, the PA was going into oscillations. Consequently they weren't getting too much out of it. So what I did, I took that vacuum out completely, which meant they were rather short of capacitance because one had blown out, and I gave it more inductance to make the LC ratio correct.... and that did improve things tremendously" It was Tom, incidentally, who built and installed the station's linear-amplifier.
Rob Ronder came out to replace Peter de Vries on board the "Janiene", his first 'live' show went out from 08.00-09.00 BST on the 6th. Terry Davis' stint as relief DJ and newsreader ended on July 12th, and his last programme was aired between 23.00-01.00 BST on the 11/12th. In the 17 days he worked aboard the radio-ship, he logged 26 hours on the air. His principal contribution to the station was his professionalism. Before leaving-them he wrote and recorded a song _all about Atlantis using the music from an instrumental version of the Beatles classic "In My Life" as the backing track, he entitled his rewritten composition "Atlantis, Lovers and Friends" Terry has now resumed his studies at university - he is an extremely talented lad. and we wish him luck. The first of a new series of taped shows was heard on the 14th (20.00-21.00 BST), it was presented by Ray Warner. The programme was of a high technical standard and Ray used some nice personalised jingles. Radio Atlantis celebrated its first anniversary on the 15th. (They had started life at 12.00 BST on Sunday 15th July 1973, broadcasting from the "Mi Amigo".) That evening Steve England and Andy Anderson commemorated the event with a special: hour and a half long show commencing at 19.00 BST. They related numerous amusing anecdotes and reminiscences of their early trials and tribulations, and also thanked everybody who had assisted the station. In the opinion of many listeners this was the most interesting programme they had ever broadcast.
A new DJ named Frank van Leeuwen appeared on the Flemish Service on the 16th, he played host to a show called the "Optimisten Club" that was to become a daily feature, excepting Sundays, between 11.00-12.00 BST. Frank had some delightful little red, yellow, black & white stickers printed to publicise his programme. A belated birthday party was held aboard the "Janiene" on the 18th with the arrival of station owner Adriaan van Landschoot and a tender full of guests, according to Steve England some 50-70 people, including Adriaan's brother, Tony Houston, Fred van den Bos, A.J. Beirens,
Vonnie & Gerry. Once on board the radio-ship Tony Houston took over the 18.00-19.00 BST programme slot, and in place of the usual Ellie Prins Show we heard Tony on the air live. During this programme Adriaan came to the microphone and addressed a short message to Flemish listeners. At 19.00 BST when Steve took over with the International Service the festive atmosphere was still very much in evidence, However, the waiting tender was due to sail back to Vlissingen with its passengers; but before it did Steve persuaded Adriaan to say a few words to the English-speaking audience, a gesture which was much appreciated by the listeners, as it typified all that was best in offshore radio. This was undoubtedly one of the high spots in the station's history and, at the same time, it made excellent entertainment... but then, let's face it, it could only have happened at sea!
Shortly afterwards Adriaan & Co. departed taking with them Rob Ronder who had completed 14 days on board, his final live show was the "Drie Een Twee Matinee" that afternoon between 14.00-16.00 BST. During the time he was on the ship he clocked-up 46 ½ hours of broadcasting. He was to be the last resident Flemish DJ aboard the "Janiene" as no replacement was forthcoming for him; but unlike Peter de Vries he did continue to record programmes in the station's studios at Nieuwstraat 73 in Oostburg. The next noteworthy date was the 25th, this was the day Radio Atlantis activated its Short Wave transmitter; with a power output of 200 watts it broadcast on 6225 kHz (48.17 metres). The new transmitter was switched on at 02.00 BST and carried the same programme that was being radiated on Medium Wave. It was not audible here in Benfleet until 11.05 BST; the signal strength varied from S.4 to S.9+20 dbs, but by 13.00 BST it had faded away altogether. The SW experiment lasted only a few days - lack of power and a clear channel hastened its end. Lynda Anderson made her broadcasting debut on the 28th when she introduced the "Beatles Spectacular" at 23.00 BST. This proved to be her only solo performance.
There was a minor catastrophe on August 1st when, at approximately 17.30 BST, a fault occurred in the oscillator of the transmitter destroying the 962 kHz crystal (crystals are very fragile things - precision made, which have to be handled with extreme care). It was thought that it would be a good idea to use a variable frequency oscillator, by which means, the transmitter could have been tuned up to roughly 312 metres; but the idea was abandoned when it was found that there were insufficient parts on the ship to make a sufficiently good VFO that would keep the stability of the radio station on channel, exactly 962 kHz. Had an unstable oscillator been used it could very easily have interfered with nearby stations. Therefore, Adriaan van Landschoot was contacted via the ship-to-shore link, and it was put to him than an oscillator could be made to keep the station on around about 312 metres. The situation was explained to him about the lack of stability of such an oscillator with the parts to hand, so it was decided, instead, to use a crystal that they had for the split-frequency of 1317•5 kHz. Frantic activity by Andy Anderson got the station back on the air by about 00.05 BST the following day, on, what was announced as 229 metres. They were to remain on this channel until the 10th when the 1317•5 kHz crystal became intermittent due to a manufacturing fault. This necessitated a further frequency change, and we awoke on the 11th to find that they had moved to 1313 kHz, however, this channel was prone to heavy interference after dark from a 100 kW transmitter at Stravanger in Norway.
It was at about this time that bad weather prevented the regular tender from coming out with fresh tapes for the Flemish Service, and many programmes of non-stop had to be substituted on the 9th & 10th. To overcome this difficulty the International Service was temporarily extended to 24 hours per day; and so, on Sunday August 11th, not only did we find a new frequency, but also daytime programmes in English; For those who missed hearing them the day's schedule ran as follows: 06.00-09.00 "Snap, Crackle & Pop" Dave Owen, 09.00-12.00 "The Dave Rogers' Ranch" Steve England, 12.00-15.00 "Andy's Sunday Feast" Andy Anderson, 15.00-18.00 "Sunday Rave-up" John Harding, 18.00-19.00 "Nurkaxama Show" Steve England & Andy Anderson, 19.00-20,00 Ray Warner, 20.00-21.00 "Blast Off" Steve England, 21.00-24.00 "The Dave Owen Stamp Collection" Dave Owen, 00.00-03.00 BST "Beatles Spectacular" Debbie England. On the 12th, after only one day on 1313 kHz, Radio Atlantis changed frequency yet again. They moved to 1331 kHz in an attempt to avoid the nighttime interference from the Norwegian station. Their stay on this channel was also short-lived for at 23.26 BST that night the Italian "jamming" resumed, making the frequency useless as far as Atlantis was concerned. So it was back to 1313 kHz by the 13th.Throughout all these changes the wavelength was constantly being referred to as 229 metres. That afternoon the tender finally got alongside and with it came the awaited Flemish programme tapes.
August 14th saw the return of the Flemish Service, it included two new DJ’sso the details are worth quoting in full: - 07-00-08.00 Mona (her first show, Mona is the wife of Frank van Leeuwen), 08.00-09.00 Frank van Leeuwen, 09.00-11.00 Eilie Prins 11.00-12.00 n/s music, 12-00-13.00 Tony Houston, 13.00-14.00 "Muziek voor Eve" Mister Galaxy (1st show, "Music for Eve"), 14.00-16.00 "312 Matinee" RobRonder 16.00-18.00
Fred van den Boss 18.00-19.00 BST Ellie Prins. A programme of current American Top 20 music recorded on land by Rob Day was heard between 20.00-21.00 BST on the 16th. This was to be his last broadcast on Atlantis. Rob now works in London where he is in - charge of radio promotions at Trojan Records, At 15.01 BST on the 17th it fell to Steve to make the sad announcement of the closure dates for the Flemish and International Services. They were to be August 25th & 31st respectively. By this time it was realised that the station's days were numbered. Behind the scenes no stone had been left unturned in the search for ways of circumventing the Dutch Government's legislation, but all to no avail. The close-down of the Flemish Service took place as planned on Sunday the 25th. The day's programmes merit a closer inspection, so here goes: 07,00-08,00 "The Michael 0. Continuous Music Show", 08.00-09,00 Frank van Leeuwen, 09,00-11.00 "Katers en Koppijn" (Hangovers and Headaches) Rob Ronder, 11.00-12.00 "Optimisten Club" Frank van Leeuwen, 12.00-14.00 Final Flemish-language show, farewell messages, etc. From this point onwards the International Service took over and all programmes were in English: 14.00-15.00 Andy Anderson, 15.00-18.00 A Guided Tour of the "Janiene" with Steve, Andy, Derek, John, Dave Owen, Dave Rogers, Debbie & Lynda all taking part., 18.00-19.00 John Harding, 19.00-20.00 Ray Warner, 20.00-21.00 John Harding, 21.00-24.00 Derek Jones, 24.00-03.00 BST "Beatles Spectacular" Debbie England.
During their final few days on the air a short taped message from Adriaan was repeatedly being broadcast, the text of which was as follows: "To all the listeners of Radio Atlantis this is Adriaan van Landschoot - the boss, and the owner of the station. I really feel very sad that we have to close; but on Sunday the 1st of September, around 10 o'clock, we'll be in the harbour. We arrive in the harbour of Vlissingen around 10 o'clock in the morning, and we stay there till 4 o'clock in the afternoon. All Flemish disc-jockeys and all English disc-jockeys, and all the people who helped Atlantis to make it a real fact will be there to say a last good-bye. Come to us and say a last good-bye to us too". Mention should also be made of the 'station-idents' and 'CIB promos' that were made for them by ex-Radio London DJ Tony Windsor, what a pleasant surprise it was to hear his unmistakable voice again after all these years! After innumerable delays the Atlantis QSL cards and headed notepaper did eventually arrive. The notepaper was most colourful being printed in green, red & black. The design incorporated a ladybird in the top right-hand corner, whilst in the centre of the page was a picture of the "Janiene" taken from a photograph supplied by Roy Brooker; in the bottom left-hand corner a heart and a fish were depicted.
The station's last two days can best be summarised by giving a complete programme run-down: (30th) 06.00-09.00 "Snap, Crackle & Pop" Dave Owen, 09.00-11.00 "The Rogers' Ranch" Dave Rogers, 11.00-13.00 "The Nightmare Affair" Scott Mitchell & Gabby Hernandez Omilado (a repeat of an earlier broadcast. The characters of Scott and Gabby were both impersonated by ex-Radio City and Radio 270 DJ Leon Tipler), 13.00-15,00 "Luncheon Voucher" Andy Anderson, 15.00-16.00 Dave Johns (his 1st and only show, it was recorded in London where Dave acted as station representative), 16.00-17.00 Ray Warner, 17.00-19.00 Steve England, 19.00-21.00 "Blast-off" John Harding, 21.00-24.00 Derek Jones, 24.00-03.00 Debbie England, (31st) 06.00-08.00 John Harding, 08.00-10.00 Dave Rogers, 10.00-11.00 Debbie England, 11.00-13.00 Dave Owen, 13.00-14.00 Derek Jones, 14.00-16.00 Steve England, 16.00-18.00 Andy Anderson, 18.00-19.00 "Good-bye Party", 19.00 BST Finis.
Early the next morning the tender "En Rust" came out to tow the "Janiene" into Vlissingen. What happened then was described to us by Dave Rogers...."They arrived at a quarter past four. They pulled the anchor up and they put a little flag on the front of our ship, a Van Den Akker flag, to show that it was in the hands of that company, and they towed us very slowly back towards Vlissingen. It was quite a calm day, perhaps a little bit choppy at times; but quite reasonable. Then, when we were coming quite close to Vlissingen, the "Deurloo" came out, which was a tug, and the "Deurloo" pulled us in, and the "En Rust", tied up alongside us; the "Deurloo" was in fact pulling two ships. There was a nice crowd of people there to greet us actually, it was very very touching. We had a loud-speaker on top of the bridge playing the "Atlantis" theme, and it was all rather exciting I suppose, but depressing at the same time. We tied up at the quay, the "En Rust" was right beside the quay and we were beside the "En Rust", so there was a ship between us and the quay. We couldn't go off for quite a long time because we had to wait for the customs, we had to wait a couple of hours and it was 2 o'clock before we went off".
Upwards of 1000 people had gathered at the harbour to welcome in the radio-ship, including Adriaan & Janiene; Flemish DJ's Tony, Fred, Ellie, Rob and Frank; Dave Johns & Martin Stevens from England, and even a fan who had travelled all the way from Sweden! A special tribute must be paid to Gerry & Vonnie van Heumen. Gerry was the station's shore superintendent, it was his job to arrange the tenders and to see that Radio Atlantis did not run outof supplies; while his wife Vonnie was responsible for the vital radio link to the ship, and she was frequently up half the night operating the 'break-break' (27 MHz walkie-talkie), On September 3rd the "Janiene" was arrested on orders from a Mr. Swanneveld who alleged Adriaan owed him 60,000 guilders for the
use of his RCA transmitter, At the time of writing (November) the ship is still in Vlissingen, and the words VERBODEN TOEGANG (entry forbidden) have been painted on her hull, We understand that letters for the Flemish DJ's can still be sent to the P. 0. Box 385, Oostburg address. We will let Monitor-reader Martin Page of London E.18 have the final word, he wrote to us saying: "I was particularly sorry to see Atlantis go as it seemed to me that the station had a sort of quality of enthusiasm & friendliness, It must have been really heartbreaking for all concerned after all the hard work that had gone into the station".
A HISTORY OF RADIO NORDSEE INTERNATIONAL.By Jeremy C-G. Arnold.
Part I. The beginning to 24th September 1970.
Radio Nordsee International may not be the greatest offshore station ever, in terms of consistent programme quality it is widely accepted that this distinction belongs in Britain to Radio London and in Holland to Radio Veronica, However, RNI as it is affectionately known, surmounted difficulties not encountered by Big L or Veronica, and still maintained ahigh standard of broadcasting, the station therefore deserves to be counted among the greatest. RNI certainly has a number of distinguishing points that set it apart from any other station, and not all of them were welcome! The early days of RNI are probably the most exciting and turbulent in the whole history of offshore radio. The fact that the station survived more than a few weeks is a miracle, but survive it did.
After the British Labour Government's Marine etc. Broadcasting Offences Act came into force on 15th August 1967, only the two radio-ships of Radio Caroline continued to operate, using Holland as a base. When on 3rd March 1968 the Caroline ships were towed away it looked like the end of offshore radio aimed at Britain. The only station to continue, the station that had originally given Ronan O'Rahilly the idea for Caroline, was the Dutch Radio Veronica, Then in September 1968 an attempt was made to start a new offshore station, to be called "Radio Nordsee". The ship to be used was the Galaxy, former home of Radio London, The new station was to be backed by two Swiss bankers, and fitted out in Hamburg, from where it was planned to tender the station. However the project collapsed, and the Swiss backing was withdrawn when the German Government passed its own Act to outlaw offshore stations.
Two of the Swiss who had been involved with the refitting of the Galaxy, Edwin Meister and Edwin Bollier, were not to be put off by the turn of events. Shortly after Easter in 1969 they bought a Norwegian coaster which they converted into a radio-ship, only to find it was too small. This ship they named MEBO after the first two letters of Meister and Bollier, it also happened to be the initial letters of the Act designed to prevent them operating off Britain!
A second, larger ship, the 670 ton freighter "Silvretta" was acquired from a Swiss shipping company, Renamed "Mebo II", this ship was adapted for its new role in Rotterdam. The original Mebo I became the tender. The holds of the freighter were converted into studios, a large transmitter hall, generator room, and cabins etc., for DJ's. This was the most luxurious of all the offshore stations, no expense was spared, it cost in the region of £400,000 to launch the station.
On 22nd January 1970 a splendid sight was seen leaving Rotterdam, the 60 metre long Mebo II, painted bright red, green and yellow in a psychedelic design like a great flash leaping out of the water, this surmounted by the red and white aerial mast reaching 52 metres skywards. That evening the Mebo II was at anchor in international waters off the resort of Noordwijk.
On 23rd January the very first test transmissions went out on FM. German DJ's Elke, Horst Reiner and Hannibal were the first voices to be heard on RNI. Later in the month tests also went out on short wave in the 49 metre band, and early in February the medium wave transmitter was tested on 186 metres. The first English DJ's to go out to the Mebo II were Roger "Twiggy" Day and Johnnie Scott, Later Carl Mitchell, Andy Archer and Alan West joined them. Full scale testing began, reception reports were requested, to be sent to PO Box 113, 8047 Zurich, Switzerland, where RNI's head office was to be found at Albisriederstrasse 315. Listeners soon became familiar with RNI's distinctive signature tune "Man of Action" by the Les Reed Orchestra.
Radio Nordsee International exceeded all other offshore stations in the number and power of its transmitters. Though it was very rare for all to be on the air at once, they eventually had five transmitters, one FM, two SW and two MW. The main MW transmitter had a potential power of 105 kW, far in excess of any other offshore station, though it was operated on reduced power because of technical problems.
6.0 Pmon 28th February 1970 saw the official opening of Radio Nordsee International. As a tribute to a great station (and possibly as a hint of their own aspirations to greatness?) the programme commenced with "Big Lil", Radio London's theme.
Horst Reiner introduced the station in German, Roger Day in English, "Man of Action" was played, followed by "Let It Be" by the Beatles, then an exclusive to RNI. The very first commercial was for Iberia Airlines. Various artists sent greetings, Gary Brooker
of Procul Harum hoped that "this time everyone supports it and doesn't let it go". The station was now well and truly open, but even this first programme was not without its difficulties, perhaps a foretaste of what lay ahead. Behind the scenes apparent chaos reigned, Horst Reiner and Roger Day were in separate studios and could not hear each other, necessary tapes etc. were not received until just before they went on the air, and the studios were crammed solid with reporters, executives and other guests.
The future looked assured, the ship was supplied from Holland, the Dutch Government dare not touch Radio Veronica because it was so popular, and they obviously could not close RNI alone. Even at this early stage RNI's owners said they would move the Mebo to the Mediterranean if Holland forced them out. However, as they were soon to find out, it was not the Dutch Government that was to give them trouble to begin with. Programmes were in English and German, but it soon became obvious that the greatest interest was in Britain. So it was decided to improve the signal into Britain by moving the Mebo across the North Sea. This was announced as RNI's "Easter gift to the people of England in celebration of six years since the birth of pirate radio". On the evening of 23rd March 1970 a crane ship lifted the heavy anchor, Carl Mitchell announced "ladies and gentlemen, the Mebo II is now leaving Holland", and after a circuit around Veronica, they set off, broadcasting through the night as they went. After a break in transmission on the morning of the of 24th March while the anchor was lowered, Alan West gave their position as 510 42' 30" N., 10 17' O" E., 2 miles south-east of the Barrow Deep, 7 miles east of Clacton.
There had been allegations that RNI's transmissions on 186 metres were interfering with ship-to-shore communications. Certainly there was Morse to be heard on 186 metres, and this got louder when the station at Burnham-on-Sea increased its power. Then on 26th March a jamming signal appeared on 186 metres. (It was later discovered that this and subsequent jamming came from Beacon Hill near Rochester in Kent.) In the early afternoon of Friday 27th March Carl Mitchell interrupted the programme to say that they had just received a Telex message from Zurich, "We have now confirmed that there has been interference with coastal communications, and for this we all at Radio Nordsee apologise tremendously". RNI then went off the air on medium wave. As so many erroneous stories had been told in the past about offshore stations causing interference, the directors of RNI can hardly be blamed for taking time to check the authenticity of these allegations before embarking on the major step of changing frequency.
On 10th April RNI returned on 190 metres. After apologising for not being on the air for 14 days, Roger Day explained "We have had to change our medium wave frequency so that we will not interfere with essential coastal communications". This implied that RNI considered the new wavelength would not cause interference, but evidently the authorities thought otherwise because the jamming returned on 15th April, and on the 16th April RNI closed down on 190 metres.
RNI returned on 1st May on 217 metres, but technical problems forced them off the air next day. On 13th May they returned on 244 metres, a tactically clever move as it was next door to Radio 1. This not only let many people tuning to Radio 1 know that there was an alternative, it also put the authorities in the position of jamming the BBC as well if they decided to resume operations against RNI. 244 metres was also a wavelength that had been carefully chosen because it could not interfere with coastal communications or any other radio station, Nonetheless on 21st May the jamming returned, a fact which, it was argued, proved that the Government was not so much interested in stopping interference as in suppressing free enterprise radio. On the Sunday of the Bank Holiday weekend, 24th May, RNI changed its frequency slightly every few minutes, only to be followed by the jamming a short time later.
This "cat and mouse" situation could not continue indefinitely. RNI decided to stay put and fight back. An announcement at the time said "RNI apologises to you, our listeners, for the interference heard on our transmissions. This illegal jamming is directed from the Labour Party and organised by the Post Office. This action is meant to discourage us from providing you with our normal service, however RNI shall make every effort to continue programmes as usual". Another announcement stated "No free western country has ever jammed a free broadcasting station before, even in time of war".
Erwin Meister was quoted as saying "The only station on our wavelength is one in Czechoslavakia and we have applied to this country for permission to use the wavelength for Western Europe". However the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, responsible for the jamming, claimed "We are taking this action after complaints from Czech radio stations". No complaint was ever made to RNI by the Czechs. It is ironic that a practice widely employed by the Communists to help subjugate their people should also be used by a British Government supposedly in defence of a Communist station at a time when BBC broadcasts to eastern Europe were still being jammed! The Ministry's claim also to be safeguarding Radio 1's 247 metre channel was equally unacceptable to RNI. RNI did not interfere with reception of Radio 1, but the Ministry's jamming certainly did, particularly in Kent and Essex. In any case, as the editor of "Contact", magazineof the World DX Club, said in a letter to The Times, three fifths of all the stationsin Europe are on unauthorised frequencies, some of these make reception of Radio 1
impossible at certain times in some areas. Why did the Government take no action against these?
It is worth pointing out that in spite of the habit of the media of referring to "illegal" stations, "pirates" etc., RNI was not illegal, and did nothing illegal. The station operated from international waters, andas it was not supplied or financially supported from Britain, it did not come within the scope of the Marine etc. Broadcasting Act.
At the beginning of June Record Mirror published the results of a Poll in which RNI did very well, particularly considering their short time on the air, and the jamming. Most notable was Roger Day getting his "Breakfast Show" on RNI voted third, five places ahead of Tony Blackburn's equivalent show on Radio 1. Also in the circumstances RNI DJ's did well to get placed among the "Top Forty Disc Jockeys", let alone getting quite high positions as some of them did. Roger Day was 5th, Andy Archer 16th, Carl Mitchell 20th, Duncan Johnson 23rd, Hannibal 36th and Alan West 39th. Mark Wesley who had only recently joined the station "bubbled under".
On Sunday 31st May there was a demonstration outside the jamming station near Rochester. This was reported by the Press, and so helped to bring the matter to the attention of the public. In the run-up to the General Election to be held on 18th June, whether the Government liked it or not, the jamming and "Free Radio" were becoming Election issues.
Listeners who tuned into RNI on the morning of Saturday 13th June were surprised to hear the station calling itself "Radio Caroline International". In line with RNI's policy of fighting back, an RNI executive, Urs Emmeneger, had been seeking the advice of Ronan O'Rahilly, the man who started and ran Radio Caroline. In the short period before the General Election, now less than a week away, it was necessary to get the maximum public support. It was thought at the time, as RNI was still new on the scene, that the name"Caroline" would be more familiar to the public at large, Hence the name change, but there was more to it than just a change of name, a very definite campaign was waged.
The Campaign for Independent Broadcasting organised a massive anti-jamming rally and march to Downing Street on Sunday 14th June. For several days previously this was given wide publicity over RNI/RCI, and during the demonstration a special programme was put out for the demonstrators, Taking part were Ronan O'Rahilly and Simon Dee, one of Caroline's first DJ's. Estimates of the number of demonstrators vary, but the correct figure is probably in the region of seven or eight thousand. As a large number of people had radios tuned into RNI/RCI and Mr. Storehouse’s jamming station, the noise was considerable!
During the next few days listeners were urged to "Vote for the people that are going to bring you freedom of choice". And just in case anyone was not sure which Party this meant, old Caroline campaign tapes were played, among them a NOP survey which found that "among Labour candidates only 20% are in favour of Free Radio, among Liberal candidates 82% are in favour of Free Radio, and among Conservative candidates 98% are in favour of allowing Free Radio to continue". A rather amusing variation on Bud Flanagan's ditty about Mr. Hitler, the signature tune of BBC-TV's "Dad's Army", was also played frequently. Sung by a group calling themselves the "Opposition", this was as follows: -
"Who do youthink you're kidding Mr. Wilson, If you think Free Radio's down?
We are the boys who will stop your little game, We are the boys who will make you think again,
So who do you think you're kidding etc.,
Mr. Stonehouse love's to jam at 5.21, And he goes home at 2 a.m.,
His dirty work is done.
So watch out Mr. Wilson,
You've met your match in us,
If you think you can crush us,
We're afraid you've missed the bus.
So who do you think you're kidding etc.."
Campaigning was also done on land with the Caroline bus visiting marginal constituencies. Female listeners were urged to "Be a Caroline girl, your help is needed urgently to fight for Radio Caroline and your freedom". Prospective volunteers were given Ronan O'Rahilly's address and telephone number. Towards the end of the campaign people who wanted to help were given telephone numbers to ring in their own areas.
These were generally the numbers of candidates sympathetic to the cause of Free Radio. On Wednesday 17th June another powerful jamming station was brought into use at Canewdon near Southend. The obvious intention was to make it impossible to receive RNI/RCI, the authorities had become sensitive about the part being played by the station in the Election, and there was now no question of it being forced off the air at least
until the result of the Election was known. This new signal made it impossible to reduce the effect of the jamming by tuning slightly off the station as had been formerly possible. Listening was an excruciating exercise only to be attempted by the dedicated few when this jamming was at its worst.
Before the Election the Conservative spokesman on Broadcasting, Mr. Paul Bryan, was quoted as having said." ... if we are, elected, people like Radio North Sea will be able to come on land". It is not possible to gauge what effect, if any, the campaign had on the result of the Election, but contrary to all the projected results of the opinion polls the Conservatives were returned to power. Anyone who thought that this would mean that the jamming would stop was mistaken. On 19th June the station became once again "Radio Nordsee International". Despite complaints from many people living in the vicinity of the jamming transmitters that their radio and television reception was being interfered with, Mr. Christopher Chataway, the new Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, made it clear that the "counter measures" would continue. Though the Canewdon jammer stopped on 29th June, the one at Beacon Hill, Rochester, continued. Unlike his Labour predecessor, Mr. Chataway was at least prepared to discuss the matter with representatives of RNI and the various organisations campaigning for "Free Radio". He was also in favour of introducing commercial radio, but not of the sort wanted by most Free Radio supporters.
On 28th June RNI changed to 217 metres in the hope that the jamming would stop, but it soon followed them. So on 30th June they returned to 244 metres. The owners of RNI eventually decided that as the jamming obviously was no going to stop while the Mebo II was anchored off Britain, the only thing to do was to move back to Holland. So on 23rd July 1970, four months after coming to Britain, the Mebo II left, arriving back off the coast of Holland on 24th July. No further jamming was heard on medium wave, though the Ministry of Posts and Communications made it clear that they could, and might resume their "counter measures". (The Norwegian Rogaland Radio jammed RNI's short wave transmissions on 6210 kHz for a period.)
The 9th August saw RNI once again on 217 metres, followed on Sunday 23rd August by a change to 220 metres, a wavelength used until RNI's second Close Down on 31st August 1974. The change was made because broadcasts on 244 metres were interfering with Hilversum III, 217 metres was not a good wavelength for reception.
During the Spangles Maldoon "Lunchtime Loonabout" on Saturday 29th August at about 1.35 pm it was announced that there were two boats close to the Mebo II. This was quickly followed by a more dramatic announcement that "a tugboat has come alongside and seems intent on taking us away". The DJ's asked their office to advise them what the situation was over the radio link, Obviously they, did not receive a reply because the programme was again interrupted by an appeal for German-speaking listeners to phone RNI's Zurich office, and the Grand Hotel in Scheveningen to tell Mr. Bollier, Mr. Meister or Larry Tremaine (the Programme Director) what was happening. Between records listeners were kept up to date with the latest developments, and fresh appeals for help were sent out.
It became evident that one of the boats was a launch called "Viking" which had brought a man called Kees Manders, who was the only one allowed on board the Mebo to state his case to the Captain. He was at one time going to be a director of the station, then it was decided that he would not be. There was a court case which Mr. Manders lost, so he was now trying to take the law into his own-hands. The other boat was a tug called "Husky" which had nearly thirty strong looking men on board. As Andy Archer said, if it had come_ to a fight, the twelve people on the Mebo would not have stood much chance. Hatches were battened down so that if the Mebo was boarded they would not be able to reach the studios. However the attackers seemed to be more intent on trying to cut the anchor chain so they could tow the ship away, Spangles Maldoon threatened to use petrol bombs, the attackers threatened to-spray water over the antenna, but were warned by Carl Mitchell that such a course could lead to the electrocution of all on the tug, including a woman and child who were strangely enough on board. Further appeals were put out for people with boats in the Scheveningen area_ to come out and help in the fight for Radio Nordsee, the Mebo's stated position was 52degrees 10' 12" N, 4degees 13' 30" E. At about 2.55 pm the Trip tender came into sight heading for the Mebo, and by 3.5 pm it was alongside with Erwin Meister and Larry Tremaine on board. The attacking tug and launch made off into the mist, though at this time it was thought that they might come back again. Large numbers of other boats came out, one bringing off-duty DJ's Steven Ladd and Robb Eden. A small boat came over from the Norderney (Radio Veronica). Later a 2,200 ton Dutch navy frigate, the "Van Nes", came and stood guard overnight. It later became known that just before this incident Kees Manders had arranged for the RNI tender Mebo I to be impounded, and a transmitter used for ship-to-shore communications was also seized, In 1962 Kees Manders tried without success to take over Radio Veronica. The launch and tug used in the attack were owned by a Mr. Herreman who claimed that RNI owed him money (which he doubtless hoped to recover if he succeeded in seizing the Mebo II.) Listeners were thanked for their response, which jammed telephone exchanges in Zurich and The Hague, Alsothanked were those who had
come out in boats, and requests were played for members of the crew of the Van Nes. RNI had survived yet another incident which could well have meant the end of the station.
Apart from this incident things had begun to look increasingly settled since RNI returned to the Dutch coast, Without the pressures of the jamming, political and otherwise, the programming improved, now in English all day. The DJ's were now less isolated, only 40 minutes tender ride from dry land, instead of the 12 hours it took when the Mebo was anchored off England. A good signal was stillreaching Britain, about the only disadvantage of being off the coast of Holland was that the sea tends to be rougher. Experimental programmes of "easy listening" music were tried on FM and SW as a "World Service", there was even talk of an RNI Club. The station really seemed to be finding its feet at last, so it therefore came as a great surprise on the evening of 23rd September to hear Spangles Maldoon (who was Station Manager) reading out the following announcement: - "Radio Nordsee voluntarily closes down tomorrow at 11 o'clock due to the pressure of the Dutch Parliament to close down the offshore stations. Our Directors in Zurich feel that it would be better for the people of Holland for us to suspend broadcasting so the Dutch Government will not attempt to close down Radio Veronica, so dearly loved by the people of Holland for the past ten years. Radio Nordsee thanks all for your support in the past months during times of drama and struggle. Thank you for being faithful to us, and remember, tomorrow morning at 11 o'clock Radio Nordsee will be closing down".
They broadcast through the night, Steven Ladd, Mike Ross, Dave Rogers, Spangles Maldoon, The final hour on 24th September 1970 was shared by Alan West & Andy Archer. After all the farewells, the final record was "Peace" by Peter. The voice of Andy Archer saying, "It's now 11 o'clock" was followed by "Man of Action" and silence on 220 metres, Listeners were left with the impression that RNI had closed to prevent the Dutch Government closing Veronica, that the Mebo II would enter Scheveningen harbour that afternoon, and eventually sail for the Mediterranean or Africa. None of these impressions were correct, as future events were to show. Thus ended eight of the most exciting months of offshore radio history, but it was not the end of the story of Radio Nordsee International, just a lull before further exciting events.
Since the last issue of "Monitor" a great deal has-happened to the little boat called the Mebo II. To start at the beginning, back in July we had a DJ change, Jason 'the wild' Wolfe did his final programme on Saturday July 6th from 00.00-02.00 BST, he went off on the tender later that day when the weather had calmed down. However before he went he taped two RNI Request Shows which were broadcast on Sunday's July 7th & the 14th. Jason's place was filled by an old 'Amigo', Bob Noakes, who arrived on the tender of July 19th, his first show went out between 02.00-04.00 BST on July 20th.
During Robin Banks' show on August 12th we were treated to a guided tour of the boat. Bob was the roving reporter who lead us through the technical department, DJ's cabins and on to the deck where unfortunately the microphone cable heated up and caused some concern. A promised trip to the messroom was postponed due to lack of cable. But two days later a longer piece of cable was found and the 'Tour de la Mebo' continued,. We were taken through more cabins and corridors and met Dutch DJ and newsreader Peter Jager in the shower! - Then what Bob called "the piece de resistance" we were taken into the messroom where the crew were introduced and sent greetings to their families. After that it was a return to the studio and the Robin Banks extravaganza.
August 12'th saw the news - everyone had been dreading - announced on Dutch television- the Marine Offences Act was to become law at midnight on August 31st, On the August 18th edition of "Northsea goes DX" A. J. Beirens had a taped telephone interview with Mr. Bollier which he translated into English for us, We were told of the plans for the Mebo II to go to Italy as Radio Nova International. From then on there were traffic jams on the sea and crowds of visitors on and around the boat - including film crews and listeners. August 23rd saw the last 'Toppers 20", the final No.1 was "Mr. Soft" by Cockney Rebel. That night also saw the last Brian McKenzie 'Rock 'n' Roll Special' - and included Roy Brooker’s new rock 'n' roll releases feature. The next night - Saturday 24th - Daffy Don Allen's last 'Country Jamboree' went out, and on Sunday Roger Kent hosted the final 'Hitback Show'. Bob Noakes presented the last 'RNI Request Show' that night, All of these feature shows were absolutely overflowing with letters.
During the final week we were told the closing times of the two services and programme schedules. All too soonit was Friday and time for last farewells. Don Allen started the evening (20.00-21.00) with many favourite records and memories. He told us how he came over to Britain about ten years ago for a three month honeymoon and has had -in his own words - "a hell of a long honeymoon". Robin Banks was up next still trying to cram some more of his letters-into the programme, and mentioning many old friends and colleagues.
Brian McKenzie presented his very last programme (22.00-23.00) saying he didn't envisage doing another for a very long time. Brian has left radio for now to start a new career running a sauna bath in London, he was married on October 10th, we wish him and Jean all the best of luck for the future. Brian's last record was very well known to his listeners the 'Rock 'n' Roll Lullaby' by B. J. Thomas for the last "boi boi" time. Then it was the final hour, Roger Kent, Bob Noakes, Robin Banks and A.J. Beirens arrived in turn to make their last good-byes and to play a few meaningful records. By 23.30 BST Brian and Don had been left to close the station, they filled the last half hourwithmemories,music and a Joke or two. There was a special taped feature from a guest - Andy Archer - naming every DJ who has ever worked on RNI. Then it was good bye – the final record played was "Peace" by Peter. Then: "Timex time is exactly midnight and the International Service of RNI is now closing down"; said Brian, and "Man of Action" played. This was not the end though, after three minutes silence the Dutch programmes started with Leo van der Goot - who said some words of thanks in English, On this last day, the 31st August, there were special programmes on short-wave from A.J., Pierre Deseyn and Peter & Werner Hartwig. The schedule was as follows: 09.00-10.00 GMT N.S.G.DX with A.J., 10.00-11.00 A.J., 11.00-12.00 German DX Show, 12.00-13.00 French DX Show, 13.00-15.00 Aufwiederzehn with Peter & Werner, 15.00-17.00 Nordsee Au Revoir with Pierre, and finally 17.00-19.00 Nordsee Good-bye in Dutch and English with A.J. The last sound on the Dutch Service at 20.00 BST was the sound of the sea lapping against the shore...then there was silence.
The Mebo II is currently in the DE GROOT VAN VLIET dry-dock, Slikkerireer, being overhauled ready to sail to the Mediterranean to become Radio NOVA International. Engineer BOB NOAKES talked to "Monitor" about life aboard during the past few weeks:
"We had some marvellous experiences during the last couple of days. We had thousands of people coming out at a time, all waving and laughing, crying and shouting and honking horns. It was amazing! The night after we'd closed down altogether we had a free-radio ship come by. A.J. had been saying on the Dutch Service "Make this the day you throw your radio set away", and they were all coming out with radio sets, chucking them overboard! Some were big ones, too - one had a really big wooden cabinet one. I thought it was very good fun.
We delayed a week coming in because the weather was so bad. Monday, September 9th, we got under tow, and got into Rotterdam at about 17.00. By about 19.00 the customs had cleared everything. They were vary, very friendly and had a few drinks with us. The records, also lots of bits of extra equipment, had all been locked away in a cabin. They drilled holes through the cabin doors and put ropes through them and sealed them, so we don't have to pay import tax on them. We can't break-the seals until we go out to sea. That's the usual procedure - no problems there. Rotterdam is the biggest port in the world; it's massive, Slikkerveer is just a continuation of Rotterdam. It's a fair way up a river, called the Maas; 11 kilometres in fact. At One point there's a lift bridge, which is 50 metres high, and they had to increase its height by an extra 1 ½ metres, by breaking the insurance seal, to get us under. We cleared it by about half a metre!
They took the boat into dry-dock and put it up on wooden blocks, you had to go up one of those long circular ladders to get to it. The amount of crustations below the waterline was appalling. It was about a foot thick on the bottom. Scraping it was quite a fast thing, it took only a week. Now they're going to repair the hull and make it totally safe again, Then it'll be repainted with its psychedelic colours. The Mebo I is painted grey now, and has been renamed "Angela".
Things are looking very good. We've cleaned out the transmitters. Elja came along and gave Robin and I a hand with the cleaning. Now they're all, ready, they're tuned up and lined up. We have to put new rectifiers in the main one but that's no problem. We've had it running on nearly 50 kW, which is the maximum we can use! because we're only putting it into a dummy load as we don't radiate, and the dummy load is only rated, at 50 kW; but I reckon we'll get at least 80 kW, and I hope 100 kW, out of it. It's very well tuned up this time, The tuning on 220 was awful. We hadn't the time to do it when we were out at sea, it takes about two days to Fully tune up. We plan to go out and anchor off Scheveningen for two days; in those two days myself, Robin and Bruno can get the things all running properly. We can do things like tuning up the aerials on the harbour; but, of course, we can't really connect everything up and test it - we can do almost everything else. I hope that when we've been out at sea for a day or so we can get all the channels on the air.
The mast is being painted again in the same colours, red and white. It's 3 metres taller now than it was, making it about 55 metres altogether. When that's done, We’ll be putting aerials on, We're getting new aerials for S.W., a new sort of sausage aerial, They're manufactured by a Swiss company. They sound very good, and they have a higher impedance, which means we get a greater efficiency coupling. The M.W. aerial
plan is a bit freaky. We'll have a folded dipole going right up to the top of the lattice section of the mast. That will work for the big transmitter. The aerial for the other will go from another point on the deck to the front mast and then up to one of the booms of the big mast. So it's like a sort of zig-zag Vertical Marconi! If we have any problems, it'll be there. But to start with anyway there'll be parallel transmissions, so if we get cross modulation it won't matter. The studios are looking very good. We've got 3 studios now. They're not yet fully built, Robin is putting the equipment in at the moment. Robin's doing all the installation of the studios, I'm still working on the transmitters. There's also a control-room which is very good and I'm very optimistic about the whole thing. We've had a pretty good time!".
DJ's on the International Service of the new RNI will be: Don Allen (Programme Director); Graham Gill; Brian Anderson; Robin Banks; Bob Noakes; & possibly Roger Kent. -The latest news we have from the Mebo is not good. The ship was impounded on October 10th, and Bob, Robin, Bruno & the crew were arrested and held on board for several hours while half a dozen police armed with guns patrolled the dock! No one knows when she will now leave harbour.
The month of June was a comparatively quiet one as far as Radio Caroline was concerned; on the 23rd a new Australian DJ named Peter Wolf was heard for the first time between 04.00-06.00 BST. Radio Mi Amigo, on the other hand, was extremely busy establishing an office in Spain, at the ultra-modern holiday resort of Playa de Aro, on the Mediterranean coast. Very little of interest occurred during July. Major event of the month was the termination of Radio Mi Amigo's daily 19.00-20.00 BST English Service, the final hour was broadcast on the 26th with Norman Barrington in the hotseat. The following day Radio Caroline opened up at 19.00 BST having absorbed the vacant hour. A new DJ was to appear on Radio Mi Amigo on the 27th, this was Patrick du Bateau, he compared two programmes in French, which were transmitted between 14.00-15.00 & 17.00-18.00 BST. For complete details of Radio Mi Amigo's English Service the following tabulation should be consulted. The second tabulation contains information relating to the recent turn over of Caroline DJ's.
DJ Name. First Show. Last Show. Number of hours on the air.
NORMAN BARRINGTON 10-1-74 26-7-74 (74)
BRIAN ANDERSON 1-2-74 22-7-74 (127)
BOB NOAKES 12-4-74 (1)
GRAHAM KAY 22-4-74 11-7-74 (72)
PAUL BRANDT 23-4-74 (1)
MIKE HAGLER 23-2-74 31-8-74 (taped) (191 ½)
NORMAN BARRINGTON 24-2-74 16-8-74 (167 ¼)
BOB N0AKES 24-2-74 28-6-74 (60 ½ )
MICKEY MERCER 25-2-74 16-10-74 (166 ½)
BRIAN ANDERSON 26-2-74 30-8-74 (taped) (165 ½)
PETER CHICAGO 28-2-74 9-4-74 (40)
SAMANTHA DUBOIS 6-3-74 10-5-74 (116)
MICHAEL WALL-GARLAND 20-3-74 3-5-74 (4)
('Mike the Poet')
MICHAEL LINDSAY 30-3-74 (1 programme only - taped) (25 Minutes)
ROBB EDEN 3-5-74 26-6-74 (58)
GRAHAM GILL 8-6-74 30-8-74 (taped) (110)
DAVE GOTZ 9-6-74 14-6-74 (11)
PETER WOLF 23-6-74 27-6-74 (10)
SUE MERCER 23-7-74 (1 programme only) (1)
STEPHEN DIAMOND 18-8-74 20-8-74 (6)
Things started to warm up in August. On the 15th we were given what was called a "Tour Round The Mi Amigo". This was divided up into 3 parts, the first part taking place during Brian Anderson's 19.00-21.00 BST show, the second part was heard in Johnny Jason's programme, and the last part in the early hours of the following morning during Tony Allan's show. We were taken into cabins; the discotheque; up onto the bridge; and later visited the captain's suite where we met Capt. Taal; and finally we were introduced to the other members of the ship’s crew.
Stephen Diamond, an American DJ, came and went - his first programme was from 03.00-05.00 BST on the 18th. Yogi Surya Premananda & Howard Phillips were welcome guests aboard the radio-ship on the 21st where they were to spend their next few days, At 19.00 BST on the 29th Tony Allan announced that due to a 'labour dispute' there would be no programmes that night. Their difficulties, however, were resolved by 21.00 BST and normal programming was then resumed.
August 30th. was the day the "Mi Amigo" anchored 20 miles off the coast of Essex (see front page for full story). By breakfast time that morning it was evident that the "Mi Amigo" was under way to a new position - as the signal strength had increased dramatically, and was now level pegging with Radio 1. I thought that she would very likely be heading for the Belgian coast, but by early afternoon the signal was 3 dbs louder than Radio 1, and it became obvious that her destination was to be, once again, this side of the North Sea! That night Caroline's programme line-up was:- 19.00-21.00 Brian Anderson (taped), 21.00-23.00 Graham Gill (taped), 23.00-01.00 Mike Hagler (taped), 01.00-03.00 Tony Allan, 03.00-06.00 BST Peter Haze (1st show - Peter comes from Chester, hence his nickname "The Cheshire Flyer"; he previously worked as a technician on board the Peace ship). Press reports of the journey over were to be found on the 31st in the "Daily Mirror", "Sun" & "Evening Star"; on Sept,1st in the "Sunday Times" & "Sunday Telegraph"; Sept.2nd in the "East Anglian Daily Times"; Sept-3rd Southend "Evening Echo"; & on Sept.6th "East Essex Gazette". The ITN news on the night of Aug. 31st showed a map of where the radio-ship now was, and added that "the Home Office say they are watching the situation carefully".
The coming into force of the Dutch Act was beginning to make life difficult for the DJ's of Radio Mi Amigo, since they were no longer able to use their studios in Breda. Ad Petersen compared his last "Joepie Top 50" between 12.00-15.00 BST on August 25th; while Paul Severs was heard for the last time from 09.06-10.00 BST on Sept. 1st; and Haike de Bois relinquished her early morning show. September 1st was also the date that Radio Mi Amigo's new postal address was announced, it is now: RADO, Playa de Aro, Gerona, Spain. The non-arrival of certain programme tapes on the 1st meant that Tony Allan had to do a couple of live shows, the first was from 10.00-11.00 BST which he did in Dutch and French, and the second was from 15.00-16.00 BST and this one Tony compared in Dutch. On the same day (Sept.1st) another Caroline personage was called upon to do a live show for Mi Amigo, this was Peter van Dyken who, using the name Peter Pan, was heard between 16.00-18.00 BST. He did a further live programme using this name on Sept,7th between 14.00-15.00 BST. He must not be confused with the Peter Pan who was mentioned on page 6 of our last issue.
Within 3 days of being in her new anchorage Caroline found herself acting as offshore life-guard! At 17.23 BST on the evening of Sept.1st Tony Allan cut into Peter Pan's programme to make the following announcement: "A motor-launch, the name of which is 'Moonraker’, she's registered in London, and she was out this afternoon in the North Sea cruising round, and this storm has blown up. They're alongside us now, in fact, they're tying up on the back of us on a long rope. We're looking after them - we've just sent them some food over". Tony then asked listeners to phone the Coast Guard and inform them that the 'Moonraker' was alongside the radio-ship and safe. In another announcement broadcast at 20.03 BST Tony asked listeners to pass a further message to the Coast Guard: "Our Captain thinks it's getting pretty important for us to get one of the Coast Guard boats out to escort the 'Moonraker' back into harbour, because the weather really is getting quite choppy. I know the people on board the 'Moonraker' are being very seasick". The outcome was mercifully a happy one with Walton lifeboat guiding the stricken vessel to safety. Press coverage of the incident was in the "Daily Mirror" on the 2nd; "Sun" & "E.A.D.T." on the 3rd; "East Essex Gazette" on the 6th.
On October 12th Radio Mi Amigo introduced a new Saturday afternoon programme format, they gave it the collective title of "DE MI AMIGO ZATERDAGMIDDAGGEBEURTENIS" (The Mi Amigo Saturday Afternoon Happening), it was based on Radio Veronica's popular "DE NATIONALE ZATERDAGMIDDAGGEBEURTENIS". The programme is split up into 3 sections, from 12.00-14.00 BST/CET is the "Flashback Show" presented by Joop Verhoof; between 14.00-16.00 "De Nederlandse Top 40"; and from 16.00-18.00 "De Nederlandse Tipparade"... both the latter shows are hosted by Frans van den Drift. During October, Wil van den Steen, now calling himself Willem de Zwijger (William the Silent), was heard comparing a programme called "DE ONTBIJTSPEKSHOW" ("The Bacon Show") between 06.00-07.00 BST/CET. Dutch TV featured Radio Mi Amigo in their current affairs programme "TeleVizier Magazine" on Friday, October 18th. They sent a reporting team to Belgium where they interviewed various record companies and a couple of ex-Mi Amigo DJ's, in an attempt to find out who was really behind the station. Bart van Laar told them that "Suzy" paid him for his work as a DJ, he recorded his programmes in the Suzy Wafels factory. Everyone said that Sylvain Tack was the owner, so a reporter phoned Sylvain and asked him for an interview, because they have reasons to believe that he is the owner of Mi Amigo. Sylvain replied: "Do you think I am the owner of Mi Amigo? That is a good joke! You want to talk? ...Why? ...What a joke! I wish I were the owner! ... there is nothing to talk about!". They then interviewed a number of Dutch companies whose commercials are being broadcast on Mi Amigo. The owners all said the same: "I don't know why they broadcast my commercial. I wonder where they got it ... it is really very strange!" The Southend "Evening Echo" for Sept.19th carried a full-page feature on Radio Caroline, illustrated with five superb photographs. Their reporter, Stephen Cape,
actually went out to the "Mi Amigo" in order to be able to write a first-hand account of life aboard a radio-ship in 1974. The result was a most impressive piece of free radio journalism. From Sept.17th the station's mailing address has been: RADIO CAROLINE, c/o RADO, PLAYA DE ARO, GERONA,SPAIN. The 17th was also noteworthy for being the day on which Clive Corell, the new engineer, made his broadcasting debut (04.00-06.00 BST). The next newcomer was ex-Radio Atlantis DJ Dave Owen, his first show was transmitted between 00.00-03.00 GMT on Nov,1st, Dave's programmes have so far been lively and a pleasure to listen to. Chicago returned to the fold in November, after an absence of some four months, and he was on the air again on the 5th (03.00-05.00 GMT). Finally, my thanks to Marianne for her valuable assistance with this article.
We received from East Anglian Productions, 7 Horsey Road, Kirby-le-Soken, Frinton-on-Sea, Essex C013 ODZ, a copy of "10 Years of Offshore Radio". Available as a double L.P. for £4•99 or a Cassette Set for £5•49 (p & p 25p), this comprises many historic recordings of all the stations that have broadcast off Britain's coast, The sleeve is liberally illustrated with photographs and other details. "Monitor" recommends this as an excellent and high quality production.
Bob Noakes would like to obtain a tape of a "Mi Amigo" programme which went on the air on March 25th this year between 19.00 and 20.00. It was presented by himself accompanied by Brian Anderson, Norman Barrington and a box of Suzy Wafels. If you have a recording from which Bob could take a copy, please contact him c/o "Monitor".
On Saturday, June 29th, lovely "Monitor" reader LYNDA EVANS changed her name by becoming the bride of Mr. Hairy Legs himself, ANDY ANDERSON. The couple, both natives of Tunbridge Wells in Kent, spent their honeymoon at Calella de la Costa in Spain. We were glad to hear that the weather and the hotel were good and Lynda and Andy enjoyed sipping champagne (at 3 bottles for £1:) as much as your Editor enjoyed the piece of wedding-cake: Much love and happiness to you both from us all.
We regret to announce that our stock of back issues is now completely exhausted.
NOTICE TO READERS
"Monitor" is dispatched to everyone on our mailing-list (which includes You, if you received this copy through the post) on a sale-or-return basis. Please do not send any money in advance for the next issue, it will be sent to you as soon as it is published.
CALLING ALL VERONICA FANS
FRC Holland are marketing what they call a Veronica Package. A sample sent to "Monitor" was found to contain a Veronica T-shirt; a maxi-single called 'Veronica 538', which has on it three songs in Dutch with lyrics pertaining to the station; & a multicoloured sticker showing the Norderney. The package is obtainable for 15 guilders from: - FRC Holland, P. 0. Box 9460, The Hague 2040, Holland.
MEBO COURT CASE
A preliminary hearing, which was held in camera, took place in Rotterdam on November 11th between the Public Prosecutor and Herr Bollier, it appears to have gone smoothly, but there is to be a further meeting in about three weeks time. The "Mebo II", meanwhile, is no longer in drydock; the hull has been repaired and repainted, but sadly it has been in the dock so long that the paint is getting scratched off again: The studios are now completely finished, and the rectifiers have gone into the big transmitter, in fact, it's pretty well all ready, The "Angela" (ex-Mebo I), also in Slikkerveer, has now been painted white, the grey previously mentioned was only an undercoat. She is presently tied up in a cul-de-sac wharf alongside the "Mebo II".
Andy Anderson, Brian Anderson, Andy Archer, Jeremy Arnold, A.J. Beirens, Roy Brooker, Emiel Clarijs, Steve England, Gary Franklin, Anne Gilissen, Bill Green & 'Canvey', Colin Howard, Johnny Jason, Dave & Jackie Jay, Sue Kerr, Jim McCallum, John Murdoch, Bob Noakes, Lesley Rees, Dave Rogers, Paul Southgate, Ria Taselaar & Hans Verbaan - "Monitor" thanks you all for your help.
On October 23rd Janiene & Adriaan van Landschoot became the proud parents of a baby son, we understand the child is to be named Jason Andrew; a typical British name for a Belgian boy? You may take it he is called after his parent’s good friend Andy Anderson. All at "Monitor" send our love and best wishes.