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Radio London transmitter ship, MV Galaxy

A Tribute to the Radio Pirates

Radio London was an offshore commercial station that operated from 23 December 1964 until 14 August 1967, from a ship anchored in the North Sea, three and a half miles off Frinton-on-Sea, in Essex.

The station, like other offshore radio operators at the time, was dubbed a pirate radio station.

Pirate radio led to the beginning of commercial radio and many of the ways the pirates worked were adopted by the BBC when they set up radio 1 and the independent radio stations.

The DJs included Chuck Blair, Tony Blackburn, Pete Brady, Tony Brandon, Dave Cash, Ian Damon, Chris Denning, Dave Dennis, Pete Drummond, John Edward, Kenny Everett , Graham Gill, Bill Hearne, Duncan Johnson, Paul Kaye (who became the main news reader), Lorne King, “Marshall” Mike Lennox; John Peel, Earl Richmond, Mark Roman, John Sedd, Keith Skues, Ed Stewart, Norman St. John, Tommy Vance, Richard Warner, Willy Walker, Alan West, Tony Windsor and John Yorke.

At midnight on 14 August 1967, the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act came into effect in the United Kingdom. It created a criminal offence of supplying music, commentary, advertising, fuel, food, water or other assistance except for life-saving, to any ship, offshore structure, or flying platform such as an aircraft used for broadcasting without a licence from the regulatory authority. Despite initial plans to the contrary, Radio London decided not to defy the law and closed before the Act came into effect.

This weekend marks fifty years since Radio London went off the air for the final time.

BRFM remembers the Story of Radio London, Sunday at 10pm

Pictured: the Radio London Transmitter ship, MV Galaxy

About Duncan Martin

Duncan is the programme-coordinator at BRFM, in charge of the schedules. He has worked at the station since November 2014. You'll occasionally hear him on air too, but rarely before 9am as he's not a morning person! If you want to find out more information about our programmes, you can email Duncan at [email protected]