Sunday, 18 February 2018

24. WONDERFUL RADIO LONDON EVEN IN CHURCH

In the second half of 1964 more fortbased stations took to the air along the British east coast. In the Thames Estuary Radio City (ex Radio Sutch), Radio Invicta (later rebranded as KING and subsequently as the legendary Radio 390), started broadcasting from derelict World War II forts. Then arrived the heavyweight.

With many offshore stations already on the air Wonderful Radio London came late to the party. But when Big L started transmissions on 266, just before Christmas 1964, the station sounded so much better than Caroline and the other broadcasters. Especially the jingles made the station come across slick and professional. Also, from the start ‘Big L’ offered a very strong signal. One could hear it everywhere. And that was literally true.

In those days -although I was 17 and an outspoken atheist- my mother still forced me to attend church on Sunday. For a long time I had been most unwilling to do so, especially since my parents stopped going to church years before. To survive an hour’s worth of tedious boredom I usually took some Franz Kafka (my favourite author), disguised as a prayer book. With the advent of Radio London attending mass became less of an ordeal however.

It so happens that the new PA-system in the church at Zeebrugge was not properly grounded. Apart from producing a hum, the whole system also conducted itself as a very crude receiver. The result was that when sitting next to any of the loudspeakers in the church one could hear Radio London in the background. As the priest only made sparing use of the microphone, Big L’s programme could be enjoyed almost without interruption. This sort of gave a whole new meaning to “Go to the church of your choice”, one of the Pams-jingles that Radio London used from time to time over the weekend.

More of AJ's radio- and other anecdotes.

1 comment:

  1. Radio london on 266 was a really great signal. On some of the old style valve radios I used to repair, the sound from Big L was almost FM quality and it sounded fantastic. I'm sure they were using more bandwidth than they should, but that was certainly OK by me!

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