Published 17th March 2023.


Press release / text on back cover:

Who would have thought that working behind the scenes at Radio Caroline would involve smuggling money from one country to another, proving to the police that a body wasn't buried in your garden, knowing that “Bob the Mole” from the Home Office was listening in to all your phone conversations, that you'd be taking part in a controversial launch of a band or working with George Harrison as he set up Handmade Films?
A sane person might have run for the hills. But being naïve (and perhaps not entirely sane) these were just a few of the shenanigans that the author encountered as she embarked on years of working with Ronan O'Rahilly - the main founder of Radio Caroline.
In the 1970s Radio Caroline listeners would, if they were lucky and everything was running smoothly, hear presenters playing great album tracks that couldn't be heard on any other station. Behind the scenes though, others were beavering away to ensure Caroline stayed on the air.


The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame reviews ‘Behind The Scenes at Radio Caroline (in the 1970s)’:

The British government outlawed offshore radio in 1967 so, when Radio Caroline returned to air in the seventies, the station was forced to operate in a clandestine manner. The staff were breaking the law so everything had to be done in secret. The police or the men from the Home Office could be watching.
In 1973 Lyn Gilbert, an Australian single mum living in London, met Caroline's boss Ronan O'Rahilly at a party. They got on well and a while later he asked her to work part-time, one afternoon a week, on a film project he was putting together. On her first day there she was asked to help out with Radio Caroline too, and soon found herself carrying large sums of cash across national borders, visiting major record companies to collect new albums and going through demo tapes to find potential disc-jockeys.
Because everything had to be done 'under the radar', O'Rahilly never told anyone more than he thought they needed to know so there was often a degree of confusion; dealing with large amounts of cash, there was also the risk that some of it could go astray; and when you are asking boatmen to break the law to take supplies out to a radio ship, how do you know who you can trust? Lyn had to negotiate her way through this minefield while also working on the film project, raising her son and doing the other jobs that paid her rent.
She was involved with Ronan's launch of the Loving Awareness Band (although this wasn't his first choice of group name) and he also roped her into what appears to have been an attempt to fix the pop charts. Mostly she managed to avoid the attention of the authorities but there was a suspicion that the men from the ministry did enter her home on one occasion while she was out - and made themselves a fry-up.
Because Lyn had formed a relationship with one of the DJs we also learn some of what was going on at sea - like the time her boyfriend attempted to wash his hair during a water shortage on the ship. He filled three saucepans with water - one hot, one cold and one for rinsing. Unfortunately the third pan hadn't been cleaned properly and still contained the remains of some chicken soup, resulting in unfortunate consequences.
Those of us who used to listen to Caroline in the seventies will learn much that they weren't previously aware of from this book, including a great deal about Ronan O'Rahilly - a charismatic and charming man but not an easy guy to work for. A wheeler-dealer of the first order, he had his own unique way of doing things. Lyn's book gives a rare insight into what was going on behind the scenes while we were simply enjoying the programmes.

The photo of the Mi Amigo on the book's cover was taken by Rob Olthof. The original is here (scroll down the page).
Lyn's book is available now from Radio Caroline's online store, Amazon and other outlets.

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