Ronan O'Rahilly was a stooge, a 'front man' who set out to deceive, and among his victims was Don Pierson of Eastland, Texas.
O'Rahilly was paid to mislead Don Pierson, because apart from the confusion within the Tory government of 1964 as to whether it should, or should not reverse the decision of its Pilkington Committee against licensing of local commercial radio stations, was a competitor who emerged from nowhere named Don Pierson.
Don came from Eastland, Texas which is still is a relatively tiny town about 100 miles from the big cities of Fort Worth and Dallas, and Don Pierson was an entrepreneur who travelled about 30 miles in the opposite direction to Abilene, Texas where he was chairman of a bank. In Eastland he was known for his automobile dealership, a small hotel and being the practical joker as Mayor of Eastland who said that he would make smoking a crime within city limits. This was just after the relationship between smoking and cancer had become a big story in the press. Of course it was also known that Don was a heavy smoker.
But when Don read in his daily newspaper about the arrival of Radio Caroline off the coast of southeast England, it motivated him into taking a clone of Gordon McLendon's Dallas station KLIF across the Atlantic on a ship to demonstrate what a Top 40 commercial station should sound like.
When it came time for the BBC to start a substitute for the offshore stations, it did not use Radio Caroline as its model, it used Don Pierson's Radio London. Therefore the current and excessive interest in Ronan O'Rahilly who was but a carnival barker, and in Radio Caroline, which tried to copy Radio London and failed, while at the same time ignoring the legacy of Don Pierson, is something that needs to be corrected.
Don Pierson, not Ronan O'Rahilly is the real 'father' of the second phase of British commercial broadcasting heard in the British Isles. But where is there even a commemoration plaque remembering his contribution? Yet a lot of the big names in music, and even the disc jockeys employed by the British Broadcasting Corporation, owe their careers to Don Pierson.
Instead of Don Pierson, people such as Ben Toney and Philip Birch, who are two people that Don hired, have taken the limelight away from Don, so that they are remembered and Don is forgotten. Ben Toney has even gone so far as to destroy the legacy of Don Pierson by inserting himself in the mythology fostered by O'Rahilly, and downplaying any part that Don Pierson played in reshaping British broadcasting.
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