Caroline's Pirate Gold - The
Type: Oldies/Documentary, Classic Rock/Documentary
Format: 3-hour weekly program
Hosts: Duncan Larkin
Recommended for: Oldies, Classic Rock, Personality
Programming tool: Audience builder, image
and brand enhancer
Commercial opportunity: Six minutes of local
commercial avails per hour
Easter Sunday 1964, with their words having been pre-taped (since
they were too nervous to broadcast live) Chris Moore, and the then
unknown actor Simon Dee, announced "This is Radio Caroline on
199, your all day music station". Then a Rolling Stones' record
was played, dedicated to Caroline's founder, Ronan O'Rahilly. Caroline
was on the air, the monopolies of the BBC and Luxembourg were shattered.
Radio in the United Kingdom was changed forever.
O'Rahilly was motivated to start his own ship-borne radio station
due to his frustration as an artist-manager at getting air-play for
his new prodigy, Georgie Fame. Ronan had previously managed and lost
The Animals and had been involved with Giorgio Gomelsky in managing
The Rolling Stones before Andrew Loog Oldham signed them to Decca.
The British pop scene was about to explode, but it needed an outlet
to promote these emerging talents. Radio Caroline was that catalyst,
bringing non-stop music radio to Britain and helping to break new
bands like The Who, The Kinks and many others that became part of
1960's 'British Invasion'.
to Radio Caroline was an act of rebellion in itself for the
new teen generation and the 'Sound Of The Nation' encapsulated the
youth spirit of Britain in the 'Swinging 60's'. Almost immediately
the revolution spilled over onto the Euopean Continent as the "pirates"
high-power transmitters could be heard from Amsterdam to Zurich.
the National Opinion Polls announced that Radio Caroline, unlicensed
and broadcasting from a ship in international waters, had the greatest
weekly audience of any commercial station in the world. The official
response from the British government was to adopt new legislation
making it a criminal offence to make an unlicensed broadcast -- with
punishment of a prison sentence for up to five years! In 1975, radio
listener Jackson Hunter was convicted and subsequently imprisoned
for 60 days -- for displaying a Radio Caroline car-sticker!