The diary 1986
Tales of the North Sea and roundabout,
Caroline has moved to 558kHz after Laser's demise at
the hands of the weather, finances and the DTI. Radio Monique, the Dutch
service broadcasts on 963kHz during the day and religious programmes go out
after Monique closes at 6pm. Caroline rejoins at 8pm with the "Caroline
Overdrive" night time service. Tests have been heard on short wave from
Caroline, will they start a SW service? Will Laser be reborn? Probably! Now
- January 1st Split service from 9pm. 963 has
Tom Anderson with Caroline Overdrive, more experimental. 558 has Cosmic with
the usual stuff.
- January 2nd 24hr service again.
- January 3rd Peter Phillips, John Ford,
Cosmic, Fergie; (on 558) Cosmic, Jenny. (on 963) Tom Anderson, Fergie. Graham
- January 7th Very windy, 558 completely
flattened by Portugal later.
- January 10th Report in Broadcast that a new
pirate "Stereo 531" is preparing to come on air.
- January 16th Radio Nova is testing on
254kHz LongWave! Neck and neck with Algiers but OK on a tranny.
- January 17th Broadcast says that the Laser
ship is for sale by the admiralty to pay off debts of £7000.
- January 18th Kevin Turner, Peter Phillips,
David Andrews, Tom Anderson then the split with Tom continuing on 963 followed
by Fergie and Andy Johnson on 558. Nova testing again on 254, it's better than
- January 19th Close down at 9pm "engineering
work" (studio blown up) for the next three days.
- January 27th Rumour control: 558 is not on
10kW yet, still old TX? The SW test was a marine TX on a marine
- January 30th Storms. Fergie complaining of
things "falling apart". Went off around 1am.
- January 31st Not on this morning. Reports
of drifting near Sheerness in storms. 558 came on about 3-30pm "ding-ding"
followed by Fortunes, half an hour of music then Peter Phillips announced that
damge had been sustained due to severe weather and that they would resume as
soon as possible. He then gave out some numbers, played the New Riders of The
Purple Sage and they went off.
- February 1st Force nine gusts in sea area
Thames. At 11pm both freqs are on-air with music and idents (no announcements)
. 963 cut at about 11-15pm followed by 558 at 11-50.
- February 2nd No 963. 558 on air from 6am
with non-stop music. At 8-50 Fergie announced "we're just playing non-stop
music at the moment because everyone's whacked after the last few days. She's
holding nicely now and everyone's in good spirits and have performed
magnificently. We may have to go off when the weather improves for some
repairs" 963 back on around lunchtime. The tapes ran out about 7pm when 400Hz
tone came on and stayed on all night on 558.
- February 3rd At 6am normal programmes but
no news. Peter Phillips thanked the two lifeboat crews for standing by and
several ships for their assistance in finding position again. "There's lots of
work to do after the storm damage". Went off at 6pm carrier remained with
- February 4th 558 and 963 back from around
6am, programmes finished at 6pm. 558 stayed on with tapes.
- February 6th Back to normal for the first
time since the storms. New bloke, Gerry Davis doing 6pm to 9pm on 558. Fergie
doing Overdrive on 963.
- February 7th Rough again. Went off about
1845. Back on about 2025 Andy Johnson gave out some numbers.... "As you may
have guessed, we've just been for another jaunt around the Knock Deep. The
quartermaster did a great job of getting us back. The rest of us pannicked in
an orderly fashion and the dog ate our dinners!".
- February 9th Monique did a programme about
the anchor breakage including recordings of RT messages etc.
- February 10th Calm weather. Off about
8-25am back at 10am.
- February 11th Off at 0845 back at
- February 14th New religious programmes
either side of Roy Masters. Broadcast says Chris Carey is applying for a
licence to use 254kHz from Ireland. So, of course, is RTE. There's no trace of
the new pirate ship and the DTI aren't conducting a campaign against
- February 17th Rough seas again. Both freqs
off about 8-30pm.
- February 18th As normal today but off at
- February 19th Four religious programmes on
963 between 6 and 9pm then "Caroline" by the Fortunes and off. At the same time
on 558 they announced TX maint, played "Sweet Caroline" by New Riders of the
Purple Sage and went off!
- February 20th As normal today through 'til
- February 21st Tom Anderson back on. New
bloke on 558, Mark Matthews (very biblical!).
- February 23rd David Andrews, Peter
Phillips, Sue Charles, Mark Matthews, Cosmic on 558 and Tom on 963. Nova is
very weak on 738 if it's there at all!
- February 24th New ads for an american No.1
hits album, some place flogging VCRs and TVs and an ad for Fisher Hi-Fi. They
also have trails for the god-spots "Viewpoint 963" and new versions of Top Deck
travel and Arabian Sands ads.
- February 26th Rough seas. Generator stopped
a couple of times this morning. They went off for essential maintenance for
about half an hour at 1pm.
- March 2nd Nova back to normal on 738
- March 9th David Andrews, Peter Phillips,
Sue Charles, Mark Matthews, Tony Peters (new bloke). Tom and Fergie on
Overdrive. Cosmic has gone off after 8 months!
- March 10th Someone's been round with a
frequency counter! Both 963 and 558 are spot-on..
- March 17th John Lewis (back on), Sue
Charles, David Andrews, Mark Matthews, Tony Peters and Peter
- March 20th New ads for a Creedence
Clearwater album set.. "Advertise on Caroline. Spots reach 12 million
- March 24th Very stormy, trees blown down
etc. New name, Stevie Laine (female) on Overdrive. Kevin Turner is back
- March 26th No Nova on 738, Sunshine
(Dublin) on 531 is still there.
- March 28th Storms again. John Lewis, Peter
Phillips, Kevin Turner, Mark Matthews, Tony Peters, Stevie Laine. 24hr
- March 30th Happy Birthday Caroline.
Newsflash! Nova has closed down! Rumour Control reports that the stereo staion
may use 576 but the boat hasn't left Spain yet.
- April 10th STILL ROUGH! Both freqs off at
5-15pm. 963 was on with tones at 6-04 then off. 558 on at 6-10 with tones
sounding rough. OK by 6-20 and off again. At 8-05 963 back on with George
Thorogood and 558 with the Fortunes.
- April 15th John Lewis, David Andrews (back
on), Ian Acres (new.... and useless), Dave A again, Andy Johnson (he's back on
too) . New ads for Spin Magazine.
- April 20th Overdrive broadcast a special
Green on Red concert sponsored by Spin Magazine.
- April 22nd John Lewis, David Andrews, John
Lewis, David Andrews, Ian Acres, Jenny (the cook), Fergie on Overdrive and
Cosmic on news. They seem a bit short of people!
- April 24th 963 seems weak
- April 26th Wally (Simon Barret) is back on.
963 seems OK again.
- May 11th Current ads: Spin Magazine, TV and
Videos, Segull Sales, Superior Leasurewear, Frame Factory, Arabian Sands,
advertise on Caroline, LA, Creedence records, Solid Gold Party Rock records.
- May 18th Cosmic back on progs, Mark
Matthews is back on the boat and there's a new bloke Dennis Jason. Bagwan on
Overdrive. Energy 103 has taken over Nova's set-up and is on 738 with low
power. It's not as good and it closes at 11pm!
- May 27th They do traffic reports on the
breakfast show now.
- June 1st New bloke, John Dwyer on 558 (ex
- June 5th John Lewis, Dave Andrews, John
Dwyer, Dave Andrews, John Dwyer, then it should be Cosmic but he's been banned
for not sticking to format! Just music in his slot. Mark Matthews was also
banned from 558 for the same reason and is now on Overdrive, naughty naughty...
- June 7th Rumour control: The 576 ship has
had a mast fitted in Spain, 250ft or so, and will also have 10kW on 801kHz
(50kW on 576!). Caroline have plans to improve the 558 signal (we've heard that
one before!) with a bigger TX and modified aerial but the generator will not
take it at present.... Watch this space!
- June 9th Kevin Turner and Ian Acres back
- June 14th Midnight close-downs at the
moment, short of DJs!.
- June 16th Peter Phillips has returned and
there's a new man, Pat Danton on news.
- June 20th Item in Broadcast abour "Stereo
531" (or is it 576?) being fitted out in Spain. There's a photo of the ship,
the Nanette, with the mast telescoped down. It will have a 50kW RCA Ampliphase
transmitter like Caroline's and a 10kW plate modded TX. It still needs 3 months
- June 30th Mark Matthews, Peter Phillips,
John Dwyer, Tony Peters (back on), Tony Christian (new), then Mark Matthews on
Overdrive and Pat Danton on news.
- July 1st New man on breakfast, John Bennet.
- July 4th 24hrs for the weekend. New ad for
"Camp Beaumont" kids adventure holidays.
- July 9th Bad news, there's a new God-Spot
programme "The World for Today" on 963 from 9pm to 9-30. That means half an
hour less Overdrive but Tony Peters on 558 was playing good stuff.
- July 16th Ads for the "Top 40 Roadshow"
huh! what happened to the Caroline Rock Show!.
- July 21st John Dwyer off. John Lewis
returns. New ad for a Belgian Rock Festival.
- August 13th Rumour Control: more work needs
to be done on TX and aerial before more power Awaiting parts, more breaks will
- August 24th New blokes, Richard Jackson and
- August 31st Sushine Radio (Shropshire) back
on on 103.5MHz from Clee Hill.
- September 9th John Lewis is still on and
John Dwyer was very good on 558 from 9pm... who needs Overdrive? Various new
ads for a discount warehouse, a car respray firm and a new one for Superior
Leisurewear (Caroline clothing).
- September 15th The Hi-Fi warehouse is
- September 17th John Lewis, Peter Phillips,
Kevin Turner, Richard Jackson, Jamie King, Caroline somebody.
- September 26th Garner Ted Armstrong is on
- September 27th Overdrive party (piss-up) on
963 with Mark Matthews and various Dutchmen!.
- September 28th Sunshine Radio was raided
today at midday, remote station all smashed to bits.
- October 2nd Dennis Jackson is on 5pm to
9pm, is he new? No, he was last on in May.
- October 9th Tom Anderson back.
- October 19th New voice, Dave Owen. New
used-car ads, Singapore Airlines, the Top Gun film and Rock Video magazine ads.
- October 29th 558 is about 30Hz freq since
- October 30th OK again today, must be
Laser's old crystal!.
- November 5th Mark Matthews is on breakfast
at the moment, very good.
- November 5th Still some early close-downs
for maint. Rumour control says that the aerial work is done for the 558 power
boost. Where is it then?
- November 10th Mark Matthews, John Dwyer,
Peter Phillips, Jamie King, Jenny McKenzie, Caroline Martin on 558. Mark
Matthews and John Tyler on Overdrive.
- November 18th It was a dark and stormy
night, Overdrive jocks playing albums whole, "trouble down stairs" at 11pm a
distinct lack of voices on 558, good reception though!
- November 19th All OK but 558 closed down at
8pm and 963 at 9-30pm after Viewpoint for maintenance.
- November 20th John Dwyer mentioned "nobody
next door today, they're doing a rebuild of the studio". Sure enough, there was
no mod on 963 until 5pm when music started then Viewpoint and Overdrive as
- November 22nd Report in "Today" newspaper
that the Communicator has left port and is anchored off Suffolk. After aerial
work it is due to return to the air on December 1st with a new team of American
- November 27th A new team of English jocks
on Caroline today! Mark Matthews, Dave James, John Dwyer, Richard Jackson,
Caroline Martin, Keith Lewis (he's new).
- December 1st LASER HOT HITS! on 576kHz from
9pm approx. An address on Madison Avenue is given out. All old records! The DJ
is John "rock-n-roll" Anthony.
- December 2nd John "rock-n-roll" is still on
'til 12 noon! "We're sailing up the Knock Deep to see Caroline". Caroline off
air at 1pm for "essential aerial maint" Laser off about 20 past. Caroline back
at 10 to 4, Laser at 6pm but weak.
- December 3rd Laser on and off throughout
the day, voice of John Lewis heard at mid day! Mostly tapes though. 6pm John
Anthony, 10pm John Lewis.
- December 4th Rough seas. Another English
voice on Laser.
- December 6th Caroline on first thing until
10am, Laser on at lunchtime and off and on with Paul Dean, then an English
bloke and a yank K.C. and David Lee Stone aswell.
- December 7th Laser's first official day.
Caroline on from 6am to about noon, quite strongon 558 then off. Laser have
lots of promotional offers and quite a few ads. News is being read by Andrew
Turner, late of Viewpoint 963.
- December 8th Rough seas. I can't keep up
with this! Caroline off, Laser on, Laser off, Caroline on, etc etc..... Mark
Matthews said "They're tweaking things up" this morning.
- December 10th 558 very good these days,
easily as good as Laser.
- December 13th Laser weak this morning, OK
later (generator trouble).
- December 15th Gales force 8 to 9, very
rough seas says Caroline weather. Laser lasted until mid-morning then gone....
- December 16th Caroline has plans for more
generators and a big rig for 558.... we'll believe it when we hear it.
- December 19th Weather bad all week, still
- December 20th Rough again. Laser has
generator trouble it's said.
- December 23rd Caroline off at midnight for
maint. John Tyler said " I've got to go up the mast tomorrow".
- December 24th New news bloke, Stuart Clark.
Caroline off at about 10am for aerial maint. Back at about 3-30pm.
- December 25th Various abortive attempts
from "Radio Nova" in Leicester to get on the air on 1602kHz, all distorted and
crap. Not heard in afternoon. Caroline Overdrive with John Tyler and Mark very
good in evening.
- December 26th Laser is back on from about
3pm with music "Zaps" and HHHHHOT HITS jingles. No announcements, normal
- December 27th Still non-stop music all day
- December 30th Laser weaker than Caroline
today, Caroline off at 1pm "aerial maint" Laser off in the morning, on at noon
but weak. Back loud later. Caroline off about 5pm weather bad, back on about 9.
- December 31st 1986No Laser today, big New
Year party on Caroline, everyone pissed!
Back to 1984
Back to 1985
On to 1987
On to 1988-90
Read the full story of
Back to the Captain