DEATH OF A PIRATE: British Radio


DEATH OF A PIRATE: British Radio

ADRIAN JOHNS    Book Number: 85025    Product format: Paperback

The story starts in 1966 with a confrontation that ended in manslaughter between two pirate radio station owners, the weapon being a twelve-bore shotgun. Pirate radio was a signature phenomenon of the swinging sixties in Britain, challenging the monopoly of the BBC by playing non-stop pop music from offshore locations. At the time, they were often regarded as enterprising entrepreneurs, but in recounting the story of how Oliver Smedley came to shoot Reginald Calvert - in self-defence, a jury decided - the author exposes the doctrinaire free market ideologies that lay behind the pirate wars. Lord Reith in setting up the BBC had focused on radio's educational potentialities, and these were now threatened, while from the beginning there was disquiet about stations operating across national boundaries such as Radio Luxembourg. In the early sixties, the impresario Kitty Black joined forces with the financier Oliver Smedley, the man who pulled the trigger, to explore the possibilities of commercial radio. Black was closely involved with the Avant Garde theatre group Company of Four and followed the theories of Hayek concerning the mediocrity of state-sponsored media. Smedley had an ideological commitment to deregulation, and when he and Black set up the pirate radio Project Atlanta, they soon came into conflict with Reginald Calvert's Radio Sutch, with David (Screaming Lord) Sutch as DJ, committed to promoting new work. The death of Calvert, and of pirate radio, was not far ahead, and the future was the open-source ideals on the internet age. 305pp, paperback, notes, sources.
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Additional product information

ISBN 9780393341805
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