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Radio Caroline North - History (5)

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. One by one the offshore stations gave their reactions to this news - with the reality of the legislation becoming law and despite earlier defiant claims to the contrary, all except Caroline announced that they would close before the 15th August deadline.

These announcements of intended closure left Radio Caroline alone saying it would defy the new law and continue broadcasting after 15th August 1967. Contingency plans for this to happen had already been put in place by the station's management. In June 1967 all British members of  Radio Caroline's board of directors resigned, except Philip Solomon, who held Irish citizenship and was therefore able to continue running the station with fellow Irishman Ronan O'Rahilly. A number of American, Australian, Canadian and South African DJs were said to have been recruited and standing by  to join the station after 15th August 1967. Meanwhile, on both the North and South stations many British DJs were saying during the early days of August 1967 that they would stay on with Radio Caroline and defy the new law.

One demonstration of support for Radio Caroline came unexpectedly from a source that had initially been very hostile to the station - the Government of the Isle of Man. Since mid-1964 Radio Caroline North had become very popular on the Island, not just because of the entertainment it provided, but because the station gave the Island's holiday resorts an immense amount of free publicity, greatly boosting the Manx tourist trade and general economy.

In April 1967, as the British House of Commons was approving the Marine etc. Broadcasting (Offences) Bill, the Isle of Man Parliament, the House of Keys, voted  to reject the same Bill being added to the Island's statute book. In doing so the Island Government offered some hope for the future existence of Caroline North. Ronan O'Rahilly even announced that he was negotiating with the Manx authorities to bring Radio Caroline ashore so that the station could operate from a base on the Island, although realistically this was unlikely to have been achieved at that time.

Throughout the summer of 1967, as the British Government proceeded with enacting its own legislation, the Manx Government stood its rebellious ground. Undeterred, Westminster announced at the beginning of August 1967 that the Marine etc. Broadcasting (Offences) Act would be applied to the Island (and also the Channel Islands) by means of Orders in Council signed by the Queen - effectively imposing the legislation against the wishes of the Island's own Parliament and its people.

The prospect of this unwanted piece of legislation being forced on the Island's statute book brought to the surface all the Manx nationalistic feelings and there was talk of the Island breaking its ties with Westminster and declaring complete independence.

An Independent Member of the House of Keys, Roy McDonald (who was also Chairman of the Manx Broadcasting Commission) proposed a resolution rejecting the imposition  of legislation on the Island and demanded that the situation be considered by the United Nations Committee responsible for overseeing the interests of colonial peoples. Roy McDonald emphasised that he was not particularly supporting Radio Caroline, that just happened to have brought to light the real issue - the imposition of unwanted  British legislation which had already been rejected by the semi-independent Island's own Parliament. Mr. McDonald's  resolution was approved by the House of Keys and the Island's Governor, Sir Peter Stallard, was forced to recall the full Island Parliament, Tynwald, from its summer recess to consider the rapidly deteriorating constitutional situation.

On 3rd August 1967 it was announced that Tynwald's petition to the Privy Council Committee (which was responsible for extending the Marine etc. Broadcasting (Offences) Act to the Island) had been rejected and, as a consequence, the Queen would  be asked to sign an Order in Council imposing the legislation on the Island. After this announcement  there was speculation about the Island engaging in all sorts of rebellious activity -  the issuing of Manx passports, a takeover of the Post Office service on the Island, and  even the creation of a Manx national  army, but all came to nothing.

Tynwald, the Manx Parliament, met on 8th August 1967 in a joint session of its two Houses - the House of Keys and the Legislative Council. During seven hours of heated debate Roy McDonald agreed to withdraw  that part of his resolution referring the imposition of British legislation on the Island to the United Nations, but replaced it with a reference to the Commonwealth Secretariat.



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The Times

3rd August 1967

The Times

4th August 1967

Anti Marine Offences Act promo

Anti MoA promo - July 1967.mp3


IOM Casino advert.mp3

Two promos for Caroline products:-

Caroline Transistor Radio

The book Radio Caroline

Caroline transistor advert.mp3 Caroline Book advert.mp3

The Caroline Transistor Radio - heavily promoted on the station



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