With the recent 2014 50th anniversary celebrations of the start of Radio Caroline and Big L Radio London, it’s worth remembering that nearly all the 1960s offshore radio stations derived not insignificant revenues from sponsored religious programmes such as “The World Tomorrow” and the “Worldwide Church of God”. For Radio London the income from religious programs is said to have amounted to £300.00 per show which helped to cover many of the station’s costs.
Of course it’s well known that these religious programmes were not only unpopular with many listeners but also hated by many of the DJs, such as Kenny Everett who was famously sacked by Radio London for making repeated disparaging remarks about what he referred to as “plastic bibles”.
But what is less well known is how Garner Ted Armstrong and his father, Herbert W. Armstrong, thought the offshore radio stations had originated.
UK listeners first heard “The World Tomorrow” programmes over 208 Radio Luxembourg in 1953, but the sponsors were unhappy with the results largely because of poor reception (fading) and its late evening airing (11.30 p.m. to midnight).
Things changed however when Radio Caroline and the other offshore pirate stations started in 1964 and in due course nearly all the offshore stations accepted religious sponsors such as The Allen Revival Hour, The Herald Of Truth, Oral Roberts, The Voice of Prophecy and probably the best known, The World Tomorrow, presented by Garner Ted Armstrong or his father, Herbert W. Armstrong.
In a book entitled “The United States and Britain in Prophecy” by Herbert W. Armstrong, he states that in:
“the first week in 1953, God’s Message started getting in to Britain from Europe – when The World Tomorrow program began going out on the superpowered voice of Radio Luxembourg!”
Is it a coincidence that this is mentioned on page 208 of the book?!
But there is more…
On the same page, Herbert W. Armstrong claims that:
“When Radio Luxembourg was no longer effective for this Message, God raised up broadcasting stations on ships, anchored just outside Britain’s jurisdiction. The World Tomorrow was then thundered over all of Britain daily, on seven of these ships. They were NOT illegal. They violated no law of man. They DID proclaim faithfully the Law of God! But the British authorities falsely called them “pirate” ships. They were NOT pirates. They were not marauders. They did not invade the land and pillage or steal. They harmed no one! But most governments of man want to control what their people could hear or not hear!”
Well, thank you Mr. Armstrong, now we know what really happened!