Mike’s earliest memory of radio was when he was about 5 or 6 years old when he lived on the south coast, and had hold of a tiny tranny – which back then meant radio and not someone who’s confused about their gender. Mike recalls not being able to find Radio London, and so asked his dad where he could find it. The reply he got was that it was next door to Radio Caroline, which in his mind meant they were two shops somewhere in London next door to each other – Mike hadn’t grasped the fact they were from ships.
Fast-forward to 1972/3 and one night Mike was re-tuning his radio and just happened to stop on 220 metres and heard RNI for the first time. That was it, within a few days he was hooked, and soon found out that Caroline was broadcasting again, and then found Veronica and Atlantis too.
Before long, Mike had discovered RNI’s SW outlet, and in turn stumbled on a number of early landbased SW stations on the famous 48m band. By December 1977, he had blagged his first radio show on Radio Sunshine International (RSI) on 6235 kHz when 17 years old.
RSI was on the air every Sunday on 6235 throughout most of 1978. RSI and EMR joined forces as “The Free Radio Network” with the same programmes broadcast on 4 different frequencies, so in a roundabout way, Mike made his first appearance on EMR in 1978. Sunshine had to close later that year due to studio problems, and when the station returned, it changed its name to Radio Capricorn International. The station was raided in July 1979 by the one and only Eric Gotts and was never heard again.
In late 1979 Mike met Dave Owen (Radio Jackie, Radio Atlantis and Radio Caroline). Dave had just been “let go” by the local legal FM/AM station and was helping a bunch of Wolverhampton students (of which Mike was one) try to set up a legal University radio station. Needless to say, after a year of getting nowhere with the Home Office radio regulatory department, Dave said “bugger it, let’s put out a broadcast”, so a one-off station called “The Magic Bus” was created which was broadcast at the lowest end of the AM band. Mike also met Andy Anderson (also ex-Atlantis) around the same period, and bought some SIS NAB Cart machines from him, which were used on a number of subsequent stations.
In 1980, Mike travelled to Falkirk to make a guest appearance on Radio Woodstock, broadcasting live and speaking to listeners live on the phone on the air.
By December 1980, Mike started his own SW station WEFR (West European Free Radio), and in 1981 (August if Mike’s memory is correct), a young Bert Van Leer joined the station, by which time the programmes were simulcast on both 48 and 41 metres. WEFR was rather unique in that it started broadcasting from just inside the Staffordshire border, and within a few months would relocate to the south coast, and then to West Yorkshire. This undoubtedly confused the authorities who ended up raiding an address in Reading, looking for the station.
WEFR was taken off the air in the summer of 1982, not by a raid, but a nasty car crash when Mike’s car split in two, leaving Mike hospitalised for a few weeks, just as he was about to move from the north of England to the Midlands once again.
Once Mike had overcome his injuries and was able to run, it was time to get back on the radio again. So in December 1982 he returned to the airwaves, but this time on FM and AM in the West Midlands. He’d met up with the guys behind UK Radio in Wolverhampton (a local FM station) where he presented a few guest programmes. Along with a few other like-minded people, Wulfrun Sound was born.
The station started off on FM only on 94.2Mhz, and later added an AM relay on 242m/1242Khz. By the summer of 1983, Mike was moving back “up north”, so Wulfrun closed in July with the final shows broadcast on SW too.
When Wulfrun was on the air, he was involved with another one-off station called WMFR (West Midlands Free Radio). This station was a collaboration of three Wolverhampton-based stations: UK Radio, Wulfrun Sound and Phoenix Radio. It was only on the air for 3 days over Easter 1983, broadcasting 24/7, but somehow ended up with a mention in 2 books published long after the station fell silent.
On returning to Yorkshire in the summer of 1983, Mike began a full time career in IT, with additional income from DJ’ing in various venues 2 or 3 nights a week. Mike became station engineer and presenter on a local hospital radio station. All of that, and family life left no time for proper radio until 2005 when he resumed presenting shows on EMR for the first time in 27 years. Mike continued to present shows on EMR for the next 10 years, with his final show on EMR being broadcast in 2015.
In 2019, Mike joined FRS Holland – he’s essentially stalking Bert Van Leer as they’re on the same station once again. As you can tell, he’s a bad stalker, as it’s taken 37 years to catch up with him.
Dave has worked in radio, in its many forms, since 1982. Most SW listeners of “a certain ge” may remember his own SW free radio station Radio Apollo International which ran from 1982-1990 becoming one of the more popular SW free radio stations in the UK of that era. During that time he was also presenting guest shows on a variety of other SW stations including Radio Titanic International (Germany) and Radio 48 (UK). He also presented shows for local landbased MW and FM free radio stations in the UK.Since then he has continued to present programmes for shortwave stations including Geronimo Shortwave, and, over the past few years (quoting him) “it has been an honour for me to be a part of the fantastic FRS Holland team, presenting my “Radiowaves” programme.”Away from free radio he has worked for his local hospital radio station in the UK presenting shows since 1985 (!!), and still do so to this very day. He has worked on various local FM community radio stations and RSL’s in his area of England. His main broadcast activity nowadays aside from hospital radio and SW is to present a weekly progressive rock show on his local community radio station. The show can be heard online and has attracted a world wide audience which keeps him very busy. Dave’s radio interest started in the mid 70’s when he began tuning around on his father’s old SW radio, finding not only international broadcasters but also SW free radio stations of the time like EMR, Zodiac, Corsair, Skyport Radio, and of course, from 1980 FRSH. This led him to create Radio Apollo in 1982. He was an active SW and MW DXer for many years and was a regular columnist for DX Clubs including the World DX Club, British DX Club and International SW League. He has also had an interest in offshore radio for many years. He had the pleasure of visiting the Ross Revenge in 1985 when the 300ft mast was still standing. His favourite stations (apart from FRSH, Geronimo and Apollo of course): on SW he would say classic UK stations like Radio Impact, Atlanta Radio and the original EMR. His favourite offshore era would probably be the 1970’s Caroline and Seagull. At home he tends to listen to the current Radio Caroline via Internet, whilst in the car it is a little more boring, usually BBC Radio 2 or Planet Rock. Musically he has a very wide taste. You have to when you work on hospital radio! However rock music has always been his main musical love. Nowadays Dave concentrates more of the modern prog rock scene, and his online show champions the many superb bands who are producing fantastic music, many of them unsigned and hardly heard of outside of their small core audience. He can recommend modern bands such as Mostly Autumn, Moon Safari and Big Big Train amongst many others.
Peter’s interest started in the early 1970s and without doubt his elderly sister played an important role: she regurlarly listened to Veronica on a Norelco (=Philips) transistor radio which Peter got as a present when he was 12! In the early 1970’s Peter mainly listened to Veronica, Mi Amigo, Caroline and R.N.I., the latter being his absolute favourite one. When the Dutch stations disappeared, Peter continued listening to Mi Amigo and Caroline (and later in the early 1980s Caroline, Radio Monique & Laser 558/ Hot Hits). Peter’s interest in that wonderful world of radio grew and he also tuned in to local FM radio pirates, a lively scene in the mid & late 1970’s. In 1976 he became a member of a very popular Dutch/Belgian radio magazine called 'Baffle'. For some reason he wasn't aware at all of the existence of SW pirates until he read about it in 'RadioVisie' (a new magazine which was replacing 'Baffle'). That was at the end of 1977. It was August 1978 when Peter bought himself his first SW receiver (Kentec) and a new world opened up for him listening to stations such as Radio Viking, Radio Sunshine, Radio Corsair, Skyport Radio, ABC Europe and E.M.R. among others. He was impressed by the programme standard of some of the stations but at the same time also by the opportunities the SW bands offered covering wide areas with relatively low-powered transmitters. Especially E.M.R. attracted his attention: the station offered a very professional programme alternative to the government-controlled radio stations and succeeded in putting out a marvellous signal despite only using 10W of power.
Late 1977 Peter joined the local hospital radio and started presenting a weekly evening oldies show. Not much later Joop ter Zee joined him. It must have been around 1977 that Peter also acquired his first FM transmitter (built by Bobby Speed whom he had already known since he was 5!). Peter got more and more interested in the Sunday SW scene and this eventually resulted in contacting E.M.R.’s station OP Barry Stephens and presenting the Dutch service on E.M.R. That was in August 1979, the same period in which the first idea of starting his own SW station was born. In the mean time Peter was also one of the key figures behind ABC Music Radio, a local FM pirate broadcasting in stereo on 97.7 MHz on Sundays. Also involved were Joop ter Zee, Bert van Leer, Frankie Fanatic, Bobby Speed and Fred van Es. All of them were also heard on FRS-Holland in the 1980s! It was 1980 when FRSH started and eversince Peter presented shows like FRS goes DX, FRS Magazine and the I.L.L.S. Since 1980 Peter is to be heard on FRS-Holland. He also did two spells on local radio: in the 1990s and the 2000s. On that station he presented an oldies show combined with news from the old days.
Hobbies: sports (cycling, football), radio, computering. Favourite music: the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s. Bands: Kinks, Beatles, Boston, Queen, E.L.O. (amongst may others..!).
It’s all about music, isn’t it? Grew up at a time when good music on the radio was still a precious thing. Wired for sound we were, and we would have lived in a greyer world if there was nobody who took the trouble to provide us with what we were longing to hear. They were the offshore legends like Caroline and Laser, and many many shortwave pirates with an ambition to be radio pioneers.
FRSH caught my ear at that time, and I was pleased when I got the chance to join the staff in 2006, following up Marc Jones and his „Off Beat“ show which introduced me to some music I hadn’t come across before. But it’s not my intention only to look at a past which is getting the more golden the further it is drifting away. There is still a lot of fresh music to discover today. Even though the radio scene has drastically changed, and access to all sorts of music has become a lot easier through the web, I still like the idea of sharing tunes that don’t get the airplay they deserve.
The German programme focusses on music that is often labelled as alternative or ndependent. However, there’s more to it, old New Wave, perhaps a bit of reggae, and even modern folk. A good recipe includes a lot of ingredients, right? I try to throw in something that doesn’t seem to fit at first glance, but it all adds up to an interesting blend. Well, at least it should. It takes a lot of time to pick the music for a show, more than most people would expect.
But it’s not all about the music. I know that shortwave has an anorak audience, so as an extra there are also some items on radio past and present. Throughout the years, the „forgotten pirates“ have been a regular feature with a flashback to a station that closed long time ago or for some odd reason never got a lot of attention. Doing the research on these lost souls of the airwaves is a lot of fun.
Now comes the chapter when DJs give a lengthy list of stations they have worked for. Not here. FRSH is the only station Jan van Dijk has been hosting programmes on, and probably will. For the better I hear you say. Well, even if radio still is a passion after all these years, it’s a good idea to keep the right dose. So let’s enjoy shortwave music radio ... as long as it’s up and running.
Roger starts up…”My interest in radio started way back in the 1960s Just like many other radio enthusiasts I was heavily influenced by the offshore radio stations from around the UK coastline, after listening to the exciting sound of radio from a ship it wasn’t too long before I was totally hooked by this radio bug, by the time I left school I had built my first basic radio studio which consisted of two old record players a home made mixer, a tape recorder and microphone to practice my presenting skills, eventually I managed to construct a crude TX by using components from various old valve radios this worked surprisingly well producing a few watts of RF on MW giving a good signal over a 3 mile radius from my studio location, through the 70s I experimented with various other TXs on MW and FM, by 1976 I was running a very successful local pirate station with more than 20 miles coverage sadly it became too popular then one day in July 76 we were closed down by the UK authorities who obviously thought it was time for us to go, After that raid/court case I put things on hold for a while but eventually I decided it was time to return to this thing I enjoy the most which is RADIO, after broadcasting on MW/FM for several years my interest turned to the SW bands after hearing the exciting sounds on a Sunday morning, while listening to the free radio bands I heard some really quality programming, for me this is where I wanted to be, late 79 I built a new studio, obtained a 20 watt SW transmitter/DJs and helpers then Britain Radio International (BRI) was born, we made our first test transmission June 1980 with regular 2nd/4th Sunday broadcasts commencing a month later, the response from the listeners was amazing receiving over 100 letters for each broadcast, the 80s was by far the best times for BRI, we continued through the years until 2010 when other radio commitments took over, the station may be absent from the SW bands but it has not closed down, maybe one day it will return in some shape or form, in 2012 I received a invitation to join the FRSH team to present the Golden show which I was very pleased to except as my speciality is presenting oldies shows, I am a record collector having several thousands of single 45s specially rare 60s vinyl which I make good use of in my various radio shows including the FRSH Golden shows. Other than my radio interests I am a musician who has played in various local bands over the years, first on drums then onto lead guitar which I am still doing today, also I have been running a successful disco roadshow since 1970. My musical tastes are quiet varied, although my preferred music is Rock/ RnB/ Soul/ Motown, favourite bands are Jethro Tull/ Steely Dan/ Free/ Deep Purple/ CCR/ Status Quo/ Dr Feelgood/ Wilko Johnson/Coldplay/ Keane/ Starsailor/ Frans Ferdinand/ Roachford/ Pink Floyd and many more. Solo artists include Chris Rea/ Al Steward/ Neil Young/ James Taylor/ Steve Winwood/ James Morrison. Music dislikes are country/jazz.”
Unless the other FRS presenters (apart from PV), Bert van Leer has a 'FRS past'. "I first started listening to the radio at an age of about 8 or 9. Since I was born in 1962 that would be arround 1970/1971.The only music station I knew at that time was Hilversum 3, and popmusic was only to be heard on this station a couple of hours a week (the rest was sports, gospels and talkradio). In 1971 I somehow got hold of the first Radio Veronica magazine, and I was very impressed: a station broadcasting only music from the Northsea: how exiting! Unfortunately I couldn't listen to the station, reception was bad in the part of the Netherlands I was living. But I started listening to Northsea, and later when Veronica switched to 538, Veronica. I also got to know Joop ter Zee better at that time, and together we started a radiostation (as little 10-12 year old boys) which broadcasted via a walky talky which I got as christmas gift!. In the second half of the 70s, Joop and I switched to FM, and I listened to Radio Mi Amigo because the other pirates had gone. In the early 80s I joined a Flemisch radiostation where I hosted a daily 2 hour show for a couple of years. The station had an huge audience because of the high transmitting power, so that was a big switch compared to my walky talky station 10 years earlier! Later in the 80s I joined more Flemisch stations, I started doing programmes for FRSH (I even remember doing shows for WEFR, another shortwave station), and started working in Belgium discotheques. Roundabout 1988/1989 I stopped doing the Belgium stuff, mostly because I had started a career in IT, which I found very interesting too. In the early 90s my last radio adventure was doing a weekly show on a local station in the Netherlands, and apart from doing some jingles now and then, and experimenting with Internetradio, I stopped doing radiowork. To be honest, I don't like the current radio situation in Europe: there is no adventure in radio anymore, personality radio is now longer prefered, everyone is aiming at a safe 25-40 year old target, playing songs a computer spits out for you. I am glad I did radio in a time that I could choose my music, choose/make my jingles, look after my format. The profession of musicradio dj has devaluated unfortunately. In 2015 I started working for FRSH again, first as a 1 time event, but since it felt so good doing radiostuff again, now on a regular basis. With use of computers and audiosoftware, but all in the good-old spirit of radio as it was made before everyone owned a radiostation! Hope to see you soon on the other side of your SW transceiver during my show!"
In September 2002 Paul presented his debute show on FRS-Holland. He's has been doing irregular editions of the FRS Golden Show and the 1980s Show eversince and is still involved these days. For already more than 10 years
For an 'all time FRS presenters' overview please surf to Presenters past. You will find all names plus the periods in which they used to present programmes on the station. In a special item we commemorate the late Joop ter Zee.