One of my favourite presenters
on Radio Caroline in the 1970s was Roger Matthews. He formed
part of a great team of presenters on board the Mi Amigo
in those days and it was great to hear his return recently
after so long.
When did you first
I came out of the air force
in July 1976 and joined Caroline in September 1976. After
my final programme, which I think, was in the summer of
79 I then did some background work with Rob Eden and finally
left at the end of 1979. I can't believe it was 30 years
ago since I joined the station, you wonder where the years
How did you get involved
My father was into electronics
and built the first TV in our street. I was always listening
to the Radio as a kid and when I joined the Air Force in
1972 in Ipswich we listened to Caroline. I got involved
in the Base cable Radio station presenting, engineering
and editing tapes and loved it. I left the Air Force in
1976 and moved to Birmingham with my parents. I wrote to
Caroline's Spanish address and sent a demo tape. I had a
reply thanks to Peter Van Dam who picked it up and sent
it back to England. I then went to London for an interview
and was sent out to the ship.
Have you worked on
After Caroline I worked in
Ireland with Paul Graham on WABC out in the west in a chicken
shed on the side of a hill. It had MW and SW and we had
lots of reception reports from Europe. After that Paul Graham
went back to England and I went to Balina to do some engineering
work. I was working in the studio and having completed the
work the newsreader did not turn up so I read the news and
got offered the job. It then became Castle Radio and broadcast
from a Hotel just outside the town. It was a rural station
and I enjoyed it there until it closed. After that I didn't
know what to do for a while so I returned to the UK in 1983.
Paul Graham phoned and told me Sunshine Radio was looking
for presenters in Shropshire. I was probably the first DJ
to work on a 7 day a week pirate station. I did the breakfast
show and stayed in a caravan on the farm where the station
was based. We had a lot of run ins with officialdom. It
was a brilliant station but the ILR stations didn't like
it as it was taking their listeners. We ended up moving
to a shed in the owners back garden which was an improvement
from the barn on the farm. I then came out of radio in 1984
when the real world finally caught up with me, you know
mortgages wife etc. so I decided on getting a real job for
a while. I even ended up going to the middle east and did
voluntary broadcasting mainly to camels!!! I returned to
the UK in 2003 and got invited to a Caroline reunion. I
met John Patrick and went with him in to Euradio 2005 in
Calais. He then bullied me nicely into returning to Caroline.
I did my first show on Caroline on December 23rd 2005 after
nearly 27 years away from the station.
What was your favourite
Radio station other then Caroline?
I really enjoyed Sunshine
Radio, it was hard work at times but very diverse.
What made you return
I have always had the urge
to return one day, once it is in your blood it never seems
to leave you a bit like a drug! Now life has settled down
and the pressures are less I felt it was time to return
to where I had left off.
What did you enjoy
most about working on a radio ship?
A difficult question. The
experience was unforgettable, the camaraderie and making
good friends. Everyone was having a bit of fun.
Have you got any special
Many things happened on board
that ship, I can remember coming off on the Harwich lifeboat
after some heavy weather when the pumps stopped working.
We let the world think the ship was finished mainly to stop
the authorities seizing the ship and the plan worked when
Johnny Lewis heard what was going on he met us on the quay
at Harwich. I told him to tell the office to get some pumps
out to the ship, he told the office and they sent Peter
Chicago out with some pumps to take control of the ship
before someone else did.
What have you been
doing since you left Caroline? - I worked for some
years in the Middle East. I took my family out there and
got back into Aviation.
Who was your favourite
I got on very well
with many of them. I spent a lot of time with Stewart Russell,
Brian Martin, Martin Fisher and Tom Hardy not to mention
‘the lad’. They were all a good bunch of guys and I wouldn't
like to single out any one of them.
What is your favourite
Sea fishing, Its a pity that
I didn't get into that while on board the Mi Amigo, funnily
enough I did not get into it until I was in the middle east.
What do you dislike
doing the most?
Washing the car and shopping.
Where do you live now
and what is your favourite part of the country?
I have lived in Bournemouth
since 1986 (apart from the time in the Middle East) after
I got married. My wife comes from Bournemouth. I love that
area but I also love the Cotswolds, Shropshire, The Norfolk
Broads and Suffolk. That’s the great thing about this country
is it is so varied and beautiful.
Tell us about your
I have a wife, a daughter
of 14 and two Burmese cats. My other work in Aviation means
I have been away from home a lot over the past three years
since coming back from the Middle East and I usually only
get to spend two days at home a week. I recently spent 10
months on the Isle of Man.
Who's your favourite
band or group?
It depends on what mood I
am in. Sometimes its the Eagles, Bad Company, Led Zeppelin,
Deep Purple or even Classical music. If I had to pick out
one it would be Jackson Browne’s music that had a great
effect on me. His music in the late 70s reflected my life
at the time and I felt that I could really relate to what
he was doing. Also I have always liked Nick Low, Dave Edmonds
and country Rock but not the “Tammy Wynette” type of country.
I like country music songs with meaningful and interesting
When did you last go
on board the Ross?
I have never been on board
the Ross I am sad to say. I am working 7 days a week at
times and the practicalities of getting there have not been
easy. Recently it has not been so available for visits but
I hope to get on board this summer.
Many thanks Roger for
answering all my questions and I hope your return to Caroline
has been an enjoyable experience and will continue for a
long time. We look forward to seeing you on board the Ross