Essex

Radio Caroline returns to the airwaves

Radio Caroline Image copyright PA
Image caption The ship-based pirate station Radio Caroline will use a medium-wave frequency once used by the BBC

The first of the off-shore pirate radio stations is to return to the airwaves.

Radio Caroline was founded in 1964 and broadcast from ships until 1991, when the Ross Revenge was shipwrecked off the Kent coast.

The station continued to exist, and is currently an internet and digital service.

After a successful application to Ofcom, Radio Caroline has been given the medium wave frequency of 648kHz - once used by the BBC World Service.

The frequency, once used to relay broadcasts to Eastern Europe, will be taken over from noon on Friday.

Radio Caroline boss Peter Moore said it was an "ironic twist" to be given the former BBC frequency.

The station was founded in 1964 to play pop music all day in a time where broadcasting was dominated by the BBC and pop was played for an hour a week.

Caroline was one of five stations granted a community radio licence by Ofcom in June.

The award comes 50 years after the station was rendered an illegal - or pirate - station under the 1967 Marine Broadcasting Offences Act.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The 1967 Marine Broadcasting Offences Act rendered Radio Caroline, which broadcast from international waters, an illegal (pirate) station

Mr Moore said: "The unlikely return of Caroline to regular radio opens the latest chapter in its extraordinary 53-year history.

"Caroline was the first of many pirate stations to broadcast from ships and abandoned war-time forts off the British coast, opening at Easter 1964."

He said the current Radio Caroline was aimed at Suffolk and Essex though added "test transmissions have reached further afield and it can be received along much of the East Coast".

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