The first public hint of what had really been going on behind the scenes was given in the trade paper Marketing Week on 4th June 1982. As well as containing a photograph of the new Radio Caroline ship in Spain the article made claims that $500,000 of backer's money had been lost in trying to re-
It turned out, however, that the original American backers were unhappy about not having full control of the radio station. Disagreements had arisen early in 1982 between them and Ronan O'Rahilly over the proposed format of the station. The Americans wanted to broadcast largely pop music to a British and European audience, while Ronan O'Rahilly had very definite views that there was a place in the market for an album based station, providing an alternative to the growing number of Top 40 stations, particularly in Britain's Independent Local Radio (ILR) network.
Problems had also been encountered with the original American backers over funding for the return of Radio Caroline. American businessman Jim Ryan, representing a group of 20 investors in the project, had made an agreement relating to the timing of the funding operation. The backers had been promised an on-
A breakaway group then proposed taking control of the Ross Revenge, assuring the American consortium that they would be able to finish the conversion work and have the station ready to start transmissions in June 1982.
In the meantime the Ross Revenge itself had been impounded by Spanish harbour authorities and the steering gear had been dismantled. A violent attempt was made to take over the ship in Spain, but this failed.
The Ross Revenge then became the subject of what was to be protracted legal action between the consortium of American backers and Ronan O'Rahilly's group, who themselves were now seeking potential new backers and advertisers, primarily in Canada, to re-
Legal arguments over the ownership of the Ross Revenge and searching for new sources of finance delayed the re-
New financial backers were found by Ronan O'Rahilly, mainly in Canada, and work was able to recommence on completing the fitting out of the Ross Revenge. All work was carried out in great secrecy and it was hoped to have Radio Caroline back on the air by 14th August , the 16th anniversary of the British Marine etc. Broadcasting (Offences) Act coming into effect.
On 28th July 1983 the first press reports appeared in the Dublin Evening Herald hinting at the imminent return of Radio Caroline. The reports were also carried by a number of Irish land-
Four days after leaving Spain the Ross Revenge was sighted off Britain's south coast under tow by the Spanish tug Aznar Jose Luis on 8th August 1983. Twelve hours later the Ross Revenge arrived at a position in the Kentish Knock, where she stayed overnight, moving the next day to an anchorage in the Knock Deep near where the Mi Amigo had sunk three years previously. The most striking feature of the Ross Revenge was its aerial mast towering 300' above deck level, the tallest structure ever built on a ship.
At half past midnight on 9th August 1983 the transmitter was switched on for about 30 minutes with a carrier signal and further carrier signals were transmitted during the following few days in preparation for the commencement of regular broadcasts.
Despite the arrival of a full complement of broadcasting staff there was still one main problem to resolve before regular programming could commence -
Television news report about the return of Radio Caroline, August 1983
Click on picture to enlarge
15th August 1983
16th August 1983
Aerial view of the Ross Revenge showing the 300’ aerial mast
Test transmissions for the return of Radio Caroline, August 1983
Ship and Location