Change of waveband for Radio Caroline as pirates announce new frequency

Presenter Steve Anthony in the Radio Caroline studio on the MV Ross Revenge. Picture: PRESS ASSOCIAT

Presenter Steve Anthony in the Radio Caroline studio on the MV Ross Revenge. Picture: PRESS ASSOCIATION - Credit: PA

It won’t have the same ring as a Caroline 319 jingle, or even the original 199, but the station has announced it will be broadcasting on a new wavelength – of 648 kHz.

Radio Caroline ship the MV Ross Revenge - the famous ship-based pirate radio station has been grante

Radio Caroline ship the MV Ross Revenge - the famous ship-based pirate radio station has been granted an AM waveband licence from Ofcom. Picture: PRESS ASSOCIATION - Credit: PA

The pirates return to the airwaves – for the first time legally – this year after an absence of more than 25 years after Ofcom granted the much-loved station an AM licence.

Ofcom has approved plans for a one kilowatt output and Radio Caroline has now imported a transmitter which is being modified to suit the frequency.

Its frequency of 648 kHz was once used by the old BBC World Service when it was transmitted from Orford Ness.

A spokesman for Caroline thanked Bob Lawrence, who began campaigning in 2010 for an AM licence, and also Tracey Crouch, who has been MP since 2010 for Chatham and Aylesford, who enthusiastically supported him, and many others who helped along the way.

Tony Blackburn spinning the discs on Radio Caroline. Famously, he would later go on to present the f

Tony Blackburn spinning the discs on Radio Caroline. Famously, he would later go on to present the first show on BBC Radio One - Credit: Archant

He said: “The basis of our application was that our traditional heartland was Essex and Suffolk, where the signal from our ships made first landfall and that we wished to entertain on AM, an audience that we have not been able to serve in this way since 1990.

“We said that this audience may hear music radio of a style they remember and in some cases presented by the same people they remember.

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“That in essence is what we intend to do.

“We can now announce that our AM frequency will be 648 kHz with a power of 1,000 watts.

“A transmitter was imported from the continent a few days ago and is now being modified to suit the frequency. There are further hurdles, but as you can see progress is being made.”

The station, which began broadcasting from its vessel moored near the Cork Anchorage off the coast of Felixstowe in 1964, was desperate to be on the air this year as it is 50 years since the 1967 Marine Broadcasting Offences Act that was intended to scupper the pirate broadcasters.

Ofcom was told that Radio Caroline will broadcast a wide range of album music from the 1960s to the present day aimed at people aged 45 and over in Suffolk and northern parts of Essex.

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