This is the second in our series highlighting very cool radio stations that play independent artists.
Radio Seagull broadcasts from a radio ship named the Jenni Baynton in Harlingen harbour in the Netherlands. It serves the northern half of the country, and can also be heard on the east coast of England, in Scandinavia, Germany, and Switzerland. It is streamed worldwide at http://www.radioseagull.com. Radio Seagull’s motto is “There Is More To Music Than Hits Alone” and we couldn’t agree more! This is an AM station where presenters (DJ’s) still program their own shows and are passionate about the music they present.
The current incarnation of Radio Seagull was launched in 2003 and is one of the last of the radio ships – a trend that first started in the 1960’s and whose romantic past was immortalized by the 2009 movie “Pirate Radio”. In the mid 60’s, while British rock groups like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, and many more were topping the American charts and creating the soundtrack for a generation, the government-dominated BBC only allowed one hour of rock and roll to be played a day. Radio ships began to spring up in the North Sea and, anchored in international waters, they illegally beamed rock and roll at the shoreline 24 hours a day. Hugely popular with the public, the ships that rocked garnered enormous audiences and made stars of the presenters who staffed them as well as the artists whose records they played.
The original Radio Seagull first broadcast in 1973 from a 1920’s era schooner named the Mi Amigo. It eventually mutated back into Radio Caroline, the station previously broadcast from the ship and the one which inspired the Pirate Radio movie. The Mi Amigo had many brushes with shipwreck in her long history, but finally sank, not to be recovered, in a force 10 gale on March 20th, 1980. Our contact at Radio Seagull, program director Stevie Gordon, was senior presenter for Radio Caroline on the Mi Amigo at that time. He sent us a fascinating account of his experience of being on that sinking ship and trying to get everyone aboard (including Wilson, the ship’s canary) safely loaded onto a lifeboat that was desperately trying to stay close enough in high winds and rough seas. Stevie was the last to get off and, although he almost went down with the ship, he was ultimately rescued.
Stevie Gordon aboard the Mi Amigo (Radio Caroline) in 1978…
… Stevie Gordon still broadcasting today – now from the Jenni Baynton as program director for Radio Seagull.
There is A LOT more interesting background on the pirate radio ships than can be included in this article. There are some links at the end if you would like to learn more.
Radio Seagull first supported the Strolling Scones in 2011 by playing our EP “Something Happening In The Air”. We’ve recently heard from several of the presenters that they are currently playing our latest release “Like Ripples Across The Pond”. Presenter Des Withey is planning a 6 week feature of the whole album. To find out when the feature will air, “Like” Radio Seagull on Facebook and watch out for Des’ announcement. (https://www.facebook.com/RadioSeagull?fref=ts) While you’re at it, if you haven’t “liked” the Strolling Scones, it’s https://www.facebook.com/pages/Strolling-Scones/273958438875?fref=ts.
Some interesting links:
History of the Mi Amigo – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Mi_Amigo
Radio Caroline at sea in the 60’s – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zeKYdHVC6E
Radio Caroline ship sinks – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJdT-CKDwHw