The deceit began before news of the first test transmissions on Friday, March 27, 1964 by Radio Caroline, ever hit the headlines. That deceit was carried forth in the very first brochure issued in the name of Radio Caroline.
The deceit was planned, and although in retrospect it might seem that only a gullible few would believe that Radio Atlanta and Radio Caroline were two separate projects from two separate sources, the fact of the matter is that the gullible few turned into the gullible millions who still believe this myth today.
It all began with the downfall of three projects: CNBC; GBOK and the original Radio Atlanta. Linking all three was a career radio engineer named Alfred Nicholas Thomas who retired after a lifetime of service to BBC transmitter engineering.
After retiring in 1959, Thomas gained further employment by working on a series of radio projects for Charles Orr Stanley and his son John Stanley, who managed the Pye Group of companies.
Almost from the start of his retirement, Thomas became involved with offshore radio by going on board the Dutch radio ship Borkum Riff where he tried to assist VRON; which became Radio Veronica. Aside from Dutch programming, its owners had plans to start an English language service called CNBC. Its office was was based in a building diagonally across Dean Street in the Soho district of London, and that is where Allan Crawford would later set up his independent record business.
CNBC began test broadcasts, but then the plug was pulled by the Dutch owners, and CNBC was no more. From there, Thomas got involved with another spin-off offshore radio station.
The original was named after its registered company, but the eponymous 'Voice of Slough', which copied a string of 'Voice of ....' station projects all waiting to get land-based licenses; also failed to get on the air. The 'Voice of Slough' merged with the attempts by a con man who was living off his heiress wife's inheritance, and he made a lot of noise with a project called GBOK and its intended home, the former lightship called 'Lady Dixon'.
This hulk was eventually moved to Sheerness where Pye had bought part of the former H.M. Shipyard and moved a company that was renamed Faraday Electronics, to that site. Although press stories did connect Faraday to Pye, it was not a direct subsidiary of any one of the Pye Group of companies, and Thomas appears to have been working under its umbrella.
But the GPO were watching Farraday and GBOK, and they were waiting for the moment to pounce in order to enforce provisions of the 1949 Wireless Telegraphy Act. The con man running the fraud behind GBOK, at least Metropolitan Police figured that the whole thing was a scam in order to bolt with investment money, was Arnold Swanson.
Thomas and his former BBC antenna/transmitter engineering associate John Howard Gilman, obviously fell for the scam, and so did Pye. Because the legal infrastructure behind GBOK was poorly conceived, it enabled the GPO to move in and seize some equipment. It was enough of a disturbance all round to cause the GBOK project to collapse and for Pye to look elsewhere. It was also enough adverse publicity to cause Swanson to leave the British Isles. In Canada, this con man then engaged in under age sex, which resulted in both a divorce and prison time.
Charles Orr Stanley had been involved with radio manufacturing since the 1930s, and after WWII he was one of the driving forces pushing for licensed sponsored commercial radio and television stations. Between the 1940s and the early 1960s, Charles Orr Stanley has continued to work on his plans to secure licenses for both radio and television sponsored commercial radio and television stations, but he was running into an Establishment split within the ruling Tory Party, where one half did not want to encourage further American involvement in British life. The Tory party was split on this issue.
After WWII and his return to office following a defeat of the Labour Party and its rush to nationalize everything and anything, as the new Conservative Prime Minister, Churchill opened the door to licensed sponsored commercial television. However, the door remained firmly closed with regards to radio broadcasting, So Stanley began to play a two-sided game in which he only manifested himself on one side, while appearing to attack the other side.
The 'other side' was offshore radio.
Since CNBC; GBOK and then Allan Crawford had made so much noise in trying to get his first version of Radio Atlanta on the air, and failed, Stanley moved in behind the scenes. But Stanley then ran into another road block from Texas, on top of the failure to compromise by Allan Crawford.
Crawford wanted to use the former Radio Nord ship which at that time was in Texas, to promote his independent record labels by broadcasting to London. Stanley wanted to broadcast to both the Isle of Man and to the Northwest of England. The reason being that Stanley had interest in two projects. One was originally called Radio Manx on the Isle of Man, and another one was called Radio Yorkshire based in Shipley.
Clearly secrecy was going to be a key factor in this entirely complicated and divisive project, and so another ship was acquired to become the guinea pig that would discover just how far the UK government would go in closing down the entire venture.
I will tell you more tomorrow, which is when I will also reveal how and why the first literature issued in the name of Radio Caroline during 1964, was a big part in a cat and mouse game in which the final objective was not to end up running an offshore broadcasting station! I will explain what the Pye Plan was, and I will also explain how Arthur Carrington became a part of this scheme, and why it ultimately failed on October 15, 1964.