Here is a great video of Thames Radio,a South London medium wave pirate from the late sixties and early seventies.
Monday, 24 June 2013
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
This was an FM Pirate that broadcast from just the Italian side of the Franco-Italian border,beaming at The South of France.Taken from;
- The Nova story Nova was founded in Spring 1979 by a group of free radio enthusiasts inspired by the success of the offshore pirates - particularly the first RNI, Radio Northsea International. When the passing of Dutch legislation to outlaw offshore radio closed down most of the remaining pirates in the North Sea, and even Radio Veronica joined the Hilversum 'club' of licensed broadcasters supported by subscribers, the Swiss owners of RNI, Meister and Bollier, are said to have considered sailing the MEBO II to the Italian coast to commence broadcasting there under the name of Radio Nova International. However, relaxation of Italian laws on private broadcasting, resulting from an almost anarchic proliferation of landbased pirates in that country, made the expense and inconvenience of broadcasting from ships at sea rather unnecessary. Meister and Bollier lost interest in the Nova project, but gave their blessing for a group of Dutch, Belgian, German and French investors to use the name. Best known among them was AJ Beirens (pictured left), but they also included Ruud Kegel (Danny Thomas - pictured centre), Nils van Schijndel, Peter Janssen (pictured right), and Richard Adaridi. Licensing a private radio or television station in Italy was then as simple as going to the local post office and filling out a form. Frequencies were more or less a free-for-all, although you didn't want to jam a station up the road if you could avoid it, just in case those violin cases didn't really contain musical instruments. Nova wasn't really interested in the Italian audience on the 'Riviera dei Fiori', being aimed at the French Riviera on the other side of the border from its mountain-side location at Camporosso, near Ventimiglia in the province of Imperia. Over in France, a tight state monopoly still had a strangle-hold on both state radio (ORTF, later Radio France) and the apparently independent 'périfériques', such as Radio Monte-Carlo, Radio Luxembourg, Europe 1 and Sud Radio - which the government controlled through a holding company called Sofirad. Landbased pirates such as Lorraine, Coeur d'Acier had begun to challenge this monopoly, and the election of François Mitterand as President brought about the licensing of hundreds of private stations in 1981, but in 1979 the private station with the greatest impact on radio audiences on the French Riviera had been Azur 102 - which also broadcast from the Italian side of the border. From huge, directional FM aerials alongside the studios in a converted holiday bungalow (Bungalows San Giacomo), Nova tested on 101.5 MHz, and found the signal reached way past Menton, Monaco and Nice, as far as Cannes and even (patchily) to Saint-Tropez in the département du Var at the western extreme of the Riviera. The station launched in four main languages: English, French, Dutch and German, although occasionally they announced the name, frequency and address in Italian. The on-air line up featured Programme Director Danny Thomas, AJ Beirens, Guy Starkey, Nadine, Pierre du Nord, Peter Janssen and Coeurdelion Richard (Richard Adaridi), and they all presented news bulletins in their own languages. The money began to run out, though, in Summer 1979, because the sales operation consisted of a single representative based in Cannes, Norbert Netto, who found the market reluctant to support a station aimed at unmeasured and often transient groups of expatriates and tourists. Some of the original advertisers were impressive names, such as Townsend Thoresen ferries and the Dutch newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws which was very progressive (for the time) in printing a Riviera edition. These were contra deals, though, and actual cash deals were few and far between. The station struggled on until the winter of 1980/1, with Kegel and van Schijndel at times running an 18-hour operation alone, and debts to the owner of the bulgalow park, Martin Groenendijk, mounting up. In 1981, fresh investment and the 'transfer of control' to a partnership between Groenendijk and ex-Radio Scotland presenter, Bob Hogarth, (by then a resident of Monte-Carlo,) brought a new lease of life to the station. Ditching the Dutch, German and Italian presentation, the station was to be firmly targeted at the British expatriate community and sales were placed in the hands of the well-connected Parisian aristocrat and occasional presenter, Edouard de Portalès. New presenters were brought in, including from France (Guy Starkey who was studying at the Université de Nice), from England (Mike Stevens and Marc Lawrence, both ex-Radio Caroline and Andy St John, ex-Voice of Peace) and from Denmark (Peter Griffin, ex-Voice of Peace). During protracted talks with another British expatriate investor based in Monte-Carlo, the station won many more listeners and a small number of local advertising contracts. Rumours began to suggest London's Capital Radio was considering investing, when Managing Director John Whitney visited the Principality. However, the partnership of Groenendijk and Hogarth broke down in June 1981 with the collapse of the talks, and presenters had already begun to drift away: beginning with Mike Stevens and Marc Lawrence, then Programme Controller Guy Starkey, followed by Peter Griffin and Andy St John. By August, a new presenter, Fred Winston had joined the station. The Nova name lives on, largely because of its international appeal, on stations across Europe and beyond - most famously in the English-speaking world in Eire, where Chris Carey launched and ran the very successful Radio Nova.
Sunday, 27 January 2013
DK5DR is a very powerful German radio amateur from the far west of Germany.
Mainly heard on 40 metres,he has upset several operators by what they regard as his "Arrogant" style.
I like him.He runs about a kilowatt with very nice mod and has an opinion on most subjects.I think "Bob Clondike" should come clean and give us his callsign...........
Because this is his blog dedicated to Walter and I think it's way over the top.....
Friday, 21 December 2012
This post is based simply on my memories and logs and if readers have any additions or corrections they would like me to add,please e-mail me.
At the time MW and SW transmitters built around the good old 807 valve were very easy to obtain as there were many people with the expertise to build these rigs.However,FM transmitter builders were still a rarity.
Despite the fact that most radio listeners were still listening to AM more than FM,the sound quality that FM offered above AM and the possibility to broadcast in stereo too was tempting to the Pirates.
Another important factor was range and ease of use.For example,with a 50 watt MW transmitter and a good quarter wave antenna you could expect to cover maybe a third of London with a good signal.But with the same power and a well beamed aerial you could cover most of London.Plus FM aerials are much easier to erect and more discreet too.Most of the early FM Pirates were already established MW operators who were "having a dabble".
As far as I can remember the first FM Pirates in London to broadcast regularly where The LTIR(London Transmitter of Independent Radio) which was a group set up to provide transmission facilities for different stations on different nights of the week.The idea was that because of the higher sound quality FM offered over AM that these would be "specialist" music stations.As far as I recall,all they wanted from you were 2 hours of quality programmes every week and at least 3 people to help out on the transmission site on the night of the broadcast.
I think they began in 1972 and stations that used their facilities,amongst others,were Radio Aquarius,described as a Sweet Music station,Radio Jackie with a Pop format,Radio London Underground playing Progressive Rock Music and Radio Odyssey.All broadcasts were on 94.4Mhz and typically would be on Friday,Saturday and Sunday nights.
The first FM Pirate station I have in my log book was Sun Radio on 92.8Mhz on 01/03/1975,I even wrote down their mailing address of 62,Westgate Road,South Norwood,SE25 4LZ!
At about this time the LTIR disbanded and a similar organization calling itself London Stereo came into being.Besides putting out their own programmes they also relayed Radio London Underground and North Surrey Radio.
Also at about this time one of the most influential and pioneering of the FM Pirates took to the air on 92.4Mhz.This was Bob Tomalski's(aka Roger Tate) Radio Invicta.They were the first "Black Music Station",albeit Black Music being played by white boys,whereas Dread Broadcasting Corporation years later were the first true Black Music Station.A subtle,but I think important distinction.Radio Invicta paved the way for Kiss FM in later years who with a similar format became one of London's most successful Pirate stations and were eventually rewarded with a licence.Bob Tomalski or Roger Tate will also be well known to some of you older SW Pirate fans for his many years of work on SW Pirate radio stations,as will a few more people as this post progresses.
On 10/04/1977 I logged a Radio Telstar South on 92.8Mhz..........yes The Golden Boys are still doing it on SW today!
In 1978 another new station appeared on 94.4Mhz in stereo under the name of Uptown Radio.
They broadcast mainly from a hill in NW.London called Horsenden Hill with a very good signal despite the fact that it is not very high,as you can see;
Radio Free London playing rock Music on 92Mhz,some of the people involved with this station did revive RFL on SW a few years ago.North Kent Radio also on 92Mhz.Yes,Dave Martin and Andy Walker changed the name to WNKR years later to broadcast on MW and SW.And Thameside Radio on 90.2Mhz who were quite probably the last big "Old School" Pirate Radio station on FM.
They put out a huge signal because their main transmission site was the tallest residential block in London at that time Trellick Tower;
Thursday, 20 December 2012
There is much pessimistic talk today about the validity of shortwave as the prime vehicle of international broadcasting. Critics present several arguments: high operating costs, environmental considerations, a need to re-channel available funds into satellites and the Internet, and what is loosely termed a decline in shortwave. From the point of view of the broadcast planner and decision-maker, this catalogue of negative arguments appears sound and reasonable. From the perspective of a large segment of the audience, however, reductions in shortwave services are inexplicable and a source of frustration and even anger.
Let us examine the issues carefully, using the senses and instincts of the investigative journalist. We are in a period of restructuring, a contemporary buzzword that is used and abused so frequently as a catch-all excuse to justify virtually any action taken by management, regardless of how inappropriate. We are in a period where human endeavor is scientized, and we no longer have faith in our common sense judgment as human beings. This is the age of consultants and high technology. The media are ruled by time-and-motion studies and so-called market forces. Radio and television no longer produce programs, but products. Today there are no listeners, there are markets.
How did we arrive at this state of affairs? My view and that of seasoned colleagues is clear: international broadcasting is no longer directed by professional intuition. Instead, an army of theoreticians and technocrats, often with little or no broadcasting knowledge, experience or dedication, have taken control of the decision-making process in many organizations.
With limited experience of their own, these people are forced in desperation to turn to someone else for advice. These are the consultants, the industry gurus, in which so much hope is placed. But all too often, these ‘experts’ have overstated their own qualifications, and have to rely in turn on others for advice. Unfortunately, this ‘other’ advice often comes from individuals or institutions with vested commercial interests. These special interests also include broadcast technologies.
Let us get down to cases and examine the satellite broadcasting industry. Many billions of dollars have been invested in telecommunication satellite technology. It is elementary that the investors expect a return on their investments, and considering the limited life span of satellites, this return must be as fast as possible. The main thrust of broadcasting today is television, and it was for television that the current broadcast satellite technology was designed. In concrete terms, the concept of transmission capacity for these satellites was designed with TV in mind, not radio. Sound Broadcasting, to use the ITU terminology, was promoted later as a way to merchandise over-capacity and to improve the return on investment.
But the allocation and accessing of sound channels on satellites is user-unfriendly, and therefore unattractive for most people. Furthermore, although impressive statistics based on satellite-households are often quoted to support the satellite radio argument, only a very tiny fragment of this potential audience ever listens to radio via satellite. In Europe, where direct satellite radio is allegedly highly developed, an independent study revealed that a mere one percent of satellite households ever used their satellite receiver for sound broadcasting.
Mobility is another striking deficiency in present satellite sound broadcasting. Current technology does not permit us to carry a satellite receiver in our pocket and take it along on our travels. Furthermore, reception indoors is also virtually impossible. Cable distribution of international programs is often cited as a promising alternative to direct home satellite reception, but here too, cable installations are fixed; they cannot be used away from the home setting.
Superficially, the cost of shortwave as compared to satellite appears higher. But if the factors of market penetration and acceptability are considered, as well as the crucial factor of personal cost to the listener, shortwave wins hands down. There are literally millions upon millions of shortwave receivers in use. They are compact, portable, easy to use, and above all, cheap. Technically speaking, there is no other sound broadcasting medium that can compete with shortwave in these respects.
For years now, I have heard the repeated, tired refrain: “shortwave is dead”. I recall the teachings of C.G. Jung and his concept of Collective Consciousness, in which a prevailing belief or slogan, repeated often enough, and although even a lie, can influence the thinking of an entire group or even nation. Goebels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, embraced this concept, and used it to manipulate an entire nation, with cataclysmic results.
Powerful, manipulative forces are at work here. Although difficult to prove, there has even been speculation that considerable ‘promotional fees’ may have been paid in the process. A big part of the sales talk involves belittling shortwave as a relic of the past and exalting the virtues of technologies that are frankly not yet mature. This sounds good in today’s shallow-thinking, buzzword-ridden world, but in the final analysis it doesn’t make sense. To make the propaganda strategy complete, those who would question the slogans are conveniently labelled as uninformed, obstructionist, inflexible, old- fashioned, or generally lacking in vision.
Like it or not, from a purely technical point of view, the fact is, there is nothing at this moment to replace shortwave. One day there may be. In the meantime, it is good and wise to gain a foothold in the new technologies, but not to overestimate or over-represent their value. If market orientation is truly important, than we would have to admit that the demand is still for shortwave. Ironically, shortwave technology does not stand still either: there is a current effort to develop digital shortwave, which would go far in curing analogue shortwave’s qualitative shortcomings.
To quote the old saying: Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. Another popular and wise saying is: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I for one am in favor of new technology, provided it demonstrates a clear superiority to what is currently in use. In the case of shortwave, some would like to bury it before it has even died.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS REGARDING INTERNET BROADCASTING:
The above essay was written at a time when Internet audio streaming was still immature. Although radio over the Internet (audio or “radio” on demand, or “podcasting”) opens a new and wider vista for broadcasters and would-be broadcasters, the Internet as a primary medium exhibits the same deficiencies of mobility as does satellite broadcasting. In this sense, the terms “satellite” and “Internet” are synonymous.
Written in 2002 & revised in 2007