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   Inside Out - Yorkshire & Lincolnshire: Monday 18th October, 2004

PIRATE RADIO

DJ Paul Burnett

Now then, now then, now then... remember the swinging Sixties and pirate radio? Who could forget the music, the DJs and the sea sickness?

Pirate radio is now a distant memory for many of us, but it struck a blow for pioneering DJs everywhere when stations first hit the airwaves.

It was fresh, risky and a bit of a novelty. We hadn't heard anything like it before.

Here in Yorkshire, we had our very own pirate station, Radio 270, broadcasting from a fishing vessel off the Scarborough coast.

Surfing the radio waves

Radio 270 was the only offshore Yorkshire pirate radio station, broadcasting for 18 months between 1966 and 1967.

The station was located on the Dutch ship Oceaan V11 which was anchored off Bridlington Bay.

Stocked with 1,000 sausages, 100 kippers and 500 bacon rashers, the ship's DJs battled sea sickness on the tempestuous waves of the North Sea.

The swinging boat was so bumpy that DJ Paul Burnett was once violently sick midway through reading an advert for bacon!

The story of the station reads like a soap opera with staff mutinies, beleaguered DJs, technical nightmares, and power struggles.

But it wasn't the squalling gales or DJ's tiffs and tantrums that finally sunk Radio 270.

It was the hand of bureaucracy in the shape of the 1967 Marine Offences Act that scuppered the floating station.

Radio One DJs in 1970s
DLT, Paul Burnett, Tony Blackburn and Peter Powell with Maureen the elephant in Radio One promotion

On its final day, true to form, stormy weather prevented many of the staff joining the goodbye party aboard the Oceaan V11.

The airwaves finally went dead at 11.59pm, and the ship sailed close to shore to the cheers of well wishers.

The Oceaan V11 was later offered for sale but had no takers. The ship that once entertained a nation was broken up and laid to rest.

Surf, crackle and pop ..

Radio 270 wasn't the only offshore pirate station in the poptastic 1960s.

Radio Caroline, Radio Atlanta, Radio London and Radio Veronica also flew the flag for pirate broadcasting.

Many of the nation's best-loved DJs cut their teeth on the sea waves. Here's a tribute to just a few of them.

Tony Blackburn
Caroline pirate and Radio One star. Recently a contestant in a TV celebrity reality show.
Johnnie Walker
Radio England and Caroline pirate. Found fame at Radios One, Two and Five.
Kenny Everett
Radio London pirate DJ. Found fame as wacky TV star. Died in 1995
John Peel
Former Radio London pirate. Became major Radio One DJ
Paul Burnett
Landed on dry land with Manx Radio, then Luxembourg and Radio One
Philip Hayton
Radio 270 DJ. Later became a well-known BBC TV news presenter
Roger Gale
Former Radio Caroline DJ, now turned Conservative MP for North Thanet
The Radio 270 ship Oceaan V11
Oceaan V11 is the inspiration for a major feature film shooting soon

The pirates of the airwaves set the tone for for pop radio in the Seventies.

Radio One and commercial radio recruited many of the star pirate DJs... as well as their new poppy style.

As for Radio 270, it remains a happy memory, long gone but forever etched in the memories of its many listeners.

Its amazing story has inspired a new film, Making Waves, starring Richard E. Grant and Michael Gambon.

Former Radio 270 DJ Paul Burnett will star in a cameo role. It seems like there's life in the old pirate station yet!

See also ...

On the rest of the web
Offshore radio
Offshore radio guide
Museum of commercial radio
Marine broadcasters Pirate radio
Radio Caroline
Radio London
Radio waves
The pirate's cove
Anorak's archive Radiocommunications agency
Who's who in pop radio
Radio 270 tribute
Old radio broadcasting

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