The story 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.

Radio Caroline is probably the most famous of all the offshore “pirate” radio stations, although she was far from being the first with the idea of broadcasting outside a countries territorial boundaries.

Before  Caroline
Almost 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 coast.


Radio Normandy Van

Radio Normandy Van

Radio Luxembourg

BBC Building

BBC Building

Cheeta I

Radio Mercur - Cheeta I

Cheeta II

Radio Mercur Engineers

  Radio Mercur Cheeta II

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