A remarkable visit

The generation over 60 is one that is especially spoilt for radio listening and each person has one or more favourite radio stations. Dick Offringa has a great love for Radio Luxembourg’s broadcasts and has especially listened intensely to the English service and visited the studio in Luxembourg no less than five times over the years. It has been 32 years since the programmes ended in 1991. Dick Offringa also had his favourite deejay: Barry Alldis. In the month of April, he had a special encounter, about which he tells more himself.

‘On King’s Day, Radio Emmeloord’s mobile studio stood in the busy centre of Emmeloord. Many people stopped by for an interview or to listen to the nice old music. My partner Annelies and I were waiting for visitors from Luxembourg after three o’clock. Quarter past three we met Janet Alldis and her husband Frank. Janet is the daughter of the Radio Luxembourg DJ who, among other things, always presented the English Top Twenty (Top Twenty) on Sunday nights in the 1960s.

Whether it was entirely accurate I don’t know but it was said at the time to have 15 million listeners. Not only in England, Spain, Norway but also far beyond the Iron Curtain. Janet had contacted me to talk about that time. Also for the project they are setting up at the University of Luxembourg on the history of Radio Luxembourg. It should become an exhibition in Radio Luxembourg’s original building; Villa Louvigny, from 2025 onwards.

We first strolled through the busy free market with items visibly from the attic. As it was quite noisy in the city centre, we decided to divert to Urk. During the walk, and coffee, I told about my five visits to villa Louvigny and how I got there. But I also told about the thrill of listening to ‘fading Radio Luxembourg’. Even though all airtime had been bought up by record companies, and they only played two minutes of a song, it was still interesting for teenagers because Radio Luxembourg was the only pop station at the time.

Back home in Emmeloord, we enjoyed dinner cooked by Annelies. After this, we were in the Radio Emmeloord studio upstairs in our house. One of many home studios as there are 30 different home studios. Our great friend is the internet. We took pictures, just as we once did in Luxembourg. Throughout the evening, we reminisced. Janet was 18 when her father died in 1982. He had left for London in 1966 but returned to Luxembourg 10 years later.

I also showed Janet the BBC documentary about the end of English-language Radio Luxembourg in December 1991. Now more than 30 years ago. I met her father Barry Alldis in the studio in January 1977. By then, tapes from London were no longer used; everything was live, without a technician. Janet said she always got singles from her father: “Not For Sale”.

Because they loved tulip fields, we went to three different tulip fields in the polder on Sundays. They found it fascinating. And took many pictures. Later in the day, we went to Lemmer. Quietly because of the cold weather. After lunch, we returned to Emmeloord. There Janet held a video interview with me for the radio project. In the background a picture of her father Barry Alldis. It was enervating for me to meet her. A daughter of the man I have long admired: Barry Alldis. Sunday night, in their car, while charging, they listened to my radio programme in which I played many memories of Radio Luxembourg. As if I was young again. It was a wonderful weekend!’