© 2014 Offshore Radio Museum
Radio Caroline South came on the air at 6.00am on 3rd July 1964 from the former Radio Atlanta ship, Mi Amigo, following the merger of the two rival stations. The original Radio Caroline ship, MV Caroline, sailed to the Isle of Man to become Radio Caroline North.
With the two sister stations Radio Caroline was now able to offer audiences and advertisers what was, in theory, a national daytime commercial radio station. However, the North and South stations each broadcast their own independent programmes and developed quite separate identities.
On Radio Caroline South the former Radio Atlanta transmission hours of 6.00am-
Although the outlook appeared promising for the new 'national' offshore station some unexpected problems arose from the merger. Several Atlanta DJs refused to join the new Caroline network and Radio Atlanta General Manager, Leslie Parrish, resigned over a difference of opinion on policy matters.
On Caroline South, over which Allan Crawford retained a significant degree of control, DJs were continually being instructed to play his record company's cover versions of hit singles -
Shortly after the merger Radio Caroline moved its administrative headquarters to a large three storey building at 6 Chesterfield Gardens -
In order to deal with the vast number of enquiries from listeners for information about the station and for items of publicity material such as badges and car stickers, the Caroline Club had been launched shortly before the merger with Radio Atlanta. After the merger on 2nd July, the Caroline Club was extended to offer membership to listeners on a nationwide basis and the first "Caroline Club Requests" programme was aired on Radio Caroline South on 11th July 1964.
As 1965 dawned both Radio Caroline stations were undoubtedly market leaders in offshore commercial radio, but Caroline South's position was about to be seriously challenged by Radio London, which had arrived just before Christmas 1964.
A milestone was reached at Easter 1965 when Radio Caroline celebrated its first birthday. To mark the occasion the station introduced four 'Bell Awards' which were presented to various artists for their contribution to musical entertainment during the preceding twelve months. Recipients were -
Birthday messages and greetings from over twenty artists were also recorded and included in programmes on both the North and South Caroline stations during the Easter weekend.
However, at the end of its first year on the air, in March 1965, Caroline South was struggling to achieve an average income of just £1,000 per week. The growing popularity and professionalism of Radio London contrasted strongly with the weaknesses of Radio Caroline's management structure and commercial airtime sales techniques. These deficiencies were to cause further internal problems at Radio Caroline later in the year.
It was decided to revamp the station's tired and out-
Unfortunately this sudden transformation in style and format -
First Birthday greetings from the stars, March 1965
Ronan O’Rahilly and Allan Crawford
6 Chesterfield Gardens
Click on picture to enlarge
Caroline Good Guy jingle
Petula Clark receiving her Caroline Bell Award from DJ Simon Dee