Paul Rusling

  

THE ISLE OF MAN

Paul Rusling, Dave Cox and Jim Connolly
We assembled a fantastic team for the Isle of Man LW project, one of the best I've ever had the privilege to work with.  

This shot shows a planning meeting underway in the Regency Hotel in Douglas, comprising Peter Levy, John Laxton, Geoff Holliman and Derrick Connolly. 

Geoff had been Marketing Director of Scottish TV, TVAM and several other media operations while Derrick was a former IBA, Capital Radio  and ILR engineer.  Derrick was also Chief Engineer at the Radio Hallam group in Sheffield and sat on several infliuential broadcast engineering committees, including the ETSI panels which set the technical standards for radio transmitters.

Peter Levy was at Radio City in Liverpool and Pennine in Bradford before joining Radio Aire and then the BBC. He now presents the BBC TV News in East Yorkshire each evening.
Paul with former Radio Caroline colleague Dave Cox and IMIB's Marine Superintendent, Captain James Connolly. The chart they are perusing shows the position of the platform in Ramsey Bay, just inside the Bahama bank.

Isle of Man Intern

a

tional Broadcasting plc

Paul was founder of a company which was licensed to launch an international broadcasting station serving the whole of the British Isles from a  high power Long Wave transmitter in the Isle of Man, The project was called MusicMann 279  and Paul had to reside in the Isle of Man for over 7 years as this was developed.

Paul left the Isle of Man International Broadcasting Plc (the company behind the project) in 2006 after deciding that the prospect were diminishing of growing a new Long Wave into a commercial success.

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Paul Rusling in n2015.
Musicman 279, Caroline Island tech drawing
Engineering drawing for Caroline Island
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to house the generators, transmitters, etc, in Ramsey Bay.
Muswicman 279  Caroline Island

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sle of Man International Broadcasting

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team


IMIB Team panning meeting
Paul Rusling with Institute of Bankers
Paul Rusling with the Institute of Bankers committee on the Isle of Man
Musicmann 279 planning meeting (Peter Levy, John Laxton, Geoff Holliman and Derrick Connolly).  checking on the Island's legendary hospitality at the five star Regency Hotel on Douglas Promenade.

Musicman 279

- IMIB

Musicman 279

- IMIB

Musicman 279 history

The Manx had ahrborured 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 equipmenmt manufacturer, and agreed to forma an alliance to set up a radio station in the Island broadcasting to neighbouring parts of the UK.  Once again the Post Office, who were in charge of all brodcasting matters in the UK, refuised 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, Radio Caroiline turned up in Ramsey Bay and began broadcasting with a mighty 10,000 watt signal.  Caroline North could be heard across the north of Englnd, Wales, parts of Scotland and most of Ireland.

Manx Radio limped on but was eventually allowed to broadcast with a 20,000 watt signal that did cover some other parts of the UK. For a while the station tried getting advertising in England as it undoubtedly had an audience there, but this was not commercially viable.   

The station eventually became wholly owned by the Isle of Man Government, and indeed still is.  Many representations were made by the isle mof Man policitians to Whitehall and to Westminster to get permission to broadcast with decentg power on a frequency to cover a larger area but the Post Office in London always refused, saying initially that the Labout politicians did nnot like copmmercial radio. 

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!
By the early 1990s, Paul Rusling was working as a broadcast consultant to several radio companies, specialising in licence applications. While some of these were in the UK (such as Yorkshire Coast Radio) much of his work was in Europe - e.g. Germany, Poland, Lithuiania, Russia, and Scandinavia.  The "holy grail' at that time was to find a way of broadcasting commercial radio to Sweden, a very rich market with only state controlled radio.

Paul copied the Radio Luxembourg idea and proposed a 500,000 watt transmitter on the coast in Poland, and then later when it became free of the soviets, in Lithuania. The project had a high powered team of lawyers and in 1992, the European Court in Strasbourg ruled that countries could not refuse a boradcast licence on economic grounds; actually it was a TV channel the case was about, but radio and Tv are the same thing in law.

At about the same time, the Isle of Man Government was reqorgainsiing some of its department and a new Communciations Commission took over licensing work from an older Broadcasting Commission.  Paul Rusling knew of the wish of Manx Radio to try and broadcast to the UK with high power and flew to the Isle of Man to meet with some radio contacts, one of whom was a former ship mate of his from Radio Caroline days, Dave Cox. 

The Chief Minister, Sir Miles Walker, and all his cabinet  were still keen to have a high power Manx radio, but they had just promised the Tynwald (Manx parliament) that the latest subvention of £1.4 million to cover Manx Radio's costs, would be the last high amount paid over. 

With an election looming they dare not  sanction yet more money for radio as it was uncertain if the UK could be forced to adhere to the Strasbourg ruling.  It was suggested to Paul Rusling that if he could spring the permission and a suitable frequency, then the isle of Man Government's new Communications Commission would award him a licence. 

Celtic Rose Radio

Rusling's first move was to incorporate a legal body as a vehicle to apply for a licence. The company he  formed was  a new Isle of Man company called Celtic Rose Radio. A previously  successful radio company in Lancashire had been called Red Rose Radio and the Celtic bit was to stress the Island's heritage as a Celtic community.  Within weeks Rusling had brought in several investors who had prospered from other radio ventures, where he had made them a lot of money.

The plan was a good one - by having a powerfuil transmitter on the Isle of Man, the whole of the UK plus Ireland and a good part of 'near Europe' could be covered.

As a commercial venture it promised huge returns as commercial radio in Britain was constrained by draconian regulations, which only allowed for two national stations - one on FM, to be classical music, and two on Medium Wave, which had not yet got on the air.  The radio advertising market in the UK was  achieving less than 2% opf the national advertising pie, and the agencies agreed that they needed a national station to lure the really big advertisers in.  

THE REGULATORS

Radiocommunication Agency

Talks were held with the UK department for issuing radio frequencies. This was the DCMS, who licensed the BBC and the Radio Authority. The latter could not give licenses for a station in the Isle of Man, it was outside their remit and must be done by the Isle of Man's new Communications Commission.  But they in turn had to get a suitable frequency from the Department of Trade and Industry.  The DTI had an executive agency which dealt with such matters called the Radiiocommunications Agency.


The Musicman story

Incomplete - to be continued
Golden Microphone award