©   2014-2021 Offshore Radio Museum

Home Basement Ground Floor 1 Floor 2

Radio 390 - History (4)

Following the recommencement of broadcasts new summonses were issued by the Post Office against Radio 390 - again alleging the illegal use of transmitting equipment within territorial waters. On 23rd February 1967 Southend Magistrates heard a total of 28 summonses against Estuary Radio Ltd. and its directors. Each summons alleged that the station had broadcast from inside British territorial waters without a licence in January 1967.

During the hearing representatives of the Royal Navy were called by the prosecution to give evidence that the sandbank at Middle Sands was indeed exposed at low tide. They produced a photograph to the Court showing Lt. Commander John Mackay standing on the exposed sandbank holding a Union Jack flag which he had firmly planted in the sand.

At the end of the two day hearing all defendants were found guilty, with Estuary Radio Ltd.  being fined £200 and the individual directors £40 each, but this time the station remained on the air pending the outcome of an appeal against this, its second, conviction.

The Marine etc. Broadcasting (Offences) Act received the Royal Assent on 14th July 1967 and Postmaster General Edward Short announced that its provisions would come into effect one month later, on 15th August 1967.

Radio 390 was at that time still fighting its own appeal against prosecution under entirely different legislation, but the directors had already rejected transferring operations from the Red Sands Fort to a ship in international waters, so the outlook for the station was not very optimistic.

Radio 390's application to be allowed to continue broadcasting on the grounds that the Red Sands Fort was outside territorial limits was finally heard in the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) in July 1967. The judgement given on 28th July 1967 ruled that the Fort was within territorial limits and dismissed the station's appeal against its February conviction.

After the hearing David Lye, Acting Managing Director of Estuary Radio Ltd., told reporters outside the court that the protracted legal battle had cost the station £10,000 and as a consequence the company had lost  virtually all the profit it had earned over the year and ten months Radio 390 had been broadcasting.

Staff on Red Sands Fort continued presenting Radio 390 programmes as normal throughout the afternoon of 28th July 1967 until official instructions were received from the station's management. Meanwhile arrangements  were made for the station's tender to be despatched from Whitstable for the last time carrying instructions to cease transmissions and finally close Radio 390.

The tender arrived at Red Sands shortly after 5.00pm on 28th July 1967. The station's 5.00pm news had just been read, including an item about the Appeal Court's decision against Radio 390, and the next programme, "On the Scene" was started by announcer Christopher Clark. After the end of the first record senior announcer Edward Cole interrupted the programme to read the message which had been sent from the management of Estuary Radio Ltd.

At 5.10pm the station played the National Anthem and Radio 390 closed for the final time.

Click on picture to enlarge

Daily Mirror,

29th July 1967

Postmaster General, Edward Short

Radio 390 closing down, 28th July 1967

Radio 390 closing down 28 July 1967.mp3

Bikini offer

Radio 390 commercial - bikini offer.mp3

The Times

24th February 1967

The Times

29th July 1966

Daily Sketch,

29th July 1967

Scrpit for the closing announcement, 28th July 1967

Click image to enlarge

Lt Commander John Mackay on the exposed sandbank (Red Sands fort in the background)

Where       next ?


Key Dates

Fort and Location




Key Dates Fort and Location Technical Staff Programmes

    For more about Radio 390 visit

In the Special Exhibitions Gallery on the Ground Floor

Treasure Chest

Treasure Chest

          Back                                 1    2    3    4

Back to Britain Gallery


Back to Radio 390

Radio 390