Jewish religion anoraks are to blame for confusing today’s radio anoraks. Easter moves about from year to year owing to their fetish for celebrating their Passover after the moon has winked at them or something. The result is that Easter is never in the same place from one year to the next.
In 1964, Radio Caroline was born on March 28th. It also happened to be Easter that year. Well, the Irishman behind Caroline wanted it to start as part of an Easter ‘uprising’ against the British authorities, and co-incidentally this was March 28th, 1964.
Strangely, radio anoraks prefer to celebrate the radio station’s birthday at Easter each year rather than on the date it first made it on air. I bet they don’t do that with the birthdays of human beings. Yet, that’s what they do with Radio Caroline. Imagine being a radio anorak’s son or daughter born on March 28th but not allowed to have your birthday until Easter! Madness. But, this coming Easter a lot of faffing and huffing and puffing is going to be invested in celebrating Radio Caroline’s birthday over three weeks after it happened. I guess a belated 50th birthday celebration is better than nothing.
It gets better though. Radio anoraks don’t stop there with their madness. A whole bunch of Birkenheaders have been celebrating the birth of Radio Caroline North a whole two and a half months before its birthday. How mad is that?
The original story is complex, but in 1964 a Radio Atlanta ‘merged’ with Radio Caroline. The Radio Atlanta ship, the MV Mi Amigo, remained in the North Sea re-branded as Radio Caroline South, broadcasting to London, Kent and Essex and as far afield as people could manage to pick it up. Meanwhile, the original Radio Caroline ship, the MV Fredericia, sailed off via the English Channel and up into the Irish Sea. It changed its name to Radio Caroline North, parked itself off Ramsey Bay, and broadcast to the North-West of England and beyond, which included the home of the whole Merseybeat revolution, Liverpool.
Radio Caroline’s original ship, dropped its anchor off the Isle of Man at 3.32pm on July 6th 1964. This is when it changed its name to Radio Caroline North. Radio Caroline North was ‘born’ nearly 4 months after the south of England ‘birth’ of Radio Caroline.
So, back to the madness of radio anoraks: Despite it being a few months before Radio Caroline North’s 50th birthday, there’s been a ‘pop-up’ 28 day operation calling itself Radio Caroline North and broadcasting from a transmitter in Birkenhead using a studio plonked onto an old lightship in Liverpool. Bizarrely, it appears to have been operated to celebrate the birth of what was essentially Radio Caroline South.
Indeed, on-air references to the presenters being ‘good guys’, a phrase only used on Radio Caroline South and accompanied by suits supplied by Burton’s that made the wearers look like shady Scientologists, reaffirmed that the pop-up 28 day Radio Caroline North wasn’t there to celebrate the birth of the original station it had named itself after.
All but a tiny few of the staff of the pop-up station were not old enough to have actually listened to the original Radio Caroline North, which may have added to the confusion and explain why they are celebrating its birthday 2 months early.
So, when it comes to Radio Caroline North’s actual birthday, will there be any celebrating?