I think it's about time to clarify my own position on Pirate/Free radio fans often referred to as Anoraks (Just like train spotters & other niche hobby groups) and also how I feel about the current Radio Caroline run by Malcolm / Peter & his volunteer associates.
Having listened to offshore radio since the 1960's along with so many land based pirates I know only to well how easy it is to become passionate about both. The dramas, adventures, that feeling of beating the system, are as much apart of the journey as is the actual broadcast output. That said in these licensed radio days (along with internet radio) the focus has shifted amongst anoraks to music formats where a never ending argument on what is the (non existent) perfect music format remains ongoing. Everyone has an opinion and everyone thinks theirs is best.
So what is my opinion regarding anoraks. Well they are all individuals that don't fit comfortably into any specific camp. Some have done free radio, some have funded or assisted over the years and others have just listened and enjoyed their favorite station(s). A noisy few who often hide behind fake names & multiple identities (some do it well and someone dose it badly) tarnish their reputation and at times make the forums the joke boards they are described as.
The one thing I struggle with is the obsession. The refusal by some that the real history of Radio Caroline might be different to the yarns spun by Ronan O'Rahilly & others. There is being loyal and there is being in denial. Researching the past to gain an accurate historical account is a role many have, plenty as full time careers. Why be frightened if your rose tinted viewpoint turns out to be wrong?
I just don't get why a few remain so dogmatic that their story can be the only reliable account. But in the grand scheme of things all of this is really quite trivial. Just looking at the numbers of people who visit Garry Stevens or Dave Martins forum confirms that Free Radio Anoraks are a declining species who in reality make no difference to the decisions made by those who run stations like Radio Caroline. Current traffic for both sites is shown below, the top being the GS forum the lower one is for DM's. Some anoraks may shout & get into a huff, others even apparently threaten but in reality they are a handful of individuals that have no impact, it really is their problem & they can keep it.
As regards the numbers below, you will spot the parallels across both sites, I wonder how many visit both. In total though these are not high numbers & interestingly by looking at them combined we are clearly getting visitors now from both forums compared to our visitor traffic.
So what about today's Radio Caroline. Well I laughed when I recently watched 'Peter Moore' explaining that there was no choice for music lovers in the early 1960's and Georgie Fame couldn't get on the radio so Ronan had to start one (I still wonder if he was just trying to wind someone up). The reality for me based on a considerable amount of documented evidence that I have been shown is that you cannot link what followed as Radio Caroline in the seventies to the original sixties station, neither is it in the best interests of today's version to do so as time will tell.
That there is a real connection between Radio Caroline in the 1970's & 1980's is for me quite reasonable, however if you follow the money, then many different individuals actually funded the Caroline offshore ventures and things become very murky again & without doubt some dodgy deals took place along the line.
So what about the licensed version of Radio Caroline today. Put simply I do not have a problem with it. I am not a listener as such although I did try and see if the 648 signal had improved (now how anorak is that!), sadly it has not where I live. I am with Mervyn in terms of the current version trying to enforce a clear link back to the original, because based on the evidence seen that is factually wrong. That there is a tacit link back to the seventies & eighties offshore days is for you to decide. For some Radio Caroline ceased in 1990 when the boat came home. Others disagree.
My final thought on this at the moment is this. The current Radio Caroline can and should just move on and not be reliant on it's history to remain relevant. Capital Radio doesn't rely on it's history yet it survives with a vastly inferior format to the heady days of the 1970 - 80's (imho). I have my own internet radio station that keeps me amused & yes doing radio can be fun. I am keeping that little station well separated from this place & for good reason, it has some listeners & I don't want to frighten them off.
Radio Now & Then
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