Following Reg Calvert's take over of Radio Sutch, in September 1964, for which he paid about £5,000, the music format stayed the same but the station name was changed to Radio City. A number of frequency changes took place, before settling on 1034khz in mid-December. The station used an old Navy transmitter, and the original transmitter (on 1605 Khz) which was used to broadcast religious programmes, which accounted for nearly all the stations income. The station prospered under this format, and a new 240 foot aerial mast was installed on top of a 117 foot tower by Alan Arnold and three professional riggers. The entire staff on the fort were needed to hoist it up.
In September 1965, negotiations took place between Reg Calvert and Philip Soloman of Radio Caroline, with the idea of taking over the fort. It was planned that the Caroline South ship, MV Mi Amigo would serve either the North East of England or the Bristol Channel area. Caroline Newsbeat began to be relayed, and Caroline promised a new RCA 10,000 Watt transmitter. On 22nd September, the Daily Express newspaper reported that Radio Caroline had taken over Radio City, claiming that £150,000 had been paid.
Three large transmitter cabinets were delivered to the fort. But the deal between Radio Caroline and Radio City finally came to nothing went it was learnt the Government was planning on prosecuting stations broadcasting from the forts in the Thames Estuary.
Radio City's studio
UKGM United Kingdom Good Music
June 1966, saw Radio London with plans to set up a new station (UKGM, United Kingdom Good Music). It was hoped that a start up date of the beginning of July could be achieved. Londons negotiations with Radio City, eventually failed, as it appeared that Reg Calvert had not paid for the "new" transmitter. Plans were made by the owners - Smedley & Project Atlanta - to recover it, after Smedley read a newspaper report.
On 20th June 1966, Major Smedley led a party of seventeen men and one women (Kitty Black) to the Shivering Sands fort. They arrived at 03:00 and took control of Radio City. The transmitter crystal was removed. After the station was under his control Major Smedley and Kitty Black left the fort, his boarding party stayed behind.
The next day, Reg Calvert went to the offices of Project Atlanta and argued with Major Smedley over the boarding of his station. He threatened to remove the raiders with the use of nerve gas. Later Philip Birch met Major Smedley and Kitty Black, and pulled out of the deal to take over Radio City.
Calvert shot dead
At eight that night, Reg Calvert, accompanied by Alan Arnold, visited Smedley at his home in Saffron Walden, Essex. A scuffle broke out and Smedley appeared with a shotgun. Seeing that Calvert was about to hit his assistant, Miss Pamela Thorburn, with a statue, Smedley shot him. Later the police found a gas gun on Reg Calvert's body.
On 22nd June, the BBC announced that a man (Major Oliver Smedley) was to appear in Saffron Walden Court in connection with the shooting of Reginald Calvert, he remained in custody for twenty-seven days in Brixton Prison.
The next day, Mrs Calvert announced that she intended to keep Radio City on the air. She confirmed that the deal with Philip Birch was off, he stated that he would give her all the support that he could. A few days later the raiding party and the station went back on the air. The first record played was "Strangers in the night - Frank Sinatra".
The shooting of Reg Calvert made the then Labour Party Government speed up the Bill to outlaw the offshore stations. Within thirty-six hours Anthony Wedgwood Benn said in the Houses of Commons that the legislation to kill off the pirates only awaited a place in the congested parliamentary timetable.
On 18th July, Major Smedley appeared in court on a murder charge. The magistrates decided that no court would convict on the charge of murder and sent Smedley for trial at Chelmsford Assizes on a manslaughter charge. Appearing at Chelmsford in October, Smedley was found not guilty of unlawful killing of Reginald Calvert. He was acquitted on grounds of self defence and was awarded 250 Guineas (£262.50) costs towards his defence costs of over £4000.
Reg Calvert Dorothy Calvert
Mrs Calvert in court
On 8th February 1967, Mrs Calvert appeared at Rochford Magistrates Court in Essex facing a charge under the 1949 Wireless Telegraphy Act. She said that for thirteen months staff going to and from the fort had to pass through Customs, and when the fort was raided nobody could do anything, so Shivering Sands must be outside of Territorial limits. But the Magistrates said that the fort was inside the limits and Mrs Calvert was fined £100. No orders to confiscate the broadcasting equipment were made. By 17:30 news had reached the fort that the station would close down. At midnight the station closed down.
Radio City deejays
Karol Beer, Colin Brian, RWB (Ross Brown/Freddie Beare), Wolfe Byrne, Candy Calvert, Tony Carroll, Alan Clark, Ralph Cooper, Cliff Cottell, Chris Cross, Rick Dane, Tony Daniels, Terry Dawson (Andy Archer), Alexander Dee, Keith Delmont, Dick Dickson, Peter Dolphin, Tom Edwards, Paul Elvey, Johnny Flux, David Gilbee, Martin Green, Mike Hayes, Ben Healy, Peter Jamieson, Eric Jay, Phil Jay, Peggy Knight, Paul Kramer, Bob LeRoi, Adrian Love, Ian MacRae, Eric Martin, Rick Martin (Eric Martin Sales), Rick Michaels, Ed Moreno, Janice Nicholls, Mike Proctor, Martin Ross, Bob Spencer, Gary Stevens, Martin Stevens, Dennis Straney, Gordon Swan, Leon Tippler (Scott Mitchell on Atlantis), Graham Wallace, Ian West, Jeremy Wilde, Geoff Woods, Don Wit engineer.
to Radio Tower back to Radio Sutch go home