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Radio Caroline wins AM licence to broadcast to Suffolk and north Essex listeners

PUBLISHED: 13:37 19 May 2017

Radio Caroline, launched in 1964 and widely recognised as the first pirate radio station, will soon be back on the airwaves - broadcasting to Suffolk and north Essex. Picture: ARCHANT FILES

Radio Caroline, launched in 1964 and widely recognised as the first pirate radio station, will soon be back on the airwaves - broadcasting to Suffolk and north Essex. Picture: ARCHANT FILES

Archant

Much-loved pirate station Radio Caroline is to broadcast directly to Suffolk and north Essex again – after being awarded an AM waveband licence.

Tony Blackburn on board the Radio Caroline ship, Mi Amigo, in 1965. Picture: ARCHANT FILESTony Blackburn on board the Radio Caroline ship, Mi Amigo, in 1965. Picture: ARCHANT FILES

The station, which began broadcasting from its vessel moored near the Cork Anchorage off the coast of Felixstowe in 1964, was desperate to be on the air this year as it is 50 years since the 1967 Marine Broadcasting Offences Act that was intended to scupper the pirate broadcasters.

Peter Moore, who runs Radio Caroline, said he was delighted that the bid for a full-time terrestrial transmission licence from Ofcom, which was begun in 2010, had been successful.

He said his ambition was to broadcast from Radio Caroline’s ship the MV Ross Revenge on the River Blackwater in Essex.

He said: “It’s our intention to broadcast to the same people we used to when we had the ships off the Essex coast.

The Caroline ship today stands in the Blackwater Estuary. Picture: ARCHANT FILESThe Caroline ship today stands in the Blackwater Estuary. Picture: ARCHANT FILES

“It will be the same sort of service they would have heard in the past delivered in the same way and presented in many cases by the same people as before.

“It’s like a living time capsule.”

Ofcom was told that Radio Caroline will broadcast a wide range of album music from the 1960s to the present day aimed at people aged 45 and over in Suffolk and northern parts of Essex.

The station, immortalised in the Richard Curtis film The Boat That Rocked, was founded to play pop music all day at a time when broadcasting was dominated by the BBC and pop was played for an hour a week.

After the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act was passed in 1967, Radio Caroline continued to broadcast until the Ross Revenge was shipwrecked off the Kent coast in 1991.

Radio Caroline had been operating as an internet and digital radio station in recent years. A memorial to the station is to be unveiled on Felixstowe’s cliffs in September.

Ofcom announced the award of five new community radio licences for medium wave AM services on Friday.

The other four are Ark AM in Glasgow, Carillion Wellbeing Radio in West Leicestershire, Radio Ninesprings in Yeovil and the south Somerset district and Radio Seerah in Leicester.

An Ofcom spokesman said: “Community radio services are provided on a not-for-profit basis and focus on delivering specific social benefits to a particular local area or community of interest.”

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