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Radio 819 - Key Dates



February 1989

Radio 819 (along with Radio Caroline) was off the air for various periods while new aerial masts are constructed on board the Ross Revenge

28th April 1989

A Dutch public opinion poll showed that Radio 819 was achieving a daily audience of only 25,000 listeners. Other research carried by one of the advertisers only gave the station an audience of 15,000 each day.

May and June 1989

Radio Caroline engineers build and install a completely new aerial system aboard the Ross Revenge, this results in Radio 819 (and Caroline 558) frequently having to go off the air for short periods adding further to the loss of audience loyalty.

5th June 1989

In an effort to boost audience figures a  new format was introduced under the title "Holiday Radio 819".

17th August 1989

Dutch police raid twenty buildings in Holland, seven buildings in Belgium all owned or occupied by people suspected of being associated with the three stations (including Radio 819) based on the Ross Revenge. In Spain police visit the people operating the station’s Post Office box.

18th August 1989

At 10:30am  the pre-recorded "Coffee Time" programme on Radio  819 was interrupted and a coded message broadcast for the station's land- based office to contact the Ross Revenge.  At  12.20pm  the Radio 819 transmitter went silent, but after ten minutes Caroline 558 programmes were relayed on 819kHz  for the remainder of the day.  

19th August 1989

Separate programmes start again on Radio 819,  but consist largely of continuous music, although one or two of the scheduled taped programmes were broadcast.  At 12.44pm listeners are informed that a boarding party is about to dismantle all the transmitters.  At 1.01pm the Radio 819 transmitter relayed Radio Caroline programmes until 1.08pm when both medium wave transmitters on the Ross Revenge fell silent.

The boarding party dismantled and seized everything on board the Ross Revenge including transmitters, aerial systems, studio equipment, records and tapes. Radio 819 never returned from an offshore base.

21st May 1988

Caroline 558 programmes simulcast on 819kHz as test transmissions for Radio 819

30th May 1988

At 10.00am a separate Dutch language programme began on 819kHz announced as test transmissions for Radio 819

31st May 1988

The Dutch language tests  ended abruptly at 9.15am when the carbon fibre aerial mast melted and collapsed.

5th June 1988

A new 'T' antenna was stung between the remains of the Valcon mast and the front transmitter mast.  8th June 1988  A low power test broadcasts made for a few seconds at a time but it proved impossible to tune the 'T' antenna to 819 Khz.

9th July 1988

Caroline 558 gave up its frequency during the daytime to the Dutch language station, allowing it to broadcast as Radio 558

22nd October 1988

Radio 558 did not come on the air until 2.00pm and when it did the programmes were relayed in parallel on both 558 kHz and 819kHz. An announcement was made that Radio 558 had now become Radio 819 once again

5th November 1988

Radio 819 heard only on 819kHz

17th December 1988

Radio 819’s  broadcasting hours were extended and the station now programmed overnight on Saturdays and Sundays after 'Viewpoint' religious programmes had finished.

15th May 1988

After more than 8 years in Afghanistan, the Soviet Union begins withdrawing its armed forces and says all will be out in February,1989.

23rd June 1988 NASA climatologist James Hansen brought the greenhouse effect to public  attention.

19th October 1988 Britain banned broadcast interviews with Irish Republican Army (IRA) members.

19th November 1988

Benazir Bhutto was elected Prime Minister of Pakistan.


14th February 1989 The leader of Iran's regime, Ayatollah Khomeini, declares a fatwa requiring the execution of novelist Salman Rushdie for his book Satanic Verses.

4th May 1989  

In Beijing's Tiananmen Square, a group of students launch a movement they call "the Great Revolution for Democracy against Dictatorship."

14th August 1989 South African President P.W. Botha announced his resignation after losing a bitter power struggle within his National Party.

18th August 1989  

In Poland, the results of June elections are implemented. Communist Party rule officially ends.

20th August 1989 Fifty-one people died when a pleasure boat, Marchioness, sank in the River Thames.

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