THE EIGHTIES

When the Radio Caroline ship, the mv Mi Amigo, sank beneath the waves in March 1980, it looked like the end for offshore radio. Legal commercial stations were now licensed all across Britain. Was there still any demand for broadcasting from the sea?
 
Yes there was!
 
In 1983 Radio Caroline returned from a brand new ship, the mv Ross Revenge, and the following year the mv Communicator dropped anchor. This ship was the home to Laser-558, where you were “never more than a minute away from music”. At a time when licensed stations still had to operate within strict ‘needletime’ restrictions, this non-stop pop station with a team of highly professional American DJs rapidly won a massive audience. For the first time since the sixties, millions of people were listening to offshore radio again. The government tried to starve it off the air but, ultimately, it was lack of advertising that forced the closure. Laser-558 went silent in November 1985. It was replaced the following year by Laser Hot Hits but this second station was less successful and only lasted a few months.
 
Through DJ prosecutions, a government siege, the collapse of the ship's enormous aerial mast, a change in the law forcing the ship to a less protected anchorage, a London station being allocated the same frequency and a Dutch police raid on the ship, Radio Caroline kept on going but ultimately the odds stacked against her became too great. The station's last broadcast from international waters took place in November 1990.
 
The ship remained at sea but, a year later, a caretaker crew had to be rescued by helicopter when the vessel was blown onto the treacherous Goodwin Sands.
 
The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame Eighties Supplement pays tribute to the disc-jockeys who risked prosecution - and sometimes their lives - to keep the music playing from the North Sea.
 
The last few months of Caroline's broadcast life at sea is included in this Eighties Supplement even though, strictly speaking, it was the nineties by then.


mv Communicator


The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame is updated regularly and we are always on the look-out for new material to add to the site. If you have any information, photographs, recordings or contact details for any of the disc-jockeys we haven't been able to trace, please get in touch.

EIGHTIES DIARY

19/20th March 1980: The mv Mi Amigo sinks.
24th July 1981: First test transmission for Radio Paradijs from mv Lieve, anchored off the Dutch coast.
3rd August 1981: Radio Paradijs is closed by the Dutch police raiding the ship.
8th August 1983: mv Ross Revenge drops anchor in the North Sea, about one mile from the previous anchorage of the old Mi Amigo.
19th August 1983: Test broadcasts begin for a new Radio Caroline from mv Ross Revenge.
20th August 1983: After 41 months of radio silence, Caroline returns.
21st January 1984: First test broadcasts for Laser-729 from mv Communicator, anchored near Caroline in the Knock Deep channel of the North Sea.
19th February 1984: Last test from Laser-729.
7th May 1984: Non-stop music tests begin for Laser-558.
24th May 1984: Laser-558 begins regular programmes, 20 hours a day.
16th December 1984: Radio Monique begins regular Dutch language programmes from Caroline's Ross Revenge.
6th November 1985: Laser, silenced by generator failure, is escorted into Harwich by a government-hired surveillance vessel.
7th December 1986: Laser Hot Hits begins transmissions from mv Communicator.
20th April 1987: Laser Hot Hits closes.
10th June 1987: Ross Revenge forced to move to a new position due to the new Territorial Seas Act redefining the limit of British waters.
25th November 1987: Caroline and Monique are silenced by the aerial mast of the Ross Revenge collapsing.
4th December 1987: Caroline returns on very low power. Monique does not.
15th February 1988: Caroline increases power.
1st May 1988: World Mission Radio begins transmitting gospel music and religious programmes on short wave from Caroline's ship.
9th July 1988: Radio 558 begins programmes in Dutch during the day from the Ross Revenge; Radio Caroline now 6pm-6am.
6th November 1988: The Dutch station moves onto its own frequency and becomes Radio 819. Caroline resumes daytime service.
19th August 1989: The Dutch authorities, with British observers, carry out a raid on the Ross Revenge. Caroline is silenced, equipment is smashed or confiscated. Neither World Mission Radio nor Radio 819 return.
1st October 1989: Using salvaged gear, donated records and equipment, Caroline makes it back on the air.
(25th June 1990: London station Spectrum Radio opens on 558kHz, forcing Caroline to suspend full-time broadcasting.
4th October 1990: Caroline returns to the air on 819 kHz.
5th November 1990: 1am, Caroline closes down for the last time at sea.
10/11th December 1990: Ross Revenge in trouble. The Caroline crew is rescued by RAF helicopter. The ship remains at anchorage and is reoccupied a few days later.
1st January 1991: A new Broadcasting Act comes into effect increasing penalties for offshore and land-based pirate radio operators and giving authorities powers to board any unlicensed radio ship. Caroline remains at sea but silent.
20th November 1991: The Ross Revenge loses her anchor and is washed onto the Goodwin Sands. The crew is rescued by RAF helicopter. The ship is salvaged and towed into Dover Harbour.)

The inductees in The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame Eighties Supplement are listed alphabetically. More names are being added all the time. To find your favourite voice from the past either select it from the drop-down list below, search the site using the Google box or click on the appropriate page from the table of contents beneath.


 
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The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame would not have been able to produce this Eighties Supplement without the help of back issues of Monitor magazine, Offshore Echos and the Caroline Movement Bulletin. Our grateful thanks to the editors, publishers and all who contributed. Thanks also to everyone who has provided information, photos or recordings, especially The Offshore Radio Archive, Hans Knot, John Burch, Chris Edwards, François Lhote, Paul Graham, Peter MacFarlane, Dennis Mikelas, Jim Nantz & Ray Robinson of www.azanorak.com and all the collectors who share audio on the Internet Radiocafé and The Offshore Radio Club forums.

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80s Disc-Jockeys B 80s Disc-Jockeys I-J 80s Disc-Jockeys P
80s Disc-Jockeys C 80s Disc-Jockeys K 80s Disc-Jockeys Q-R
80s Disc-Jockeys D 80s Disc-Jockeys L 80s Disc-Jockeys S-V
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