The MV communicator – Paul Rusling’s recent book reviewed

I was fortunate enough to  buy the hardback edition of Paul’s excellent book regarding the many radio stations that were on the MV Communicator. I bought it direct from World of Radio (link at the end of this post) and it came with a personalised signature from Paul, on the title page.  Only copies purchased from World of Radio can be sent with a signature.

The book is well written and held my interest over the 3 evenings it took me to read  it. Paul describes skulduggery and other dealings  for the first time, which keeps one interested as well.  I have the second edition, some said that the first had typographical errors, there are still a few in this edition but not that many.  I note also that when I type, sometimes I put in the same word twice, and often go off on a tangent. Paul has planned this book out well in advance, and it is illustrated with excellent pictures throughout in black and white.

I was intrigued especially to read about the time the Communicator left for Holland.  Paul was on the spot and “fleshes out” the names of the Dutch presenters etc involved.  The ship was fitted out with a massive aerial, far larger than the one that was erected, after the balloon aerials failed to provide a good service.

The book is written by the very man who was in a privileged position, or maybe difficult position at times of delivering a working radio station on the ship, on more than one occasion.  It even nearly became involved in a failed project on an English Island. Not giving everything away in this review!

Paul does deliver a very detailed and frank account of his work on the ship.  I like the picture of him talking to Ronan O’Rahilly the owner of Caroline, when Paul did the breakfast show on the station.  He gives a good introduction to a seemingly very shy Charlie Wolf, who begged to be put on air.  It seems that the chief DJ on Laser was the Godson of station manager Roy Lindau.  The station suffers almost the same problem at Swinging Radio England in the 60s at first, extravagant spending, and an advertising manager who did not get enough advertising.  It is amazing that a man who runs East Anglia Productions, is able to buy the ship and refloat the station.

A lady broadcaster falls ill and cannot get off the ship quickly. The satellite link that was there did not work.  The station was financed by a man who wanted a radio station to anchor off Ireland and play his favourite music (well that is virtually true,once again not giving too much away)

The book has pictures of many of the presenters, including the “Laserettes”, female broadcasters.  I am not sure if Laser popularised lady presenters, because there are many now on Smooth Radio, Virgin Radio, Absolute Radio, Radio 2 and 1 and others.  One thing it did do was to make radio stations in the UK sit up and eventually change their music formats.  It seems now we need another Laser to ensure broadcast radio gets out of its staid format. Mind you it has done so to some extent on the Internet, there are now thousands of stations broadcasting a myriad of formats, on the world wide web.  On this subject Paul has also written a book of how to get into Internet Broadcasting, which is also available on the link below.

A good index, the hardback edition is well bound and looks great on my bookshelf. I will also be able to use it as a reference book, because there is a good index at the back.

I thoroughly recommended that you get this book in paperback or hardback, mine arrived in excellent condition, and was well packed.

Send off for a copy and read it over Xmas and the New year, guess though that once you pick it up you will not want to put it down.  An anorak’s must have book of fantastic facts at sea!

Pictorial Musings


When I first saw this grass shrub in someone’s front garden,  I thought that the owner had put a plastic artifical red decoration on it!  To my surprise it is a real plant, a bromelaid called Fasciculararia

The Royal Horticultural Society site says

Fascicularia bicolor


  • SynonymsFascicularia andina
    Rhodostachys bicolor
  • FamilyBromeliaceae
  • GenusFascicularia is a small genus of, usually terrestrial, perennial bromeliads. Toothed, linear leaves are arranged in rosettes; dense flowerheads are embedded in the centre of these rosettes
  • DetailsF. bicolor is a rosette-forming, terrestrial bromeliad with slender, spiny-toothed, rigid, mid to dark-green, evergreen leaves up to 50cm long. In summer each mature rosette produces a dense central cluster of pale sky-blue flowers surrounded by ivory-white bracts. At this time, the innermost leaves of the rosette turn scarlet red
  • Plant rangeC Chile

I found this spoof Gardener’s Question time on You Tube that you may like to view, very clever.  I must point out I do enjoy the real Gardener’s Question time on BBC Radio 4.


Seen in Uxbridge recently, generally getting in the way of bus, a Poundland lorry.  I must admit this is the first time I have seen one.


A Biffa lorry parked up whilst its driver empties a road side bin, and puts in a new bag. On a very wet day.


The Jam Theatre in Marlow with a Lollipop man outside!

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High Wycombe shopping mall is ready for Christmas!


We tend to forget what the Second World War was like. The picture above showed a mother, and presumably her baby protecting themselves from a potential poisonous gas raid.


Not sure where this came from, but look at it carefully, sadly it reminds me of how many great personalities have passed away recently.

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When we were young at school, these were the books we first read from in the 50s!

Terry Wogan reading his spoof Janet and John Stories.  We miss  you already Terry!

Finally a BBC local radio show with similar humour, something I miss – fortunately someone has put a whole show on You Tub. Ern and Vern sadly missed! Think the BBC found them too risque for them.


Music for the night

I discovered this tune on Chill on DAB a few years ago, and on such a rainy windy night thought it may soothe my blog visitors.

Candy Dulfer

(from Wikipedia)

Candy Dulfer (born 19 September 1969) is a Dutch smooth jazz, funk alto saxophonist and occasional singer who began playing at the age of six. She founded her band, Funky Stuff, when she was fourteen years old. Her debut album Saxuality (1990) received a Grammy Award nomination. Dulfer has released nine studio albums, two live albums, and one compilation album. She has performed and recorded songs with musicians including her father Hans Dulfer, Prince, Dave Stewart, Van Morrison, and Maceo Parker, and has performed live with Alan Parsons (1995), Pink Floyd (1990), and Tower of Power (2014). She hosted the Dutch television series Candy meets… (2007), in which she interviews fellow musicians. In 2013 she became a judge in the fifth season of the Dutch version of The X Factor.

Pictorial Musings

Our Christmas Cactus has sprung into flower already!  Lovely colourful start to this post for you all!

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The trees everywhere have turned a lovely shade of gold and brown. Here is a slide show which I hope will celebrate that statement.

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dscn2258Terns are very attractive seagulls  on the Thames they float around just like a duck!

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When I saw these sheep recently, right near the fence, I walked straight up to them. They promptly ran away, hence I only have a blurred close up of these lovely animals.



Two pictures taken recently in High Wycombe.  A large mast on the top of the hill, not sure if it is radio, tv or mobile, but a great place for an antenna!

Wycombe Sound Logo When I ran the Wireless Waffle newsletter, many years ago I could only recommend stations that I and others had listened to.  I saw the above banner and checked up online and listened to Wycombe sound.  Sadly without a radio! You can do the same at

From their site

We began our first four week RSL (Restricted Service Licence) broadcast from the Octagon shopping area of Eden on the 9th December 2013 with The Mayor of High Wycombe opening the station live on the breakfast show. Over the four weeks a whole range of shows were broadcast live including multiple local debate shows, local sport shows, breakfast and drivetime shows.

We returned in 2014 for our second RSL. Located in BidCo’s Enterprise HQ. Once again a whole range of shows were broadcast with The Mayor of High Wycombe, Eric Knowles, Colin Baker and many of the local businesses and personalities joining in over the 4 week period.

We returned for another 4 week RSL in 2015. Once again broadcasting on 87.9fm, online and via our App new for the third RSL. It was also our first year broadcasting from our own permanent studios. Many of the shows from the previous RSL’s returned and The Mayor of High Wycombe once again opened the station on the first day. A brand new radio drama set in High Wycombe was launched called Made In Wycombe which was written especially for Wycombe Sound, it has a cast of 12 and a production crew trained by BBC and ITV.




A monkey-puzzle tree spotted on a trip out, a fantastic tree!

From Wikipedia

Araucaria araucana is a popular garden tree, planted for the unusual effect of its thick, “reptilian” branches with very symmetrical appearance. It prefers temperate climates with abundant rainfall, tolerating temperatures down to about -20 °C (-4 °F). It is far and away the hardiest member of its genus, and can grow well in western Europe (north to the Faroe Islands and Smøla[6] in western Norway), the west coast ofNorth America (north to the islands of Haida Gwaii in Canada), and locally on the east coast, as well as Long Island, and in New Zealand and southeastern Australia. It is tolerant of coastal salt spray, but does not tolerate exposure to pollution.


A great rainbow locally – first time I have seen a complete arch for years!


A  bit late, but when I arrived at the Leisure Centre before Halloween this was sitting on a table, from a distance and not seeing the face, I thought it was someone’s handbag. Guess my glasses may need an update!

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Mushrooms or Toadstools growing in my garden under a bush!


Our local waitrose has a laser light show set up and when I took this it was showing Halloween shapes.  It still is tonight!


Sam Brown playing a Ukulele. She leads a Ukulele Club in her home town

Here is her big hit!

A great song!

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I live in the Thames Valley now, and when cycling I commune with nature, animals and hayricks!

To finish I have included the first part of a series that Tony Prince’s company DMC has produced about Pirate Radio Ships (apologies to hardened Anoraks who probably know about this)


Radio Newsbeat


I may seem to be like Scrooge, but why should radio stations switch to Christmas Music?  I personally find it a turn off, and normally only listen once or twice when they are on.

Why do Radio 1 need someone to do imaging for them.  Are there no djs capable of doing a bit of their own inventive jingles and voice overs, like used to happen a while back?  Kenny Everett was master at this, but surely someone could do something and save public money!

BBC Berkshire this morning featured an art installation on a roundabout!


The video may only work if you are logged into Facebook, sorry about that!


Selection of recent news stories from Radio Today site:

Global’s Heart extra switches to Heart extra Xmas
Posted by Roy Martin

Global’s Heart extra switches to Heart extra Xmas

The UK does have a national Christmas station after all, with Global turning Heart extra into non-stop festive favorites.
Heart extra Xmas appeared at 6am Saturday and will stay all-Christmas through until December 27th on DAB digital radio. Global previously confirmed Smooth Christmas would not be happening this year.

A Global spokesperson told us about the station: “Heart extra Xmas will be playing nothing but everyone’s favourite Christmas songs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week across the country. It’s the UK’s only national radio station devoted entirely to playing the biggest festive hits all the way through until December 27th!

“Turn up the Festive Feel-Good!”

Meanwhile, Wireless Group is bringing back Signal Christmas across Staffordshire & Cheshire, Pulse Christmas across West Yorkshire and Wave Christmas across South West Wales, all on DAB digital radio multiplexes. The three pop-ups start on Monday at midday. In addition, Portsmouth DAB+ station Unforgettable Radio has switched to all Christmas music.

Steve Wright show’s Old Woman passes away
Posted by Radio Today Staff

Steve Wright show’s Old Woman passes away

A popular voice on BBC Radio 2’s Steve Wright in the Afternoon, known as The Old Woman, has died.

Joyce Frost was a regular on the Big Show for many years, appearing alongside other members of the posse including Tim Smith and Janey Lee Grace. “The Old Woman”, as she was known to millions of listeners, read out ‘Factoids’ and discussed topical issues on the show.

Steve announced the news on his show this afternoon (Wednesday), reporting that the pensioner from Dagenham in Essex had died “peacefully and pain free” last week. He described her as a “a complete natural on the air” and said she had been “very opinionated and witty” and always “cheeky, funny and charming”.

Steve Wright added: “It’s a sad loss, thank you for being the Old Woman with us Joyce and we’ll miss you very much.”


Radio Lapland to broadcast in Greater Belfast

Radio Lapland to broadcast in Greater Belfast

A Christmas radio station will appear in Belfast this December aiming to raise money for charity.

Radio Lapland will be on 103.2FM from December 1st to 26th as part of the NI Hospice fundraising initiative which is hoping to raise £250,000.

Special presenters include Stephen Nolan, Adrian Logan, Ruairi McSorely, Oliva Nash and Sarah Travers, and it is supported by Blast 106.

Shane Pearce, Blast 106’s breakfast presenter and Station Director of Radio Lapland said: “Radio Lapland will change Christmas in Belfast forever! The station is a first of its kind for the city and promises to play continuous Christmas Classics on 103.2FM from December 1st. There will be choirs in the studio; there will be outside broadcasts too, and Radio Lapland will have big names hosting shows and popular guests throughout the festive period.

“This is a great opportunity for everyone to get involved and all for two great reasons – to celebrate Christmas and to help Northern Ireland Hospice continue to provide the highest quality palliative care to local people in our hospices and in the community.”

New breakfast show imaging for Nick Grimshaw
Posted by Roy Martin

New breakfast show imaging for Nick Grimshaw

The new audio imaging for the Radio 1 Breakfast Show with Nick Grimshaw has launched today, produced by the team at Contraband Media.

Lead Imaging Producer for BBC Radio 1, Matt Fisher, and Grimmy’s team, told Contraband Media they wanted a complete overhaul of the current top of hour openers & show IDs. They said the new imaging had to be energetic, colourful and embrace Grimmy’s personality plus highlight his A-list celebrity guests.

In the audio we’ve heard so far this morning, the hour openers use sung vocals from songs mixed with the main station VOs.

Adam Burgess, Director at Contraband Media: “What an honour to be chosen to produce for BBC Radio 1 and to put our stamp on one the biggest and most important breakfast shows in the country! It’s certainly another fantastic milestone for myself and the team.”

Tom Cross, Director – Contraband Media: ‘’This project was perfect for us. It was a great challenge to sample the Radio 1 playlist with the personality and fun of Grimmy’s show. It’s a privilege to develop the sound of the Breakfast show with the BBC Radio 1 team!’’

South Devon radio station celebrates 10 years
Posted by Radio Today Staff

South Devon radio station celebrates 10 years

 Soundart Radio is celebrating ten years of broadcasting across South Devon from Dartington on 102.5FM.


The station features community art, love and anarchy, and has been given new studios recently for the 100+ volunteers to continue their work.

Lucinda Guy, Artistic Director and Co-founder of the community radio station explains “Ten years ago, the news broke that Dartington College of Arts planned to break away from the Dartington Hall Estate. Even though many of us were in utter shock at the time, Nell Harrison and myself felt we were ready to launch the first Dartington student radio station. So, we submitted our application to Ofcom for a permanent community radio licence and we switched on our signal during the same period.

Lucinda continued to say, “During the previous year we had both been looking into what kind of radio station we could bring to the area, and we were inspired by the relatively new community radio scene in the UK, and by a global movement of artists, who wanted to explore the creative potential of radio as an artistic medium at a time when so much of our audio culture was shifting to digital mediums.”

To celebrate the tenth anniversary a new exhibition which encapsulates the station’s ethics and principals has been opened in the Garden Room Gallery at Dartington Space. Local historian, archivist and former Dartington College Librarian John Sanford has been curating the exhibition with fellow broadcaster Sarah Gray. “The exhibition explores who we are and who we were at the radio station,” says Sarah Gray.

In addition to the exhibition, there are a number of events planned which began on Friday 11th November with some continuing until the end of the year. These events include workshops for adult and children and special broadcasts from several presenters and the public.

Expedia beware! Image result for free clipart angry

I have had a bad experience booking a UK holiday with Experia, and would like to warn people to read their website very carefully.

It is badly designed, and gave me the impression that a hotel was able to provide half board as detailed on the pc screen.

I found out when I got the holiday confirmed that I would not get any meals at all. That will mean paying out a lot of cash to eat there!

I contacted them, and in spite of giving them screen shots of how their website looks when booking, they will not entertain any compensation or apology.

I will not be booking with Expedia again, or is it all as a result of the Brexit thing!

I am not alone, most of the complaints are about their customer service area and refunds. I am at least getting a break in spite of them not admitting their website is badly designed for UK holidays and hotels generally.
Just take a look at this site for more horror stories