In 1966 John England was a fan of Swinging Radio England. Working as a journalist in the UK, he wrote to Don Pierson, the station's founder, asking if he could write its story. The two remained friends and later, when he moved to America, John shared a flat with Grey Pierson, Don's son. In 1980 John met former Radio England / Britain Radio presenter, Tom Cooper, real name Tom Hatala. Tom lent John a collection of audio tapes, including many from his days on the mv Laissez-Faire. Sadly, when John called him again, he discovered that Tom had died suddenly. His mother said that John could keep the tapes. This page contains a small fraction of the collection.
|A Swinging Radio England identification, recorded by singer Brian Poole. The station launched with a number of these. Other stars offering support were Roy Orbison, Nancy Sinatra and the Everley Brothers (duration 5 seconds)||Tom's former colleague Chuck Blair, starting his show on the last day of Radio London. On this one occasion The Perfumed Garden show had continued through the night. John recalls that Chuck signed on and played the “My Hometown” jingle at 5:30am. This is an edited version of what followed (duration 1 minute 39 seconds)|
|Extracts from a demo tape made by Tom Cooper in 1966. Radio England was about to be replaced by a station called “Swinging Radio Holland” and he must have felt his job was under threat. This recording was made as an audition tape to help Tom get a position back in the States. He inserted a number of television commercials in an effort to make it sound more professional. Incidentally, by the time it made it onto the air, Radio Holland had been renamed Radio Dolfijn (duration 1 minute 33 seconds)||A news bulletin from shortly after the Aberfan pit disaster, read by Tom's colleague John Ross-Barnard. There are less jingles and sound effects than usual, maybe because of the severity of that particular news story (duration 1 minute 34 seconds)|
|A recording from WDNG, Anniston, Alabama in June 1968. Tom Cooper had returned to the USA and found a new job, where he broadcast under his real name (duration 1 minute 15 seconds)||
Many thanks to John for allowing us to hear this fascinating collection. He has promised to send more when time permits.
Correspondent Kevin Tansey knew Swinging Radio England's Tom Cooper (Tom Hatala). He writes: “I knew Tom as The DJ in the South Bend, Indiana area back in the early-mid 1960s when I was in high school there. At the time he was working for WJVA AM (see below) and was very accessible to all his fans in the area. He made frequent public appearances and was always easy to talk with. Then in 1969 I took a news broadcasting job with WTRC in Elkhart, Indiana, and I found myself working with the now ‘Tom Cooper’, who was spinning the hits. Tom was very helpful to me in my work on improving my on-air presentations. It comes as a shock these many years later that I find on your website that Tom passed away many years ago. I had been planning to try to renew old acquaintances. He was a great person and friend and a natural master of his craft. Kevin Tansey, Eugene, Oregon” Kevin has very kindly provided these WJVA charts which have pictures of Tom as he was in 1964/5, before he joined Radio England.
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