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Radio Caroline Getting Permanent Perch in MW AM Band


Radio Caroline, the latter-day incarnation of the famous shipboard pirate radio station that beamed rock music to the UK in the 1960s and 1970s, has obtained a license to operate permanently on 648 kHz at 1 kW ERP. A transmitter imported from Europe has been undergoing necessary modifications to suit the MW frequency, which falls between the 10-kHz-spaced AM Standard Broadcast Band frequencies in the US.

“It’s taken Radio Caroline 53 years to get an AM license, and it was perceived as a threat to the BBC for many years,” Radio Caroline says on its website. “Ironically 648 kHz was best known for transmitting the BBC World Service in English.” BBC dropped that service in 2011. “The basis of our application was that our traditional heartland was Essex and Suffolk, where the signal from our ships made first landfall, and that we wished to entertain on AM, an audience that we have not been able to serve in this way since 1990.”

Telecoms regulator Ofcom granted the Radio Caroline last May. The station had hoped to be on the air this past summer, but it announced on October 5 that getting the new facility up and running has been proving more difficult than anticipated, mainly owing to extensive required paperwork and obtaining necessary certifications to construct the station.

“We know that people are as keen to see our new service commence, as are we,” Radio Caroline’s Peter Moore said on October 5. “There was a romantic notion that we ‘might just’ get on air by August 14, and indeed, this was tried but it was not possible.” Moore said Radio Caroline was eager to get on the air as soon as possible.



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