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2015 News Archive

  • December 2015
"The Lights Are Going Out Across Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime" - as well as the France Info and France Bleau frequencies leaving the European airwaves at year end seven German transmitters on 549, 756,1179,1268 and surprisingly 1422 kHz will also be switched-off. I say surprisingly as Chine Radio International had expressed an interest in utilising this transmitter after 1440 kHz is closed down on 1st January 2016

2-0-8 1440 kHz RTL - It is with regret that on 1st January 2016, at 01.00 hrs the famous transmitter site at Marnach, Luxembourg will finally cease operating after nearly 60 years in operation, during which it gave generations of listeners their first taste of rock and pop and an opportunity to explore these new genres of music.

Eugène Muller, Head of Technical Services and Transmissions at BCE, says: "The closure of this site devoted to medium-wave transmissions marks the end of a major chapter in our history. Indeed, thanks to the English-language broadcasts by Radio Luxembourg and the German-language programmes of Radio Luxemburg, Marnach became a kind of umbilical cord linking us to millions of listeners in Europe." The national anthem of Luxembourg will be broadcast for the last time on medium waves on 1 January at  01:00. 

Please do what I've done. Dust off a decent analogue medium wave radio (not my digitally synthesised Grundig) to tune around the waveband to hear AM radio as it should be heard. 

Publications - latest Hans Knot Radio Report and Tune into Yesterday now available.

AM - at our December meet we reported a station on 927 kHz. Our Northern Correspondent Stuart Dobson advises this is Horizon FM from Tenerife 

Offshore Echoes Magazine - Edition 182 now available. 
Get a free* sample copy of Offshore Echo’s - the world’s only offshore radio news and nostalgia magazine.

*Just pay the postage cost of £2.00 / €3.00 Visit www.offshoreechos.com for details, or send payment to Offshore Echo’s, PO Box 1514, London W7 2LL, England. If you’re in the UK, you can also send us equivalent value in postage stamps).

If you take advantage of this promotional offer, and then subscribe to Offshore Echo’s, we’ll deduct £2.00 / €3.00 from subscription cost, so you’ll pay £28 instead of £30.00. The free magazine will be an issue from the past few years. Offer open until the end of 2015.

OFFSHORE ECHO’S BACK ISSUE BUNDLE A bundle of Offshore Echo’s back issues no’s 175, 176, 177 and 178 for the special price of £18.50 / € 25 including postage. Visit www.offshoreechos.com for details, or send payment to Offshore Echo’s, PO Box 1514, London W7 2LL. 

sasradiogroup - not quite up to the normal numbers in the run up to Christmas. Did you forget the meet was on the 1st? Meanwhile issue 101 of our SAS Interferencenewsletter covered in-depth the 2014 movie 3 Mile Limit. 
  • November 2015
sasradiogroup - the 101st edition of our newsletter is at the printers with an edition back on the subject of Offshore Radio. In this case looking at and reviewing the film 3 Mile Limit. available from next Tuesday 6th December at our regular meeting Six pages in full colour including official pictures from the film.

Talking of which No. 8 Films suggest you purchase the 3 MILE LIMIT DVD as a GREAT XMAS Present! 
3 Mile Limit DVD is on sale NOW! You can only buy this award winning film via their website: 
For buying in NZ click this link: http://3milelimit.co.nz/buy-dvd-2
If you are in Australia click here: http://3milelimit.co.nz/australia-buy-dvd
U.K & Europe and the U.S all have their links: http://3milelimit.co.nz

"Marconi to break radio silence after intermission"
 The Times Business Section on Monday 23rd November reported that the name is to be revived by electronic device maker Bullitt Group. They have struck a licensing deal with Ericsson to use the name on a range of Consumer Devices. They will start next year with a DAB radio next year with the famous logo. Sales for Bullitt were $100m last year. They produce electronics devices including 'phones for other brands including Caterpillar, JCB, Kodak, Ministry of Sound and Ted Baker.

Chris Evans (4) -  He may have 'let slip' the other week that will be the female presenter Suzi Perry on the new Top Gear. If, and I say if, this is true then it is somewhat typical of Mr Evans.

Radio Caroline North - Across the 28th/29th November the station returns on 1368 kHz from the Isle of Man and on the Internet.This time paying tribute to the 1970s with the voices, memories and music of that era.


Holding The Fort - we held over this news from the end of last month. This is a new book by Michael of Sealand the extraordinary true story of piracy and violence starting our own country on a fortress island in international watersPublished 2015 by the Principality of Sealand 277 pages and illustrated ISBN 978-0-9933200-0-2 www.sealanggov.org


November 2015 International Radio Report now available from our friend Hans Knot. This includes a run down on the battle between Chris and Mary Payne atwww.radiolondon.co.uk and the BBC over the use of the name Radio London and the rl trademark. For full details see Hans KnotEd: This is a reversal of BBC policy to brand the local TV news and the radio station as BBC London. A poor decision. Unfortunately for the guys at BBC Radio London the station maintains a TSA of 1.3% in the London area. BBC Local Radio is currently very unloved by the Beeb's top echelons and we understand the station is now at genuine risk of being a 'flagship closure' due to internal cuts within the broadcaster. 

Ofcom - The Times reported on 2.11.15 that Ofcom is having another crackdown on radio pirates. The next day we counted 35 easily receivable in Redhill in the car park at The Toby Inn! Ed: Ofcom holds one or two purges a year before the levels go down again. 

  • October 2015
Issue 100 of SAS Interference at our latest meet...The Lamps are going out all around Europe...six pages of developments re AM and DAB including analysis of all those various statistics. How the authorities fudge the figures and how we pick up on a blatant untruth re in-car digital listening claims.

PUB TIME AGAIN! time to catch up with another couple of publications which fell onto our door mat and e-mail boxes at the very end of last month!
Tune Into Yesterday Issue 75 arrived on the doormat yesterday (26th March) and features Michael Roberts at the BBC 1941 - 1945, and various reproduced articles re archiving,plus TWO Supplements! No 1."Archiving Tomorrow" by Steve Arnold Birmingham Conference Report March 2015 and Supplement 2 News from the Archives For contact details see Other Radio Groups
October 2015 International Radio Report now available from our friend Hans Knot. Some interesting reading as always Hans Knot
  • September 2015
OFFSHORE ECHOS we have a press release from OEM as Issue 181 of the magazine is now available. With amongst others Calvert cover up, Sonja van Proosdijk interview, the strange spooky Sonovox, Radio Mercur story and new 2015/6 catalogue.

OEM have also updated their website with new pages on the devastating raid by Dutch & British authorities in August 1989, which put Radio Caroline off the air. Less than six weeks later, and with help from listeners and supporters Caroline was back on the air. The Radio Caroline story from Offshore Echo's is complete with hundreds of photo's, news cuttings, documents, audio and video clips.....    

Radio Caroline Southampton Support Group 
 On Wednesday 23rd September from 7pm our sister group the RCSG meets for its quarterly get together at The Netley Victoria Club, Netley near Southampton SO31 5DG This time they are celebrating a furtherr year of Peter Smith of PC Estates sponsorship of the 60s and 70s request show broadcast on Tuesday nights at 9pm and repeated during the following week on the new Caroline Flashback stream. So come along and meet Peter Smith and the shows presenters Barry James and Clive GarrardHear news of the work on board Radio Caroline's ship the Ross Revenge and buy your gifts from the Caroline sales stand that Albert and Georgina Hood will be setting up. You are all welcome to join for a £5 donation which includes a buffet and all proceeds from the evening go towards the costs of work on board the Ross Revenge. Roland is hoping to take over the main part of the club this time to give you all more room

Radio Caroline North - from the morning of the 26th September this will return on 1368 kHz from the Isle of Man and on the Internet. Running for a whole weekend this is separate service to the Radio Caroline and Caroline Flashback internet stations. Peter Moore is hopeful that if successful this will result in more weekends across 2015 and 2016.

Redstone FM - the remaining Internet service closed down at 6pm on the 6th September. In contrast we've noted a lot of new adverts on Susy Radio 103.4 FM across the last few months and wish them every continuing success.

Chris Evans (3) -  Jodie Kidd has announced that she won't be taking a regular role on Top Gear. Stating that it would be all consuming and leave her little time for other commitments. This backs up our claim that in the medium term Chris will be unable to continue as a daily presenter on BBC Radio 2. Interestingly Zoe Ball a fill-in presenter on Radio 2 has just been announced as a new sidekick for Top Gear. Ed: This is how insiders say how Chris works. You'll be finding a lot of his mates cropping up on Top Gear as guests or in the background. If your not his mate...A total contrast to the two relative unknowns Richard Hammond and James May who were teamed up with Jeremy Clarkson.

Colin Fayer - a founder of the London pirate station Kiss FM who made the transition in 1990 to legal broadcasts died on September 5th  aged 63. In the 80s Fayer helped poineer the acid-house and rave music genres. Fayer was a regular on Kiss 100 from 1990 to 1997 presenting a variety of programmes including a weeky techno show. In later years he had more melodic tastes which he featured on the digital radio station Mi-Soul.

September 2015 International Radio Report now available from our friend Hans Knot. Some interesting reading as always Hans Knot. I'm at home next week so time for a good read then!

sasradiogroup: an interesting meet on 1st September. Three of our regulars out on holiday or working. Numbers remained good and three other people took there place!
  • August 2015
Steamfair Radio - SB reports that the station will return on 87.9 MHz from August 29th to September 7th. Broadcasting to the Great Dorset Steam Fair by Blandford Forum and beyond...to quote SB "lots of PAMS jingles and a good variety of oldies, some a bit less well-known."

Italy - AM radio has reportedly been deregulated. more anon


Three Mile Limit - this NZ film about Radio Hauraki has never been given a cinema release in Europe. You can now buy it via their official web-site Three Mile Limit - Buy DVDDouble check you've got the right region!


Dutch AM radio - As reported elsewhere both Radio Maria 675 kHz and Radio 5 Nostalgia 747 kHz are to cease transmissions on the medium-wave from 1st September. Donald who sometimes comes to our meets will miss the later station. The good news is that 675 kHz there is a chance that could become home to Classic Radio 675. The aim of this station is to take over from the public Radio 5 Nostalgia provided it gains the appropriate approvals. It is reported that this has been sub-let by the religious Radio Maria and would continue for the next two years before the future of this transmitter is decided.

BBCRadio 3 - My radio listening is somewhat eclectic but if you were listening to Petroc Trelawney breakfast show on July 31st it had a distinctive 'offshore feel'. The programme was live from Mullion Harbour (and the surrounds). Plenty of real waves crashing on the shore and seagulls providing natures sound effects between the links. There was genuine interest to radio enthusiasts like ourselves. If you catch up on the BBC iPlayer go to around 40 minutes into the programme, Here Petroc visits the Lizard Wireless station. Today the wooden shed houses an amateur radio station and museum. It was here that in January1901 that Marconi heard the first broadcast 'over the horizon' from the Isle Of Wight transmitting station. The Lizard also received the first transatlantic radio signal. Petroc then plays a significant piece written by George Friderick Handel Serse - Act 1; Ombra ma fu. The first piece of music ever broadcast on Christmas Eve 1906 by Reginald Fessenden from Brandt Rock, Massachusetts, USA. Petroc Trelawney Live From Cornwall
  • July 2015

Radio Seagull - 28.07.15 Via our good friend Hans Knot some news from Andy Sennit about Radio Seagull. On Saturday 1st August Radio Seagull switches to a new schedule, in readiness for our appearance on DAB+ in the north of the Netherlands. On Tuesday 28th July Andy will present his final Tuesday show at 1100-1300 CET online, repeated at2300-0100 CET online + 1602 kHz . From next week, Andy will be on Radio Seagull every Monday at 0700-1000 CET online, repeated at 1900-2200 CET online + 1602 kHz and from September also on DAB+. Most of the other presenters are also moving to new days and/or times. Full details on the Radio Seagull website at www.radioseagull.com.


Radio Mi Amigo - the UK version on their annual transmission from the LV18. For nine days from July 25th on 106.8 MHz to parts of South Essex

'Coast' BBC2 - not quite offshore enough for some but the current series of Coast Tessa Dunlop will visit the fishing village of Fecamp in France. Showing from how it gave rise to British commercial radio in the 1930s. The IBC's Radio Normandy threatened the early BBC's monopoly and its existence was even challenged in Parliament. Viewers will find out how its operators managed so powerful a signal - and who was the charismatic brains behind the operation! To show on July 23rd at 2100 hrs and on the iPlayer.

sasradiogroup: a smaller and more radio orientated meet on the 7th. The RAF even arranging a fly-by with a Chinook. Strange the Army seems to send some Apache attack helicopters my way. Are they trying to tell us something?

  • June 2015

Auctions: Tony noticed an interesting item on the UK government Auction Web Site. 3 kW TX and 120' mastAs I wrote back "All I need is a tall ship and a star to steer her by"...

Offshore Echos
 Issue 180 - OEM with a great photo of Shivering Sands Fort and Radio City's 200' mast on the cover. Chris Edwards and his team have another feature packed mag. News,more Obituries, A Calvert Cover Up part 1, Agent 327, Caroline 50th Anniversary, Interviews with Gary Kemp and Alan Turner, Juul Geleick (Veronica engineer), 1960s UK newspaper cartoons, Radio Mercur story Part 12, Government Files and Newscaster April 1974 issue.

Chris Evans (2) - The Times reported on the 23rd that the Beeb were very unhappy that he has signed on for eight more TFI's and are worrying that he will suffer from 'burn out'.Ed: see our comments below. I give Chris around a year with his new commitments. It looks he needs a new challenge and now he's producing Top Gear as well I think his weekday morning show on Radio 2 is doomed. 

Chris Evans (1) - You either love him or loathe him. Now he's the new host of Top Gear on the BBC. Chris says he'll continue Tweeting "NO not leaving the R2 Breakfast Show" Eds Comments: we've been here before with Chris linked to presenting the BBC's Formula One coverage. Insiders and us have linked Chris with a major TV project for some time and the other week a one-Off? TFI was shown on Channel 4. Unless he is just going to be a front man it's hard to imagine him putting in the same hard work that Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond did on Top Gear. Radio 2's controller must see the time is coming when Chris won't be able to meet doing his breakfast show AND film Top Gear commitments. A wise controller will make the change before one day Chris forces it on him AND demands a weekend show!.

We may be a bit short of news this month as I have other important matters that need my priority. I will update once a week if I can!

June 2015 International Radio Report - Hans Knot e-mailed the latest newsletter. Sign-up or visit his website! Hans Knot


sasradiogroup - a good meet on Tuesday 2nd June 2015 and great to see a new face from far afield. Reminiscing about Laser and going through pictures of the MV Communicator. As advertised elsewhere everyone who attended got a Quasar Radio sticker!


  • May 2015
sasradiogroup
 Tuesday 2nd June 2015 from 20.30 hours join the Surrey Anorak's Society and celebrate Laser 558s 31st birthday! We'll have our latest (the not seen May) newsletter and copies of Tune Into Yesterday. Meet some of the Susy Radio crew and former Radio Caroline crew. Plus the latest on Quasar!

Voice of Peace - The Dream of Abie Nathan  - Mike Barraclough reports on Facebook that The English version of the NDR documentary Voice of Peace - The Dream of Abie Nathan won the bronze award in its category at the New York Festivals Worlds Best TV and Film Awards 2015 hetd this April. This English version has been uploaded for online streaming. Mike reports that he saw it last year at a private showing at Robbie Owens' home in Hertford when the director, producer and one of the researchers came over. Superb film. Those interviewed include Yoko Ono, Shimon Peres, Zubin Mehta and Daniel Barenboim, offshore radio historian Hans Knot, Voice of Peace engineer Bill Danse and broadcasters Don Stevens, Alan Roberts and Robbie himself .http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/winners/…/pieces-mobile.php…

Radio Caroline Southampton Support Group 
 On Wednesday 25th March from 19.30 hours the RCSG meets for its quarterly get together. The occasion offers an ideal opportunity to speak with others on all Radio Caroline and other free radio matters, and there are always interesting guests - Ray Clark and Kevin Turner will be attending this meeting. There is a £5.00 contribution requested for a buffet, served during the evening, and there is a licenced bar service 'on tap'. The event is held at The Netley Victoria Club, Netley near Southampton SO31 5DG. Free on-street parking is available. 
Radio Caroline Sales will be there, and all monies raised through sales and raffle go to upkeep of the Ross Revenge.

Mike King - "Susy Radio is saddened to announce the passing of presenter and Chair, Mike King (1946 – 2015). Mike (AKA Mick) was one of the founding members of “The Sabres” formed in 1961 by five boys from Reigate Grammar School. Mike performed with various changes of line up right up until recently with a favourite motto “Things from the sixties played by sixty something’s”. Mike always said, “Oh, we made the odd record or two over the years”!

Mike joined Susy Radio not long after we launched nearly three years ago with his wonderful insight and encyclopaedic knowledge to the background and history of the music he played on Susy from his private collection which brought something special to his Monday 9pm slot.

Mike, who lived locally in Smallfield, was always a pleasant person to meet in the street and in the studio. His knowledge of business as a retired company director has helped to shape Susy Radio. He was elected Chair to the board of directors and always opened the meetings cheerfully He was a much liked and respected presenter amongst the team, and will be very much missed.

Susy Radio will be broadcasting a Special Tribute programme on Bank Holiday Monday 25th May at 9pm"

Radio Caroline Southampton Support Group - On Wednesday 25th March from 19.30 hours the RCSG meets for its quarterly get together. The occasion offers an ideal opportunity to speak with others on all Radio Caroline and other free radio matters, and there are always interesting guests - Ray Clark and Kevin Turner will be attending this meeting. There is a £5.00 contribution requested for a buffet, served during the evening, and there is a licenced bar service 'on tap'. The event is held at The Netley Victoria Club, Netley near Southampton SO31 5DG. Free on-street parking is available. 
Radio Caroline Sales will be there, and all monies raised through sales and raffle go to upkeep of the Ross Revenge.

'We Shall Ovecome' - the folk singer Guy Carawan died on May 2nd 2015. He is best known for re-arranging and updating a one-time gospel song We Shall Overcome possibly originally known as I'll Be Alight Someday. In the late 40s Pete Seeger, after hearing the anthem sung by striking tobacco workers at a Tennessee school the Highlander Centre changed the lyric to We Will Overcome. Guy Carawan became musical director there in 1959. He added guitar chords and a more forceful tempo to make the song more powerful. The song underwent two more evolutions incorporating 'we are not afraid' sung by a girl after the police raided the centre. This version was sung at the founding meeting of of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee on April 15th 1960. Here black members took the song. They suggested another change and sung it with a triplet rhythm. It is this version taken on by various protest movements across the United States and beyond. Played by Johnnie Walker at 12 midnight on April 14th 1967 and again in 1974 by Tony Allen on August 30th. Both times taking Radio Caroline past the 1967 British and 1974 Dutch Marine Offences Acts.

sasradiogroup - I wasn't able to make the meet due to the dreaded lurgi. Amongst the discussions on the new internet stream from Radio Caroline Caroline Flashback. Launched on Monday 4th May to provide an alternative service with sounds of the 1960s and 1970s. This includes a 'new' jingle set to invoke memories of Caroline's sixties sounds. Among the line-up is Roger Day with a daily Uncool Radio show and Mark Stafford with Stafford's World Flashback Specials. For more details go to www.radiocaroline.co.uk or via WinAmp at Caroline Flashback

SB advises that Surrey DAB only station Radio Nirvana appears to be religious now, must be for financial reasons. Also Bretagne 5 (1593 kHz) noted with a weak signal in the evenings. 10kW by day but reduced to 5kW at night. Our publication SAS Interference Issue 99 SW Private and Pirate Radio was prepared and will be distributed at next month's meet.
  • April 2015
May 2015 International Radio Report - Now Available! We've been a bit short on news this month so, Go On! Get a good read from Hans Knot Hans Knot

AFN - 23.04.15 Paul Rusling reported on Facebook that 'Another major part of European radio history fell today at exactly 12 noon UK Time. The three giant masts near Frankfurt which beamed AFN's signal around Europe on 873 KHz (344 metres)Medium Wave were brought down by dynamite charges. The AFN station was where most Europeans first heard Elvis Presley and other RocknRoll, in times when our BBC and most other state radio stations didn't bother with anything but national orchestras and a few crooners. The Beatles relied on AFN to hear the latest American songs first, Paul McCartney used to record songs from AFN to learn them. Many artists did. AFN Europe began in 1951 but has been available on FM and internet only for the last two years'

sasradiogroup - another good meeting. Discovered that elsewhere there was some misinformation re our April meeting. So we are highlighting the dates a bit more on the News and the Home pages. For info we rarely move the dates. In the past we have sometimes shifted the January meet when it is too close to the New Year. For a full list for 2015 Meetings

April 2015 International Radio Report now available from Hans Knot. Some interesting reading for Easter Hans Knot

  • March 2015

Offshore Echos Issue 179 - OEM News and sadly more Obituaries, a feature article on Samantha Dubois, Marc Jacobs Interview, 1960s UK newspaper cartoons, Riders of the Storm - the Great Storm of October 1987 part 2, Radio Mercur story Part 11, Government Files and Newscaster October 1973 issue.

Ofcom - last Monday (23rd March) 47 year old Sharon White started work as Ofcom's new Chief Executive. The Business of the Sunday Telegraph dated March 29th carried an extensive article on her new role and the regulatory challenges she and Ofcom face in the coming months.

Radio Nord Revival - The Swedish project continues. Next broadcasts tomorrow Saturday, March 28 2015 

1100-1200 UTC Radio Nord Revival on 6065 kHz 10 kW (A3H), 9865 kHz 5 kW(AM) 
1200-1300 UTC SDXF Sveriges DX-Förbund on 6065 kHz 10 kW (A3H), 9865 kHz 5 kW(AM) 
1300-1500 UTC Radio Merkurs on 6065 kHz 10 kW (A3H), 9865 kHz 5 kW(AM) 
1500-1600 UTC The Ronny B Goode Show on 9865 kHz 10 kW (A3H) 
1600-1630 UTC Global 24 Radio on 6065 kHz 5 kW (AM), 9865 kHz 10 kW (A3H) – Global 24 News 
1630-1700 UTC Global 24 Radio on 6065 kHz 5 kW (AM), 9865 kHz 10 kW (A3H) – Blues Radio International 
1700-2000 UTC Global 24 Radio on 6065 kHz 5 kW (AM), 9865 kHz 10 kW (A3H) – Jazz from the Left (Hour)

2000-2100 UTC Hit! with DJ PeeWee on 6065 kHz 5 kW (AM), 9865 kHz 10 kW (A3H) 

Radio Caroline Southampton Support Group - our 'sister' groups next meet is on Wednesday 25th March from 19.30 hrs. A chance to meet with others and chat about on all Radio Caroline and other free radio matters.  Ray Clark and Kevin Turner will be attending this meeting. As usual there is a £5.00 contribution requested for a buffet, served during the evening, and there is a licenced bar service 'on tap'. The event is held at The Netley Victoria Club, Netley near Southampton SO31 5DG. Free on-street parking is available. Radio Caroline Sales will be there, and all monies raised through sales and raffle go to upkeep of the Ross Revenge. Website http://woodleynet.co.uk under Radio Caroline News. See 

Radio Waddenzee - News just in is that they are announcing that as from 1st June that 1602 kHz will carry the programmes of KBC Radio from 0700 - 1900 hrs instead of Waddenzee. Radio Seagull continues their usual nightly slot on this channel.


sasradiogroup - meeting Tuesday 3rd March at the Toby Inn (as featured in the Surrey Mirror last week. Well OK Mark Davidson didn't come on a Tuesday night. He might have written a different article.)

Of note we all received Quasar Radio T-shirts! Very good quality and with the brilliant logo! Discussions around Susy Radio, Trash Can/Nirvana, Redstone and the concrete at the bottom of the MV Mi Amigo and MV Ross Revenge. Good to see Martin recuperated and Susy Radio MD Colin.

At our January meet we discussed various pirate radio books and we're tempted to do reviews.

QUASAR Radio 'the album station' - This station is evolving with more presenters and gaining listeners as well as the T-shirts! Try quasarradio

March 2015 International Radio Report now available from Hans Knot Hans Knot


Trash Can Radio - both Martin and SB report that Trash Can appears to be sort of trashed now (for the daytime, anyway) and replaced with Radio Nirvana, playing oldies-so a vague equivalent of Gold. There is a short article about it in Radio Today,  which says that TrashCan did not attract enough sponsorship, so they are trying an alternative with a more marketable name. Not entirely surprising, but will the oldies format bring success in the tough world of DAB? Interesting in that they did not seemingly go through the consultation procedure with Ofcom to change format (it took a while for approval of the conversion of Eagle Extra to a Christian station!)

Talpa - ITV is in exclusive talks to buy Talpa, the Dutch TV production company from John de Mol Junior. Well known for formats like Big Brother and The Voice and connections all the way back to Bassart and the Dutch Service of Radio Nordsee from the Mebo 2.
  • February 2015
Small Scale DAB - As discussed in our earlier meeting Rashid Mustapha an Ofcom frequency planner developed a cheap system which he trialed in Brighton in 2012. The Times (amongst others) reported on 25th February that ten local and community stations will be invited to participate in small scale DAB trials.It seems Ofcom may be licensing this for DAB whereas the original 2012 tests were in DAB+ a much superior and robust system. Ed: Ofcom are missing a trick if they restrict this to DAB mode. The entire UK system is facing what the military call 'block obsolescence' as every other country now uses DAB+ or similar systems. 

Digital Doesn't Last Forever - Gerry pointed me to page 53 of the Radio Times Issue 28th Feb - 6 March. The Beeb has quietly stopped supporting some SHOUTcast streams which explains why Radio 3 doesn't refer to HD sound anymore.  Also gone live sport on the international 5 Live channel. Also being discontinued the WMA format. The other SHOUTcast stream may run for another year or two. 

Publications: SAS Interference Issue 98 London FM. 4 pages of news and analysis and 4 pages of listings for 2014 across the capitals' FM wavebands.
   
Redstone FM - SB and others report that at 7pm on Thursday 5th February that the service was withdrawn from the MuxCo Surrey DAB multiplex. The station issued a statement on their website that they are "undergoing a re-structuring of their business...and will re-launch on DAB soon". The subject of much speculation at our meetings. 

February 2014 International Radio Report I missed listing January's report and am probably in Hans Knot's bad book. Seriously, always an interesting read Hans Knot

Next meeting 3rd February 2015 - our 'official' 30th birthday. Come and celebrate but, remember stay within the drink drive limits!

AeroMarti - Tony has pulled-up a link to this fascinating website. Radio & TV Marti is a station beaming to Cuba from various transmitters. Once proposed as an offshore station it broadcast from various land based transmitters in Florida. The TV station used to use balloons. Much covered by the late lamented Media Network. Tony''s link is to planes used in the 1990's and beyond. Grumman G159 Gulfstream 1s were used. Notable for using RR Dart turboprops! AeroMarti Ed: note I've just re-set the link for it to work and it does!

'Return to the River Kwai' 1989 - this film was on BBC TV last week and it was the first time that I've seen it. Of interest is the 'Japanese Destroyer' escorting the freighter with the prisoners to Japan.This ship is of interest to offshore radio fans as it looks like the MV Galaxy home of Radio London. Whilst the Philippine Navy did indeed have a sister ship in their navy (PS20 Magat Salamat ex USS Gayety MSF 239 Admirable Class). This ship did not appear in the film. Whilst built as an ocean minesweeper she was employed as as a corvette. The vessel you see on screen is PS 19 Miguel Malvar ex USS Brattleboro PCER 852.ex US Navy PCE 827 Class. The PCE 827 class is essentially the same as the Admirable except that they were tasked as Patrol Coastal Escort. Hence the designation. The Brattleboro was initially built as a Rescue ship (PCER) and then as an escort. The vessel transferred from the USN on 11th July 1966.
  • January 2015
Community Radio - SB reports on the Department for Culture Media & Sports' Community Radio Consultation Report and agreed changes to the rules in 2015. The "nitty gritty" is that all community stations now have a baseline of £15,000 worth of advertising per annum. making life a lot easier. Also license renewal seem easier. It was clear from the consultation that many stations were really struggling and some had completely given-up so the rules had to be eased. Interesting there was opposition from some commercial outfits despite the figure being small to them. To read the pdf click on Community Radio Consultation ReportEds comments. 293 community stations have been licensed.  Of which 40 handed theirs back or had their license revoked. 18 failed to get on-air with the time limit. A failure rate of over one in six stations. I do sympathise with the smaller commercial stations bemoaning the increase in advertising for community stations. However, the fact is that having a 50/50 advertising / grant income split or no commercial revenue when set-up in an area of a small commercial station wasn't working. Some stations have been very good at getting grants (up to five figures). It is maintaining that across five years that is the issue. After two / three years this income dries up or is considerably reduced. Under the 50 / 50 rules it also reduces the amount of advertising you could take. So a £10,000 grant loss is a reduction of £20,000 in total revenue. Link FM being an obvious example.

Marlow FM - 26.01.15 Radiotoday.co.uk reports that this community station had over £8,000 worth of gear including the SBS transmitter stolen on the night of Wednesday 22nd January. They returned within 24 hours with temporary equipment. As usual pirate stations were blamed. Ofcom estimates that fewer than 1% of gear they seize from pirate radios is stolen. We think most equipment ends upon the other side of the Channel within 48 hours (like stolen computer servers etc) and that the market is in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. 

RECOMMENED VIEWING - Friday night BBC4 9pm. Sound of Song part 3. The excellent Neil Brand gives a fascinating exploration of the evolution of songs in the 20th Century via improvements in recording technology. Part 3 into the digital revolution. Sounds a bit dry doesn't it? Not at all as the extremely knowledgeable Neil shows how documentaries should be made. A must see. Catch up on both parts 1 & 2 on the BBC iPlayer.

Radio Caroline - 20.1.15 Hot news is that Radio Caroline launches in the US today  via their Radio Caroline website. Tony Paul presents the breakfast show live every morning from Los Angeles from 7am to 9am. The station has a new app automatic timezone detection. Listeners via the Radioplayer on the Caroline website automatically get versions of the station tailored for their time zone. So that, for example, listeners on the East Coast and the West Coast of the USA get delayed versions of the station.

Power Line Technology (PLT) - Hot news at our meet on 7th January, is that Ofcom has partially bowed to pressure from various groups particularly GCHQ re the use of power line networking technology. (see SAS Interference March 2012 Issue). On Monday they issued a consultation on new regulations allowing the regulator to issue enforcement notices to shut down users. failure to do so could result in criminal prosecution. Ofcom stated "Communications networks form an important part of the UKs national infrastructure...it is important to protect their correct function from interference".  Yet Ofcom ignored all such issues when they legislated for its use and ignored pleas from GCHQ, NATO, the Coastguard, the BBC, radio amateurs and short-wave listeners. The Daily Telegraph reported in 2011 that GCHQ warned "it is likely to cause a detrimental affect on the core business of this department". This was a rare public intervention later withdrawn. Ed: Ofcom have for over 8 years refused to assist UK national agencies despite hard evidence of interference. Ofcom allegedly being in breach of various enacted pieces of Parliamentary laws and regulations. The regulator consider themselves to be above UK law.- just like the pirate stations they seek to close down.
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