Radio Caroline was a prominent pirate radio station and Europe's first all-day English language pop music station.
In the early post-WW2 years, broadcast media in the UK was a state monopoly franchised to the BBC. In the early 1960’s the UK government allowed commercial TV but commercial radio was still illegal. During the 1960’s the BBC only broadcast a few hours of pop music per week, despite its enormous popularity.
This monopoly was finally broken on Easter Sunday 1964 by Radio Caroline, the first English language offshore pirate radio station. It offered all-day pop music, which had been hitherto unavailable to the British public. Soon several more pirate radio stations started up.
Technically the offshore stations were not breaking any law because they were operating from ships anchored in international waters. At the time there was no treaty preventing this. The offshore stations were not licensed to broadcast in any country.
After three years, on 14th August 1967, the UK government enacted the “Marine Offences Act” which forced most of the original pirates to close down, except for Radio Caroline, which continued intermittently for several years, until the 1990's.
But the genie was out of the bottle. The UK government was forced to allow commercial radio broadcasting free of government ownership, and even the BBC started a 24 hour pop channel (Radio 1), and hired many of the DJs from the pirates.
Radio Caroline went onshore and returned to the air in 2004 using legal means including Internet streaming and Satellite channels (Astra and Woldstar), as well as some short range RF relays e.g. in Latvia and the French Riviera. The station currently broadcasts from studios in the city of Maidstone, in the county of Kent in the UK. Their last ship, the M.V. Ross Revenge, has been in Tilbury dock in the UK for several years undergoing restoration by volunteers.
- "The Ship that Rocked the World" by Tom Lodge, Paperback: 164 pages, Publisher: Umi Foundation (July 1, 2003), Language: English, ISBN-10: 0969593856, ISBN-13: 978-0969593850
- The Offshore Radio Revolution in Britain 1964 - 2004, H2G2, 2004-08-31. Retrieved on 2007-07-22.
- Imogen Carter. The day we woke up to pop music on Radio 1, Daily Telegraph, 2007-09-27. Retrieved on 2007-09-30.