Philip Birch – sad news but a good age

Tributes paid to Piccadilly Radio founder Philip Birch

From the Radio Today Site

I have the Radio London book by Chris Elliott, I wonder if someone will be writing a “Radio London Bible” in due course. I wish Philip Birch’s loved ones my sincere condolences, but assure them that we appreciated his professional skills in running a successful offshore radio station in the 60s!

Philip Birch, founder of the Manchester Independent Radio consortium that won the licence for Piccadilly Radio has died at his home in California at the age of 94.

He was well known for running the pirate station Radio London before going on to establish Manchester Independent Radio, operating as Piccadilly Radio in Manchester.

Philip also ran Air Services, which sold national advertising for stations throughout the UK. He was CEO of both Piccadilly and Air until he retired in 1984.

Many people working in radio today have Philip to thank for giving them their first job in radio in the 70s and 80s.

They include Bauer Radio News’ current Editor-in-Chief John Pickford, who told RadioToday: “He actually interviewed me and gave me my job at Piccadilly Radio. He was a true gentleman and commercial radio has a lot to thank him for.

“I went for an interview and the news editor wasn’t able to see me. So, Philip and I talked a lot about Pirate Radio and Radio London which we were both passionate about.

“Thank you, Philip, I wouldn’t still be doing what I am doing today without that first opportunity you gave me.”

Tributes have also been paid by friends and former colleagues;

Simon Cole: “Truly one of the giants responsible for us having commercial radio in this country at all. I was privileged to work for him in the 80s as part of an inspiring partnership with Colin Walters – who also passed two years ago. I hope powerful spirits are now reunited somewhere.”

Andy Peebles: “A radio industry legend for whom it was an honour and pleasure to work for.”

Dom Thomson: “Very sad news indeed. He was the boss when I was at Picc in 79. An absolute legend and gentleman.”

David Lloyd: “So sorry to learn of the death of Philip T Birch. Former JWT exec who led the highly influential pirate Radio London and its sales house – and founding MD of Piccadilly Radio in Manchester.”

Paul Rowley: “A true pioneer in broadcasting. Radio London gave us the first Top 40 format in the UK, the slickest jingles and Kenny Everett. Piccadilly was the nearest thing to the pirates in early ILR, pushing the boundaries and sounding so revolutionary. RIP Philip Birch.”

Book Review – Dab the Future of Radio by Paul Rusling

This book is full of information. It gives a brief history of US and UK radio before Dab radio even started. Paul has a refreshing way of explaining technical data without all of the scientific formula that the experts use to explain transmission and reception. He gives information about DAB in many countries, then explains why some countries have not used it or curtailed the sustem totally. I was also aware that there are stations on my Roberts Istream radios that have HD after then, I now realise that these transmissions involve a system that outputs digital radio on the FM band.

Paul also mentions the Worldspace satellite system. I used to have a radio with a very small plastic dish, which had to be faced to the south indoors by a window to pick up their stations. Some were subscription services, but one which attracted it to me was Radio Caroline. I managed to sell the set before it became obsolete, as the service failed to attract the listeners they wanted to make it viable.

I also had the opinion that it was us the listener who got a raw deal by having to buy a special set to pick DAB up. It apparently is also the broadcaster. They do save on electricity when running a Multiplex, but have to pay Ofcom a fortune for a licence. Paul also mentions the smaller SS-DAB Multiplexes that are being developed which will give broadcasters a cheaper way of being on air, and will cater for specialist markets or local stations. There is a picture of a small multiplex in a box which serves Portsmouth.

My saddest moment was when a good DAB+ and FM radio I bought from John Lewis, out of guarantee developed an interittent fault. Both of my Roberts radios work well on DAB and DAB plus, whereas there are only two strong FM stations on basic radios where I live.

The amount of information in this book, including personalities, programmes, etc., involved with Dab Digital Radio, is extensive and amazing. There is a list of abbreviations and technical terms provided at the back of the book and this is a good reference source which can be used when some term you don’t understand comes up.

To conclude a very readable book, quite how Paul has amassed such a lot of specialist information about people and radio systems on DAB, Satellite, HD, is a mystery to me. Well worth a read!

Vintage Radio Gets Internet Upgrade — Hackaday

There’s nothing quite like vintage hardware, and the way it looks and works is something that can be worth celebrating. [Old Tech. New Spec] did that with his loving modification of a 1964 Dansette portable radio, bringing it into the modern era by giving it the ability to play Internet radio stations while keeping all […]

Vintage Radio Gets Internet Upgrade — Hackaday

Wireless Waffler

I have just received the excellent updated edition of Paul Rusling’s “Caroline Bible” It looks excellent and I will be reviewing it in the next few months.

I can personally recommend the World of Radio books and goods to be of great value and quality

If you want to visit Paul Rusling’s site this is the address

I have also received his radio about Dab Radio and will be reviewing that sooner, as it is a slim volume.

Blonde in DAB shirt on ski slope

I managed to get a copy of his out of print book “Lid off Laser” book and hope to read that soon as well. It can still be found on eBay, Abe Books and several other places. Try searching for out of print books on Paul is considering new edition eventually.

Radio Newsbeat


I have recently returned from a break in Greece and have enjoyed listening to Island FM from Zante Island, which is nearby to Kefalonia. It is an all English Speaking commercial radio station.

BBC Radio Berkshire this morning were following up on a story that Schiphol Airport Amsterdam were using pigs to get rid of Geese on runways. The pigs do not scare the Geese, but they are attracted to some crops that the pigs will eat, thus discouraging them from landing near the runaways! The whole show is archived at

I have just purchased a copy of Paul Rusling’s book” Radio Adventures of the mv Communicator”, only to realise that I bought the hardback edition some time ago. I thought I was buying “The Lid off Laser 558” which is not in my collection. A silly senior moment – but I am able to return it to Amazon and get a full refund. I have since found a copy of the out of print “Lid off Laser 558” being sold on eBay with an LP of the RNI story. Paul’s first book did not get a good review on Amazon, but I did read a BBC Library copy back in the day and enjoyed it! One thing for sure is that this book has reached the heady asking price of £93 + on some sites, so it must be good and rare!

I used to post interesting You Tube Radio Related Videos and here are a few that my interest radio anoraks!

Selections from Radio Today news – back once again!

In a special RadioToday Programme, Toby Anstis chats to RadioToday’s Stuart Clarkson as he marks 20 years since his first overnight show on Heart 106.2.

Toby talks about getting away with broadcasting on Heart for the last 20 years, being off work with the coronavirus, joking about London cab drivers and turning down Smooth Radio Breakfast!

Toby can still be heard daily on the brand, hosting breakfast on Heart Dance and Friday night’s Club Classics across the Heart Network.

Have a listen below or find it in your usual podcast app.

In a special RadioToday Programme, Toby Anstis chats to RadioToday’s Stuart Clarkson as he marks 20 years since his first overnight show on Heart 106.2.

Toby talks about getting away with broadcasting on Heart for the last 20 years, being off work with the coronavirus, joking about London cab drivers and turning down Smooth Radio Breakfast!

Toby can still be heard daily on the brand, hosting breakfast on Heart Dance and Friday night’s Club Classics across the Heart Network.

Have a listen below or find it in your usual podcast app.

Radio News selected from the Radio Today Site (sorry this has been lacking for so long!)

Six community radio stations are in serious and fundamental breach of their Ofcom licence for not submitting their finance reports on time.

They failed to submit any financial documents for 2020 whilst a further six only managed to provide their reports after the deadline.

Ofcom says failure by a licensee to submit a finance report when required represents a serious and fundamental breach of a community radio licence, as the absence of the information contained in the report means that Ofcom is unable properly to carry out its regulatory duties.

Amber Sound FM, Bolton FM, Fiesta FM, Frome FM, Takeover Radio and Wythenshawe FM have all failed to provide a report this year, whilst Takeover Radio is behind with two years of submissions.

The regulator says if it does not receive Takeover Radio’s report next year, further action may be taken against the service.

Meanwhile, 1BTN, Juice FM Belfast, Radio Ramadan 365 (Glasgow), Revival FM (Glasgow), EAVA FM and Hillz FM submitted information after the deadline.

1BTN and EAVA FM also failed to report in 2019 and Ofcom will look at taking further regulatory action against them if they fail again in 2022.

Some licensees highlighted that the Coronavirus pandemic impacted their ability to complete the report on time but Ofcom said in November 2020 it expects licensees to have put in place relevant mitigations or adjusted their internal processes so they can respond as normal to information requests issued by them and be able to provide the relevant data and information by the deadline specified.

The regulator continued: “We reiterated in April 2021 that if a licensee still faces challenges responding to any information requests it receives as a result of the pandemic, we ask that it notifies the contact on the request as soon as possible, and before the request deadline, providing detailed information on the issues it is facing and any mitigations it has put in place.

“If no attempt to contact Ofcom is made and a licensee fails to provide the relevant information by the specified deadline, we may commence enforcement action.”

Update: Edited from 12 to six stations in breach.

Ofcom has has published research on what listeners consider highly offensive language and what they would accept hearing on the radio.

The survey, which was conducted by Ipsos MORI, provides an update on previous research on this subject that was published in 2016.

Listeners told Ofcom they are generally more relaxed about most swearing on TV and radio, particularly if it is accidental and an apology swiftly follows.

Audiences say they still want broadcasters to consider carefully when, and how, offensive language is used, so that children, in particular, are protected. But many people recognise that, in the right context, it can play an important role in programmes – for example, to create dramatic impact, bring humour, reflect real life, or even to inform and educate.

Participants also told Ofcom, however, they felt increasingly worried about discriminatory language on TV and radio – particularly around race – and expect such language to be used only when it is highly contextualised.

Ofcom reminds stations it does not consider that the findings of the new research will fundamentally change Ofcom’s approach to applying the offensive language rules.

“We are aware that our existing guidance on offensive language has remained largely unchanged since the Broadcasting Code was first introduced.

“We will therefore be using this opportunity to review our guidance in this area to make sure it more closely reflects the findings of our new research. Licensees should continue to use our existing guidance in this area ahead of any new guidance being published. In the interim, if any licensees have any queries arising from the research, they should contact”

See the list of which words are more offensive than others, here.

A power increase has been agreed for Radio Caroline to extend its coverage area from Suffolk and Essex to include Kent as East Sussex.

The station is broadcasting under a community radio licence and was originally granted 1kW of power on 648 AM in 2018. The actual power increase amount has not been announced.

Ofcom says a power increase was agreed to combat man made noise and interference in the existing coverage area, and to extend coverage to adjoining areas.

While the subsequent increase in the licensed area was considered to be significant, the decision-maker deemed there to be exceptional circumstances in order to approve this request, saying the service has experienced high levels of background noise and interference, particularly in urban areas.

The licensee also serves a ‘community of interest’ as opposed to a defined geographic community meaning the service is positioned to be accessible to the community of interest in the proposed extended areas.

Ofcom adds: “There is an affinity between the existing and extended coverage area as the sea path from the existing transmitter at Orford means that the service is already receivable in parts of the extended coverage area, although existing reception is currently poor. Furthermore, the studio location means that the station attracts and engages volunteers from both the existing and extended coverage areas. The power increase will therefore improve signal in the extended coverage area, where some of the station’s volunteers live and work.”

“The applicant cited demand from its online audience base for access to the service via analogue. The power increase will therefore contribute to fulfilling this demand and broaden choice in how the community of interest in the extended area access the service.

“The licensee provided plans of how it would further engage audiences in the extended areas noting that the social gain prospects would be greatly enhanced in Kent, Essex and elsewhere as a consequence of the proposed extended coverage.

“Specifically, the extended coverage would result in their iconic and historically important Radioship becoming part of the licensed area. This will enable the use of this museum space to serve as an educational tool in offshore radio, and an additional education and training resource for potential volunteer radio presenters and technicians, which alongside the studio facilities in Kent will provide additional social gain capabilities.
No additional frequency resource is required to extend the service to the community of interest in the extended area.”

Radio Caroline has invited presenters from an Essex community radio station to broadcast from its radio ship Ross Revenge in October.

Volunteers from Caroline Community Radio 94.7FM, which serves the Maldon District, will be spending three days onboard the historic radio ship.

“Caroline Community Radio is an independent radio station which is supported by Radio Caroline with training and technical expertise,” said Radio Caroline station manager Peter Moore.

“As part of our support we will be handing the studios on Ross Revenge over to the community presenters for the weekend and they will be shown the ropes by Radio Caroline DJs staying with them on board.”

There will be an opportunity for local people to visit Ross Revenge during the broadcast on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 October and be shown around by Radio Caroline DJs.

The ship is moored on the River Blackwater and trips will be running on both days from Bradwell Marina in Essex. Anyone interested in seeing this iconic piece of broadcasting history can book places by emailing

The weekend broadcast will be relayed on Caroline Community Radio 94.7 FM and online at

Union JACK Dance is starting a new radio show to celebrate the unique heritage and cultural influence of British dance music.

Union JACK Dance Grooves with Jon Jules will air 7-9pm every Sunday from 3 October with a repeat on Wednesdays.

Jules, former resident DJ at London’s Hippodrome, will venture through the music heritage, influences and inspiration behind the evolution of dance music and its culture in Britain, inviting dance music maestros to share their stories from behind-the-scenes of the industry.

Jules, who has worked with the likes of Brandon Block, Dean Thatcher, and Rocky & Diesel, said: “The dance music scene exploded in Britain in the 80s, 90s and 00s and this show is going to explore just what – and who – it was that helped shape the industry and why it was such a special time for British dance music.”

Listeners can expect to hear from a range of guests including the likes of Beverley Knight, Junior, Noel McKoy, Don-E, Light of the World, Omar, Janet Kay, Kenny Thomas, Simon Dunmore (Defected) and Jazzie B (Soul II Soul), who will be sharing insight into their own experiences and influences from across the dance music scene.

Dick Stone, Group Content Manager for the JACK Radio Group which owns Union JACK Dance, said: “Union JACK Dance has been building a loyal following of dance music fans, so we’re excited to bring them a show that sets out to really get under the skin of the music genre they love.

“Jon Jules has been a part of some of the most pivotal moments in British dance music history and it’s particularly apt to be able to deliver this show during Black History Month, recognising the integral role that music of black origin has played within the dance music industry.”

All Oldies Radio has joined the local DAB multiplex in its native Herts, Beds & Bucks region.

The station, which started life in 2016 as Hits 45, includes Rob Charles at breakfast and a number of presenters previously on-air in the area via the Chiltern stations.

They include Phil Fothergill, John Daly, Steve Hyland, Lynsey Dolan and Tony Lloyd.

Director Russ Dee told RadioToday: “We are bringing local radio back to Herts, Beds & Bucks, in a form that our 40+ listeners grew up with and so dearly miss.

“We have already proven that our unique Classic Hits music format is a winner, and although we’ll still be the same All Oldies Radio that our listeners love, we will now be focused on the needs of our Herts, Bed & Bucks audience.”

Chairman Phil Fothergill said: “It’s like old times and great to be back on the air in my favourite stomping ground. You are going to love All Oldies Radio which heralds the return of proper local commercial radio to this area. Truly local from a great team of fun personalities who know and live in the area where YOU live.”

All Oldies Radio has also debuted its new jingle package from TM Studios in Dallas.

On the new sound, Phil adds: “It’s imperative that we recognise the need to sound distinctive and have an identity that underlines the professional sound we have already established with our online service.

“TM has produced an outstanding set of classic hits station idents which fit perfectly into our demographic target of generation x. The mood of fast and slow tempo jingles work nicely with our broad range of classic hits.”

“Working with All Oldies Radio, was a pleasure,” said Chris Stevens, Co-Owner of TM Studios. “Herts, Beds & Bucks is an area that’s had many iconic jingle packages over the decades, and we’re delighted to be continuing that tradition as All Oldies Radio moves onto DAB.”

You can hear the jingles over on

The station started its DAB service at midday on September 27th launching with Russ Dee’s afternoon show.

In a special RadioToday Programme, Toby Anstis chats to RadioToday’s Stuart Clarkson as he marks 20 years since his first overnight show on Heart 106.2.

Toby talks about getting away with broadcasting on Heart for the last 20 years, being off work with the coronavirus, joking about London cab drivers and turning down Smooth Radio Breakfast!

Toby can still be heard daily on the brand, hosting breakfast on Heart Dance and Friday night’s Club Classics across the Heart Network.

Have a listen below or find it in your usual podcast app.

An event to celebrate 60s offshore radio


DJ’s line up for a celebration of offshore broadcasting Radio Mi Amigo is set to return to the airwaves on 14th and 15th August in conjunction with Carillon Wellbeing Radio. Further to their previous successful radio broadcasts, this year’s 2-day Pirate Radio event on Harwich Quay has attracted a host of DJ’s who are coming from near and far to transmit from the restored Lightvessel LV18 as a tribute to the 60’s offshore radio stations. This year’s on-air team, headed by the Programme Director and Trustee Garry Lee, will bring back the popular sound of the Offshore Pirate stations that broadcast from just off our coast and were served from the Ha’penny Pier, Harwich, which is the permanent berth of LV18. Joining the crew will be two DJs from America and music connoisseurs, ex Pirate BBC Essex presenter, Tim Gillett and ex BBC Suffolk presenter, Stephen ‘Foz’ Foster.The broadcast will run 24 hours a day, from 12 o’clock, midnight on the Saturday morning till 12 o’clock midnight on the Sunday night. The broadcast will be available on the Carillon radio website at and may also be heard from their transmitter in the NW Leicestershire on 1476AM / medium wave. This tribute to the Offshore Pirate Radio Stations will celebrate the likes of Radio Caroline, Radio London and several others that appeared off the coast of Harwich in the 1960’s bringing about a revolution in radio broadcasting. Following the previous Pirate Radio broadcasts from LV18, which attracted thousands of visitors to the area, Radio Mi Amigo will celebrate the watery wireless days from the studio, located on the bridge of the Lightvessel. Further to previous year’s events, LV18 will broadcast from her permanent berth by the Ha’penny Pier, Harwich, enabling members of the public to not only visit the classic vessel on the Sunday, but to meet the DJ’s.Broadcasting from the classic heritage vessel LV18, which featured in the film ‘The Boat that Rocked’, Radio Mi Amigo will bring back the sounds of the 60’s and 70’s, the golden era of the Pirate Stations. Visitors will be able to visit the ship on Sunday 15th and view the new ‘Pirate Radio Exhibition’, which has been financed by Harwich Haven Authority via the Essex Community Foundation. The exhibition features new interactive Audio/Visual systems throughout the vessel and new interpretation signage.HISTORYIn the summer of 1964, the boring world of British broadcasting was rocked to its foundations by the launch of offshore radio stations Radio Atlanta, Radio Caroline, Radio City and Radio London.On the weekend of 14th and 15th August, a unique 2-day event will be taking place in Harwich and the Tendring sunshine coast in Essex, UK. The restored heritage Lightvessel LV18 will be hosting a radio broadcast and exhibition celebrating the Offshore Pirate radio broadcasts from the ‘pop ships’ which were anchored just off the coast of Harwich. Tendring was very much the centre of these activities at this time with thousands of tourists sitting on the beaches of Clacton, Walton, Frinton, Harwich and Brightlingsea, listening to their favourite DJ’s on transistor radios. On August 14th this year it will be 54 years since the government closed down most of the Pirate Radio stations with the Marine Offences Act, as depicted in the film ‘The Boat that Rocked’ of 2009, which featured LV18 as part of the filming in Portland, Dorset.The Pharos Trust has hosted many very successful ‘Pirate’ Radio events on LV18 and, along with Pirate BBC Essex over the last 20 years, have attracted thousands of visitors to the town. These previous broadcasts and have featured Johnnie Walker, Emperor Rosko, Dave Cash, Keith Skues, Tony Blackburn and many other ‘pirate radio’ celebrities. This year a host of DJ’s from near and far are joining the team, hosted by Programme Director and Trustee Garry Lee, including 2 DJ’s from America and music connoisseurs, ex Pirate BBC Essex presenter, Tim Gillett and ex BBC Suffolk presenter, Stephen ‘Foz’ Foster.The Pharos Trust, Registered UK charity No.:1090325Tony O’Neil, Trustee and Station Manager, August 2021tonylv18@gmail.comWebsite: www.lv18.orgFacebook: in at:

Radio Piracy on the High Seas: Commercial Demand for Taboo Music — Hackaday

(good to read someone else writing about Pirate Radio)

The true story of pirate radio is a complicated fight over the airwaves. Maybe you have a picture in your mind of some kid in his mom’s basement playing records, but the pirate stations we are thinking about — Radio Caroline and Radio Northsea International — were major business operations. They were perfectly ordinary radio […]

Radio Piracy on the High Seas: Commercial Demand for Taboo Music — Hackaday

The Thrill is Gone — DickTaylorBlog

A view on the am and fm radio over the years here

Like many readers of this blog, I grew up listening to AM radio. It created for me the passion and desire to pursue a radio career while I was still in grade school. As a young child, I remember my parents having a least one radio with the FM band, but scanning that band produced […]

The Thrill is Gone — DickTaylorBlog

Elvis Costello – Radio Radio — PowerPop… An Eclectic Collection of Pop Culture

Interesting thoughts here on this blog about our favourite subject and the meaning of the song!

When I heard the organ in this song it hooked me. I haven’t posted much of Costello partly because like the Replacements…I got sidetracked in the late 80s away from him and since I started blogging I’m rediscovering him again. I was 10 years old walking in our old drug store and I heard this […]

Elvis Costello – Radio Radio — PowerPop… An Eclectic Collection of Pop Culture