On 29th September 1966 Roy Bates, owner of Radio Essex, was served with a summons alleging the illegal use of a transmitter at Knock John Fort, contravening the Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1949. Mr. Bates then announced that he had taken over another fort at Tongue Sands, 9 miles off Margate, and would use this as a broadcasting base for a new station -
On 30th November 1966 Roy Bates appeared at Rochford Magistrates Court to answer charges that he had used an unlicensed transmitter for radio broadcasting at the Knock John Fort.
The prosecution used the same arguments they had successfully presented the previous week against Radio 390 -
Roy Bates, appearing on his own behalf, argued that his station was outside the jurisdiction of the Court because it was located more than 3 nautical miles off the Essex coast. However, the magistrates found that the Knock John Fort was within British territorial waters and imposed a fine of £100, but refused a Post Office request for confiscation of transmitting equipment. Mr. Bates immediately lodged an appeal but his station, BBMS did not cease transmissions, (as Radio 390 had done after its conviction). Against the advice of his solicitor, Mr. Bates decided to keep BBMS on air from the Knock John Fort.
However, with no money to continue operating the station and an absence of almost any advertising income since September 1966 when the summons alleging illegal transmissions had been issued, BBMS was only able to struggle on for a few more weeks. Money had run out and DJs and staff had not been paid.
BBMS actually closed at around 4.30pm on Christmas Day 1966. The transmitting equipment on Knock John Fort was dismantled and removed to Roughs Tower, another ex-
BBMS early closedown announcement
Click on picture to enlarge
1st December 1966
Fort and Location