Tony Christian�s days on Caroline 558

 

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FROM SUBMITTING MY INITIAL DEMO TAPE TO RADIO CAROLINE AND ALTHOUGH HAVING ALREADY WORKED ON PIRATE RADIO ON PRIMETIME BREAKFAST SHOWS ON FM, I WAS STILL SHOCKED AT THE INVITATION TO BE WORKING FOR RADIO CAROLINE, READY FOR ACTION AT A MEETING PLACE IN RAMSGATE KENT ENGLAND. I REMEMBER MY BROTHER PAUL ARRIVED AT MY HOUSE TO PICK ME UP FOR RAMSGATE ABOUT 7PM THAT NIGHT, AND I SAID GOODBYE TO MY FAMILLY, AND MY ELDEST SON MARC WAS CRYING, BECAUSE HE DID NOT WANT ME TO GO AWAY AGAIN. I SAID TO MY WIFE THAT I COULD NOT GO, BUT SHE INSISTED THAT I COULD NOT MISS OUT ON A LIFESTIME'S AMBITION OF WORKING ON THE WORLD FAMOUS RADIO CAROLINE . EVENTUALLY I LEFT HOME AND HEADED FOR RAMSGATE AS PER INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE CAROLINE OFFICE TO A HOUSE , WHERE I FIRST MET TONY PETERS, WHO WAS GOING OUT TO THE SHIP,TOO. WE GOT ON WELL AND HAD TO STAY THE NIGHT IN THE HOUSE  BECAUSE THE TIDE WAS WRONG, AND WERE TOLD WE WOULD LEAVE IN THE MORNING FOR THE ROSS.

 

tc01.jpg (25516 Byte)WE WERE WOKEN AROUND 4AM AND HEADED TOWARDS RAMSGATE HARBOUR, AND BOARDED A SMALL VESSEL, OUR TAXI TO THE ROSS. AS SOON AS WE HEADED OUT TO SEA THROUGH THE HARBOUR GATES THE SEA WAS ROUGH, AND I WONDERED WHAT THE HELL I WAS DOING WITH MY LIFE! THE SEA SEEMED TO BE ROUGH FOR ABOUT AN HOUR OR SO, THEN SETTLED DOWN, IT TOOK ABOUT 2 AND A HALF HOURS TO REACH THE ROSS, WHEN WE FIRST CAME IN SIGHT OF THAT HUGE MAST ALL 300FT OF IT, IT THEN BECAME SO EXCITING AS WE WERE COMING CLOSER AND CLOSER TO THE SHIP. AFTER INITIALLY COMING UP ALONGSIDE THE ROSS AND CLIMBING UP THE TYRES VIA A ROPE LADDER WITH MY WORLDLY POSSESSIONS ON MY BACK, I WAS MET BY PETER PHILLIPS, JOHN DWYER, MARK MATTHEWS, JAMIE KING, TOM ANDERSON, CHICAGO AND RAFFLES, THE SHIP'S DOG. I HAD A BRIEFING WITH PETER PHILLIPS, THE PROGRAMME CONTROLLER AND WAS ON AIR THE NEXT DAY AFTER EXPLORING THE SHIP THROUGHOUT THAT DAY.



tc02.jpg (27411 Byte)BEFORE WORKING FOR RADIO CAROLINE, I WORKED AS A MOBILE DJ FOR FIVE YEARS, WEDDING RECEPTIONS, WORKING MENS CLUBS ETC., THEN TO HOSPITAL RADIO (DART RADIO) WITH THE TIUTION OF DAVE FOSTER AND PAUL ROGERS, 20 YEARS AGO, YET ME AND DAVE ARE STILL CLOSE FRIENDS. YOU WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT HE WOULD HAVE WRITTEN ME OFF YEARS AGO! THEN I PROGRESSED TO MY FIRST ON-AIR STATION VIA CABLE ON RADIO THAMESMEAD, PRESENTING THE BREAKFAST SHOW; THEN TO A DANCE MUSIC STATION, ONE OF THE BIGGEST IN LONDON AT THE TIME - JFM RADIO, PRESENTING THE BREAKFAST SHOW. FROM THERE I WENT TO SKYLINE RADIO, ALSO PRESENTING THE BREAKFAST SHOW, THEN TO RADIO SOVEREIGN INTERNATIONAL IN FRANCE. ONCE BACK IN LONDON, I WORKED ON RTM RADIO WITH THE DANCE MUSIC CHART SHOW AND THEN TO RADIO CAROLINE ON 558.

 

tc11.jpg (29654 Byte)AFTER MY TIME ON CAROLINE IN THE 80'S, ON MY RETURN, I BUILT UP A STUDIO IN MY HOME TO BROADCAST QUALITY WHICH PRODUCES DJ AND RADIO DEMO TAPES AND HAVE WORKED IN NIGHTCLUBS IN LONDON AND IN THE SOUTH EAST FOR TWENTY FIVE YEARS. I SPENT A TIME WORKING WITH MARK FORREST ON VIRGIN FM, MICK BROWN, DAVE JENSON, PAUL PHEAR AND PAT SHARP) WHO I HAVE KEPT IN CONSTANT CONTACT WITH AND STILL REMAIN GOOD FRIENDS. IT IS SAD THAT RADIO IN THE UK IS SO BAD AND IF I AM HONEST, I LISTEN TO A STATION DURING DAY FROM THE NETHERLANDS WHICH HAS THE MUSIC FORMULA CORRECT, WITH JUST THE MUSIC WE WANT TO HEAR.

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AS I THINK BACK , WITH THE INTEREST I HAD IN MUSIC AND PROGRESSING FROM A MOBILE DJ, IT WAS PROBABLY DUE TO THE FACT THAT DAVE FOSTER, ALL THOSE YEARS AGO, STOOD BY ME ON HOSPITAL RADIO AFTER ALL THE MAIN PROGRAMMES HAD FINISHED AND TAUGHT ME HOW RADIO BROADCASTING SHOULD BE DONE, SO A LOT OF MY SUCCESS IS DOWN TO HIM FOR HIS HELP AND PATIENCE, 20-ODD YEARS AGO, AND YET WE MET AGAIN ALL THOSE YEARS LATER - STRANGE HOW THAT BIG WIDE WORLD EVOLVES.



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I STILL CANNOT BELIEVE HOW RELAXING MY TIME ON THE ROSS WAS, ALTHOUGH I WAS WORKING 4 NIGHTS A WEEK IN NIGHTCLUBS AND PRESENTING A BREAKFAST SHOW WHEN I LEFT THE LAND. WHEN I THINK BACK TO THE TIME WHEN I JOINED CAROLINE ON 558, WITH THE NIGHTS THAT I WAS WORKING IN NIGHTCLUBS AS WELL AS THAT FULL TIME DAY JOB, I REMEMBER FEELING TOTALLY EXHAUSTED. AT THE TIME CAROLINE WAS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR. THIS TIME WAS HARDER, HAVING TO LEAVE MY WIFE AND TWO SMALL CHILDREN AT THAT TIME, AND A MORTGAGE TO PAY! AT THIS TIME (BEFORE THE DAYS OF MOBILE PHONES) THERE WAS NO FORM OF COMMUNICATION OTHER THAN SHIP TO SHORE, AND IN AN EMERGENGY IT WAS AROUND 23 MILES TO SWIM TO SHORE.

 



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AFTER BEING SHOWN TO MY CABIN WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY AT THE BOTTOM OF THE STEPS AND FIRST CABIN ON THE LEFT, I SETTLED IN BUT FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY. I WAS THEN MOVED TO A CABIN OPPOSITE WHICH WAS TO BE MY HOME WHILE ON BOARD THE ROSS. I MADE IT QUITE COMFORTABLE WITH PHOTOS OF MY FAMILY ABOVE MY BED AND HAD A LOUDSPEARKER WITH A VOLUME CONTROL SO THAT I COULD MONITOR RADIO CAROLINE DIRECT FROM THE STUDIOS, A WASH BASIN AND AN AIR EXTRACTION VENT AND THAT SMELL OF CAROLINE DEISEL WAS PRESENT. EVEN WHEN I GO BACK TO THE SHIP TODAY, IT IS SOMETHING I WILL NEVER FORGET - ALONG WITH THE VIBRATION THROUGHOUT THE SHIP AND THE HUM OF THE GENERATORS WHICH WAS ALL PART OF CAROLINE.

 



tc10.jpg (27736 Byte)MY FIRST PROGRAMME WITH CAROLINE WAS 9 P.M. TO 12. THEN I MOVED TO 9 A.M. TO 1 P.M. THERE WERE A COUPLE OF TIMES I OVERSLEPT WHEN KEVIN TURNER, WHO I HAD WORKED WITH ON RADIO SOVEREIGN INTERNATIONAL WAS PRESENTING THE BREAKFAST SHOW AHEAD OF ME, WOULD COME DOWN TO MY CABIN BETWEEN RECORDS AND BANG ON THE DOOR. MY CLOSEST ENCOUNTER WAS TO ARRIVE IN THE STUDIO FIVE MINUTES BEFORE MY PROGRAMME AND THEN AFTER WAKING UP THROUGHOUT THE PROGRAMME, A BOAT ARRIVED WITH LISTENERS AND PEOPLE FROM THE CAROLINE SUPPORT GROUP WHO VIDEOD MY PROGRAMME WITH ME HALF ASLEEP! WHILE I WAS ON THE ROSS THE WEATHER WAS BRILLIANT MOST OF THE TIME AND I SPENT A LOT OF THE TIME ON THE REAR DECK SUNBATHING DURING THE DAY, ALTHOUGH THERE WAS ALWAYS SOMETHING TO DO THE WHOLE TIME. OTHER DJ'S WOULD GET UP AT VARIOUS TIMES THROUGH THE DAY AND NIGHT AND YOU WOULD BUMP INTO THEM AT ANY TIME. THE GALLEY, MOST OF THE TIME, WAS A FREE FOR ALL, DAY AND NIGHT, OTHER THAN AT AROUND 4 P.M. ONWARDS WHEN A REGULAR EVENING MEAL WAS PREPARED BY THE RESIDENT CHEF, TO BE EATEN IN THE MESS ROOM, ALWAYS AT 6 P.M. IT WAS A TIME WHEN ALL THE DJ'S AND STAFF ABOARD GOT TOGETHER AND IT WAS ALWAYS GOOD. ONE OF MY MEMORIES WAS MY DISCOVERY TO MAKE EGG OMELETTES WITH IAN AKERS USING DUTCH EDAM CHEESE.



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DURING THE DAY TIME IT WAS POSSIBLE TO SWIM AROUND THE ROSS WITH A CALM SEA WITH SOMEBODY ON BOARD ON JELLY FISH WATCH. SOME OF THE GUYS WOULD DROP A FISHING LINE AND FISH FOR FUN. I REMEMBER ON ONE OCCASION WHEN I WAS WASHING MY PILLOW AND BED CLOTHES AND HUNG THEM ON THE LINE ON THE BACK DECK AND A WIND BLEW UP AND BLEW THEN IN THE SEA. WE WERE ABLE TO WASH OUR CLOTHES IN THE WASH ROOM WITH A WASHING MACHINE AND SPIN DRYER. I ALSO REMEMBER GOING UP TO THE BRIDGE LATE AT NIGHT AND LOOKING OUT TO SEA SEEING NOTHING MORE THAN SMALL FISHING BOATS - IT WAS SO PEACEFUL. I GUESS THAT�S WERE LOVING AWARENESS KICKS IN - RONAN WAS SO RIGHT.

 



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DURING THE DAY, YOU COULD LOOK OUT TO SEA AND SEE NOTHING BUT WATER - NO LAND IN SIGHT. AT THAT TIME THERE WERE NO MOBILE PHONES AND IF THE WEATHER TURNED YOU WERE FACED WITH NASTY GALES WITH THE MAST SWAYING AND YOU THOUGHT YOU WOULD NEVER REACH LAND AGAIN. THE ATMOSPHERE THERE ON BOARD WAS ALWAYS GOOD. I GUESS WE WERE ALL THERE FOR THE SAME REASON. IT WAS ALWAYS GOOD TO HAVE A BOAT COME OUT WITH LIESTENERS WHO WOULD STAY ABOARD MOST OF THE DAY AND SOCIALISE. ALSO IN MY DAY, RADIO MONIQUE WERE ON BOARD AND BROADCASTING FROM THE STUDIOS NEXT DOOR. THEY HAD A LARGE LISTENERSHIP, TOO.



tc12.jpg (27232 Byte)IT IS STRANGE IN RADIO CIRCLES AS NEIL FRANCIS, WHO I WORKED WITH ON SKYLINE RADIO, DAVE FOSTER AND KEVIN TURNER WHO I WORKED WITH ON RADIO SOVEREIGN INTERNATIONAL, ALL ENDED UP ON CAROLINE.



WHEN I THINK BACK TO THE TIME WHEN I JOINED RADIO CAROLINE ON 558, I WOULD NEVER HAD SUCCEEEDED MY AMBITION TO WORK ON THE WORLD FAMOUS RADIO CAROLINE WITHOUT MY WIFE'S PATIENCE, SUPPORT AND LOVE. AFTER ALL THESE YEARS ON RADIO, MY SUCCESS STORY IS DOWN TO MY WIFE AND TWO CHILDREN. MY ONLY REGRET IS THAT MY DAD WHO DIED AT 55 YEARS OLD NEVER HEARD ME BROADCASTING ON RADIO CAROLINE. I�M SURE HE WOULD BE PROUD OF ME, AS MY MUM STILL IS TO THIS DAY.


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THAT'S A BRIEF ENCOUNTER OF MY TIME ON RADIO CAROLINE WITH FOND MEMORIES. AS I SAID BEFORE, THERE IS SO MUCH MORE AND IF I CAN THINK OF ANY MORE GOOD DAY/GOOD TIMES WITH CAROLINE, YOU WILL BE THE FIRST TO KNOW.

 

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