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Supporters’ Groups

Free Radio Campaign (FRC)

The Free Radio Campaign (FRC) was formed  in 1968 by Alex McKenna, based in Romford, Essex.

A local rally was organised in Romford in August 1968 (under the name Kosmos Organisation) to mark the first anniversary of the implementation of the Marine etc. Broadcasting (Offences) Act. The rally took the form of a torch-lit funeral  procession through the town, ending with former Radio London DJ Mark Roman, emerging from a coffin to proclaim that ‘pirate radio was still alive.

From January 1969 until May 1970 the FRC published (for 6 issues)  a regular newsletter - Free Radio News, containing news and information about ‘free radio’ stations – landbased as well as offshore.  

The FRC quickly established a network of branches in Britain and abroad – at one stage in 1969 it claimed to have members in 23 countries, including Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Eire, Luxembourg and even India

An approach was made by  the Free Radio Association (FRA) early  in 1969 about a merger (FRA also approached the National Commercial Radio Movement (NCRM))  and a joint meeting was held. The FRC agreed to a merger, but NCRM agreed only to ‘work with’  the other two groups.

The FRC organised a rally (jointly with NCRM)  in Trafalgar Square, London on 10th August 1969.

The FRC merger with FRA was  formally agreed  on 19 April 1970, but the two organisations  soon found they had differences which could not be reconciled. Accordingly, in July 1970, FRC founder, Alex McKenna, along with some other FRA office-holders (Margaret Stock,  Tim Davies, Lynn Strang and Roy Brooker) left the FRA to re-form FRC.

Many FRC branches followed suit and withdrew from the FRA identity, reverting to using the Free Radio Campaign name, including one of the most active and influential branches  - The North East Branch of the FRA (NEFRA), based in Newcastle .

The newly re-launched FRC started publishing a newsletter – Newscaster – which was initially sent to all former Free Radio News subscribers and NEFRA members.

The declared purpose of the FRC was to support the idea of free, independent radio in Britain and Europe. The main activities of the organisation were to increase and maintain public interest and support for free radio as a system of broadcasting.

This activity was partly carried out by the regular publication of Newscaster  as well as the printing and widespread distribution of thousands of leaflets explaining and publicising free radio stations and campaign initiatives, primarily through an extensive network of ‘Area Organisers’.

In August 1973, with the impending outlawing of the offshore stations by the Dutch Government the FRC was one of the organisers of a Rally in Hyde Park, London followed by a protest march to the Dutch Embassy.

The Free Radio Campaign was still active until the mid 1970s, even after the introduction in 1973 of commercial radio stations within the Independent Local Radio (ILR) network in Britain and the outlawing of the offshore radio stations by the Dutch Government in September 1974.

Alex McKenna

Cover of the first issue of Free Radio News

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FRC Publicity Flyer

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Issue 3 of Newscaster

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Left and Right:  two flyers advertising the Offshore Radio Rally on 19th August 1973

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