Johnnie Walker Kiss In The Car licence Johnnie Walker From Hampton-in-Arden, near Birmingham, he was born Peter Dingley on 30th March 1945. After leaving Solihull public school at the age of 15, he worked as a second-hand car salesman and disco DJ under the name “Peter Dee.” He joined “Swinging” Radio England at its start in May 1966 but was told he would have to change his name as Peter Dee was too similar to that of another DJ, Roger Day. He chose his new identity from a tape of American radio jingles and became “Johnnie Walker.” In October he moved to Caroline South as the station swing-jock, deputising for whichever DJ was on shore-leave. He soon took over the 9-midnight show which he quickly made his own. Johnnie's very intimate personal style of broadcasting was hugely popular and his Kiss in the Car, Frinton Flashing and Ten O'Clock Turn On features broke new ground in British radio. His theme tune was Duane Eddy's Because They're Young. In 1967 he began referring to himself as “Sir” Johnnie Walker after being inexplicably left off the New Year Honours list. Johnnie was at the forefront of the mid-sixties soul boom and was President of “Uptight'n'Outtasight,” the Atlantic Records Appreciation Society. He stayed with Caroline despite the passing of the Marine Offences Act and shared the duties of Programme Controller and Senior DJ for the South ship with Robbie Dale. Their programme at midnight on 14th August 1967, as the Act became law, must have had the largest offshore audience ever. Caroline closed down in March 1968 and a year later Johnnie joined BBC Radio One. After a short series of Saturday afternoon shows he moved to a regular daily slot. Despite the success of this show he was not happy playing the chart hits of the day and decided to try his luck in America. In June 1976 he left Radio One for KSAN, San Francisco. While in the States he sent over taped shows for Radio Luxembourg. He returned to the UK in 1981 and worked for Radio West and GWR. In January 1987 Johnnie rejoined Radio One to present its Saturday Stereo Sequence, moving in July 1988 to Radio Radio, Virgin's night-time syndication service. In October he joined GLR, the BBC's local station for London. Two years later he was on the move again to the BBC's new Radio 5 and, in August 1991, returned to Radio One. In 1998 he transferred to Radio Two and, apart from a hiccup in his career following a tabloid newspaper story, has continued to be one of the network's best and most popular stars. Johnnie was forced to take time off from his programme following the diagnosis of cancer in the form of a malignant tumour in his colon. Along with his millions of fans, The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame was delighted when he recovered and was able to return to the air. In May 2004, at the Sony Radio Awards, Elton John presented Johnnie with a gold award to mark his outstanding contribution to radio, in December 2005 he was inducted into the The Radio Academy's Hall of Fame and, in the New Year Honours list of 2006, he received an MBE. Johnnie published his Autobiography the following year. For more photos and recordings of Johnnie, check out Spotlight On Johnnie Walker and this photo album. There is a video of Johnnie broadcasting on Radio Caroline South here. There are also more recent photos taken at Caroline's 40th birthday party, the Radio England 40th anniversary reunion, the Radio Academy Celebration of Offshore Radio, the 2007 and 2009 Pirate BBC Essex broadcasts. (Thanks to Johnnie for the kind comments: “Great looking site and so nice to be honoured.” This photo published by The Johnnie Walker Fan Club. ‘Kiss In The Car’ license generously provided by Stephen Richards.)

click to hear audio click to hear audio Johnnie Walker rocking through the night in 1966 on “Swinging” Radio England. Many thanks to Martyn Webster for the recording (duration 1 minute 57 seconds)
click to hear audio click to hear audio Johnnie Walker on his last legal show on Radio Caroline South, 14th August 1967, just hours before the Marine Offences Act became law. This clip contains extracts from two recordings made available by The Offshore Radio Archive (duration 4 minutes 14 seconds)
click to hear audio click to hear audio Johnnie championed the career of soul singer Otis Redding. Otis died in a plane crash on 10th December 1967, along with members of The Bar-Kays. Johnnie was on shore-leave at the time but broadcast a special tribute to him as soon as he was back on the ship. These clips from that tribute programme have been kindly provided by Stuart Aiken (duration 2 minutes 55 seconds)

 

Radio Caroline car sticker

Jon Walker Radio Sutch and its successor, Radio City, had a rapid turn-over of disc-jockeys during 1964/5. Many different voices were heard, briefly, then disappeared. This was mainly because of station boss Reg Calvert's tendency to take on “work experience” broadcasters, then pay them off after a couple of weeks. One of these short-term DJs was Jon Walker. He appeared on Radio Sutch towards the end of its life, and stayed on as Radio City was launched. (During a brief cross-over period the station was referred to as “Radio City, the station that was created by Screaming Lord Sutch”.) Jon served alongside Chris Cross, one of the station's mainstays during this period and Brian Paull, whose life Jon saved when Brian got into difficulties swimming from the fort. Although Jon was only on Shivering Sands for a short time and was, by his own admission, “a pretty crumby DJ!”, he went on to have a long career in the media. He worked for the Canadian broadcaster CBC, then Photomotion doing back projected animations for the BBC's 24 Hours programme. He became a technical operator for BBC radio before going to New Zealand, working for the National Film Unit. He returned to the UK and a job as a sound recordist at Ealing Studios, then to BBC news and current affairs, later becoming a producer with BBC television. You can see a recent photograph of Jon, taken at the Radio Sutch/City fortieth birthday reunion, on Bob Leroi's website. (Many thanks to Jon for getting in touch and Bob for some of the above information.)


Willy Walker Willy Walker Born in Bermuda on 25th July 1939, but educated in England, Willy had previously worked as a dental technician and in a bank. While living in Bermuda he met up with a couple of disc-jockeys who later joined Radio London: Duncan Johnson and Mike Lennox. Coming over to the UK to visit his sister, Willy stayed with his DJ mates and, before long, was persuaded to join them on the ship. After a week on board learning the ropes, he replaced Graham Gill in the schedule on the 24th May 1966. He only stayed until July that first time with the station but the following May he returned to Radio London where he remained until the final close-down. His theme tune was an instrumental version of “Maybe The Last Time” by James Brown. Offshore historian Hans Knot tells us he also used Skyliner by the Mitch Murray Clan. Now based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Willy is still working at sea, as a yacht captain but he also finds time to visit the UK regularly and there is a picture of him celebrating a birthday with some of his old ship-mates here. Willy has also very kindly sent us some pictures from his time on Radio London. See the DJs' photo album. (Thanks to Stuart Craigen for the theme tune information. This photo from ‘Time & Tide’ magazine.)

click to hear audio click to hear audio Willy Walker on the 9-midnight show on Radio London from 11th August 1967. Although Duncan Johnson was probably pleased to hear his friend mentioning his birthday, he was undoubtedly less than delighted with Willy saying it was his fortieth. Duncan was 29 that month! The address Willy mentions is that of a photographic studio in which Duncan owned a share. Many thanks to Stuart Russell for the tape (duration 2 minutes 52 seconds)

Bob Walton Bob Walton Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Bob joined the NZBC when he left school. He combined his career as a broadcaster with that of musician. A pianist and composer, his trio was frequently heard on the radio and they backed many visiting artistes. In 1964 Bob came to the UK and worked on Radio Caroline South for a short time. In August he returned to New Zealand to resume his musical career with the trio. In May 1965 he was back on Caroline South as one of the “Good Guys” (see the entry on Roger Gale for more details). After the failure of the “Good Guy” experiment and the take-over of Caroline South by Caroline North's Ronan O'Rahilly, there was a wholesale change of personnel. However Bob returned to Caroline for a third stint in the following year when he was heard on both ships reading the news. He now had a new name. He was known as Bob Lee. He explains “I did start out as Bob Walton however an offer to be guest pianist playing my own composition with the BBC Concert Orchestra made me hastily change it to Lee.” Following this third stint with Caroline Bob moved to Radio 390 where he used yet another name, Lee Gilbert. Since his offshore days Bob's voice has been heard on numerous commercials and, during the seventies, he appeared on London's Capital Radio playing live piano requests on a late night programme, working again with his old 390 colleague and compatriot Peter James who was then Capital's Head Of Music. During the nineties Bob was heard on BBC Radio Wiltshire. He now lives in Ireland and enjoys playing with a local jazz group and writing articles for music magazines. There is a recent photo, taken at Caroline's 40th birthday party, here. He says: “you might like to know I have a current weekly radio programme as Robert Walton on Serenade Radio each Saturday, 6pm-8pm UK time, recorded at Radio Trent in the late 1970s. Hope that's of interest.” (Many thanks to Steve Kirby for providing some of the above information and to Robbie Dale for the photo. There are more pictures of “Lee Gilbert” on Radio 390 in David Sinclair's, Edward Cole's and Roger Scott's photo albums. Thanks also to Bob for his assistance.)

click to hear audio click to hear audio A very short clip of Bob Walton presenting Top Deck on Radio Caroline South, date unknown. Recording kindly provided by Ray Robinson (duration 24 seconds)
click to hear audio click to hear audio Bob Walton as “Bob Lee” reading the news during the Rosko show on Radio Caroline South on 16th July 1966. Recording kindly provided by Dave Dee (duration 2 minutes 12 seconds)
click to hear audio click to hear audio Bob in the guise of “Lee Gilbert” in a few clips from Radio 390: on the Music Express show, reading the news and introducing The Jim Reeves Programme (duration 1 minute 56 seconds)

The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame needs your

The site is updated regularly and we are always on the look-out for new material to add. If you have any information, photographs, recordings or contact details for any of the disc-jockeys we haven't been able to trace, please get in touch.


Bruce Wayne Bruce Wayne In 1966, the Batman television series captured the public's imagination. The camped up comic book adventures of the “caped crusader” were hugely popular and “Swinging” Radio England commissioned a jingle package based on the programme's theme tune. (There are a number of the jingles here.) They actually said “that man” rather than “Batman” to avoid any copyright problems but no one could tell listening on muddy old AM radio. One of the jingles was for a disc-jockey called “Bruce Wayne” - Batman's secret identity. A number of different people used this jingle and name on air. Jack Curtiss tells us that he was persuaded to present a few programmes under that name before reverting to his own. He thinks that the DJ also known as Boom Boom Brannigan tried it for size too. Then there was a third Bruce Wayne on Radio England. He was the last disc-jockey to join this short-lived venture and stayed with the station until its closure on 13th November 1966. For a long time his true identity remained a mystery but then Jerry Hipkiss contacted The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame. He said: “The third Bruce Wayne on Radio England was a club DJ. His real name was Dave Bennett and he was the first proper DJ I ever saw in a discotheque, this one being his residency in late 1965, the Blue Moon in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. This was a big ‘mod’ hangout and Dave was playing all the big soul tunes of the time. In the summer of 1966 he got the offshore bug and left for the North Sea. After the end of SRE I only ever saw him once, probably early '67, when he said he was going on the road as a tour manager for a Beach Boys UK tour. Since then, I've heard nothing.” We asked if anyone could provide more information and, in May 2003, we heard from the man himself: “I am he, David J Bennett, aka Bruce Wayne, and I have been living in Beverly Hills, California since 1972.” David goes on to say: “The Blue Moon club was owned by John and Eddie Norman and featured some of the great bands of that time - The Steam Packet, Graham Bond Organisation, Zoot Money's Big Roll Band, Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds to name a few.” Although Jerry's reminiscences were invaluable, it seems he got one fact wrong. David says he didn't work on a Beach Boys tour. It was Vanilla Fudge. (Jingles kindly provided by Frank George. Our thanks to David for supplying the photo.)

click to hear audio click to hear audio Bruce Wayne on the midnight-5am show on “Swinging” Radio England in the early hours of 22nd October 1966. Tape kindly provided by Martyn Webster (duration 2 minutes 43 seconds)

Brian Webb Brian Webb Born in Dunoon, Ayrshire, on 5th January 1947, Brian's family worked in farming but he found that agriculture held little appeal. Offshore radio seemed far more interesting and, when Radio Scotland advertised for disc-jockeys, Brian was on the case. He applied for a job, was invited for an audition but, with no previous experience, he was turned down. He did not give up and three months later he tried again. The second audition still was not good enough but Brian must have shown some promise because the Programme Controller suggested that he carried on sending him tapes and he would be happy to offer advice. Eventually Brian passed the test and joined Radio Scotland in 1967 for the last five months that the station was on the air. Offshore Echos magazine reveals that his theme tune was Big Deal by The Tony Osborne Orchestra. After the close-down he worked in clubs until October 1971 when he returned to sea with Radio Northsea International, using the new name Brian McKenzie (see The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame ‘Seventies Supplement’). He was with Northsea until that station closed down in August 1974 then, after a number of different jobs, moved to Dublin. There he ran Bay City recording studios, in the building next door to Radio Nova, a station owned by Chris Cary (alias Spangles Muldoon.) He is now living in Spain. (Photo by Bob Dickson, reprinted from a copy of ‘Showbeat’ magazine kindly provided by George Morris.)

click to hear audio click to hear audio Brian Webb on the All Systems Go show on Radio Scotland from July 1967. The recording is courtesy of James Hutchinson and the Offshore Multimedia CD-ROM (duration 2 minutes 6 seconds)
click to hear audio click to hear audio More of Brian Webb on an All System Go show on Radio Scotland from July 1967. Recording kindly provided by Manfred Steinkrauss (duration 4 minutes 50 seconds)

Broadside Free Radio Movement car sticker

Graham Webb Graham Webb Born in Parramatta, Australia on 19th April 1936, Graham “Spider” Webb got into broadcasting via a career as a telegram delivery boy. Hollywood film star Rod Taylor asked Graham's help in playing a practical joke on a colleague and was so impressed by his performance that he persuaded him to give up delivering telegrams and take professional acting training. This led to Graham becoming one of Australia's top broadcasters before deciding to try his luck in Europe. He worked for Radio Monte Carlo, Radio Norway and the Voice of Germany before ending up on Radio Caroline South in May 1965. After time as a DJ, with a show called Cobweb Corner, he became news director for the Caroline network organising the Newsbeat bulletins for both ships. He also commentated on offshore radio's only on-air wedding, that of DJ Mick Luvzit to Janet Terrett. After his time at sea Graham returned home where he has had a successful radio and television career, including presenting the Australian version of Blind Date. He was also heard again on British radio when he introduced the Australian segment of World Wide Family Favourites on BBC Radio Two. He can currently be heard on Bay FM, serving the Tomaree and Tilligerry Peninsulas in New South Wales, Australia. Graham returned to the UK in August 2002 for a DJ reunion and photos of the event can be seen on the Radio London and Offshore Radio Guide websites. He also attended another DJ reunion in Vancouver in July 2004 and the August 2007 Radio Academy Celebration of Offshore Radio. (Many thanks to Nigel Fell for some information and to Graham himself. As well as the audio, below, Graham can be heard in a clip on the Mick Luvzit tribute page and there are others on the pages dealing with the loan of the Cheeta II and the return of the Mi Amigo. This photo was sent to the webmaster by Graham when he was on Radio Caroline South.)

click to hear audio click to hear audio Graham Webb presenting the Caroline Countdown of Sound on Radio Caroline North, 17th September 1966, near the end of his time with the station. Tape courtesy of Ray Andrews (duration 2 minutes 42 seconds)


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