Pirates searching for a home

LANDLOCKED pop pirates wanting to broadcast from off the Felixstowe coast are still searching for a vessel to fulfil their dream.Radio enthusiast Shaun Brown and his colleagues have gone official and applied for a licence to become pirates after hearing that a commercial radio station for the Ipswich, Felixstowe and Woodbridge was up for grabs.

LANDLOCKED pop pirates wanting to broadcast from off the Felixstowe coast are still searching for a vessel to fulfil their dream.

Radio enthusiast Shaun Brown and his colleagues have gone official and applied for a licence to become pirates after hearing that a commercial radio station for the Ipswich, Felixstowe and Woodbridge was up for grabs.

Bidders will have from June to the autumn to submit their ideas to Ofcom, the Office of Communications and radio licensing body, for the new station, expected to have an audience potential of 500,000 and go on air in 2006.

They are preparing to submit the application next month but if they are successful, they currently do not have a ship to meet their needs.

Mr Brown, of Bredfield, near Woodbridge, said he and his partners visited the Orkney Islands to see the up-for-sale 50-year-old MV Communicator, once used to broadcast cult radio station Laser 558 to around 10 million listeners across the south east of England and Europe.

However, they were a little disappointed in its current condition.

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He said: "It's got leaks in several places and is not very seaworthy at all.

"We put an offer in but we don't know if they will accept it and are still waiting to hear.

"We have looked at other possibilities and have seen a lightship in the same area which might also make a good base. We have spoken to the owners but again are waiting for a detailed reply.

"Our application is going ahead though and we plan to submit it in June as soon as the licence is announced officially."

The company's aim is to broadcast from a ship anchored four miles off Felixstowe just as the pop pirates did in the heady days of the swinging sixties.

Only this time the authorities will not be hunting them down and running them out of British waters, cutting off their food supplies or warning people not to listen, as they did in the when the likes of Radio Caroline ruled the waves.

Mr Brown, who has been involved in radio stations, would love to recreate that era and atmosphere, though this time it would be completely legal.

The station would play all sixties music. Boat trips would also be arranged for people to visit the radio ship, tour the vessel, meet the DJs and see them at work.

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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