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 recommend 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!