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 Brits when they couldn’t hear it anywhere else. But the new book, “Radio Caroline: Voices on the Air” does something different than the previous books: It records the voices of DJs about 600 that have been heard in Caroline since its inception. the sea from 1964 to the present. can be heard on DAB+ and AM in parts of the UK, online and via smart speakers and mobile apps. For the record, there were five boats that played Radio Caroline’s studio, AM transmitter and mast over the years. The biggest one is the Ross Revenge.

Paul Rusling

The book’s editor is Paul Rusling, a former UK radio DJ (including Radio Caroline) and radio consultant. “I have also worked for two regulators and my work covers licensing, management, engineering and programming,” he told Radio World. “I’ve owned two restaurants and two pubs and written fifteen books and many articles for newspapers and magazines — In other words, I’m a former DJ and engineer who did good, but prefers to make a living just being a hack journalist. writer!”

“Radio Caroline: Voice of the Wind” is rare in any kind of history book, namely an account that tries not to leave anything out while remaining entertaining and entertaining. That’s exactly what Rusling had in mind when he put it together, after writing the history of the old station entitled “The Caroline Radio Bible”.

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“This book was written to fill the gaps in people’s knowledge of who was the voice on the world’s most famous marine radio ship, Radio Caroline,” he said. “Many other Caroline books are biographies of individual musicians, and are often so self-focused that they ignore the bigger picture. Although I am a former DJ myself, I focus on the bigger picture of how DJs are received, rather than individual comments and biographies.

Paul Rusling also wants to set the record straight about which DJs actually worked at Radio Caroline, and who didn’t. “There are many claimants who say they have been working on the ship for years,” he said. “Some of them are well-known, including a member of parliament currently in the National Assembly.”

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

The content of “Radio Caroline: Voice of the Wind” comes from the people who kept it on the air. “I have enjoyed the input and assistance from the managers at every stage of Caroline’s story,” Rusling said. “Founder Ronan O’Rahilly was PA and ‘right hand man’ at Oonagh Karanja for 17 years, being replaced by Ben Bode, then Vincent Monsey and more recently Peter Moore – all of whom were involved in my research. .”

The front (R) and back (L) covers of Paul Rusling’s book.

When compiling this history of Radio Caroline’s voice, Rusling was impressed by “how many people made up the team. He was also struck by “the number of top stars and celebrities who hosted programs on Caroline’s station – especially in the 1960s when presenters like Kathy Kirby appeared on Caroline , Charlie Drake, Cleo Laine, Marianne Faithfull, Vera Lynne and others.”

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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 stranglehold on UK radio and started the journey it is too far and too slow for that country to allow commercial radio on its airwaves.

“When I joined Caroline, the UK only had the BBC. There were no commercial, independent and/or private radio stations at all, so a ship like the Caroline was the only way to get on the radio without a slurred accent,” he said. . “Meanwhile, the millions of listeners who were hungry for pop music had to listen to radio stations like Caroline or foreign stations like Radio Luxembourg, a frontier raider with 1.2 million watts on AM , as the BBC provided pop music for a few hours. week.”

The influence of Radio Caroline in changing this situation cannot be underestimated. The “radio revolution” he encouraged in England for more than 50 years changed the nature of English radio. “Today, the UK has close to 600 stations, there’s no limit to the amount of music they can play,” Rusling said. “Most are local radio stations on digital multiplexes and can be heard from a few miles away, but there are also ‘near-national’ networks. And, of course, there are many online radio stations. There are over 100,000 listeners worldwide and over 2.5 million podcasters competing on the radio for an ear. Meanwhile, a podcast is a radio program that listeners can listen to on the radio. good will, right?”

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For those who love radio history, or just want to know how we got to where we are today, “Radio Caroline: Voices of the Air” is both an interesting read and a necessary addition to any serious library. But sadly, the station that started it all — Radio Caroline — no longer carries the power that made it such a disruptive and disruptive threat to the government-controlled UK broadcasting monopoly more than 50 years ago.

“Caroline is considered by most people to be a relic of radio history today, except for avid fans who are eager to keep her memory alive,” Rusling concluded. “While Radio Caroline can now be received by a wide variety of bands and equipment, its narrow ‘Golden Oldies’ programming format limits its appeal. In Caroline’s day, she attracted millions of listeners, who still remember her name.”

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


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