It was in 1978 that Mike Baron and Nick Oakly from Music Radio Promotions asked as few people from the Netherlands, including Hans Knot, to cooperate in a special event called Zeezenders 20, which was held at Noordwijkerhout.

Inspired by the Zeezenders 20 happening Rob Olthof from Amsterdam suggested that he, along with Hans, could organise small meetings for offshore radio fans. He made a beginning with the so-called ‘Movie Afternoons’. It was the time when private videos arose and so those 8mm movies, made by offshore radio anoraks, were screened and some discussions were launched.

In 1980, Hans Verbaan of the Free Radio Campaign joined in and a group of interested people got together in a small building in Scheveningen harbour on quite a regular basis. These movie afternoons sometimes took place twice a year and it came to a point that there were more people than available chairs. Therefore some bigger locations in cities like Amsterdam, Haarlem, Utrecht and again Amsterdam had to be found. In 1984, the first guests were interviewed including Simon Barrett, Juul Geleick and Tom Mulder. In the meantime, the organising team was growing with Piet Treffers and Tom de Munck joining in. From the late eighties, more people from abroad – most of all Germany and Belgium – attended the event each year.

During the nineties, more and more deejays and technicians from former offshore radio stations visited the Radio Days to be interviewed. Our team had been joined by Jelle Boonstra, who did a marvellous job within the Radio Day organisation during a period of 15 years. From 1994, a bigger venue at Amsterdam’s Artis Zoo was the place to meet. Since 1993, Martin van der Ven was a regular and quite enthusiastic visitor of the Radio Days and Hans, Rob and Martin soon became close friends. So they got to a point that Martin joined the organisation team and soon launched a special website to keep all attendees informed and to keep the memories alive.

From 2004, we started to invite complete groups of deejays from the past – starting with the Caroline class of 1973/74 which meant many former deejays, technicians and crew members. In 2005, “RNI in 1970” attracted several former Radio NorthSea employees who had a magnificent discussion on the podium. In November 2006, the Voice of Peace reunion formed a major highlight, as 20 former VoP jocks and technicians got together from all over the world.

But one of the biggest event ever was the 2007 one with 450 visitors. We listened to Tom Mulder (Klaas Vaak) and saw the Swinging Radio England reunion. And we were fascinated to hear Johnnie Walker, Robbie Dale, Roger Day and other well known jocks telling their stories on Radio Caroline after Monday August 14th 1967…

The 2008 Radio Day included an in-depth interview with Radio Atlantis’ Adriaan van Landschoot and saw “Radio Caroline in the late seventies (1977-80)” as a main topic. Four panels discussed that exciting era just before the MV Mi Amigo sank in March 1980. This included nearly all the English and Dutch colleagues who worked for the legendary offshore radio station around thirty years ago. Again it became a big class reunion.

In 2009, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of Laser 558 with a Laser Reunion including Jessie Brandon, Charlie Wolf, Mike Barrington, Johnny Lewis, Ray Anderson, Dennis Jason, Leendert Vingerling, Paul Jackson and Jim Perry. Keith Skues had been celebrating his 70th birthday plus “50 years on the radio” a few months earlier. He was interviewed by the Dutch radio legend Tom Mulder. A most intensive dialogue between Steve Conway and Nigel Harris (Stuart Russel) fascinated the audience. Ingo Paternoster pleased everyone with an interesting “AFN in Germany” presentation. And yet again, Graham Gill singing his ‘Way Back Home” was a treat for all attendees.

2010 saw a superb Radio Mi Amigo panel. Marc Jacobs chatted with Hugo Meulenhof, Ferry Eden, Will van der Steen and Bert Bennett. One of the highlights was the “Radio 390 Reunion”. Brian Cullingford, Roger Scott, Mark Hammerton, John Stewart and Graham Gill took part in a fascinating panel with Trevor Adams from Project Redsand as the moderator. We welcomed Seve Ungermark from Sweden who has worked for the Scandinavian offshore radio pioneer Radio Nord. An “RNI is 40” reunion included the following guests: Victor Pelli, Graham Gill, Arnold Layne (Roger Scott), Peter Chicago, Bob Noakes, Peter Ford, Hans ten Hooge (Hogendoorn), Peter Jager, Marc van Amstel, Pieter Damave and Leo van der Goot. Nico Steenbergen and Robbie Owen chaired both panels. Chi Coltrane concluded the Radio Day 2010 with three of her songs.

In 2011, we started with a dialogue between Jonathan Marks and Andy Sennitt on the “History of Radio Netherlands’ Media Network”. Then, Josje de Munck was presented with the prime copy of the Hans Knot’s new book “Laser 558 – All Europe Radio”. You could watch parts of a new video containing an interview with Gerard van Dam who chatted with Leendert Vingerling on the podium. Gerard and several of his former colleagues then took part in an interesting panel about Radio Delmare. “The forgotten stations from former wartime defence forts” was the title of the second panel in the English language. Radio Veronica followers were fascinated by Juul Geleick and his dialogue partners “op volle kracht”. “Get Your Kicks On 266 with Radio London memories” was our final panel in 2011 which saw several several guests coming from abroad and even from Australia!

The 2012 event started with Sonja van Proosdij who was interviewed by Jan Parent on her memories of the REM-eiland, home of RTV Noordzee in 1964. Jan had arranged an additional video interview with Marc van de Mosselaer, who had served as a technician on that platform. The Flemish impact on Radio Mi Amigo and the VVVR programme on that station were central in an interesting panel led by Walter Galle. “Caroline 558” was the famous offshore station’s title during the latter part of the 1980s. 10 former deejays and technicians relived their memories on our podium. “Radio 270, Yorkshire’s part of the beat fleet” meant the next nostalgic panel which was moderated by Bob Preedy and completed by singing deejay Mike Hayes. Marconi Oeuvre Award winner Felix Meurders chatted with Bert van der Laan on his impressing radio career. And last but not least, Radio Caroline North occupied centre stage. BBC journalist and Caroline expert Paul Rowley chatted with five former Caroline jocks and expert Andy Wint. Wally Meehan pleased us with two of his Caroline hymns.

In March 2014, it was exactly 50 years ago that Radio Caroline started its transmissions from the MV Fredericia off the British coast. And beyond that in August 2014, it was 40 years ago that Radio Veronica and Radio Nordsee International as the most prominent watery wireless stations off the Dutch coast had to close down. This is the reason why we thought that the Radio Day 2014 had to become an even bigger event than usual. 425 people from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, France, Spain, Seborga (Italy), Canada, Mexico, Dubai, the USA, Australia, Thailand and of course the Netherlands visited the Radio Day in Amsterdam on Saturday March 22nd 2014. For the fourth time, we gathered in the new Hotel Casa 400 in the Eerste Ringdijkstraat 4 in Amsterdam. With its modern facilities and technique, the new building allowed us again to open a big “Radio Day Marketplace” including several stands with offshore merchandise, a bar and most of all enough place to meet and greet. In addition the enlarged “Radio Day Conference Hall” with capable loudspeakers, several headlights and a modern projector meant “easy listening and viewing” for up to 350 visitors in the room.

This was the March 2014 schedule:

Welcome (commemorating Rob Olthof who had sadly passed away in September 2013) with Hans Knot and Martin van der Ven

‘The Pirate Radio Documentary’
A video documentary by Wayne Hepler

Swinging to you on 242: Radio Scotland
Ian Biggar (moderator), Tony Meehan, Bryan Vaughan, Pete Bowman

The Sound of Young Europe: Radio NorthSea International (RNI) – Part 1
Nico Steenbergen (moderator), Ferry Maat, Hans ten Hooge, Marc van Amstel, Pieter Damave, Peter Ford, Dick de Graaf, Jan Harteveld

The Sound of Young Europe: Radio NorthSea International (RNI) – Part 2
Robbie Owen (moderator), Victor Pelli, Arnold Layne, Robb Eden, Graham Gill, Dave Gregory, Peter Chicago, Michael Lindsay, Roger Kent, Paul May, Peter and Werner Hartwig, Roger ‘Twiggy’ Day

Easy Listening with Britain Radio and Radio 355
John Ross-Barnard (moderator), Phil Martin, Tony Meehan, Graham Gill, Mark Sloane, John Aston, Patrick Starling

Radio Caroline: The Seventies – Part 1
Andy Archer (moderator), Johnny Jason, Paul Alexander (Rusling), Robb Eden, Don Stevens, Graham Gill, Clive Correll, Elija Vandenberg, Charlotte Ribbelink, Mickey Mercer, Teun Visser, Mike Plumley

Radio Caroline: The Seventies – Part 2
Stephen Bishop (Johnny Lewis, moderator), Stevie Gordon, Richard “Buzby” Thompson (Bob Lawrence), Stuart Russel (Nigel Harris), Peter Chicago, Ad Roberts, Martin Fisher, Nick Richards, Marc Jacobs, Cliff Osbourne

The Tower of Power: Radio City
Bob Le-Roi (moderator), Ricky Michaels, Norman St. John, Mike Hayes, RWB (Ross Brown), Dick Dixon, Martin Green, Peggy Knight (Linda Bass)

Radio Caroline: The Sixties
Ray Clark (moderator), Robbie Dale, Keith Skues, Norman St. John, Bryan Vaughan, Gordon Cruse, Mark Sloane, Ross Brown (Freddie Beare), Bud Ballou, Steve Young, Tony Prince, John Aston, Wally Meehan, Alan Turner, Johnnie Walker, David Williams, Roger ‘Twiggy’ Day, Patrick Starling
Wally Meehan singing “You’ll never walk alone”

The Radio Day – A retrospect with Hans Knot and Martin van der Ven

These guests were aboard as well: Mark Wesley (Radio Scotland, RNI), Peter Ford (RNI), Philip Hayton (Radio 270, BBC), Dick Klees (Radio Veronica), Peter Philips (Caroline 558), James Kaye (Radio Caroline in the seventies), Jaap de Haan (Caroline seventies), Richard Jackson (Radio Caroline in 1986/87), John Dwyer (Radio Caroline, Radio Atlantis), Leendert Vingerling (Radio Delmare, tender captain), John Thompson (Voice of Peace), Bill Rollins (Tower Radio), Bob Noakes (RNI, Radio Caroline, Voice of Peace), Jan Veldkamp (Radio Monique), Herbert Visser (Radio Monique), Wim de Valk (Radio Monique), Elly van Amstel (Radio Monique, Radio 558), Edo Peters (Radio Monique), Fred Bolland (Radio Monique), Mark Dezzani, Peter Clayton (Radio Caroline), Jon Myer (Pirate Hall of Fame), René van den Abeelen (radioships.com), Hans Hettelder (radioship models), Ray Anderson (Laser Hot Hits 576), Dennis Jason (Radio Caroline, Laser Hot Hits 576), “Harkie” Paul Harald van Gelder (Radio 227), Frank Leonhardt (Offshore ’98), Jan Sundermann (Offshore ’98), Sietse Brouwer, Johan Vermeer (Radio Mi Amigo), Albert and Georgina Hood, Brian Cullen, Barry James, Graham L. Hall, Corrado Trisoglio, Mike Knight (Radio Luxembourg), Enda Caldwell (Atlantic 252, Radio Luxembourg), Ad Roland (Petersen), Stewart Payne, Hans Fjellestad, Jonathan Marks, Ruud Kegel, Ren Groot, Ton Vogt, Jaap and Jacqueline Schut (Museum RockArt).

Radio Extra Gold NL broadcast for 7 hours live from the event. During the recent years, Extra Gold NL has definetely become a Radio Day mainstay!

In 2007 we had been introducing the ‘Radio Day Awards’ as a biennial event to acclaim the efforts of several special people who stood up for free radio without governmental control. It was ‘The Admiral’ Robbie Dale who came up with the idea and who presented the very first Radio Day Award ceremony along with Hans Knot. The Radio Day Awards (to be known by the nick name ‘The Radies’) consisted of 4 categories with 6 winners.
The following people were presented an Award during the Radio Day Award ceremonies in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2014:

“An Outstanding Contribution to Offshore Radio”
Bull Verweij, Klaas Vaak [Tom Mulder] and Johnnie Walker MBE (2007), Keith Skues MBE, Jessie Brandon and Johnny Lewis (2009), Hans ten Hooge [Hogendoorn], Marc Jacobs [Rob van Dam] and Graham Gill (2011), John Aston=John/Chris Stewart, Ad Roberts and Andy Archer (2014)

“Offshore Radio Top Technical Support”
Peter Chicago (2007), Leendert Vingerling (2009), Dave Hawkins (2011), Carl Thomson (2014)

“Offshore Radio Writers and Historians”
Jon Myer (2007), Harm Koenders (2009), Juul Geleick (2011), Offshore Echo’s Magazine (2014)

“The Radio Anoraks Award”
Rob Mesander (2007), Alan Milewczyk (2009), Sietse Brouwer (2011), Mary Payne (2014)

In 2009, Bob Lawrence presented Nigel Harris=Stuart Russel with an extra Lifetime-Award for “33 years with Radio Caroline”.

When closing the 2014 event, Hans and Martin were quite proud to have celebrated the absolutely biggest Radio Day ever. But after all those years, they could not ignore the fact that we are all growing older. Citing Walt Disney “Always leave them wanting more” they decided that the 2014 edition of the Radio Day had to be the final one which was organised by the two of them.