Pirate radio station returns to the air

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The Independent Online

The original pirate radio station from the days when they really did ride the high seas, Radio Caroline, is returning to the air for one day only today.

The original pirate radio station from the days when they really did ride the high seas, Radio Caroline, is returning to the air for one day only today.

The legendary station, which first brought names like Tony Blackburn, Tommy Vance and Dave Lee Travis to the nation's ears, will legally broadcast for 14 hours from a powerful transmitter as a launchpad for its rebirth as an internet broadcaster.

The event also marks the 11th anniversary of the day when British officials boarded the ship, now moored in the Medway Estuary in Kent, to stop it broadcasting without a licence.

The floating station, which started in 1964, has embraced technology with broadcasts via satellite and, now, the internet.

When it opened, it quickly became one of the best known of the stations broadcasting pop music, at a stage when the BBC still commanded the airwaves.

But in 1967, when BBC Radio 1 was launched, Caroline and a number of other "pirates" were outlawed.

Many simply moved to international waters to beam their signals ashore. To cope with the swell of the North Sea, the record decks were mounted on gimbals which stayed level in all but the most violent storms. The DJs got no such benefit.

Peter Moore, the station manager, said: "Everything has changed in radio regulation and we're looking to the future with the internet. We'll be showing what people do by broadcasting on 1296 AM from 5am to 7pm."

The station can already be heard on the Astra 1C satellite, channel 35, and on the internet at www.radio-caroline.nl.

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