Founder of Radio Caroline Ronan O'Rahilly dies aged 79

The founder of Radio Caroline - the first pirate radio station off the UK - Ronan O'Rahilly has died aged 79.

His death was announced by the current Radio Caroline, which still exists off the Essex coast.

The station was founded in 1964 to compete with the BBC and launched the careers of many well-known DJs, achieving enormous popularity.

Mr O'Rahilly, who lived in Ireland, had been diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2013.

Radio Caroline was the first of several pirate radio stations that challenged BBC radio's dominance in the 1960s.

The station played pop music all day, while the BBC only played pop for an hour a week.

'Changed the world'

After the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act was passed in 1967, Radio Caroline continued to broadcast from ships until 1991, when the Ross Revenge ran aground off the Kent coast.

The station, which started broadcasting again on medium wave in 2017, helped pave the way for modern commercial radio.

Former James Bond actor George Lazenby paid tribute to Mr O'Rahilly on his Instagram account.

Mr Lazenby, who only played 007 once, in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, said his former manager was "very influential on me giving up the role of James Bond back in 1969".

He wrote: "[Ronan O'Rahilly] convinced me to not stay on as Bond - I'd be in danger of becoming part of the Establishment. Something he rebelled against.

"Ronan wouldn't let me sign the Bond contract - kept sending it back."

Mr O'Rahilly would go on to be an Executive Producer on George Lazenby's film Universal Soldier in 1971.

He concludes the post: "Who knows what would have happened had Ronan not got a hold of my brain? But I don't regret a day of my life. Not a single day. And I still have a great life. Rest well, Ronan. Love George xx."

2 views0 comments