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volume 3
february 2001

Smash plays and number one hits


  RNI Memories (2)
by Hans Knot
  Radio Northsea's (Radio Noordzee) deejays could and did exert their personal influence on the music output of the station. Especially the Dutch deejays made good use of this opportunity, thereby enhancing the station's quality as a hit radio trendsetter in the early 1970s. This page offers an overview of their Smash Plays (aka "Treiterschijven") and RNI Number One hits. Read the story or click on the links below for a quick entry to the lists.

| Smash Plays | Dutch Service No. 1 Hits | International Service No. 1 Hits |

1 Studio 2 onboard of the MEBO II (1974)

Going back in time. From February 1971 till the end of August 1974 a colourful radio ship on the North Sea aired Dutch and English programmes. That ship was the MV MEBO II and Radio Noordzee and Radio Northsea International were the names of the station. Of course, like most of the offshore radio stations, the radio ship was there to bring entertainment to its listeners, playing their favourite music, mostly for 20 hours a day — which was a lot for those years. There was a Dutch and International team of deejays. The deejays could and did exert their personal influence on the music output of the station — especially the Dutch deejays made good use of this opportunity, thereby enhancing the station's quality as a hit radio trendsetter. In my personal dairy of all those things happening during the sixties and seventies, I made a notice of all special records played on the Dutch and International Services.


Top 50 music. In the early seventies rock music had proved it was there to stay. The offshore stations had helped its public acceptance and in turn the stations did evolve with the music. Many radio stations at that time went over to progressive rock. Not so for RNI, which kept to rock music's original inclination towards fun and dance. The station cultivated the Top 40 format, mixed with revived 45's — golden oldies — and with an incidental album track for spice — Top 40 maybe is not exactly the right name, as RNI had a Top 50 instead. Looking at those lists, we can see that RNI continued giving attention to British beat music and its successors. "Soul" was also an important ingredient of its programmes. And, they also made room for many Dutch artists, working in those genres. It gave the station a distinct, "European" flavor.

Listen to "Herrie" (1973) with Ferry Maat — the photo below shows Maat in action at the RNI studios in Naarden (1974)

The deejays weekly choice. RNI deejays had ample opportunity to influence and educate their listeners' taste and choice. Probably the most memorable of all the music played by the Dutch deejays on RNI, or Radio Noordzee as they called the station, was "Mozart Symphony nr 40" performed by the Orchestra Manuel de la Falla and conducted by Waldo de Los Rios. It was one of the biggest hits the station realized throughout the years. Of course there are tens of other examples of typical songs which were made into a "Number One" by the station. It shows that Radio Veronica was not the only station with a big influence on the music scene in Western Europe. RNI could play such an important role, of course, because for a whole week long "on the hour" the joint "choice record" of all the deejays was played. At first this song was called the "RNI's Smash Play," a name which later on was changed into "Treiterschijf." During the first months of the Dutch service two songs were chosen each week. One song was played on the equal hours, while the other went out on the odd hours on 220 metres. On January 29th, 1972, for the first time, only one record was chosen and played each and every hour. During RNI's history it occurred only once that the same song was chosen for two weeks in line, which happened on June 23rd and June 30th 1973. The song in question was "Angelina" by the Dutch rock star Peter Koelewijn.


Weekly countdown. There were other ways the deejays could acquaint their listeners with new material. Next to the "Treiterschijf" all the deejays had their personal "pick to click," which was one day renamed into "Kanskaart." Each Saturday afternoon these "Kanskaarten" were played to the listeners, just after the transmission of their weekly countdown, the Radio Noordzee Top 50. The very first Top 50 went on the air on February 21st 1971 and was presented by Tony Allan. In those early days of the station there was only an English service. Just a few weeks later, on March 6th, the very first Top 50 presented by a Dutchman, went out on the 220 metres. This show was presented by the well known Joost den Draayer, who in the sixties worked for Radio Veronica. More than a year later the presentation was taken over by Ferry Maat, who did this weekly show up till the close-down of RNI in August 1974. As the listeners of Radio Veronica were used to go to the record shops weekly, to get their own printed copy of the Veronica Top 40 — first published in the second week of January 1965 — Radio Noordzee decided to have their own printed version of their Top 50. From March 27th 1971 on, you could get this printed copy each Friday in the local record shops before the show went out on the radio.

5 LP label of the History of Radio Northsea album

Album of the Week. The weekly show with the "Kanskaarten" was not always transmitted on Saturday afternoon. Between September 1972 — the day of the first show filled with "Kanskaarten" — and April 8th 1973 the play list was transmitted on Sunday afternoons. Each record in this list, filled with 30 songs, was played twice a day in the programmes. The very first "Troef 20," as the play list was renamed, went out on April 14th, 1973. RNI did also have its own "Album of the week," or "LP van de week" as the Dutchmen called this LP. April 3rd, 1971, was the first time this Album was chosen and still in 1993 I'm very happy when I think back to the very last "LP van de Week" which was chosen for the week commencing August 25th, 1974. During that last week of transmissions that record was "The History of RNI" — produced by Jakob van Kokswijk and myself. It got regular airplay on the Dutch and English Service. It was also heavily promoted on Radio Veronica during their last week on international waters. For one week it even did hit the National LP List Sales Chart.


Three rundowns. The links below will give access to several lists of the records plugged and played on RNI. The first one offers a chronological rundown of all the Smash Plays and "Treiterschijven" which were chosen by the deejays from the Dutch Service. The second rundown lists all "Number One Hits" Radio Noordzee, the Dutch Service of RNI, had during 1971-1974. Next to the title and the performers the list shows the date the song in question did hit the number one spot. As you will see there are few records hitting the number one spot for more than one week. During the period RNI was on the air for the second time, the international service had its own weekly chart, transmitted from September 1971 on. The list's length varied. For a certain period the international service had 20 songs in their weekly list, but there were also lists of 30 or 40 songs. Our third, and last, rundown lists all the number one songs of these charts of the international service.

  | Smash Plays | Dutch Service No. 1 Hits | International Service No. 1 Hits |
  The sound fragment on this page is copyrighted. It is used here according to the rules of fair use and academic quoting. Take a look at the index of RNI Memories for other installments of this series.
  2001 © Soundscapes