When the pirates ruled

A number of businessmen saw potential. Off shore broadcasting to the UK of the newest hits would bring advertising revenue and attract the younger brigade.

Stations had to be beyond the three mile limit, out of UK territory. This meant a boat of some kind, usually not in the best of conditions, or an abandoned fort in the Thames estuary.

The big stations soon hit: Radio Caroline, Radio London, Radio Atlanta. Where I lived, Scarborough, we had Radio 270, until it re-located to Bridlington where the weather was more settled. 270 supposedly was a partial inspiration for the disaster of a film “The Boat That Rocked”.

Me and my chums always had great fun with our little transistor radios trying to pick up Caroline or London or even Scotland. Maybe Kenny Everett was playing the new Beatles’ record. Maybe John Peel was having, er, fun. We liked Stuart Henry!

You can look up the history of 60s pirate radio. There are so many tales, and in fact the BBC radio once did a six part documentary introduced by Noel Edmonds which I still have recorded, and this is interesting.

But the Government didn’t like it. The BBC was ordered to revise all the stations, thus Radio 1, 2, 3 and 4. Radio 1 picked up so many of the pirate djs: Tony Blackburn, Simon Dee, Dave Cash, Emperor Rosko… They copied the pirate formula, especially Radio London, though there were times initially when 2 and 1 merged.

One or two are still alive

So on this date exactly fifty-five years ago, the Marine, &c., Broadcasting (Offences) Act 1967 came into power and the pirates were gone, more or less.

Apologies for all the simplifications I’ve made.

It’s a lost world, will never happen again. It was romantic and special.

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