Radio Station Archive – Radio Nordsee International (RNI)

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RNI off the Dutch coast near Scheveningen 1973.
Photo © Fred Bunzl

Owned by Swiss businessmen Edwin Bollier and Erwin Meister and broadcasting from the mv. Mebo II in international waters off the Dutch and British coasts, Radio Nordsee International (RNI) commenced regular broadcasts on 28th February 1970 using a claimed total transmitting power of 121kw. and 4 transmitters including 1 medium-wave, 2 short-wave and 1 FM.

While located off the British coast, RNI was plagued by UK government jamming on medium-wave which necessitated several frequency changes. Medium-wave frequencies used included 1607kHz (186m), 1575khz (190m), 1385khz (217m), 1367khz (220m) and 1232khz (244m). Short-wave frequencies used were 6210khz (49m), 6206khz (49m), 6205khz (49m), 6200khz (49m), 9940khz (31m) and FM 102mhz, 100mhz and 96mhz..

In June 1970, in the days leading up to the UK General Election, RNI temporarily changed its name to Radio Caroline International and broadcast publicity in support of the Conservative party for the introduction of commercial radio on the British mainland.

RNI closed on 24th September 1970 but re-started broadcasting in English and Dutch a few months later in January 1971 until closure at the end of August 1974 when Dutch law against offshore stations came into force.

After a refit in the Netherlands, mv. Mebo II was sold to Libya, renamed El Fatah and sailed to the Libyan coast, arriving there in February 1977. It then broadcast as “Radio Joumhourya” with programming in Arabic and English until about 1980. After broadcasting ceased, the ship was apparently used as target practice by the Libyan Navy and was eventually sunk. A sad end.

For more about Radio Nordsee in the Mediterranean, see Ian Biggar’s Mebo 2 illustrated timeline.


Below is a list of archived radio station recordings, air-checks and documents of Radio Nordsee International (RNI) which we make freely available to our site visitors subject to the following conditions. If you are looking for audio recordings of other radio stations (not RNI), please click here.

Limited Use
IMPORTANT: Please note that all documents on this site, including all pictures, audio and video recordings, are for historical research, academic and educational purposes only. Any other use of materials on this site, including reproduction for any purposes other than those noted above, including, but not limited to modification, distribution, or re-publication by any means without the prior written permission of CampaignForIndependentBroadcasting.co.uk is prohibited. No other use may be made without the express written permission of this site’s owners.

Trademarks
All trademarks, service marks, and trade names are proprietary to their other respective owners.

Audio Recordings
Important:
The recordings listed below are in .mp3 format within password-protected .zip files. You will need to first download the .zip file to your computer. To unzip the file you will need Winzip or 7-Zip or another fully compatible alternative software. When you unzip the file, you will also need the password which you can obtain at no cost by contacting us and explaining briefly what your interest is.
We also provide some recordings to listen to online here and here.

Document Archive
If you are looking for our document archives, please follow the following link for a list of NCRM (National Commercial Radio Movement), CIB (Campaign For Independent Broadcasting) and related documents.


Radio Nordsee International (RNI)
1970, Brochure for Advertisers
This rare 9 page brochure for advertisers includes coverage area maps and advertising rates and was printed black and fluorescent pink (scanning unfortunately changed the colour to pale orange). Inside the back cover is a pocket containing a poster with photos of the Mebo 2 and DJ’s Roger Day, Andy Archer, Alan West and Carl Mitchell. A better quality scan of the same poster can be viewed here.

1970?, Copy of DJ Contract Form. Note that the contract is between the disc jockey and RNI’s “Division Sierra Leone”.

1970?, Copy of Ship Rules which disc jockeys, news readers and announcers were expected to sign as part of their contract with RNI.

1970 25th February, 186m, Part of Andy Archer morning show, .mp3 13-1/2 mins.
Recording starts at 11.00 hrs. with Roger Day talking about how RNI started, its programming policy and life onboard m/v Mebo II.

1970 25th February, 186m, RNI’s Early Days in February 1970, .mp3 310 mins.
Andy Archer’s 11 o’clock “Coffee Break” with Roger Day discussing RNI’s origins and its programming policy, followed by:
16.00-17.00 hrs. Alan West, Carl Mitchell.
18.16-20.00 hrs. Roger Day.
22.10-00.00 hrs. Andy Archer.
00.00-00.15 hrs. (Thursday, 26th Feb.) Horst Reiner.

1970 Saturday 21st March, 186m / 49m, Part of Mark Wesley morning show followed by Alan West, .mp3 70 mins.
This recording starts at 08.40 hrs. Some morse interference near the beginning. After about 16-1/2 minutes there is a change from 186m to 49m shortwave to avoid the morse interference. Thanks to Ian Biggar for taking the trouble to determine the date of this recording.

1970 Sunday 22nd March, 186m, Part of Andy Archer programme with Alan West sitting in, followed by first part of Top 40 show with Carl Mitchell, .mp3 40 mins.
Starts at 11.36 hours. Near the end of this recording some morse interference is audible, which according to notes made at the time, is from the UK coastguard station at Portishead, Somerset. This was Carl Mitchell’s first time presenting the RNI Top 40 show.

1970 Sunday 12th April, 190m, Nifty 50 Show with Roger Day, .mp3 191 mins.
This recording starts at 11.57 hrs. running continuously for more than three hours to 15.08 hrs. and includes the last few minutes of the Andy Archer programme leading into the whole Roger Day Top 50 show followed by the first minutes of Duncan Johnson’s show.

1970 Monday 1st June, 244m, .mp3 191 mins.
Starts at 19.19 hrs. Andy Archer, Roger Day, “Clacton Flashing”, Duncan Johnson.

1970 Wednesday 10th June, 244m, Part of Andy Archer programme, .mp3 130 mins.
These three recordings start at 18.26 pm and end at 21.20 pm and were made during the time RNI’s medium wave frequency was being jammed by the UK government. Includes promotions for Free Radio Association (FRA) and Campaign For Independent Broadcasting (CIB) as well as a break due to “transmitter adjustments”.

1970 Tuesday 4th August, 220m, Part of Mike Lindsey evening show, .mp3 27 mins.
Recording starts at 18.07 hrs. At this time RNI was located off the Dutch coast. Thanks to Ian Biggar for determining the date of this recording: “I believe this one to be 4th August 1970 as Mike (Lindsey) says that FM is back on 96 MHz and according to Gerry Bishop’s Offshore Radio book this was on August 4th.”.

1970 Saturday 29th August, 220m, .mp3 83 mins.
Starts at 08.20 hrs., Mark Wesley, Alan West, Andy Archer.

1970 Saturday, 29th August, 220m, RNI hijack attempt, .mp3 156 mins.
These two recordings of RNI’s attempted hijacking start at 14.45 hrs. and include the voices of Larry Tremaine, Carl Mitchell, Andy Archer, Alan West, Mark Wesley and Mike Lindsey.

1970 Sunday 30th August, 220m, .mp3 191 mins.
Starts at 21.21 hrs., Spangles Muldoon, near the end of his show, discovers that all other DJs have left for a party on a nearby Dutch frigate guarding Mebo II following the previous day’s hijack attempt.

1970 Saturday 5th September, 220m, Andy Archer, Alan West & Stephen Ladd, .mp3 13 mins.
This short recording includes the last few minutes of the Andy Archer morning show, midday news with Alan West and the first part of the Stephen Ladd show.

1970 Saturday 5th September, 220m, Saturday afternoon with RNI, .mp3 362 mins.
This recording starts at 1.22 pm and runs all the way through to 7.34 pm.. Includes Stephen Ladd, Alan West, Andy Archer, Carl Mitchell, Mark Wesley, Spangles Muldoon, Mike Lindsey and Dave Gregory.

1970 Saturday 12th September, 220m, Part of Mark Wesley show, .mp3 28 mins.
Starts at 15.15 hours.

1970 Saturday 12th September, 220m, Part of Mike Ross show, .mp3 53 mins.
Recording starts at 18.20 hrs. Thanks to Martin Polhill and Ray Robinson for correctly identifying Mike Ross’ voice on this recording.

1971 29th January, Copy of telex from RNI’s Eva Pfister announcing resumed broadcasting from February 1971 from Mebo 2 now located off the coast of Belgium.

1971 Saturday 27th February, .mp3 256 mins.
This recording starts at 08.17 hrs. and continues until 12.33 hrs. with DJs Tony Allan, Martin Kayne and Dave Rogers.

1972 Friday 31st March, .mp3 48 mins.
This FM Good Friday recording starts at 17.55 hrs. with last five minutes of Dutch programming, then the Rob Eden show with news read by Paul May.

1972 7th April
Copy of letter from RNI’s owner Edwin Bollier to the European Broadcasting Union.
Copy of letter from RNI’s owner Edwin Bollier to the International Telecommunications Union.

1972 Sunday 23rd July, .mp3 46 mins.
Sunday evening FM recording starts at 22.45 hrs. with the last 15 minutes of the Terry Davis “Cloud Nine” programme followed by the first part of the Kent Request Hour.

1972 Friday 11th August, .mp3 46 mins.
This FM recording was made in Holland. Start time about 6.55 p.m. with the last few minutes of Dutch language programming followed by the Mike Ross show with Rob Eden reading the news on the half hour.

1973 Sunday 8th July, .mp3 49 mins.
This is an FM recording of part of a Sunday evening Mike Ross HitBack show. Starts at about 20.50 hrs. with news read by Don Allen.

1973 Tuesday 24th July, .mp3 45 mins.
FM recording of part of Tuesday evening’s Brian Mckenzie show. Starts at 22.35 hrs..

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CIB Origins : National Commercial Radio Movement and Free Radio Association

The Campaign For Independent Broadcasting (CIB) came into being in 1969 but this was only a change of name from the same organisation’s previous title: National Commercial Radio Movement (NCRM). NCRM was founded in July 1968 and although not all the group’s records have survived, we know that its founder members were Fred Hasler, Hon. Chairman, David Prewett, Hon. Vice Chairman, Martin Rosen, Hon. Press & Public Relations Officer and Tony Peters, Hon. General Secretary. Other founder members included Paul Peters and Caroline Peters.

All NCRM founder members had previously been members or founder members of the Free Radio Association (FRA) based in Rayleigh, Essex. The FRA originally came into being in February 1967 through a merger of a number of listener groups which supported the offshore pirate radio stations. These radio stations had been on the air since 1964 and the Government were planning to put them out of business by passing the Marine Broadcasting (Offences) Bill through Parliament which eventually became law on 14th August 1967.

Many radio listeners at the time did not object to the closing of the offshore stations as such – what really made them angry was the then government’s decision to reject the introduction of land-based independent radio by imposing a diet of monopoly radio only.

Three of the free radio listener groups which merged in February 1967 to form the Free Radio Association (FRA) were the “Commercial Radio Listeners Association” led by Catherine Baker and Roger Taylor, of which Fred Hasler was also a founder member, the “Free Radio Supporters Association” led by Geoffrey Pearl and a group from the Oxford area led by David Prewett.

Unfortunately, not long after the FRA’s formation, one or more disputes surfaced among the Committee members which by early 1968 led to several members leaving. The exact details and cause of the disputes are unclear. One side of the dispute is detailed in a 1969 brochure by FRA’s former Promotions Officer, Barry Schofield, entitled: “FRA – Rise & Fall of a Misguided Association” while the other side of the dispute is provided by Geoffrey Pearl on pages 11 to 13 of FRA’s Spotlight magazine.

In a letter dated 24th March 1970, former FRA and NCRM committee member, Tony Peters, remarked: “… I have had hanging over my head for over a year a writ for slander issued by this man (Geoffrey Pearl) as a result of my telling the truth about his operations to the Sunday Telegraph and the Sunday Times. Writs which he refuses to drop and his solicitors refuse to take any further.”

While Barry Schofield’s brochure includes some factual inaccuracies – e.g. on page 3 he erroneously states that Mottingham is in North London when in fact it is located in South East London – David Prewett, writing in November/December 2013, clearly remembers several of Barry Schofield’s notes as being “a pretty fair record” of events.

The FRA disputes led directly to the formation of the NCRM in July 1968. However, despite the considerable number of people he had alienated, Geoffrey Pearl’s FRA appears to have remained undeterred because he invited NCRM to Rayleigh for a meeting on 23rd February 1969 and in the autumn of 1969 he again contacted both NCRM and another well known group, the Free Radio Campaign (FRC) led by Alex McKenna with another merger proposal.

NCRM/CIB records show that one meeting was held in London on 12th October 1969 and another meeting was planned to be held in Rayleigh on 23rd November 1969. The result of these meetings as far as NCRM was concerned was to agree to cooperate with the other two organisations wherever possible but nothing further.

On the other hand, FRC did agree to merge with FRA and this was confirmed on page 9 of FRC’s journal “Free Radio News No.6”. This merger however seems to have been short-lived because in letters from FRC dated 4th April 1970 and 7th April 1970 it is evident that many FRC organisers had decided to revert back to the “Free Radio Campaign” name.

Looking back today, there are three elements that strike me as to why the FRA failed to stay united:

1. FRA’s objectives were too broadly based on freedom of the individual and consequently lacked focus on the fight for UK independent radio. For example, in September 1967 Geoffrey Pearl had proposed to broaden FRA’s interests to include, among others, the National Federation of Property Owners, Free Britain, Aims of Industry and the Pure Water Society.

2. Geoffrey Pearl appears to have displayed a cavalier attitude which other committee members resented. For example, FRA’s meeting minutes of 11th February 1968 allegedly included comment from FRA’s own President, Sir Ian McTaggart, who “… thought that Mr. Pearl was a most remarkable combination, in that he displayed tremendous dedication to the Association plus a determination to take it over for himself…”.

3. Both sides agree that there was a financial dispute involving FRA funds.

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