Wonderful Radio London

Radio London's transmitter ship, the MV Galaxy

Radio London, also known as Big L and Wonderful Radio London, was a top 40 (in London's case, the "Fab 40") offshore commercial station that operated from 23 December 1964 to 14 August 1967, from a ship anchored in the North Sea, three and a half miles off Frinton-on-Sea, Essex, England.

The station, like other offshore radio operators, was dubbed a pirate radio station. Its offices were in the West End of London at 17 Curzon Street, just off Park Lane.

Origin of the station

Radio London was the idea of Don Pierson, who lived in Eastland, Texas, United States. In a 1984 interview, Pierson said he got it in 1964 while reading a report in The Dallas Morning News of the start of Radio Caroline and Radio Atlanta from ships at that time anchored off south-east England.

Pierson said he was struck that these two offshore stations were the first and only all-day commercial radio broadcasters serving the UK. An entrepreneur, he compared the number of stations then serving the population of his native Northwest Texas with the two stations serving the entire UK. His idea that would be worth a lot of money while bringing enjoyment to many people, he told Gilder.[citation needed] He caught the next night flight from Love Field in Dallas to the UK, where he chartered a small plane and flew over the two radio ships and, after taking photographs, returned to Texas determined to create a station bigger and better than either.

Radio London broadcast from the MV Galaxy, a former Second World War United States Navy minesweeper, originally named USS Density. It was fitted out for radio broadcasting in Miami, then sailed across the Atlantic to the Azores, where the antenna was erected, before final positioning off the Essex coast. This operation was overseen by one of the other investors, Tom Danaher.

Owing to a disagreement with the station's other investors, Pierson left the Radio London consortium. His participation ended several weeks before the station went on air, although he kept a small share-holding.

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