Chanson de matin Opus 15 No.2 Edward Elgar Download 'Chanson de matin Opus 15 No.2' on iTunes
Monday 19 September is International Talk Like A Pirate Day – and someone who knows all about that is Classic FM presenter Nick Bailey who began his career with the original pirate radio station, Radio Caroline.
In September 1966, 19-year old Nick Bailey began working as a newsreader on Radio Caroline, the original pirate radio station, portrayed in the film The Boat that Rocked. He remained with the station until the introduction of the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act in August 1967.
Radio Caroline was founded in 1964 by Ronan O'Rahilly to circumvent record companies' control of popular music broadcasting in the UK and the BBC's radio broadcasting monopoly. Unlicensed by any government for most of its early life, it was a pirate radio station which only formally became illegal in 1967.
Radio Caroline had two ships: Caroline South which was moored off Felixstowe and Caroline North off the Isle of Man. Nick started on the South ship but for most of the time he was with Caroline North. This suited him as the ship (a former Danish ferry) was a lot bigger than its Southern sister where he had to share a cabin with three others. On the North ship he had the luxury of his own cabin and his hi-tech news operation involved a typewriter…
…but the actual newsroom was a little more sophisticated.
19-year old Nick sitting in the DJ’s seat on Radio Caroline. His ambition was always to be a DJ though, which he achieved the following year - but not in the U.K.
The two Radio Caroline ships were serviced several times a week by tenders called Offshore I and II, which brought out food and mail, and were used to transport the DJs from shore onto the ship. 'To get on board you had to jump onto a rope ladder,' says Nick, 'which could be particularly hazardous when the weather was rough!'
Radio legend Tony Blackburn broadcast on Radio Caroline and Radio London in the 1960s and became the first voice heard on BBC Radio 1 in 1967. He's seen here on Offshore I with Australian DJ Norman St John.
The tender approaches Radio Caroline North in the Irish Sea. Nick says, 'It could often be rough but at other times the sea was like a millpond and in the summer we would go swimming off the side...The jelly fish could be a problem though!'
The pirate radio stations had many Canadians and Australians working for them. This is a Canadian DJ, Keith Hampshire, who was also a successful singer. He had a number one in Canada in May 1973 with 'The First Cut is the Deepest'. His shows on Radio Caroline were called "Keefers Commotions", and later "Keefers Uprising".
Radio Caroline presenter Tony Prince was the only offshore radio disc-jockey to have been a real jockey. He joined Radio Caroline's North ship at the end of 1965. Prince was known as 'your royal ruler' and was one of the station's most popular presenters.
Many a happy hour was spent onboard Radio Caroline playing Scrabble. Here Nick Bailey and DJ Tony Prince take on members of the crew.
Radio Caroline engineer Phil Perkins, Nick Bailey and Tony Prince - in the mess. 'A Dutch crewman is in the background who obviously likes his beer,' says Nick. 'We were given a beer and cigarette ration and most of us took full advantage. Certainly I did until I got laryngitis and promptly gave up smoking.'
Nick Bailey - centre - with Radio Caroline DJ Mick Luvzit - left - and engineer Chris Wright. Mick got married on the ship to the sister of another DJ, Ray Teret. The film, The Boat that Rocked, also had a wedding on board, inspired by Mick’s story. Mick famously set fire to Nick’s news while he was reading it!
Nick Bailey sporting a Jerry "Soopa" Leighton T-shirt. Leighton presented the Leighton Early Show on Radio Caroline North. In 1966, he accompanied The Beatles on their US tour, alongside Kenny Everett from Radio London.
Nick read the 8am news bulletin on 8 August 1967, went on shore leave later that day and never returned to Radio Caroline because of the introduction of the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act. He later emigrated to Australia on a £10 assisted passage ticket where he worked on several radio shows including an evening programme on Brisbane’s most successful station at the time, 4BH. It was while Nick was on the ship to Australia that he heard that both Radio Carolines had been towed away because of not being able to pay their bills. Since Caroline became illegal, advertisers had shunned the station.