MERSEYSIDE LBP - Merseyland Alternative Radio - 1980

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After a successful end to 1979, New Years Day 1980 saw Bert Williams switching on the transmitter and making the shock announcement  that he was closing the station down at 4pm.  During his show, he went through a short history of the station saying it was 'defunct and no longer in existence' and explained why he was closing it down.  He said there was a 'dispute' with the person who occupies the transmission site and they were unable to find any other suitable sites, but also says though, that if any of the lads want to carry on without him then that is ok, but without his transmitting equipment.


1980_01_01_tue_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1405-1435_BertWilliams_Announces_Station_Closure-EM164.mp3 After some continuous music, Bert signs on the station at 2pm and announces it is closing down
1980_01_01_tue_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1435-1500_BertWilliams_Announces_Station_Closure-EM346.mp3 Bert continues with his story as to why he is closing the station down
1980_01_01_tue_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1530-1600_BertWilliams_Announces_Closing_Station-EM104.mp3 Bert closes the station down, although the tape runs out before the final play of 'Atlantis'


266m was not silent for long however, as on Saturday 12th January 1125kHz it burst into life once more. However according to Mike Stand in his first show back, the transmitter power had been reduced from 400 to 100 watts.  The signal on the first weekend was noticeably lower that in late 1979, as the foreign station was breaking through more.  The issues that Bert Williams had during his broadacast on 1st January seemed to have been resolved, as he was still invloved with the station.  Although he was still being the butt of a lot of jokes.


1980_01_12_sat_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1800-1900_MikeStand-EM117.mp3 This was the first full day back in 1980 after Bert closed the station down on New Years Day.  Signal was very wobbly with the foreign station
1980_01_20_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1850-1950_MikeStand.mp3 The signal seemed slightly better this weekend, and the wobbling signal was much reduced
1980_01_20_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_2055-2118_RobinBlind-EM17.mp3 Some stuck record issues up to the start of the Robin Blind Show


Edition 4 of Free Radio Radio Flyer, from around January 1980  contained two short pieces about the station of Merseyland Alternative Radio.  They seemed quite impressed with the signal and programming, but a little shocked when they heard deejays asking for transmitter locations, which they thought was a security risk.


Here is the general lineup for February and March 1980.  Bert Williams normally hosted a 4 hour show, but on 3rd February, Paul Jay was heard doing a guest appearance between 1600 and 1800.  This was his first show since leaving the station in November 1979.
0900-100 Jim Brown
1000-1200 Dave Simpson
1200-1400 John Dwyer
1400-1600 Bert Williams
1600-1800 Paul Jay
1800-2000 Mike Stand
2000-2100 Simon James
2100-2300 Robin Blind
2300-2400 Jim and John Show


February and March 1980 saw the station back to regularity and with a fairly stable lineup. Even Paul Jay came back to do a show. A new joint show by Jim Brown and John Dwyer appeared in place of Paul Raven and was termed 'The Jim and John Show'.

1980_02_03_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1635-1720_PaulJay-EM6.mp3 Paul Jay surprises everyone by hosting 2 hours of Bert's show.  It was his first since leaving the station in November 1979
1980_02_03_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1730-1815_PaulJay-MikeStand-EM6.mp3 At 6pm John Dwyer and Mike Stand do a sketch, killing off the 16 hour Bert Williams tape.  Little did they know that Bert wasn't on for four hours that afternoon when their show was recorded.
1980_02_03_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_2330-2355_JohnDwyer_BertWilliams_SignOff_then_tx_cuts_off-EM58.mp3 Bert Williams closes the station down for the evening, but transmitter then cuts off
1980_02_10_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_2300-2330-SignOff_Jim_and_John_Show-EM213.mp3 John Dwyer announces the station is going off early for essential maintenance, then plays Bert signing off.
1980_03_23_sat_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1405-1505_BertWilliams-EM247.mp3 This recording suffered from some crackling, and Bert mentions transmitter location difficulties
1980_03_xx_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1210-1235_LesMitchell_Final_Show-EM192.mp3 Les Mitchell's final show before he leaves for Australia. The date is possibly March or April 1980.
1980_03_xx_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m 1240-1310_LesMitchell_Final_Show_JimBrown-EM192.mp3 Which ever weekend it was, Jim Brown mentioned that the station had been off the week before and next week they would be back to 0900 start and normal schedule


There was a large and interesting article in the Liverpool Echo from Tuesday 1st April 1980 about pirate radio on Merseyside.  Both MAR and Radio Jackie North were featured.


In May 1980 there appeared to be further internal issues, culminating in the end of Bert Williams involvement in the station. Bert had recently been missing from his programmes and in his show on Saturday 17th May, Andy Davis commented that he was filling in for Bert, as he was once again on business 'down south'  We have no recordings of the station from April and so are not sure when Bert may have done his last show.

The lineup for Saturday 17th May 1980 : This may have been the last weekend before Bert Williams left the station as MAR was not on the air for three weeks at the end of May and beginning of June.

0900-100 Jim Brown / Dave Jason
1000-1200 Jim Brown
1200-1400 Dave Simpson
1400-1600 Andy Davis
1600-1800 John Dwyer
1800-2000 Mike Stand
2000-2200 Simon James
2200-2400 Bill and Ben Rock Show


1980_05_04_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1050-1135_DaveSimpson-gh.mp3 Not good quality, but recorded in Hawes, North Yorkshire on a camping trip, showing how far the signal was travelling without the aid of a loop aerial.
1980_05_17_sat_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_0955-1025_DaveJason_JimBrown-gh233.mp3 Recorded whilst driving through Liverpool


MAR was off the air for three weeks in late May early June 1980 and when it did returned on 14th June was without Bert Williams.  There were a few changes since the previous broadcast.  The transmission audio quality had reduced and was a little distorted at times.  The weekend hourly broadcast length, had now been reduced to 24 hours. Bert had parted company with MAR and left to start his own station Merseyside Music Radio.  According to Bert in later broadcasts on his own station, MMR, the new MAR transmitters were obtained from Radio Jackie in London, and they were also using cheap cassette players. The station also now had a new mailing address of 72 Mill Hey Heights, Moreton, Wirral, Merseyside.  The new weekend schedule seemed to be now as below.  However on that first Saturday, Dash Riprock was heard replacing John Dwyer

1000-1100 Jim Brown
1100-1300 Dave Simpson
1300-1500 John Dwyer
1500-1700 Andy Davis
1700-1900 Mike Stand
1900-2000 Dave Jason / Jim Brown
2000-2200 Simon James
2200 Sign Off




Andy Davis announces changes at the station including reduced hours and new mailing address



Studio recording of 1st hour of Dave Simpson morning show sent to Gary back in 1980


Live announcement by John Dwyer following Post Office activity in the area.  These rather crackly airchecks were recorded in Leeds and also include Andy Davis and Mike Stand
1980_07_06_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_2100-2200_DaveSimpson-E186.mp3 A studio recording of a late evening show from Dave Simpson sent to Gary in 1980.  Dave was filling in for Robin Blind
1980_07_13_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1858-2000_MikeStand_SimonJames_Final_Show-EM88.mp3 The final show from Simon James. Chris Francis took over future Disco Shows



Recorded in Leeds with the aid of a loop aerial

1980_08_01_sat_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_JohnDwyer_mention_for _GaryHogg_as_recorded_in_Leeds-gh.mp3

Recorded in Leeds with the aid of a loop aerial
1980_08_03_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1901-1930_ChrisFrancis-EM102.mp3 Chris Francis took over the Disco SHow after Simon James left in July


MAR put together a special broadcast on 14th August 1980 to commemorate the anniversary of the 1967 Marine Etc. Broadcasting Offences Act.  The programmes lasted for 3 hours and contained history and airchecks from the offshore stations of the 60s. It is thought the station didn't get on the air until 3:15pm.  Hence the studio recording here of the first 55 minutes.

1980_08_14_thu_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1500-1557_MOA-Special-E637.mp3 Studio recording of the first hour of the MOA special, sent to Gary by Dave Simpson.


The special MOA broadcast as recorded near Blackpool.


Recorded near Blackpool


The station had problems during the August bank holiday weekend. According to John Dwyer on his Sunday show, they managed to put out only 7 of 15 hours of shows on Saturday. This was due to 2 downed aerials and a valve replacement.  Apparently a pigeon had also been causing an aerial issue. During the day it was announced that Andy Davis had left the station, with John Dwyer and Mike Stand each doing an extra hour until a replacement deejay could be found. Dave Simpson had said in his show earlier that Andy had gone to Radio Jackie North, and Bert was operating his new station with Jimbo Jim Brown and Paul Jay. The audio quality on Sunday's shows was much better than the previous weekend, so perhaps the replacement valve had helped.  The station was also announcing broadcasts for Bank Holiday Monday, but we have no recordings.

1980_08_24_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1100-1510_DaveSimpson_JohnDwyer-gh.mp3 Recorded near Blackpool


1000-1300 Dave Simpson
1300-1600 John Dwyer
1600-1900 Mike Stand
1900-2000 Dash Riprock
2000-2200 Chris Francis
2200-2400 Matt Black
The lineup for Saturday 30th August 1980 (above) and Sunday 31st August 1980 (below):  It was announced during the day that due to holidays, the station would be off the air until Saturday 13th September 1980.  The audio on the transmissions during this Sunday sounded particularly poor and distorted.  The station also had a shortened schedule for the day, broadcasting only until 10pm.  The shortened schedule may have been due to Andy Davis having left, and also Robin Blind still being away. It was noted however that Robin would be returning mid-September.
1000-1100 Kevin Hall
1100-1300 Dave Simpson
1300-1600 John Dwyer
1600-1900 Mike Stand
1900-2000 Chris Francis
2000-2200 Matt Black



MAR could be heard as far away as Western Scotland without the aid of a loop aerial. Here is a letter which Ian received from John Dwyer following a reception report in the summer of 1980.


We have no recordings of MAR after the 'holiday weekend', until Sunday 28th September.  By the 28th, Dave Simpson had also returned from his own time away and was about to start a new series of one hour Free Radio Shows commencing at 9am each Sunday.  These would begin on 5th October.  It was noticeable that the audio quality of the transmissions had improved during September and early October.

1980_09_28_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1135-1310_DaveSimpson_JohnDwyer-gh.mp3 Recorded in Leeds with the aid of a loop aerial



1980_10_12_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_0902-1002_DaveSimpson_MikeStand-gh835.mp3 Recorded near Blackpool
1980_10_12_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_0959-1208_DaveSimpson-gh835.mp3 Recorded near Blackpool
1980_10_12_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1208-1312_DaveSimpson_JohnDwyer-gh835.mp3 Recorded near Blackpool
1980_10_19_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_0900-0955_DaveSimpson_FreeRadioShow-gh836.mp3 Recorded near Blackpool
1980_10_19_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1610-1800_MartinGreen-MikeStand-gh836.mp3 Recorded near Blackpool


The weekend of 25th/26th October 1980 saw the station celebrate its first birthday.  Gary drove across from Leeds on Saturday morning expecting to spend a few hours listening to the station in quality, only to find on his arrival at 1100 they were not on the air.  Radio Jackie North were just signing on with Rick Dane however on 217m / 1413kHz, so he spent some time listening to Rick Dane, whilst regularly checking 1125kHz. It turned out that MAR did not appear until around 3pm, but when it did, the audio was far from good. The closer to the transmission site in Moreton, the more distorted the station's audio seemed to become. It is not known whether the audio issues on the transmission were related to the late sign on, or whether it was due to the Post Office being in the area.

1980_10_25_sat_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1530-1620_MartinGreen-gh.mp3 The first show after the station came on air late, was Martin Green
1980_10_25_sat_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1600_MartinGreen_announces_first_MAR_listeners_night_out-gh.mp3 Martin Green announces details of the first MAR listeners night out
1980_10_25_sat_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1715-1740_MikeStand-gh.mp3 Mike  Stand announced that he would be on until 8pm as Robin Blind was unavailable
1980_10_25_sat_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1900-1930_RobinBlind-gh.mp3 Mike's show, obviously on tape, was faded out, as Robin Blind did actually arrive for his show
1980_10_25_sat_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_2000_RobinBlind_gives_1st_Birthday_lineup co-channel interference-gh.mp3 Just before he signs off, Robin gives the lineup for 1st birthday Sunday
1980_10_25_sat_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1955-2010_RobinBlind_ChrisFrancis.mp3 Foreign interference was quite strong towards the end of the Robin Blind show


The lineup for the first birthday special shows of Sunday 26th October 1980 : This was heard being announced during the Robin Blind show the previous evening.  Most deejays would be doing an hour, and the schedule gave listeners the chance to hear some night-time deejays during the daytime.

0900-100 Free Radio Show
1000-1100 SJ and AF
1100-1200 Kevin Hall
1200-1300 Martin Green
1300-1400 Robin Blind
1400-1500 Chris Francis
1500-1600 Matt Black
1600-1700 Mike Stand
1800-2000 Dave Simpson
2000-2200 John Dwyer
1980_10_26_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1250-1332_MartinGreen_RobinBlind-gh283.mp3 Recorded in Leeds
1980_10_26_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1332-1415_RobinBlind_DaveSimpson-gh283.mp3 Recorded in Leeds
1980_10_26_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1600-1700_1st Birthday_Mike Stand_ 20mins_of_airchecks-gh  


Shortly after the first birthday, the start of November 1980 saw the station in a bit of turmoil.  There was a reported raid, which turned out to be fake.  Then two stations calling themselves MAR were heard operating on the same frequency of 1125kHz during the weekend of 15/16th. It was then announced that MAR would split into two stations.  The original MAR would broadcast on another frequency close to 1125kHz, and a new station Radio North Independent would continue on 1125kHz.  One of the stations was heard signing on at 10am on Saturday 15th November giving out a new address.  The other station was then heard transmitting continuous music on top.  Further recordings of MAR and Radio North Independent from this weekend and more, can be found at www.merseypirates.com  By the end of November, it seemed to be back to one MAR on 1125kHz.  However it was noticed that a number of presenters were missing, and it wasn't long before they were heard towards Christmas, on a new station called Radio Elenore, broadcasting around 254m.

1980_11_15_sat_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1000-1030_station_being_jammed-EM255.mp3 On this recording, a 'different' MAR was heard signing on at 10am and giving out a new address of 71 Ashville Road.  There was then interference by another transmitter on 1125kHz.
1980_11_23_sun_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1430-1600_MartinGreen-EM01.mp3 The following weekend, the 'original' MAR seemed to have returned to 1125kHz.


Going into December 1980, several new voices were heard on the station, taking the place of those who had left and who were now on Radio Elenore.  The schedule was a little fluid during the month, but on one Saturday was as below

1000-1100 Steve Jones
1100-1300 Martin Green
1300-1400 Mark in America
1400-1600 John Dwyer
1600-1800 Mike Stand
1980_12_xx_sat_Merseyland_Alternative_Radio_1125am-266m_1300-1433_BillHenderson_JohnDwyer-EM8.mp3 Possibly 6th or 13th December 1980


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