Richard Thompson Born 19th July 1960 in Woolwich, London, he broadcast on hospital radio and various London land-based pirates before joining Radio Caroline in August 1978 where, on his first day, he was given the nickname ‘Buzby’ by Dutch DJ Marc Jacobs. Richard stayed until the mv Mi Amigo sank in March 1980 and was then involved with a few ex-Caroline colleagues in an unsuccessful attempt to launch a new offshore station, Radio Phoenix. He set up a local cable station, Greenwich Sound, where he presented the mid-morning show, was Head of Music and made the commercials. In 1981 he joined BRMB Radio in Birmingham where he took a new name, Bob Lawrence, the name he still uses. In 1984 he moved on from BRMB to become a freelance voice-over but returned to run the station's commercial production department, while still presenting shows when required. In 1987 he transferred to Beacon Radio in Wolverhampton, managing the company's production department and presenting weekend programmes. When independent local radio separated their AM and FM output, Bob became Programme Manager of Beacon's newly launched AM easy listening station, W.A.B.C Radio. In 1991 he moved back to Birmingham and Buzz-FM, also picking up his career as a voice-over artist. In 1992 he was tempted back to BRMB to present the stations newly created album shows on Friday and Saturday and the Sunday Rock Show. Following BRMB's takeover by Capital Radio he moved to Signal Radio in Stoke on Trent but, between 1994 and 1997, it was back to BRMB - to their oldies service, XTRA AM. In 1998 he accepted a 12 month contract to help launch Fosseway Radio in Leicester while continuing with his voice-over work. In 1999 he was invited back to Radio Caroline, now operating from studios on land and broadcasting via satellite. Since then he has also worked on Millennium Radio, a station based a quarter of a mile from the estate in south-east London where he grew up and KM-FM in Canterbury. He now runs his own production company and is a busy voice-over artist but still regards his offshore days as the best of his life. “It taught me so much ... about life and people as well as broadcasting. Still I meet people who tell me that they wish they had done it. I'm very proud of the fact that I belong to a very small group of people who have broadcast on Caroline over five consecutive decades. Nigel Harris, Johnnie Lewis, Martin Fisher and I all started in the '70s. I doubt there are many stations worldwide who can claim that.” Richard/Bob has written a novel which revolves round offshore radio. The Last Great Adventure for Boys is out now and available here. For more details, see thelastgreatadventureforboys.co.uk. A syndicated programme, Bob Lawrence's Album Collection, was heard on a number of stations including the internet incarnation of Radio Caroline for many years, ending in February 2020. Between April 2018 and May 2021 Bob was on United DJs Radio, an internet station set up by Tony Prince. There are recent photos of him, taken at a 2018 DJs' reunion, here. (Our thanks to Richard/Bob for his help. He also kindly supplied the photo, taken on board the mv Mi Amigo in 1979 by Jeremy Chartham. Bob's website is www.boblawrence.co.uk.)
Richard Thompson on the early morning Madrigada programme on Radio Caroline, 14th August 1978 - his very first show on the station. Recording kindly provided by Hans Knot (duration 4 minutes 8 seconds)
Russell Tollerfield An engineer on Radio London during the sixties, Russ presented one show on Radio Seagull on 21st August 1973 while visiting the mv Mi Amigo. He was later an engineer for Capital Radio in London then Chief Engineer for Radio Victory, Ocean Sound and the annual Isle of Wight temporary station Cowes Radio. He died in April 2017.
Dave Townsend From Molesey, Surrey, Dave was a regular presenter with the unlicensed landbased stations Radio Telstar, Radio Jackie and Radio London Underground during the seventies. He had a keen interest in electronic music and was taken on by Radio Atlantis in the summer of 1974 to present a one hour weekly show called The Synthesizer Experience on Saturday nights. The programe was recorded on land and Dave did not work on the ship. (Our thanks to Dave Owen for the information.)
A promotion for Dave Townsend's programme, The Synthesizer Experience, on Radio Atlantis. Recording kindly provided by Hans Knot (duration 49 seconds)
Free Radio Association car sticker.
René van de Snoek worked in the Radio Caroline office in The Hague and co-presented a one hour show on Radio Seagull with station manager Charlotte Ribbelink during the evening of 13th January 1974. There are photos of him here.
Monique van Dijk From Breda, Holland, Monique was Richard Thompson's girlfriend. She spent the end of 1979/start of 1980 on board the mv Mi Amigo with him. At that time there was a shortage of Dutch broadcasters on the ship so, despite never having presented any radio before, Monique took on a few news-reading shifts on the Dutch service and occasionally played some records. She also presented one hour of the Sunday night Nice n'Easy show on the English service on 30th December.
Monique van Dijk on her one and only English language broadcast on Radio Caroline, from the Nice n'Easy show of 30th December 1979. This recording was donated to www.azanorak.com by Dave Bullock. Our thanks to him and Ray Robinson (duration 3 minutes 3 seconds)
Mike Wall-Garland Known on air as “Mike the Poet”, he was a diesel engineer on the mv Mi Amigo who broadcast occasionally on both Radios Seagull and Caroline in 1973 and 1974, usually reading poetry. In September 1973 he published an anthology of the poetry he had read on the air. There are a number of pictures featuring Mike in Ian Anderson's Mi Amigo photo album. After leaving Caroline, Mike worked as an embassy chauffeur in Italy where he was killed in a car crash on 17th December 1974. He was 27. (This photo from ‘Happy Birthday Radio Caroline, 20 Years Old, Easter 1984’, published by Monitor Magazine.)
Mike Wall-Garland, better known as “Mike the Poet”, reading a short verse he has written on the first night of broadcasts from Radio Seagull, 24th July 1973. This is taken from a much longer recording of the station's first night on air shared by The Offshore Radio Archive (duration 1 minute 15 seconds)
Ray Warner Born in Romford, Essex, real name Raymond Anderson, he was the boss of East Anglian Productions and Jumbo Records which he started in 1968 while still at school. These two organisations were well known to collectors of offshore radio-related material over many years. His broadcasting career started in 1970 when he recorded station trailers and promotions for Radio Northsea International from his home studio. In 1974 Ray began presenting shows on Radio Atlantis under the name Ray Warner. Recorded in the EAP studios in Frinton, Essex, these were broadcast weekly from 14th July 1974 until the station closed down in August that year. He was later heard reading the English language pop news on the Belgian station Radio Mi Amigo. Ray's production company, EAP, was also involved in many TV projects, producing thousands of TV and radio commercials, corporate videos and outside broadcasts. During the eighties he bought the mv Communicator and ran Laser Hot Hits. Since then he has been involved in a number of radio projects including Mellow 1557, Rock FM, various Radio London re-creations, LBH Radio and Big L-1395, an AM station with a license to transmit from Holland but with studios based in Frinton. Both these last two projects were the subjects of television documentaries. Ray is currently running The Spa Pavilion, a theatre in Felixstowe. (Photo copyright Ray Anderson, reproduced here with permission. Thanks to Ray for his assistance.)
Ray Warner on Radio Atlantis from 28th August 1974, just a few days before the station closed down. This is an edited version of a recording made available by The Offshore Radio Archive (duration 4 minutes 2 seconds)
Mark Wesley had broadcast on Radio Essex, Radio 270 and Radio Scotland during the sixties under the name Mark West. His biography can be found in the main part of The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame. Following the closure of the sixties offshore stations, Mark made occasional appearances on the BBC's Radio One Club but was mainly employed in the music business as a record plugger. He returned to full-time broadcasting on 10th March 1970 when he joined Radio Northsea International. They already had a DJ called West, Alan West, so Mark became known as Mark Wesley. An accomplished musician, he produced some of the station's jingles and adapted some film music to make the familiar RNI ‘boom tune’ (as featured in the programme clip below). He stayed with RNI until the September 1970 closedown, although he was on shore leave at the time. He returned to record plugging for a while then in May 1971 joined Radio Luxembourg, moving in 1983 to Saxon Radio in Bury St.Edmunds. He was heard on the satellite station Radio Nova International (owned by Chris Cary, alias Spangles Muldoon), Capital Gold and others. After leaving radio presenting he ran his own video production company for many years but has now retired. Mark published his first novel in April 2015. ‘BanGk!’ is available in both paperback and Kindle versions. This was followed by ‘Frack!’ in 2017 and ‘Dead City Exit’ in 2019. (Photo from the RNI Souvenir Book, published by Hit-Publications, Zurich.)
Mark Wesley counting down the new Top 30 on Radio Northsea International, 6th September 1970. This is an edited version of a recording available on www.azanorak.com. Our thanks to Jim Nantz and Ray Robinson (duration 3 minutes 55 seconds)
RNI letter heading, click to magnify.
Alan West from Mordern, Surrey, Alan had previously worked on Radios London, Britain, 390 and 270, the last station under the name Ross Randell. His biography can be found in the main part of The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame. He joined Radio Northsea International in February 1970 and stayed until the September 1970 closedown, when he joined the United Biscuits Network to present their overnight programme. In January 1971 RNI returned to the air and Alan's was the first voice to be heard. He was joint senior DJ with Stevi Merike. It was Alan who was on the air when the Mebo II was firebombed in May 1971. In August that year RNI parted company with both Steve and Alan. The latter returned to the UK and was heard occasionally on BBC Radio London. He also worked for an American organisation in London investigating UFOs. During the summer of 1978 he was on the Caroline Roadshows in the Benelux but in October joined Radio Orwell. From there he moved to Radios Hallam, Hereward and Wiltshire. After a stint at ABC Tramore in Ireland, he moved to the Voice of Peace, off the coast of Israel, where he was known as Rob Scott. Riviera-104, Buzz-FM, Rock-FM (a Spanish station broadcasting to Gibraltar) and others followed as well as community radio projects in London and Wales. It is believed that he died in 2017 at the age of 70. (Photo from the RNI Souvenir Book, published by Hit-Publications, Zurich. Thanks to Paul Graham for his assistance.)
Alan West opening a Friday evening programme on Radio Northsea International, 4th June 1971. This is an edited version of a recording that was made available for download from The Offshore Radio Guide (duration 5 minutes)
Dave West A fan of the offshore stations of the sixties, Dave was determined to get behind the microphone himself. Following a spell with the well-known Roger Squire DJ studios in St John's Wood, north London, Dave produced a demo. This led to him joining Radio Caroline in June 1973. His first show was on the 5th June but he wasn't heard again after the following day's programme. Sadly sea-sickness had got the better of him and he was unable to continue with Caroline. He returned briefly to Roger Squire's, later becoming a DJ in clubs and dance halls. Dave returned to the airwaves in 1977 at Swansea Sound and spent a couple of years at the station presenting a weekly soul show. Dave left radio in 1980 to set up his own business in Lancaster but the urge to return to the airwaves became too great and he rejoined Radio Caroline in 1987 (see entry in The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame ‘Eighties Supplement’). Having set a record by being the DJ with the longest gap between stints on the station he badly mis-timed his return. It coincided with the hurricane of October 1987. Once again sea-sickness interrupted his offshore career. Dave went back to his business but, following a move to the Isle of Man, became involved with a bid to buy the island's local commercial station, Manx Radio. This never came to fruition but Dave became convinced the island should have its own international radio voice and formed a project which became Isle of Man International Broadcasting. This station never made it onto the air although the company still exists. In January 2010 he launched Pirate FM on Tenerife in the Canary Islands where he presented a daily soft rock album show between 10pm and midnight. The station closed in June 2010. (Our thanks to Paul Graham for much of the above information and for the photo of Dave, taken on the Isle of Man in 2010.)
Alan Wheeler A cook on the mv Mi Amigo, Alan presented one programme on Radio Caroline on 15th May 1973.
Peter Wolf An Australian, he broadcast on Radio Caroline for four days in June 1974. According to Bob Noakes's book Last of the Pirates, Peter was a singer who Radio Caroline boss Ronan O'Rahilly had employed after meeting him in the Melkweg (“Milky Way”), an Amsterdam hippy haunt. Peter had no radio experience and apparently had never even heard of Caroline but O'Rahilly was not deterred and sent him out to the mv Mi Amigo to be a DJ. Unfortunately his ship-mates were not impressed by Peter's broadcasting abilities. They played a practical joke on him which led to him leaving the ship on the next tender. In December 2018 The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame was contacted via Facebook by an Australian musician/journalist/producer/ventriloquist called Pete van Strat who told us that he had been Peter Wolf on Caroline. He has since had a long and varied career, including periods performing on a cruise ship, appearing in the original Australian cast of Jesus Christ Superstar and playing the blues.
Peter Wolf on Radio Caroline in the early hours of 27th June 1974. Tape kindly provided by Per Alarud who recorded the programme at his home in southern Sweden (duration 4 minutes 20 seconds)
Jason Wolfe When Don Allen was Programme Director of Radio Northsea International, he took on a couple of DJs he had previously worked with on Caroline North. One of these was Jason Wolfe (his biography can be found in the main part of The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame). Jason joined RNI on 1st June 1974 but only stayed a month. Unfortunately station owner Edwin Bollier did not appreciate his programmes and decided to dispense with his services. In 1976 Jason and his wife Penny moved to the United States. Jason freelanced with PBS Radio and was heard on KALX, the university radio station for Berkeley. They returned to the UK in 1983. Jason worked on Radio Thamesmead and did film extra work while studying drama. Sadly he died of cancer in 1986. (This photo of Jason on Radio Caroline North was kindly provided by Penny. Does anyone have any photos of him on RNI?)
Jason Wolfe on the Sunday Request Show on Radio Northsea International, 16th June 1974. This is an edited version of a recording from RNI's FM outlet made available by The Offshore Radio Archive (duration 5 minutes 6 seconds)
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