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The Beat Fleet

Mike Leonard

The British offshore ‘pirate’ radio stations of the 1960’s were not the first, or last, but they were amongst the most popular and are still fondly remembered today, more than 50 years later.

They were the catalyst for major change in British radio and they paved the way for the introduction of landbased commercial radio. The offshore stations made everyone aware of what was missing from radio entertainment in Britain, and what it was possible to achieve.

They started a revolution. This is the story behind that revolution.



BOOKS

Here are some of the most recent books about different aspects of offshore radio history. Just browse these selected titles and click on the Amazon link to make your purchase.

There  are dozens more books about offshore radio featured on the shelves of  the Museum Library - many of these are also available from Amazon.

Purchasing  from Amazon by clicking on any of these links will help support the work of the Museum to record and preserve the history of offshore radio  - thank you.

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Pirate Radio - an Illustrated History

Keith Skues and David Kindred

In an age when the airwaves were tightly controlled by the authorities, pirate radio was the illicit and illustrious haven for music lovers across the nation. From the first broadcast in 1964, the cowboys of the radio world fed their listeners' desire for pop and rock music and, by doing so, changed British radio forever.

Through more than 100 crisp, black-and-white photographs, Pirate Radio: An Illustrated History brings to life the 'golden years' of pirate radio. Featuring pictures of the crew, the boats and the fans, this book takes the reader on a journey from the formative years of pirate radio, through its political persecution and beyond.

The Last Great Adventure for Boys

Bob Lawrence

Bob is a painter and decorator in south east London in the late seventies. He loves Charlton Athletic, old war films and listening to Radio Caroline, a pirate radio station in the North Sea. By pure chance, he gets a job decorating the flat of the station's manager, the beautiful Olga. In the right bed at the right time, he is given the opportunity to leave the paint roller behind and pick up the headphones on the pirate ship. Avoiding arrest is just the beginning, avoiding death is somewhere in the middle and at the end, he faces the ultimate price. Based heavily on the author's real life experiences working on Radio Caroline, this is a tale of love, hate, fear, joy, betrayal, guns, sex, drugs and rock n roll; they all play a part in The Last Great Adventure for Boys.

Radio Caroline - the True Story of the Boat that Rocked

Ray Clark

Radio Caroline was the world’s most famous pirate radio station during its heyday in the 1960s and ‘70s, but did the thousands of people tuning in realise just what battles went on behind the scenes? Financed by respected city money men, this is a story of human endeavour and risk, international politics, business success and financial failures.


A story of innovation, technical challenges, changing attitudes, unimaginable battles with nature, disasters, frustrations, challenging authority and the promotion of love and peace while, at times, harmony was far from evident behind the scenes. For one person to tell the full Radio Caroline story is impossible, but there are many who have been involved over the years whose memories and experiences bring this modern day adventure story of fighting overwhelming odds to life.



Far Out at Sea - the Radio Seagull Story

Gordon Kelly

Far Out at Sea tells the story of Radio Seagull and how a bunch of renegades created a truly alternative radio station.

Lavishly illustrated with photographs and featuring exclusive interviews with the people involved, Far Out at Sea is a must read for all fans of offshore radio.



Ships in Troubled Waters

Nigel Harris

This book tells the story of my journey through boarding school and onto offshore radio in the North Sea. It is a recollection of events from my perception only, which took place during my time on a number of radioships. As you will read, sheer dedication and strength of mind was required by all parties over the years to allow the offshore enterprises to survive.

Radio Caroline was the central passion for me, as it was for so many others, and I felt it was never on the cards to give up the fight to survive at sea. Nevertheless, remembering every event, and those people involved, was difficult and I trust I do not upset anybody by telling stories they would rather forget. (No malice is intended by anything written in this tome) A few names have been left out to spare embarrassment, but I hope the narrative remains complete. Memories from my younger days are included, as I would like to think they help complete the overall picture of how I thought and behaved, and what shaped me as I grew up.

Shiprocked - Life on the Waves with Radio Caroline

Steve Conway

Radio Caroline was an iconic pirate radio station, capturing the imagination of millions of people when it started broadcasting cutting-edge music to Britain and Ireland from international waters in 1964. When he first went out to the radio ship, the Ross Revenge, in December 1985, Steve Conway, a 21-year-old IT executive, was fulfilling his dream of working on Caroline. Despite his young age, he soon became a vital part of Caroline's renegade crew. In this gripping memoir Steve tells of his time aboard, the excitement and danger and the constant challenges.


Holding the Fort

Michael Bates

The gripping tale of the Principality of Sealand, told with humour, tolerance and even kindness by the man who was defending his beloved Dad's kingdom as a boy - with a rifle. The author tells of his parents' acquisition of an abandoned wartime fort in the Thames Estuary and subsequent adventures holding and defending the territory, often alone, a teenage boy on a platform in the North Sea in all weathers, seeing off intruders.  


Don Robinson - The Story of a High Flyer

David Fowler

Don Robinson is an entrepreneur and philanthropist. He started by setting up trampolines on Scarborough's beach. He 'launched' pirate radio ship Radio 270.

He brought Little Richard to Bridlington. He organised the first charter flights between the UK and Las Vegas. In his home town he was involved in Flamingoland, Zoo and Marineland, Waterscene, It's a Knockout and Mr Marvel's Theme Park. Don took up wrestling then became a wrestling promoter.He bought and successfully ran Scarborough's Royal Opera House and became chairman of Scarborough Football Club and later, Hull City FC. He was President of Scarborough Cricket Club. Don was involved in the Live Aid Charity and, in London he owned Winston Churchill's Britain at War exhibition, and the London Dungeon. When Bulgaria left the Eastern Bloc he was one of the first western businessmen to knock on the country's door and negotiate new business.

Don Robinson, now 80, is indeed a High Flier!

Pirate Jock - Confessions of a 60s DJ

Jack McLaughlin

With the arrival of pirate radio ships in the early 1960’s, the listening habits of British teenagers changed forever. This brave new world of pirate radio was daring, exciting and glamorous, and one that thousands of young men were desperate to join. Including 22 year-old Jack McLaughlin.

Now a Scottish broadcasting legend, in this book Jack tells how he did just that - and some of what happened next - with death-defying working conditions and high drama, where young pirates risked life and limb to become radio stars.

To set the scene, he retraces his early life and career - from bingo caller, to House Uncle in a London children's home, then a History teacher. And tells of the moment that changed his life, when he heard pirate radio being broadcast for the first time. Once at sea, apart from sex, drugs and rock 'n roll, there are fires, sea sickness, a jail cell and a Force Twelve hurricane. Plus the fierce rivalry and backstabbing of some of his fellow Jocks. All in the context of the Beatles, the Stones, Bowie and Hendrix and the incredibly colourful characters who also found themselves in the off-shore 'floating rust buckets'.

Radio Adventures of the MV Communicator: 11 radio stations in 21 years

Paul Alexander Rusling

A factual story about the life of a radio broadcasting ship, the MV Communicator which was home to eleven radio stations during her 21 year career. This riveting tale covers the drama and success of the stations, whose staff included many well-known radio names in the UK and in the Netherlands. During that time she attracted up to ten million listeners with her powerful AM (Medium Wave) transmissions. Her owners made over $15 million during the period, but had to endure a government blockade, threats, takeovers by fraudsters and swindlers, boarding parties and arrests of the ship by the Admiralty Marshall acting for unpaid creditors. After being towed away she caught the attention of convicted mercenaries and the Dutch secret service which resulted in her being raided by the Portuguese Government; just a few of the stages in her fun-filled, action packed voyages. This a thrilling story that will please the thousands of radio aficionados who still relish those buccaneering days. Many of her listeners were oblivious to the drama behind the scenes, hearing only the rock'n'roll music that the Communicator's radio stations churned out around the clock, audible over half of Western Europe. Written by an experienced engineer and broadcaster who advised on equipping the ship, the book brings together the experiences and tales of many of the Communicator's former crew members and disc jockey teams.

NEW

Manx Giant

Andy Wint

The story of Radio Caroline North and its impact on the Isle of Man between 1964 and 1968.