Radio Caroline legends return to Felixstowe seafront for commemorative weekend
PUBLISHED: 08:57 10 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:37 10 September 2017
Legends of the airwaves gathered to commemorate swashbuckling pirate radio station Radio Caroline’s revolutionary transmissions from a cargo ship anchored off Felixstowe.
A commemorative stone was unveiled at the cliff-top viewing area in Wolsey Gardens – looking out to where transmissions began in March, 1964.
Fast-talking California-born DJ, Emperor Rosko travelled from London in a convoy of Mini Mokes for events honouring the station’s early years – although his arrival was delayed by the fleet getting lost en route to the seaside.
He was joined by the likes of Alan ‘Neddy’ Turner, Ray Clark, Mark Wesley, Roger ‘Twiggy’ Day, Ipswich-born Peter Antony – one of Radio Caroline’s newest hosts – and Tony ‘Royal Ruler’ Prince, who travelled from Maidenhead to be reunited with old colleagues.
Co-author of The Royal Ruler and the Railway DJ – about his impact on listeners in communist Czechoslovakia – Mr Prince broadcast off Felixstowe before joining Radio Caroline North.
“Radio Caroline was really born from the frustration of teenagers who weren’t sufficiently serviced with pop music,” he said.
“In the days of great bands, the BBC played only a handful of their records because it was up against needle time restrictions of the Musician’s Union. Instead of The Beatles, we had to put up with Bob Miller and the Millermen’s version of A Hard Day’s Night.
“Our saving grace was Radio Luxembourg. Then Ronan O’Rahilly had his idea for Radio Caroline and everything changed.
“We used to catch the tender from Harwich and go three miles out with the likes of Tony Blackburn and Kenny Everett.
“It’s where I learned to be a DJ.”
Events in Felixstowe were also the first civic recognition of Radio Caroline being awarded a licence to broadcast to Suffolk and north Essex on the former BBC World Service medium wave frequency.
Brian Nichols, of the Felixstowe & Offshore Radio Group, which organised events with the Felixstowe Society, said: “It was a brilliant occasion – better than we dared hope for.
“Four years ago, I wrote for the Felixstowe Society about the 50th anniversary of Radio Caroline.
“A conversation with chairman Philip Hadwen, who sadly died about 18 months ago, encouraged us to do something for Heritage Open Days in 2014.
“From there, we created a Facebook page – and here we are for the stone unveiling.”