New Radio Caroline Book Documents Six Decades of DJs

There are many books about Radio Caroline, the ship’s “pirate” radio station that brought pop music to the British public in the 1960s at a time when they were unheard of anywhere else. But the new book, “Radio Caroline: Voices on the Air” has something different from the previous books: It documents the voices of DJs about 600 heard on the Caroline since its launch in 1964 , until now it can be found. heard on DAB+ and AM in parts of the UK, online and via smart speakers and mobile apps. For the record, five ships have played home to Radio Caroline’s studio, AM transmitter and mast over the years. The Ross Revenge is the biggest one.

Paul Rusling

The book’s editor is Paul Rusling, a former UK radio DJ (with Radio Caroline) and radio commentator. “I worked for two regulators and my work covered licensing, management, engineering and programming,” he told Radio World. “I’ve owned two bars and restaurants and I’ve also written fifteen books and many articles for newspapers and magazines – in other words, I’m a former DJ and engineer who’s done well , but he wants to make a living as a badass hack journalist. writer!”

“Radio Caroline: Voices of the Air” is rare in any genre of fiction, a story that doesn’t try to leave anything out while still keeping the conversation moving and entertaining. This is what Rusling had in mind when he joined, after writing an early history of the station called “The Radio Caroline Bible.”

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“This book has been written to fill in the gaps in the knowledge of the many voices of the world’s most famous radio station, Radio Caroline,” he said. “A lot of the other books about Caroline are just the personal stories of disc jockeys, and they often stick to themselves so they don’t look at the big picture. As a former DJ myself, I look at the bigger picture discussing how DJs are hired, rather than personal opinions and life stories.

Paul Rusling wanted to set the record straight about what DJs actually did at Radio Caroline, and didn’t. “Many claimants say they have worked on the ship over the years,” he said. “Some of them are known, including an MP who is currently in the House of Commons.”

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

The content of “Radio Caroline: Voices of the Air” comes from the people who keep the air. “I’m excited to be involved in, and helping out, the authorities from all parts of Caroline’s story,” Rusling said. “Founder Ronan O’Rahilly was a PA and ‘right-hand man’ at Oonagh Karanja for 17 years, succeeded by Ben Bode, then Vincent Monsey and most recently Peter Moore – all of whom help my research. .”

The front (R) and back (L) covers of Paul Rusling’s book.

After summarizing this history of the sounds of Radio Caroline, Rusling was pleased with “the number of people who founded the group. He was known by “the number of high stars and famous held programs on Caroline’s grounds – especially in the 1960s when such luminaries as Kathy Kirby, Charlie Drake, Cleo Laine, Marianne Faithfull, Vera Lynne and others appeared other than previous reports in Caroline. .”

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More broadly, Paul Rusling’s book helps to put Radio Caroline into context as the force that broke the BBC’s iron grip on UK radio and began the long and slow journey of that country in allowing commercial radio on its airwaves.

“When I joined Caroline, the UK was the only BBC. There was no commercial, independent and/or private radio station, so ships like Caroline were the only way to do radio if there was none. a plummy voice,” he said. “Currently, the millions of listeners who are hungry for pop music must listen to radio stations like Caroline or other companies like Radio Luxembourg, which has a limit of 1.2 million watts on AM, while the BBC allocated pop music a few hours a week.”

The impact of Radio Caroline in changing this situation cannot be understated. The “radio revolution” that took place in the UK over 50 years changed the very nature of British radio. “Today, the UK has almost 600 stations, there is no limit to the amount of music they can play,” said Rusling. “Most are local stations in digital multiplexes and can be heard for several miles, but there are also dozens or ‘local’ networks. Then, of course, our world now has over 100,000 websites and there are over 2.5 million podcasters who are fighting with the radio for access to our ears. However, podcasts are radio programs that listeners can tune into at will, right?

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For those interested in radio history, or just curious about how we got to where we are today, “Radio Caroline: Voices of the Air” is a fascinating read and a worthy addition to any serious library. But sadly, the station that started it all – Radio Caroline – no longer carries the clout that made it a threat, threatening the UK’s national broadcasting monopoly more than 50 years ago. gone

“Caroline is today considered a radio legend by most people, except for a small group of people who struggle to keep her memory alive,” Rusling concluded. “While Radio Caroline is now available on a variety of bands and producers, the narrow ‘Golden Oldies’ programming format it uses limits its appeal. During Caroline’s prime, she attracted millions of listeners who still remember her name.

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


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