New Radio Caroline Book Documents Six Decades of DJs

There are many books about Radio Caroline, the radio station on a “pirate” ship that brought 1960s pop music to the British people at a time when they couldn’t hear it anywhere else. But the new book, “Radio Caroline: Voices on Air” does something different from the previous volumes: It documents the voices of about 600 DJs heard on Caroline since it started on the beach in 1964, until now when it is available. heard on DAB+ and AM in UK areas, online and on smart speakers and smartphone apps. For the record, there have been five boats that have played home to Radio Caroline’s studio, AM transmitter and mast over the years. The biggest one was Ross’s Revenge.

Paul Rusling

The editor of the book is Paul Rusling, a former UK radio DJ (including Radio Caroline) and radio consultant. “I have also worked for two directors and my work includes licensing, management, engineering and programming,” he told Radio World. “I own a few restaurants and pubs and have written fifteen books and many articles in newspapers and magazines – In other words a former DJ and engineer who does good, but chooses to earn a living as a bad journalist/writer!”

“Radio Caroline: Voices of the Spirit” is a rarity in any kind of history book, an account that tries not to leave anything out while still being engaging and entertaining. That’s exactly what Rusling had in mind when he put it together, after writing the station’s early history entitled “The Radio Caroline Bible.”

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“This book was written to fill the gaps in the knowledge of many people about the identity of the world famous radio station, Radio Caroline,” he said. Most of the other books about Caroline are autobiographies of disc jockeys, and they are too self-centered to ignore the bigger picture. While I’m a former DJ, I’m focused on the broader picture of how DJs are employed, rather than opinions and life stories.

Paul Rusling also wants to set the record straight where the DJs work at Radio Caroline, and he didn’t. “There are many who claim to have worked on the ship over the years,” he said. “Some of them are well-known, including a current Member of Parliament in the House of Commons.”

[Related: “Radio Caroline Returns to Its Roots“]

The content of “Radio Caroline: Voices of Air” comes from the people who kept it on the air. “I’ve enjoyed the access to, and support from, the management of all phases of Caroline’s history,” Rusling said. Founder Ronan O’Rahilly was PA and ‘right hand man’ at Oonagh Karanja for 17 years, who was replaced by Ben Bode, then Vincent Monsey and most recently Peter Moore – all of whom contributed to my research. .”

Front (R) and back (L) cover of Paul Rusling’s book.

After collecting this history of Radio Caroline’s words, Rusling was struck by “the sheer number of people in the crew. He was impressed by “the number of high-profile stars and celebrities who hosted programs on Caroline’s stations – especially in the 1960s when such luminaries as Kathy Kirby, Charlie Drake, Cleo Laine, Marianne Faithfull, Vera Lynne and others all headlined Caroline’s shows.” .”

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On a larger scale, Paul Rusling’s book helps put Radio Caroline in context as the force that broke the BBC’s iron grip on UK radio and began that country’s long, slow journey to allow commercial radio onto the airwaves.

“When I joined Caroline, the UK only had the BBC. “There were no commercial, independent and/or private radio stations at all, so ships like the Caroline were the only way to work on the radio if one didn’t have a dirty voice,” he said. Meanwhile, millions of listeners who were hungry for pop music had to listen to radio stations like Caroline or foreign stations like Radio Luxembourg, a limit of 1.2 million watts in AM, as the BBC rated pop music every few hours. week.”

Radio Caroline’s influence in changing this situation cannot be underestimated. The “radio revolution” that had been sweeping the UK for over 50 years finally changed the very fabric of British radio. “Today, the UK has somewhere approaching 600 stations, all with no limits on the amount of music they can play,” Rusling said. “Most of the local stations are in digital multiplexes and can be heard a few miles away, but there are also a dozen or so ‘closer to national networks’. And so, yes, our world now has over 100,000 internet stations and there are over 2.5 million podcasters competing with radio for our ears. Meanwhile, podcasts are radio programs that listeners can program to their liking, right?

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For those interested in the history of radio, or just interested in how we got to where we are today, “Radio Caroline: Voices of the Air” is both a fascinating read and a must for any library. But unfortunately, the station that started it all – Radio Caroline – no longer carries what made it such a cocky, disturbing threat to the UK’s government-controlled government more than 50 years ago.

“Caroline is today considered radio history by many, except for a small group of fans who cherish her memory,” concluded Rusling. “Although Radio Caroline is now available on a variety of bands and electronics, the narrow ‘Golden Oldies’ approach she uses adds to her appeal. During Caroline’s success, she drew millions of listeners who cheered her name.

Radio Caroline: Voices of the Air is available for purchase through Amazon.com as a Kindle eBook or paperback. Members of the Amazon Kindle Unlimited service can read it for free.

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