60th Anniversary of British Commercial Radio

Written by on 27/03/2024

Today, 27 March, marks the 60th anniversary of the commencement of British Commercial Radio.
The Labour Government of the mid 60s would not legislate for the introduction of commercial radio, so potential operators were obliged to broadcast from ships, and disused wartime forts in the Thames Estuary, situated outwith the territorial limits of that time.

The first station, Radio¬†Caroline, owned by Ronan O’ Rahilly, commenced broadcasting from off the Essex coast on Good Friday, 27 March 1964. The months and years that followed saw the establishment of other stations, in total attracting an audience of over 20 million listeners. in 1967 the government introduced an Act that closed all of the stations except Radio Caroline that defied the Act. However, there was such a groundswell of opinion for commercial radio that the incoming Conservative Government of 1971 introduced an Act for land-based commecial radio, of which RNA is one.

Accordingly we owe a tremendous debt to the offshore radio operators for creating a demand for commercial radio and would like to dedicate our appreciation to Ronan and Radio Caroline, in particular.


Malcolm J B Finlayson
Managing Director

Photo shows the original Radio Caroline ship and Ronan in the studio. (Click on photos to see full size photos).

Published 27th March 2024


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