Radio Caroline aims to rock radio waves again

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The famous ship-based pirate radio station Radio Caroline has applied for an AM waveband licence from Ofcom.

Peter Moore, who runs Radio Caroline, wants to broadcast from its ship the MV Ross Revenge on the River Blackwater in Essex.

He hopes to hear the outcome of the application next year, the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Marine Broadcasting Offences Act that was intended to scupper the pirate broadcasters.

The station, immortalised in Richard Curtis film The Boat That Rocked, was founded in 1964 to play pop music all day in a time where broadcasting was dominated by the BBC and pop was played for an hour a week.

Steve Anthony in the Radio Caroline studio on the MV Ross Revenge (Radio Caroline/PA)
Steve Anthony in the Radio Caroline studio on the MV Ross Revenge (Radio Caroline/PA)

After the law was passed in 1967, Radio Caroline continued to broadcast until the Ross Revenge was shipwrecked off the Kent coast in 1991.

Mr Moore said the vessel is "mostly fixed" and open to visitors.

Radio Caroline currently operates as an internet and digital radio station, with many shows broadcast from the Ross Revenge, which has a gadget fitted to its wheelhouse to give it a 4G signal, and also from its presenters' home studios.

"We think it would be very fitting that, 50 years after the law intended to silence us once and for all, we show that it didn't work," said Mr Moore.

The proposed AM signal would serve Essex and Suffolk, an area served by the station in its early years, with the transmitter based on land and connected to the studio on the ship and presenters' homes.

Chris Pearson in the Radio Caroline studio (Radio Caroline/PA)
Chris Pearson in the Radio Caroline studio (Radio Caroline/PA)

"The Suffolk application is in hope of returning to what was always our heartland," added Mr Moore. "We would broadcast on AM just like long ago to entertain the people who grew up with Caroline and maybe cannot listen just now.

"The presenters would be in part the same ones they listened to from our ship at sea."

An Ofcom spokesman confirmed an application from Radio Caroline was being reviewed.