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Sex, Radio & Rock ‘n’ Roll

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Today in 1967 - The Marine Broadcasting Offences Act closes down all offshore pirate radio stations.

Thick cigarette smoke swirls the studio making the flashing red “on air” light barely visible. A leather jacket leans towards the microphone and purs out introductions to The Kinks, Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin and the Sex Pistols; sipping on warm whisky in-between voice breaks. Women’s crotches start to twitch across the country and the husky voice barely notices the floor is swaying until a rare Bob Marley record sleeve drops off the table. Bending down to pick it up he glances out at the bountiful ocean in front of him...  all hail Pirate Radio in the 1960’s.

It shaped the world of radio as we now know it, rocking (and rolling) the “establishment” in the process.

But on this day (14th August) in 1967 all offshore pirate radio stations were closed down as the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act came into action. Bar one. Radio Caroline opted to “push the boat out” and subsequently moved its base to the Netherlands.

Well, they may have been the thorn in the side of her majesty’s government, but to the International Radio Festival, these pirates remain our captains of radio.

At the helm of The International Radio Festival’s advisory board is none other than Tony Prince, aka “Your Royal Ruler” a British radio disc jockey (and founder of Mixmag magazine) who broadcast on Radio Caroline and Radio Luxembourg in the 1960s and 1970s. Ever seen the movie “The Boat That Rocked”? One of the main characters was based on our Tony.

Another game changer and member of the IRF advisory board is “Godfather of Dance Music Radio” Gordon Mac. Having carved out his career as the first person to succeed in taking a pirate radio station to legalisation in the UK, Gordon is the youngest ever Managing Director of a radio station and renowned for creating the infamous Kiss FM brand.

Billions of people today will reach for their dial to tune in to their favourite voice.

Without these tastemakers and risk takers, your radio experience would probably be a lot more dull.

A world without Pirate Radio would be like living in a world without The Beatles.

The Boat That Rocked