Tuesday, January 21, 2014

How a group of Welsh nationalists became pirate radio pioneers

Wales Online
By Martin Shipton   
20 January 2014

TV show discovers that campaigners broadcast illegal political broadcasts under the banner Radio Ceiliog (Radio Cockerel)  

A group of Welsh nationalists were among the pioneers of illegal pirate radio, a TV programme revealed.

It’s well known that Radio Caroline and Radio Luxembourg challenged the BBC’s broadcasting monopoly in the 1960s.

Radio Caroline, many of whose DJs went on to set up Radio 1, broadcast from a ship off the Essex coast.

Now the S4C talk show Cadw Cwmni gyda John Hardy is set to reveal how some Welsh nationalist campaigners broadcast illegal political broadcasts under the banner Radio Ceiliog (Radio Cockerel).

In the programme, broadcaster John Hardy interviews Philip Lloyd, one of the activists who campaigned for a party political broadcast allocation for Plaid Cymru [the Welsh nationalist party].

In the 1950s Plaid Cymru started a campaign for an allocation of political broadcasts. Conducting pirate broadcasts was not official party policy, but some party activists turned to breaking the law in a bid to secure Plaid Cymru broadcast time.

Full story: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/how-group-welsh-nationalists-became-6527184

(Mike Terry, BDXC-UK Yahoo group)

The programme was on last night but is available on the S4C web site:

The item about Radio Ceilog starts 11 minutes into the programme. Its all in Welsh with a few old photos at the start.

(Dave Kenny, BDXC-UK yg)

 It is possible to get English subtitles. Comments on the BDXC group also seem to indicate it isn't possible to watch the programme outside the UK, while the subtitle button seems to depend on what browser you're using.

***See also the comment left on this post by the Bristol listener about Welsh pirate radio.**** 


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for sharing this. The history of Welsh pirate radio is quite difficult to trace. The auto-biography of Gwynfor Evans, who would become the first Plaid Cymru MP, reveals that as early as 1955, party activists were operating a political station called Radio Free Wales or Radio Cymru Rhydd, operating on BBC TV's audio channel after closedown. By the early sixties, the station had become known as Radio Cymru. In Scotland, SNP activists were doing similar things with Radio Free Scotland.

A report on today's largest Welsh channel, B.B.C. Radio Cymru, once said that during the early to mid-1970's there was a significant movement of AM and FM pirate radio in the Welsh language across North and West Wales, which eventually prompted the creation of Radio Cymru, and also fed into the lobbying for the Welsh TV station S.4.C.

During the middle 1980's, there was an English language station Called Radio Annabelle on the North Wales Coast, and during the 1990's, the student town of Aberystwyth boasted four pirate stations at differing times.

Here in Bristol, Garage-FM from the English speaking part of South Wales, used to put in a great signal with UK Garage Music daily during the period between around 2001 and 2003 when it was raided.

Unfortunately, there is precious little about Welsh pirate radio on the web. Thanks again for posting this.

uk dxer said...

Thanks for your interesting comments.

Back in the 1980s I remember a shortwave pirate station called "The Voice of the Leek" which said it was broadcasting from mid-Wales. If I remember correctly the station had something to do with Radio Apollo, an active SW pirate from the early 80s which used to relay many stations along with putting out its own programmes.

I have a short recording of the VO The Leek on my 'Pirate Memories' site along with a Welsh QSL card.

The link is:

Martin S said...

Welsh? I am not entirely convinced, to be honest.