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Radio 270 - History (2)

The station suffered technically, too, with a faulty power supply causing records and tapes to play at erratic speeds and there was a general lack of quality in the recording of commercials and jingles (many of the latter having been pirated off air from other offshore stations). During its first few weeks of broadcasting Radio 270 was frequently closed for 'essential maintenance', a euphemism for repeated generator failures, a problem which was to plague the station throughout its life even until its final few moments on the air 14 months later.Radio 270 coverage area

Before Radio 270 opened the station had announced that its programming would be aimed at a local audience and it did carry a significant amount of local advertising as well as community announcements and charity appeals. To encourage local businessmen to advertise the station introduced free introductory spots for very small advertisers with subsequent rates discounted. Radio 270 also gave a lot of air time to charitable organisations such as local Rotary clubs, children's homes, the Royal National Lifeboat Institute, Oxfam, the Salvation Army, and Wireless for the Blind, for which it raised over £500 through sales of "Fight for Free Radio" car stickers at one (old) penny each.

One operational aspect, which was also unique to Radio 270, was the absence of a regular tendering vessel to deliver bulk supplies of food, fuel and water. When these were needed the Oceaan VII sailed into port, usually Bridlington Harbour, loaded whatever was required and returned to her anchorage in international waters.

The Bill to outlaw offshore broadcasting stations - the Marine etc. Broadcasting (Offences) Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 27th July 1966 and received its formal First Reading. The provisions contained in the Bill applied to all structures, floating, fixed or airborne, which could be used as bases for broadcasting and prohibited any British citizen or company from owning, operating, working for, supplying, advertising on or in any way assisting an offshore station.

The initiaRadio 270 Fight for Free Radio stickerl reactions from the offshore stations to the Bill were defiant, containing general expressions of determination to fight its introduction and continue broadcasting. Radio 270 Managing Director, Wilf Proudfoot, promised that his station would find ways of getting round the legislation, if it ever succeeded in progressing beyond the First Reading stage. The station launched a campaign urging listeners to write to their MPs and 'fight for free radio'.

Radio 270 continued to experience technical difficulties throughout the latter half of 1966 resulting in frequent breaks in transmission. However, a problem of a different sort arose in October 1966 when an un-stamped letter addressed to the station was opened by the Post Office in Scarborough and found to contain a note with the following message:- " There is a limpet mine attached to the ship. This is not a hoax". The police were informed, as were the station's management, but because of a ban on direct ship-to-shore communications with the radio ship Humber Radio refused to allow a call to be made to the Oceaan VII. Meanwhile the crew remained unaware for some hours of the possible danger they were in.

A call was eventually put through to the radio ship but only after Managing Director, Wilf Proudfoot had contacted the Postmaster General personally, and Police had repeatedly requested Humber Radio to relax the ban.When they eventually received the message the crew searched the ship, but found nothing.

Radio 270 was off the air again at the beginning of November 1966 and on 3rd November the Captain of the Oceaan VII made an emergency call saying his vessel had a seized main shaft and required urgent assistance. The radio ship was towed into Scarborough for repair and within a few days was able to return to her anchorage, enabling Radio 270 to resume transmissions. However, the unfortunate station suffered further breaks in transmission later in November and early December 1966 due to storm damage and eventually it was decided that the ship should move to a more sheltered anchorage off Bridlington.

Radio 270’s claimed coverage area

Click on picture to enlarge

Oceaan VII entering harbour for supplies

Radio 270’s Office Manager, Maggie Lucas (left) and colleague, coping with the huge amount of fan mail received by the station

Trade press advert promoting - to potential advertisers - the benefits of buying airtime on Radio 270

The Times

29th October 1966

Promo encouraging local advertisers to buy airtime on the station

Radio 270 local advertising promo.mp3

‘Support Free Radio’ promo

R 270 support free radio promo.mp3


R 270  Couplands advert.mp3

Bob Grocers

commercial - Bob Grocers.mp3


Key Dates

Ship and Location




Key Dates Ship and Location Technical Staff Programmes

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Radio 270