Tag Archives: Offshore Pirate Radio

A Radio Laser 558 revival

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Porter, who writes:

Radio Laser aka Laser 558 was an 80’s pirate station off the coat of England. Looks like one of the main movers is hosting a revival.

Dave shared the following email from Laser 558:

7 April 2017

Dear David,

Hopefully you have now had chance to read through Radio Adventures of the Communicator book? I hope you enjoyed reading and it was informative? I am interested to hear any comments, questions or suggestions you might have.

There is still considerable mileage in the Laser brand – hobby pirates using the Laser brand enjoy considerable success.
You don’t need me to tell you how successful Laser was. Few of us in the 1980s thought the memories would last so long, yet hundreds have bought my recent books about Laser, and many would like to work on a new Laser project. Maybe it’s because interest in 80s music has never been higher, or maybe deep down, everyone wants to be a pirate, even if only at weekends!

Our project is to Relaunch Laser
I’ve joined with other broadcast professionals to relaunch the Laser project from a ship. We believe that a reborn Laser venture would be economically viable, and it will be fun and exciting as well as profitable. A “little bit of naughtiness” invariably gives a project a whiff of extra desirability, it attracts more interest from anyone with a freedom-loving rebellious streak. The original Laser team and I were already aware of this when planning the station in 1983 and that basic tenet is just as true today. This is however 100% legal.

I felt that you would want to be involved and not miss this wonderful opportunity. The chance of a lifetime to be part of an exciting fun project. YOU could be working with experienced Laser engineers and some of her best known DJs. This is a golden opportunity to be a part of a radio venture on board a ship; one that the public can visit and get enthusiastic about.

The Pirate Ship
Our ship is chartered, licensed and insured for the public to visit and can berth in any of five dozen harbours and docks around the UK. Both radio and TV studios are being constructed on board along with a public performance area. With on board dining facilities, it means our audience can join us to experience life on board and enjoy a live performance by one of the artists recording that week. As well as recording facilities we are offering the ship for filming, just like the Radio Veronica ship in Amsterdam. The ship will be the main location for a feature length movie to be shot on board which the producers hope to expand into a TV series; we’ve seen some scripts and it’s very exciting. Members of our team may even be seen on screen!

This project is much more than just a radio station. We have been testing a Laser Tribute stream for some time and more recently our Laser TV Channel 558 has been streaming too. This will have both live and pre-recorded programmes. The music and videos showing on our ‘test transmissions’ now are taken from genuine 1980s Laser discs; we have a very wide library of all the hits from the era, and more, but Channel 558 will be more than just 80s. You can watch CHANNEL 558 right now on your computer or a smartphone – just click here or the test card at the top of this page. (some interesting adverts at :15 and :45!)

EVENTS
We’re currently lining up special events to publicise both the Pirate Ship and the radio brands:
Live Laser Lover Road Shows from various indoor and outdoor locations.
Laser Weekends at a UK Holiday Camp.
Laser Party Nights live from the radio ship each weekend.
BROADCAST EXPANSION
Programmes will be made available to local radio stations for rebroadcast, perhaps overnight. A DCMS consultation exercise currently taking place is expected to remove the restrictions on networking, which will substantially expand the possibilities of our daytime shows also being carried on other stations.

Our radio programmes will also be made available to the new local DAB muxes and we may take a channel on the national DAB, if reasonable terms can be agreed.

GOING FORWARD
What need to expand our team to include more help to help us relaunch LASER in some style and carry our plans out in full. The opportunities for this project are limitless, and this time around, its all legal! This exciting new opportunity is a metamorphosis of pirate radio into a legitimate and even more enjoyable operation; using today’s technology and communications capabilities, with a tried and tested brand identity.

News will be published HERE when we are ready to release it. I’m sure that you would like to be involved in what will be the most fun-packed radio party ever. If you confirm that you really ARE interested and we can take things from there.

Hope to hear further from you,

Best 73
Paul Rusling
Email: Paul@Laser558.eu

Many thanks, Dave, for sharing the news. Sounds like Laser 558 has some ambitious goals ahead!  Pretty amazing. We’ll continue to follow their progress.

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Happy 50th, Radio Caroline!

The MV Mi Amigo, c. 1974, which had been used as the home of Radio Caroline South from 1964-1967 (Photo: Albertoke from NL)

The MV Mi Amigo, c. 1974, which had been used as the home of Radio Caroline South from 1964-1967 (Photo: Albertoke from NL)

I wish my schedule and travel funds would have allowed me to attend Offshore Radio Day 2014, held in the Netherlands last week. Fortunately for those of us who couldn’t attend, Jonathan Marks posted an excellent set of photos and commentary from the event.

Of course, Radio Caroline dominated the show–after all, she turned 50 this year. Yesterday morning, I noticed an article from ITV, whose first paragraph sums up the impact of the offshore radio movement created by Radio Caroline:

“Precisely 50 years ago this Friday, test transmissions began for a radio station that would help to change the face of broadcasting across the UK. It would shape the laws of our land, and make superstars of the people on air. That radio station was Caroline – an unlicensed, “pirate” broadcaster, transmitting from a ship anchored just outside British waters.”

Read the full article here.

If you’ve been an SWLing Post reader for long, you’ll know how much I dig pirate radio. Not only are pirate stations great fun to hunt down and listen to on the radio, but these stations are still movers, shakers, and innovators in a world where large media conglomerates buy up and attempt to control local radio markets.  Pirates prevent the homogenization of our radio landscape, with offerings of genuine musical diversity.  Indeed, I’d wager that I’ve purchased over a dozen highly varied songs and/or albums on iTunes and Amazon, truly unique music, all brought to my attention by shortwave pirates.

So raise your glass to Radio Caroline this week! Long may she sail.  If you’d like to learn a little more about RC‘s history, check out some of these links:

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