When Leon Tipler died, his friend Steve England inherited his extensive tape archive. It was (and still is) a major undertaking to sort and
In April 2020 Steve found a reel containing recordings made in Clacton of Radio London, and some other offshore stations, in January 1965. You can find clips from this tape on the previous page.
The following month he unearthed another gem which again he has kindly shared with The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame. This tape was recorded in May/June 1964. We think it was probably done at Leon's
home in Kidderminster because the reception is not as good as on the other tape. It features Radios Caroline and Atlanta.
Radio Atlanta had commenced broadcasts in May 1964, Caroline a few weeks earlier. These programme extracts are from the brief period when the two radio ships were both anchored off the south-east coast of England. In early July
they did a deal: the Caroline ship sailed north and Atlanta changed its name to Radio Caroline South. But for nearly two months prior to this “merger”, the two stations battled it out for
listeners and advertising. They were right next to each other on the radio dial - Caroline on an announced wavelength of 199 metres and Atlanta on 201 - so many listeners, including your webmaster and, it seems, Leon Tipler, often
switched between the two. Some of the extracts below feature both stations.
It was the very earliest days of British commercial radio. Many of the features we associate with the pirates such as jingles, news bulletins and weather forecasts were not yet part of the programme mix. There were also very few commercials, which
is probably why the two rivals were forced to come to that deal.
Almost all the recordings were made in the morning (around 8am) or the evening (around 8pm). Leon was 21 in mid-1964 so we are guessing he was at work during the rest of the day and not available to record the output.
|Photos courtesy of Johnny Thompson, ‘Beat Wave’, the Caroline Club, the Free Radio Assocation and ‘Who's Who in Pop Radio’.
We start with a recording of Radio Caroline's most famous disc-jockey from this early period in the station's life:
The morning of Monday 11th May 1964, Radio Caroline, The Early Show:
This programme was normally presented by a single host but in this clip two voices can be heard. The main DJ is Simon Dee but he disappears for a couple of links and another unidentified person takes over.
We asked if anyone could identify the second voice. Correspondent Ian Biggar suggested it might be Ed Moreno and that has now been confirmed by Ed's son Darryl Kinson. Darryl wrote: “That's a
brilliant surprise! I had not heard anything of his very limited broadcasts on Caroline so a huge treat for me to hear this. Regarding the dedication to ‘Liz’, that was my mother. At that time she would have been a stay
home Mum taking care of a rambunctious 3 year old while Dad pursued his dreams. She too sadly passed early in life so nice to hear her name spoken again.” (Duration 5 minutes 51 seconds)
The evening of Sunday 17th May 1964, Radio Atlanta:
In the early days of Atlanta the bulk of the station's output was pre-recorded on land. Two Texans, father and son Bob Scott and Johnny Jackson, were responsible for playing out the tapes and they also
hosted live shows at either end of the day. On this clip you can hear the end of a recorded show then Johnny Jackson takes over until closedown. Among the tracks he plays are a couple of cover versions released on station boss Allan
Crawford's Cannon and Rocket labels. These were often featured on Atlanta. (Duration 5 minutes 53 seconds)
The evening of Wednesday 27th May 1964, Radio Atlanta, Music of the Moment:
Neil Spence is hosting Music of the Moment. If the voice and theme tune sound familiar it is because Neil Spence later became Radio London's Dave Dennis and used the same theme,
Up A Lazy River by Si Zentner, on that station too (see previous page). (Duration 1 minute 39 seconds)
The morning of Wednesday 3rd June, switching between Radio Atlanta and Radio Caroline:
Both stations are featured. We hear Bob Scott (we think) on Radio Atlanta playing The Fourmost and Paul Anka, then it switches to Caroline where Doug Kerr offers Frank Ifield, The Beatles, Alan Clare and
Billy Fury. Both Caroline and Atlanta played a mixture of middle-of-the-road and pop music. The stations' charts of the time are here and following pages. (Duration 2 minutes 50 seconds)
The evening of Wednesday 3rd June, Radio Atlanta, Music of the Moment:
A slightly longer clip of Neil Spence on Music of the Moment, playing “the pick of the pack on wax and shellac” - a line which sounded dated even in 1964! (Duration 2 minutes 49 seconds)
When Caroline started broadcasting in March 1964 its programmes ran 6am to 6pm. Following Atlanta's launch in May, with programmes which continued until 8pm, Caroline extended its schedule to match the new rival. By this week in
June it seems that Caroline is on the air until 9pm then closing down until midnight when it reopens for a further three hours.
The evening of Thursday 4th June, Radio Caroline, Sunset Spin:
While Atlanta's taped programmes sounded pretty slick and professional, they lacked the kind of spontaneity that Caroline's live shows could offer. In this clip, for instance, you can hear Caroline's Tom
Lodge talking about some sparrows that have made it out to the ship and the lightning that is flashing around him. His theme is The Preacher by Billy May and the
station's theme is 'Round Midnight by Jimmy McGriff. The recorded announcement about advertising on the station features the
voice of Chris Moore. (Duration 3 minutes 38 seconds)
The morning of Saturday 7th June, Radio Caroline:
Three short extracts from Radio Caroline's morning programmes: Doug Kerr is first, then at 9am On the Air, a show recorded on land presented by Carl Conway, followed by Simon Dee. (Duration 2
minutes 40 seconds)
The evening of Saturday 7th June, Radio Caroline, Sunset Spin:
The DJs had to put in long shifts. Doug Kerr, who had hosted The Early Show that morning, is now doing Sunset Spin until 9pm and mentions that he will be back again at midnight for another three hours. Interestingly
he plays Caroline by The Fortunes, a song that went on to become the station theme tune, just before closedown as well as the original Jimmy McGriff theme. He refers to
the midnight to 3am show being a “test transmission”. (Duration 3 minutes 35 seconds)
The evening of Tuesday 9th June, switching between Radio Atlanta and Radio Caroline:
We start with Doug Kerr on Caroline's Sunset Spin but, after he introduces Frank Sinatra, we retune to Radio Atlanta's Neil Spence with Music of the Moment. When Atlanta closes at 8pm, it is back to Caroline.
(Duration 4 minutes 59 seconds)
The morning of Wednesday 10th June, Radio Caroline, The Early Show:
And we go out as we came in, with Simon Dee on Radio Caroline. (Duration 5 minutes 32 seconds)