2011 News Archive

  • December 2011

BBC Radio 6 Music - is devoting January 1st 2012 is to broadcast exclusively using vinyl records.

Dutch FM Pirates - From mid-December the Dutch Radiocommunications Agency has a new policy. Their inspectors are to give the broadcaster an hours warning to switch off the transmitter. Failure to comply resulting in the violation being officially reported and the offender risking a penalty. This has been increased to a maximum of €45,000.Varying on a case by case basis. This is determined principly by the degree of interference caused by the pirates broadcasts. In a crack down additional resources are being deployed over the Christmas period, The new strategy is designed to tackle largercommercial pirates operating in conjunction with music events based in clubs, restaurants and marquees. These transmit remotely from mobile sites using high power transmitters. Source Radio Netherlands Media Network Weblog (December 8th 2012)

SAS comment: As in the UK the process of the FM band turning from hobby pirates to commercial has been going on for years. To avoid potential breaches of European Human Rights population these draconian measures are not targeted against the extended AM and SW operators and therefore the Fries population. The scale of FM piracy is such that the RCA privately admit that they lack the resources to deal with the situation and hope that a combination of warnings and large fines will lead to a significant reduction in FM activity.


SAS Interference Issue 83 London FM activity in 2011. Four page editorial and five pages of listings.

Tune Into Yesterday Issue 64 - Desert Island Discs project, News from the Archives, BBC Year Book 1945

Laser558 All Europe Radio - by Hans Knot price 21 Euros. Details from Hans Knot at HKnot@home.nl

Ofcom Ruling - Ofcom has rebuked ITV makers of Downton Abbey over a series of sponsorship credits for Aviva Income Protection, involving a narrative "mini-dramas‟ . Regulations stating programme sponsorship "must not encourage the purchase or rental of the products or services of the sponsor or a third party".

Ofcom found one line in the sponsors clips breached guidelines “It's my insurance policy. I think I'm still covered if I do that course!” It was felt this amounted to an advertising message as opposed to sponsorship. Many views complained the mini dramas and high levels of advertising ruined their enjoyment of the programme. Aviva, due to the highly negative and controversial publicity forced them to drop the mini dramas and use a more conventional line.


  • October 2011

Channel Television - ITV plc has exchanged contracts with Yattendon Goup plc to buy the independent television company serving the Channel Islands, subject to the approval of the Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority. It is considered unlikely that the JCRA would block the deal. Yattendon Group issued a statement “This change of ownership…marks an important and exciting step in the company’s future. Channel Television is proud of its strong local heritage and under ITV’s ownership, will continue to serve the communities in the islands with high quality news, information and factual programming.”

SAS Comments: Channel TV celebrates its’ 50th birthday next year and it's sad to reflect that this small company will be subsumed into ITV plc. This is a further consolidation of the ITV Network – With this aquisition ITV plc will own 12 of the 15 regional licenses. ITV plc was formed in 2004 from the merger of Granada and Carlton. This will leave only three 'independents' UTV holding the license for Northern Ireland and SMG owning the two Scottish franchises for Scottish Television and Grampian.

BBC Cutbacks Part 2 - Information released from the Beeb is that the corporation has obtained the entire world supply of glass valves for the 500kW LW transmitter at Droitwich. It is intended to continue longwave transmissions until only two valves remain and then close the operation. The lifespan of each of the remaining valves is between "one and 10 years"

BBC Cutbacks - with extensive press coverage the headlines are: TV to focus on peak time programming, BBC1 more late night repeats, BBC2 to repeat BBC4 output weekday afternnons, with overall repeats more than 50% of all programming, BBC3 & BBC4 act as 'feeder' channaels to BBC1 & BBC2. News & Sport sports budget cut by 15%, World Service to lose 25% of jobs, focusing on breaking bews and less features / special reports, less coverage of culture, arts & science, business in the news, increase in Panorama budget, probable reduction in minority sports. Radio - BBC Local Radio more regional programming outside peak hours, 7-10pm to be a national programme, sharing news bulletins between Radio 2 & 6 Music, Radio 1 & 1Xtra, Radio 3 & Radio 4. Reducing comedy and live music on Radio 2, reducing original drama and live music on Radio 3

Offshore Echoes Issue 165 Lates issue includes features on Peter Chicago at Euroradio, 242 is calling you, Radio Veronica Story part 10, RNI World Service Unicef Campaign, Arsholes and Anoraks Part III by Andy Archer, The Government files and more.

  • September 2011

Susy Radio - Natwest Grant We’re pleased to announce that Susy Radio have got through the first stages towards winning a £6,000 grant from the Natwest.

The Natwest are funding their Community Force awards, allowing community projects to receive vital funds or assistance to benefit the community. Winning the award is based on votes from any UK resident and commences on Monday 26th September. Please check out the Susy Radio entry and if you like what you see please vote for Susy and, if it’s not too cheeky, get your mates to do so too! You can vote for Susy Radio here:


Radio Seagull on 1395 AM For a six week test period, starting October 1st, the 15Kw Continental Electronics transmitter on board the lightship Jenni Baynton will be broadcasting on 1395AM. During the test the radiated power will vary and also the ship will try various locations to broadcast from, in order to determine what location generates the best and most economic signal. Seagull advises that the tests will not mean you will be able to hear them straight away. There will be antenna adjustments with a carrier and test tones first.

Channel Islands SB has sent in an interesting report from the Guernsey Press dated 3rd September. The article states that a DAB transmitter was installed on Jersey in June but that Guernsey will not be getting DAB "in the foreseable future" as the BBC is aiming only to give 90% coverage. Jersey is the only channel island meriting DAB coverage, as it has a higher population than the other islands.

SB comments that the BBC has decided to ignore Guernsey which has a population of over 62,000. The stated future national broadcasting plan is to restrict FM to local stations only, with all the rest coming essentially via DAB. The logical conclusion is thus in future Guernsey will be without all national broadcasting stations!

Tune Into Yesterday Latest Tune Into Yesterday published (Summer 2011 Issue 63) including articles on BBC Northern Dance Orchestra, Early Days of Savoy Hill, From the Archives, Mail of Sunday interview with Graeme Stevenson. Plus Supplement AFN "from the insdide" and Transciption Discs. Other Radio Groups

Angel Radio Keith Richards has allegedly donated £3,000 to Angel Radio on the Isle of Wight to assist them returning to the air after the FM transmitter was destroyed by a lightning strike (source BBC Ceefax).

Dutch Pirate Radio Radio Nederlands Media Network reports the Dutch Radiocommunications Agency are changing track against pirate radio stations. These can now be hit with a fine of 2,500 Euros and this can also apply to the owner of the land as well as the operator. Fines are to be automatically imposed after they have been sent a warning letter. This has resulted in AM and SW stations going mobile instead of the regular sites they were previously renowned for. Powerliner made one such broadcast on Sunday 4th September on 48 metres.

SAS comments Whilst this is aimed at FM privateers there is concern that aspects of this policy breaches European Human Rights legislation – particularly hitting landowners who may be unaware of such illegal activity. Listeners may recall Radio Nederlands Media Network reporting that Friesen language print and radio media was effectively banned and that the Fries language could only be heard on such pirate stations. It is only in recent decades that a modern attitude was adopted. It is argued that the AM and maybe some FM pirates form part of the ‘tapestry of life’ and could be seen from a political or social rather than a commercial aspect of life. Read the comment from Kai Salvesen refering to a book ’Illegale Recreatie : Nederlandse Radiopiraten en Hun Publiek’ by J.H.W. Lijfering published in 1988 tracing such activity back to the 1930s. With the UN getting involved in the UK regarding actions against an illegal gypsy site there may be grounds for them to investigate the situation in parts of the Netherlands.

  • August 2011

British Paramount Newsreel (Reuters) on the itnsource.com website a newsreel dated 8th March 1934. This is an interview with the Barker brothers of Norwich describing how the Post Office closed down their radio stations. Of interest it is claimed this is the first pirate radio station closed down by the authorities. The brothers Wilfred and Gerald described how "for a number of years" they had experimented with broadcasts mainly on a Sunday.

They ran two tranmsitters which appears to have been a mix of QSOing and broadcasting. The first raid on Norwich Station Number One gave an on-air warning to Norwich Station Number Two. This closed down after playing Tom Jones & his Orchestra and then God Save The King. The brothers escaping with a warning and a promise not to continue transmitting.

Visit itnsource.com and search for Clip Ref BGX407190461 0. Warning: Please remember this is strictly copyrighted material.

See also March 2010 issue of SAS Home Pages where we went back from August 1968 and tracked back land based pirate radio to 1934 via various magazine and newspaper artciles. This included original interviews.to the SAS and research via Hansard (Parliamentary records) to back up 1930s and 1940s newspaper articles.

10.08.11 The UK Government short listed 65 towns & cities for proposed new local TV services via Freeview. From these Ofcom intends to license about 20 such stations from summer 2012. The BBC will pay engineering and transmission costs of circa £25m and spend £5m in buying content. The Government says each station will cost £500,000 per annum to run.

  • Latest RAJAR figures - let's pick out a couple of interesting facts:

BBC Radio 2 - Chris Evans Breakfast Show loses 1 out of 18 listeners - the audience falling from 9.2 million to 8.6 million in the first quarter of 2011

DAB listening - the rate of increase in DAB sales continues to fall. DAB sales are up by just over 11%year on year compared with 15% over a year ago.

UTV complains BBC Radio 5 Live is failing to achieve its news coverage - hitting 50% not 75% on the service license agreement. The BBC claims 75% but that includes shows by Richard Bacon & Tony Livesey which are a mixture of current affairs and light entertainment.

F1 - The BBC has struck a deal with F1 and BSkyB re Formula One Coverage to split 50/50 live screenings of the next two seasons Grand Prix's. The BBC being unable to walk away without incurring a £50m break clause. This has allowed live coverage of half the races and at least half the practice sessions to Sky, The full details have yet to be released.

Comment: This says more about the BBC management than their sports coverage. This is the sacrificial lamb due to the 20% cuts the BBC is suffering. Meanwhile last week the BBC had over 220 journalists coveraging 'One year to the Olympics' compared with just 22 for ITV which just shows you how profligate they are with your money. OR look at their expenses which they try to keep from Government Audit. Leaving the BBC? Changing department? You get a nice expensive party all paid...by the taxpayer, The bosses / management would rather give up sports rights than their freebies. See also News Report dated 20th June.

SAS Interference Issue 82 takes a look at the fires which on the 15th July damaged one major broadcast facility Ijsselstein (Lopik) and destroyed another Hoogersmilde (Drenthe) - see below. Only the 80m concrete tower remains. The 220m guyed mast was destroyed along with FM, Digital TV, and telcoms networks. A full report and update as of 31st July on the situation. Available at the Surrey Anorak's Society meeting on 2nd August.

Zendstation Smilde, Hoogersmilde 13.10.07 taken by Vijverln, kindly re-produced under Wikipidea rules.

July 2011

Radio Caroline’s SKY 0199 service has now ceased. If you wish to continue listening via satellite, whether via SKY or not you will need to re-tune your receiver. Radio Caroline can still be heard via most satellite set-top boxes including FreeSat. Please follow the instructons below, we are not however receivable on FreeView nor any longer via the Sky "EPG" channels. You need to manually tune us in on your system's "Other Satellite Services" or equivalent. The exact method depends on the manufacturer but is broadly similar. Consult your set's instruction manual and use these settings:

Satellite: Eurobird 1 28.5 deg East Transponder Frequency: 11428 Ghz (Note: new frequency from June 2011) Polarisation: Horizontal (Note: Change from June 2011) Symbol Rate: 27.5 (or as Auto)

Some receivers may also need these parameters: FEC: 2/3 Audio PID (APID) 4101(Note: Change from June 2011) Service ID (SID) 10551(Note: Change from June 2011)

If you have a SKY+ receiver you may be having some difficulties. WRN who supply the transponder and uplink services acknowledge there is a problem and are working to resolve this issue.

Red Sands Radio on from Whitstable, Kent on 87.7 MHz from 2nd July - www.redsandsradio.co.uk

Coast 106 is now Jack FM. Another identity lost to the corporate raiders

  • June 2011

End June Issue 164 of Offshore Echoes Magazine now available. This includes an article on the first Offshore Commercial radio station RXKR from off the Californian coast in 1933 - plus background on the various ships which operated as gambling vessels and where US prohibition did not apply. Rare photographs of the vessels Lux, Rex (more commonly found) and Star of Scotland (formerly the City of Panama the RXKR ship)

6.9 MHz - there's a clutch of stations noted on this part of the band including Irish Music Radio 6930, Laser Hot Hits 6945 and most interesting of all on Saturday nights I've picked up a station on 6937 kHz "from the middle of the Meditteranean. Reported on Alphalima.net as Radio Malta.

20th June 2011: The BBC has come in for some severe criticism in the last two weeks re spending levels. At a time when the license fee has been frozen and the BBC is going to make cuts in services and reducing sporting fixtures (possibly axing Formula One covergae) the national press has highlighted the following:

  1. £100,00 paid per year for specialist make-up artists for female newsreaders due to the introduction of HD TV.

  2. Paying £22m for a new US format show to rival the X-Factor. This is a two year contract.

  3. Overmanning on BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2. Including:

Radio One - 30 journalists employed to provide support for Newsbeat (1x30 minute news bulletin, 1 x15 minute new bulletin daily).

Extensive use of Studio Managers (particularly Radio 2) as panel operators despite many of the presenters being trained to be self-op on BBC studios.

Have you noted how many staff make Chris Evans Breakfast Show?

One DJ Chris Evans, one Newsreader - Moira Stewart (the bulletins are apparently prepared for her), one Sports Presenter, one traffic presenter, A Producer and Co-Producer and a Studio Manager.

We think Terry Wogan's show used:

One DJ (Terry of course), one Newsreader / traffic presenter, no Sports Presenter, one Producer and possibly a Studio Manager.

  • May - Radio Nord Revival Shortwave Schedule

    • 41 metre band

    • 7320 kHz: 08:00-11:00, 13:00-18:00

    • 7360 kHz : 08:00-16:00

    • 7485 kHz: 06:00-22:00

    • 31 metre band

    • 9340 kHz: 06:00-22:00

    • 9930 kHz: 06:00-22:00

    • 9940 kHz: 06:00-22:00

    • Times are Swedish Summer Time (SST/CET) which is UTC + 2.

The Radio Nord Revival returns on May 27th until May 29th. This time they have a floating studio base for their station the s/s St Erik - a former ice breaker and now a museum ship. There will be a Radio Nord exhibition on board. Increased power has been agreed on the 1512 kHz channel (198 metres) of 2.5kW from Stockholm (Kvarnbergat) and also on 603 kHz from Sala. 603 kHz being the modern equivalent of Radio Nord's original channel. Power on short-wave will remain as 10 kW. The frequency/frequencies have not yet been announced but the station has indicated that the 41 and 31 metre bands will be utilised.

Radio Caroline 47th birthday live over Easter from the Ross Revenge on Sky Channel 0199 and 531 kHz AM from 22nd April until midnight on 2nd May 2011.

Sir Richard Bransons Virgin Radio International is one of a number of groups bidding to buy loss making Absolute Radio which has been put up for sale by its' Indian owner TIML. Other parties which have shown an interest includes Bauer Media (owner of Magic), Global Radio, Midlands based Orion Media, UTV (owner of talkSPORT). Absolute made pre-tax losses of £43m in 2009 and last year owners TIML took a £7.9m writedown for the UK business,

April 14th - Radio Netherlands' Media Network reports that it is proposed to produce a film on the life of former Radio Mi Amigo owner Sylvain Tack. Erik Lamens, will write the screenplay, a fictionalised story based on his life. “First and foremost I want to present a human story. ” The aim is for the film to be released in 2013 / 2014 but the script hasn’t been completed or the monies (an estimated 1.5-2m Euros raised).

Issue163 of Offshore Echoes now available - for details see entry on Other radio Groups

One of the best April's Fools hoaxes of the last decade was on BBC Radio 2 as Rob Brydon stood in and did his excellent impersonation of Ken Bruce.

Very subtle to start and gets sillier as the show goes on http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b00zq519

Pirate TV station reported on Freeview in the south-east. Channel 405 with vintage programming allegedly using Freeview Channel 20 (the former Channel One channel). Runs weekend evenings so best to catch it this Friday April 1st.

Sunday March 27th the BBC World Service 648 kHz transmitter switched off.

After the March 11th run of transmissions the Radio Nord Revival is set to return May 27th- May 29th on 1512 kHz AM with 1kW and 6060 kHz 49 mb SW with 10 kW

11th March - The Daily Telegraph reported that staff are to be briefed late today about a series of proposals for the future of BBC Local Radio. In the worst case scenario the local network would be merged with Radio 5 Live and the only local content would be reduced to breakfast and drive-time show. All other programming would consist of Radio 5 Live. The NUJ believes the plans would result in the loss of over 700 jobs. At sasradiogroup we understand that local stations could be structured like commercial counterpart Heart FM. What remaining local content would become regionalised and various BBC local stations would lose their identities.

NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: “These proposals would rip the heart out of local programming and effectively sound the death knell for local radio.”

sasradiogroup notes listeners would be at a real loss - their being no equivalent stations outside the BBC local network.

Tuesday 8th March - The Daily Telegraph carried a small article on Radio Caroline. Tracey Crouch presented an Early Day Motion in Parliament calling on Ofcom to grant an AM license. This was backed by 52 MPs. The Telegraph incorrectly implied that Ofcom had suggested using 1071 kHz whereas this option had been instigated by Radio Caroline themselves. There are in fact a number of hi-power channels allocated to the UK (e.g. 810 kHz) that the station could potentially use.

AM DX - Irish AM pirates Energy 1395 and Radio North 846 kHz are easily receivable throughout the UK across nightimes. Star Country 981 kHz also can be heard in SE England the best times in the hour or so before and after sunrise and sunset. The mornings suffering less problems with co-channel interference.

Interesting news from Sweden - Radio Nord will return to the air on MW 1512 kHz with 1 kW from Horby and 49 metre band 6060 kHz with 10kW next week from 8th March. Reception of the Radio Nord Revival has being reported on the internet. The broadcasts celebrating 50 years since transmissions commenced. These were also the first broadcasts from the ship that subsequently housed Radio Caroline South from 1964-68 and Caroline International from 1972 until 1980.

ITV expected to return to FTSE Top 100 status next week after near tripling of pre-tax profits to £321 million due to cost cutting and recovery in advertising.

Last month Ofcom allowed ITV to increase the amount of advertising to up to 12 minutes. From this week (w/c 28/3/11) product placement can now also take place.

  • February 2011

SB reports that the "scare" tactics used by those wanting us all to buy DAB radios are now put to an end by this announcement that FM will continue:

Broadcast Minister Ed Vaizey confirmed to a group of MP’s that the FM 2015 switchover date will only proceed if certain criteria are met and the listeners are clearly behind the policywave. It is intended that FM band will remain as one of a number of multi platform transmission options for local commercial radio. Mr vaizey also confimed that he would review the recent decision by Ofcom to limit licence renewal terms for local commercial stations from 12 to just 7 years.

SAS Comment - it must be remembered that national and larger commercial stations have used the development of DAB to gain automatic extensions to their existing licenses which has put them at an economic advantage over smaller scale competitors.

SB reports: There is a big outcry at the moment over the BBC World Service cuts. The loss of the 648 Khz transmitter means there is now no English radio broadcasts from the WS in Europe now, the short wave service having been removed 2-3 years ago. In less developed countries, the medium/shortwave service is a lifeline for the many people that do not have access to satellite radio or the internet. (The internet also gets cut sometimes- it recently happened in Egypt).

If you wish to protest at the move the petition address is www.savews.com/

Webmaster further comments FM relays in local countries are no good either as they are easily closed down by the authorities.

Visit the BBC iPlayer to see reporter Ben Fogle visiting Sealand

In a controversial move the new BBC Controller cancels the highly popular Larkrise to Candleford and gambles with Sunday evening ratings. Upstairs Downstairs returns for six one hour episodes next Winter.

1st February Channel One stopped broadcasting on Freeview and Satellite. Having been bought by BSkyB a loss for all Star Trek fans. BBC Radio 2's Alex Lester will be disappointed not seeing the Voyager re-runs and watching Seven of Nine.

Absolute Radio are asking for a considerable reduction in costs for their AM transmitters and if this is not successful will close down the AM outlets. The 1233 kHz tranmsitter for Gatwick (West Sussex) whilst listed has not been on-air for years.

AM closures - BIG L 1395 kHz and Gold closes 1521 in Crawley.

January Issue 162 of Offshore Echos Magazine now available

1179 kHz Radio Sweden closed down the AM t/x on 30th October at 24.00 hrs CET

20.10.10 Netherlands broadcaster Radio 10 Gold is now back on AM 828 kHz with 20kW of power.

10 Gold is the only Dutch commercial broadcaster to have utilised all the hi-power frequencies

675 - 1395 - 1008 and now 828 kHz.

11.10.10 BBC Radio 2. Chris Evans start moved to 06.30 hours to counter act Smooth Radio new breakfast show Lyn Parsons. Simon bates will take over her show from January 2011. Radio 2 New jingle package - same as the old one only slightly faster paced.

Issue 161 of Offshore Echos Magazine now available inludes interview with Tom Edwards, Alan Crawfords records, Free Radio News No. 6 (reprint), Radio Veronica story, Patrick Starling Interview (technician) plus news

14.09.10 Global Radio has been given permission by Ofcom to create a Capital FM network which sees the ending of stations like Red Dragon, Trent, Leicester Sound, RAM and Galaxy. This is a Phase 1 consolidation by Global. sasradiogroup expects Phase 2 in 18 / 24 months and this could see substantial redundancies.

06.09.10 Radio 2 Much loved early breakfast DJ Sarah Kennedy has resigned from the station. A new permanent presenter will replace her in four weeks.

01.09.10 Tom Anderson visits the site of the wreck MV Mi Amigo on Coast BBC2 tonight. 3D Sonar scan of the wreck

01.09.10 Graham Norton talk show moves to Fridays. Originally this was to stay on Tuesday evenings and the Friday edition of The One Show to carry star interviews with Chris Evans. In a reversal of policy BBC1 intends Graham Norton to move to Fridays to counteract Jonathon Ross new show due on ITV1 due next year.

27.08.10 Caroline on 531 kHz from 18.00 hrs 27.08.10 to 24.00 hrs 30.08.10 from Ross Revenge at Tilbury.

Broadcasting to South Essex / North Kent and beyond.