Saturday, 29 March 2014

Not Fade Away: 50 Years of Radio Caroline

photo credit: Paul Easton via photopin cc
"For The Who, Radio Caroline was an angelic force… without Caroline we would not have sold a single record."
- Pete Townshend

It was 50 years yesterday that Radio Caroline first began to broadcast, from a ship in international waters. Launching at midday on Easter Sunday - the 28th March 1964, Radio Caroline would revolutionise British radio.
The first track played was The Rolling Stones' Not Fade Away.

Set up by Ronan O'Rahilly, Radio Caroline managed to circumvent record companies' control of popular music broadcasting in the United Kingdom. O'Rahilly had failed to obtain airplay on Radio Luxembourg for his client, Georgie Fame's records. Radio Luxembourg's airtime was committed to sponsored programmes promoting the major record labels; EMI, Decca, Pye and Philips. The only other radio station available at the time was the BBC's light programme - considered dated and frumpy, and not particularly interested in broadcasting pop music. Radio Caroline changed that - instantly popular, it provided exposure and airtime for bands like The Who, The Move, Led Zeppelin, Cream and more.

Radio Caroline broadcast from 5 different ships from 1964 - 1990 and then via satellite from 1998 to 2013. Radio Caroline currently broadcasts 24 hours a day via the Internet, playing music from the 1960s right up to today.