This Easter Radio Caroline calebrates its 47th birthday with an 11-day long live broadcast from the Ross Revenge, the pirate ship that was my home for so many action-packed years offshore in the 1980s.
Starting at 7am on Good Friday and running right though until midnight on May Day Bank Holiday Monday all shows will be coming live from the ship, which is currently berthed in the secure shipping terminal at Tilbury, Essex. . You’ll be able to tune in as usual via SKY 0199 and our web streams (and via UPC cable in Ireland). However we will also be broadcasting to south Essex and north Kent for the duration on 531 kHz AM.
All crew will live onboard for the duration, and I’m thrilled to be involved in this event, although due to other work commitments I can only stay on board for a week as opposed to the full 11 days. But there will be plenty to listen to for the whole broadcast, including special features in addition to the station’s unique album format.
The Birthday Bash will also include the annual Radio Caroline Support Group Membership Drive. There’ll be free gifts for those who join or make a minimum donation, one of which is an exclusive T Shirt only available for the duration of the broadcast.
A couple of the highlights of the broadcast are 60s Caroline DJ Tom Lodge‘s Favourite Intro Guitar Riffs and a special classic albums of the 60’s & 70’s show which will be hosted by myself.
I will be live on Caroline every night for the week, starting with a 9pm-midnight show on Good Friday.
My show times as below:
Good Friday April 22nd – 9pm to midnight
Saturday April 23rd – 10pm to midnight
Easter Sunday April 24th – midnight to 3am (i.e. early hours Monday morning)
Easter Monday April 25th – 4pm to 7pm (on AM only, not Satelitte/cable)
Tuesday April 26th – 9pm to midnight with special 60s and 70s album show (listeners best albums)
Wednesday April 27th – 9pm to midnight
Thursday April 28th – 9pm to midnight
It’ll be my first time living on board the Ross in more than a decade, and I’m looking forward to the intensity of creative juices that this unusual environment engenders, along with the company of good companions. I have never yet stepped off that ship after a stint on board without being changed in some way, and long may it continue.
Another highlight of my trip to the UK last weekend was the chance to set foot on the Radio Caroline ship Ross Revenge again, my first visit in more than 6 years!
I’ve taken lots of photos, and will put them into a large article showing the ship’s many different corners after the weekend.
In the meantime, the pics below show her in her secure location at Tilbury, and myself back in the old 558 studio*.
(*Someone at one of the readings hearing one excerpt from Shiprocked – Life On The Waves with Radio Caroline asked me “what is a 558 studio?”. Well, it is the main Caroline studio, used for most transmissions in English from 1983 to 1989 (until the raid that is) and because the bulk of that time we were on 558Khz medium wave, it was often referred to as the “558 studio” as at certain times there would be multiple versions of Caroline transmitting, with a rock orientated service on a second frequency from a different studio).
A wonderful visit, and thanks to Peter Moore for arranging it for me.
Have just come back to Dublin after spending a weekend with my family in co. Kerry, including my brother Chris.
Chris and I both worked for Radio Caroline at the same time in the 1980s, and indeed were often on the ship together. In fact, there was a time in December 1987 when acute staff shortages after the collapse of the big mast meant that ours were the only two voices on air for a period of about two weeks!
Sometime during the autumn of 1987, John Burch got a photo of the two of us together, which he published in the Caroline Movement Bulletin under the title “Brothers In Arms” (referencing the best-selling Dire Straits album which had been huge a couple of years before.
More recently, I was pleased to be able to borrow the picture from John for use on the front cover of Shiprocked – Life On The Waves With Radio Caroline.
This weekend, Chris and I decided that it might be good fun to recreate the photo – the 1987 and 2009 versions are seen below. It will be noticed that a few changes of physique and hair colour have taken place over the years!
It’s a strange world – I wait for years to get published, and then end up being published twice within a few months.
While waiting for my book Shiprocked! – which is due around Easter – I’ve in the meantime found myself with a short story published in an anthology of new Irish writing.
“Old Haunt” is a piece I wrote specially for a Halloween open-mic night, and tells the real-life story of my (maybe) encounter with the fabled Ross Revenge ghost on Radio Caroline. This is a story which will not be included in Shiprocked when it comes out.
The new Seven Towers anthology – Census – is well worth a read anyway, because apart from my three pages, it has dozens of great stories, poems and pieces by some really talanted Irish and international writers – see press release below for details. And the publication supports AWARE, so it is for a good cause too.
Phantom FM DJ among contributors to Census, The First Seven Towers Anthology
Published 14th December 2008.
Phantom FM DJ Steve Conway is among the contributors in a just
published anthology Census, The First Seven Towers Anthology (Seven
Towers 2008). Steve has contributed a story about his time on the
Ross Revenge radio ship, working for Radio Caroline. Steve’s memoir
about life with Radio Caroline – Shiprocked! will be published by
Liberties Press in March 2009.
(The story in Census is specially for Census “Old Haunt” and is not in
Census is available in good bookshops, from www.seventowers.ie, on
www.readireland.ie and at Seven Towers reading events, and for the
trade from Columba Mercer Distributors (www.Columba.ie) It retails at
€15 and €1 from every copy sold will be donated to the charity AWARE.
Other contributors to Census are
Kildare poet Liam Aungier, Meath musician Horslips member),
broadcaster, journalist and poet Eamon Carr, Cork based poet and
screenwriter Paul Casey, Cavan poet and educator Tom Conaty, Dublin
poet, broadcaster and teacher Catherine Ann Cullen, Dublin writer,
journalist, broadcaster and musician Conor Farrell, Wicklow writer
Shane Harrison, New Zealand born, Dublin based poet
Ross Hattaway, Galway poet and journalist Kevin Higgins, New York poet
and novelist R Nemo Hill, Kildare writer Eileen Keane, Kerry actor and
poet Noel King, Oklahoma born, New York based poet Quincy R Lehr,
Dublin born, Kerry based writer Colm Lundberg, Dublin poet Éamonn
Lynskey, Waterford born, Dublin based writer Donal Moloney, Dublin
artist, sculptor and poet Joe Moran, Dublin poet Anne Morgan, Tralee
born, Wexford based actor, director, producer, playwright and poet
Noel Ó Briain, Kerry writer Tommy Frank O’Connor, Cork based artist
and poet Mel O’Dea, Limerick poet Eddie O’Dwyer, Dublin based poet and
playwright Fintan O’Higgins, Dublin based poet Maeve O’Sullivan,
Dublin based poet Jessica Peart, New York poet Ray Pospisil, Dublin
based, San Francisco poet Raven, Dublin writer Oran Ryan, Kerry based
writer John W Sexton, Kerry poet Eileen Sheehan, Armagh born, Dundalk
based poet and essayist Barbara Smith, Cork poet Patricia Walsh and
North Carolina poet Doog Wood.
AWARE is a national voluntary organisation providing support through
depression. The organisation undertakes to create a society where
people with depression are understood and supported, are free from
stigma, and have access to a broad range of appropriate therapies to
enable them to reach their full potential.