The Radio Rose of Texas by Derek Burroughs, jr.

 

Chapter 12: ”See you around”. The end of Texas Radio in Europe.

 

The 2 offshore radio projects and 6 radio stations that were founded by Don Pierson, of Eastland, Texas came to end on August 14th, 1967 on 1137,5 kc at 3pm in the afternoon with ”A Day in the life” by the Beatles and Paul Kaye’s famous last words: ”Radio London is now closing down”, followed by Pams series #18 ”Sonowaltz”(”Big Lil”). Only dead air was left of a ”highly successful sound”, that never returned.[1]

 

Don’s other project was closed 8 days earlier amidst less publicity. But the final broadcasting hours from the Olga Patricia and close-down of Radio 355 at 0022 hours on August 6th, 1967 was undoubtedly also a very sad occasion. Commercially, that project was a flop.

 

The late Tony Windsor chaired the final programme on 845 kc, over the 50 kW Continental transmitter that also carried Ron O’Quinn’s opening words almost to the day 13 months earlier. Ron was the first PD, TW the last. The year before TW had said ”forget Radio England” because of the term ”Boss Jocks”[2]. But the year after Windsor himself was on the Olga with Radio 355’s “brighter broadcasting,” closing down his station with the speech of a former British Colonel, Auld Lang Syne, and  ”God Save the Queen.” So the Texas project with roots in different radio stations across the USA in one year had transformed into a true British(and one Dutch) Broadcasting Station!

 

Don Pierson believed that the twin stations project could have worked because in the end Radio 355 and Radio 227 went back to the original formats, 227 having become a Dutch SRE. But the constant changing of formats lost everything. “TW” seems to have been in agreement with this, as both 355 and 227 were re-launched as virtual clones of Britain and England in late May, 1967, even though 1322kc was in Dutch. We do not know any listening figures, but an estimate in Summer, 1967 put 355 well over 2 Million, and 227, Alan Black said, had many very responsive listeners writing in to Postbus 1390.

 

The last Managing Director of the Olga stations, Ted Allbeury, emphazised that a continued operation was “discussed and considered”. Foreign advertising was also sought for, but from certain contacts Allbeury was assured that if he was to”slip across to Holland”, he’d be ”watched and arrested” under the MOA. Therefore the plans were abanonded[3].

 

From later information it seems Allbeury must refer to the contacts between the project and Herbert W.Armstrong[4]. “The World Tomorrow” brought in a large part of the revenue of Britain Radio and later, Radio 355, at least twice a day. Allbeury offered 1322kc and he turned it down. But Allbuery became a friend of Armstrong and was a guest in his Pasadena home.

 

“Boss Radio” in 1966 created mixed reactions, but the editor is quite sure that had a “World Tomorrow” station seen the light in 1967, with a controversial theological and political agenda, the reaction in the North Sea countries would be very negative, even if there was available money for it.

 

 

Page of “Radio Log” of “The Plain Truth” a free magazine offered on “The World Tomorrow”, for February, 1967, a very controversial magazine/programme theologically and politically. The entry of “Radio Britain” shows 2 daily offerings of Garner Ted Armstrong, continuing later on Radio 355 until its closing day. Armstrong in the heyday of the pirates had 8 other outlets per day on the North European radio dial. Until the middle of 1966 he was also on Radio Luxembourg “208” on 1439 kc 7pm daily.(Contribution from Grandview,Texas)

 

If there had been wiser politicians, and not any MOA there might have been a future. If the Texan pirates had got broadcasting licenses in the UK or Holland, a merger of the 2 projects would have been a wise move. 3 50 kW transmitters working on full power is no little feat.

 

This could have led to a MOR, ”brighter broadcasting” service on one channel, a ”Dutch SRE” on another, and the ”Sound of the International Giant”[5], on the third. Just like in Canada and Australia, such commercial stations could have thrived side-by side with national broadcasters in this part of the world.

 

The editor thinks this is only a sweet dream, though. The ships could not have been saved from extinction with the stubborn socialist politics of the day. They didn’t stand a chance.

 

And if the licenses had been given, one day the founders, enthusiasts, O’Quinns and Days, and radio aficionados of “The Yellow Rose of Texas” would be gone. And even if format changes may affect both loyal listeners and good staff, they are, regrettably, sometimes necessary. Kelsey Grammar, portraying the famous talk show host “Frasier Crane” covers this subject in one early episode of the TV series where “KACL 780” Seattle goes from All Talk to Mexican! He then arranges a party for all the sacked presenters, only to experience that they all get new jobs except from him.

 

If the Texas stations had been swallowed by a buyer with different ideas, who knows how they would have sounded today? And would they have been on AM? FM? DAB? Satellite? Would they have been looking into Digital AM, DRM, like their old rival Radio Luxembourg[6]? We will never know.

 

The Olga stations had both money and the talent. The Galaxy had money, talent and success. It was very sad everything ended up as a short episode in broadcasting history. It has ended, though.

 

But what memories!

 

Derek Burroughs, jr.

 

 

Good try, but a hoax Christmas 1970. From ©Hans Knot’s archive.

 

 



[1] Jingle from Pams Series #18.

[2] ©Steve England.

[3] ©Steve England.

[4] ©Eric Gilder.

[5]But one thing remains consistent as the season change(s)-the sound of the International giant, Radio 227. This is SRE Country!” Promo on 1322kc with Bill Berry, October, 1966.

[6] Broadcasting in DRM

http://www.drm.org

from Wertachtal, Tyskland in the 41 metre-, and Junglinster, Luxembourg in the 11 metrebands Shortwave, since September, 2005.

http://www.radioluxembourg.co.uk