The second phase of Radio Veronica, following
Veronica 96.3 would be known as Veronica Super Gold, and started in the June of 1988. This
phase of my Land Based Broadcasting was about to get well noticed by both the Radio
Authorities, and also by the then many ILR stations.
The story begins shortly after the closure of Hits FM which had closed down just some few months earlier. When a small team consisting of Steve Roberts, Brian Smith, and myself took a 50w transmitter that I had built especially on 102 Mhz for this use, up to Pole Hill in Chingford, Essex. We installed the transmitter and aerial at a point which over looked most of London. At 1pm on this particular Sunday after noon Veronica Super gold made its first test transmission. On hearing Radio Veronica testing, Mike Andrews, Tony James, Stewart Ross, Mike St John, Nigel James, Rusky, and the rest of the team that had helped run Hits FM all wanted back onboard so the station was born, just the way Steve Roberts, Brian Smith and myself had predicted.
Transmissions from Pole Hill continued for some 6 weeks or so. At this point we decided to move to a tower block in Walthamstow, East London known as White Beam Tower. The Transmitter power was then increased to 100w and fed into a
J type aerial with a 3db gain, hence an ERP power of 200w. From this location we were able to put a strong blanket coverage signal in stereo over the whole of London, and well beyond. The programmes were linked to this site on band 3 from Brian Smiths then home in Silver Street Edmonton, an address that would become well known to the DTI! Ironically though never to be raided by them. Thanks to their recognition that we were truly just Anoraks, running a none profit making station that they themselves admitted to listening to, all of this was to be later confirmed to us in a phone call to DTI re. the situation below.
Veronica Super Gold was however about to receive a series of main transmitter site raids, owing to the fact that the then Chiltern Radio was about to adopt the idea of its medium wave outlet becoming an oldies station and ironically choosing the slogan Super Gold. Clearly having heard us and wanting to adopt the name realizing that as a pirate we had not registered the name, and hence chose to adopt it, and then afterwards having the audacity to complain to the DTI that we had to be removed because we were getting them bad PR. All of this was confirmed to us by parties who for there benefit even at this stage in time will remain unnamed, as is only fair to them! Veronica was on air by now on a regular basis for a few months until around November '98. After receiving half a dozen or so raids in as many weeks, and losing just as many transmitters, we decided to suspend transmissions for a few weeks until we could change the situation slightly. A move to a different location was one of the changes, the chosen site was to be the Chingford Hall Estate in East London. Another change was to drop the name Super Gold and to change the name to Veronica 102 because our investigations had by now told us of the Chiltern Radio involvement in our being taken off air so regularly. Even although the name Super Gold had been originally thought of by our own Steve Roberts and used by us firstly at a time when Capital Gold had just taken to the air well before Chiltern had even split its MW and FM transmissions!
During the few weeks that we had been off air another pirate radio station, known as Q102 had appeared on our frequency of 102 Mhz, to which we were not best pleased as we were about to re-start transmissions of Veronica. So we set out to trace the UHF link that Q102 were using to link there programmes to there main transmission site, a tower block in Leytonstone, East London. Armed with a UHF link transmitter of our own we accessed there main transmitter and invited them to come and discuss the situation over the frequency with us, to which they agreed to do so and accordingly after some time ended up in a very satisfactory situation, where by it was agreed that both Q102, and Veronica would share the channel in order to between us occupy it for much longer periods of time, so therefore jointly keep the channel free of the less desired so called pirates. Q102 and Veronica became a good allies and helped each other when and where ever possible from that point on.
To sum up Radio Veronica it has to be said that not only was it great fun to run but it proved to be more than just the average land based pirate station during its time on air. Ironically the name Super Gold is now used as a national radio name. It's good to know that such large setups should look to us then land based pirates for there much needed inspiration. In a way I guess a small tribute of our achievements.
Another irony during our time as Veronica, was that because we largely played oldies form the 50s through to the then current hits, a well known Capital Gold DJ from a better time, often made reference to Capital Gold being the men with the music, not the Boys with there toys!
During my time with the Offshore Radio project some of the back room staff from Capital Gold came out to visit us and when I was introduced to them as presenter Garry Stevens, they then asked was I the same one from Veronica 102 and accordingly went on to tell me how they in the past would hear certain presentation staff at Capital Gold listing to Veronica and indeed getting ideas from us! At this point they went on to confirm the very "The boys with there toys" story. Also that they new of the problems we had re the Chiltern Radio irony. So once again I guess it can be said that Veronica Super Gold / 102 has indeed to this very day left its mark on British Broadcasting.
|Veronica Supergold Car Sticker Version 1|
|Veronica Supergold Car Sticker Version 2|
|Veronica Supergold Car Sticker Version 3|
|Veronica Supergold Car Sticker Version 4|
|Tape decks used at the Edmonton link site for programmes|
|Mixer used between programme tapes|
|Link transmitter at foot of aerial in garden, Silver Street Edmonton|
|Veronica Supergold Link aerial on air in garden, Silver Street Edmonton|
|Scanner showing the Veronica Supergold link transmitter on air and frequency|
|Radio at link site used for off air monitoring|
|One of the many Veronica Supergold 100w transmitters|
|Another one of the many Veronica Supergold 100w transmitters|
|Another view of one of the many Veronica Supergold 100w transmitters|
|Internal view of a Veronica Supergold 100w transmitters|
|Veronica Supergold main site at Chingford Hall Estate, East London|
|Transmit and link receive aerials at Veronica Supergold main site at Chingford Hall Estate, East London|
|Another view of the transmit and link receive aerials at Veronica Supergold main site in East London|
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Listen to Garry Stevens on Veronica Super Gold 102