Radio Caroline was the springboard for most of the UK's best known radio DJs. It was launched at Easter 1964 when Simon Dee was its first ever DJ.
Simon Dee was later joined by Tony Blackburn, Tony Prince, Dave Lee Travis and Johnnie Walker.
At the time Paul joined Radio Caroline, the station had an amazing rosta of DJs which included Andy Archer (seen above) Steve England, Johnny Jason, Spangles Maldoon and Roger Day.
The ship on which Paul served, the Mi Amigo, later sank in the Thames Estuary in 1980. A few years later it was was replaced by an even more magnificent vessel, the Ross Revenge. That ship is still anchored just off Essex, and is still used for occasional broadcasts.
Radio Caroline had by then led something of an erratic life, although it was still a "hot-rockin', flame-throwing" Top 40 hit music station. At the time, the UK had only BBC national stations; this was before the days of commercial radio in Britain, when no one else but the BBC were allowed to broadcast.
The station was run by one of Paul's radio heroes, Chris Cary (aka Spangles Maldoon!) and the legendary Ronan O'Rahilly. Ronan and Chris were keen to harness Paul's enthusiasm and slightly odd style of presentation.
Paul was never a reserved, warm or mellow radio presenter and he could certainly never be described as 'laid back'. Paul would never have been at home with the BBC - he rocked and jocked in the upbeat style that he had honed in night clubs in the North and did everything with 100% energy and enthusiasm.
Paul had been a keen listener to Radio Caroline since early 1966 when it releaunched with a high power 50KW transmitter (ans well as a second ship moored off the isle of Man). A fan of Johnnie Walker and the "the Admiral" Robbie Dale, he became even more of an avid listener when Caroline refused to die after the 1967 legislation outlawed British firms from supplying the ships.
He had little hesitation then when a fateful phone call came offering him a job as DJ on the station. "It was just like a keen young musician being offered a job with the Beatles, why would I not want to go?"
Radio Caroline International
The station had just launched with a base in The Hague in Holland and had a new Radio Caroline International service, 24 hours a day in English. The format was rock and pop with a solid roster of personality DJs.
Radio Caroline was using two huge transmitters on different wavelengths at the same time and could be widely heard over much of western Europe. Paul hosted the breakfast programme on the station, which was broadcasting from a former coaster The Mi Amigo.
A life on the ocean waves - Paul broadcasting on Radio Caroline,
on the good ship Mi Amigo with another radio legend Andy Archer
Radio Caroline was a huge success in the 1960s, claiming an audience of 25 million at its peak. After the law was changed things got difficult and the basec was moved to Holland. During the 1970s it gave up being a top 40 station and moved over to an "all album" format which won respect but much smaller audiences as the Caroline DJs began playing lengthy and often indulgent tracks, usually by obscure bands.
In the 1980s a new ship was obtained, the largest side-winder trawler ever built, the MV Ross Revenge. With an 85 metre tall mast (almost 300 feet) she could broadcast at high power to much of Europe on MW and Short Wave and was home to several stations at once.
Since running aground on the Goodwin Sands she has been kept in British waters and all broadcasts are now licensed. The ship is safely moored in the Rover Blackwater in essex and trips and tours to look round this fabulous piece of broadcasting history are organised, mainly at weekends. Email Albert Hood for full details.
The station reaches an ever increasing audience with a 24 hour album Radio Caroline available online, its has a Caroline Flashback service too and has now revived the once very popular RADIO CAROLINE NORTH, which is not only broadcast online but can be heard on the 20,000 watt Medium Wave transmitter of Manx Radio on 1368 kHz AM over a wide area of West England, Scotland and Ireland during the final weekend of each month.
In addition there are several splinter groups using the Radio Caroline brand, the best by far is one from the Netherlands called RADIO CAROLINE 259 GOLD, which plays the best in Caroline jingles and music. Well worth tuning in!
In May 2017, fifty years after Harold Wilson's Marine Offences Act made offshore radio illegal, Radio Caroline was finally awarded its first ever permanent broadcasting licence. A new transmitter will launch in the Summer from a site in East Anglia using 648 kHz, the frequency previously used by the BBC World Service.