I was privileged to receive a copy of this 508 page chronicle of the UK’s pioneering offshore commercial radio station when it was first published. My copy is part of limited numbered edition. It was when I received an update to the section on Ronan O’Rahilly from the author this week, to update the book, that I realised I have not reviewed it yet.
I started to read the book as soon as it came out. Then I read a little each day, but when I was on holiday in March I finished it very quickly.
Paul told me that he got a lot of the information from people who were on Caroline, but he has skillfully woven it into a seamless story about the country’s offshore station from the sixties right up to date. The first few chapters also give the reader an introduction to the birth of radio in the UK and radio stations that broadcast to the UK from abroad.
A good book of this sort needs an index, and a very useful index is included at the back, which is customary in all good works.
I was also interested to read about the money that George Harrison put into Caroline, and the ways that Ronan obtained finance for the station.
On one hand Caroline is a total entity to the listener, it is and was “Free Radio”, but in reality it was by necessity a group of companies that kept the ship and programmes afloat. I will not tell you any more because that is well documented in the book.
The hardback book is bound very well, and if you hold the spine in your hand to read it, the pages turn over effortlessly. Some books necessitate that you fold them to read them, as they are bound too tight together.
I was interested to read Paul’s account of when he broadcast on Caroline as the breakfast host, as Paul Alexander, in the seventies. I heard these programmes and all of the Caroline programmes from February 1965, at the age of 13. I bought a Luxembourg 8 GEC Radio with birthday money, and I found the station on the Luxembourg Bandspread band ! I hope to be able to buy one of these radios if it comes on to the market, as it eventually wore out in the 80s!
Paul also explains about the Start of Radio 1.
This gives a through overview of all things Caroline and I am glad to have this book on my bookshelf.
If you would like to buy the book, I recommend the hard back.
Here is a You Tube video that covers some of the early story which was on an LP some years ago – nothing to do with the book above, a bonus for blog visitors