Aircheck Tracker

Bob Glen asked for details on Peter Phillips.  Jeff Martin & the AIRCHECK team offer their findings so far...

Profile: Peter Phillips: After spending a considerable amount of time on land-based pirate Radio Jackie, Peter Phillips jumped on-board the Ross Revenge to join Radio Caroline 558 in the mid 1980s.  During his time on board, he was influential in a number of key moves as station Programme Controller.  One noteable figure to be interviewed for air was one Tony Christian who went straight on-air the very next day.

On Friday 16th October 1987, a fierce storm system was battering the British Isles and surrounding seas.  Many stations on-land were knocked off-air by the storms, whilst out at sea, on-board the Ross Revenge, Peter continued to present the Breakfast Show.  However, those very storms must have caused some slight weakness in the metal work of the ship's now famous 100 metre mast.  That December, the mast came crashing down in yet more storms.  Weaker power level broadcasting continued with rigging work from Peter and the rest of the crew, by way of an assembly strung between the ship's funnel and an oil pipe.  

By as late as January 25th 1988, Peter appeared on-air remarking that the station was on reduced strength but hoped for improvements soon.  He was to be instrumental in the following day's attempts to improve things when an 80ft tower was erected at the rear of the ship - Peter was seen climbing up making preparations for it's later operation whilst transmissions continued via the previous temporary set up.  The new aerial was set to run between the new 80ft mast and a 60ft engine exhaust which came out of the front of the ship.  Further attempts to put up a permanent structure were made later.  

At the end of February, the hard work had obviously taken it's toll, and Peter left on a tender for a rest period away from the turbulent seas.  He returned on April 10th but left for good on April 25th.  

Jeff Martin adds: 'He earned the nickname 'World Service' because of his very precise upper class voice - after he left Caroline he did some work at Invicta Radio and then it's AM service Invicta Gold, later working on Essex Radio Group's Breeze AM before it was taken over by GWR - during his time at Breeze he worked along side his former Caroline colleague Johnny Lewis.'

Bob Glen adds: I was very impressed with your profile of Peter Phillips and I was also amazed at the outcome of your extensive research, it was very good, and was information that I was unaware of.  But now I know the story of the mast, it makes a lot of sense due to the fact I have a video taken on board the Ross Revenge during that very time, and features Peter,  It also shows some figure climbing the mast and throwing down a line to Johnny Lewis, the distant figure is probably the said Peter Philips.  I recently spoke to Tony Allen when he was doing his Saturday afternoon show on Caroline via Sky/Worldspace, and I asked him if he knew where Peter was.  He thought he was still working for Radio Kent under his proper name, but unfortunately, I cant remember what it was..SORRY!

Jeff Martin has been back in touch to state that Peter's real name is Graham Cook.  This is the name he's believed to be still reading the news under at BBC Radio Kent.  

Then on 2nd June, we received an e-mail from Gerry who writes: 'I noticed in Hans Knot's newsletter that someone was asking for news about Peter Phillips.  It would certainly be interesting to hear him on-air again, definitely one of the better broadcasters from the Ross.  He was on Radio Kent probably in the late 80s or early 90s.  He used the same last name but a different first name which also escapes me.  However, it was something straightforward, e.g. Graham.  So here are a few clues from a web search, which also led me to your site.  I live in Kent but I must confess to not having listened to Radio Kent for many years.  This is for a forthcoming event.  www.jivebug.co.uk/html/programme_-_evening.html and there's a photo here at www.jiveathon.com/gallery/teachersanddjs2002/2002_1020_224648AA.  The photo at www.jiveathon.com/gallery/teachersanddjs2002/DSCF0073?full=1 has a similar profile to the photo in Hans' newsletter.  So, is it the same person?  There's also a mention from last year at www.wickonline.com/wickfm/index.html.  Here's a tip: To avoid wrong answers, web searches should use the 'must not include' option for words and phrases such as "Pete Rock', 'Royal' and 'Princess etc, as Princess Anne's son does have the same name!  Happy hunting.  Regards Gerry.  

Bob Glen replies: 'Well that is a tremendous piece of tracking - excellent, and it looks like there's more to come.  The photos of Peter don't mean a lot in a way, because when he was on Caroline he had a bushy beard, but the guy who contacted you, Gerry, is correct with the fact that he was one of the better broadcasters on the"Ross".  He had a tremendous voice!  In conclusion, all I can say is YES!  This is our Mr Phillips, and Graham Cook was the name I was given as his real one, so well done.  Please keep in touch and thanks once again. Kind regards, Bob. 

Worry not Bob!  We've not finished yet, and there'll be more details here and on the tracker home page when we get it.  Incidentally, we've visited www.bbc.co.uk/kent but there's no details of the news team for us to conclude any further whereabouts or names.   Visiting the site from Kent?  Why not let us know yourself by tuning into Radio Kent.  Visit our Kent AIRCHECK UK page for tuning information, then e-mail us at ianmsperry@hotmail.com with your findings.  Thanks!

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