Did you know that the Marine Broadcasting (Offences) Act which came into effect in Britain on 14th August 1967 did NOT in fact outlaw the offshore radio stations themselves?
The legal status of stations like Radio Caroline, Radio London, 390, 270, Scotland, and others did not change on that date.
Instead the new law criminalised UK citizens and companies, forbidding them to supply, advertise or work for these radio stations.
Incredible but true, in the 1960s and earlier, according to the UK’s 1949 Wireless Telegraphy Act, it was illegal for anybody in Britain to listen to Radio Caroline or any of the other unlicensed offshore “pirate” stations!
The absurdity of prosecuting millions of UK radio listeners for listening to music was not lost on the stations themselves and many will remember promotions they broadcast, such as this one in which a magistrate is sentencing a listener to have to listen to the BBC Light Programme for the rest of their life!
Radio Veronica was probably the longest running of all European offshore radio stations, broadcasting primarily to listeners in Holland from 21st April 1960 until 31st August 1974 when Dutch government legislation came into force.
Broadcasting on 192 meters (later 538 metres) Medium Wave from the m/v Borkum Riff, later m/v Nordeney, Radio Veronica in its heyday became the most popular of all radio stations in the Netherlands.
During its 14 year existence, Radio Veronica encountered several other pirate competitors including Radio/TV Noordzee broadcasting from the REM island, as well as ship-borne Radio Dolfijn and Radio 227 (ex Radio England & Britain Radio), Radio Nordsee International (RNI), Radio Caroline, Radio Atlantis and Radio Mi Amigo.
In contrast to most other European offshore stations in the 1960s, which originated their programmes from ship-borne studios, nearly all Radio Veronica’s output was pre-recorded on land at studios located in Hilversum, Holland.
The photos below were made when CIB’s Fred Bunzl visited Veronica’s studios in Hilversum’s Utrechtseweg in July 1970. Fred well remembers his visit: “The thing I remember most was the almost total lack of security. Nobody knew in advance that I was going to visit — I simply walked in the front door and asked the girl at reception if I could take a few photographs. She just smiled and told me to go upstairs where the studios were located. I took a few photos and I remember meeting Lex Harding who happened to be recording one of his programmes at the time. I also made a recording of interviews with some of the technicians and with Lex Harding… The sad part is that very recently, when I tried to transfer the recording to .mp3, the old cassette refused to cooperate and turned to spaghetti – lost for ever 🙁
After closure some ex Veronica staff set up a new organisation (VOO) and were granted a broadcasting license in December 1975.
The picture above of Radio Veronica’s studio building is provided thanks to Jelle Boonstra of JingleWeb.nl. More info about Radio Veronica here and here.
Click here for:
Radio Veronica Trip Souvenir Pictures.
Radio Veronica Recordings.