Radio Caroline At 60

In the 1960s, if you were a teenager in the United States, a big part of your life was probably music. There was a seemingly endless supply of both radio stations and 45s to keep you entertained. In the UK and other countries, though, the government held a monopoly on broadcasting, and they were not always enthralled with the music kids liked. Where there is demand, there is an opportunity, and several enterprising broadcasters set up radio stations at sea, the so-called pirate radio stations. In 1964, Irish businessman [Ronan O’Rahilly] did just this and founded Radio Caroline. Can you imagine that 60 years later, Radio Caroline is still around?

Not that it has been in operation for 60 years in a row. There were a few years the station’s ship had been impounded by creditors. Then, the ship ran aground on the Goodwin Sands and was damaged. You can see a news short from 1965 in the video below (Radio Caroline shows up at about the 1:50 mark).

True, Radio Caroline isn’t quite the same as it was. They operate mostly from a legal onshore studio now. But one weekend a month, a crew operates from the ship now in British waters.

Back in 1964, you might have had problems picking up Radio Caroline from far away. Now, the pirate station is as close as your web browser. The other big pirate station was RNI, and they are still around, too.

11 thoughts on “Radio Caroline At 60

  1. You forgot Poland. During 1981-1989 crisis, Radio Solidarity operators did their broadcasts, defying jamming and censorship, brought hope to citizens that change can and should happen. All that despite soviet troops and T-55 tanks rolling on the streets of occupied cities. To do such thing they must’ve had balls of pure Polonium. Showing the finger to RIAA by playing pirated music looks pale in comparision.

  2. Happy birthday Caroline, listenening to them every day, one of the few stations with real DJ’s 😀hooray for the Internet, back in the days, we listened to Radio Luxembourg on 208m medium wave, the only source for new pop/rock music here in Denmark😁

  3. Tuning in on a Sunday night WCFL 1000 megacycles Chicago to Ron Britain’s Subterranean Circus back then, wow! Legal but experimental as all get out. Nicest round number on the broadcast dial on earth. He was the first DJ in the US to play the Beatles which was just as underground as it happened. I remember DXing an underground FM from Chicago the day after the Kent State shootings ’71, WGLD 102.?

    In checking his name spelling I see links to news of his passing. RIP. Very important DJ in my life.

  4. Brilliant station beats all the other rubbish hand’s down. From DJs who know what they are talking about and with a personality as well.! the best album music new and old, and on Caroline flashback the best oldies, what more do you want. Give it a listen.👍

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