Origins of this Forum are to be found in an unlikely chain of human events that began in Orwell’s year of 1984, for that is when news coverage of pirate radio engineers and broadcasters of the Twentieth Century briefly collided with the history of pirate printers and publishers of the Seventeenth Century.
Beginning in that fabled year of “Big Brother,” a series of international news stories about plans to revive a floating commercial offshore (“pirate”) station slated to broadcast from a ship anchored off the coast of southern England called “Wonderful Radio London International” (WRLI), appeared in both broadcast and print media. These reports appeared over numerous dates following March 1984 (e.g., on the Media Network program of Radio Netherlands’ World Service; in Broadcast magazine on 23 March and in Hörzu’s radio section on 3 August in 1984, as well as on the front page of the Dallas Times Herald on 8 July, 1985).
The original demise of Wonderful Radio London took place on August 14, 1967. “On that day millions tuned in to the last few hours of broadcasting …”. That station died as a result of a drought in advertising revenue that had been brought about by a new draconian censorship law which made it a criminal offense for British citizens to work for, or to supply an offshore broadcasting station in any form or manner, whatsoever.
The station’s second coming had been heralded as though it was a new shoot from an old root attempting to break through the same parched soil that had killed the original venture. In the following years, however, that drought had only intensified and by 1985 it raised a basic WRLI question: “Why can you play rock and roll all day on the radio in America, but not in the United Kingdom?”
To read the original, full and unredacted published version of the core text reproduced above, click here.
Since 1967 the broadcasting laws of the United Kingdom have changed several times, and yet the underlying premise of those laws has not. Over the decades since this project began, it has now uncovered the hard and documented legal evidence to reveal an underlying premise in both U.S. and U.K. legislation that created a means to censoring the airwaves in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
One of the earliest attempts to circumvent restrictions placed upon the U.S. airwaves involved the contracting of time on radio stations located south of the U.S. border in Mexico. A similar attempt was made in France to circumvent restrictions placed upon the U.K. airwaves. Those two events are connected, and we now have the details.
For the very first time the real story of British and American broadcasting can now be told as one story.
In August 2022, our own investigation reached a breakthrough by refocusing our attention back on those so-called "border-blaster" stations. That is where our own story began with a question about 'rock and roll' on the airwaves of the USA and UK. That question arose after August 13, 1984, which is when we made our own first broadcast over XERF in Mexico.
The account of those stations with call letters that begin with the letter 'X', has been poorly reported to date, and yet, it is in Tarrant County, Texas where we recorded our first program which was aired on August 13, 1984 over XERF, where this story really does begin. Our radio studio was located next door to a Tarrant County radio station whose legacy is indirectly tied to the radio station at Ciudad Acuña. Those two locations, one in Texas and one in Mexico provide the combination that unlocks this entire broadcasting saga.
It is a story which spans the Atlantic Ocean.
It is one story.
It is not two separate stories.
To date, no book; no newspaper or magazine, has ever reported this story in context. It is a unique story because in part, it is also the life story of the authors!
This is the story behind the story of both American and British broadcasting.
But the story of British broadcasting cannot be understood without first knowing about both precursory and sequential events that took place in North American broadcasting. Those events explain the corresponding foundational events that subsequently took place in the United Kingdom. However, the ultimate foundation of this story is to be found in events that led up to the creation of the United Kingdom itself, long before the first advent of the United States of America!
That is the story that we have now uncovered and which is now being published as a part-work.
It has taken us decades to put together, and this research has been self-financed by the authors.
For a long time we accumulated several major storylines that appeared to be unconnected. Now, at last, we know that they are not, because we know that this is one story, and it is the real story about the advent of broadcasting in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
To hear recordings of the first two WRLI broadcasts heard on XERF in Ciudad Acuña, click here.
[The authors retain all rights under law to international copyright control regarding this work in progress.]
Copyright 2022 with all rights reserved.