In an article (here) I spoke of how the top of the hour ‘ding ding’ of the Radio Caroline bell had been removed from the internet and DAB Radio Caroline. It was the second blow to cause ripples across the ageing radio anorak community. The ‘ding ding’ of the Caroline bell is a signal that the real Radio Caroline is alive and beaming out its love and music to a free and peaceful nation. No bell? Can’t be the real Radio Caroline, goes the logic.
But the lack of a bell is not the only evidence that this is not the real Radio Caroline, is it? Come on now: Let’s look back at the history of Radio Caroline. Radio Caroline started in the 1960s for the kids of the day who were being ignored by the legal radio stations of that time.
When Radio Caroline started it wasn’t playing all the jolly old songs of the 1920s, was it?
No, it wasn’t.
Radio Caroline was never preoccupied with the songs of 40 years ago. That would have been crazy, man, crazy.
It was there, mainly, playing the songs of ‘now’, the songs of a new music generation. Heck, nowhere else was going to play the songs the youth of the day wanted, and reflect the musical culture that was exploding into life. It was all down to Radio Caroline.
Indeed, old people would tell their kids to “turn off that row” as they just couldn’t stand what Radio Caroline was playing and the young disc jockeys were saying.
Many people assumed that Radio Caroline closed down in the 1960s, or in 1980, or in 1989, or, well, let’s just say most people think Radio Caroline died long long ago.
However, on the internet there is a Radio Caroline. Ok, to be fair there are loads of Radio Carolines. But there’s one of the Radio Carolines that holds the trademark to be the Radio Caroline for the United Kingdom. To authenticate themselves they have held on to the ship that Radio Caroline once broadcast from, even though they don’t own it (I own it, as explained here).
The Radio Caroline of which I speak claims to be the real Radio Caroline. But, not only did it have to stop using the ‘ding ding’ bell, but also it seems to have lost its way. Unlike the original Radio Caroline, this Radio Caroline is obsessed with playing the songs of 40 years ago. Like I said, if the original Radio Caroline had been obsessed with the songs of 40 years before, it would have been full of stuff from the 1920s. It wasn’t.
So why is today’s Radio Caroline?
I asked this question on Facebork recently and ended up with a load of zimmer frame rattling and walking sticks being banged on the floor in extreme anger. I was lucky to escape with my life.
The Radio Caroline party faithful were telling me that I was wrong. Radio Caroline was indeed the home of new and current music. So, I tuned in and listened for about 40 minutes. I heard songs from 1982, 1981, 1983, 1972, 1972, 1973. Like I said, 40 year old oldies. And they were the likes of Grace Jones, Level 42 and David Bowie, safe old artists constantly being played on any number of the oldies services available on the radio, let alone the internet.
I dared to ask, “How many new or current songs are there a day? If it’s only one, maybe you could advertise when it is.” They thought I was taking the piss.
So, like I said, the real, the original, Radio Caroline never played 40 year old songs, did it?
It was also pointed out to me that the original, the real, Radio Caroline also had enthusiastic and exciting presenters who would ‘jockey’ the songs. I’d just listened for 40 minutes of my life (that I’ll never get back) to the songs being played back to back without any presentation and then, every third or fourth song, a very bored sounding announcer with a voice similar to that heard at railway stations making platform announcements, just listed the songs and then let the next bunch just play. There didn’t seem to be any thought or creative reason behind the songs being played in a bunch, they just came in bunches, got listed and then on with the next bunch. It was like listening to an iPod on shuffle but with an annoying list reading voice.
So, like I said, the real, the original, Radio Caroline never had annoying list readers speaking without any passion in their voices.
The evidence is right there for all to see. Obsession with 40 year old songs, nothing new, boringly presented.
It’s either not the same Radio Caroline.