Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Pirate Radio Party Boat - offshore radio comes inland!


offshore radio 
comes inland! 

Ho Ho Ho!  A pirates's life for me!And it is,  it is, a glorious thing . . . . to be a Pirate King.

I've been VERY lucky as my life has revolved around the things I enjoy doing most - radio, music, partying etc. Probably the most serious 'proper job' I have had was being a publican. My wife Anne and I managed several and had a couple ourselves; these have usually included live music and frequent 'party nights', which were always really enjoyable.

What better than to combine Party Nights with Pirate Radio, which is something I seem to have acquired a bit of a reputation for.  I've been involved with many radio stations; most of them totally legal, but the times everyone remembers me for are my stint on Radio Caroline in the seventies and Laser in the 80s.  There were others, including legal stints for Classic FM, Virgin, Sky Radio, Radio 10 Gold, and many more.

I have to admit, the days afloat were the best, simply super days - there's something surreal, perhaps romantic, about bobbing around on a boat out at sea while spinning your favourite sounds. When it's coupled with playing with high powered transmitters and wildly swaying aerials, AND you get paid for it!  Well, life couldn't get any better!

So, we're now embarking on our latest adventure: -

Pirate Party Boat off Clearwater
Typical  pirate party boat, this one off Clearwater.
You've probably seen those little pleasure boats at the seaside or in amusement parks which take you for a quick cruise around the bay? some are little more than a booze cuise', some have great music and some have mock battles.    The Pirate Radio Party Boat will be quite a few steps up from those.  

Pirate Party Boat Facilities

The PRPB will be larger and contain a couple of radio stations and at least one TV channel with the usual studios and production facilities, plus a performance area for bands and artists to shoot music videos. The boat will also have exhibition areas and a restaurant overlooking the performance area, enabling us to stage cabaret and party nights on board. These will be held in ports and harbours around the coast  with the boat staying a couple of weeks in each port before moving on. 

Party facilities on a Pirate Boat

The Pirate Radio Boat will be 100% legal, and will serve top quality food and drink in a fun-soaked atmosphere. It's the ideal place for a party  whether for social clubs, family dinners or more formal events such as corporate presentations and weddings. Party Nights with a pirate theme will be one of the main activities on the Pirate Party Boat, which will be capable of carrying over two hundred visitors.  We hope to be able to announce our first 'ports of call' and firm dates shortly and shall then be able to accept bookings.

The Pirate Party Boat has a superb team of mariners, engineers and DJ-entertainers, most with long pedigrees of nautical fun and frivolity all lined up and ready to set sail. We shall even have a couple of tame parrots on the crew who will pose on your shoulder if you wear a bandana  and a patch over one eye; there's no need to have your leg off!

Putting a pirate ship together to these high standards does take some time however, and we can't give a firm 'launch' date yet. It's a chartered boat but needs a fair bit of conversion work.  We are now looking at the potential locations and welcome all suggestions of non-drying harbours and docks able to take a 180 footer (8' draught) with easy public access and car parking for coaches.  

Everybody wants to be a pirate at some time - soon everyone will get their chance. There's a little more information on this web page, or you can get more 'up to date' news and information as soon as its available by signing up for our newsletter using the form below.

International 'Talk Like a Pirate' day 

International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Don't forget that September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
So get practicing now, ye scurvy-faced landlubber!   Arrr!

Join the

We respect your email privacy

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

"Dead Men 

Tell No Tales" 

the latest box office smash 

5th Pirates of the Caribbean film 

is a huge cinema hit

The fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie was released at the end of May 2017 and is already following its four predecessors and becoming a worldwide box office smash!

Down-on-his-luck Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp)  is feeling the winds of ill-fortune blowing strongly his way when deadly ghost sailors, led by the terrifying Captain Salazar, escape from the Devil’s Triangle bent on killing every pirate at sea, and especially our hero Jack Sparrow.

Jack’s only hope of survival lies in the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina Smyth, a brilliant and beautiful astronomer, played by Kaya Scodelario) and Henry, a headstrong young sailor in the Royal Navy.  Jack's uncle is played by Paul McCartney

At the helm of the Dying Gull, his pitifully small and somewhat shabby ship, Captain Jack seeks not only to reverse his recent spate of ill fortune, but to save his life from the most formidable and malicious foe he has ever faced.  The film did well its first weekend, earning five times more than the next five movies in the list combined! 

The success of the movie bodes well for our own latest venture, or  perhaps that should read ADVENTURE?

Pirate Radio Party Boat 

The PIRATE RADIO PARTY BOAT will have radio and TV studios plus video and film factilities on aboard. It will be the home of multiple radio and TV stations and also house recording studios for musicians as well as be available for music video production. 

The Pirate Radio Party Boat will visit several dozen ports or harbours each year, around the UK. Transmissions will take place live from the ship.

The public will be invited to tour the facilities during the day and in the evening the ship's restaurant will bne available for dining. There will also be a performance area for artistes to perform material before an audience. The restaurant will also be available for lectures and educational purposes during the day and there will also be exhibition space.  

The Pirate Radio Party Boat will normally spend two weekends in each port or harbour before moving on to the next location. 

Although heavilly themed with an air of PIRACY, this is a totaly legal operation. No laws will be broken - unless they bring in a law against having lots of FUN!   The Pirate Radio Party Boat will be appeal to all ages and music tastes. On offer will be pure entertainment, with a pirate theme, using pirate radio memorabilia as a core item.  Not many people remember real buccaneering days of piracy, when ships wandered the high seas plundering cargo, except scenes that they've seen in a Disney film or on a fairground ride, but almost everyone remembers PIRATE RADIO, a phenomenon of the 60s and 80s. 

The Pirate Radio Party Boat operation will develop close links with other media and have a high public profile. Local radio, regional TV and newspapers are always looking for good stories and we shall provide a constant flow of useable material, promoting the Pirate Radio Party Boat and make it a ‘must visit’ destination for people of all ages. 

Pirate themed toys are among the most popular items chosen by children. Short trips on pseudo-pirate boats are the most popular rides at many seaside resorts.  We are certain our Pirate Radio Party Boat trips will be very popular in every port we visit.

Why not join us as an investor, crew or as a visitor. Find more details HERE.  You can contact us direct at this EMAIL address.

Read all about a modern 20th Century Pirate Radio ship, in 

The thrilling  story of how one radio ship was home to 11 different radio stations over its 21 years as an offshore radio station.
A fun-filled, action-packed tale of 
dramatic events and real-life 
adventure on the High Seas

Over 200 pages of amazing swashbuckling excitement and piracy !

This former survey ship spent three years off the Thames estuary where it was blockaded, spied on, taken over and arrested, suffered countless storms but won millions of listeners.  After being fitted with a more robust aerial in Holland, it was licensed for a 50 kW transmitter. She then had a further 8 years as the home of several radio stations in the Netherlands before a final tour of duty in the Orkney islands in Scotland as The Superstation.

Available from AMAZON or direct from the publisher HERE.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Laser Radio Programming

  Laser's programming secrets revealed     in new book

After my book late last year about the Communicator, I was asked dozens of questions about the sophisticated programming techniques used by Laser, and how they helped win up to 10 MILLION listeners for the station.   The Radio Adventures of the MV Communicator book was ideal for techies who wanted to know about the ship, aerials and transmitters, but was a bit thin on programme content.

This new book, Laser Radio Programming, answers all those questions, and more!  It discusses the station's format, the style of delivery, the Hot Clocks, and many other programming techniques that have remained secrets - and still seem to be unknown by a lot of programmers in British radio.  

I've taken the debate into the situation post Laser and looked at WHO used the Laser name since the 1980s, and why.   As an appendix I included a reprint of the Laser 558 Operations Manual, which has much valuable information that was the standard template issued to the station's team.  It gives a valuable insight into Laser's output and to radio programming in general.

Offshore Radio today

The book also looks at offshore radio today -  the ongoing Radio Caroline and its quest to be more widely heard (its currently online and has an application for a community radio licence in East Anglia)  and the Radio Seagull operation in the Netherlands.

Both Radio Seagull and Radio Caroline are discussed and referenced in Laser Radio Programming,  along with the Radio Day Offshore Radio Festival in May which is being held in Harlingen. Attendees will be able to take a trip across the harbour aand climb on board Radio Seagull's lightship, the Jenni Baynton, and see programmes going out live. A unique experience!

The book also examines the formats used by offshore stations in the 1960s, especially Swinging Radio England, which is the closes thing to a grandfather that Laser had.  I also look at what the radio landscape was in the UK before Laser launched in 1984, particularly the draconian needle time restrictions, that were one of the reasons Laser was such a resounding success. Well, it was a success as far as audience ratings went - on the financial front, Laser was an unmitigated disaster for its poor backer who was routinely fleeced, cheated and lied to.

UK Radio Programming today

A few weeks ago, an ILR manager issued a memno to his on-air staff basically saying "don't say anything on the air unless cleared with your PD". A ridiculous situation. Other comments in the memo are simply the 'first grade' instructions that Americans give to kids in their school radio stations when they first enter the business.  I espouse that it shows how primitive British radio techniques still are and discuss UK radio programming  further.

The recent axing of overnight DJs at most station, even at BBC Radio 2,  is a disater for radio. Those overnight shifts were a valuable training ground for radio talent. The move to eliminate such opportunities might not be suicideal for radio, but is certainly some vicious "self harming" and I really do worry about the future of radio.

Ive also included comments from veteran Radio Caroline and Radio Luxembourg DJ Tony Prince about the subject.  This is something that everyone with an interest in the medium should concern themselves with.

The Book

The book, Laser Radio Programming is available from World of Radio now. It's a softback book of 181 pages at just £15.95 (includes postage to the UK, to the rest of the world it's £19.95).  I believe the book is bound to become another 'collectors' item', so don't delay in ordering it!  Orders taken by Paypal, so you can use a card and the books ARE in stock, so your order will be dispatched immediately

You can also order the previous book about Laser, Radio Adventures of the MV Communicator, which tells about the ship, its equipmenmt and all the 11 radio stations that broadcast from her over a 21 year carrer as a radio ship. 

Friday, 17 March 2017

Stevie Wonder battles for radio's future

Stevie Wonder battles for the future of radio

Legendary Motown musician Stevie Wonder has joined the battle for the future of radio. He's written a lengthy article about how the current trend towards ever more copyright bodies is stifling radio and may lead to its demise. The move will certainly drive many smaller stations out of business, leaving only the big boys on the bands - the major conglomerates.

Stevie makes several impassioned pleas in his article (you can read it all by clicking here), and stands up firmly on the sign of broadcasters.  He owns his own station in Los Angeleses, called KJLH Stevie says it stands for Kindness, Joy, Love and Harmony and he insists that the DJs have a free hand in the music they play. The station even includes the name FREE in its title.  Stevie bought the station over forty years ago, in the early 1970s. KVLH has long been one of the leading black music stations in California and is now the oldest African-American owned station on the west coast.

"Radio give us not only music and entertainment and direct into our homes, but news, war and religion, " says Stevie.  "It has helped shape the psyche of our country in difficult times and it has served to reassure us that we were not alone at times we thought we were. And while radio has seemingly been eclipsed through the years by other forms of mass communication, radio remains that constant that we rely on to always be there to deliver what we need."

The first thing most people think about when they think about radio is hearing their favorite song," Stevie reminds us. "Or they will be tuning in to listen to their favorite radio personality, because to this day DJs are often just as big a star as those on the records they spin (an out-of-date metaphor, I know, but you get the point).

"The first thing most people think about when they think about radio is hearing their favorite song," Stevie reminds us. "Or they will be tuning in to listen to their favorite radio personality, because to this day DJs are often just as big a star as those on the records they spin (an out-of-date metaphor, I know, but you get the point)."

"Mo matter how much current artists embrace new technology and platforms to spread their music, if you ask any one of them, they will still tell you that their biggest kick came from hearing their song on the radio for the first time, " says Stevie in the article

One of Stevie's best friends will tell you exactly the same. Paul McCartney (his and Stevie's duet Ebony and Ivory was #1 around the world in late 1983) reports that the first time he and the other three Beatles heard their music on the radio was in the group's van travelling home from a gig in 1962. They herd it on Radio Luxembourg; DJ Tony Prince has the actual copy played  and now signed by Paul McCartney its worth over £10,000. 

"All across the country there are still independent station owners maintaining a strong and vital link to their communities in the form of being not just a source of entertainment but also the eyes, ears and voice of their listeners. They are small-business men and women trying to be of service to their local markets while also dealing with the obstacles of running a radio station. I know these people very well, because I am one of them. I have owned my radio station KJLH in Los Angeles for almost 40 years," says Stevie, whose music continues to be among the most downloaded on iTunes. KJLH programmes all kinds of black-oriented music, but primailly jazz and urban contemporary. 

  "We strive very hard to be a meaningful member of our community and offer things that the large or nationwide programmers can’t. We are a home to our listeners, a place they find comfort and refuge from the mass market. All that is threatened if we cant stay in business. As a songwriter and recording artist, I grew up at a time when there were only two performing rights organizations in the United States, ASCAP and BMI. In virtually every other country in the world there is only one society. Then came a third, SESAC. And now we have a fourth: GMR. We  independent station owners are facing higher costs to play the music our audience wants to hear.  We have chaos, uncertainty and uinfairness!"

Let us all find a way to create a better system that takes away the need for any of us to be unhappy. 
Let us work together to get this thing right.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Internet Radio 2016 - your own online radio station

Internet Radio

Launching your own online radio station

on Kindle
and 'in print'


Earlier this year I published a book called "Internet Radio 2016". It tells readers what's needed and where to find everything that you need to set up and run your own Online Radio station. It is a mighty work - around 77,000 words and was designed as a reference work as well as an educational read.   The reaction has been very good - and we know of several who have launched stations with the E-Book's help. 

It is difficult to gauge the response of niche books such as this. My previous books have sold up to 10,000 copies but this one, well, perhaps we are expecting not quite so many!   To print and bind large numbers of books is very expensive, and you need to do so on a large scale otherwise the costs (for short runs) quickly escalates until the actual cost of a book goes well beyond what most buyers will be willing to pay for a title.  

The size of this book for a Kindle was around 350 pages, and to print and bind up 1,000 copies used to cost about £50 a copy, so we decided to go with the initial publication being as an eBook.  

Many people are convinced that this digital route to publishing is the future of book publishing, although if you look at any crowded book store any Saturday afternoon, you will see there are still tens of thousands of books being sold every week. Most of them are about cookery, or children's stories, such as the highly successful Harry Potter series but there is still a good market for popular books.  But a book will only ne successful if sufficient marketing is done and the title is of interest to the public.  You can have the best book in the world, but if no one knows about it, then it simply will not sell. 

Where can I read E-books?

E-Books are more versatile than the printed editions, as you can incorporate audio and video recordings into them as well as web links to other sites for more information. You can read an eBook via any device with a screen: a desktop computer (Apple Mac or Windows, they work on all types), laptops, tablets (such as the iPad) or even Smartphones.  And of course the many Kindle based devices, including the Amazon Fire. One huge advantage with eBooks is that the reader is able to vary the size of the print to suit you eye's capabilities. It’s so easy to increase the size of the print, which makes for a really easy reading experience. 

Similarly, pricing is just as important as availability.  We studied the few books that are available about radio stations, and the number is not huge. (There is a section on them in the Internet Radio 2016' book; the Bibliography includes a guide to the content of such radio books.).  The average price of general radio books, the semi-autobiographical ones, is from £10 to £25, and the more information, technical and academic books that impart knowledge, etc, sell for about £30 to £45, as anyone who has had to buy text books for university courses will know!

Internet Radio 2016  - now IN PRINT 

We decided to pitch the "Internet Radio 2016" book in its printed form at £25 or so. By removing a lot of the logos and using a slightly smaller text size we have been able to trim the size down to 280 pages and the cost to just below £25 24.50 in fact, which  includes post and packing!

So, in answer to those who want a hard copy of the Internet Radio 2016 book, its now available, either via bookstores (who take a few weeks to stock such specialist items) or via AMAZON's excellent mail order service, which can get YOUR copy despatched almost immediately and in your mailbox by tomorrow! 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Pub launches 

its own 

radio station 

Ive spent most of my adult life working in radio or behind bars - i.e. stood behind a bar dispensing drinks, in a piub, hotel, night pub or wherever! Great fun, both, but I have often wandered from one industry to the other because I didn't want to leave the lifestyle of either of them. They both really are great fun, and I am a firm believer in always doing whatever you enjoy!

Its amazing that I haven't thought of the idea before now, of running a radio station from a pub!

Well, someone else has beaten me to it.  Ian Evans and Brett Orchard have combined their experience in the licensed trade with time in radio and launched a radio station from a pub.  They have taken on an Enterprise Inns lease  (always a minefield of potential legal and financial problems - BEWARE!) on the Winchester Arms in Taunton (Somerset) and reopened it as the Atlantic Radio cafe. 

The sound-proofed studio is located inside the pub, just off one of the bars, meaning diners can not only hear the station but they can also watch the station's broadcasters.  Sometimes they can even take part in the programmes.  

The station's output can be heard on the internet, and they are currently targeting a family and predominantly female audience, aged between 25 and 55.  Atlantic Radio also intends to have a presence at various events in the taunton area and they have invested in a converted 'Thunderer' pick up truck, used for OBs. 

Maybe they will be playing lots of BEER GEES records?
Soft Cellar?  Stevie 'Golden' Wonder?  Guns & Rosé ? 

 Roberts 93i

Need a decent portable radio to carry around and pick up internet radio stations?  
(also does FM and DAB, etc)    
We recommend the Roberts 93i -  
it's available immediately at a very special price for 
     (£21 off the regular price.)  
Click the radio for full details. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Rare Record Price Guide 2018 reviewed

 RRPG 2018 cover
Rare Record 
Price Guide 
2018 edition 
now available.

One new book published in October is, without any doubt, the best resource for the latest information about the state of the market for used vinyl records. Its a huge book with over 1,400 pages, listing one hundred thousand (100,000) of the rarest record releases in the UK. Better than just a cataloguing of the A & B sides, the catalogue number and artiste, the book also puts a fair valuation on the records' prices, based on actual sales and opinions of many of the UK's top record sellers.

Each artists has their own listing which chronologically runs through singles, EPs, LPs, etc, as can be seen herte with this very short exceprtt from the Beatles section, which tells how to accurately age the many issues and re-issues of their releaes. A 'First Pressing' is worth far more than a third or fifth repressing, that will proably have been contracted out to another company, as the Beatles were selling so many records in the sixties.

Beatles rare records listing

Editor Ian Shirley, of the world famous Record Collector monthly magazine,  assesses the business with the help of some of the leading experts in the field.  The RRPG is now in its 14th edition and covers all kinds of pop, soul, dance, rock and many more sub genres. Singles, albums, even CDs and 8 tracks are included,  where these are appropriately rare. 

Rare Record Values 

The guide shows 'mint' values, and has the necessary grid to track how to assess the comparison of your copies - is it Very Good, Fair, Poor, etc and so arrive at a reasonable valuation for items in your own collection.  The book lists every UK single worth over £5 mint,  every EP (ask your dad!) over £10 mint, each CD single with a value over £8, Album (LP) worth over £12 and CD album over £18
45s Beatles sleeves

Sometimes it s not only the vinyl thats of value, but the correct sleeve; much is put on a record being in its correct 'birth sleeve' and to help be certain that these are correct pictures of the right ones are shown for the most valuable records. 

No matter how obscure your taste you'll find the most sought after items here whether your particular obsession is 50's rockabilly, 60's MOR, 70's jazz funk, 80's post punk, hip-hop, reggae, Northern Soul, British Jazz or today's indie bands. If it is collectable, and it was released in the UK, then you'll find it in the Rare Record Price Guide!

2018 is the latest edition 

Back copies of RRPGThe book comes out bi-annually, and previous year's editions still sell for quite hefty prices, ullustrating what a valuable work of love this book is. Constantly revised and updated, no self-respecting record collector or music fan should be without a copy. I am sure you will be using it for many years and it will give many years of enjoyment, for you and, once they realise you have a copy, for all your friends. too. They will all be popping around regularly to 'just check one record oiut' and will probably stop for hours leafing through!

Link to buy RRPG 2018The book can be obtained via Amazon who offer next day delivery for just £29.99 including Post and Packing, or there are some offers  where you can get a copy for around £20. (Take care to be sure you are ordering the right year's edition). The 2016 has already been out for two years - its the 2018 one thats the latest and most up to date.