(Bert the legend) has supplied this profile for M.A.R.
on May 26th 2007 -
this will make good reading - thank you Bert).
Radio Profile Bert Williams (Part 1 - Early Days)
From my early teens there was only one way things could go and that was a radio or TV station of some sort, as I used to repair radios and TVs in the science lab at school and was the only one in the school that could take loads of time off lessons to do this, as even then I was exceptionally good at it and I monitored many Short Wave stations in the lab, bought broken down radios and TV sets, repaired and then sold them.
My dad may have started me off in radio as he had a garage and was interested in ex army radios and once I got hold of some of them I was way ahead of what he knew about them in only a short time and in 1964 he told me about Radio Caroline starting in the Irish Sea, and it was not long before I started monitoring Radio Caroline. During 1965 I set up a radio at my place of work but the boss did not like loud pop music and kept turning it down (and it was always set on Caroline) as he felt it gave a bad impression for the business.
In 1966 I had a motorbike accident in the summer and I was in hospital for 12 weeks till early December, and while in hospital I secretly monitored Caroline with much interest (radios were banned in hospitals then). And I decided I would build a transmitter and go on next to Radio Caroline when I came out of hospital. There was something really special about Caroline because of it being unregulated and being a big powerful station, and being a pirate or working on Caroline meant to me that I could be part of a phenomenon that was really outside the normal range of things.
During 1967 I experimented with various sets and did some tests and in 1968 I started broadcasting on a nearby frequency to Radio Caroline but on 3rd March 1968 Caroline went off from the Irish Sea, never even to this day (now 2007) to return to the north west of England so I was left on my own broadcasting on the channel that they had vacated and unfortunately I was no substitute for Caroline as my aerial was not good and I was only on at the evening and weekends covering a short range in Wallasey and Birkenhead.
In February 1969 I improved my aerial and had many more listeners and visits from radio hams and a newspaper reporter who tracked it down and after it was raided in October 1969 I agreed for the details to go in the local newspaper and John Dwyer was one of those people who contacted me after reading about the raid in the paper.
Rick Dane (Eric Haydock) started about June 1969 with Radio Liverpool after hearing me on earlier that year and it was not long before me and Paul Jay tracked him down, And one of the radio hams who tracked me down decided to come on with Radio Rhonda on 244 metres. Talking of radio hams I went to the local ham club for a while in 1968 but when there was no mention in the local ham club about Caroline going off, I thought "These people just seem to be in their own small world" and "This is not for me","Because how do I combine my special interest in sixties music with radio?" so to be a pirate was the only real way forward.
So almost as a direct result of me improving my aerial in February 1969 landbased piracy was born in Merseyside to my great joy with myself, Radio Liverpool and Radio Rhonda - I really wanted to bring back Caroline or something like it, but at least I've made a step in the right direction with something close to "a few land based Radio Carolines" such as "Radio 252" "MAR" Rhonda Jukebox" "LBC" "MMR" "Merseywaves" etc.
So although the government succeeded in destroying Radio Caroline it is still here on land in the form of land based pirates and will continue to be present in certain areas of the UK until the end of radio when mobile phones or something similar is used to "download" news and music.
Acknowledgments to Bert
(my own experiences)
Bert may rank as one of the fathers' of free radio along with the late great Rick Dane (who pioneered Radio Jackie North - Liverpool).
I remember Bert as far back as 1979 (Summer) when for the first time I listened to 'this' amazing pirate radio station whilst working in a 'Dixons' style shop in Liverpool. I am certain that Berts' interest in radio probably goes back even beyond that. One thing I do know was that he did mention to me once that, whilst he was in hospital and listening to a transistor radio (which perhaps were allowed then), he came across Radio Caroline, and that was when his interest started at a guess. Bert may have been a very young 16 then.
His radio stations that are, perhaps, his best achievements are M.A.R. from the start of the 80s, Merseyside Music Radio, the Rhonda Jukebox and Merseywaves, and there are probably many more, I am certain that there is another station which was so successful that it incorporated advertising in its output on 259, but cannot recall the name "Liverpool Broadcasting Company [LBC] ?"
What intrigued me about Berts radio stations was the quality of the audio output, and I felt that Bert must have been using Anode Modulation for the audio rather than the standard screened grid modulation, unless of course Bert had a way of perfecting the latter type. His interest is mainly 60s music, and again good 60s music, the type that is not hammered in a constant playlist on the likes of our local ILR radio station on Medium Wave, and combined with Berts ability to chat about just any subject, it makes his live radio programs very attractive to most people from the music point of view and especially the content.
You will hear Bert play favourites by The Walker Brothers, Gene Pitney, Sandie Shaw, Peter and Gordon, Occasional Beatles, Cliff Richard, Searchers and many many more - but generally the alternative titles not featured on the hammered ILR 60s playlists, which again is why Berts roll in an alternative radio station environment is superb.
Once Bert gets onto a subject on the radio, it is most certainly compulsive listening, you have probably heard the expression "frightened of switching the radio off for fear of missing something". He does have his swings as they say, and will now and then focus on a person from Pirate Radio, but generally in an entertaining way, Bert will provde his version of their profile, and it is never malicious in any way, and our feelings are that if you can make it to the "Bert is talking about you now" stage, then in a few words "You have made it to the Bert Hall of fame!".
Perhaps one day Bert will provide us with his full life story, he is a highly intelligent person and does enjoy using the radio to express his feelings about society, and why not?.
From my own experience with Bert, he did have one fault though, which I am sure he won't mind me mentioning, and that was that Bert would call on you at any time during the night, yes night, and perhaps would not realise it. I remember one night, there I was snoring away, and the door is being hammered at 3am, I got up in a panic thinking it was the Police with bad news about 'something', but it was Bert with his immortal phrase "I*ve come for er a chat and a gossip" - and being the boss I had to just bite my lip - aswell as getting the kettle on and biscuits.
There is only one thing that I do know about him, and he may wonder how I know this, he used to love his full English Breakfasts in Littlewoods in Birkenhead, before it sadly closed down! - and how?
Because without him realising it, I was always there too enjoying brekky, munching away, trying to earlobe, without success.