Radio Caroline at the British Music Experience in London

The establishment tried to close Radio Caroline, the famous 1960s pirate radio station, many times but it kept bouncing back, and now it’s popped up once again – this time at the British Music Experience.

Radio Caroline has, in fact, never gone away. Its dedicated team of DJs and managers have ensured this important part of the swinging 60s continues to broadcast to this day, playing a mix of 60s and 70s music and current bands.

A ban on offshore pirate radio, a government raid and a shipwreck all threatened to shut the station, but it survived, and now you can hear the live show and see the DJs in action at the British Music Experience.

Part of London 60s Week, the story of Radio Caroline is told in a fascinating exhibition from its humble beginnings, to its heyday of famous DJs of the 60s and 70s and the present day. There is also a collection of memorabilia and a mock cabin of the Radio Caroline ship.

The station helped launch many DJ’s and musician’s careers including Tony Blackburn, Johnnie Walker The Kinks, The Who and The Rolling Stones.

Peter Moore, Radio Caroline station manager told Visit London: “Caroline was the generator of a lot happening in the 60s – without us a lot of things wouldn’t have happened. Once we set it running it took off on its own, the fashion, the stars….The government started thinking ‘how do we get the lid back on this?’ so our history is of various governments trying to stop us somehow.”

Moore added. “The tinge of illegality, although it wasn’t really illegal, gave it a nice edge. And of course the fact that these disc-jockeys were like the superstars of the present day – they were big, big stars.”

The station’s ultimate goal is to broadcast aboard their ship Ross Revenge live from a London location, also allowing it to become an attraction seen by tourists and locals alike, so watch this space.

Radio Caroline at the British Music Experience in The O2 was part of London 60s Week which finished on Sunday, but its stay has been extended until 7th August – so don’t miss it!

Radio Caroline wishes to thank London 60s Week for making the exhibition possible.

Bookmark and Share:

Comments

Leave a comment.
You can follow any comments on this entry through the RSS feed.
  1. Mike Terry says:

    Excellent article but one correction required – John Peel never broadcast on Radio Caroline, he was on the station’s rival Radio London.

  2. Mary Payne says:

    John Peel was never aboard Radio Caroline. His famous Perfumed Garden was broadcast from Radio London, aboard the mv Galaxy.

    Half of the twenty-two DJs pictured on the steps of Broadcasting House in the famous Radio One pre-launch publicity photo of September 1967, had come ashore from Radio London, namely: Tony Blackburn, Pete Brady, Dave Cash, Chris Denning, Pete Drummond, Kenny Everett, Duncan Johnson, Mike Lennox, John Peel, Keith Skues and Ed Stewart.

    Mary Payne, Radio London Webmaster

    • Jonny Payne says:

      Thanks for letting me know, I’m letting my lack of years show!

      After Radio London closed, John Peel (complete with sideburns) was present as Radio Caroline came ashore after the Marine offences Act became law on 14th August 1967. Check out this pic:

      http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/the-swashbuckling-rock-rebels-of-radio-caroline-1647240.html?action=Popup

      • Mary Payne says:

        That’ photo of ‘Caroline DJs coming ashore’ is an error on the part of Getty Images which unfortunately has been duplicated in several newspapers. The photo is Radio London DJs coming ashore. I have since informed Getty Images and they have corrected their caption, but sadly the incorrect caption is still out there on the internet, so the error will continue to be perpetrated.

        It doesn’t help that the Beeb profile of Peel says he was a pirate DJ, but fails to name the station. The Beeb does not like to admit that it was attempting to make Radio One sound like Radio London, but that is exactly what it was attempting to do.

        Mary Payne, Radio London webmaster

  3. Pablo says:

    Excellent

  4. Mike Terry says:

    The memories never fade amoungst us anoraks of “a certain age” as we have the advantage of remembering thos wonderful days of the sixties, so much has been documented with accuracy constanttly being watched over by us types!

  5. Derek says:

    Radio Caroline, The Best Radio Station In The World…ever!

  6. Peter says:

    Just looked at the site Johny Payne posted, reading there under a picture :”Sinking feeling: Radio Caroline staff, including John Peel (centre, with side burns) dock in Felixstowe after the station’s closure on 15 August, 1967″ but….not RC but Radio London closed in that month. Caroline continued till November 1991 from sea and after 1991 via satellite, several land based stations, cable and later also via internet.

  7. U.S lover says:

    Yes the caption on that website is wrong. Radio Caroline continued to broadcast but Radio London closed on 14 August 1967 at 3pm. We were just sharing the image of John Peel in his pirate radio days

Leave a Reply