Bid to broadcast from off Suffolk coast

POP pirates could soon be broadcasting sounds of the swinging sixties again from off the Suffolk coast – but this time they would be entirely legal.There would be no need for the authorities to hunt them down and run them out of British waters, or cut off their food supplies or warn people not to listen, as they did in the 1960s when Radio Caroline ruled the waves.

POP pirates could soon be broadcasting sounds of the swinging sixties again from off the Suffolk coast - but this time they would be entirely legal.

There would be no need for the authorities to hunt them down and run them out of British waters, or cut off their food supplies or warn people not to listen, as they did in the 1960s when Radio Caroline ruled the waves.

For this time the ship would be sending out its radio signal under an official licence - as the new radio station for Ipswich, Felixstowe and Woodbridge.

Ofcom, the Office of Communications and radio licensing body, has announced it will advertise a licence for a new commercial station in June with the deadline for bidders for the licence in the autumn.

Radio enthusiast Shaun Brown is hoping his proposals for an offshore station will secure the new licence.

Mr Brown of Bredfield said: "The era of the pop pirates was just fantastic and everybody loved the music and the jingles and the romance of them being at sea and broadcasting in that way.

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"I would love to recreate that era and atmosphere, though this time it would be completely legal. There is something very magical about the thought of radio being broadcast from a ship.

"The station - if it got the go-ahead - would play all sixties music, which I feel would be very popular. We would have jingles like those of the sixties and give people a real flavour of what it was like.

"It would be very different to the two local radio stations we currently have - and that is very important.

"But I think people would be very interested and really enjoy it. We would be the first legal offshore radio station.

"I would also like to arrange boat trips so people could come out to visit the radio ship and have tours of the boat, meet the DJs and see them at work - I feel that would attract lots of interest."

Mr Brown, who has been involved in radio stations, including community radio, in the area, is bringing together a partnership of five to form a company to run the station and drawing up a business plan to submit with his licence application.

The idea would be to have the ship anchored four miles off Felixstowe.

The MV Communicator - once used to broadcast cult radio station Laser 558 to around 10 million listeners across the south east of England and Europe - is up for sale and talks are to take place with its owners.

Mr Brown said: "The licence is for an audience of around 500,000, but we would be keen to see if we could also get on to satellite."

The new station is expected to go on air in 2006.

Ipswich Local Radio, a consortium run by businessmen and radio experts, has also announced a bid for the new licence for a station with a music policy close to Radio Two but also giving local news and information.

n What do you want to see in a new radio station? Write to Your Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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