Ex-pirate Radio Caroline gets licence to broadcast to Suffolk

Radio Caroline has a licence to broadcast on AM from its ship Ross Revenge
Radio Caroline has a licence to broadcast on AM from its ship Ross Revenge
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Former pirate radio station Radio Caroline has been granted a community radio licence to broadcast to Suffolk and north Essex on AM.

Ofcom announced that Caroline was one of five new community radio licences being issued today.

Radio Caroline managing director Peter Moore

Radio Caroline managing director Peter Moore

The move comes after Ofcom reviewed its community radio policy and removed references to set coverage areas for community radio stations.

It said: “We will adopt a more flexible approach, and applications will be considered for wider areas where applicants can clearly demonstrate the proposed coverage area will better serve its target community,”

Radio Caroline, whose ship Ross Revenge is moored in the Blackwater Estuary, Essex, hoped to broadcast across Essex and Suffolk at least as far as Diss.

But managing director Peter Moore said that at the moment Ofcom has not told them what their frequency will be or how much power they can use.

This studio on Radio Caroline's ship Ross Revenge broadcast to Holland in the 1980s but is now used for digital  broadcasts over 1368Khz as Radio Caroline North

This studio on Radio Caroline's ship Ross Revenge broadcast to Holland in the 1980s but is now used for digital broadcasts over 1368Khz as Radio Caroline North

“All I know is we’ve got a licence and we’re making preparations,” he said. “We’re told Suffolk and north Essex and we assume they’ll give us enough power to cover that with a decent signal.

“Our pitch to them was that when we had a ship off the coast the first landfall was Essex and Suffolk and sometimes, when things were bad, that was all we got.”

The station has not been on AM since 1990 and currently broadcasts online and, in Norwich on DAB.

Mr Moore, who joined Caroline in 1978, added: “One of our strengths, apart from the name, is we’re already broadcasting so all we need to do is broadcast the same thing by another transmitter.

“If we can get it all done by August 14 we can be back 50 years to the day since the law came in that was supposed to stop us.

“We were doing all this years ago and we’ll entertain the same people with the same style of music played, in some cases, by the same people – we’re all just a bit older.”

Radio Caroline was founded in 1964 to play new popular music which the BBC gave limited air time to. A UK law was passed in 1967 to close pirate stations but Radio Caroline continued just beyond UK jurisdiction until 1991 when Ross Revenge was damaged and brought in to Britain. Caroline used satellite broadcasting then, 15 years ago, the Internet.

Radio Caroline can be heard at www.radiocaroline.co.uk