Since the 1920s, the British Broadcasting Corporation had a lock on the radio airwaves in Great Britain. In the early 1960s, the cultural Marxists at the BBC outlawed Rock and Roll. In 1964, club owner and recording producer Ronan O’Rahilly was sick of the BBC refusing to play his music, so he created his own radio station. He couldn’t set it up in Great Britain because of the BBC’s state run monopoly. But there was nothing preventing him from broadcasting from international waters. O’Rahilly hired a boat, crew, and DJs. He broadcast Rock and Roll from the North Sea, always staying three miles from land and outside the jurisdiction of Her Majesty. He named his pirate radio station “Radio Caroline” after JFK’s precocious young daughter.
Ronan O’Rahilly’s Radio Caroline broadcast Rock and Roll to the culturally starved masses of the British Isles. The British Invasion brought Rock and Roll back to America, and Radio Caroline brought the British Invasion back to Britain. Though Radio Caroline was illegal to listen to, by 1965 Radio Caroline had higher ratings than all of the BBC radio stations combined. At the behest of the BBC, the British government tried to scramble O’Rahilly’s signal, steal his transmitter, arrest his DJs, sink his ship, and even seriously considered having him assassinated. But you can’t stop the signal.
In 1967, Parliament passed the “Marine, &c., Broadcasting (Offences) Act” which made it illegal for any British “citizen” to do business with Radio Caroline, which ended Radio Caroline’s ad revenue. Radio Caroline survived, but the act forced the BBC to create BBC Radio 1, its popular music station, to placate demand, lest the British have another revolution.
RIP Ronan O’Rahilly \m/