Jane Ballantyne (sometimes mistakenly spelt Valentine) An English woman who, after travelling around Europe, ended up working as a DJ in a Swiss club. There she met Radio Northsea International presenter Dave Rogers who invited her out to the RNI ship. Jane presented a programme on the short wave World Service of RNI for three successive Sundays, November 14th, 21st and 28th 1971. The first of these was live, the other two pre-recorded. Can anyone provide more information about her? (With thanks to Daniel Lesueur for confirming the correct spelling of Jane's surname and providing her autograph, right.)
Jane Ballantyne on her one live show on the RNI World Service, 14th November 1971. This is an edited version of a recording shared by The Offshore Radio Archive (duration 4 minutes 8 seconds)
Simon Barrett from Bromley, Kent, Simon joined Radio Caroline in November 1974, aged 20 (birthdate 20th June 1954). Previously a disco DJ, writer for Record Mirror magazine and an assistant publicity officer for BBC Radios One and Two, he had also been heard on a landbased pirate station in south-east London called Radio Alpha where he was known as ‘Bobby Graham’. Simon initially stayed on Caroline until the end of July 1975 but rejoined in October. When the police raided the Mi Amigo in November 1975, he was arrested and fined under the Marine Offences Act. He later wrote a book about the incident, and the events leading up to it: SOS. Ten Days in the Life of a Lady, published by MRP. Simon's theme tune was Come A Little Bit Closer by Fleetwood Mac and his nickname was Wally. He worked on Caroline again in the eighties (see entry in The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame ‘Eighties Supplement’) but was last heard of working in Majorca. We asked if anyone had more up-to-date information and, in June 2009, Mike Kozlowski emailed: “I spoke to him last week in the Irish pub O'Donnells in Cala D'Or, Majorca. I have known him for years. He managed a night club called the Piccadilly in Cala D'Or about 20 years ago and helped out at the Welcome Bar. I think he then decided to melt down and spend time with his dog. He has since come to the surface and works as a painter and decorator in Cala D'Or.” (Photo from ‘Radio Caroline Picture Souvenir Book’, published by MRP. Thanks to Ian Waite and Mike Kozlowski for their assistance.)
Simon battling against the elements on 8th November 1975, on Radio Caroline, the night the Mi Amigo lost her anchor in a force 6 gale and drifted onto a sandbank. Apologies for the interference. This clip is part of a longer recording made available by The Offshore Radio Archive (duration 1 minute 50 seconds)
Norman Barrington (also known briefly as Norman Barrington-Smythe - an Andy Archer joke. He thought it made the name sound even posher). Born in Walthamstow, London E17, in 1952, Norman was at boarding school in Hampstead, London, during the offshore hey-day of the sixties. Although fascinated by radio, 1968 saw him start work in merchant banking in the City. During this period, he followed the Caroline developments and when, in 1972, he heard it was about to return to the air, he grabbed the moment, made a demo tape (rock show format) and visited the Caroline office in Holland. The boss, Chris Cary (also known as DJ Spangles Muldoon) was suitably impressed and gave him a job. Norman's first show was on 3rd January 1973. As well as broadcasting on Radio Caroline, Radio Seagull and the English service of Radio Mi Amigo (whose broadcasts in Flemish during the day financed the ship) he was also studio engineer when Radio Veronica temporarily broadcast from the Mi Amigo in April 1973. It was Robin Adcroft, Bob Noakes and Norman who erected the final sections of the ill-fated aerial mast which fell down in October 1973. The original team had given up on the job two sections from the top, leaving it in a very precarious state. Seeing the situation, the three volunteered their services. It was Norman and Mike Hagler who masterminded the Caroline Stonehenge event of Mid-Summer's Day 1974. This later turned into an annual occurrence, without Caroline's involvement, although, sadly, the later events were not as peaceful. Norman left the Mi Amigo in August 1974. The following year he married his Dutch girlfriend, Door, and moved to Scotland. In 1994 and 1995 Norman was heard on a local restricted service station. In 1997 this became a fully fledged station, Waves Radio. Additionally, from 1997-2002, he joined forces with his former Radio Caroline colleague Brian Anderson, based near Inverness, where he produced and presented bi-lingual music shows for China, Mongolia and Vietnam. Norman attended the Caroline fortieth birthday party in April 2004 and is pictured here. Norman has a twin web site, one half concentrating on jingles and one on his Caroline career. The above biography is partly based on information from the latter. (Our thanks to Norman for his help and for permission to use the photo and audio from his website.)
Norman Barrington opening Radio Seagull for the night at 9pm on 13th September 1973. This is just a small part of a 78 minute studio recording available as a download from normanb.com (duration 3 minutes 44 seconds)
A Radio Mi Amigo/Lois Jeans car sticker.
A.J Beirens Born in Bruges, Belgium in 1947, AJ was employed by Townsend Thoreson at their ferry terminal at Zeebrugge. A radio fan, he was very useful to the owners of Radio Northsea International. Based in Zurich, they could only hear their station on short wave but, if that transmitter was off the air, they did not know what was going on. AJ would keep them informed by telex from his office. They came to rely on him. AJ suggested that the station should include a programme for DX-ers. It turned out that one of the owners, Edwin Bollier, was an enthusiastic DX-er himself and liked the idea. He asked AJ to present and produce the show. The first Northsea Goes DX was transmitted on 21st September 1970. From March 1973, he also presented a magazine programme Our World in Action. Both shows were only broadcast on the station's short wave outlets. AJ stayed with Northsea until the closedown but during the summer of 1974 also found time to present programmes on Radio Atlantis under the name of Michael O. In the late seventies he also worked for Caroline on a few French language programmes and on some roadshow appearances under this second name. AJ later set up Radio Nova International in Ventimiglia, Italy. In the eighties he was involved in the ill-fated offshore project Radio Paradijs. He was heard on Belgium's Radio Dynamo and (a land-based) Radio Paradijs. He went on to a long career as a news editor, freelance journalist for VRT Radio and stringer for BBC Radio Kent. He was the author of books on radio, history, genealogy, atheism, humor, quotations, etc. and, during the latter part of his life, wrote a very interesting blog called Getting High on Radio in which he talked about his love for the medium. Unfortunately he developed cancer and passed away on 26th June 2020, aged 72. For a time Northsea Goes DX issued a monthly duplicated magazine. There is an early edition here. Some of AJ's photos from his time with RNI are available on Flickr, and more here. (Photo by Bob Arnold from ‘Dee Jay & Radio Monthly’.)
A.J Beirens on the Northsea Goes DX programme of 26th August 1973. This clip is part of a studio recording made available by The Offshore Radio Archive (duration 3 minutes 38 seconds)
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Stephen Bishop The son of a farmer from East Anglia, born on Christmas Day 1958, Stephen first became involved with Radio Caroline in 1977 when he helped to organise boat trips out to the ship. He was familiar with generators, having worked with them on the farm, and was called on to help keep the ship's power supply going. Caroline was off the air at the end of 1978 and start of 1979 but, despite being silent, the ship still needed a crew and Stephen volunteered to help. After a long period of inactivity, Caroline returned to the air at Easter 1979 and Stephen was heard on the air for the first time. His first show was on 17th April 1979. In February the following year he left the station and joined the Voice of Peace in the Middle East, using the name ‘Johnny Moss’. He then moved to Ireland where he was heard on a number of stations under both of those names as well as ‘Johnny Lewis’ (and, for a short while, ‘Herman Yates’). In February 1984 he worked aboard the Laser ship, the Communicator, and was heard on its test broadcasts. In August 1984 he returned to Radio Caroline on its new ship, the Ross Revenge, as Johnny Lewis, the name he still uses (see entry in The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame ‘Eighties Supplement’). After the end of Caroline's time at sea, he appeared on some of the station's restricted service broadcasts on land. He presented the Breakfast Show on KMFM 107.2 in Kent for some time but, after spells with community stations Academy FM, RFM Radio, Seaside Radio and Coastal Radio, he can now be heard on Caroline Community Radio, a station serving the Maldon District of Essex. He is also still be heard on the internet incarnation of Radio Caroline. (Photo from ‘Offshore Echos’ magazine. Thanks to Johnny/Stephen for his assistance.)
Black Printz During the sixties he worked for a time for Reg Calvert, the owner of Radio City. Always keen on gimmicks, Reg decided that Radio City should have a programme called The Flying Dutchman Show presented by an anonymous DJ. This was Printz. He spent just one stint on the fort. On 23rd June 1974 he presented one pre-recorded show on Radio Atlantis as Black Printz and was later involved in the abortive Radio Dolphin scheme with Atlantis engineer Andy Anderson. He then worked on the Voice of Peace in the Middle East and on board the Mebo II, Radio Northsea's old ship, which by then was based in Libya. On 14th August 1978 he and Robin Adcroft put out a special programme in English to mark the anniversary of the Marine Offences Act. They told their bosses that they were testing the equipment! This was the final English language programme to be broadcast from the ship. Printz now runs a studio and production company in the UK. (This photo, courtesy of Hans Knot, was taken at the Radio Academy's ‘Celebration Of Offshore Radio’ in August 2007. Does anyone have a picture of Printz from his pirate days?)
Geoff Bolan broadcast on Caroline from November 1975 to January 1976 but his time with the station was plagued by sea-sickness and he did not return. On one occasion he was heard to refer to himself as Dave Evans. It is not known if that is his real name. In fact we know nothing about him at all. Do you? If so, please get in touch .
Doctor Boogie Another mystery man. The good doctor was heard on Radio Caroline for just ten days in March 1976. He sounded American. Can anyone provide information? It has been suggested that he was also heard on air using a different name. Can anyone confirm this?
David Brown broadcast on Caroline between May and July 1977 (where he had the nickname ‘Daisy’). He had previously been heard on London's landbased pirate Radio Jackie where he was known as ‘Tony Bond’. After his time on Caroline, he moved to Reading's Radio 210 to work as a journalist, under his real name of Kevin Stewart. In 1980 he left Radio 210 and formed a company called Tenza Data Systems, a firm which made self-adhesive computer labels. Although busy running this successful company, he also found time to broadcast regularly, on a freelance basis, on Radio Orwell and Saxon Radio. In 1987 he returned to radio full time. In 1992 he set up Island FM in Guernsey after a spell presenting on BBC Radio Guernsey & Jersey and Contact 94 in Lessay, France. He became Chief Executive of Tindle Radio, a firm which owned and managed local radio stations, but resigned from the company in January 2008. He then joined Celador Radio, for whom he ran The Coast 106 in Southampton. He then returned to Guernsey where from 2012 to 2106 he was a States Deputy, representing St. Sampson in Guernsey's States of Deliberation, the island's parliament. (Photo taken by Marc Jacobs, kindly provided by Hans Knot. Thanks to them both and to Vikki Stewart for her help.)
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