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199 Caroline 1520 UK Pirates

Here is a slightly restored (to remove noise and enhance the fidelity) aircheck of Tony Prince, donated to us by Russ Horton. There is a huge connection here, in that, Tony Prince is still very active in radio and in 2018, launched a new internet radio station called “United DJs”, featuring many names from the Pirate radio era of the U.K. The roster of talent includes Mike Read, Emperor Rosko, David Hamilton, Dave Lee Travis and from Canada, Russ Horton!

Attempting to tell the story of Radio Caroline is daunting, at best. The ship that actually carried the name Caroline was actually the MV Fredericia, that when purchased by Irish Broadcaster Ronan O’Rahilly was renamed the MV Caroline. It was known as “Caroline North” for much of the station’s early history, and broadcast on 1520 kHz, or, 197 meters. Because the radios listeners were tuning in with were analog, it was more simple and made it rhyme to call it “199 Caroline”

There is probably enough written about Caroline to fill several books. The most concise write-up about Radio Caroline that I’ve found so far is this Wikipedia Article. There have indeed been books written about Radio Caroline, documentaries, and a fascinating movie called, “Arena” Caroline 199: A Pirate’s Tale (TV Episode 1991) – IMDb! Given the volumes of information available, we are not going to delve into the long and colorful history of this fascinating offshore radio station.

Tony Prince (Real Name: Thomas Whitehead) was one of the more famous Caroline DeeJays. He worked for both Caroline and Radio Luxembourg, and had a huge following in the U.K.

We hope you enjoy this scratchy bit of Pirate Radio, AM Top 40. Keep in mind that in 1966, there was no big FM band, MP3 files, Satellite or internet apps, and for those who wanted to hear the music of the day, they had to tune to either the BBC, Luxembourg or one of the offshore, pirate stations. All the noise included. Lots of memories go with this 45 minute mostly scoped aircheck!

By Steve West

Steve West is a 41 year veteran of broadcasting. His air work as a Jock and News Anchor includes six radio markets and over two-dozen radio stations. Steve is the founder of and - All the BIG Hits!

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