Supporting Radio Caroline



Radio Caroline, 28 years ago...

Radio Caroline, the free station that broadcast from several ships anchored in the North Sea, is known worldwide.

She arrived on the air in 1964, and from then on fought against wind and tide, the idea that radio should be free and innovating and be a source of entertainment and adventure. And it was an adventure indeed! As for innovation, all that exists today in the field of radio was invented by Radio Caroline and fellow offshore broadcasters, and by those who accompanied her on board their various ships. This with extraordinary enthusiasm, well shown in the film "The Boat that rocked", inspired by the life of Radio Caroline. The Life of Radio Caroline has seen twists, dramas, disappearances and returns. The legendary pirate fought for years to impose her unique style, making the dream for generations of listeners. Thanks to DJ’s and listeners, the station fought incessantly for survival, facing the aggression of the authorities, as well as the elements. Her freedom has never been accepted by successive British governments. Having gained legitimacy after years of struggle for freedom, the radio has never been recognised by the various British authorities. They jammed, blocked, besieged, and boarded her, but in the end she always returned, true to her legend… Until the British authorities voted in a law that allowed them to board the ship by force, without any previous authorisation and with full immunity, even if in international waters, without respecting her flag ...

Radio Caroline was killed on November 5, 1990, 28 years ago. Her ship remained at sea to try and prepare for a return under new conditions, to get around the new British law.

But the people in charge of the ship at the time found themselves unable to properly handle the new challenge and began to seek a unilateral solution for a landbased Radio Caroline - forfeiting a free future - without even keeping her founder Ronan O'Rahilly or her supporters informed. The ship ran aground in late 1991, and had to be brought into an English port, under the control of the British authorities, a supreme humiliation for listeners to Radio Caroline, who had already lost their station.

None of the team in charge then, had any documentation showing that they represented the owners of the vessel. As these owners - Canadians - never officially claimed their ship, the British authorities eventually accepted, by default, these people as representatives of the owners, especially because, with the help of money from supporters, they proposed to pay the outstanding salvage charges.

Some saw then the opportunity to collaborate with the authorities, with backward-thinking the hope of obtaining a legal license to broadcast to England. Such a national license of course, would never be granted...

Many suitors then claimed the prestigious name of Radio Caroline. Some, because they held the ship, wrongly believed that the name was legitimately due to them. The name has even been filed in England... A real shame for a station that has always fought the establishment! Opportunistic stations of the same name - usually on the internet and with few listeners - were added to the current despairing radio world. But they have no moral or legal right to rely on the offshore radio that revolutionised the world of broadcasting in Europe in 1964.

Radio Caroline is more than just a name; it's a free spirit which simply cannot be recreated from some landbased English studios, controlled by authorities whose sole objective over the years has always been to crush the free radio station!

France Radio Club would like to point out that the true Radio Caroline is no longer on the air since 1990! Her last ship, the Ross Revenge, is in the hands of a group of former supporters who repaint and maintain her more or less regularly (as some enthusiasts clubs do with steam locomotives). This is laudable, but this is not free radio or even radio at all. This ship is not Radio Caroline. Before her there were many others ships which have sheltered offshore radio... The most notable one was probably the MV Mi Amigo.

At a period when innovation and adventure have disappeared from the airwaves, a true free station must return, so that presenters and listeners come together again for the fun of radio.

And the only way to do that is to restore her freedom. And the only place where this is possible, is at sea! It is time Radio Caroline returns to sea.


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