New Radio Caroline Book Documents Six Decades of DJs

There are many books about Radio Caroline, the ship-based “pirate” radio station that brought 1960s pop music to Britons at a time when they couldn’t hear it anywhere else. But the new book, “Radio Caroline: Voices of the Air,” is a little different from the previous volumes: It documents the nearly 600 DJ sounds heard on Caroline since her debut in 1964, up until now. become Listened on DAB+ and AM in some parts of the UK, online and via smart speakers and smartphone apps. For the record, there were five ships that played home to Radio Caroline’s studio, AM transmitter and mast over the years. The biggest one was Ross’ Revenge.

Paul Rusling

The editor of the book is Paul Rusling, a former UK radio DJ (including Radio Caroline) and radio consultant. “I also worked for two regulators and my work covered licensing, management, engineering and programming,” he told Radio World. “I owned a few restaurants and pubs and wrote fifteen books and many articles for newspapers and magazines – in other words, a former DJ and engineer who made it well, but preferred life as a poor hack journalist. / Author!

“Radio Caroline: The Voice of the Air” is rare in any history book, an account that tries to leave nothing out while still remaining engaging and entertaining. This is precisely what Russling had in mind when he wrote the “Radio Caroline Bible” after writing an early history of the station.

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“This book was written to fill a gap in the knowledge of many people about who the world’s most famous marine radio ship, Radio Caroline Voices was,” he said. “Many other books about Caroline are simply autobiographies of individual disc jockeys, and are often so self-focused that they ignore the bigger picture. While I’m a former DJ myself, I focus on the bigger picture. That discusses how DJs are employed, rather than individual opinions and life stories.

Paul Rusling also wants to set the record straight on which DJs actually worked at Radio Caroline, and which didn’t. “There are many claimants who say they have worked on the ship over the years,” he said. “Some of them are well known, including a current member of the House of Representatives.”

[Related: “Radio Caroline Returns to Its Roots“]

The content on “Radio Caroline: The Voice of the Air” comes from the people who put it on the air. “I’ve enjoyed having access to and helping administrators from all phases of Caroline’s history,” Rusling said. “Founders Ronan O’Rahley were PA and ‘right-hand man’ at Onagh Karanja for 17 years, succeeded by Ben Budd, then by Vincent Munsey and most recently by Peter Moore – all of whom Helped me in my research.”

Front (R) and back (L) cover of Paul Rusling’s book.

Compiling this history of Radio Caroline’s Voices, Rusling was impressed by “the sheer number of people who made up the crew. He noted the number of “high-profile stars and celebrities who hosted programs on Caroline’s stations. – especially in the 1960s when such luminaries as Cathy Kirby, Charlie Drake, Cleo Laine, Marianne Faithful, Vera Lynn and others performed at Caroline’s. “

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On a larger scale, Paul Rusling’s book helps to place Radio Caroline in context as a force that broke the BBC’s iron grip on UK radio and began its long and slow journey across the country. to allow commercial radio to take over the airwaves.

“When I joined the Caroline, the UK only had the BBC. There were no commercial, independent and/or privately owned radio stations, so a ship like the Caroline was the only way to work in radio if one had a skin accent. No,” he said. “Meanwhile, millions of listeners who were hungry for pop music had to listen to radio ships like Caroline or foreign stations like Radio Luxembourg, a border blaster with 1.2 million watts in the AM time, because the BBC for a few hours of pop music rationed. week.”

The influence of Radio Caroline in changing this situation is not significant. The “radio revolution” that took place in England in the 1950s eventually changed the nature of British radio. “Today, the UK has somewhere close to 600 stations, all without restrictions on the amount of music they play,” Rusling said. “Most local stations are in digital multiplexes and can be heard for several miles, but there are also a dozen or so nearby national networks. And then, of course, our world now has more than 100,000 online stations and 2.5 There are over a million podcasters competing with radio for access to our ears. At the same time, podcasts are simply radio programs that listeners can schedule at will, right?

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For those interested in radio history, or simply curious about how we got to where we are today,”“Caroline Radio: The Voice of the Weather” is both a fascinating read and a necessary addition to any serious library. But sadly, the station that started it—Caroline Radio—no longer has the power it had for more than 50 years. Already under government control Britain posed such a severe and disruptive threat to broadcasting monopoly.

“Caroline is regarded by many today as an icon of radio history, except for the small group of passionate fans who continue to cherish her memory,” Rusling concluded. “Although Radio Caroline is now available on a variety of bands and instruments, the narrow format of the ‘Golden Oldies’ program she uses limits her appeal. In Caroline’s hopes, she has attracted millions of listeners to her name. Still evokes fond memories.

Caroline Radio: Voices of the Air is available for purchase as a Kindle eBook or paperback through Amazon.com. Members of the Amazon Kindle Unlimited service can read it for free.

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