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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 ship having to close down again, but finally enjoy rich radio booty in Holland.
Millions of listeners rued the day the Communicator 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 on popp deck
Brandy Lee in her Laser Hot Hits pullover sat on the poop deck of the Communicator
£15.95  UK
£19.95 to RoW
Prices include  P&P and currency conversion
where appropriate
Available NOW
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Select postage desitination on menu
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Laser Radio programming covber
MV Communicator as seen in the Knock Deep  in June 1984
©Peter Harmsen
Laser Lovber Badge
Laser DJ Charlie Wolf
Click on the Seawolf to see what he is up to now
Laser DJs DL Boagart & Brandi Lee
Sunday Sport reading DJ DL Bogart has a bird in the bush, to the amusement of Brandi Lee



radio 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 of Laser's 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 very successful, as far as attracting publicty and a large audience, although it never officially made any realistic sums of money for its owners (although some staff did very well from the 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 adjacent Benelux countries. It was then operated 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.  Only 100% cotton Gildon shirts are good enough for LASER LOVERS.  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 hope to soon be launching a great new shirt with all 11 logos emblazoned on it. This design will be totally unique and not available anywhere else.The station logos will be woven in the very best threads with the original exciting colours. Yes, fully embroidered, so these shirts 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. Its called Laser Radio Programming.
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 Panamanian company called Cord Cabo  which included Ray, his friend Adam and Adam's mother who ran a nursing home, as well as former Laser DJ Paul Dean. 
The Laser Hot Hits sales and support team included former Laser 558 team members John Catlett as MD,  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.
For more details - Click HERE  
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 the seafront at Ramsey. Sadly the scheme was never completed, but in this picture well-known Dutch radio ship expert Jelle Boonstra has kindly illustrated a photograph of the ship to show how effective the name scheme would have looked. Corporate names on the sides of ships has now become nmuch more commonplace and can be seen daily off our shores.
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 during the balloon test transmissions, except for one quick announcement by Paul Rusling.
After the crew lost the two balloons, a small team of engineers (Paul Rusling, Blake Williams, Robin Adcroft, Johnny Lewis and Dave Black-Davidson) toiled for a week to build a small temporary antenna, and then conducted ten days of test transmissions in February which brought in over 2000 reception reports to the station's office on Madison Avenue in New York.   These were instrumental in persuading the owner to fund a new antenna system.
The full story of the Laser 7830 transmissions and the fun of flying balloons in the NorthSea in January can be found (with photographs) in Chapter Four of the book The Adventures of the MV Communicator. Fuller details HERE.
Published in summer 1984, 
The Lid off Laser 558 
tells the story of how the project came together, how it was launched and more. The book sold very well and was 'sold out' years ago; it's been 'out of print' for thirty years.  Now a few copies have surfaced and are available by clicking a link:
        Softback Copy  PayPal Link
        Hardback Copy  PayPal Link

 L A S E R



Laser Hot Hits sticker
RTI Offshore and Laser channel
You can hear Laser shows 24 hours a day online - via RTI's Offshore Channel.  Click to tune in,
Laser programme link
Hear Laser programmes once again
on RTI's  OFFSHORE LASER channel
Just click on the Communicator picture
Hear Laser programmes once again
on RTI's  OFFSHORE LASER channel
Just click on the Communicator picture