Free Radio Campaigner David Prewett RIP

Free Radio Protest 8 Nov 1967 at opening of BBC Radio Leicester

David Prewett leading an FRA free radio protest on 8th November 1967 at the opening of BBC Radio Leicester

It is with deep sadness we report the death of leading UK free radio campaigner, David Prewett, who died on 27th August 2023 aged 87. David worked tirelessly in the 1960s and early 1970s for ending monopoly radio on the UK mainland.

Starting in 1965, David was the leader of a listeners organisation based in Oxford campaigning for the introduction of UK commercial and non-commercial radio in addition to the BBC. By early 1967, with the UK government poised to ban the very popular offshore “pirate” stations, David became a founder member and hon. Secretary & Public Relations officer for the Free Radio Association (FRA) and a year later, together with other FRA colleagues, David formed and was leader of the National Commercial Radio Movement (NCRM), later to become the Campaign for Independent Broadcasting (CIB).

David possessed both the technical radio knowledge and the skills for getting publicity combined with the mild-mannered knack of working well with colleagues and being tireless at parliamentary lobbying. In short he was an indefatigable campaigner.

It was David’s technical knowledge which enabled a practical plan setting out how radio stations in addition to the BBC could be established in Britain despite limited available medium wave frequencies as set out in CIB’s 1969 “Sound Broadcasting Study“.

This provided an invaluable argument for David, together with CIB’s Press & Public Relations colleague, Martin Rosen and others for gaining media publicity as well as for intensive lobbying of MP’s in the House of Commons after the government changed in 1970.

A few examples:

November 1967 : See photo above with David Prewett, centre, leading an FRA free radio protest on 8th November 1967 at the opening of Radio Leicester, the BBC’s very first local station. This protest was not only against BBC monopoly radio but also because the BBC had stated that their local stations would be financed out of the national license fee – clearly unfair because all listeners would pay even when located outside the range of any local station. Note: David’s wife, Jill, also in this photo.

August 1968 : Article in “The Times” newspaper re. Free Radio “Coffin Demonstration” at 10, Downing Street, London marking 1st anniversary of outlawing of offshore radio stations with amusing annotation by David P.

1968 : David Prewett’s “Sound Broadcasting Study” published by NCRM-CIB.

December 1968 : Article in “Record Retailer” magazine about proposals for commercial radio including the “Sound Broadcasting Study“.

May 1970 : Letter from David Prewett to Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, castigating his government for manipulating UK sound broadcasting policy with examples of their misleading statements.

14th June 1970 : David Prewett speaking at the Free Radio rally in London’s Hyde Park a few days before the 1970 General Election. Radio Caroline’s Ronan O’Rahilly and CIB’s Martin Rosen are also included in this recording.

July 1970 : Meeting with Chris Chataway – Minister Of Posts & Telecommunications

2013 : David Prewett remembers…

More examples


A Pirate Radio Patchwork Quilt – 125 Pirate Radio Themes, Jingles & Souvenirs of the ’60s & ’70s.

This audio clip

includes many of the theme tunes popularised by the offshore pirate radio stations of the 60s and 70s with the accent on Radios 270, Caroline, London, Scotland and Veronica.
In addition I’ve added some of the jingles of the time as well as a few other audio souvenirs.

Below is a list of all the items in order from start to finish.
Each item is numbered referring to the number of hours, minutes and seconds (approx.) from the start of the clip.
When a year is mentioned, it is the date the piece of music was first published.:
Don Allen00:00:00
“We Love The Pirates” by The Roaring 60’s (1966).
“You have been found guilty…” promo against the UK government’s 1967 Marine Broadcasting (Offences) law.
Robbie Dale on Radio Caroline South followed by “Caroline” by The Fortunes (1964).
The Radio Caroline bell with Simon Dee and “On The Sunny Side Of The Street” by Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (1945).
Radio London’s “Home Town” theme by The Chantelles (1964).
Radio London jingle followed by Kenny Everett’s jingle compilation of “All the Wonderfuls”.
“Nut Rocker” by B Bumble And The Stingers (1962), theme for the Kenny & Cash programme on Radio London.
Radio Veronica jingle “Men vraagt en wij draaien” followed by “People Will Say Were In Love” by Ray Conniff (1958).
Radio Veronica jingle for DJ Klaas Vaak followed by “Scarlet OHara” by Jet Harris & Tony Meehan (1963). Same theme used also by RNI’s Roger Kent & Dave Rogers.
Dave Cash early morning on Radio London with a run-down of the day’s programmes followed by “Reveille Rock” by Johnny & the Hurricanes (1959).
Radio London jingle followed by Tony Blackburn’s theme “Beefeaters” (with Arnold barking) by Johnny Dankworth Orchestra (1964).
Intro to the Roger Day show on Radio Caroline South with “Green Grass” by the Ventures (1966).
Radio Veronica jingle followed by “A Banda” by Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass (1967).
Radio Scotland ID with “Black Bear” by Frank Cordell Orchestra (1960).
Radio 270 short extract with Vince “Rusty” Allen’s theme “Deep In The Heart Of Texas” by Duane Eddy (1962).
Radio Nordsee International (RNI) jingle followed by “Man of Action” by Les Reed Orchestra (1970).
Radio Caroline South intro by Johnnie Walker for the Andy Archer Show with “Flamingo” by Herb Alpert (1966). Same theme tune used by Tony Allan & Alan Black on Radio Scotland and Mark Sloane on Radio 355.
Radio Veronica jingle with “Asia Minor” by Kokomo’s piano & orchestra (1961).
Radio Caroline South intro for the Spangles Muldoon Show (aka Chris Cary) with “Yeh Yeh” by Mark Wirtz Orchestra & Chorus (1967).
Radio Veronica jingle for Tineke’s Coffee Time Show and theme “Georgia Camp Meeting” by the Swe-Danes (1962).
Radio London jingle and extract “Pausing with Windsor” followed by Tony Windsor’s theme “Waltzing Matilda” by Frank Ifield (1963).
Radio Caroline South intro to the Dave Lee Travis show with “A Touch Of Velvet A Sting Of Brass” by Mood Mosaic (1966).
Radio Veronica “juke box” jingle with “Little Black Samba” by Norman Petty (1960).
Radio Caroline intro for DJ Henry Morgan aka Gerry Burke with “Sucu Sucu” by Laurie Johnson Orchestra (1961).
Radio Veronica jingle for DJ Lex Harding with “Holiday” by Andre Brasseur (1967). Also used by Crispian St. John on RNI and Radio Caroline. Note: Music also known as “The Kid” because the record company stuck the wrong labels to the “A” and “B” sides of the single.
“Happy Organ” by Dave Baby Cortez (1959), Stevi Merike’s theme on Radio Scotland.
RNI jingle “What good are friends…” followed by “Peace” by Peter (1970).
Promo for “Keefers Commotion” programme on Radio Caroline South followed by Keith Hampshire’s theme “Sidewinder” by Wes Dakus & The Rebels (1964).
Radio Veronica “Teenager Muziek Expres” jingle followed by “Rocking Goose” by Johnny and the Hurricanes (1960).
Intro by Johnnie Walker for the Ross Brown show on Radio Caroline South with “We Shall Overcome” and Ross Brown’s theme “Raunchy ’65” by Ernie Freeman (1965).
Radio Veronica “gaat door” promo with “Crunchy Granola Suite” by Percy Faith Orchestra (1973).
Radio Caroline North intro by Roger Gale with his theme “A Walk in the Black Forest” by Horst Jankowski Orchestra (1965).
Radio London jingle and Big-L’s “School Spot” promo with Ed Stewart & Kenny Everett.
Intro by Brian Mckenzie on RNI followed by “Move Over Darling” by Doris Day (1963).
RNI jingle followed by Brian Mckenzie’s theme “Carpet Man” by 5th Dimension (1968).
Radio Veronica jingle for DJ Tom Collins with “Comin Home” by Casey and the Pressure Group (1971).
Background for Radio Veronica promos “The Legend of Johnny Pot” by Dick Hyman (1969).
Radio Caroline 199 “OOOH!” promo with Radio Caroline North jingle, “time signal” & intro by “Daffy” Don Allen and one of his themes “Romance On The North Sea” by Alan Haven (1965).
Radio Caroline North jingle and Bulova ad with Tom Lodge and his theme “Rinky Dink” by Johnnie Howard Band (1964). Also used by Bart van Leeuwen on Radio Veronica.
Radio Scotland jingle followed by DJ Richard Park’s theme “Wild Weekend” by the Rockin’ Rebels (1963).
Radio London jingle with intro to the “Roman Empire” and Mark Roman’s theme “Wipe Out” by the Surfaris (1963).
Radio Caroline South jingle and extract with Emperor Rosko and mynah bird “Alfie” and theme “Memphis” by Lonnie Mack (1963).
Radio Caroline intro for “Weird Beard” Carl Mitchell and “Slim Jenkins Place” by Booker T & the MG’s (1967).
Radio Veronica “Live this weekend…” jingle with “The Horse” by Cliff Nobles (1968). Theme also used by Ferry Maat on RNI.
Radio Veronica promo “Wij houden stand Veronica moet aan land” with “Heather” by the Carpenters (1973).
Radio London jingle and Big-L promo “Tiptoe Through The Teeshirts”.
Radio London jingle and extract with Kenny Everett and Garner Ted Armstrong announcing “The World Tomorrow” followed by Kenny Everett theme “The Stripper” by David Rose Orchestra (1962).
Radio London jingle followed by Big-L promo with Ed Stewart & Kenny Everett and Radio London Sonowaltz theme.
Radio Caroline South “Sound of the Nation” jingle with intro to the Robbie Dale show and theme “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” and “The British Grin & Bear” by Whistling Jack Smith (1967).
Radio Caroline extract with Keith Skues Bulova ad, jingle and theme “Mr Tambourine Man” by the Golden Gate Strings (1965).
Radio Scotland intro by Tony Allan followed by Stuart Henry and theme “Soul Finger” by the Bar-Kays (1967).
RNI jingle and extract of Graham Gill accompanying to his theme “Way Back Home” by Junior Walker & The All Stars, instrumental version, (1971).
Radio Veronica promo “Veronica moet blijven” followed by “What Love” by the Collectors (1968).
Radio Veronica “538” jingle followed by “Scotch On The Rocks” by Force Ten (1972). Also used by Hans Van Dervell/Radio Veronica, Dick Verheul/Radio Mi Amigo and Ronald Bakker/Radio Delmare.
Radio Caroline International jingle w intro to Stevi Merike show and theme “Billy’s Bag” by Billy Preston (1964).
Radio Caroline intro for Johnnie Walker show with “Because They’re Young” by Duane Eddy (1960).
“Rescue Me” by Fontella Bass (1965). Used by some of the offshore pirate stations as a coded distress call, as usually there was no other means of communication with their onshore head office.
“Warm and Tender Love” by Percy Sledge (1966). If you don’t know why this item is included, Radio Caroline DJ Johnnie Walker explains here.
“Cry Baby” by Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters (1963).
“In The Midnight Hour” by Little Mac & Boss Sounds (1966). Theme for Rick Dane and Carl Mitchell on Radio Caroline South and RNI.
“Stay With Me” by Lorraine Ellison (1966). Remembered from the 2009 film “The Boat That Rocked”, retitled “Pirate Radio” in North America.
Radio Caroline jingle and station closing theme “‘Round Midnight” by Jimmy McGriff (1962).
Soul Coaxing /Ame Câline by Raymond Lefèvre Orchestra (1968). Andy Archer’s theme on Radio Caroline.

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