Updated: Jul 15
Pirate radio is a radio format where the stations do not have a legal license to air. Many pirate radio stations get shut down shortly after complaints are made to Ofcom (The Office of Communications). Whether or not a station is popular is irrelevant; pirate radio is considered illegal.
Pirate radio stations became popular in the 1960s, with the first one being Radio Caroline. Founded in 1964, Radio Caroline was a successful attempt to broadcast pop music, a genre that was lacking on the government-funded BBC. Radio Caroline broadcast-ed from boats in the ocean, which allowed it to not be under the regulations of traditional radio stations. While legislation was passed in 1967 that eliminated its ability to collect ad revenue, Radio Caroline continued to operate. The station would simply move farther away from land when there were violations placed against it.
Now, listeners can tune into Radio Caroline on the Internet for a short period of time: it operates for just a weekend per month. It is still a beloved station, and is revolutionary for radio. It inspired many pirate radio stations in the UK and surrounding areas. Pirate radio stations are prone to being shut down, although some have gained legal licenses to operate.
Had it not been for Radio Caroline, radio as it's known today could have been completely different. It allowed the music industry to realise people were interested in listening to music and programming outside of what the BBC was broadcasting,.
Many Radio Caroline presenters are still working... Many are not or have passed away.. ..