One reason we know for a certainty that Radio Atlanta and Radio Caroline were always one single project, is because of the meeting reported by Harry Spencer. It took place at 47 Dean Street in the Soho district of London.
We do not know the exact date of this meeting because Harry Spencer did not tell us. But we do know from related events that it was most probably in the first half of January 1964, and we also know why Harry Spencer went to that meeting. Not only that, but Harry Spencer also told us who else was in attendance, and therein is a key to unlocking the mystery of how Radio Caroline came into existence.
The location of Harry Spencer's revelation begins on page 181 in Appendix One: "Harry's Story", which is part of the 2003, and revised/updated book published in 2018 by Ralph C. Humphries called 'Radio Caroline'.
While other parts of the book repeat myths found in the accepted story-line about Radio Caroline, I should explain that Ralph worked for Trinity House, but that was years after the events described by Harry Spencer, whose account seems to be his own authentic rendition.
We know that 47 Dean Street was not Allan Crawford's first office after leaving Peer-Southern, but it was his home for not only Merit Music, but a string of other companies that he was involved in which also shared his address. Harry Spencer had received "about three or four" phone calls from Allan Crawford who wanted "to talk about a big mast for a weather ship". That "weather ship" had been owned and operated by Trinity House with the name 'Satellite'.
The THV Satellite had been retired to a berth at Cowes on the Isle of Wight where Harry Spencer's workshop for rigging ships, was also located. Crawford had obtained a mortgage to buy the 'Satellite', but prior to actually meeting with Spencer, events had taken place off the coast of Denmark which caused Crawford's main investor who owned a theatrical group of support companies called the John Delaney Organization, to withdraw his financial backing from Crawford.
By 1962 Bill Weaver who was the national station manager for the McLendon stations based in Dallas, Texas, and the Station Manager of McLendon's KILT in Houston, Texas, had acquired another responsibility. He had been instructed to go to Stockholm and close down McLendon's offshore station called Radio Nord, and then to sell it.
In 1962, Bill Weaver moved into the Mayfair Hotel in London from where he talked to everyone and anyone who might have had an interest in buying the offshore radio ship 'Magda Maria', which also carried a cargo of equipment from its former Stockholm studio, that was now packed into the cabins below deck. Meanwhile the ship remained anchored off Brightlingsea, Essex.
Weaver spoke with the owners of Radio Veronica who went out to inspect the 'Magda Maria' under the watchful and reporting eyes of H.M. Customs. But Weaver did not get a sale. He talked to Arnold Swanson, a con man behind the GBOK project with its proposed radio ship called 'Lady Dixon', but he got nowhere with that lead either. He visited with Allan Crawford who was interested, but having just lost his financial backer, Crawford lacked the money to buy the 'Magda Maria' and its cargo.
Then in September 1962 Robert F. Kennedy came calling via his friend Robert Thompson, who had been the spokesman for Gordon McLendon and Clint Murchison in the 'Radio Nord' venture. So Thompson told Weaver to get the ship ready for a transatlantic crossing and bring it to the Texas island of Galveston. It would then be converted into a propaganda ship using helium balloons in the secret and ongoing CIA war led by Bobby Kennedy against Fidel Castro's Cuba.
That war was being run from the facilities of a CIA operations center situated on the southern campus of the University of Miami, and it was disguised as a private research company leasing space from the university. But right at the moment when the dry docking of the 'Magda Maria' was to make it seaworthy to cross the Atlantic Ocean, a near nuclear WWIII primer began an event that became known as the 'Cuban Missile Crisis.
With the U.S. Navy blocking all sea lanes around the Gulf of Mexico - which was the entry point to Galveston from the Atlantic - the sea voyage of the 'Magda Maria' was postponed until the first part of following year. The ship also had to wait for the worst part of the Atlantic winter storms to pass before it made its voyage to dock at Galveston. The ship arrived in March 1963 and Weaver was on hand to supervise the stripping of all of its radio equipment.
It had been intended to install helium balloons on board the renamed 'Mi Amgio', and after sailing into the Caribbean, it would have released high altitude balloons that were timed to drop propaganda over the island of Cuba. In the end, the 'Mi Amigo' was found to be too small for the job, and then the same company that later equipped Laser with its helium supported antenna, was told to equip the CIA vessel 'Olga Patricia' instead. This was the same ship that later became home of 'Radio England' and 'Britain Radio' on behalf of Don Pierson in Eastland, Texas.
Meanwhile, back in 1962, the GBOK offshore radio project had collapsed due to mismanagement and the activities of Arnold Swanson, who Metropolitan Police suspected of using GBOK as a confidence trick to swindle investors. One of the key investors was a company called Faraday at Sheerness where the 'Lady Dixon' was berthed. Faraday was controlled by the father and son team of Charles Orr Stanley and John Stanley who managed the Pye Group of group of companies.
Charles Orr Stanley had become involved with the UK broadcasting scene before WWII. His interests continued through the War years and went into full gear as soon as victory dawned. Stanley pushed for sponsored commercial radio and television broadcasting stations to be licensed by the government. In 1946 he was pushing the idea of offshore radio broadcasting, if the UK Government would not license stations on land. One of his main spokesmen was John Profumo, but he also had a team composed of the former management staff from the defunct Radio Normandie.
Stanley's ambitions had to be put on hold until the re-election of Winston Churchill as Prime Minister came about. Labour was dead-set against any form of commercial broadcasting. Churchill held a grudge against both the BBC and its former boss John Reith. It was Reith who banned Churchill from the BBC airwaves prior to WWII. So Churchill had turned to both Tory Leonard Plugge and his International Broadcasting Company stations, as well as to the shortwave stations based in the USA which could be heard in the United Kingdom.
It was Churchill who then gave the green light for a new monopoly television station run by the government called the 'Independent Television Authority'. This sponsored commercial station with many transmitters, then leased all of its time, not in hours, or half-hours or quarter-hours like the USA stations, but zoned off areas and leased entire broadcast days to "program contractors" who then sold time to advertisers.
Therefore by 1963, the Stanleys had both the money and the means to start a sponsored commercial radio operation, and that is how they came into the life of Allan James Crawford and the meeting described by Harry Spencer. But Pye did not fund the start-up of Radio Caroline. That money was brought in via several connections within the printing and publishing industry and coordinated by John Stanley.
More on this continuing revelation tomorrow, when I will have a lot more to say, not only about David Block and Arthur Carrington, but I will also explain how and why Ronan O'Rahilly was brought in to deflect attention from what was really going on.
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