Offshore Days – The 1970s

Voice of Peace - Abe Nathan's Dutch support
New photo’s added on august 8th 2011

Another selection of photo’s, again chosen by Jelle Boonstra. Well, the seventies started much like 1960 had done: with only one ship – Veronica!With a posh office in Hilversum.But there was a lot to happen.Before the new decade was one month old a new one appeared: Radio Nordsee a.k.a Radio Northsea.

This was the first photo the German audience ever saw – Nordsee in ‘pirate style’ – still in harbour at that moment.On a cool ship – the Silvretta – a Swiss coaster…… getting a post war dazzle painting.And a high mast to penetrate Europe with sounds on 2-2-0 meters. Everything was new and clean, the DJ’s (Roger Day in this case) even wore ties.Supplied from Scheveningen, here are the Northsea-tenders in front of the Scheveningen office.Even public broadcaster Hilversum III catched up, building a new self operating studio, here with DJ John Gerard de Clès, a DJ that no one heared of. Then. Or since.And there was antother ship, that ended up at the beach in Noordwijk soon: Capital Radio.With no money for a restart.The ship ended up as a floating warehouse for nuts & bolts a few years later.In march 1971 Northsea teamed up with Strengholt in Naarden, starting a Dutch service; Radio NoordzeeStudios were built in this former stable, what an an unlikely place for any popstation.The door, leading to the five studios.Here with DJ Ferry Maat.The dj staff is floating a Mebo in the pond of the Strengholt building.John de Mol (middle) was a singer and beca me the director of the radiostation, his father (also John de Mol) was a famous orchestra leader and his son (also a John de Mol), well – we would hear of him.)In 1971 the competition between Veronica and the new comer escalated, Veronica planted a bomb a on board the Mebo II.Despite of the damage Northsea came back on the air, much to the relief of DJ Joost de Draaijer, Jan van Veen and Ferry Maat – at the right is managing director John de Mol.The Daily Mirror of monday may 17th 1971
Veronica director Bull Verweij was arrested and was sent to prison for a year.This is how it could have been too: when money ran out Veronica invested in Northsea to keep them from their door and took the ship in security. They asked a judge to colect it – he said no, otherwise this is how the ship could have looked in 1971. (original photo by Peter Hartwig)/The Caroline ships had been rotting away in Amsterdam, the North ship was sold for scrap, but there were other plans for the Sourth ship, the Mi Amigo.Secretly it was being fitted out again for a come back.This is the moment she sneaked out of the harbour.Newspaper De Telegraaf scooped how the pirate got shipshape the next day.Back at sea, without the annoying shore in the background, they published this a black and white poster. The advantage of black and white was, you couldn’t see the rust.They got themself some eager young men who wanted to become a DJ.But in effing weather they lost their aerial in november 1972 After a mutiny of Dutch crew (that hadn’t been paid) the ship ended up in Amsterdam again.Waiting to get out again.The crew gathered in the discotheque to get out again.And indeed they did.

Building themselves a mast, to get a louder voice.And soon the old lady found some new glory.The mighty mast lasted just over four months.But a lot of things had to be rebuilt – this is the (later) Dutch studio to be.And regular programs started – here with Robin Ardcroft (a.a. Robin Banks) – till the generator exploded.Veronica faced some bad luck, their ship Norderney was stranded in april 1973The same month the Dutch parliament started to debate the future of the pirates, Veronica director Bull Verweij (l) and program director Rob Out are still in a good mood.But in june 1973 it was decided that the offshore stations had to go, in about a year’s time. Time was starting to tick away.But for a while it seemde like business as usual, with the ship back at sea.With the DJ taping programmes in Hilversum (here is newcomer Frans van der Beek).And Cees Man in ’t Veld reading the hourly news bulletins aboard.And the generators snoring away.Despite the coming laws, new stations kept arriving, this time a Flemish one: Radio Atlantis, hiring the day-time broadcasting hours on Radio Caroline – and some of their old djs too – like Bert Bennett.The programs were recorded in Oostburg, not far from the Belgian border, from this house at the Nieuwstraat 73 (thanks Google!)For some reason the air staff was photographed in the hay across the street from the studio.And even a new ship arrived: the ‘idealistic’ Radio Condor.Studio and transmitters were primitive though and the never really made it on the air.This was a quick sketch I made after visiting the ship in october of 1973.That same month the Caroline ship lost another mast, putting Radio Atlantis off the air.Plus their own ‘album station’ – Radio Seagull with album music through the night.Atlantis decided to buy the Condor ship that was idle anyway and make it a proper radioship in Cuxhafen, where it was photographed by Theo Dencker.The ship was renamed MV Jeanine and anchored off Knokke in Belgium.An English service came live from the ship.It was funny, it was lovely, it was professional – rather amazing, considering their very basic studio.Far away – there was another ship on its way. Peace-finder Abie Nathan had found funding in Amsterdam for his Peace ship in the 1960s.Painted white to symbolize it’s innocense it finally sailed down south in 1973to broadcast  ‘a message of peace, from somewhere in the mediterranean’ (sea).And more ships sharmed out, even the USA got one in 1973, not with pop but with upbeat sermons of ref. Carl McIntire, who could’nt get a lice ashore.Meanwhile the REM-eiland had been rusting away in the Northsea, it was bought by Rijkswaterstaat at the start of 1973 (© Beeldarchief Rijkswaterstaat)It had been vandalised by visitors (© Beeldarchief Rijkswaterstaat)This is where the studio and the equipment were stalled (the hedge in the roof was used to lower the RCA transmitters) (© Beeldarchief Rijkswaterstaat)It was rehauled for 1,6 million guilders and refurnished (© Beeldarchief Rijkswaterstaat)The stations tried to make to best of it in the months that remained.In Scheveningen harbour you could see the dj´s come ashore, like Daffy Don Allan (RNI), heading to his wife in England.This was his cabin – you could tell he’d found a way to cope with the lonelyness at sea.And yet again there was a new mast for Radio Caroline and a new lodger: Radio Mi Amigo.This aerial should do the job for the further years of excistence.

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