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The Voice of Slough

Radio LN/Radio ELB/GBLN

Thompson originally came from Yorkshire but after the end of the Second World War he had emigrated to Canada becoming a reporter on a local newspaper and eventually an announcer and DJ on a Vancouver radio station. In the late 1950s he returned to England working as a journalist for the local newspaper in Slough.

A 70 ton motor fishing vessel Ellen was said to have been purchased and fitted out at a secret location in Scotland with an on-air date for the station planned for 1st December 1961. Although registered as the Voice of Slough the station had a number of other proposed call-signs including Radio LN (Ellen), Radio ELB and finally GBLN (Great Britain, Ellen or Great Britain, London).

The project's radio ship was to be anchored not far from the Nore lightship off the Essex coast near Southend and broadcasts were to be on 980kHz (306m) with a transmitter power of between 1Kw and 5Kw. All programmes were to be pre-recorded either in 'studios' located in two wooden huts at the rear of a cottage in Aylesbury or in a 30' caravan which had been equipped as a mobile studio facility.

The 24 hour format was, according to the station's publicity material, to be "musical and directed mainly at the young, with regular news commentaries and current affairs programmes throughout the day." Six minutes per hour were to be devoted to commercial announcements. Thompson also hinted that broadcasting facilities could be used to provide a local community station directed at Southend and claimed to have support from the Mayor of the town for such a venture.

Keith Martin, an announcer who had worked with Paul Hollingdale and Doug Stanley at the short-lived Radio Veronica English service, CNBC and who later went on to become involved with Radio Atlanta and Radio Caroline, recorded some programmes for the proposed station in the Aylesbury studios.

Despite initial press publicity in October 1961 the proposed starting date of 1st December 1961 came and went with nothing being heard on the airwaves. The project reportedly floundered when record companies refused to allow the station to infringe copyright restrictions by tape recording discs for later broadcast. However, correspondence from John Thompson exists which  indicates that as late as September 1962 he was still pursuing plans to launch his offshore station, under the call-sign GBLN. In that correspondence he claimed the ship was being held up by British Customs authorities on a technicality, but that he was trying to free her from "red tape" and put the station on air by mid-October 1962.

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