Saturday, 24 February 2018
28. THE WRITING IS ON THE WALL FOR THE PIRATES
Already in late 1966 the writing was on the wall for the radio stations off Britain's coast. The government of Harold Wilson, egged on by Post Master General Tony Ben, was determined to bring in legislation to make it illegal for British citizens or companies to supply the pirates, work for them or advertise on the stations.
On January 1st 1967 there was a bit of good news for a change. As announced earlier by Caroline on New Year's Eve, Radio 390 returned to the airwaves. I remember, the next day, writing a letter to Prince Charles protesting against the British government's actions to sink the pirates.. “Why not”, I thought “the crown prince is a paid-up member of the Big L club and has a Radio London T-shirt...” After a few months I got a reply from the Home Office with the usual lies.
The imminent demise of the offshore stations was not the only problem at the time. I also had to try and commit professor Hesman's German “Kulturgeschichte” to memory. I found that this was best done with the deep brown voice of Jim Reeves in the background. Luckily both Radio 390 and Radio 355 (former Britain Radio) now had a Jim Reeves Show on Sundays. The reason being that after a boardroom battle station manager Ted Allbeury left 390 and went on to run Radio 355, taking most of his middle-of-the-road programming ideas with him and some of the dj's. Theodore Edward le Bouthillier (Ted) Allbeury (1917-2005) had been a real-life spy during the Second World War, decades before he got involved with radio and then started writing best-selling novels.
Not only Britain Radio had changed name... As it proved unsuccessful Swinging Radio England went Dutch and turned into easy going Radio Dolfijn and still later into Radio 227. It was hard to keep up with the changes. Later more upset as one by one the fort based stations fell by the wayside and my exams doomed...