Part Three: “Serving the European continent from the North Sea....” two Radio Carolines.

After a dramatic January, a period of relative stability followed for Caroline. The station needed it. A Dutch newspaper estimated its debt as 80,000 guilders. M.A. Productions, the company responsible for selling the airtime, was optimistic, saying that advertising contracts had been signed which would enable them to to pay off all the debt by the end of February. To raise extra revenue, the Caroline Club was resurrected. Membership was 10 guilders (then about £1.30) and a special offer of a transistor radio was advertised. In the previous decade, Radio Caroline had enjoyed the backing of substantial investors and, although times had sometimes been tough, there had been a solid financial foundation. Now the station had to earn money to keep going on a day to day basis.
As far as the output was concerned, the programme schedule varied but generally the Dutch DJs took care of 6am to 6pm (CET) with the English team filling the hours of darkness. During the first week in February the music format was changed. Whereas previously the programmes had consisted mainly of rock album tracks, it was now decided that during the day the station would follow a more pop-based format, retaining the rockier element for late night shows.

Steve England

Steve England, who joined Caroline in December 1972. Photo by FRC Holland from ‘Deejay & Radio Monthly’.
click to hear audio Tony Allan in the early hours of 6th February 1973, playing the week's “Big 3” records on Radio Caroline. This is an edited version of a recording made available by The Offshore Radio Archive (duration 4 minutes 32 seconds)

click to hear audio Andy Archer and his Dutch colleague, Bert Bennett, presenting the Sunday afternoon Caroline Club Request Two Hours on 25th February 1973. This is an edited version of a recording available from (duration 4 minutes 18 seconds)
click to hear audio Graham Gill on Radio Caroline, 10pm on 8th March 1973, soon after joining the station. This is an edited version of a recording available from Our thanks to Ray Robinson for both Azanorak clips (duration 3 minutes 31 seconds)

During March Caroline issued an optimistic press release: “Our new aerial will be erected in ten days time .... signal to England will be better than any existing offshore signal .... will be just like the old days .... new DJs to be employed to run the station at 50,000 watts, 24 hours a day.” Despite this encouraging statement things did not go so smoothly. At 4.10pm on 25th March, in the middle of a record on the Caroline Club Request Hour, the station abruptly went off the air. The generator had failed.

mv Norderney

Radio Veronica's ship, mv Norderney, on the beach in April 1973. Photo kindly provided by Hans Hulshoff.

It was not just Caroline experiencing difficulties that spring. On the night of 2nd April storms ravaged the North Sea. Radio Veronica's ship, mv Norderney, was wrenched from her anchorage and thrown up on the beach at Scheveningen. This well-established station was in the middle of the build-up to a public demonstration, planned for 18th April, the day the Dutch Parliament was meeting to discuss the future of the pirates. It was vital that Veronica get back on the air quickly. However the Norderney was stuck firmly on the sand. In a gesture of solidarity both RNI and Caroline offered their services. RNI had a spare medium wave transmitter and Caroline was still silent while waiting for a new generator to be installed so either was available. Initially the offers were rejected but, when it became apparent that freeing the Norderney was going to be a long job, Veronica relented. A deal was struck with Caroline to hire the Mi Amigo. A new five ton generator was installed on the ship and, on 11th April, Veronica was back - broadcasting from the Caroline vessel on 259 metres.

click to hear audio A couple of clips from Radio Veronica, one including a name-check for Norman Barrington who was helping the Veronica guys operate in the unfamiliar studio, an extract from the Offshore Echo's tape Offshore Classics vol.3, used with kind permission (duration 1 minute 51 seconds)


Norman Barrington

Norman Barrington in the studio. Photo from the ‘Radio Caroline Picture Souvenir Book’ published by MRP Books.

letter from Kate Cary

A letter to a Caroline Club member from Kate Cary, explaining why the station is broadcasting the programmes of Radio Veronica. Click to enlarge.

By the day of the rally the Norderney had been prised free from the beach and was transmitting again so, for a while, Veronica was on both 538 and 259 metres. By the end of the week 259 was silent. Caroline now had some brand new equipment, installed for the Veronica broadcasts, and, even more importantly some cash. Work continued on the new antenna mast, designed by station manager Chris Cary (alias DJ Spangles Muldoon), and paid for with the money from Veronica. Ten sections of it had been erected when, on 14th May 1973, low powered test broadcasts began on 773 kHz. Unfortunately one length of the mast was installed upside down, but it seemed to work OK so was left as it was. The tests continued until 7.30pm on the 15th when they abruptly stopped. Later in the week more went out, this time on the old frequency of 1187 kHz. A variety of tones, music and noises were heard over the succeeding weeks and then, on 30th May, test transmissions began on both frequencies simultaneously. Chief engineer Peter Chicago had managed to get two separate services running from the same ship. Announcements in English on 773 kHz and in Dutch on 1187 kHz requested reception reports and these flooded in.

click to hear audio Test transmissions for Radio Caroline's Dutch service on 259 metres, 2nd June 1973 (duration 2 minutes 29 seconds)
click to hear audio Test transmissions for Radio Caroline's English service on 389 metres, 3rd June 1973. Both recordings kindly supplied by Martin van der Burgt (duration 2 minutes 10 seconds)

Radio Caroline programme schedule, June 1973.
773 kHz, 389 metres 1187 kHz, 259 metres
4th June 1973, first day of programmes:
06.00 Non-stop music
07.00 Johan Maasbach (sponsored)
07.30 Paul Alexander
09.00 Andy Archer
12.00 Spangles Muldoon (on tape)
13.00 Robin Adcroft
16.00 Norman Barrington
18.00 Paul Alexander
21.00 Norman Barrington
24.00 Dick Palmer
02.00 Closedown.
06.00 Non-stop music
07.00 Joost Verhoeven
10.00 Ad Peterson
12.00 Mike Storm
13.00 Joop Verhoof
16.00 Andy Archer
18.00 Henk Meeuwis
19.00 Classical music
21.00 Programmes as 389
02.00 Closedown.
From 19th June 1973:
06.00 Non-stop music
07.00 Johan Maasbach
07.30 Steve England
09.00 Johnny Jason
11.00 Andy Archer
12.00 Spangles Muldoon
13.00 Paul Alexander
15.00 Johnny Jason
18.00 Steve England
21.00 Paul Alexander
24.00 Robin Adcroft
02.00 Closedown
Sunday, as above except:
07.00 Steve England
08.00 Johan Maasbach
08.30 Steve England
10.00 Andy Archer
11.00 Dominee Toornvliet (sponsored)
12.00 Spangles Muldoon
14.00 Caroline Countdown of Sound
17.00 Johan Maasbach
17.30 as above
Programmes vary from day to day.
22nd June 1973:
06.00 Non-stop music
07.00 Ad Peterson
09.00 Joost Verhoeven
11.00 Ted Bouwens
13.00 Bert Bennett
15.00 Jerry van der Loo
18.00 Henk Meeuwis
19.00 Classical music
21.00 Norman Barrington
24.00 “Night Trip” (Dick Palmer, Chicago, Norman Barrington, Mike the Poet, etc.)
26th June 1973:
06.00 Steve England
07.00 Johan Maasbach
07.30 Roger Day (on tape)
09.00 Johnny Jason
12.00 Robin Adcroft
15.00 Johnny Jason
18.00 Steve England
19.22 Steve goes on leave, Paul Alexander takes over
19.46 Generator failure
06.00 Non-stop music
07.00 Jerry van der Loo
09.00 Tom Dekkler
11.00 Jerry van der Loo
13.00 Bert Bennett
15.00 Jerry van der Loo
18.00 Henk Meeuwis
19.00 Classical music
19.46 Generator failure

On 4th June 1973 Caroline entered a new era with the launch of two simultaneous services. Caroline International on 389 metres featured Top 40 music until 9pm. On 259 metres the Dutch Service was broadcast until 7pm, followed by two hours of classical music. At 9pm the two services combined for rock music programmes until the 2am closedown. At long last Britain had all-day English language free radio again.

click to hear audio Paul Alexander starting the Breakfast Show on the first day of the new Radio Caroline International, 4th June 1973 (duration 2 minutes 23 seconds)
click to hear audio Paul ending his first show at 9am, followed by Andy Archer. Andy remembers a couple of old friends - Michael Lindsey, then working for Purple Records, and plugs some concerts by singer-songwriter David McWilliams, managed by Caroline associate Jimmy Houlihan. Both clips are edited from a recording shared by The Offshore Radio Archive (duration 3 minutes 46 seconds)
click to hear audio Dick Palmer's Night Trip programme, went out on both frequencies of Radio Caroline and played rockier music than was heard during the day. This is an edited version of a recording available from Our thanks to Ray Robinson (duration 3 minutes 22 seconds)
click to hear audio Robin Adcroft sitting in for Andy Archer on Radio Caroline International on the morning of 15th June 1973. This is an edited version of a recording posted on The Offshore Radio Club Forum by Hans Hendriks. Our thanks to him (duration 3 minutes 43 seconds)

After two weeks of this arrangement, the two services split completely. From the 19th June, 389 was all Top 40 6am-2am, while 259 had rock programming from 9pm to 6am. Transmitter power was still relatively low: ten kilowatts on 259 and seven and a half kilowatts on 389, with a heterodyne whistle causing some reception difficulties at night. But, despite these technical problems, it looked as if, financially, things were improving. Within two weeks of commencing broadcasts the Dutch Service had signed twenty-five advertising contracts and the weekly revenue from the International Service was into four figures, thanks to the religious programmes of Johan Maasbach and Dominee Toornvliet, “The Pirate Vicar”.

click to hear audio Steve England on the International Service of Radio Caroline, during the evening of 25th June 1973. This is an edited version of a recording available from Our thanks to Ray Robinson (duration 4 minutes 40 seconds)

On 26th June, a familiar voice returned to the station: Roger Day.

click to hear audio Roger Day's first and only Breakfast Show on the new Radio Caroline International, 26th June 1973. This is an edited version of a recording made available by The Offshore Radio Archive (duration 3 minutes 20 seconds)

Roger's programme was pre-recorded on land. He was making plans to return to the ship but unfortunately that evening the two services of Radio Caroline were abruptly closed when, yet again, the generator failed. It would be nearly three years before there would be another daytime English-language service from Radio Caroline.

Back to part two.
Part four over the page.

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