Until now, the story of our 'Trio' has remained untold, and for good reason: The story behind the events that brought the 'Trio' together was a mystery; a suspense thriller from the past, and a geopolitical documentary that is still playing out in the present.
Not wishing to tangle with the works of the tribe who call themselves 'historians', the 'Trio' began to refer to everything that was not related to today, as being related to yesterday, and thus they became 'YesterTecs'. That did not happen overnight, because their investigation into events of yesterday came about due to a series of questions. In fact, the beginning work of the YesterTec Trio was so gradual that they were individually unaware that they were investigating an expansive subject matter that stretched back in time, not just over years, but over decades, and even into the mists of human existence.
This is a true story.
It is a complicated story, because when the 'Trio' began their investigation, it was after the passage of many years since the foundational events they were enquiring into had taken place. More than that, those foundational events each had different authors, and the individual creators of those events were secretive about they were actually doing, rather than making it known what they were really doing.
Human rivalry: jealousy, and greed all played their part to confuse, mislead and disguise the fact that there is a continuing master storyline to be discovered. But in the beginning, the 'Trio' merely came into contact with individuals who knew intriguing pieces of what is in fact a gigantic jigsaw puzzle with thousands of interlocking pieces. But the complete 'picture on the box' of this particular jigsaw puzzle is yet to be seen, because not all of the pieces have been located. However, enough pieces have now been found and assembled so that we can begin to offer this description about the mystery that it has concealed from view.
We can refer to a jigsaw with thousands of pieces, or we can liken this mystery to a pebble being dropped into a pool of still water where its plunge has created a displacement that creates ripples radiating in all directions which in turn creates more ripples of displacement, and they continue to do so until the originating energy has dissipated into stillness once more.
There was an original discovery of a single piece of the jigsaw puzzle, or to use the alternative analogy, a very small stone was dropped into a body of liquid, and it created a radiating chain of ripples. That originating piece of a puzzle, or the pebble that was dropped into water, came in the form of a question posed during 1985. That event took place after the 'Trio' had already come into close contact with Don Pierson and Ben Toney.
The question became memorialized within the text of an academic paper during 2008 when it was published as part of the contents of British and American Studies, volume XIV, issue 14, page 218: “Why can you play rock and roll all day on the radio in America, but not in the United Kingdom?” The relationship to the year in which this question was asked, is relative to the rules and regulations governing the public playing of recorded music on the British airwaves at that time. The event that triggered this question was a failure to restart 'Radio London' as a successful American network show, and as a new offshore radio station personally promoted by Don Pierson, and managed by Ben Toney.
According to one popular publication of October 1972, in that year only four books were still in print that related to offshore broadcasting, and three of them had the earmarks of the same author. Of those only one of actually dealt with the period from 1964 to 1967; another publication by that same author was a redacted translation about events in Sweden prior to 1964, but which laid the groundwork for events that followed in the United Kingdom, and one publication was authored by a paid ghost writer working for a public relations firm engaged in 'selling' a political story about the Radio Caroline twin station venture of the Sixties.
Unfortunately, most of the information that was bobbing around about the years of offshore broadcasting from 1964 to 1967 was of a dubious nature, because it was either hearsay; vanity publishing; misreporting, or intentionally misleading propaganda. It was not until 1980 that the 'Trio' began to form as a group and take a unitary interest in this subject. That grew out of a business relationship with Don Pierson which led to an involved relationship with Ben Toney. A sequential chain of events then led to the question about playing rock and roll all day on the radio. But that question from 1985 was not published until 2008 when it first appeared in the journal called British and American Studies, under the title of The Pedigree of America's Constitution: An Alternative Explanation.
Although that academic publication was not the first in the related series that followed, it was because of that question that the 'Trio' then began to document all aspects of their ongoing investigation into the real story of British broadcasting. It is a story with many strange twists and turns due to the varied interests of those who are its authors. The 'Trio' who are also referred to as 'YesterTecs' are obviously not the authors of this omnibus story, they are but enquiring observers. The only way for us to document any of our findings is to place them within the context of events as they unfolded, and that has resulted in more of our published works appearing in academic journals, rather than in the popular press.
However, it is the general interest press and various forms of 'vanity' publishing in which a populist history of British broadcasting has been appearing. Those accounts are not peer reviewed, and neither do they meet court room standards of evidence. They are mostly fictitious and fanciful fables that contradict each other, and reality. Consequently, many followers of that 'social' form of publishing become displeased to find that our research is continuing to unmask their claims as gossip and hearsay.
In this recital we are now able to reveal the context in which a parallel but contradictory twin version of events has taken place. The question from 1985 about rock and roll, is directly related to an involvement by the Trio with Ben Toney, and his relationship with both Don Pierson and Philip Birch.
There also are five timelines related to the 'Trio'. One of them predates events of 1964. Another one stretches from 1964 to 1967. A third begins in approximately 1980 and lasts until about 1999. The fourth begins in 2000 and lasts until approximately 2014, and the final one (we hope), began in 2014 and continues through until the present time.
In other words, this is not a single-track timeline relating to a single and well-defined topic of research. It has many twists and turns, and most of them fall into the category of 'serendipitous' or any other word that describes events that are more than happenstance; more than planned, and more than fortuitous that combined lead to a unique trail of discovery in which each piece of new information reveals a little more of a picture that those putting it together have not yet seen before or in its entirely. For that matter, neither has anyone else. So, in explaining this story we will be touching upon these several timelines within the context of this investigative report. This is where the story becomes of interest to our 'Trio', but not all together, that is, not all three simultaneously.
A previously noted, Philip Birch was hired by Don Pierson to manage the pass-through advertising sales, and Ben Toney, who was also hired by Don Pierson, was given the job of both managing activities on board the ship and coordinating management of broadcasting and sales when he was on shore. It was this set of responsibilities that created friction with Philip Birch who had a genuine advertising agency background, while Ben Toney had a background in working on the programming side of small-town radio stations in Texas.
Then there was Burton Kanter in Chicago. He had the favor of a number of shareholders in Texas, because Kanter was able to save them from having to pay taxes on their profits gained from investments in Pierson's enterprise. Clearly Birch understood the American auto industry and the way it sold its products to the American public, because Birch worked for one of America's largest advertising agencies, and therefore Kanter and Birch had a similar understanding of the way to "work the system" for the benefit of shareholders who expected a big return on their investments.
Don Pierson may have belonged to the fraternity of car dealers and Texas entrepreneurs who dabbled in all kinds of ideas and investments, but to make any of his money work for him, he needs people like Burton Kanter. So, Ben Toney was really a junior player when it came to a struggle for power with Philip Birch. Toney was not in the same league as Birth. It was not a level playing field at all, and Birch soon had the upper hand when he took de facto control over the London management of Pierson's radio station, and that left Ben Toney acting as a glorified Program Director.
Ben Toney also found himself in an inferior position when it came to the programming of the station, because first and foremost this was a commercial venture designed to provide a good return on financial investment for the shareholders. That was in the hands of Burton Kanter.
Pierson's plan was to approach Gordon McLendon and obtain permission to use studio made recordings of the daily output of KLIF in Dallas in order to create 'Radio KLIF London'. 'Big D' would become 'Big L', and the Dallas commercials; news and weather would all be replaced by London-based similar information. Even the KLIF Dallas station jingles made by PAMS in Dallas could be tinkered with.
When Don Pierson flew to London and tried to meet with Ronan O'Rahilly, he expected to meet an equal, like two Texas auto dealers meeting at the equivalent of a Chamber of Commerce coffee breakfast. He expected to get advice from someone already in the same business, but what Pierson did not know is that Ronan O'Rahilly refused to meet with him, because Ronan O'Rahilly was merely a 'front-man' who had no control over anything and no knowledge of anything that mattered.
In fact, when word filtered back via Jocelyn Stevens to Dr Peter Marxer in Valduz, Liechtenstein where the financial base of both the Atlanta and Caroline operations were located, Marxer, who was certainly the equal of Burton Kanter, then became alarmed when Pierson announced his plans to start 'Radio KLIF London', and he sent word back to London to formulated an attempted 'buy-off' Don Pierson's venture, before it even got on the air! Naturally Pierson referred everything back to Chicago and attorney Burton Kanter.
In essence, Marxer was now dealing with Kanter, or to put it in plain language, the fate of 'Radio KLIF London' was becoming entangled with 'Radio Atlanta' and 'Radio Caroline', but none of the lessor players had any idea of what was going on. That is, except for Harmon Grisewood whose job at the BBC was to advise its Chairman, Sir Hugh Carleton Greene. Their internal report about 'Atlanta' and 'Caroline' revealed that they were well aware of the part being played behind the scenes by Dr Marxer and his Swiss registered business operating in Liechtenstein, and that is before they became aware of Pierson's intrusion and his planned radio station.
Who was informing the top brass at the BBC? Their internal memorandum indicated that it originated within the advertising community located in the Republic of Ireland. That was the home of Charles Orr Stanley who controlled the Pye Group of companies.
In 1964, the Republic of Ireland was also the home of a massive construction job involving Brown and Root of Houston, Texas. They were part of a conglomerate of interests constructing an offshore radio and television island with a transmitting tower to be aimed at the Netherlands. That is where the oil and gas interests of Texas had been taking an interest in European exploration, after a huge on-land gas field had been discovered with pointers that it stretched out into the North Sea.
Brown and Root, which became part of Haliburton, had previously worked under the WWII national government of Winston Churchill developing oil and gas fields in Northern England, and they too stretched out into the North Sea. But the technology to extract offshore oil and gas back in those days was not developed and it was expensive, whereas on-land oil and gas was plentiful and cheap by comparison.
Pierson of course was totally unaware of any of this. But he had another problem which emerged from the world of his colleagues: the auto dealers. One of them became an influential key shareholder. His name is Mal McIlwain and he owned the McIlwain Ford Company dealership in Abilene, Texas. In February 1963, Mal had been given a write-up in the Abilene Reporter-News, with a story about the "Ford Motor Company's new models" which included "the Galaxie 500 Sports Hardtop ...." and the name of that car was about to give Don Pierson a headache.
The advertising account for Ford Motors was handled in New York by J. Walter Thompson, and that is the firm that Philip Birch worked for. Birch had a refined English accent that would fit in with London's aristocratic scene which controlled the financial heartbeat of the United Kingdom. Birch would make an excellent sales representative for Pierson's radio station. McIllwain knew Birch and put forward his name to Pierson.
McIlwain also had a connection to attorney Burton Kanter in Chicago, and this lawyer was on his way to becoming the doyen of defeating national governments who wanted to tax businesses. Kanter and Marxer were engaged in different versions of the same sort of business practices. However, the circle was made complete by connecting with Birch who shortly after Pierson hired him in writing specifying his job title and duties, began to cause Pierson trouble. Instead of dealing directly with Pierson, Birch began dealing with Kanter.
Birch began to dispute the entire Pierson business plan of using recordings from KLIF Dallas. It was 1964, and a few months earlier on November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated on a bright sunny day at Noon on a Dallas street surrounded by onlooking admirers. Birch did not want there to be any association with Dallas, and so he proposed using names such as 'Radio X' or 'Radio Galaxy' or was it 'Galaxie', the Ford model name? Birch reasoned that the new station would be much more powerful than its rivals 'Radio Atlanta' and 'Radio Caroline', and 'Radio Galaxy' or 'Galaxie' would refer to something large and ambitious.
Pierson was furious because Birch wanted to scrap the KLIF recordings and reprogram the station to reflect a very British big band sort of sound, and he even commissioned a set of jingles from a British studio. The net result was that Pierson, who was in London and within spitting distance of the short-term lease premises rented by Birch on Curzon Street, soon discovered that he could not speak directly to Birch. Instead, Pierson had to call Chicago from London and explain the problem to Kanter who then called London to speak to Birch!
In the end a settlement was reached with the ship being renamed 'Galaxy', which was supposed to have been spelled 'Galaxie' to reflect the eponymous Ford model, and 'KLIF' was dropped from the station name when it became simply 'Radio London'. The British jingles were also scrapped and Ben Toney set about recruiting and training novices to become disc jockeys by listening to recordings of McLendon's DJs at work. Because Toney now had his hands full by recruiting, training and planning an entire station format, the question of rivalry between Birch and Toney was also solved in Birch's favor.
Out of luck was Don Pierson. He was left quietly seething with rage. Don was not a loudmouth, but he was not used to having his own ideas and dreams stolen from him. But on the other side of the fence, the equally quiet duo of Philip Birch and Ben Toney also had their own versions about what had just taken place. Given the secrecy surrounding O'Rahilly who was but a stooge for others, the writers of newspaper and magazine articles got busy interviewing whoever would talk to them.
Meanwhile, another player, who with partner/brother in Aldridge Advertising of London, was about to make his own mark on the story of Radio London. In addition to the usual fare of commercial businesses and charities, these two brothers each represented two separate buyers of airtime that used it to preach their own versions of the Christian gospel.
This storyline will continue tomorrow ....