Media Reports, Press Releases and E-Mails
Saturday July 3rd 1999
At the Euroradio 99 meeting in Calais OFFSHORE 98 guests were interviewed having presented exclusive video footage of their venture
Alex Pascall and Stephan Walter Koenig (OFFSHORE 98) in Calais
Thursday June 24th 1999
The OFFSORE 98 QSL-cards have arrived from the printing office.
Chris Edwards writing in Offshore Echo´s Magazine issue 114:
|It looked as if the
1990´s would be one of the few decades when there was not a free voice heard from the
international waters of Europe. This changed at Easter this year when a group of German
radio enthousiasts took the high seas and broadcast over the Easter weekend. The
programmes may not have been widely received, and some people were dismissive about the
Offshore 98 was not some government licenced low powered 28 day radio station, nor was it buying time on an (again government controlled) satellite or shortwave service. It was totally free.
It should serve as an important reminder of why we all share this interest, that of free radio, uncontrolled by state and government.
Wednesday May 5th 1999
John Burch e-mailing:
|My best wishes to all involved
with OFFSHORE 98. It was a gallant effort and much appreciated here. Nice to see someone's
still prepared to stick their neck out and take a risk or two.
Stuart and Keith Dobson sent me a couple of very good airchecks via the web and I was able to get a flavour for the broadcast then. I'll try and have a listen to the others from your site in the next couple of days - but I'm not sure my poor old steam powered computer can cope with all this technology!
Thursday April 22nd 1999
Herbert Visser commenting:
|I'd like to send my congratulations to the crew of this one
weekend operation. Last year, when they clearly "told the world" that they
intended to broadcast from international waters, I warned them to wait till new Dutch
legislation came in force (this happened on December 15th last year). I knew from the
organisers that they had the plan to broadcast in the vincinity off the Dutch coast, and
from a Dutch registered vessel. And I still am convinced, that, in the event this one
weekend station would have come on air last year, the Dutch Government would have
responded immediately, resulting in seizure of the vessel and "her ingredients".
On December 15th 1998, Dutch laws changed, and alltough unlicensed broadcasting is still not allowed, there's less the Dutch authorities can do against it, and thus they're less interested in conducting an entire operation at Easter to act against such a station. Furthermore, the vessel was too far away from the Dutch coast to create any interest from the Dutch authorities.
What a lot of people don't realise, is that the Netherlands still has an entire operation, dealing with offshore radiostations. Mart Roumen is no longer involved with -what currently's called- the "Rijksdienst voor Radiocommunicatie district Noordwest", which is based in Nederhorst den Berg (and where they keep several impounded transmitters which once used to belong to me, as a trophee). These people know the laws, and are ready to act. They know they can't act against properly organised offshore stations, but the moment they are able to act, they will. And they certainly can when you broadcast from a vessel under Dutch flag. A properly organised offshore station is a vessel with a solid, confirmed non European Union flag, with no Dutch citizens on board, and with the intention to stay outside territorial waters.
The current situation is that if you're broadcasting from a Dutch registered vessel from international waters, the Dutch authorities still can seize the ship. But they can't if you stay within the boundaries of the Netherlands. In the latter case, only the transmitter may be confiscated. And the Dutch authorities can't do anything against a solid foreign registered vessel that remains to be outside, with no Dutch people on board, and which, when she comes into Dutch territory, has her transmitters switched off.
Thursday April 8th 1999
Captain Macintosh reports:
The OFFSHORE 98 project postponed last year now worked on schedule over the 1999 Easter weekend.
A 30 m long fishing vessel left a main German harbour on Good Friday morning, April 2nd. The aerials where installed on the high sea. The vessel cruised under motor or on drift the whole time in international waters west off Helgoland.
Test transmissions started the same day around 1600 UTC on 6210 kHz with non-stop jingles. Also first tests on 279 kHz were carried out . On Saturday April 3rd, the shortwave transmitter was switched on at 04.45h UTC, with the opening programm starting at 05.00 UTC. The mediumwave transmitter started at 07.00h UTC and took the programm from 08.00h UTC onwards. The longwave transmitter began broadcasting around 08.30 UTC. Simultaneous broadcasting on the three frequencies went on until Easter Sunday evening with the closedown of the station at 23.00 UTC.
There were some interruptions of the transmissions due to improvements and maintenance work on the aerials. Every expert will confirm, that it is quite a challenge to operate three transmitters with aerials from a relatively small vessel under conditions never tested before. The wheather conditions were good, so in addition to taped programmes, live broadcasts from the studio were done .
As announced before, OFFSHORE 98 was planned and carried out as a single event for a non-commercial radio station truly operated from international waters of the north-sea. Only the announced ships´s name was invented by ourselves. The crew-members and a number of friends of the offshore radio stations of the past raised the money for this event.
On Easter Monday, the crew returned back on shore. Everyone of us enjoyed the challenge we took as a great experience. During the whole weekend on board, the general feeling and the cooperation of the people taking their watches around the clock in 4-hour shifts, was good.
OFFSHORE 98, P.O.Box 2209, D-77612 Offenburg, Germany
Easter Sunday April 4th 1999
Chris Edwards reports:
Checked around 1566, 279 and 6210
yesterday (Saturday). Nothing on 1566 here in west London, morse on 279, but a very weak
signal (what's that bloody noise according to my wife) on 6210 late afternoon.
Martin van der Ven reports:
On Easter Sunday morning, I managed to receive a weak signal on mediumwave 1566 kHz with my car radio. At that time I was on holiday in Denmark at the west Jutland´s North Sea coast in Vester Husby (near Ulfborg and Thorsminde). One could hear a station ID plus the German address where you could send reception reports to. There was an English speaking DJ between 11.00 and 12.00h EST seeming to have a slight Dutch accent. He played some offshore extracts and sounds from the sixties.
Hans Knot didn´t receive any signal of the station on medium-, long- and shortwave in Groningen/Netherlands.
Friday April 2nd 1999
A.J. Beirens reports:
|*Dit weekend wordt op de Noordzee
de zeezendertijd herdacht. Het gaat om OFFSHORE 98, een Duits initiatief waarbij tijdens
het hele Paasweekend internationale programmas zullen op antenne gebracht worden van
op een sportvissersboot buiten te territoriale wateren. Dat zal gebeuren op liefst drie
frequenties: 1566 kHz middengolf, 6210 kHz kortegolf en 279 kHz langegolf. Het zal meteen
de eerste keer zijn dat in de zeezenderij gebruik gemaakt wordt van een frequentie in het
langegolfbereik. Het gelegenheidszendschip is vanavond afgevaren uit Scheveningen en ligt
nu ter hoogte van het REM-eiland. Mochten er tijdens de illegale uitzendingen maatregelen
genomen worden door de Nederlandse overheid, dan bestaat de mogelijkheid dat de
initiatiefnemers de apparatuur na afloop van de stunt in een ander land weer aan de wal
* Over the Easter weekend OFFSHORE 98 is set to go on the air from a fishing vessel off the Dutch coast. The station will be bringing international programming on 1566 kHz Medium Wave, 6210 kHz 49m band Short Wave and 279 kHz Long Wave. It will be the first time ever that an offshore station attempts to broadcast on Long Wave. The vessel left Scheveningen this morning (Good Friday) and took up position near the REM-island at lunchtime. Broadcast should commence this evening. Offshore 99 is a German initiative. Programmes have been prerecorded over the past few months. An earlier attempt by the people behind this offshore stunt failed because of bad weather.
Thursday April 1st 1999
Captain Macintosh reports:
OFFSHORE 98 from somewhere on the North Sea.
Saturday March 20th 1999
At the annual meeting "Radiodag" in Haarlem/Netherlands, Helmut announces that OFFSHORE 98 will be realized in a few weeks time
Helmut Peters being interviewed by Hans Knot
Frank, Helmut Peters and Freddy the Neandertal Man
Thursday October 15th 1998
Some anonymous offshore radio enthusiasts report:
The OFFSHORE 98 broadcasts have been cancelled due to bad weather forecasts. They are postponed to a later date.
Thursday October 1st 1998
Herbert Visser commenting:
|I was approached by these people
running the OFFSHORE 98 project, and I urged them not to do it.... as they're more harmful
than they expect. At this stage, a new Telecommunications Act is being discussed in the
Dutch parliament. This Act is supposed to legalise the possession of transmitters again
(like it was the case in the 1950's and 60's). But the RDR (the Dutch Radio Communications
Agency) has strongly objected against some parts of this law (like: free posession of
transmitters as long as you don't use them without a license. Currently, it's very illegal
to possess a transmitter in this country). And currently, they're trying to grab onto
every little thing to keep this law in the oldfashioned way. At this stage however, a
majority of the Dutch parliament seems to be favorable to the liberalisation of this
Telecommunications Act. However, there's a chance the RDR lobby will be succesfull,
specially when there's a reason the RDR can come up with (like: an offshore radiostation
broadcasting all of a sudden).
What would it mean if the liberalised Telecommunications Act would come into force for potential offshore broadcasters??? It would mean, that unlicensed "offshore radio" would become a lot more legal than it is now. It would still be illegal for Dutch citizens to be involved in offshore radio, it would still be illegal for Dutch companies to advertise on offshore stations, and also supplying the offshore station from Dutch harbours would still be illegal. However, if the offshore station and vessel would not be owned and operated by a Dutch company, what would be legal is: switching off the transmitters from the secured position in international waters, sail into a Dutch harbour and supply the vessel yourself. As the moment you enter the Dutch territorial waters and the transmitters are switched off, you'd just be a "vessel" and nothing on board (i.e. the posession of a transmitter) would be illegal. After supplying the ship IN the harbour, you could go out again and commence broadcasting once you're safe in international waters again. Advertising on an offshore station is illegal. But advertising on a cable, satellite- or Internet radiostation isn't. The ship could relay such broadcasts, as this is not being taken care off by laws.
So, there we have a dream scenario: have a small Internet, cable- or satellite-station where advertisers can advertise on (please note that Radio Monique also had a similar structure, providing programming for retail-stores and advertisers advertised on retail-store programming and not on an offshore radiostation, and none of the advertisers could ever be prosecuted by the authorities.... Radio Delmare used a local Italian station aimed at Dutch tourists for advertising, and also these advertisers couldn't be prosecuted. The only station from which advertisers were prosecuted, was Radio Mi Amigo). Have a ship relaying this programming (or at least the commercials), staff a Polish or whatever international crew on board (no Dutch) and supply the ship yourself using Dutch harbours.... it would be entirely legal...... But you can't do this before the new Telecommunications Act is in force in the Netherlands. So, if these guys really sympathise with offshore radio, they should wait till the new law is in force (not to mention that I think that -under the old law- the Dutch authorities will do all they can to close down and arrest the vessel). Because they not only want to have a reason to lobby towards Dutch parliament, they also would like to have some sort of proof and a pirate-radio-vessel chained up in a Dutch harbour would be enough evidence for them!! I already passed this information on to the people involved in "Offshore 98", but somehow I think I haven't been able to convince them.
Monday September 28th 1998
Some anonymous offshore radio enthusiasts report:
FOURTY YEARS OF OFFSHORE RADIO
During the summer of 1958, the first commercial radio station on board a ship started broadcasting off the European coasts: RADIO MERCUR.
This station reached tenthousands of listeners in Copenhagen and Malmö. By using the freedom of the international waters, the monopoly of the state operated broadcasters was shattered.
Finally, RADIO MERCUR had to stop the operation. Sooner or later, the same happened with all the other watery wireless stations that followed the idea of operating from the high seas. In the years to come, there were different reasons for their failure. But in some countries offshore radio led to changes in media politics: Commercial radio was introduced on shore. But strange things happened as these new local and nationwide stations did not want to share their audience with the offshore based competitors...