RNI Photo Book and Double CD

Another wonderful pick from the candy jar

It was a message that struck many over 65 years of age in 1968, after both of Radio Caroline International’s broadcast ships had been towed from the sea by order of creditors earlier that year. The Galaxy, formerly owned by Radio London, was to be used as a broadcast ship for Radio Nordsee. However, problems prevented its return. We had to wait longer for the Swiss Edwin Bollier and Erwin Meister to surprise us with the arrival of a miraculously beautiful new ship, which would broadcast programmes in German and English from early 1970. A year in which a new generation of listeners was also tapped into, who had previously not consciously experienced the sea stations in the 1960s.

A year full of new music, deejays from the past but also newcomers. Change of anchorage from the coast of the Netherlands to that of Essex, England. Election campaign under the name Caroline, jamming by the authorities, back to the Dutch coast, attempted hijacking and after 9 months already off air. But we enjoyed it and what a joy that in February 1971 tests could be heard again and Radio Northsea International returned to the airwaves to let us enjoy both English and Dutch programmes until 31 August 1974.

Half a century later, we can once again enjoy the pleasure of a new photo book in the ‘The Golden Age of Radio Series of books’, the ‘Radio Northsea International Photobook’. The subtitle is ‘The story of RNI Whilst off the English Caost’. It was compiled by Ray Anderson for East Anglian Productions and contains 85 pages of photographs, many of which are coloured. Also an interesting connecting story and official documents as well as letters as sent from MEBO Ltd in Zürich to the British authorities. Nice also to find a number of charts in the photo book, which focuses purely on the period until the end of September 1970. To top it all off, Edwin Bollier was willing to write a kind of foreword that can be found on the back cover of the book. Definitely worth ordering, so we’ll have to wait for the next part of RNI’s history between 1971 and 1974.

Meanwhile I’m writing the above review, here’s the double-cd ‘RNI Jingle Collection. A collection of Jingles, Promos, Theme Tunes and Commercials’ can be heard over the speakers. What a wonderful collection Norman Barrington and Ray Anderson have put together. Much familiar material, but also surprising mixes that were never heard before on LP or CD. It is a pleasure, after half a century, to hear these jingles again through this perfect production of both gentlemen for RadioFabCom. It is best to let Norman Barrington himself speak about the composition of this colourful production.

‘Well it’s finally ready to ship out. The RNI double CD with 32 page booklet, and the RNI colour book. This is the third joint project between Ray and myself, but you will have guessed that the double CD is my baby, and the book (and booklet) is Ray’s. Regarding the audio quality, there is an interesting difference between the previous CD release for SRE and this one. I only received the studio references of SRE after it had closed. That was the start of my collecting. However by 1970 my collection had already grown considerably, and I was so thrilled that we had the new pirate, RNI that I created a jingle tape as a gift for the station and gave it personally to Larry Tremaine in London. Later in 1972, myself and a school friend John O’Sullivan, travelled to Holland for a short holiday, and we visited RNI’s Dutch language service studio in Naarden. I took a whole bunch of master tapes with me, these were more modern at the time, and had not been used on air in Europe before. I offered them to dub from but there was a condition that in return they would give us a note to give permission for us to visit the Mebo II on the next tender, John de Mol Jnr (yes he was the junior in those days) gave the OK for that, then we waited whilst they enthusiastically copied reel after reel. We did indeed have a great trip to the colourful ship.

The point of this story is that this time round, many of the jingles heard on these CDs, are actually copied from those very tapes, all of which I still have, prized in my collection. Of course my contribution was only a small part of the English and Dutch language repertoire.

RNI had a very different approach to jingles and production. Whilst there was still a nod towards the PAMS jingles of the earlier pirates, RNI used much more material from other companies. Breaking new ground when Robbie Dale, took an unknown jingle package from Gwinsound, a small Dallas jingle company, editing out the existing American IDs, and had singers record RNI idents over the remaining music beds. This became RNI’s mainstay package. More use was made of Pepper Tanner productions, whilst RNI drew from the UBN jingle collection, and John Denny cheekily borrowed the Audio Producers Radio One jingle package.

In 1973, through Steve England who produced a number of sonovox cuts himself, Ken Justiss produced the famed ‘Logotronics’ and a big top up in 1974. With growing popularity in The Netherlands, Dutch language jingles were not neglected, with numerous professionally produced custom packages. Dutch bands made special signature jingles and DJ sing-overs completed the RNI repertoire.

This double CD, like our predecessors for Caroline, aims to bring this vast collection together, as a more complete and better fidelity archive, than anything you have heard before. I have been careful to balance the English and Dutch material. There is even John de Mol jnr’s jingle on there. There have been RNI CDs in the past, but this is a double coming in at just under 160 minutes so you get more than twice the records previously available.

You can now order the CDs (and also view the track listings) here: http://www.radiofab.com/itemdetails.php?search_format=AUDIO&recordid=193

The Book here: http://www.radiofab.com/itemdetails.php?search_format=BOOKS&recordid=194

Or if you would like both, then here: http://www.radiofab.com/itemdetails.php?search_format=8&recordid=192

We did not experience any problems sending material to Europe for the last two collections, but if you prefer to buy from a source in Europe, these will also be available as before from the Rock Art Museum. I am thrilled to be able to share more of my collection with those who enjoyed those golden days of Radio.’

Well what I have to tell more? Just order and surprise yourself with this excellent updates for your offshore collection as they are all memories and ‘You never heard it so good’!

Hans Knot July 2022