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50th Anniversary Celebrations for Radio Caroline, the UK’s 1st Pirate Rock N Roll Ship

March 27 is the 50th anniversary of the launch of Radio Caroline, the infamous pirate radio ship that brought rock n’ roll to the UK airwaves and sparked many a pirate radio fantasy thereafter. On that day in 1964 Radio Caroline began broadcasting with a test transmission.

Broadcasts Aboard a ship

In Liverpool the Mersey Bar Lightship, berthed at Canning Dock, will celebrate with a month of broadcasts from aboard the ship. This time around the transmissions will be authorized, using a special temporary license. This incarnation of Radio Caroline will broadcast continuously from March 31 to April 28, on 87.8FM, or online at www.carolinenorth.com.

Offshore Celebrations

In Walton-on-the-Naze the celebrations will go offshore on Friday,  March 28, the 50th anniversary day of Radio Caroline’s first full day of actual broadcasting. There will be boat launches by the marine police and Royal Navy, along with a Sea King rescue helicopter, and fireworks. In the pubs taps will flow with a commemorative beer. 

Radio Day Commemorations in Amsterdam

Saturday, March 22, is the 34th annual Radio Day in the Netherlands celebrating the history of offshore pirate radio. Conference events will be held all day at the Hotel Casa 400 in Amsterdam. Organizers say this will be an even bigger event this year because of Caroline’s 50th, along with the 40th anniversary of the shutdown of the other prominent offshore pirates Radio Veronica and Radio Nordsee International. Awards will be given out in six categories, including “Outstanding Contribution to Offshore Radio,” “Top Technical Support of Offshore Radio,” and one for “Offshore Radio Writers and Historians.”

Stateside Tribute On the Air

Finally, tune in to KOWS-FM tonight, Friday, from 7 to 9 PM Pacific Time for an on-air celebration. On his program Tommy’s Holiday Camp Host Arnolodo will start with the first song played on Caroline, the Rolling Stones’ “Not Fade Away.” Also on deck is an interview with Caroline DJ Emperor Rosko, who was featured in a fictionalized portrayal by Philip Seymour Hoffman in the film “Pirate Radio.” KOWS can be heard at 107.3 FM in Occidental, CA, or anywhere online at KOWS.fm.


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