Memories of My ‘Pirate Radio’ Days: Part 7

Voice of Peace GM/PD/whatever Abie Nathan specified that he wanted announcers to use their names only once or twice in an hour (I forget which). Or, as he put it, “I don’t want people to say ‘This is Buck Dollar on the Voice of Peace every five minutes.’ ” Either he was doing his bit to rid the ship of the cult of personality or (as one of the more cynical announcers suggested) he wanted the Voice of Peace to be associated with him first and foremost. Fair enough. It was his idea, after all. For that reason (perhaps) the control room had no phones and announcers received no mail (although I was handed a very negative letter from a young American working on a kibbutz who. in record time, ended up on the ship. I believe he became one of the announce staff.)

During my tenure aboard the ship, we were still playing vinyl records on turntables. This led to some unusual backsells when the waves got choppy or the (anchored) ship was caught in a storm. The needles would fly off the turntables in the middle of a track. There was also a pail handy in case one of the DJs became seasick during his shift. I always wanted to say,”That was thirty seconds of Elton John, followed by a minute of Rod Stewart and ninety-three seconds of Fleetwood Mac” during such occasions but I resisted the urge (I think.)

The announcers were housed belowdecks and slept in bunkbeds. I remember the ship tossing and turning during a storm for several nights and rolling from side to side in my bed. Even the crew (who slept abovedecks in more comfortable surroundings) found it difficult to sleep. As a result everyone was on edge. And since Bill, the Dutch engineer, who seemed nominally in charge of things, was a little crusty at the best of times, he was really hard to deal with. (Come to think of it, I don’t think I ever saw him smile.)

Well, that’s all I can think of now ……

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Author: rixbitz

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