Part Three: Caroline sails north.

On the evening of Thursday 2nd July 1964 Ronan O'Rahilly of Radio Caroline and Allan Crawford of Radio Atlanta announced that their two stations were joining forces. Radio Atlanta was to be renamed Caroline South and the Fredericia, the original Caroline ship, would leave the east coast and sail round the country to a new anchorage off the Isle Of Man. This would enable Caroline to offer national coverage. (There is a Sunday Mirror report from December 1964 revealing the background to the deal here.)

Ronan O'Rahilly and Allan Crawford announcing the deal.

Some newspapers reported that the two were merging, this was not strictly correct. A deal had been done. Both stations were struggling financially but, because Caroline had the deeper pockets, its backers had agreed to take care of Atlanta's debts. In return they would get a share of the southern ship's income. A joint sales operation was set up to sell advertising for the two stations. Although both were now using the Caroline name, they remained independently run - for now. It was not until the end of 1965 that the Caroline North team would win control of the southern ship too.
From the original Caroline on-air team, Tom Lodge and Jerry Leighton chose to stay on board and head north. In those days the disc-jockeys did not play their own records. That duty was taken care of by studio technicians. We know of two who were on the voyage - Alan ‘Neddy’ Turner and someone just referred to on air as “Terry”. We don't know his surname but Bryan Vaughan has suggested that it may have been Radio Atlanta's Australian studio engineer Terry Saunders.
Simon Dee decided not to make the journey. He chose to swap ships, as did Doug Kerr, to join some of the former Radio Atlanta personnel who were to host the programmes of the new Caroline South.
At 12.30am on Saturday 4th July the engine was started, the anchor was raised and the Fredericia began her historic journey. At that stage, the listeners had not been told the ship's eventual destination. There was a pre-recorded programme of jazz music going out at the time but Tom Lodge took over with a live show soon after 1am.

click to hear audio Tom Lodge with the Captain and studio engineer ‘Neddy’ soon after the start of their journey (duration 3 minutes 22 seconds)
cutting from The Times press release
The Times, 3rd July 1964. The journey round Britain.
Radio Atlanta press release announcing the new arrangement. Click to enlarge.

Saturday 4th July 1964

We have pieced the programme schedule together from surviving recordings. Assuming it was the same on each day of the journey, the daytime output ran like this:

6am - 9am

The Early Show with Tom Lodge

9am - 9.30am

On The Air (part one) with Tom Lodge

Tom Lodge

click to hear audio

9.27am Tom Lodge welcoming new listeners as the ship sails along the south coast, passing St.Leonards (duration 2 minutes 12 seconds)

9.30am - 11am

On The Air (part two) with Jerry Leighton

11am - 12 noon

Top Deck with Jerry Leighton

Jerry Leighton

click to hear audio

11.05am Jerry Leighton spinning a request, brought out by speedboat, as the ship passes the Seven Sisters and Newhaven (duration 4 minutes 11 seconds)

12 noon - 2pm

Music Around Lunchtime with Tom Lodge

click to hear audio

12.03pm Tom Lodge, joined by Neddy, as they sail past Brighton (duration 2 minutes 23 seconds)

2pm - 4pm

Soundtrack with Jerry Leighton

4pm - 6pm

The Big Line Up with Tom Lodge
(Saturday's show featured a run down of the new Top 50.)

Alan Turner

click to hear audio

4.47pm Sailing past the Isle of Wight and Neddy announces that the station has travelled 166 miles. A bit later Captain Hangerfeld gives details of the ship's timetable and reveals the ultimate destination (duration 5 minutes 44 seconds)

6pm - 9pm

Sunset Spin with Jerry Leighton

click to hear audio

Jerry Leighton ending his show, before closing the station down at 9pm. Early evening reception was poor, as can be heard on this extract (duration 1 minute 24 seconds)

Foreign interference on 199 metres meant that there was no point in Caroline broadcasting between 9pm and midnight.

Sunday 5th July 1964

Caroline returned to the air at 12.05am with The Late, Late Show until 3am. Tom Lodge presented it on the 4th. Did he do it every night or did he and Jerry alternate? After a three hour break, the programmes resumed at 6am.

click to hear audio

8am Tom Lodge on The Early Show as the ship sails along the south coast of Cornwall (duration 1 minute 45 seconds)
click to hear audio

10.30am Jerry Leighton acknowledges the cars flashing their headlights from the Cornish coast as the ship passes the villages of St Just and Pendeen (duration 24 seconds)
click to hear audio

2pm Jerry Leighton on the Soundtrack programme. Apologies for the poor reception (duration 1 minute 52 seconds)

Monday 6th July 1964

click to hear audio

Monday afternoon and the ship arrives at the Isle of Man. The first voice is The Captain's. Tom Lodge ends Music Around Lunchtime and then Jerry Leighton is on the Soundtrack programme when the ship reaches the final destination. Apologies for the interference (duration 4 minute 56 seconds)

As you can hear from Jerry Leighton's announcement, the ship dropped anchor in Ramsey Bay, Isle Of Man, at 3.32pm on Monday 6th July 1964. This anchorage was to be home to the Fredericia until March 1968.

Thanks to: GJB Sales, Lynne Sims (with tapes from Martin Lynch's collection), Harm Koenders of The Offshore Radio Archive, Ray Robinson's, John Bennett and Albie Somerset for the recordings of Caroline on the move; Tom Lodge for the Alan Turner photo; Alan Turner for the Cornwall news cutting; Hans Knot for the Radio Atlanta press release. The photos of Tom Lodge and Jerry Leighton were published by The Caroline Club.
Part four of ‘Caroline in the Sixties’ over the page.
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