2017 News Archive

  • December 2017

RADIO CAROLINE - official. Live programmes from 7am on Friday 22nd December and official start at 12 midday. All from the Ross Revenge and live on 648. I think most people had guessed it would start the weekend before Christmas with the return in 1972 assisting us. Guess who booked the Friday off from work weeks ago?

OEM - Issue 190 out now with Radio Marina, Interview Marc Van Amstel (RNI), Nick Richards The Ross Days, Radio Syd part 4 (previously unpublished), Radio Scotland - Tony Rock on the fitting out of the ship, Government files and Memories of Andy Anderson by Steve England.

Tune Into Yesterday Issue 82 - Missing episodes Dr Webb, BBC and Supplement European Radio 1930 - 1944

Winter International Radio Report from Hans Knot now available

sasradiogroup - numbers the same as last month with people missing due to work and sadly illness.

Radio Caroline much talk about the 648 kHz tests which have gone down in field strength. We think that Ofcom have been taking measurements to see that, what is emanating is 1kW emrp. although there is the possibility that this has been temporarily turned down. Also much debate about the audio quality and the processing on the signal. The general view is that this sounds over-processed and flat and worse than Capital on 1548. which is a shame given the music that is going out. Plus the bonus of having Caroline North for a weekend!

Alex Lester - there is a piece on this former Radio 2 presenter in the current issue (to the 8th December) of the Radio Times. Axed in 2016 as "they had run out of money". A very intelligent presenter who a couple of us (Martin and myself) really enjoyed. He's currently on BBC WM's Breakfast show. Incidentally Caroline Martin (ex-Caroline) does the daily lunchtime show.

Ray missed the meet as he is very poorly and all the SAS crew wish him well.

  • November 2017

Aquarius 94.4 - Simon contacted us from Australia wanting to know if there are any recordings of Aquarius 94.4 FM (from the old LTIR days). If anyone has any and can download please let me know and e-mail webmastersasradiogroup@yahoo.com

Caroline 648 - tests resumed on Saturday 25th relaying the Caroline North programmes which use Manx Radio's 1368 kHz frequency. After 9pm on the Sunday the continuous music tests continued and are as of tonight 28th November still continuing. will it start soon? Broadcasts still from Orfordness.

Caroline North -the next transmissions will be across the third weekend in December.

Talking Pitcures TV - a bit of news outside the radio field. This is a Brit-centric specialist movie channel playing many rarely seen and classic British movies and TV dramas. plus some US sourced material. Much of which you won't see anywhere else. Currently on Freeview HD Channel 81 (which many areas can't access) it will from 1st December on the non-HD Channel 81. See the films you saw when you were very young or your parents watched.

Grand Designs House of the year 2017 - Yes, I know what you're thinking is that I've lost the plot. Catch up on the 14th Novembers episode as one of the houses is inspired by the Army Maunsel forts in the Thames estuary. Episode 2 water. View the second episode!

If you listen it sounds like Caroline...Graham tipped us off about the tests on 648 kHz by Radio Caroline this weekend 10th/11th November . Near Gatwick signal strength was some 30-31 dB which is slightly better than BBC Essex on 756 kHz. Needless to say the modulation was far better! It was great to hear familiar Caroline music on AM again. The tests finished sometime after 9am on the Monday morning. Reception was towards the upper estimate by the SAS so the Caroline engineers did a good job. At our sister meet in Southampton they are privy to some inside information. These tests were from Orfordness and it is still not clear if the full time Caroline will emanate from this site. Years ago we understood that the Orfordness AM transmission site was to be decommissioned. Expect a return of 648 before Christmas.

International Radio Report - the November edition has arrived but, I'm a bit rushed so will add a few notes the next time around. If not go on visit Hans Knot

EMR - sad news has reached us on the 6th November via JET that Tom Taylor is having treatment for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma which was diagnosed back in February. Due to his treatment EMR is off-air until further notice. They hope to return at some point next year. The station will be adding more pages to their website in the meantime. European Music Radio.com

  • October 2017

Stereophonics - staying in our local area the band dropped into a house in Victoria Road, Horley after the new house owners Simon and Donna Berry won a competition on Absolute Radio! In what was promoted as the Horley Housewarming the band played a number of hits on the Friday Breakfast Show on October 6th. The group played four songs including Caught In The Wind Caught By The Wind, Dakota Dakota plus a cover of Friday I'm In Love. The latter originally a hit by The Cure. Friday I'm In Love

Radio Jackie 107.8 FM - today the 19th October the station celebrates the 14th anniversary of legal broadcasting. Tune into the station or via the website.

International Radio Report - the October edition has arrived with interesting 'news' on the history of the MV Nanelle project, More on 50 years of Athe British MOA and Sealand

Just info click on the link and go to the International Radio Report section Hans Knot

Tune Into Yesterday - Issue 81. News from The Archives, Supplement 82 Monitoring The airwaves 1942 - 1955, Supplement 2 The early Days of the BBC in the 1920s and 1930s. I've dipped into the latter a fascinating read. To obtain an issue see ORCA on our Other Groups page.

sasradiogroup - numbers the same as last month. Good to see a couple of you who have not been able to make it recently. News of current developments at Quasar and our friends in the Netherlands Radio Seagull. the current technical issues at Susy Radio.

  • September 2017

The Last Pirates: Britain's Rebel DJs - This BBC4 documentary due to air at 8pm on Friday 29th September. The BBC every so often delve into the subject and this is meant to be about land-based black music pirates of the 1980s. The question is: Do they start it in the early 80s when dare we say it it was predominantly white guys doing it or the mid-80s when the focus switched to the black community? That said even today you can tune around the bands and work out which stations are run by the black community, predominantly white guys putting out urban music or those with a fair mix.

Offshore Echos Magazine - Issue 189 landed on the doormat at the weekend. Articles on Alan Crawford Interview Part 3, the VVVR story part 4 and the falling out with Radio Mi Amigo, Part 3 of Radio Syd, 50 years Ago - the MOA, How (Caroline) kept the Jolly Roger Flying and Mi Amigo Memories Part 2 by Nick Richards. The latter on the sinking of the MV Mi Amigo. A couple of our lads were involved with the station at the time so OEM will be available to read at the October meet. Meanwhile enjoy the cover of the mag with the ship in better days in 1967.

Holland - 16th September the Dutch authorities has over 50 licenses for the frequencies 675, 1224, 1332 and 1584 kHz. Power is restricted to 100 watts.

sasradiogroup - numbers slowly on the up. Four of our regulars 'missing in action'. Sometimes I feel like a teacher doing the register. Lots of talk and we got around to former Caroline DJ Jonathan Day. An American touring around the world, who when in Holland diverted and spent time on the Mi Amigo in 1976. I remember him on at midday when the 192 service started. It's amazing as to what can crop up. Talk of Susy Radio, last month's events in the UK etc.

  • August 2017

Best of British - September Issue we seem to becoming a monthly advert for them! In the letters section a follow-up to the article in August "A Life on the Medium Wave" where the author Derek Lamb tells the story of an attempt by students from St. Albans to visit the MV Galaxy. Browse or even buy the issue. From WH Smith and many decent newsagents.

International Radio Report - the September edition popped into our inbox today 29th August. As you might expect this is a 1967 themed 50th Anniversary of the British Marine Offences Act. Tons to read and enjoy. Just info click on the link and go to the International Radio Report section Hans Knot

Radio Caroline - on the multi station link-up on august 14th Ray Clarke suggested that 648 kHz would be on-air before Christmas

Pirate BBC Essex - August 14th As usual the team put on an excellent broadcast with Keith Skues who was on the air during the night of the 13th/14th August and from 9am on the 14th Roger Day, Norman Saint John (sounding very old these days but he must be in his 70s) Tom Edwards and ending with Johnnie Walker. it was Johnnie who closed the station down for what we believe was the final time at 3pm with 'A Day in the Life' by the Beatles. These were good shows tinged with a sadness as they recalled not only the closure of the 60s offshore stations but, also those DJs who have passed away recently. These included Ed Stewart and Dave Cash whose ashes were scattered by his wife from the LV18 during the afternoon show. There were some technical issues with the AM broadcast but this only added to the atmosphere of the adventure.

At 3pm there was a historic link-up between Pirate BBC Essex, Radio Caroline and Manx Radio / Caroline North. This was also relayed via I AM Radio on 1350 kHz in Milan. Ray Clarke attempted to go through pirate radio history in one hour. Manx Radio's contributor who failed to do his research. It was the British Labour Government who overruled the Manx parliament and forced them to introduce the MOA at the end of August.

To those who were there it was a day to savour and enjoy as you met your heroes or to listen-in in old fashioned AM. Or far,far away on the internet.

SUSY Radio - UPDATED - SB advises that on August 14th from 12 midday to 3pm David Jay and Jim Richman are going to commemorate 50 years of the Marine Offences Act, using archive material and sounds from the 60s Sounds good!

Radio 2 - Johnnie Walker has an hour long programme on August 14th from 10pm until 11pm commemorating the Marine Offences Act. Bound to be an interesting listen.

sasradiogroup Communique - this August 14th marks the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the UK's Marine Offences Act. This outlawed the commercial radio stations which sidestepped the BBC's monopoly by broadcasting from the High Seas. The government had previously acted against three fort based stations in 1966/7 by redefining territorial waters and bringing them into their jurisdiction. As well as breaking the BBC's monopoly the 'pirates' also by-passed restrictions by the musicians union and copyright authorities who restricted needle-time on the BBC. This was in the false assumption, that the more airtime a record received the less they would earn. In fact the opposite was the case and sales of records tripled and live music enjoyed a great boom. True, with the new Radios 1 and 2 in-house orchestras at the BBC were closed or merged and jobs lost. However, this was down to changes in music trends not the pirates. If it wasn't for the offshore stations BBC radio would have sounded the same in the 1970s as in the 1950s.

The UK is unique in firstly having two radio ships arrive off our shores within weeks of each other in 1964, and the sheer number of stations receivable in the 1964 to 1967 period.. At their peak totaling 11 if you include Tower Radio. These were a varied bunch US resourced major stations (London, Radio England/Britian Radio) Home grown major stations like Caroline, Atlanta (which merged with Caroline) and Radio 390. There were a couple of regional stations with local backing Radio Scotland and Radio 270. You could put Radio City in that category but that differed in being solely owned by Reg and later Dorothy Calvert. Other smaller sole ownership stations Radio Sutch who sold out to his manger Reg Calvert, and Radio Essex owned by Roy Bates. Rival Radio Tower owned by a small group of businessmen as were Radio 390s predecessors Invicta and KING.

All the stations with the exception of Radio Sutch aimed at a broad demographic, and even with Radio Sutch that might not have been intentional. Caroline (1964/5), Atlanta (1964), Radio 390, Britain Radio/Radio 355 and Radio Essex/BBMS were not pop music pirates. They broadcast more mainstream popular music and the last three plus Invicta/KING were more sweet music stations and aimed at the older listener. To those who heard and remember them they were exciting days and the pirates broadcast the sort of music that the listener wanted up to, 24 hours per day.

Today the pirates are sadly a receding memory. Few will remember more than the names of Caroline or London. They came at a time of great change and optimism for this country and we, in preserving their memory, need to carry that same optimism of our generation forwards.

Radio Mercur 60 Years On - Hans Knot reports on facebook that in Ringsted Denmark that this exhibition is at the Rinsted Radio Museum. It started on 30th April and runs to 1st October 2017. Ironically organised in co-operation with Danmarks Radio. It replicates the stern of the Cheetah 1 with crew accommodation and studios. They've also replicated a Radio Mercur programme which blasts oput of a 50 year old radio.

International Radio Report - the August /September edition popped into my inbox moments ago. Very much a 1967 MOA themed edition. Hans is one of the world's great radio historians and uses his connections to produce a thorough newsletter from contributors from over the world. Don't believe me? click on the link and go International Radio Report section Hans Knot

sasradiogroup - still a holiday affected meeting but, with more attendance. Lots of discussion about Andy Gemmell-Smith and his broadcast engineering skills and his excellent studio mixers. Chats of various ships and their radio engineering set-ups, 94.2 MHz amongst other radio related stuff.

  • July 2017

Best of British - August Issue "A Life on the Medium Wave" the 60s British Offshore stations by Derek Lamb is a featured article. From many newsagents including WH Smiths.

Caroline North returns via Manx Radio this weekend and 29th and 30th July on 1368 kHz.

Radio Mi Amigo 106.8 - returns from Friday 21st to the 30th July from the LV18!

SUSY Radio - celebrates five years on-air this Saturday 15th July tune into 103.4 FM or via the web at susyradio.com. A number of SAS members make a monthly financial contribution (including myself) to the station as well as contributing on-air and off-air support. Join neil Munday at 12 midday on Saturday 15th July on 103.4 MHz or via the web at susyradio.com.

International Radio Report - the Summer July / August edition popped into our inbox. Lots of news from contributors and lots of links to offshore radio sites. Too many obituries these days including Paul Hollingdale. An early voice on CNBC in 1961 before moving to the BBC and opening Radio 2 in 1967. After BBC local radio he moved over to Radio 210 in Reading and Blue Danube Radio. For more info click on the link and go International Radio Report section Hans Knot

sasradiogroup - holidays and dare I say it, members working (thanks for the coverage of Wimbledon Jeremy) meant another small meeting. We do get different dynamics on these ones and we were talking about Andy Gemmell-Smith. Some of our guys had dealings with Andy in the 70s and 80s when he ran his business selling studio and radio broadcast equipment. Sadly we've just heard that Andy passed away a few days ago. Known on-air as Andy Anderson he first came to attention on the much loved Radio Atlantis from the MV Janine in1973 to the end of August 1974. he was successfully prosecuted for his involvement in the Radio Dolphin project which nearly came on-air at Christmas 1974 from the Gunfleet Tower. He also acted as a consultant for other projects and stations. He is credited as one of the engineering team who successfully got Laser 558 on-air in May 1984.Christmas 1974 from the Gunfleet Tower. He also acted as a consultant for other projects and stations. He is credited as one of the engineering team who successfully got Laser 558 on-air in May 1984.

  • June 2017

Best Of British - time for a plug for the July issue. There is an article on Roger Moore in his own words "My Beginnings as a Bond'. This is an extract from his book 'Bond On Bond' here he describes how George Lazenby only signed for one film and not seven as per the first draft of his contract. This was on the advice of Ronan O'Rahilly described as a friend-cum-manager.

OEM - the latest edition of Offshore Echoes No 188 has hit the doormat. On a hot night read and relax to some Offshore Radio Nostalgia and news, Radio Syd story Part 2. Alan Crawford interview Part 2, The VVVR Story Part 2, Mi Amigo Memories by Nick Richards, Government Files and Newscaster April 1979. Some people think OEM is expensive now at £35 for four issues. I disagree. This is a professionally produced, very well researched hi-quality A5 magazine. I've done some research and for example, Fanderson's FAB magazine is quite comparable in quality, research and content albeit it is mostly in colour. Subscription? £29.00 for four issues. I suspect they do have a bigger production run and therefore lower production costs.

SUSY Radio - As the station nears it's fifth birthday they have a new logo and will they be re-imaged with new jingles and sweepers? Management is keeping that quiet.

sasradiogroup - a smaller meet than I thought we'd get but lots to talk about AND read! So see below!

We had an extensive lowdown on Radio Caroline being awarded 648 kHz with 1kW merp from someone in the know.

Caroline has purchased a Nautel 3kW unit which we understand is yet to be shipped into the UK. Don't expect them to be on-air in the short-term.

From June 1st the MV Ross Revenge is now part of the UKs Historic Register of Ships.

Both Quasar and Hastings Rock failed in their applications. Quasar e-mailed Ofcom and asked if they could enlighten them as to why they failed and got a standard response re the London Community Radio applications! Then they e-mailed again and still await an answer. Another £600 into Ofcoms Christmas meal fund!

London Community radio awards - four stations Flex FM (a pirate station recently on 99.7 but noting this has recently been replaced by UK Raw) and other stations Maritime, Minhaj, and Nomad do not appear to have urban privateer links.

We talked a bit about short-wave and AM pirates, Sw conditions and perceived political bias at the BBC!

The Spring edition of 'Tune into Yesterday' was to hand (plus the two supplements) and the June 2017 edition of Best of British Magazine. Page 40 John Tozer writes about Radio Free Plymouth. This started as an illegal cable station in the summer of 1964, briefly shut down and re-started in March 1966 and after 18 months moved to medium wave and continued to at least December 1966. The station featuring on a Westward TV news programme in December 1968. being reprised 30 years later in a programme by Angela Rippon, get the magazine for the full page article with photos.

May 2017

International Radio Report - the June / July edition is now available. A full 33 pages with a report of the 2017 Radio Day in the Netherlands. News from contributors and lots of links to offshore radio sites. For more info click on the link and go International Radio Report section Hans Knot

Radio Caroline - 19th May 2017 Ofcom has announced the news that they had awarded an AM license to Radio Caroline to transmit to Suffolk and parts of North Essex. Power and frequency is currently unknown. Peter Moore says "it is our intention to broadcast to the same people we used to. It will be the same sort of service they would have heard in the past, delivered in the same way by the same people as before. It is like living in a time capsule". It is understood that the service will be biased towards 1980s presentation style. Caroline is wanting 1 or 2 kW ideally on 648 kHz but may only get a fraction of this.They could end up with 100 watts on 1521!

Four other AM licenses were awarded across the country but, controversially not Quasar for London. This is a bit surprising. The Quasar team was set-up due to differences in opinion with the current version of Caroline. It is this now Quasar team which were which originally was fighting for an AM license by Caroline but were met with increasing indifference. Caroline's application is a warmed up version of the original created by the now Quasar team. Arguably the Quasar application was a lot more thorough and professional. We'll try to report feedback as to why, they failed and Caroline succeeded.

For those of you who missed it here is a link to the ITN News 19th May 2017

Sandbanks - not the ones in the Thames Estuary but, Sandbanks in Poole Harbour.home to some of the UK's most valuable property. Residents are fighting a proposal to demolish the Haven Hotel. This was originally built in 1880 and is the first large property built there. The three storey hotel was re-built in 1927 with a steel frame in the art-deco style. In 1976 it was saved from demolition and refurbished adding some 50 years. The current owners FJB Hotels who saved the building in the 1970s say the hotel's steel frame is nearing the end of its life. The replacement by a series of four proposed blocks, the highest at 115ft ten storeys is causing massive controversy. There have been over 200 objections claiming the design is hideous and will dwarf other residential properties and threaten to turn the area into 'Dubai-on-Sea'. Other objections surround the historic nature of the site. Early radio experiments were conducted by Guglielmo Marconi from the buildings lounge. In the 1890s Marconi successfully sent a radio signal from the hotel to France. The Hotel carries a blue plaque commemorating the event.

Pirate BBC Essex - returns for the 50th anniversary of the MOA in August. Steve Scruton announced on 1st May the return of Pirate BBC Essex. It will be broadcast from the LV18 and also use the Ross Revenge studios. There will also be a Pirate Radio Exhibition and an event at the Electric Palace. More info to follow.

Radio Mi Amigo - the UK vesrionis to return on a very short one week RSL from the LV18 from 21st and 30th July from Qark Quay Harwich

  • April 2017

SUSY Radio - the new mobile studio is now on the road! This will be attending all the major events that SUSY Radio attends this year.

Seborga - our friend Mark Dezani didn't get elected to be a Prince so we don't have to call him 'Your tremendousness' or 'Your awesomeness'. Congratulations anyway to a well though campaign from both sides which would put some of our UK politicians to shame.

The Baron of Norfolk - I'm always flying around trying to catch some offshore radio related info. The latest with a bizarre offshore radio connection is Dr Peter Brueggemann who has spent £70,000 building a replica Fokker Driedecker Dr1 fighter from World War One. Peter who is a German GP living in Norfolk has painted his plane bright red to emulate his hero ace Manfred von Ritchofen aka The Red Barron. He even bought the title Baron from the micronation of Sealand. See I got there in the end.

Tune Into Yesterday - Issue 80 Spring 2017 landed on the doormat. The 'missing' episodes of Suspense by Dr Joe Webb, Supplement 1 'Dance band Broadcasts from 2LO and the BBC National Programme 1928 - 1937. These are extracts from Wireless World 'Broadcast Brevties' which includes developments re Continental broadcasting and I've just spotted a photo of Brookman's Park under construction in 1929!, Supplement 2 News from the Archives including 1930s and 1944 German broadcasting. This will please at least one other person at the meet.

sasradiogroup - a well attended meet and good to see someone who hasn't visited us for a while. Thank you! A less newsy meet than the last few we all admitted. Still wondering why 162 kHz is on and waiting for more awards re community radio licensing. Ofcom have their meets on the first Tuesday of the month but surprisingly don't come down to see us in the evening! Analysis of the proposed Quasar AM site, AM activity in the South East (yes there is some) and the AM pirates in East Anglia - Phaser 1512, the Caroline relays and Albatross. Plus the latest about SUSY Radio etc. And reminiscing about Crawley's Radio Activity in the late 70s, early 80s plus short-wave pirates Radio Zodiac, laterly Zodiac 49. All brought about by the Telegraph's Seborga article which was being passed around the meet.

  • March 2017

International Radio Report - the April edition is now available. I'l have a proper read and do a small report later on. In the meantime for more info go to the link below, click and go to International Radio Report section Hans Knot

OEM Offshore Echos Magazine - Edition recently dropped through the door. As well as the usual news section, there is an interview with Alan Crawford, they continue the Scandanavian theme with Radio Syd, naming of Radio Caroline, The VVR story part 2, Government Files and the May 1978 Newscaster. For link to the OEM website see Other Groups

Seborga - The Sunday Telegraph carried an article on 19th March "UK-born DJ Fights to become Italian Ruler". This is actually about mark Dezzani's attempt to become elected to the largely ceremonial post of Prince of Seborga. Seborga is a micro state not recognised by Italy. Mark used to help run Radio Activity in Crawley, West Sussex initially on 270 metres then on FM in the late 70s and early 80s. He was also active on the short-wave station Radio Zodiac / Zodiac 49 and in London on London Music Radio. This was the FM station which pinched the name of the 1970s medium wave pirate. Follow the link or attend next month's meet to read the article Seborga Prince Mark?

Sasradiogroup - another decently attended meet. I got told off for not updating the meet details on the news page! At least people are reading this anyway, Some good far ranging discussions on radio. Why is 162 kHz still on-air with a carrier? can you hear TalkSport on 1269 kHz? Plus lot more including our latest newsletter on the London FM scene.

International Radio Report - the March edition is now available. Includes lots of news and contributions and details of the 2017 Radio Day in the Netherlands. For more info go to the link below, click and go to International Radio Report section Hans Knot

  • February 2017

Sealand - Badger advised us on the 15th that Prince Michael of Sealand made an appearance of the Jeremy Vine Show interviewed by Vanessa Feltz with a further call to Michael Barrington on Sealand, Sealand on BBC Radio 2. fast forward to 1:9:0

Bob le Roi - Tony advises quite a few updates to the website www.bobleroi.co.uk

Sasradiogroup - nine attended this months meet. Discussions on 162 kHz (still on-air), 1395 kHz Tirana and the fact that there is also another station on this channel, short-wave on Sunday, Caroline & Quasar applications to Ofcom (some interesting info here!) And also Brian Halls funeral. Brian being an older generation than us at 78. Brian is best known as Abie Cohen amongst others founder of Radio Aquarius 94.4 part of the LTIR network. I had the fortune to meet Brian a couple of times at a couple of Susy Radio events at the end of their RSLs in the noughties.

  • January 2017

AM DX - worthwhile around down and sunset tuning into some Irish stations. Spirit Radio 549 kHz is putting-in some very strong signals at the moment. On 981 kHz you can (just about) hear Star Country in the morning. Radio North on 846 (as we discussed a couple of months ago at our meet) is a lot weaker nowadays. Previous power at 1/2kW. But it's a good channel and receivable in the evenings.

International Radio Report - always a pleasure to point you in the directions of Hans Knots' latest epistle. Lots of news and memories from the Offshore Radio world. Take a dip into Hans Knot

Sealand - Tony has forwarded us a link to an article in the Daily Mail dated 15th January. Quite an extensive article about the State, decent colour pictures and why they have had a flodd of enquiries about citizenship. Dailymail.co.uk/Sealand

The BBC - i had to Laugh Out Loud at this. This year the BBC Trust is being abolished and they are to be regulated by Ofcom. The Beeb is complaining that under Ofcom the regulation costs will double to £9 million per annum. Ofcom says they need to increase staff to cope with the workload.

sasradiogroup - a very newsy meet! Bretagne 5 on 1593 kHz (150 watts merp reported but the website says 10kW, 162 kHz France Inter closure (note the tx is still on), poor SW conditions but massive solar storms and aurora boreolis, Quasar and Radio Caroline applications to Ofcom and of course Susy Radio with an appearance by the former MD Colin Pearce.