The Manx had harboured the wish to run their own radio station for many decades, certainly since the late 1940s, however as broadcasting and most other matters were rigidly controlled by Whitehall, there was little chance of this coming about.
In the 1950s, a local retailer, Mr J Colebourne, contacted PYE, the equipment manufacturer, and agreed to form an alliance to set up a radio station in the Island broadcasting to neighbouring parts of the UK. Once again the General Post Office, who were in charge of all broadcasting matters in the UK, refused to grant a licence.
In the early 1960s the Radio Manx company tried once again and, with some assistance of the Isle of Man Government, it was agreed to give permission for a very low powered Manx Radio, audible only within the Island. At the same time as Manx Radio launched in Summer 1964, Radio Caroiline turned up in Ramsey Bay and began broadcasting with a 10,000 watt signal. Radio Caroline North could be heard across the north of Englnd, Wales, parts of Scotland and most of Ireland, exactly the same coverage area that had been intended for Manx Radio.
Manx Radio limped on at very low power, barely covering the Island's capital, but was eventually allowed to broadcast with a 20,000 watt signal that did reach some other parts of the UK and Ireland. For a while the station tried getting advertising in England as it undoubtedly had an audience there, but this was not commercially viable with such a poor signal and only limited promotional resources.
Manx Radio eventually became wholly owned by the Isle of Man Government, and indeed still is. Many representations were made by the Isle of Man policitians to Whitehall and to Westminster to get permission to broadcast with decent power on a frequency to cover a larger area. The Post Office in London always refused, saying initially that the Labout politicians did not like commercial radio.
Their argument was that a commercial manx radio would compete unfairly with BBC stations, and later commercial radio in the UK. It wasn't until the 1990s that this 'unfair commercial competition' argument was overturned, by the European Court. This is a remarkable coincidence, as the Isle of Man has never been a part of the EU or Europe, and is simply a trading partner of the UK by virtue of its 'Crown dependency' status.
After commercial radio was licensed in the UK, the response to Manx Radio's requests was that if Manx could also be heard across the UK it would affect the economics of the small local stations. This excuse was to be the key used to unlock a licence!