They say if you can remember the 60s then you weren't there! But anyone over the age of 60 and still possessed of a functioning memory will certainly know that today marks the 50th Anniversary of the demise of Radio Edna, Dorset's answer to Radio Caroline. Broadcasting from an old Branscombe fishing trawler The Shaftesbury Frigger, Radio Edna styled itself as the station with "music to make you antsy"
For those not old enough to remember those halcyon days, Radio Edna - with its resident hosts DJ Threads and DJ Bones - was one of a number of pirate broadcasters challenging the hegemony of the stuffy old BBC. Anchored just outside Dorset territorial waters not far from Great Heaving, the station exploited loopholes in the broadcasting laws of the time and was responsible for educating a legion of Dorset teenagers into the delights of so called "pop" music.
Though the signal was far from reliable (remember fiddling with those knobs ladies?) the station broadcast between 5 and 7pm on Fridays and featured the music of tearaway mavericks like Ziggy Osmington along with The Boners and The Belle Ends as well as the pioneering Latin rhythms of Fernando Mediantepieza.
Radio Edna's days in the sun were not long-lived (the creation of Radio One by the BBC was fatal though, in retrospect, imitative enough to be seen as the highest form of flattery) but its impact on those who listened regularly was profound and worrying enough to send frantic parents scurrying to the advice bureau! 1960s bureau advisor Agonee Ant remembers: "Mothers used to come in and ask what they could do to stop their daughters screaming and enjoying themselves ... we used to tell them tune in and feel the vibes. We didn't know what it meant but it was a phrase of the time. I think I first heard it on Radio Edna but I can't be sure ... there was a lot of screaming and people enjoying themselves and it was hard to know." 1960s Psychiatrist Rhea Lobes remembers it differently: "It was very colourful, almost psychedelic I would say and the walls moved a lot and were generally infested with dragons. I flew a lot in those days generally on my own and unaided but sometimes I'd wake up with a headache and several guys. I think one of them said he was a Boner. Either that or he had one. It's hard to remember. It was so loud back then."
Radio Edna will be commemorated in a special programme to be broadcast on Radio Hurn of Saturday night at 8pm. [If you have been affected by this story, you can call the HELPLINE on 01234567890 and ask for Rhea. Calls cost £3.50 per minute plus your provider's charge]
Radio Edna Archive here
Radio Edna closed 50 years ago today: ABOVE: The ship in its heyday; BELOW: DJs Threads and Bones were popular in their day though not with anxious parents.