ENIGMA 2000 Newsletter - Issue 6

September 2001
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Enigma 2000 article

Issue 6 sees part one of this most interesting account of Radio Enoch, written by 'C':

"This is Radio Enoch"
The story of Britain's political clandestine
By 'C'
Part One

Part two to be read in Newsletter 11.


Tune outside the upper edge of the 49 Metre Band Shortwave any Sunday morning (and often at other times too) and you will doubtless hear the sounds of a variety of so-called 'Free Radio Stations'. Quite when these first started I am not sure but the scene was healthy in the mid-1970s when I first started listening and is still so today. The stations play music, read out listener's letters and generally provide good entertainment, the operators are enthusiastic and dedicated. The programmes are however strictly non - political.

Most stations cram into the band space doing their best to avoid various utility stations and each other, the only other major threat to this 'harmless' fun are the D.T.I.. Those unfortunate enough to get caught are hauled before the courts where a magistrate who does not know the difference between shortwave and shortbread throws the book at them. Without exception the D.T.I. argue that these stations cause dangerous interference, and aircraft may fall from the sky or ships at sea may be drawn to collide - even worse any cries for help from these unfortunate disasters may be blotted out by the sounds of Boney M singing 'By The Rivers Of Babylon'! The lot of a Free Radio Station operator may not be a happy one.

Back in the late 1970s this cosy corner of Shortwave was invaded by an altogether different type of broadcast - the political pirate. This is the story of Radio Enoch. It was to last several years and attract considerable attention.

Enoch was not alone!

Before we look in depth at Radio Enoch it is worth mentioning several other stations which carried veiled political messages. Skyport Radio which transmitted on the 48 Metre Band from Hounslow in Middlesex had a curiously pioneering mix of music programmes. It was surely the first station in Britain to have an Hindi Film Music show, hosted by Mark King. The station also had a Contemporary Music show presented by Rob Holland. But Skyport also had another peculiar habit, that of sending out Communist Party recruitment information with its QSL Cards and it closed its transmissions with the 'International'.

Skyport was also closely associated with another Shortwave station - Radio Corsair, Corsair was more a one man band operated by Roger Stevens. In 1978 Skyport and Corsair held a special joint broadcast under the title 'Workers Radio 78'. Corsair was also involved in relaying Radio Rastafarri International, Rastafarri's programmes were somewhat chaotic but in essence they were pro Communist and had affiliation with Communists in South Africa. I doubt however that these stations attracted more than a passing interest from the authorities, the champion of all political pirates was about to burst onto Shortwave.

Radio Enoch - History

Radio Enoch commenced Shortwave transmissions on Christmas Eve 1978 but its origins can be traced back to 1972. It was born from a long list of other stations. It started life as a 'pop pirate' Radio Jolly Roger in July 1972, Jolly Roger broadcast on 222 Metres (1363 kHz) Medium Wave to the West Midlands playing progressive music and reading out local sport and news articles, it also had a sister station Radio Jolly Roger South. The original Jolly Roger was raided by the GPO after 3 months of transmitting each Saturday between 10 and 5 PM, the operator was fined £75. As a result of the raid, Radio Jolly Roger teamed up with a number of other operators and formed the Birmingham Free Radio Network, Radio Dolphin, Radio Albatross and Radio Midlands Mobile. Each transmitted a 30 minute slot from a different location on Sunday afternoons, this way the GPO had insufficient time to trace the signals. Other stations came and went from the network including Radio Javelin, Radio Pegasus and Radio Signal North, but, despite the eventual collapse of the Birmingham Free Radio Network the seeds had been sown for another station - Two Spires Radio.

It was not until 1978 that Enoch began to evolve. In July 1978 a political group was formed: People Against Marxism. They set up Two Spires Radio which transmitted on 212 Metres (1410 kHz) with a power of 180 Watts. Two Spires was distinctly political and described itself as "The Station You Love To Hate". It transmitted from Leamington Spa to Warwickshire and the West Midlands, its programmes were a mix of music and political comment on local matters concerning the West Midlands. The signal was good in the service area but it did not offer national coverage, the operators had a big idea!

Radio Enoch hits shortwave

It is the morning of Christmas Eve 1978 and Radio Enoch makes its first broadcast. The transmission commences with the tuning signal - the opening bars of the popular tune 'Coming On Again' repeated a number of times. The then to be famous introduction commences. The theme tune is 'Lest We Forget' by The Les Reed Orchestra. Anyone tuning in that day would have heard the following announcement.

"Good Morning Listeners, Good Morning to you patriots, you are tuned to the right wing wireless station Radio Enoch broadcasting from a secret location somewhere in England. Radio Enoch is operated by the right - wing pressure organisation People Against Marxism. Unlike the overtly Socialist British Broadcasting Corporation and Independent Broadcasting Authority, our broadcasts are free from the influence of Communist and Socialist Trade Union editorial modification. Our fight is a fight against Socialist advancement. Never before have the British people had to fight as hard as we must fight now to rid Britain of this evil and detestable philosophy, the philosophy of Marxist Socialism. Let us have some true Conservatism now".

If this was not enough for the unsuspecting listener and the Home Office, a list of Radio Enoch's aims followed: They are not for the faint hearted!

The transmission was carried on 6.3 MHz and 212 Metres (1410 kHz) to the West Midlands. Enoch announced that there would be a minimum of 10 transmissions during 1979. During this 30 minute broadcast a mailing address of 7, Woodside Grove, Hartburn, Cleveland was announced. The programme ended with the announcement "There's no pulling the plug on Radio Enoch".

A further transmission followed on January 14th 1979 using 40 watts of power on 6274 kHz and again 212 Metres Medium Wave. Station announcements were also made in Polish, French, Italian and Swedish. It was clear that the station was being widely received with letters read out from across Britain and Ireland. Not all the letters were complimentary and some suspected the station was a cover for The National Front, a point denied throughout the life of the station.

Transmissions were to continue at the rate of one per month, but the station had quickly drawn the attention of the Home Office who paid a visit to the mailing address.

Front man breaks links with pirate Radio Enoch

A teenager who was put up as a front man for an extreme right wing pirate radio station said yesterday he had nothing to do with the outfit, his Hartburn, Cleveland home was broadcast as the address for Radio Enoch an illegal station putting out anti - union, anti - immigration propaganda. But 19 year old Andrew Ormsdan said last night he was simply acting as a mailing address for the station and had no feelings either for or against its views.

"I just took messages for them - a young chap would just come and collect them", he said. But I have stopped doing it now, they wanted to change their address, they told me. "

Radio Enoch run by a mysterious group was the first peace - time station in Britain to broadcast nothing but political propaganda, the only music used was as background for its views on race and other - right wing topics. Mr Ormsdan, who had used his home as a mailing address for various companies in the past, said a man approached him and asked if the station could use the service. They agreed on a fee of £5. "I have no idea who they work for", he said, "it started just before Christmas and they have collected about 50/60 letters since then, it was a youngish man with long hair and jeans who used to come and get them. I have no sympathy with any party. I am neither for or against these people. It is none of my business what they do. I only pass on the mail. My only connection with pirate radio was when I published a magazine on the subject a couple of years ago". (Northern Echo March 23rd 1979).

Enoch still going strong

The Cleveland address was the only mailing address ever broadcast by the station, however it strongly promoted several other British organisations which had accompanying addresses and these continued to funnel reception reports and mail to the station. One of the most widely promoted was that of 'Choice Magazine' an anti-immigration publication which was offered free to listeners. Choice was fronted by The Dowager Lady Birdwood and an address of 10, Philbeach Gardens, London, SW5 became the semi official Enoch mailing address.

Other organisations were also plugged on a frequent basis, notably the right wing Monday Club based at 51, Victoria Street, London SW1. The Monday Club was well know for its support of the Rhodesian government. Another group the Campaign Against Naturalization also based in SW1 was regularly mentioned, along with their 'Undercurrent' Magazine. Also frequently promoted was 'Encounter' a publication of The Christian League For South Africa.

The South African link was to remain strong as speculation grew as to who was behind Enoch. The most obvious choice was none other than Mr Enoch Powell himself. Mr Powell, a former MP for Wolverhampton South was well known for his outspoken views, but he denied any connection with the station. A record of his speeches was promoted by the station - entitled "On The Record" and was offered at £2 a copy from North Kent Records.

The South African connection was reinforced when Radio Enoch began asking listeners to retune at the end of their programme to Radio RSA from Johannesburg. A tape recording of the call of the Bokmakierie accompanied by the first bars of "Ver in die Wereld Kitty" on guitar advised Enoch listeners to retune to 25790 kHz for the RSA broadcast at 12.00 to Europe in English.

Enoch also announced that it too was to transmit on Saturday afternoons on a frequency of 25770 kHz. I personally never heard these transmissions but understand some did take place.

The heat is on

By mid - 1979 everyone was searching for the mysterious Radio Enoch. Hated by other Free Radio Stations and hunted by the GPO, transmission times had been cut to 30 minutes, however, programmes were been aired twice per month. The Press and Radio Media were also captivated by the goings - on.

The station had increased transmitter power, and at one stage used 1Kw in SSB on 6243 kHz. In July 1979 the station celebrated 1 year of broadcasting (this counted from the start of Two Spires Radio). Transmissions were sent on 7.350 and 5.920 kHz Shortwave and 192 Metres (1560 kHz) Medium Wave. The GPO were in hot pursuit and some later transmissions were reduced to 20 minutes.

Newspapers were full of stories "Hunt For Mystery Radio Enoch", "Bid To Track Radio Enoch", "Radio Quiz". "A big Midlands hunt for the mysterious political pirate Radio Enoch has drawn a blank.... Post Office engineers will today be monitoring Shortwave frequencies in a bid to locate Radio Enoch".

"Radio Enoch Keeps Mum - Radio Enoch the extreme right - wing pirate radio station and the first to broadcast anti - communist propaganda in the UK failed to make a scheduled appearance last Sunday, however, it is likely to come up next Sunday on a frequency of 7.350 kHz in the 41 Metre Band. It should be possible to hear it all over Western Europe as well as all over this country. Transmissions last only one hour (?) in order to limit the time in which the transmitting site can be detected.

Transmissions probably involve no more than 6 to 8 individuals but a larger number, probably about 150 or so are "in the know", the organisation responsible is People Against Marxism apparently, a popular right wing group which denies links with the National Front or with South Africa. The two presenters take it in turn to present views, sometimes with background music including Land Of Hope and Glory and occasionally a pop disc. Caversham Park (BBC Monitoring Service) was scanning all previous Enoch frequencies last Sunday, however, other pirate stations are extremely unhappy about its existence". (Time Out).

On The September 2nd 1979 broadcast it was announced that Enoch would close for 6 weeks. Letters were still reaching the station via its semi-official address. Listeners in the UK, East & West Germany, Norway & Sweden were all read out over the air.

The Station had now made the front page of The Observer Newspaper. An earlier broadcast had referred to coloured children as "little aliens". Enoch really did know no limits.

The Observer article provided some interesting new information about the operation. "Radio Enoch Hits At Aliens, an illegal radio station broadcasting extreme right - wing views has begun operating in Britain, the first political radio station to broadcast in this country. Calling itself Radio Enoch the station appears to be based in the West Midlands and goes on the air about once a month, it is planning a one hour broadcast this morning on the Shortwave band. The group running the organisation describes itself as People Against Marxism and says 'its aim is to sweep public opinion towards the right. It denies any links with the National Front or the South African Government - saying it comprises professional engineers and right - wing politicians. Mr Enoch Powell who used to be the MP for Wolverhampton South - West said yesterday he knew nothing about the station nor its operation. When we left a message for Radio Enoch we were later contacted by a man who described himself as the station manager, but declined to be identified. He told us he was basically a Conservative and had once stood unsuccessfully as a City Councillor. "I am over 45 years, an engineering designer by profession, and have travelled widely abroad including Eastern Europe."

"Radio Enoch first began transmissions at the end of the year (1978) and since then there have been five or six further transmissions - they all begin with the words "You are tuned to Radio Enoch broadcasting in the fight against Socialist Government and Trade Union interference". In one recent broadcast a man with slight Midlands accent spoke at some length about the immigrant and non - white immigration and said, "as we come over the years to know the immigrant and to stand aghast at his numbers we come to know that on balance he is not doing anything for this country". The tone of the broadcast was informal with announcers reading their views above a background of music ranging from Tschaikovsky's Swan Lake to Elgar's Land Of Hope And Glory. Radio Enoch is vigorously anti-communist and anti - Union but it speaks out against the National Front which it describes as far too naive and far too inflexible. (The Observer).

It was not only the Press who were interested in Enoch. A BBC Radio 4 Satirical Comedy Show also took a side swipe at them with a parody of the programme. This is the full transcript:

"This is Radio Enoch, welcome to Kid Boreman's 'Latin Beat' - where we are not only beating up Latins but also immigrants and social workers. Stay with me through until mid-day when Dave Le Gorbelles hosts Listen With Big Brother.
And at 1.30 there's Second Class Citizen hour, followed by our children's programme in which we programme children.
At 5PM it's phone in time - with today's question - should we bring back hanging or should we bring back hanging, drawing and quartering? If you answer no and we trace your phone call we will invite you to appear on Butchers Dozen at 8 PM.
But right now its Roberto Ralph's Recipe Time' and what's the recipe today 'Roberto'? - I give in. Correct. And now before we go back to Latin Beat its time for the break"!

In what can only be described as a 'lighter' moment on Radio Enoch, the presenters actually admitted to having been amused! But didn't think much to the rather suspect 'Brummie' accents used in the sketch. Interestingly the parody had carried a Radio Enoch jingle made by the BBC sketch team for the show and this was used by the station on a regular basis.

Transmissions continue

Despite all the attention, Enoch carried on with its political agenda. There was little it liked and lots it disliked. It turned its microphone on almost anything which moved, US Interference In Ulster, the suppression of right wing views on local radio phone-ins, Friends of The Earth and even unmarried mothers were all lambasted.

Several organisation fought back. Radio 4 commented, "It is wrong and immoral that Radio Enoch should transmit on Shortwave since there are no left wing radio stations to achieve a balance of political opinion."

And Time Out wrote - The Cuban revolutionary Guevara said "The radio is a factor of extraordinary importance, it explains, teaches, fires and fixes the future positions of both friends and enemies", ironically the loudest political station is called Radio Enoch and 80% of its output is right wing extremities. At present it is on Shortwave.

The last transmission

In June 1980, 19 months after the first Shortwave transmission Enoch sent its final broadcast. Despite no official mailing address for over a year, letters were still reaching them, some 55 from the previous month had been received. The GPO had failed miserably to track the transmitters and Enoch had proved that it was possible to operate a clandestine station without Government closure. Enoch cited the Conservative's sweep to victory in the May 1980 election as its main reason for leaving the air, and vowed to return if a Socialist Government was ever returned to power.

In a final commentary the station said "No sooner as the Last Post sounded than the Home Office detection vehicles hit the road, the press start scribbling - always living in the hope that the operators will be caught - what a wonderfully sensational story we will have when at last they are caught, they think.

Letters are written to MP's - Mr Enoch Powell is flooded with calls from gutter journalists trying to find some hairline link between Mr Powell and the station. A few even switch on their flea powered transmitters in an attempt to jam our high power transmitter. If the British government agrees to jam all Radio Moscow transmissions to Britain, Radio Enoch will close down! It would be a nice gesture if the new Conservative government offered Radio Enoch a license to broadcast".

Enoch closed in the manner it had opened, by attacking everything and everybody it despised.

The unanswered questions

Essentially there are four questions.

Enoch was professional and well organised. It was widely speculated that the station was supported by the South African Government. The station did promote a number of organisations with links to South Africa. Perhaps, however, its strongest supporter was 'Choice' the anti-immigration magazine.

The GPO/Home Office had failed to close down the station despite 19 months of intermittent operation. Doubtless they had good DF fixes but perhaps were unable to locate the sites used in the short time the station was on the air.

Was MI5 & GCHQ involved in carrying out investigations in to Enochs operations ?

The Conservative Government's victory perhaps acted as a catalyst for the station's closure. Or possibly the operators felt they had achieved their objective of running a political clandestine station on Shortwave! Enoch was probably the most well known of any Shortwave 'Free Radio Stations'.

If you have any further information or press clippings about the station please write to me, via ENIGMA 2000, Part Two is planned and will be published in a future Newsletter.

© 'C'

Morse stations | Voice stations | Oddities | Simon Mason's column
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