Jack Curtiss' pirate memorabilia

Look Boden has kindly translated the Dutch newspaper article that Jack Curtiss saved from his pirate days:

Telegraaf Friday, November 4th 1966.

Jack Curtiss: This Station is Becoming Something Big

By Tom Brouwer.

On Monday November 14th, at 7 o'clock in the morning, the second Dutch pirate radio station will be launched on 227 metres in the medium wave band. But it will not be under the name “Swinging Radio Holland” as the station has unofficially been called until now. The American owners of the radio station have discovered that the name Radio Holland already exists in ships' radio communication traffic. “We don't want to cause confusion”, says station director Jack Curtiss, “and that's why we are going to change the name. Imagine what would happen if somebody came to us about an accident on a ship.”


In the meantime, the leaders of the pirate radio station are working feverishly. A temporary headquarters has been set up in an Amsterdam hotel. Two Americans and a South African, Bill Vick, Robert Thornton and Basil van Rensburg, are in residence. And it is here that Jack Curtiss plans his auditions, getting ready to recruit Dutch disc-jockeys. Following an interview with him published in this newspaper he received inquiries from 30 candidates. They included professional radio people from Hilversum, freelance DJs, journalists and the rest from different walks of life. On Thursday evening Jack Curtiss left London for Amsterdam. He telegraphed all the applicants in advance to come to his hotel. There he staged his auditions. He recorded the voices on tape. These were later edited and reviewed in a leased studio. On that basis, he decided over an hour, who he would hire and who not. “I wanted to hear them all” he said. He has now hired six of them and that's enough. “No, there are no ‘golden boys’, no people from Hilversum and no freelance people”.


“I wanted to have people who are enthusiastic, who are prepared to stay on a ship for at least 14 days uninterrupted and who want to make something big of the station.” That's why the ‘golden boys’ were not in sight. “In the first place, they always think they know best, which is not necessarily bad, but that won't work with our concept.” Of course something unexpected can always come up and, if that happens, he has a list of ten more names.


Next week Curtiss leaves for Holland again. Then he's going to forge a team from his new boys. That's why he doesn't want to reveal their identities. “I first must mould them before others do. I'm gonna train them and I'm gonna make them the best DJs they possibly can be,”; he says. “The conditions are favourable, because they will be working with a crew of very experienced American and English DJs who operate Britain Radio and Radio England from our ship 24 hours a day. They will learn to present every kind of music especially as we don't yet know which direction musically we will go,” says Curtiss. “That's we didn't rely on hiring DJs with lots of previous radio experience. They are mostly too specialized in a particular kind of music.”


The leaders of the pirates are moving out of their temporary Amsterdam headquarters and are keeping busy leasing an office and looking for staff members. Basil van Rensburg is responsible for the advertising sales and has a truly big job ahead of him. They are also busy coming up with a new name for the radio station and, in cooperation with a big advertising bureau, they are designing a format for listeners who don't find their musical tastes satisfied by Radio Veronica.

With many thanks to Jack Curtiss and Look Boden.

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