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The latest stories about radio in London

Caroline Owner In Trouble Over Illegal Lottery

International Betcan, better known as Bet Canada, the group that promotes Lotto 6/49 on Radio Caroline is facing action over its illegal operation.

The organisation is reportedly run by Nelson Skalbania, a Canadian entrepreneur who owns everything from luxury hotels to hockey teams, as well as having the controlling stake in Radio Caroline and putting up the initial money for Radio Monique.

Because Canada is one of the few countries that doesn't tax lottery winnings, several organisations have set up in business to fill the demand for lottery tickets outside the country — at a price several times what the Canadians pay. These unofficial operations, including International Betcan Ltd, have no direct connection with the Government run lottery's administration.

To try and get round the legal restrictions on overseas purchases, customers buying lottery tickets are instead sent a piece of paper saying that tickets have been bought on their behalf. Should they win, then they are promised that the company will forward them their prize.

However, Ontario's Attorney General has said that such direct mail operations are illegal. Canadian Authorities are doing their best to stamp them out and a bill is currently before the Province's legislature that closes up any remaining loopholes. In the meantime, people are being advised not to send any money.

Confiscation Confusion

The House of Lords ruling in June that records and tapes cannot be confiscated has caused confusion among many station staff.

As the law now stands, courts have the right to order the forfeiture of any apparatus restricted under the 1949 Wireless Telegraphy Act. Following a change to recent editions of the Act, this no longer includes "electrically connected" items. In addition, the DTI can 'Seize and Detain' for the purpose of any relevant proceedings any items relevant to the offences found during the search.

This means that records, tapes, studio equipment, listeners' letters, management instructions, etc. can still be taken by the DTI in a raid. However, once the case has come to court and a person found guilty, only 'Wireless Telegraphy Apparatus' can be permanently confiscated. The recent alteration to the Act has been successfully used in court by one station to get their studio equipment returned as well. However, the DTI may yet appeal against this decision and it will probably take a High Court ruling to decide whether it should be upheld.

Radio Today Green Paper Submission

The Radio Today submission to the Green Paper on the future of radio was delivered to the Home Office in June.

Based on Comments from many Radio Today readers it urged the Government to proceed with plans for the licensing of new stations at the earliest possible opportunity. It also rejected Independent National Radio and instead pressed for the licensing of a wide variety of services, from specialist music services and ethnic stations to neighbourhood and community-access stations.

Radio Ban on New Music

The BBC and Independent stations are considering a joint ban on playing new music in an attempt to negotiate a better deal over copyright payments and needletime.

At present the companies who look after the copyright interests or musicians and record companies still claim that the playing of a record on the radio reduces its potential sales, and insist on high copyright payments to compensate for this. However, as one broadcaster commented 'What other industry charges its shop window to display its products!'

Slapped Wrists For Blackburn Over Plugs

Tony Blackburn has landed in trouble with BBC bosses again over allegedly giving plugs on his show to shops in return for records and prizes.

Tony, who recently confessed that he would like to be on the air 24 hours a day, was sent a memo by Radio London management telling him to drop all mention of Bluebird Records until 1988. This followed a complaint from a member or the public about the number or plugs they were getting. Bluebird responded by saying that they thought it was part or the deal for supplying the station with import soul releases.

It was then revealed that shops were being approached by the producer of the show for prizes in competitions and were offered mentions of their shop on the radio in return.

DJs on the station were cautioned last year about giving plugs on the air to their own gigs. BBC Bosses are reported to be unhappy with the way Radio London is developing. A working party is currently reviewing the station's operation with its closure one possibility being considered. Radio London has never managed to pick up as large a share of the audience as other BBC Local stations.

September Start for Sealand TV

Sealand Television, beaming to homes in the South East of Britain from a former World War II fort seven miles off Harwich, are hoping to have a September start to their service.

Sealand TV is to be funded by American banker, Wallace Kemper, who plans to plough a million dollars into the station. It will be on the air from 5PM till 2AM showing feature films, sport and pop videos. Programmes will be compiled at studios in Ireland, ready for broadcast from Sealand.

Many people have greeted the project with scepticism, especially the proposed September start. It has also been revealed that Wallace Kemper is currently facing fraud and conspiracy charges.

7-Day CFM

Capital Radio is set to expand its VHF split service CFM to cover initially the whole weekend and eventually maybe a complete separate 24 hour a day service.

The Home Office seems likely to agree to Capital's proposals, which in effect give it two stations for one license, despite pleas from people wishing to run new radio services that Capital should be made to wait in line like everyone else.

Court Report

We kick things off with what looks like being the biggest ever trial so far under the Marine Offences Act (MOA). Back in April the Director or Public Prosecutions issued summonses for alleged offences under the Act relating to Laser Radio between May 1984 and November 1985.

The original summonses were for Roger Carr, John Cole, Rob Day, Robb Eden, Tony Elliott, Lynn Murray, Nick Murray, Patrick Paternoster and Phil Payne. They were charged with a variety of offences, including criminal conspiracy to operate an offshore radio station.

Patrick Paternoster was the Captain on the Communicator at the time it was brought into Harwich harbour. Roger Carr, John Cole, Rob Day and Robb Eden are charged with procuring advertising in contravention of the MOA.

Tony Elliott, the publisher of Time-Out, was charged with listing the Radio Caroline frequency in the magazine. A raid relating to this case is reported to have taken place at the offices of Time-Out earlier in the year, when material relating to pirate broadcasting was seized. This was hushed up by the magazine's publishers against the wishes of many of their journalists.

Since the first appearance on May 15th, the case has been postponed several times, while defence lawyers have asked for more time to prepare their evidence. Charges against Captain Paternoster have also now been dropped, along with Tony Elliott, but Time-Out itself is being prosecuted instead.

The case was due to be heard again on July 31, so we hope to bring you more news of this in the next issue.

And onto land now. Barry James from Starpoint was fined £50 plus £250 costs at the start of May after being caught at their transmitter site. At the time he told Radio Today "I've got to try and find £300 now!" DJC from Starpoint was also fined £850 at the start of May.

Several DJs from Studio One have recently received summonses, more news on this in the next issue. And that's yer lot for this time.


Here we are again with snippets of news and all the bits that came in just before we went to press (well that's what it says in the contents so it must be).

We begin with the new stations that didn't make it to AM/FM. First is the return of Radio Free London again on 92.4MHz on a Sunday for three hours from 9PM. DJ line-up isn't known yet, but it's usually people like Mike Barnett, Steve Ego, Jenny Leather and Kenny Myers. While we're on about RFL, thanks also to Nigel Grant who should have had a credit in the guide.

Next, two offshoots from RJR. First is City Radio, on 94.2MHz. They were attempting a 7-day a week schedule, but suffered some early problems, including a raid at the end of July which at the time of writing they haven't returned from. Second is WNK on 104.4MHz, the most recent addition to the airwaves, who seem to be managing 7 day a week broadcasts. Talking of stations with three initials {Radio 2 book of links), stations are reminded that there are only 17576 combinations of three letters for station names — get in now whilst stocks last!

Also on numbers, if you do want to enter Lotto 6/49 you may be interested to know that there are nearly 14 million (13,983,816 to be precise) ways of selecting 6 numbers from 49 numbers. You have been warned!

Right up to the minute now, with news of a major split at Solar Radio. Several DJs are reported to have left already including apparently Graham Gold and the highly popular CJ Carlos to TKO.

And finally, London Rock are currently being broadcast over the transmitters of RFM as well as their own... The new Horizon is back as Horizon '87... DLR kicking off in September with their 7 day a week service... Highly dubious story of BCFM, first news pirate (who are you trving to kid)... See ya soon...