of Radio Caroline has over the years become something of a broadcasting
legend. However all good legends are a mix of fact and fiction, none more
so than Caroline, and the story has many myths associated with it.
Caroline is probably the most famous of all the offshore “pirate” radio
stations, although she was far from being the first with the idea.
since radio was invented, governments have tried to control it, especially
in Europe, where radio was soon state controlled. It was a case of the
government giving people what they decided they wanted them to hear,
rather than necessarily what the listeners wanted to hear. Governments
have always been afraid of things they can’t control, but unfortunately
for them, radio waves don’t recognise national boundaries. It wasn’t long
before commercial entrepreneurs set up transmitters in one country, to
broadcast programmes to a neighbouring and state controlled country. In
the 1930’s, radio stations in Europe, like Radio Normandy and Radio Luxembourg broadcast popular music to England, which at
that time only had the state licensed British Broadcasting Corporation.
The BBC’s programmes were mainly serious music, talks, and “educational”,
becoming even more so on Sundays.
Radio Mercur starts
The Second World war, saw Radio
Normandy and other commercial stations close down. After the war, Radio
Luxembourg returned, but their English programmes were only aired in the
evenings and reception was often poor in their target area. The BBC
continued much as before, providing what it thought should be heard.
Radio Mercur started broadcasting from a ship off the coast of Denmark, in
1958 and was quickly successful. It was soon followed by several other
floating stations off Scandinavia, and by Radio Veronica off the Dutch