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A poorly managed offshore radio station sat off the Thames estuary in 1984 and attacted a huge audience, simply by playing what the audience wanted.
Laser’s competitors howled in protest, but neither they nor the British Government were unable to stop it. Eventually Laser’s own ineptitude and a mutiny by the crew saw the ship sail into port.  A year later a new crew relaunched it and Laser was back - bigger and better than ever.  Lack of investment, bad weather and some rotten luck saw the shipclose down again, but finally enjoy rich radio booty in Holland.

Millions of listeners rued the day she sailed away, but the BBC and ILR stations finally reacted to Laser’s programming initiatives and started to win their audiences back.  Petty restrictions limiting the music on British radio were lifted and radio listeners were happy once again. Or were they? 

Could another radio ship capture a big audience again?

In Laser Radio Programming Paul Rusling examines why Laser was such a big success in the 80s, and discusses Laser's effects on today’s radio.

Another new exciting book about
Laser Programming book
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Brandy Lee in her Laser Hot Hits pullover sat on the poop deck of the Communicator


£15.95  UK
£19.95 to RoW
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MV Communicator as seen in the Knock Deep  in June 1984

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Sunday Sport reading DJ DL Bogart has a bird in the bush, to the amusement of Brandi Lee



- stations  that turned the UK 'on' in the 1980s

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radio that turned the UK 'on' in the 1980's

The Laser Radio Programming book has 175 pages describing radio programming policy and techniques of the major offshore stations, but especially Radio Caroline, Laser and the Laser project's 'grandad' whose style and fresh format inspired the founders, 1966 super station  - Swinging Radio England.

There's a reprint of Laser's full Operations Manual and a discussion on the format, music playlisting, strap lines, trailer production and other techniques that Laser used to attract an audience of ten million.
The book also looks at how the Laser name, imaging and ethos has been used  to change radio since. There are details of radio ships YOU can visit; not one, not two but THREE radio ships! The book has a full listing of all the Laser DJs, complete with  biographies and pictures too!

LASER helped revolutionise British radio in the 1980s. Its effects are still felt today and more Laser ideas may be put into action soon, as rules on radio are further relaxed.
Laser was the brand of several radio stations that broadcast from the MV Communicator in the 1980s. 

The station was a very successful phenomenom, as far as attracting publicty and a large audience, although it never officially made any realistic sums of money for its owners (although several staff did very well out ofthe project).

It began as Laser 730 but after technical problems, was relaunched as Laser 558 in May 1984.  That version of the station last only 18 months but, according to the BBC, it had five million listeners in the UK and a similar number in adhacent Benelux countries. It was then opearted for several months as Laser Hot Hits.

Some of the original Laser merchandise has been reproduced and  more items are in the pipeline.  We have geared up one of the UK's top embroiderers to make top quality LASER 558 T-shirts, hats, hoodies, sweat shirts and a range of other apparel.  We use only 100% cotton Gildon shirts and the very latest threads to form the image.  Rich vibrant colours!  These garments really stand out and shout QUALITY!

The Radio Adventures of the MV Communicator book cover shows logos for all 11 of the stations that  broadcast from the ship over her 21 year career. We are awaiting approval from two copyright owners before we launch a great new shirt with all 11 logos emblazoned on it. This design will be totally unique and not available anywhere else. The logos will be woven in the very best threads with the original exciting colours. Yes, fully embroidered, so these will last for a very long time.

Meanwhile we have just published a book about the programing of Laser, describing the format , the techniques, the secrets and with lots of biographical information and pictures of every DJ on Laser 730, Laser 558 and Laser Hot Hits.

Radio Museum Laser
Laser Radio programming cover


ontents of


BBC programming heritage, Offshore Radio,  Music, Laser's Grandad,   SRE jingles, Marine Offences Act,  Radio Formats,  Hot Clocks, PlayLists, UK Music Radio in 1983, Meaningful Speech, Needle Time

Programme Meetings, Straplines & Slogans, Jingle jangle,  Laser's Music, Wolfman Jack,  Selection of Frequency, Test Transmissions, Laser 730 Team

Music Programming, Hot Clock, Format, Coverage & Audience,  Logo,  Laser 558 Merchandise, Why was Laser so successful?  Artists, Music,  Audio fidelity,  Studio Equipment, The Laser 558 Team

Laser 576, The Hot Hits Format, The Launch, Programming,  Music, the Laser Hot Hits Hot Clocks,   Live Reads, News Bulletins,  Laser Hot Hits DJs

Golden Oldies,  Merchandise,  Books,  Road Shows, Tribute Broadcasts, The Laser Blasts and Name,  Movies,  Radio  Day,   Radio Caroline

Internet Links, Birth Announcement of Laser & Declaration of Policies,  Copy of the The Laser Operations Manual

Laser Hot Hits

After Laser's ship was brought into harbour her operators and owner simply abandoned her. The ship and entire radio station were arrested and sold at auction by the Admiralty Marshall.

Despite the cachet and reputation, the entire operation was sold for only £35,000, a remarkable bargain considering that well over $1.5 million had been invested to date.

The ship spent most of 1986 in harbour in Harwich and finally sailed back to sea in late November. She had ostensibly been sold by her lucky buyer, East Anglian Productions, to an associated Panamaninan company, called Cord Cabo. 

This new organisation was owned by a consortium including Ray, a friend called Adam and mother who ran a nursing home, plus former Laser DJ Paul Dean. 

The Laser Hot Hits sales and support team included former Laser 558 team members John Catlett, Paul Fairs and John Cole. This time they were working without New York's constricting block on British adverts and they had offices in Texas as well as New York.
The Laser Radio Programming book is dedicated to
the ten million listeners
who were enthralled by
the programming  of
the three Laser stations
broadcasting from the
Communicator in the 1980s
Radio Adventures of the MV Communicator
The Communicator was a truly remarkable ship. The home to no less than 11 radio stations throughout her life - few can name them all. Some were very short lived.  How many can you name? They all have their logo on the front cover of
Radio Adventures of the MV Communicator (below)
and you can read all about each station in this exciting book, written by Paul Rusling who put the thing together, with some help from the various DJs, the radio engineers, crew members and the owners of some of the stations.

To find out more and how you can obtain a copy (it's available in softback and hardback) click HERE, or the book cover. 
The true story of
Europe's most controversial radio ship.

Laser from the Communicator on 730 KHz
In late 1983 Paul Rusling drew up a colour scheme for the Communicator to be painted with the name of the radio station along the sides of the ship, similar to the large lettered names of lightships. It was intended as a homage to the RADIO CAROLINE signwriting on the Frederica in Ramsey Bay, which could be clearly seen (most days) from Ramsey. Saldy the scheme was never completed, but in this picture well known Dutch expert Jelle Boonstra has kindly illustrated a photograph of the ship to show how effective it would have looked. Radio Adventures of the MV Communicator
The Comkmunicator transmitting with balloon
The first transmissions from the Communicator were with a power of 50 kilowatts using an antenna held aloft by a balloon on 729 KHz. They well well heard all over Europe, on Saturday 21st January 1984. Only non  stop music was heard, except for one quick announcement by Paul Rusling