26 YEARS AGO,
Caroline was once famous around the world as one of the pioneers of free radio.
Her programming and free spirit captured the attention and imagination of many
millions. By 1990 she had been broadcasting for almost thirty five years.
November 3 1990.
Radio Caroline, unknowingly, began broadcasting her last programmes from the MV
Ross Revenge on the high seas. The station had more or less survived after the
boarding of the Dutch authorities in 1989 put an end to the Radio 819 broadcasts,
the Dutch station which made it possible for Caroline to survive.
Then there was a battle to try to keep Carolines 558 frequency. In a
confrontation move, the British government allocated this frequency to a local
radio station in London.
After Radio 819 finished, and the Dutch were no longer involved, Caroline soon
ran into supply problems, especially with fuel. The Caroline UK land
organization tried to overcome these challenges, but logistics and more
importantly money was in short supply. The British government was also on the
point of voting in a law, which under certain conditions, would allow the
boarding of the ship even if
in international waters.
The station lost the first battle, that of the frequency. Caroline gave up 558,
which was now inaudible in the London area because of the broadcasts of Spectrum
Radio. Caroline moved to 819.
November 4 1990. Radio Caroline normally closed at 2 o'clock in the morning. The
station did this as usual, after the end of Neil Gates’ programme. However this
was the last time that Caroline was heard from the free waters of the Northsea.
The Ross Revenge remained at sea, with a skeleton crew, for almost a year,
waiting to see if a third world licence package could be found to enable the
station to survive. The miracle never happened.
During storms at the end of 1991, the Ross Revenge broke her anchor and
drifted onto the Goodwin Sands, a notorious graveyard of shipwrecks.
Ross was salvaged, but it was the end of Radio Caroline's role as a free voice
and a free spirit on the international waters of the high seas.
You can relive the last day of Caroline, with Radio
Caroline - the final day, MP3 CD from Offshore Echos. Price:
Caroline with an airchecked recording featuring DJs Rico, Neil Gates, Alex
Rodgers & Caroline Martin on Halloween day - 31 October 1990.
Hear Caroline in one of her final offshore radio days.
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