I retuned to the UK in early 2003 from my adventures in the Arabian peninsular, the drop in temperature of 24C was rather noticeable. But hey ho back to England’s green and pleasant land, funny how that poem never mentions rain, hail, snow or grey skies. I soon started to meet up with a few old friends and started to gravitate back towards Radio Caroline, my long lost love. I met up with John Patrick who had been pestering me to rejoin Radio Caroline on a visit to the Offshore Echoes Radio Day in Calais, France in 2005 and he invited me up to the studio for his then, Friday night show. From the moment I crossed the threshold the outcome was inevitable.
December the 23rd 2005 saw my return to Radio Caroline after an absence of some 26 years. I returned to the airwaves unannounced one Friday morning in a spare slot much to the surprise of some listeners who had not heard my voice for a very long time. My first ‘official’ program was when I stood in for ‘The Lad’ Johnny Lewis on Saturday morning the 7th of January 2006.
My return was not without some trepidation, I had been out of radio for some time and the last time I had done real radio we were still using vinyl! Somehow I had managed to almost completely skip CD’s and went into the modern Computerised studio system. Fortunately I had always kept an eye on the way studio technology was going and have always kept some production capabilities at home, though it was not always used for radio. Before going on the air I had made one previous visit to the studio at Maidstone and sat in on John Patrick’s Friday show for a couple of hours to ‘learn’ the system.
Fortunately for me I am not particularly superstitious seeing as it was Friday the 13th of January that I made a return with a show of my own and with occasional stand inn’s for the others guys when they are away.
I joined Forest FM in East Dorset, located on the edge of the beautiful New Forest in November 2006. It had been a while since I had done local radio with phone ins and interviews but it made a nice change. Also it gave me a chance to get out into the community and meet the people.
That is one of the great things about community stations the feeling of belonging to something more than a business. There were some great times at Forest and some rather strange innterviews with people owls and snakes! Not to mention the lady who dropped into the conversation she castrated dogs in her spare time, brought a tear to the eye!
Broadcasting from a ship the ‘Jenni Baynton’ moored in Harlingen Harbour in the Netherlands, Radio Seagull can be heard on 1602 KHz AM in the Netherlands, across the North Sea and along the East Coast of England. At night the signal has been received as far away as Finland, Germany and Switzerland.
Radio Seagull has always had a close affinity to Radio Caroline, indeed it was originally started by members of Radio Caroline Netherlands (which was distributed via the internet and Dutch Cable TV). My old friend from the days on the Mi Amigo Stevie Gordon was the program controller and asked me to do some programs for them. It was nice to be broadcasting to the Netherlands again, those years at sea gave us all a great affinity with the country.
The music policy at seagull was very liberal which suited me as I was never one to enjoy rigid play lists, preferring individual creativity any day.
Pirate FM (Tenerife)
In 2010 my old friend and co-adventurer Paul Graham was back on the scene again putting together a classic rock station in Tenerife. It was not a long lived station as the government in Tenerife decided to crack down on unlicensed stations and Pirate FM was one of those to go.
I did however get to do some very enjoyable programs on a Saturday night for a few months, fun whilst it lasted.
Rock FM (Cyprus)
As by this time I was spending most of my time in Cyprus I met up with an ex 2CR DJ From Bournemouth Chris Hopkins. He was doing a show on Rock FM and needed some cover for his 2010 summer Holidays. What was originally meant to be a 6 week cover became almost 6 months due to his business commitments.
Once again I found myself in a play list free environment where it was left entirely up to me what I played, Chris realised we had similar musical tastes so he left it up to me.
The studio had a big window with panoramic views across the bay, so I got to watch each sunset with a front row seat.