Radio Caroline

Radio Caroline - The Radio Nerd

(The Radio Caroline Ship - Getty Images) 

In the '60s when Rock 'n' Roll was booming over the airwaves in the United States, British radio listeners didn't have the pleasure of rocking out; until the pirate station, Radio Caroline came along. Back then, the BBC owned most British radio stations which meant the majority of programming heard was news, talk, classical music and kids shows. There was a major hole in the market and Radio Caroline wanted to fill it, eventually entertaining millions. The station started broadcasting on March 28, 1964 and was named after U.S. President, John F. Kennedy's daughter. 

Radio Caroline broadcast as a pirate radio station, unlicensed by the government. Their programming was done from international waters to avoid being prosecuted. Everything was done on the boat from programming and production to engineering. The DJs chose all the music too, which created an audience of 23 million by 1966. Their slogan was, "Radio Caroline on 199, your all day music station." 

Radio Caroline 199 The Radio Nerd

Broadcasting from a boat in the middle of international waters wasn't all fun and games. The weather and waves often created issues for the DJs and during winter they could be stranded on board for over a month. The waves could knock the DJs and records around which would cause them to skip on the air. That didn't matter to listeners because they were doing something that wasn't heard on radio before. It was exciting. 

Radio Caroline DJs The Radio Nerd

(Radio Caroline DJs - Getty Images) 

The British Government eventually made it a crime to supply anything to an unlicensed offshore broadcaster which meant food, water and music couldn't be supplied to Radio Caroline. Not long after this law went into effect, the BBC started the still popular Radio One, which was basically a complete copy of Radio Caroline.  

In 2009, the movie 'Pirate Radio' was released and was based off of Radio Caroline, I'd say the movie is a must watch for Radio Nerds. 


As of today, Radio Caroline still operates (not by boat) but as an online station. You can listen HERE



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