There wouldn't have been any offshore radio without the advertisers to pay for it. Much of the commercial revenue came from spot advertising - commercials usually of 30 or 60 seconds duration - but
there were also the longer sponsored shows.
On this page we remember a few of the many sponsored programmes that were aired on the pirate stations of the sixties. Some fitted the sound of the station perfectly; others seemed a little out of place:
A promotion for Memory Lane on Radio Caroline, a show sponsored by Fynnon Salts and introduced by a popular singer from the forties and fifties, Anne Shelton. From April 1965. Another wartime “forces
favourite”, Vera Lynn, also hosted a sponsored programme on the station - The Miners Make-Up Show (duration 46 seconds).
The Ognib Show on Radio Caroline from July 1965, with comedian Charlie Drake reading out bingo numbers. Recording courtesy of John Ashworth (duration 5 minutes 8 seconds)
Radio London was very protective of its Fab 40 format and the sponsored shows on Big L were usually a bit more in keeping with the station sound.
Tony Windsor in the studio with a Heinz baked beans can. Photo from ‘Who's Who In Pop Radio’, published by Four Square.
Radio London Senior DJ Tony Windsor on The Oxo Programme from December 1966. The co-host is “Katie”, the mum from the fictional Oxo family featured on the TV commercials.
This recording is copied from the master tapes. Spaces were left for records to be played in on transmission to ensure that the playlist rotation was not disrupted. Recording courtesy of John Ashworth (duration 5
minutes 15 seconds)
Playing listeners' requests was not permitted during Radio London's normal programming as they upset the rotation of the Fab 40. The only requests were played on a Sunday morning show sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive.
This clip is from the show of 15th January 1967 and features Tony Windsor accidentally revealing what will be number 1 on the Fab 40 in a few hours time! Recording kindly provided by Albie Somerset (duration 5 minutes 10
Produced in conjunction with Brides magazine, Radio London Brides was broadcast on Big L on Sunday afternoons. This edition, from 29th August 1965, was presented by Duncan
Johnson. Recording courtesy of Ray Andrews (duration 5 minutes 34 seconds)
‘Motor With Moss’ rate card, featuring the phone numbers and logos of both Radio Caroline and Radio London, kindly provided by Colin Nicol.
Some sponsored shows were heard on more than one station. For instance the weekly advertising magazine show, Motor With Moss, presented by racing driver Stirling Moss, went out on both Radios
London and Caroline on Saturday mornings. Advertising Magazine Shows, or ‘Admags’, had been a staple of early commercial television but had been banned in 1963. They consisted of a well-known personality
talking about products which might be of interest to the listeners. Manufacturers paid to have their products included. See the advertising rate card, right. Another show which turned up on a number of stations was
Call In At Currys which was recorded in different branches of the well-known electrical retailer. This programme caused problems for one of its presenters. Freelance broadcaster Pete Murray was signed up to
front some shows. One of his other employers, the BBC, did not take kindly to him being heard on the pirates (see cutting). All his BBC work dried up but, fortunately for him, came back when
he stopped appearing on the Currys show.
An edition of Motor With Moss as heard on Radio London. The first voice is John Edward, then Bill Hearne. Recording kindly provided by Albie Somerset
(duration 2 minutes 10 seconds)
Call In At Currys on 30th December 1966, presented by Mark Kelly from the branch in Wakefield. Recording from the CD The London Sound produced by Hans Knot and released by
Stichting Media Communicatie (duration 3 minutes 10 seconds)
Cutting from the collection of Luuk Meuwese, kindly shared by Hans Knot.
Radio City ran the long-running Basildon Request Show every Sunday. It was sponsored by the Essex town's newspaper, the Basildon Recorder, in partnership with various other local businesses
who paid for segments of the show. The regular presenter was the station's airtime sales executive Peter Jameson but this recording features Chris Cross.
Chris Cross on Radio City's Basildon Request Show from September 1965. This is a clip taken from a recording available from www.azanorak.com. Our thanks to
Ray Robinson (duration 4 minutes 47 seconds)
Radio Caroline's Terry Bate. Photo kindly provided by Robbie Dale.
Although it was well-known that offshore radio was popular, it was sometimes hard to persuade potential advertisers that it could also sell their products. Radio Caroline's Terry Bate came up
with convincing proof when he invented Caroline Cash Casino. Broadcast six times a day, Monday to Friday, on both Caroline ships, this competition was immensely popular - and profitable. To win the big money
prizes (over £4,000 won by one lady from Bangor, North Wales in May 1967) listeners had to identify a mystery object from a set of clues. They could enter as many times at they liked as long as each guess was
accompanied by a proof of purchase from one of the sponsors' products. These included Findus Foods, Weetabix, Galaxy Chocolate, VP Wines, Nabisco Shredded Wheat, Libby's tinned foods, Brands Foods, SPC Fruit and Alberto
VO5 shampoo. Sack-loads of labels were later taken round to the advertisers to prove its effectiveness. There is a photo of Terry with his partner Allan Slaight and one day's entries to Cash Casino
Bill Hearne launches Caroline Cash Casino. The mystery noise was a camera shutter. Mrs Barton of Barrow-in-Furness won £460 for correctly identifying it. Later competitions had rhyming clues instead of a sound effect,
and considerably larger prizes. Recording kindly provided by Alan Hardy (duration 1 minute 31 seconds)
Bill Hearne presents the cheque to a winner of Caroline Cash Casino and her family. She correctly identified the mystery object as Tommy Cooper's fez. Photo by Doug McKenzie from ‘Radio Caroline’,
published by Landmark Press.
Caroline Cash Casino was such a success that similar competitions were introduced. Radio London had the Swinging Sound Of Silver contest, based on the sounds of coins cascading, sponsored
by Nescafe and Weetabix. On Caroline there were two more, the Weetabix and Colgate-Palmolive Partners in Profit and the Lucky Birthday Bonanza, sponsored by Halex Toothbrushes, Nescafe and Golden Wonder
Radio London's Swinging Sound of Silver competition with Ed Stewart from 2nd May 1967, near the end of its run. The clip is taken from a recording shared on the Internet Radiocafé,
now known as the Radiotrefpunt (radio meeting point) forum by Jan-Fre. Our thanks to him (duration 2 minutes 56 seconds)
Carl Conway presents Partners In Profit on Radio Caroline from March 1967. This clip is part of a longer recording shared by The Offshore Radio Archive (duration 5 minutes 52
part of an edition of Radio Caroline's Lucky Birthday Bonanza with Tommy Vance, sponsored by Nescafe. The clip is from the CD The Legend Lives On produced by Hans Knot and
released by Stichting Media Communicatie (duration 40 seconds)
Press advert for the three contests running on Radio Caroline.
After we originally posted this page, The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame received an email from former Radio 390 presenter David
Sinclair who wrote “A bill-payer on 390 was the Marie Simone Hour, a mixture of music and horoscopes. I think Marie did very well out of it! Does anybody have a sample of it?” We do. Here is a
Marie Simone programme from 1967 hosted by David's old colleague, Christopher Clark:
The Marie Simone Hour on Radio 390, presented by Christopher Clark, from 13th March 1967. Recording kindly provided by Ray Andrews (duration 5 minutes 38 seconds)
Here's another programme from Radio 390 dating from the previous year. It is a weekly jazz show sponsored by The Sunday Times:
The Sunday Times Hour of Jazz on Radio 390, presented by musician and broadcaster Alexis Korner, from 18th June 1966. This is edited from a recording available from www.azanorak.com. Our thanks to Ray Robinson (duration 6 minutes 19 seconds)
Here are more audio memories of some sponsored shows heard on Radios Caroline and London:
The end of a 1965 edition of the daily Chappell Show on Radio Caroline, presented by Carl Conway and sponsored by the Chappell Piano Company. Produced in Caroline House by Gerry Duncan
(duration 1 minute 41 seconds)
The Andrews Summer Show, sponsored by Andrews Liver Salts, hosted by Noel Andrews, the brother of the famous radio and TV presenter Eamonn Andrews. This, and the recording above, were kindly provided by John
Ashworth (duration 6 minutes 13 seconds)
Part of a weekly Bulova Lifelines programme on Radio Caroline in December 1965. This off-air recording is from Caroline South. The voice at the beginning belongs to Carl Conway then Ted Francis tells the life
story of singer Nat ‘King’ Cole who had died earlier that year. Both this and the following two clips are courtesy of The Offshore Radio Archive (duration 2 minutes 55 seconds)
‘Reveille’ magazine plugs its own sponsored show. Cutting from the collection of Luuk Meuwese, kindly shared by Hans Knot.
The end of an edition of UK Tops The World on Radio London from 14th April 1965, sponsored by Miners Make-up and presented by Martin Locke (duration 2 minutes 5 seconds)
Kenny Everett, who had previously been sacked by Radio London, returned to the station via a pre-recorded sponsored programme. This edition of Top Deck Time is from April or May
1966. Kenny later came back to the station full-time after promising to behave! (duration 4 minutes 40 seconds)
A Radio London Coffee Break, sponsored by the drink of the same name, from 17th April 1966, featuring the radio and TV presenter McDonald Hobley visiting Littlewoods Pools in Liverpool. As with some other Radio
London shows, gaps were left for the music to be played in on transmission (duration 6 minutes 8 seconds)
Part of an edition of the Juicy Fruit Show, presented by Lee Peters and heard on both Radios London and Scotland. The date is unknown but is probably from around January 1967. A studio recording, both this and
the cut above have been kindly provided by John Ashworth (duration 2 minutes 11 seconds)
The Petticoat Show, sponsored by the magazine of the same name and hosted by Mike Lennox. This off-air recording is from the CD The London Sound produced by Hans Knot and
released by Stichting Media Communicatie (duration 1 minutes 13 seconds)
Johnny Moran presenting the Elida Show on Radio London on 24th September 1966, recorded at the Marquee Club in Soho and featuring an interview with the then little known David Bowie. This extract is taken from a
recording available from www.azanorak.com. Our thanks to Ray Robinson (duration 6 minutes 51 seconds)
Lorne King introduces The Car Advertiser Show on Radio London, 18th May 1967. Recording courtesy of Hans Knot (duration 6 minutes 44 seconds)
European radio listings for ‘The World Tomorrow’ from the November 1966 edition of ‘The Plain Truth’ magazine. Scan courtesy of www.herbert-armstrong.org.
All the offshore stations with the exception of Radio Essex/BBMS benefited from airing sponsored religious programmes. Probably the best known of these was The World Tomorrow, presented by
Garner Ted Armstrong or his father Herbert W. Armstrong. This half-hour show was heard on Radios Caroline North, London, Scotland, City, 270, 390, Britain and 355. There were many others, including The Allen Revival
Hour (Radio Caroline North & South and City), The Herald Of Truth (Radios Scotland and London), Oral Roberts (Radio Caroline North & South) and The Voice of Prophecy (Caroline North
& South and Radio City). It has often been suggested that without the income from these evangelists a number of the offshore stations would have struggled to make ends meet.
Mike Lennox and The World Tomorrow on Radio London, 23rd July 1967. The voice at the end is Ed Stewart. Recording courtesy of Ray Andrews (duration 2 minutes 39 seconds)
After Peter James has closed the pages of Eve, the woman's magazine of the air, it is time for The World Tomorrow on Radio 390 (duration 1 minute 49 seconds)
Martin Kayne bringing us The World Tomorrow on Radio 355. Recording kindly provided by Andy Cadier (duration 45 seconds)
Chris Cross lists some of the upcoming religious shows on Radio City and introduces the first of them, Radio Bible Class (duration 2 minutes 9 seconds)
It is August 1967 and the Marine Offences Act is about to make it illegal to advertise on offshore radio. As a result it is the last Revival Time to be broadcast on Radio Caroline South. The voice at the end
belongs to Robbie Dale (duration 1 minute 10 seconds)
An advertisement for Radio City's ‘Voice of Prophecy’ broadcasts kindly provided by Hans Knot.
Sunday afternoon on Radio 355 and, after playing the brand new Easy-Listening Chart, Mark Sloane introduces Sunday Storytime (duration 1 minute 40 seconds)
Tom Edwards back-announcing a Voice Of Prophecy programme on Radio City. This and the three clips above were all kindly provided by Nick Widdows (duration 1 minute 2 seconds)
Martin Kayne pauses his Breakfast Club programme on Radio 355 for an edition of Revive Your Heart, 4th August 1967. Recording kindly provided by Andy Cadier (duration 45 seconds)
We would like to add more audio and memorabilia to this page in future updates.
If you have anything to contribute, please get in touch.
The voice of Findus Foods, Frobisher Collingwood, is here.