WHAT IS OFFSHORE RADIO?
You might wonder why people have put radio stations on ships, forts and other structures. Ever since radio started, governments have wanted to control it, and claim the airwaves for themselves. Unfortunately for governments, radio signals do not recognise national boundaries, and while they may be able to control broadcasting from their own territory, it has proved difficult for them to control signals from neighbouring countries.
Many governments, especially in Europe, decided that the population would hear what the government wanted them to hear, rather than the other way around. State broadcasting tended to be staid, dull and boring. A number of entrepreneurs soon realised they could get around this, by broadcasting from one country into another.
During the 1930's, a number of English language stations, based in France, broadcast popular programmes to Britain. The only problem with this was that a friendly neighbouring country was needed. The next logical step was to go the "no mans land" of international waters, outside a countries boundaries.
The offshore radio stations of the 1960's and since, used this method. The offshore radio stations, popularly known as "pirate" radio stations, broadcasting from international waters were not illegal. They were simply outside of the law of the countries to which they broadcast.
A VERY BRIEF HISTORY
Radio Mercur started broadcasting from a ship off Denmark in 1958, and its success soon led to several other stations off the Scandinavian coast, as well as Radio Veronica off the Dutch coast. Radio Caroline, probably the most famous European offshore radio station, made her first broadcast on Easter Saturday 1964, from the MV Caroline, anchored in the River Thames estuary. She was soon joined by a number of other offshore radio stations on ships and abandoned wartime anti-aircraft forts.
Radio Caroline broadcast offshore, on and off for over 26 years, until new laws forced her off the air. Offshore radio was not only confined to Europe, there was also Radio Hauraki off New Zealand, Radio NewYork off the US coast, and the Voice of Peace and others off Israel.
OFFSHORE ECHO'S MAGAZINE
is the only magazine in the world solely devoted to Offshore radio, and is published by FRANCE RADIO CLUB, a non-profit making association set up in 1974. France Radio Club has its roots in the free radio movement of the 1960’s, when groups like the Free Radio Association and Free Radio Campaign were formed to support the offshore radio stations of that era. These groups set up branches around Europe and across the world. France Radio Club grew out of what was originally the Free Radio Campaign branch in France. During the late 1970’s a number of “radio libres” (free radio) stations were set up in France. At first they were persecuted by the authorities. The combination of the authorities attitude against free radio and the gradual demise of the original Free Radio Campaign, or FRC, the French group changed its name to France Radio Club, still retaining the initials FRC. Later in an enlightened move, the French authorities legalised the “radio libres”.
OFFSHORE ECHO'S magazine was first published in 1974, as a duplicated newsletter written in French. As the readership grew the magazine expanded. English, Dutch and German language sections were added and the magazine changed to litho printing, allowing photographs to be used. By the end of 1982, the English language section had grown to such an extent, that it was necessary to produce two separate magazines.
In February 1995, Offshore Echo’s celebrated with a special colour magazine to mark our 100th edition and FRC’s 21st anniversary.
OFFSHORE ECHO’S magazine is devoted to Offshore Radio, with news and nostalgia on the subject of Offshore radio, throughout the world. There are also interviews with offshore radio personalities archive material, exclusive photographs and general news.
Offshore Echo's is unique in being the only magazine in the world solely devoted to offshore radio.
It's readers are international, spanning more than 25 countries. They include listeners, enthusiasts and radio industry professionals from all over the world.
FRANCE RADIO CLUB
is an independent group of listeners, sharing a love of radio culture and free radio, especially "offshore" radio. The offshore stations, set up on board ships, and forts, are at the heart of modern radio in Europe. They were extremely popular throughout the 1960's & 70's and into the 1980's, when they were the only stations to provide young people with an exclusively music format.
The listeners called them " Free Radio" stations - the authorities "Pirate Radio". While famous offshore radio stations like Radio Caroline, no longer broadcast freely from International waters, the memories of offshore radio are far from dead.
France Radio Club is involved in a campaign to return an offshore station like Radio Caroline to the air in its original form – live – and broadcasting free, from the International waters of the North sea. France Radio Club has consulted with numerous European and International organisations and individuals. The aim is to preserve history and- the pioneer of commercial music radio in Europe - as a cultural monument, for the benefit of the future generations.
France Radio Club is looking at all means, financial, logistical and material that would allow an offshore station to come back on the air and keep alive the spirit of Free Radio and adventure at sea - the concept of Offshore radio for today's, and future generations.
One of the main aims of France Radio Club is to collect as much archive material (sound, film, video, paperwork, documents, photographs, etc) on the subject of offshore radio and its history, and make these available to the public.
We are always looking for good quality material, to preserve the history of offshore radio, for the present and future generations.
France Radio Club has helped numerous media sources - TV and Radio with research on the offshore stations. For example, BBC2's Arena and French TV's Thalassa programmes on Radio Caroline.
France Radio Club has regularly participated in various debates on radio.
P.O. Box 1514, LONDON W7 2LL, ENGLAND
Email : OEM
FRANCE RADIO CLUB,
338 rue Pierre Leroux, F-76580 LE TRAIT, FRANCE
Email : FRC