At first we thought this was a 1957 vintage valve radio, a Barclay made in Yugoslavia. On closer inspection we noticed M V Caroline on the glass. This radio was made and set up to receive Radio Caroline some time after 1964 using parts originally intended for a 1950s radio. Radio recycling has long been a thing.
As for Radio Caroline. Caroline was a British pirate radio station broadcasting from a ship in international waters with the sole intention of defiantly challenging the monopoly of the BBC and Radio Luxembourg. Until this time the BBC had complete control on what British radio listeners were able to hear.
Ronan O’Rahilly was a would-be record promoter. Frustrated by his attempts to get his band’s music on the airwaves and spurred on by a complete can do approach to life, O’Rahilly thought if he couldn’t get Radio Luxembourg and the BBC to play his records he would create his own radio station and, dear reader, the rest is history.
Radio Caroline has had a long and turbulent history in radio broadcasting becoming synonymous with the Swinging Sixties. To the great delight of it’s listeners the station played music, music and more music and appealing largely to the post-war generation seeking to do things differently in any way they could. Radio Caroline was Your all-day music station, broadcasting from 6am-6pm, seven days a week.
The first record to be broadcast on Easter Sunday in 1964 was the Rolling Stones’ version of Buddy Holly’s Not Fade Away dedicated to O’Rahilly, the Irishman with the wit and will to make Radio Caroline possible. Radio Caroline broadcast, at its peak, to a regular audience of ten million breaking the stranglehold of the BBC and Radio Luxembourg on British broadcasting.