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volume 3
september 2000

Rare pictures from radio's past

 





  Radio London: 2. The MV Galaxy
by Gerry Bishop, Hans Knot and John S. Platt
Previous
  In 1964 a consortium of American businessmen bought the MV Manoula for $60,000 and had the ship converted into an offshore radio station in Miami. On 22nd October the MV Galaxy, as she was now called, sailed from Miami as a fully equipped radio station for British waters. The ship was anchored in international waters in the Thames Estuary, off Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex. The station was to be called Radio London. The investment in the project came to a total of $500,000. There were already two stations operating from the same location: Radio Atlanta and Radio Caroline. At that time both these stations used formats, which although popular, were not very innovative. Radio London was to be different. Having had years of experience in the American radio industry Don Pierson intended to copy the format of KLIF, which was a very slick, professional money making station in Dallas.
 
1

Radio London was located on the motor vessel Galaxy anchored in international waters, off Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex (announced wavelength: 266 metres). Regular transmissions started on 23rd December 1964 with a power of 17 kW. Hours of transmission: from 6.00am to 9.00pm; later from 5.30am to 2.00am. The picture left and the next five pictures show the MV Galaxy in open sea

   
2

Galaxy leaving Miami with its towering 212 feet (64,5 meters) tall aerial mast

   
3

Page from the maintenance book of the RCA transmitter (click on the picture for a larger piece of this document)

   
Listen to Pete Drummond, who became known as 'Dum Dum'
   
4

The MV Galaxy was registered in Honduras and fitted out in Miami from where she sailed on 22nd October 1964 calling at San Juan in Puerto Rico and Lisbon before arriving in the Thames Estuary on 19th November 1964. Shortly after this, unidentified signals were heard on 725 kHz (412 metres) and 926 kHz (324 metres) which may have come from Radio London. However the Galaxy could easily have found herself in trouble if it had not been for Ronan O'Rahilly, boss of the rival Radio Caroline, warning them that their anchorage was within British limits. The ship moved further up the Essex coast and test transmissions started on 5th December 1964 on 1125 kHz (266 metres) but ceased the following day, returning on the 18th on 1133 kHz (265 metres). During the night tests were also carried out on 1079 kHz (277 metres).

   
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6

A Scandinavian paper reports on the new offshore station Radio London

   
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9

The owners of Radio London were Marine Investment Inc., P.O. Box 456, Freeport, Grand Bahama. The financial backing for Radio London came from a group of individual investors, mainly English and American, through a trust situated in the Bahamas.

   
10

Technical workroom

   
11
12

Rate Card (front and back side) (click on the pictures for an enlargment)

   
13
As Radio London was a commercial station, it charged for its commercials. Compared with today's standards its advertising rates, however, were rather modest.

Advertising Rates (in British Pounds)
  30 sec. 15 sec. 7 sec.
7.30 to 14.00 76 38 19
14.00 to 18.00 64 32 16
Other times & run of day 56 28 14
   
14 A week report on the use of oil and water on the Galaxy
   
15

The MV Galaxy

   
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  The sound fragment on this page is copyrighted. It is used here according to the rules of fair use and academic quoting. Look here for other pictures and documents of Radio London (1964-1967).
  2000 © Soundscapes