Where and when were you born?
I was born in Edgware, Middlesex in July 1949.
Where do you live now?
I live in either Sevenoaks or Ramsgate depending on what
I am doing
What is your favourite part of the Country?
How did you get involved in Radio?
During the mid 1970’s I became
involved with supplying the Mi Amigo from a variety of small
ports in the South East. We never had any problems with
the authorities; in fact they knew precisely what we were
doing. One morning we turned up late and received a rollicking
from the local policemen as we had missed the tide. He then
helped us load the supplies onto the boat. When the Mi Amigo
sank I lost interest in radio.
However, being a big fan
of ships in general, I had always wanted to spend some time
on a light vessel but as they were all automated my chances
of doing that were nil. I then heard that an old light vessel
was being prepared to do a broadcast off Clacton pier. I
got in touch with Paul Graham who was organising it and
asked that if I came and spent some time getting the ship
ready for sea, could I be part of the crew when she set
sail. I cleaned out rubbish, painted anything that didn’t
move and generally helped for several weeks. We even speculated
that it would be better to mow the helideck with a lawn
mower as it was covered in bird droppings and loads of grass.
On the day we sailed out of Harwich I was on board as the
cook and general dogs-body. If you look at the pictures
of the ship I painted the helideck twice in different colours.
You can read the full story of the RSL at
under the RNI banner.
I also paid half the cost
of the mast that was erected on that deck and I still own
50% of it. We needed a mast and I found one and helped pay
for it. The only reason the LV18 RNI broadcast off Clacton
took place is because I helped to buy the mast needed to
make the RSL go ahead. It’s one of those stupid things you
do to keep the sound of offshore radio in the minds of people
and I don’t regret spending the money. Paul had been contracted
to provide a platform for the commentator for the Clacton
air display. He never turned up and knowing that I was an
air traffic controller who had worked at numerous air displays
Paul asked me to do it. I was given a short lesson on the
equipment in the studio and cueing and told to get on with
it. My first ever time behind the microphone was 4 hours
of unscripted memories about displays which I had already
seen. Paul apologised to Tendring Council about the missing
commentator and they said that the bloke who did it on the
Saturday was excellent and should be used for the Sunday
as well, which I did. After that they were short of DJ’s
and I was asked to do a show. I said no at first as I was
not able to comply with the format clock. Paul said I could
play whatever I liked as my show would be going out in the
early hours of the morning.
This I did, playing melodic
rock I built up an audience and the shows became popular,
I was then moved to a much earlier slot. I will also add
that when we were off Clacton, Dick Palmer, who was my DJ
mentor, is a wonderful bloke but completely off his trolley.
He attempted to set fire to the ship, in true RNI style
by putting a kettle on without any water in it. I found
it and threw it into the sea. After that, whenever an RSL
took place on the ship I was asked to do shows. On one of
them Barry James was there and he said that I would be most
welcome on Radio Caroline. I spoke to Peter Moore who suggested
the name John Patrick and here I am. So from a desire to
spend time on a light vessel without any ambition to be
one, I became a DJ.
When did you first join
I don’t think I ever “joined”
Caroline, I just became more and more involved over time
in the 1970’s and then again 20 years later.
Have you worked on a Radio
Not a real one. I did do
several RSL’s from LV18 and spent several happy weeks two
miles off Clacton pier. I completely missed the “Ross” era
as my career took over most of my time. I first learnt about
the ship when it ran onto the Goodwin Sands. I have made
numerous broadcasts from her but only when she was safely
tucked up against a pier.
Have you got any special
There are so many and they
are all good. Broadcasting and living on the “Ross” has
always been very special to me. Although I never heard her
broadcast whilst she was at sea, I am in a privileged position
having been able to do the things I have done.
One thing that still makes
me smile is when the “Ross” was moored on the Ocean Terminal
at Tilbury. We had to turn the ship around because a very
large cruise ship was coming in and needed the extra few
feet which we were occupying at the time. So, we had to
leave the stern attached to the pier and swing the bow through
180 degrees to release the extra space for the liner. A
full practise emergency was carried out on the ship. All
crew had to evacuate, muster at the emergency sites; and
be counted off against a ship personnel manifest. Having
been on air until the early hours of the morning, I was
in my bunk, asleep. I slept through all the banging and
crashing as the ship turned through 180 degrees, nobody
realised that I was missing from the poor souls standing
in the rain. I woke up, looked out the porthole to see that
someone had stolen the river Thames and replaced it with
a line of parked cars. So much for emergency procedures
What other Radio stations
have you been involved with?
I have only done a few RSL’s
from LV18 and the “Ross”. I never wanted to be a DJ but
was pushed into it when the R.N.I. RSL off Clacton became
short of presenters. I was allowed to play what I wanted,
built an audience and I just kept on doing it.
What are your earliest
memories of Caroline?
Only, after the M.O.A. when
she was the only station left.
What is your favourite
station other than Caroline? -
To be honest, I never liked
Caroline during the 1960’s. I listened to Radio London,
I was a “Mod”. I had the Scooter and all the gear and we
all listened to Radio London. It wasn’t until the 1970’s
when the old girl turned into something I wanted to listen
to did I become involved.
Who is the most famous
person that you have met?
Alice Cooper, Glenn Hughes,
Bob Catley and a load of others. I interviewed them all
for my shows a few years ago and was able to get to them
by using the name “Radio Caroline” who they all knew about.
However, the most famous has to be the Duke of Edinburgh.
What is the best and worst
thing about radio today?
The best is that Caroline
is still able to be on the air. The worst is that 99% of
the other stations are run by men-in-suits and accountants.
As a business they have to make a profit, therefore the
music played must attract the listeners the advertisers
are targeting. As a result the record libraries are restricted
in number to maybe a couple of hundred tracks and no freedom
is allowed. Because they are all operating under those rules,
they all sound the same.
Whilst you are reading this
you should know that it is the Radio Caroline Supporters
Group that keeps us on the air and I urge you to join it.
Without them, we are dead in the water!
How much music freedom
do you have on Caroline?
Do you have any embarrassing
or funny moments to share with us?
No, not really just so many
happy memories. However, I will tell of an experience I
had in the U.S. I was in Austin, Texas and blagged my way
into the local station KLBJ using the name Radio Caroline.
In the 0n-air studio I was introduced to the DJ’s and they
asked who I worked for. I told them it was Radio Caroline
and all 3 people knew about her and I spent an hour answering
questions about the old girl. When I got a chance to ask
them questions I asked how do you know about Caroline? They
all said that Radio Caroline was known throughout the American
radio industry as the station they all wanted to be. One
DJ even used the name Johnny Walker on air. -They have absolutely
no freedom, the whole show is worked out by a computer,
they are only allowed to speak twice every hour and what
they say is written down for them. That is why they want
to be like Radio Caroline.
What do you do for your
day job and relaxation?
I am a retired air traffic
controller. For relaxation, I collect wartime binoculars
and make model ships. I am also writing two books and write
for several magazines, I do maritime research and seem to
have been promoted to the world’s expert on the M/V Galaxy
and Mi Amigo. I am also doing considerable research into
air traffic control for one of the books. I really enjoy
astronomy and sea fishing, do some charity work. I also
spend a lot of time preparing my shows, it may not sound
like it but I do give it a lot of thought.
The current model I am working
on is the Mi Amigo. It all started out when I was looking
for a new model ship to build. Modellers are always looking
for a ship that has never been built before and I decided
that the offshore radio era had not been covered. I managed
to obtain plans for the Comet, Galaxy, Fredericia but not
the Mi Amigo. I was determined that she was the ship I was
going to build. I wrote to the shipyard that converted her
from the “Olga” to the radio ship for Radio Nord. They never
replied, so I wrote twice a week for nine months and finally,
a battered set of plans came through my letterbox. Probably
just to shut me up. I had them redrawn and now the model
is about 50% complete. Six sections of the mast have been
completed made from brass. It will be fully radio controlled
and will have a transmitter on board.
What is your favourite
What do you dislike doing
What are your favourite
bands or groups?
My favourite band of all
time is Harem Scarem from Canada, who have now broken up.
What are your top 5 favourite
Harem Scarem - Sunset
Boulevard, Savatage - One child, Hugo - A
tear in LA, Vaughn Williams - The lark ascending
and Dreamtide - Dreamers.
When did you last go on
board the Ross Revenge?
It was before I became ill
again so it must be a couple of years.
What plans have you for
To put as many smiles on
peoples faces as I can and to persuade my body to keep working.
Thank you John for answering
all my questions. I hope you do manage to persuade your
body to keep going for many more years because it looks
as though you have a lot more work to do keeping us Caroline
fans entertained and also with all those hobbies. .