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Death of a Pirate: British Radio and the Making of the Information Age [Format Kindle]

Adrian Johns

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"A treasure. . . . [Adrian] Johns portrays the British radio pirates not in the warm glow of sentimental memory that the period usually enjoys but in the historian 's cold bright light." --Randall Bloomquist

...a fascinating slice of Sixties sleaze...with implications for our times. --The Independent

"...a well-written tale of the high C s." --The Economist

Présentation de l'éditeur

“A superb account of the rise of modern broadcasting.” —Financial Times

When the pirate operator Oliver Smedley shot and killed his rival Reg Calvert in Smedley’s country cottage on June 21, 1966, it was a turning point for the outlaw radio stations dotting the coastal waters of England. Situated on ships and offshore forts like Shivering Sands, these stations blasted away at the high-minded BBC’s broadcast monopoly with the new beats of the Stones and DJs like Screaming Lord Sutch. For free-market ideologues like Smedley, the pirate stations were entrepreneurial efforts to undermine the growing British welfare state as embodied by the BBC. The worlds of high table and underground collide in this riveting history.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1358 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 336 pages
  • Editeur : W. W. Norton & Company; Édition : 1 (8 novembre 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0046RF8XW
  • Synthèse vocale : Non activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°748.640 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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Amazon.com: 3.2 étoiles sur 5  10 commentaires
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Real Story 3 novembre 2010
Par CWOS - Publié sur Amazon.com
As the son of Oliver Smedley, I have been steeped in the history of the Radio Pirates because my father helped start Radio Atlanta (later Radio Caroline South), because I listened to them and lastly because, when I was aged 15, my father shot Reg Calvert dead and was arrested for murder. But obviously my history was biased!
Adrian Johns has researched the story of Radio Caroline and the other stations and the killing of Reg Calvert with great diligence. He has written an excellent and exciting book which will bring back the days of pop radio in the early 1960's to those of my generation as well as inform all readers of the dramatic impact the Radio Pirates had on broadcasting and the media. I have learnt a lot from the book; the history of these pirates is fascinating. 'Death of a Pirate' really is the real story of the Radio Pirates, the development of British broadcasting and the shooting of Reg Calvert, not only that, it's a great read!
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The end of one era of pirate radio 8 mai 2012
Par J. Duffy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Adrian Johns frames the collapse of one era of Pirate radio in the UK (the sixties era of offshore transmissions) around the death of pirate Reginald Calvert at the hand of rival pirate Oliver Smedley. He boldly suggests that Calvert's death was the result of a misunderstanding between the two adversaries. While Calvert's death may have been the proximate cause of the shutdown of the pirate radio operations, there were greater economic and political forces at work that doomed that era of pirate radio (regardless of Calvert's death) and led to the incorporation of its main innovation -the playing of pop music- into mainline radio broadcasting (i.e., the BBC). Still, a fascinating and well-researched book on the myriad forces at work that led radio pirates to lurk offshore in pursuit of making radio broadcasting a commercial enterprise.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Excessive detail obscures the main message 8 décembre 2010
Par H. M. Gladney - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
A theme of this book is that the history of radio transmission privilege teaches about Internet issues. Another is that media monopolies are pertinent for civil liberties. Both are worth paying attention to.

However, excessive detail about the personalities and wrangles of otherwise-forgotten British entrepreneurs makes it unnecessarily difficult for readers to discern and judge the arguments for and against central control of media and bandwidth. Had the book been 80% as long as it is, it would have been much better.
2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A mixture of fact and conjecture 17 janvier 2011
Par Mervyn O. Hagger - Publié sur Amazon.com
I knew Alan Crawford - I went into business with him for a brief period, and I sat in his office in Dean Street which was NOT the same address that the CNBC venture operated out of. The author attempts to link events from CNBC to Atlanta by stating that Crawford found the old CNBC plans, which of course is untrue.

Crawford's plans came from McLendon. The author also tries to explain the "Rosebud" and "Atlanta" names by suggesting that they were the work of Smedley and Crawford. However, the real story begins with Gordon McLendon of Dallas who was both a movie maverick (hence "Rosebud" from 'Citizen Kane') and proud of his Atlanta, Texas roots that began his broadcasting career.

The originator of 'Radio Atlanta' was Gordon McLendon and it was to have been funded (like GBLN before it), by Herbert W. Armstrong. Then Atlanta merged with Jocelyn Stevens' 'Radio Caroline' (named after the 'Caroline' stylesheet for 'Queen' magazine by Editor B. Miller), and it was decided to steer clear of both politics and religion since the original 'Radio Caroline' plan was aimed at trying to overturn the 'Pilkington Report' with its finding against commercial radio. That was not the original plan for 'Radio Atlanta'. Armstrong had to wait for the arrival of Don Pierson's 'Wonderful Radio London' before he was able to expand to 7 days a week beyond the Mondays and Tuesdays schedule over Radio Luxembourg.

This book is really a pick-up from the earlier Chapman work (the author admits this in his previous work on copyrights and piracy that begat the present work - which I also bought and have read. It is also an academic work, unlike the present book.) This book is also a trek with historian Coase who wrote about the BBC and ended up in Chicago. But the author does not understand the nature of the BBC as a Crown chartered corporation - it is not a "state corporation" as such. There are many other misunderstandings in the work but its strength is perhaps in its weakness.

It is really a work of laissez faire advocacy in politics and business as applied to the UK through Oliver Smedley. Therefore the "Death of a Pirate" is really a side issue while the author goes out of his way to relate many details about the 'Radio City' broadcasting staff that are covered in more precise detail with audio on the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame web site.

The author laments that there is a lack of academic work on this subject, but in so doing he has to ignore the work of Dr. Eric Gilder who many other authors have 'borrowed' from in order to create their own works. At one time Chapman contacted us for assistance, but we were engaged in our own research and publications, and so we turned down his request. Our own archives draw up the library of documents handed to us by the late Don Pierson (WRL/SRE/BR offshore stations) and years of research into the Gordon McLendon 'Radio Nord' venture. In addition to working with Crawford we also met other leading figures such as Ted Allbuery and the engineering staff responsible for 'Radio Nord'.

Unfortunately the real story of 'Radio Caroline' ('Radio Atlanta') and the other stations has yet to be told in detail, but we are trying to cover the topics of offshore radio, piracy, copyrights and basic freedoms in our own series of published academic articles which we will eventually combine into a single volume on the subject of offshore radio.

Our suggestion is buy this book - if you have an offshore radio library. It is not a complete work but it is a handy addition for some of the orginal documented material that it does contain.
4 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 The sum of the parts are greater than the whole. 3.5* 22 février 2011
Par Lonya - Publié sur Amazon.com
When I first arrived in England in 1971 the `glory days' of Pirate Radio had come and gone. BBC Radio had created Radio 1 to play pop music and hoped that would be sufficient to satisfy our hunger for rock and roll. Nevertheless, my classmates and I still popped our radios out the window at night and pointed them out to the North Sea in hopes of catching a broadcast from the North Sea or Radio Luxembourg or the like and those who lived through pirate radio loved to tell stories about the crazy DJs they used to hear. Since then my only exposure to pirate radio came from the recently released film, Pirate Radio. As a result I tended to think of pirate radio stations as a haven for young rockers run by like minded people of my so-called generation. So, I was more than a bit surprised when I picked up "Death of a Pirate" by Adrian Johns and read (according to the book jacket) that these stations were run by free-market free-traders who were followers of Friedrich von Hayek who wanted to use these stations to attacked the British welfare/nanny site as embodied by the state-run BBC.

Johns tell three stories in "Death of a Pirate": the birth and development of the British Broadcasting Company (later Corporation) and its battle against those who wanted to open the airwaves to commercial stations on the U.S. model; the creation of and competition between the pirate radio stations in the 1960s and the British government's rather insipid and generally ineffective campaign to quash the stations; and the partnership and rivalry between two pirates, Oliver Smedley and Reg Calvert that resulted in the fatal shooting of Calvert by Smedley.

Each story is interesting in its own right. The birth and development of the BBC was particularly interesting. One of the BBC's nicknames, Auntie Beeb, reflects accurately the attitude the BBC had toward its radio listeners in the first 50 years of its existence. Unlike commercial radio in the U.S., which took care to develop methods for determining audience taste and catering to those shows, the BBC took the opposite approach. It considered the radio to be a learning tool where its listeners would be enriched as much if not more than they were entertained.

It was this nanny-state attitude the drove many of the entrepreneurs behind pirate radio toward radio piracy. Not only was there money to be made but there was a point to be driven home. Fueled by the economic theories of von Hayek and his followers, the principles of free trade and the unshackling of the free flow of information (and music in this case) from government control and an acute eye for potential profit, the radio pirates created complex schemes to set up and operate radio stations. Johns does a very good job here. I admit to being more than a bit surprised (although in retrospect I should not have been) to learn that it was not the Conservative party in power who ramped up the campaign to squash the pirates. It turns out that it was the Labour party under Prime Minister Harold Wilson who put the finishing touches to the campaign against the stations. The free-trade wing of the Conservative Party was generally supportive of the pirates' efforts, if not their some time shady methods of doing business.

The third story covers the shooting death of Reg Calvert by Oliver Smedley and the events leading us up to and through the shooting and Smedley's trial for murder. Two rivals and some time partners, their story adds an interesting and tragic flavor to Johns' story. The difference in Smedley and Calvert's economic caste played a rather critical role in the trial and seemed to me to make the result of the trial almost pre-ordained. Johns writes with a deft touch about these class-based atmospherics.

The book ends with a very nice summation that looks at the possible `moral of the story' the pirates philosophy of the totally free exchange of information, has for us in today's information age. John's writing here was insightful.

As noted in the title of this review, I think the value of the individual stories are better than the whole. Each story was well-told and informative. However, the connections between each to the other although apparent, were not seamlessly connected. This is something of a shame because I enjoyed each story line but found that the efforts to connect each story line to the other created some small amount of literary dissonance as I read through it. I think this is a far less serious fault in a piece of non-fiction than fiction and found that John's summation at the end made for a nice conclusion to the piece. Ultimately I'd give this book 4 stars for the individual stories and 3 stars for the lack of smooth transitioning from one story line to the other. All-in-all this book was well worth reading. L. Fleisig
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