Beds, Herts & Bucks

Stevenage shed radio DJ visits Radio Caroline

Deke Duncan and Justin Dealey
Image caption Deke Duncan was taken on board Radio Caroline by BBC Three Counties Radio broadcaster Justin Dealey

A shed-based DJ, whose interest in radio was sparked by pirate station Radio Caroline, has had his "dream come true" by visiting the ship it broadcasts from.

Deke Duncan, 73, was given his own one-hour special on BBC local radio last year after broadcasting to just his wife for more than 40 years.

The station took him to the ship off the coast of Essex at the weekend.

"This is the climax of my life," he said during the visit.

Mr Duncan started playing records from his back garden in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, in 1974 and set up Radio 77 - named after a job-lot of second hand jingles bought from a US station of the same name.

But with no licence, the station could only be beamed through a speaker in his living room to wife Teresa.

He presented non-stop weekend slots on the station with friends, broadcasting from - and to - 57 Gonville Crescent.

Image caption Deke Duncan in 1974 in his shed in Stevenage - and preparing for his New Year's Eve show at BBC Three Counties Radio in Dunstable

Mr Duncan was the subject of a 1970s BBC Nationwide television report which was tweeted last year by BBC Archive.

BBC Three Counties Radio tracked him down to Stockport, Greater Manchester, where he still broadcasts to his audience of one.

The station then offered him a one-hour special before arranging for him to visit the ship.

As he spotted the ship, Mr Duncan said: "This is a dream come true... This is the best day of my life."

Once aboard he said: "This is just amazing, it's one of those times when I am absolutely speechless, I just cannot describe how good this feels."

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Mr Duncan then went on air with presenter Ray Clarke where he introduced the Hues Corporation's Rock the Boat.

Radio Caroline was founded in 1964, when it was broadcast from a ship with the same name.

The station continued to exist as an internet and digital service and then in December 2017 was given the medium wave frequency of 648kHz - once used by the BBC World Service.

Image caption Radio Caroline broadcasts from the Ross Revenge, which is moored on the River Blackwater near Bradwell, Essex

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