Radio Caroline North Report #1

Here’s the first of the daily reports from Liverpool about the progress of Radio Caroline North, a ‘pop-up’ 28 day radio service broadcasting from Birkenhead on the Wirral. Programmes are originating from the Planet Lightship which is anchored in Canning Dock, next to Albert Dock in Liverpool. They are right outside the posh, plush Juice FM studios. Here’s the various notes I made from Monday 31st March:

00:10: After all the hype and the posing for media, nothing’s happened.

06:00: It apparently started the non-stop music at about 01:45. They don’t have a link working from the boat yet, so it’s music playing out from somewhere else.

07:11: Surely safe soft sad segued songs with badly edited old Radio Caroline jingles do not do justice to the original in your face northern offshore radio station.

07:37: Take the worst songs from Gold and slowest from Magic, make a terrible musical Groundhog day and call it Radio Caroline North. That’ll work.

07:43: Patchy reception of Radio Caroline RSL in centre of Liverpool. Just boring segues of soft rock oldies shite and occasional old jingles. No presenters. No announcements. No teasers. Carrying TV audio faintly in background. An embarrassment for Liverpool.

07:57: Rotation on Radio Caroline North about an hour before hearing exactly the same songs all over again. No wonder they want to raise cash for Alzheimer’s research.

10:45: Maybe the Radio Caroline North RSL could have spent more time getting the technical things sorted and less time boasting to the media about what they were going to do. How embarrassing.

10:59: Just to let y’all know, the Radio Caroline Norf RSL has a very weak signal in Liverpool, probably ok to be pulled in by anoraks with big twigs, and the big mega launch never happened.

They are blaming Ofcom for their inability to link from the ship to the transmitter site. Meanwhile somebody is feeding ‘non-stop’ music into the rig. Rather safe and sad oldies, some with a rock flavour. It sounds like the songs rejected by Magic and Gold, very shuffling and lack-lustre. And of course, there are 1970s Caroline jingles about every third or fourth song. Altogether it’s music to commit suicide to.

Maybe they should have spent less time pruning themselves in front of every camera and news media organisation that would listen to them pretending they had some connection with the original offshore station, and more time actually building a radio station. I mean, come on, how long have they had to prepare?

The whole thing is a little embarrassing for the main Radio Caroline and the memory of the real Radio Caroline North, and greatly embarrassing for Liverpool. Roll on the end of April!

11:29: To add, the transmitter isn’t in Liverpool, but in Birkenhead, a place somewhat on t’other side of the River Mersey. Hopefully they’ll get some sort of signal in and around the actual ship, but again, probably only receivable by anorak style radios. They also have a not yet streaming web stream. Again, shouldn’t that have been set up weeks ago?

13:04: They were playing things so often this morning. Over and over and over. It’s gotten slightly better since they got the link up. Now there’s announcements wobbling to avoid crashing vocals on the songs from some guy talking with a coat-hanger in his mouth. Why does he have to put a coat-hanger in his mouth before speaking?

15:07: It’s all fixed and all better now. The ‘Birkenhead pirates roadshow’ is now live from a lightship in Liverpool. Dunno why they couldn’t have found a boat on their side of the river, but there you have it, programming in Liverpool going across the river to Birkenhead and a transmitter that can just about be heard in Liverpool. Crazy. They are doing ‘live’ announcements of station id and it all starts at 7am tomorrow.