Rebel Radio Ships documentary features two iconic pirates

By Steve Hart

I watched a very interesting documentary on Aljazeera TV last week (see below) about pirate broadcasters Radio Caroline and The Voice of Peace.

While Caroline – launched in the 1960s – promotes LA (loving awareness), The Voice of Peace, launched in the early 70s, tried to bring harmony to the volatile Middle East through music and positive dialogue.

The documentary goes to the roots of why each station started and following some fascinating interviews and rare footage of the ships and broadcasters at work, the documentary ends on a low note with the demise of The Voice of Peace, rather than the good news story of Caroline’s ongoing success.

And while The Voice of Peace is off air at the moment, the station is appealing for funds to restart broadcasting online.

The filmmaker also ignores UK pirate Laser 558 which shook UK commercial radio to its roots in the early to mid 1980s. Up until Laser 558 came along the commercial stations were very comfortable indeed with their tired old playlists and relaxed presenters.

But the story of two broadcasters launching with an agenda of bringing change is very interesting and one which opens the debate: are we here to just play music, or should we be doing something more ambitious?