To the horror of anybody over 30, most teenagers and those in their early 20s were tuned in. These were the baby boomers after all, and the country was top heavy with 'yoof' in need of entertainment.
We've discussed Radio Caroline many times. In its various forms and across completely different organisations the name has been passed on like a flame between Olympic torches, giving the illusion of continuity as if the radio stations (there were two Radio Carolines in the 1960s) were direct ancestors of those that are called Radio Caroline today.
|(One of Radio Caroline's radioships)|
This one has, or maybe that's now 'had', that weirdest of enigmas, the radio 'anorak' following its every move as if it is some kind of deity. They call the radio station 'her' and, despite Radio Caroline never having actually done anything radical, they treat 'her' as if she gives them some odd kind of hope and protection and motivation and, er, love.
Yes, anoraks feel loved by Radio Caroline. (Snigger)
This Radio Caroline is only available via the internet, and so its audience figures are easily obtained and are definite. Where once, using 'radio waves', there was no method of actually measuring the number of listeners, today's technology is very precise. Where once Radio Caroline enjoyed millions of listeners, that number is down into the hundreds. Some shows get virtually nobody listening at all.
This is all rather disheartening for those who spend their time and money getting to the studio and providing programming. It also probably explains why most Radio Caroline presenters sound so bored and frustrated and like they've pre-recorded generic 'voicetracks' as they play the same oldies over and over again, and say hello to the same few names day after day, week after week.
However, we do now live in a world of billions of radio stations or music streams instantly at our finger tips via computers, mobile phones, and other devices. With more choice comes less listeners bothering to cluster around any one particular station, and far less listener loyalty. That's what is happening and why radio is unimportant these days.
True, a horrendously large number of the original Radio Caroline 'anoraks' have now either died or are sitting in god's waiting rooms too senile to use a keyboard, but there was a time when the internet was alive with Radio Caroline supporters and Radio Caroline dissenters. The discussion was always about what was the 'real' Radio Caroline or whether Radio Caroline would have it's second, third, or fourth 'coming' by going back out to sea to broadcast again.
Time has gone onwards, and I notice that these conversations seem to have gone. Where once they raged on across the post-Radio-Caroline-at-sea decades, they are now silent. Indeed, all radio anorak discussions appear to have disappeared. There's a thriving group on Facebook of course, dominated by old people who can just about work out how to write stuff, whilst Digital Spy (here) along with MusicRadioNews (here) tick away with ever decreasing traffic on the subject, but even putting all the posts from all the different places together, there just is no real conversation any more.
I have curiously followed one particular messageboard place for Radio Caroline Fans (here). It sometimes makes me laugh. I'm pretty sure it's mainly one or two people using different names. They sometimes even use my name. It is supposedly for people who support the 'real' Radio Caroline, whatever or whoever that is, and they seem to provide bursts of posts every couple of weeks. Most of them are just taking the piss out of other people, which is a bit sad.
It is also sad to think that it's all come to this. All the words about Radio Caroline have been written. All the hopes and dreams of the anoraks have faded. Whatever their imagined 'freedoms' that Radio Caroline represented, they have now gone. As have the Radio Caroline fans.