Music Radio '74

At the end of 1972, Radio Caroline's ship, mv Mi Amigo, returned to sea, dropped anchor off the Dutch coast and began broadcasting again (see Caroline In The 70s). The station went through a turbulent period - losing its aerial mast, a mutiny by the crew, the impounding of its vessel - but somehow managed to survive. However, by the summer of 1973, the station desperately needed an injection of cash to stay afloat.
 
Adriaan van Landschoot was the man with the plan - and, more importantly, the money - to come to the rescue. A young Belgian entrepreneur, he had interests in fashion and the music business and he wanted his own radio station. Van Landschoot auditioned some disc-jockeys and arranged for studios to be constructed in Oostburg, Holland. (They had to be in the Netherlands because Belgium had legislated against offshore radio in 1962.)
 
On 15th July 1973 the pre-recorded programmes of van Landschoot's station, Radio Atlantis, began broadcasting on 1187 kHz from the Radio Caroline ship. The Belgian businessman had signed a three month contract, hiring thirteen hours a day of airtime (6am-7pm) at a weekly cost of some £2,000. Using the 50 kilowatt transmitter and a new 180ft mast, reception was superb.

click to hear audio click to hear audio Tony Houston opening up Radio Atlantis on day one, 15th July 1973. This is an edited version of a recording available from www.azanorak.com. Our thanks to Ray Robinson (duration 2 minutes 32 seconds)

Strangely, throughout this stage of its life, Radio Atlantis referred to its wavelength as “385 metres”, despite broadcasting on 253. This was because the station had originally planned to use Caroline's 10 kW transmitter on one frequency while the English-language station continued on another but, in the event, the ship was not yet ready for dual broadcasts.

Radio Atlantis sticker

Radio Atlantis immediately won an audience among the Flemish-speaking population of Belgium. A number of companies openly flouted the country’s anti-pirate law to advertise their products.
 
At around the same time that Radio Atlantis was launched, yet another offshore venture was being planned. Two Dutchmen, Steph Willemsen and Gerrit Elferink, purchased a former Icelandic trawler which they renamed the mv Zondaxonagon. The two men hoped to operate a station called Radio Condor which would feature light music and sponsored religious programmes. Dutch evangelists Dominee Toornvliet (“The Pirate Vicar”) and Johan Maasbach were said to have booked airtime. The ship was 150 ft. long, 30 ft. wide, weighed 403 tons gross and had been built in 1957. It no longer had a working engine following a fire on board. The former Radio 270 transmitter was purchased. Although originally designed to operate at 10 kilowatts, the engineers were now only able to get about 500 watts out of it. Some test transmissions did take place but on 10th August the ship lost her anchor and had to be brought back into harbour. She was declared unseaworthy and sold for scrap. Steph Willemson bought her for a second time but Radio Condor never returned to the air. Instead the ship was to change hands again.
 
On 1st October 1973 disaster struck the mv Mi Amigo when its new aerial mast buckled and collapsed over the side. A temporary wire antenna was rigged up and low powered transmissions continued but reception was terrible and on 18th October the station went silent. This was not quite the way van Landschoot had planned it but, behind the scenes, he had already begun making arrangements to sever his alliance with Caroline. He was going to launch Atlantis from his own ship.
 
Adriaan bought the mv Zondaxonagon for 50,000 guilders (about £8,000). He renamed the ship mv Jeanine after his wife, although there was confusion over the precise spelling. The name as it appeared on the ship's prow was Janeine, on the wheelhouse it was Janine and on the Radio Atlantis QSL card it was Jeaniane. DJ Steve England tells us: “I would say that the spelling of the ship's name wrongly on both the ship's prow and QSL is down to me. I was never a good speller and trying to recall how to spell the name whilst hanging over the side on a swing chair led to the wrong spelling. The QSL is also my guessing at how to spell the name too. Mea culpa.”
 
Van Landschoot obtained the former REM island transmitter which had been used to broadcast to Holland as Radio Noordzee back in 1964. Some low powered tests from this vessel began on 3rd November on 656 kHz (458 metres) and 1322 kHz (227 metres). A launch date of 15th November was announced but, before regular programmes could begin, drama struck the small ship on 6th November when the anchor chain parted. Drifting, with no engine and no steering, disaster could have been imminent but fortunately the tug Titan intervened and towed the ship to Cuxhaven in Germany. Here some much needed repair work was carried out but the station also suffered a tragic loss when engineer Chris (or Theo?) Klinkenberg was killed. He died when the ship's gang plank collapsed, causing him to fall into the freezing waters of the harbour.

mv Jeanine

The mv Jeanine. Photo courtesy of Steve England.

Crispian St.John

Crispian St.John. Photo courtesy of Steve England.

Radio Atlantis now had two second-hand RCA transmitters but neither was in full working order. The former Radio 270 transmitter was broken up for spares in order to keep the smaller but more complete former Radio Noordzee transmitter in action. On 22nd December the mv Jeanine put to sea and dropped anchor twelve miles off Knokke. Over Christmas Atlantis began putting out low-powered English language tests on 1115 kHz, referred to as “270 metres”, using a makeshift studio. Crispian St.John, Andy Anderson and Johnnie Dwyer were heard. On 30th December Radio Atlantis officially re-opened, broadcasting in Flemish during the day and in English at night. The daytime programmes were pre-recorded on land while the English-language “International Service” was live. The equipment was pretty basic and not yet fully functional so there were a number of breaks in transmission. Programmes were of Top 40 pop with an upbeat presentation and plenty of jingles. It was a good alternative to the programmes of the other offshore stations of the time and became particularly popular with people who had fond memories of the sixties pirates.

click to hear audio click to hear audio Crispian St.John on a test transmission for Radio Atlantis on 26th December 1973. This is an edited version of a recording posted on the Internet Radiocafé Forum by Bart van Peer. Our grateful thanks to him (duration 4 minutes 47 seconds)
click to hear audio click to hear audio With the station now open for business, Crispian St.John at midnight (UK time) on 31st December wishes everyone a happy new year. Recording courtesy of The Offshore Radio Archive (duration 3 minutes 33 seconds)
click to hear audio click to hear audio Johnnie Dwyer battling the elements on a stormy North Sea during the evening of 8th January 1974 (not 1973, as he says). This recording is courtesy of The Offshore Radio Archive (duration 4 minutes 9 seconds)

Work continued on the ship to improve the studio, the living conditions and the signal but reception was still not good so, on 3rd February, Atlantis attempted a test transmission on a different frequency, 1493 kHz, 201 metres. Unfortunately this proved unsatisfactory so the station moved back to 1115 kHz.

click to hear audio click to hear audio Some clips of Steve England from a test transmission for Radio Atlantis on 201 metres, 3rd February 1974. Recordings from the Pirate Radio News archive kindly provided by Hans Knot (duration 2 minutes 11 seconds)
click to hear audio click to hear audio Andy Anderson announcing a forthcoming change of wavelength on Radio Atlantis, 26th February 1974. This is an edited version of a recording posted by Vincent on the Internet Radiocafé Forum. Our grateful thanks to him (duration 3 minutes 37 seconds)

Steve England

Andy Anderson

Steve England in the rather basic Radio Atlantis studio.
Andy Anderson in a matching pullover. Both photos courtesy of Steve England.

Steve England: “Tony Houston and an English engineer were sent over to Dallas to see if they could buy a big new transmitter from Continental Electronics but they refused to sell them anything. This was probably because of the legal action they had to take to reclaim the Radio England/Britain Radio transmitters which had not been fully paid for.”
 
On 3rd March Radio Atlantis was the victim of a hoax. Adriaan van Landschoot was approached by people claiming to represent a religious group. They said they wanted to start an offshore radio station transmitting to China, preaching Christianity to the Communists. They were interested to see his operation so Adriaan gave them permission to visit the mv Jeanine. However when they got to the ship they took over the airwaves to broadcast pro-Flemish political comments about the Belgian language laws.
 
Later that day the station changed frequency again, to 1331 kHz, 225.4 metres (referred to on air as “227”), but the Italian station Roma I used the same wavelength and mutual interference was caused. Atlantis was not having much luck.

click to hear audio click to hear audio Some clips from 3rd March as Radio Atlantis closes down on 270 metres and re-opens with tests transmissions on 227 metres. Recordings from the Pirate Radio News archive kindly provided by Hans Knot (duration 1 minute 45 seconds)
click to hear audio click to hear audio Andy Anderson on Radio Atlantis's Blast Off programme from the evening of 16th March 1974. Two clips from a longer recording made available by The Offshore Radio Archive (duration 2 minutes 53 seconds)

Andy Anderson, Debbie England, Lynda Anderson, Dave Rogers

Enjoying a glass of bubbly, left to right: Andy Anderson, Debbie England, Lynda Anderson and the back of Dave Rogers' head. Photo courtesy of Steve England.

The station was to be dogged by technical problems throughout its short life but the programmes improved around this time with the promotion of Steve England to the post of Programme Director and appointment of former RNI DJ Dave Rogers. The latter was also responsible for launching a news service. On 20th March a jamming tone appeared on their frequency after the Italian station which shared it had closed for the night. This resulted in Atlantis being inaudible over any distance. After attempting to broadcast on the adjoining channel (1322 kHz) without success, the station changed frequency yet again on 16/17th April to 962 kHz, 312 metres. Now there was interference from a north African station. Atlantis was still experiencing problems with both its transmitter and its aerial. It was forced off the air on a number of occasions but announced that things would soon improve with the arrival of a linear amplifier to boost power.

click to hear audio click to hear audio Steve England opens the International Service of Radio Atlantis on 17th April 1974 on a new wavelength, 312 metres. The pre-recorded multilingual station identification, featuring the voice of AJ Beirens, is now out of date which is why Steve talks all over it, correcting the information (duration 4 minutes 22 seconds)
click to hear audio click to hear audio The disc-jockeys on Radio Atlantis celebrate their boss Adriaan van Landschoot's birthday on 21st April 1974. Two clips from from the Pirate Radio News archive. Thanks to Hans Knot for this and the audio above (duration 3 minutes 40 seconds)

Despite the ongoing technical difficulties, Radio Atlantis continued to broadcast some excellent programmes. The evening International Service had some fine disc-jockeys in Steve England, Dave Rogers and Dave Owen. They were joined on air by engineers Andy Anderson, John Harding, James Rafferty and Derek Jones plus crew-member Rick Rock and a couple of the wives: Lynda Anderson, occasionally, and, more frequently, Debbie England. There were pre-recorded shows sent from land provided by Scott Mitchell and Gabby Hernandez Omilado (actually one person, Leon Tipler - The Nightmare Affair), Dave Townsend (The Synthesizer Experience), Rob Day (The American Top 20) and Ray Warner. Rob Day also went out to the ship for a short period as a relief DJ as did Eddie Austin a friend of Steve England's and, during his university vacation, former RNI favourite Terry Davis. Another RNI broadcaster, AJ Beirens, was heard on Atlantis under a new name, Michael O.

click to hear audio click to hear audio Scott Mitchell and Gabby Hernandez Omilado on The Nightmare Affair on Radio Atlantis, a studio recording from 1974 (duration 5 minutes 29 seconds)
click to hear audio click to hear audio Dave Owen on the early morning Snap, Crackle & Pop show on Radio Atlantis, 3rd June 1974 (duration 4 minutes 22 seconds)
click to hear audio click to hear audio Debbie England on the Blast Off programme from Radio Atlantis, 4th June 1974. The commercial at the end of the clip is for Carnaby Man, part of station owner Adriaan van Landschoot's fashion business. All three of these recordings are taken from longer versions made available by The Offshore Radio Archive (duration 3 minutes 48 seconds)

Debbie England and Lynda Anderson

Dean and Raff, Dave Rogers

Debbie England and Lynda Anderson. Both photos courtesy of Steve England.
Dean and Raff, alias Rick Rock and James Rafferty, on deck with Dave Rogers.

RADIO ATLANTIS PROGRAMME SCHEDULE MAY/JUNE 1974
weekdays Saturday Sunday
 
5.00am “Snap,Crackle and Pop” (Dave Owen or Steve England)
7.00 Luc van Kapellan
9.00 Ellie Prins
10.00 Victor van Rein
12.00pm Tony Houston
1.00 Theo van de Velde
3.00 Fred van den Bos
5.00 Ellie Prins
6.00 “Blast Off” (Steve England)
9.00 “Starshine” (Andy Anderson)
11.00 “Midnight Special” (Dave Rogers)
1.00am “Apollo 312” (Dave Owen)
3.00 “Yawn into Dawn” or closedown (-05.00)
all times CET/BST
Schedule courtesy of ‘Monitor’ magazine.
 
5.00am “Snap,Crackle and Pop” (Dave Owen or Steve England)
8.00 Luc van Kapellan
10.00 Victor van Rein
12.00pm Tony Houston
1.00 Theo van de Velde
3.00 Fred van den Bos
5.00 Ellie Prins
6.00 “Rebound Show” (Dave Rogers)
9.00 “Hotline of Hits” (Steve England)
11.00 “Nightmare Affair” (Scott Mitchell)
1.00am “Morning Music Base”
3.00 “Yawn into Sunday”
 
 
5.00am “Snap,Crackle and Pop”
8.00 Theo van de Velde
10.00 Victor van Rein
11.00 Flemish Top 15 (Fred van den Bos)
12.00pm Tony Houston
1.00 Atlantis Top 40 (Luc van Kapellan)
3.00 Hitpicks (Fred van den Bos)
4.00 “Flashback Show” (Victor van Rein)
5.00 Ellie Prins
6.00 “Blast Off” (Andy Anderson)
9.00 “Dave Owen's Stamp Collection”
11.00 “Beatles Spectacular” (Debbie England)
1.00am “Apollo 312”
3.00 “Yawn into Dawn” or closedown
 

Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers. Photo courtesy of Steve England.

On 6th June force 8 gales struck Atlantis and the station had to go off the air. When the ship's occupants woke up the next morning, they found they had drifted some twenty miles in a northerly direction and were just two miles from a strange coastline. Station owner Adriaan van Landschoot went up in his private plane to search for his ship. He then arranged for her to be towed back to her usual anchorage.

click to hear audio click to hear audio After a few days off the air because of the drifting, Dave Rogers opens the International Service of Radio Atlantis and explains what's been happening. This recording is from the collection of Jan Kees Bruinooge and has been kindly provided by Hans Knot. Our thanks to them both (duration 5 minutes 18 seconds)
click to hear audio click to hear audio Terry Davis on the Saturday night Rebound Show from Radio Atlantis, 29th June 1974. This recording is courtesy of The Offshore Radio Archive (duration 3 minutes 56 seconds)

Dave Owen, John Harding, Vonny, Dave Rogers

Left to right: Dave Owen, John Harding, Vonny (shore support) and Dave Rogers on deck. Photo courtesy of Steve England.

By the end of June the station was managing to put out a stronger signal but interference in the form of a heterodyne whistle was caused by the African station broadcasting off channel. Around this time the Flemish service stopped running commercials because of concerns about prosecutions. There were a few advertisements on the International Service but these were mainly contra-deals, run in return for services, or as favours for friends. Despite the lack of income, Steve England says: “There was never any shortage of money for running the ship from Adriaan. We lived very comfortably and the atmosphere on board was quite happy.”

click to hear audio click to hear audio Radio Atlantis's first birthday, 15th July 1974. Steve England and Andy Anderson are in nostalgic mood on a special programme which also includes the debut of “Atlantis, Lovers and Friends”, Terry Davis's re-working of a Beatles song (duration 20 minutes 52 seconds)
click to hear audio click to hear audio More clips from the the first birthday programme. Both extracts are taken from a recording posted online by Robin Westhof. Our grateful thanks to him (duration 25 minutes 39 seconds)
 
click to hear audio click to hear audio Radio Atlantis now also on short wave - a short clip from the Pirate Radio News archive kindly provided by Hans Knot (duration 35 seconds)

Radio Atlantis transmitters

The Radio Atlantis transmitters, short wave on the left, medium wave on the right. Photo courtesy of Steve England.

On 25th July Atlantis put out some broadcasts on short wave, at 6225 kHz on the 49 metre band. Using a home-made transmitter, output of about 200 watts was achieved but this was short-lived. An attempt was also made to increase the power from the medium wave transmitter. Unfortunately in an effort to get as much out of it as possible, the engineers managed to blow a number of valves and cause some capacitors to break down. Even worse, on 1st August, the station's 962 kHz crystal was destroyed. This meant that on the 2nd Atlantis was back on 1318 kHz. This frequency seemed fairly successful but there was a fault in that crystal which forced another change, to 1313 kHz, on 10th August where it suffered from interference from a powerful Norwegian station. Also at this time, the weather was so bad that no tender could reach the Jeanine and the supply of Flemish programmes ran out. As a result from 10th to 14th August the station was all-day English. In the meantime, on the 12th, it changed frequency yet again back to 1331 kHz - one it had used earlier in the year. That night the Italian jamming returned so the next day it moved back to 1313 kHz. Throughout all these changes, the wavelength was constantly referred to as “229 metres”.
 
In the middle of all this, on 12th August, the Dutch government revealed that its anti-pirate radio act would become law on 1st September. Radio Veronica immediately announced it would close and applied for time on the national Hilversum network, as did RNI. Although Atlantis was owned by a Belgian, it operated via Holland to avoid Belgian laws, so it was going to be hit by the new legislation too. On 17th August Radio Atlantis announced that, like Veronica and RNI, it would cease operations when the bill became law.
 
A week before that, on 25th August, the Atlantis Flemish Service closed down at 2pm. After the last Flemish show, Atlantis reverted to all-day English programmes. At 2pm it was Andy Anderson, 3pm a guided tour of the ship with all the DJs taking part, 6pm John Harding, 7pm Ray Warner, 8pm John Harding again, 9pm Derek Jones, 12 midnight Debbie England. The station continued to broadcast in English for the last few days on air in an effort to sell it as a going concern. Sadly no buyer was found.

click to hear audio click to hear audio Two clips: the end of the Flemish Service from Radio Atlantis on 25th August 1974 and Andy Anderson on the International Service thanking all the Belgian DJs and the other offshore stations of the past. Recordings from the Pirate Radio News archive kindly provided by Hans Knot (duration 2 minutes 59 seconds)
click to hear audio click to hear audio John Harding later on 25th August, taken from a recording posted online by Robin Westhof. Our grateful thanks to him (duration 4 minutes 29 seconds)
RADIO ATLANTIS PROGRAMME SCHEDULE AUGUST 1974
The last two days on air:
30th August 31st August
 
6.00am “Snap, Crackle and Pop” (Dave Owen)
9.00 “Dave Rogers' Ranch”
11.00 “Nightmare Affair” (rpt.)
1.00pm “Luncheon Voucher” (Andy Anderson)
3.00 Dave Johns
4.00 Ray Warner
5.00 Steve England
7.00 “Blast Off” (John Harding)
9.00 Derek Jones
12.00am Debbie England (-03.00)
 
6.00am John Harding
8.00 Dave Rogers
10.00 Debbie England
11.00 Dave Owen
1.00pm Derek Jones
2.00 Steve England
4.00 Andy Anderson
6.00 “Goodbye Party”
7.00 Closedown.
all times CET/BST
Schedule courtesy of ‘Monitor’ magazine.

At 6pm on 31st August 1974 Radio Veronica closed down. Offshore radio's biggest success story, it was going to be greatly missed. One hour later Radio Atlantis followed suit. This station, by contrast, had not been a financial success but this did not make its closure any less sad. Many thousands of Atlantis fans throughout England and the Benelux would miss its 1960's style Top 40 shows. Although it had never enjoyed as powerful a signal as the rival stations (Steve England: “Andy Anderson had the transmitter running at nearly 4 kilowatts most of the time - so he told me - and it was only a 1 kilowatt transmitter”) but it had proved very popular in the target area of Belgium as well as in Kent and Essex. Radio Northsea International also closed that evening, at 8pm.

click to hear audio click to hear audio Some clips from the final hour of Radio Atlantis on 31st August 1974, starting with Steve England and Andy Anderson thanking everybody who has worked for the station (duration 3 minutes 34 seconds)
click to hear audio click to hear audio The final hour continues as Derek Jones and Michael O, alias AJ Beirens, and Dave Owen say their farewells (duration 3 minutes 5 seconds)
click to hear audio click to hear audio Steve sends greetings to the guys on the other ships, followed by John Harding and Dave Rogers signing off (duration 6 minutes 59 seconds)
click to hear audio click to hear audio Next up it is Debbie and Lynda, Andy Anderson, some final goodbyes from the team and station boss Adriaan van Landschoot then Radio Atlantis closes down. Thanks to Stuart Russell for the recording (duration 10 minutes 2 seconds)

Radio Atlantis team

Adriaan van Landschoot and others

The last day for the Radio Atlantis team, seen here with husband and wife Jerry and Vonny who looked after shore support. Both photos courtesy of Steve England.
Adriaan van Landschoot, centre, and others on the harbour front as the mv Jeanine returns to land.

Following the closedown the Jeanine went into Vlissingen harbour where the ship was impounded. A man was claiming that Atlantis owed him money for the hire of a transmitter. On 4th September Adriaan van Landschoot, Roger Hendricx, Tony Houston and Marc van Pelegen appeared before a Ghent court to face charges under the Belgian anti-pirate law of 1962. The case was adjourned to the High Court in Brussels and on 29th November it began. All four were found guilty and van Landschoot was fined one and a half million francs with a three month suspended sentence. The others were each fined 300,000 francs.

Many thanks to Steve England for his photographs and assistance.
Thanks also to Monitor and Offshore Echos magazines and the books Offshore Radio by Gerry Bishop and From International Waters by Mike Leonard for much of the above information.
 
Some press cuttings about Radio Atlantis over the page.


Home 60s Disc-Jockeys Ha 60s Disc-Jockeys N-P
60s Disc-Jockeys A 60s Disc-Jockeys He-Hu 60s Disc-Jockeys Q-R
60s Disc-Jockeys Ba-Bl 60s Disc-Jockeys I-J 60s Disc-Jockeys Sa-Sp
60s Disc-Jockeys Bo-Bz 60s Disc-Jockeys K 60s Disc-Jockeys St-Sy
60s Disc-Jockeys Ca-Cl 60s Disc-Jockeys L 60s Disc-Jockeys T-V
60s Disc-Jockeys Co-Cu 60s Disc-Jockeys M-Mi 60s Disc-Jockeys Wa-Web
60s Disc-Jockeys D 60s Disc-Jockeys Mo-Mu 60s Disc-Jockeys Wes-Wy
60s Disc-Jockeys E-G 60s Disc-Jockeys Mac-Mc 60s Disc-Jockeys X-Z
Books Charts Contact us
Credits Disc-Jockeys' photo albums Disc-Jockey spotlight
Fans' memorabilia Guestbook Guestbook archive 2000-02
Links The Tom Lodge story Offshore Engineers of the 60s
Plans Programme schedules Sixties DJ Directory
Sixties Timeline Seventies supplement Eighties supplement
Site contents Site contents - by station We need your HELP