Following the merger of Radio Caroline with Radio Atlanta, both Ronan O'rahilly and Alan Crawford went out to their ships to inform the staff of the details. The
mv Caroline would be sailing to the Isle Of Man, while the Mi-Amigo was to remain at anchor off the coast of Frinton-On-Sea.
With most of Atlanta's programmes pre recorded on tape and to retain some of the regular voices that had become
known in the south, some DJ's were transferred to the Mi-Amigo. As the mv Caroline approached, the tender left the Mi-Amigo
taking both the owners back to shore. Due to his limited English the Captain of the Mi-Amigo did not realise what was happening,
so when he saw the DJ's from the Caroline attempting to board his ship he refused to let them on board. Once the problem was
sorted, Radio Caroline South commenced broadcasting using the same frequency and transmission hours as Radio Atlanta.
By September 1964, a survey showed that Caroline South had an audience of around 15 million while Caroline
North had 17 million, with a further 7 million in the fringe area between the two ships. On of the major advertisers at this
time was the Egg Marketing Board.
On the night of the 21st October 1964 an emergency call was made to Walton coastguard asking that a message
be passed requesting that the tender be sent out to the ship immediately, during rough seas Keith Skues had been hit on the
head by a swinging door, resulting not only in a nasty gash but the loss of sight in one eye. Keith was taken ashore and detained
in Myland hospital in Colchester. After a few days he recovered his sight and was discharged a week later.
Due to that incident the Mi-Amigo moved further down the coast in an attempt to find calmer waters. A point
off Harwich was chosen but that proved worse, and the station was forced off the air for a while. By the 5th November she
was back broadcasting from her original location.
On New Year's Eve after closing as usual at 7.00pm, the station reopened at 9.00pm to celebrate their first
New Year, broadcasts continued until around 1.00am.
During 1965 advertising was said to be bringing in some £15,000 per week and in April a news service was introduced.
Transmission hours were 6.00am - 8.00pm, but in August on fridays and saturdays an extra programme was introduced and the
station reopened at 9.00pm until midnight.
At this time new schedules were introduced for the staff, working two weeks on board and one week off. It
had previously been two weeks on and two weeks off, this resulted in a number of DJ's leaving the station, including Garry
Kemp, Jon Sydney, Mike Allen and Roger Gale.
On the 18th September 1965 Sylvan, a singer whose record We Don't Belong had been heavily played visited the
ship. Whilst there the weather took a turn for the worse, and with heavy seas she could not face the journey back. She remained
on board and became guest presenter, helping the DJ's with their programmes until the tender took her off some days later.
In November it was reported that negotiations were taking place in the respect of a take over of Radio City, Caroline's news service was being relayed by City.
At the beginning of 1966 it was announced that the Caroline organisation Planet Productions had bought out
Project Atlanta and now had complete control over the two ships. Although advertising was strong, Caroline was losing listeners
to Radio London. To try to overcome this situation it was decided to change frequency, so that increased power could be used. However mother
nature was about to change these plans.
On the 20th January 1966 Caroline South closed down as usual at 8.00pm. A force 8 gale was blowing and the
men on watch could see very little due to heavy snow. Shortly after unknown to the crew, the anchor chain broke and the Mi-Amigo
Walton coastguard noticed around 10.30pm and tried unsuccessfully to contact the ship, North Foreland Radio
also tried. The ships agent even tried flashing his car headlamps at the ship.
It was decided to launch Walton lifeboat, but the conditions were so bad that it was over an hour before they
could get underway. Clacton lifeboat was also put on standby. The tug Kent set out from Felixstowe, but when it was realised
that it would take some time to reach Caroline it returned to port.
The tender Offshore I was also on her way and did not take long to reach the ship because by this time Caroline
was only yards from the beach and had just discovered her plight. She ran aground at Holland Haven, coming to rest on the
only part of the beach that didn't have concrete groynes.
At 12.20am the Mi-Amigo put out a distress call -
" I am ashore and need lifesaving assistance, position Frinton On Sea ".
At 12.30am Offshore I radioed "
I am very close to Mi-Amigo and only have a few feet of water left. Mi-Amigo is broadside on to the beach
and we can't get any closer "
By this time Walton lifeboat had arrived on the scene and was also prevented from getting alongside.
Walton Lifesaving Apparatus Company had been monitoring the situation and offered to effect a rescue if required.
By 1.30am they had rigged a breeches buoy, the area was illuminated by parachute flares.
With the exception of the Captain and five men, the crew were rescued off the ship and taken to the Portobello
Hotel in Walton, before continuing onto Harwich.
On the 21st as dawn broke, it was realised just how lucky the Mi-Amigo had been, she had been beached between
two groynes. The ship had sunk around four feet into the sand so was stuck fast.
A salvage tug was called, and with the next high tide at midnight several unsuccessful attempts were made
to pull her free. By 2.30am on the 22nd after the tow line had broken, attempts were given up. The following morning the Captain
decided to make his own attempt. The anchor was taken some distance out to sea, he then started to wind the chain in thus
pulling the ship towards the sea. This together with assistance from the tug Titan resulted in the Mi-Amigo eventually being
She anchored about a mile offshore so that divers could inspect the hull for damage. No damage was found,
so the following day with assistance from Titan she was taken to Zaandam in Holland and dry-docked for a thorough inspection.
|The Mi-Amigo Aground At Frinton 20th January 1966
|Frinton 21st January 1966
Mrs Britt Wadner, the owner of Radio Syd offered Ronan O'Rahilly the loan of her ship the Cheeta II. Radio Syd had been forced from her anchorage in the Baltic by
pack ice. The offer was accepted and the Cheeta II made her way to England and by the 31st January was anchored off the Essex
coast at Harwich.
As Radio Syd operated on fm, modifications had to be carried out on the transmitter to enable medium wave transmission. Bad weather prevented
work on the aerial, so test transmissions did no commence until around 2.00pm on the 12th February, regular broadcasts started
Due to the low power of 7kw reception, even in Essex was impossible after dark. As a result broadcasting hours
were changed to 10.00am - 4.00pm. During this time equipment was brought from the Mi-Amigo to help improve the signal.
On the 13th February North Foreland Radio received a call asking for assistance, Walton lifeboat was launched
and took a very ill Graham Webb ashore. He was taken to Myland hospital in Colchester with a throat virus.
Transmitter problems forced Caroline off the air on the 20th until the 26th, a couple of days later more problems
took the station off the air until the 6th March when regular hours were re introduced as the power had now been increased.
On the 25th March after three days of storm force winds, the Cheeta II began to take in water. Offshore I
was alongside pumping the water out, with so much going on broadcasts did not commence that morning. At 3.00pm Felixstowe
coastguard reported that Cheeta II was making her own way northwards, being assisted by Offshore I. During the journey she
developed engine trouble and was forced to anchor off Lowestoft for the night.
The next morning Offshore I, assisted by the tug Hector Read towed her to the quay for repairs. With those
completed Cheeta II left Lowestoft at 8.00pm on the 1st April, returned to her original position and began broadcasts the
The long awaited repairs and overhaul of the Mi-Amigo were completed, and she left Zaandam on the 5th April.
Test transmissions began on 256m (1169khz) around the 18th, from her anchorage off Frinton with 50kw of power, within a few
hours an aerial fault put them off the air.
Bad weather prevented anyone from climbing the mast to effect repairs, eventually Ronan O'Rahilly decided
that he would climb up himself. He boarded the tug and headed off to the ship. As the tender approached the Mi-Amigo, Tony
Blackburn was seen climbing up to the mast head, he managed to effect the repairs and tests recommenced on the 25th April.
The next day a move was made to 253m (1187khz). During this time Normal programmes were still being broadcast
from Cheeta II, so for a while there were two Radio Caroline South's on the air. DJ's from the North ship were brought in
to help with the extra work load.
At 6.00pm on the 27th April the Mi-Amigo took over the regular broadcasts from Cheeta II which continued to
relay the transmissions until 11.00am on the 1st May, broadcasting hours were increased to 6.00am - midnight. At the end of
June they were further increased to 2.30am, and at the beginning of August a 24 hour schedule was introduced.
On the 23rd June 1966 the Walton Lifesaving Apparatus Company, which was formed by coastguards and volunteers
was presented with the Board Of Trade Shield for the rescue of the Mi-Amigo's crew, this had been the first rescue in their
sixty year history.
This was followed on the 23rd September when the ten members of the Walton lifeboat received inscribed vellums
from Rear Admiral Sir Edmund Irving for their part in the rescue.
Walton lifeboat were called again n the 26th May 1967 to take off a crew member who had badly burnt his arm.
With the Marine Offences Act approaching the relationship between the lifeboat and the Mi-Amigo was uncertain, the act would
mean that in theory it would become illegal for the lifeboat to get involved in the rescue of anyone from an offshore radio
station. A Government spokesman later clarified the situation by explaining that if lives were in danger the act would not
On the 7th July in appreciation of their services, Caroline's agent Percy Scadden presented a cheque for £30
to Walton lifeboat. With the M.O.A looming, an office was set up in Amsterdam.
As the act came into force at midnight on the 14th August 1967 broadcasting continued as normal with British
advertising being aired, although the companies involved claimed their contracts had been cancelled. Investigations began
to see if any payments were being made for the advertising.
On the 26th September broadcasting hours were cut to 6.00am - 2.00am, an hour of continuous music was played
from 5.00am. At this time the DJ's were arriving in England on shore leave as usual with no problems.
On the 3rd March 1968 the station the station began at 5.00am as usual, but at around 5.20am transmissions
were suddenly cut. The tug Titan had pulled aside and ordered the immediate closedown, the Mi-Amigo had been boarded and the
ships crew were locked in the lounge, and the Mi-Amigo was taken to Amsterdam.
The real reason for the boarding was not known but it was reported that payment for the services of the tender
had not been made, resulting in both the Mi-Amigo and the north ship mv Caroline being seized.
With both ships off the air an agreement was reached for the use of the ex Radio 270 ship Oceaan VII, but with newspaper reports of the return of Radio Caroline, the owners of the Oceaan VII were warned that
they would be prosecuted if they allowed the ship to be used. The ex Radio London ship Galaxy was also considered, but was beyond the funds available. Some £30,000 was owed to the tender company, and this
seemed the end of Radio Caroline.
Herb Oscar Anderson,
Carl Mitchell, The Weird Beard
Ray "Black Magic" Sebastian
Norman St John
Dave Lee Travis
Mon - Fri
6.00am Tony Blackburn's Breakfast Show (Mon)
Nutty Noble's Breakfast
Show (Tue - Fri)
9.00am Keith Skues Show
Noon Tony Blackburn Show
2.00pm DLT Show
4.00pm Big Line Up
5.45pm Chappell Show
6.00pm Caroline Club Requests
7.00pm Jack Spector Show
9.00pm Partytime (Fri Only)
6.00am Nutty Noble's Early Show
9.00am Keith Skues Show
Noon Sounds Of '65
3.00pm Newly Hatched
4.00pm Big Line Up
6.00pm Caroline Club Requests
6.00am Nutty Noble's Early Show
9.00am Amerian Top 100
11.45am Bulova Lifelines
12.15pm Down Memory Lane
12.30pm Star Verdict
1.00pm Lunchtime Show
1.45pm Guest Spot
2.00pm Around The West End
3.00pm Big Line Up
4.00pm The Ognib Show
4.15pm Big Line Up
6.00pm Caroline Club Requests
6.00am Keefer's Uprising
7.55am The Voice Of Prophecy (Mon - Fri)
8.00am Keefer's Uprising Continued
9.00am The Mike Ahern Show
Noon The DLT Show (Mon - Fri)
Caroline Top 50 Countdown
(Sat & Sun)
3.00pm The Tommy Vance Show
6.00pm Robbie Dale's Diary
7.55pm Revival Time Epilogue
8.00pm Robbie Dale's Diary
8.30pm Bringing Christ To The Nations (Fri Only)
Back To The Bible (Sun Only)
9.00pm The Johnnie Walker Show
Midnight The Steve Young Show
3.00am Night Owl prowl
5.30am Roger Day Show
9.00am Robbie Dale's Diary
Noon Spangles Muldoon Lunchtime Loonabout
3.00pm Stevi Merike Show
6.00pm Bud Ballou Show
9.00pm Johnnie Walker Show
Midnight Carl Mitchell Show
6.00am - 7.00am
7.00am - 8.30am
8.30am - Noon
Noon - 3.00pm
3.00pm - 4.30pm
4.30pm - 9.00pm
Run Of The Day
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