Brief History: Radio Geronimo was the
brainchild of Terry Yason… with Hugh Nolan and Geoffrey Bass… they
enlisted the financial help of Jimmy Miller (record producer:
Traffic, Rolling Stones etc.) and Tony Secunda (music biz
entrepreneur and manager of bands such as The Move)… Following test
transmissions (as Radio Rupert and Radio 428) in 1969 from the
Pyrenees, Radio Geronimo hired airtime in 1970 from Radio Monte
Carlo. Programming consisted of jazz, folk, blues, rock, classical
and world music, along with useful advice of the counter culture.
Geronimo was the antithesis of DJ culture – 'joined up radio' - the
music spoke a language of its own, the presenter occasionally spoke
the earthy language of the street, and the listener was treated as
an equal… Unlike the pirate radio stations of the 60’s this most
radical of radio stations was totally legal. It was
favourably compared to BBC Radio 3 and is fondly remembered by those
fortunate enough to be there… Engineering was by John Lundsten.
Barry Everitt (promoter, Astoria, Borderline) was also part of the
Geronimo team. Richard Branson wanted to join in but his overtures
As Geronimo Starship they recorded the 1971 Glastonbury Fayre and
released a legendary triple album on Revelation Records. Geronimo
were also contracted by Pan American Airways to provide their inflight jazz entertainment.
Barry Everitt and Hugh Nolan in the
Harley Street Studio
comments (in October 2010):
"In 1968 there were three close friends Me Geoffrey Bass and Hugh
Nolan. We met regularly at Hugh's flat in Manchester Street W.1.
Geoffrey lived with his parents in Camden Town and I lived around
the corner to him in a large bed sit.
Separately I was friends with Barry who had married an old friend of
I went to New York in 1968 and came back excited after listening to
FM Bob Fash on WNEW who played the whole side of Tommy without
interruption in stereo.
I was a free lance PR in the music business and met Hugh who was a
journalist on Disc and Music Echo. Our musical tastes met in the
middle I was more into Jazz Blues and World music although that term
was unknown at the time. Hugh's taste was mainly Grateful Dead The
Byrds and the more eclectic Rock at the time.
We met regularly in the Law Courts gardens lunchtimes which was
close to Fleet Street where Hugh's office was. My excitement and
sense of anything could be achieved resulted in Hugh and I to agree
to attempt to create a radio station that made a new paradigm in
Radio. We agreed a new format of reducing the role of the DJ and
segueing music of all kinds knitting the programme into a trip
introducing the audience to music they would never have heard.
Somehow we found bill hayes a free radio enthusiast from muswell
hill and met with him who agreed to help and became our engineer
recording the first programmes in his flat. With his girlfriend in
the bath Hugh would record his vocals in the bathroom while I
gave bill the albums to record and then we would switch roles.
Geoffrey was always in attendance being our guru and muse.
We decided to approach Radio Andorra one of Bills contacts who told
us that this station was built by the Nazis to broadcast propaganda
thru occupied Europe. Being Jewish this seemed a wonderful irony.
Unfortunately Andorra was AM and our first test was mostly hiss and
Geoffrey became our new marketing man while Hugh and I were
responsible for programmes as Geoffrey and I got a train to Paris to
meet with Radio Monte Carlo bosses who we had found somehow as a FM
alternative to Andorra. Geoffrey and I found a cheap hotel whose
residents kept us awake all night as it turned out to be a brothel
and the customers would walk up and down outside our room all
The result was an agreement for them to broadcast test programmes.
I'm not sure how many.
At this we decided to find a commercial backer who Hugh found Tony
Secunda a rock manager of dubious reputation as a snake which he
resembled wearing this extraordinary long leather coat which I felt
was made from his shed skin. Tony offered the use of his offices on
the corner of Wigmore Street and Harley Street a contract which we
never read and signed. No wages were ever discussed and we survived
on selling promotional albums from the record companies. Tony
managed Record Producer Jimmy Miller a healthy tall handsome
American who produced the Stones.
As a supreme irony we began recording programmes at Radio Luxembourg
studios in Hertford Street behind the Hilton. Kid Jensen had
recently started on Luxembourg in competition even though we hadn’t
seriously started broadcasting. I had got us some serious music
recording sessions became a centre for friends who kept us regularly
supplied with joints. Amongst these was Barry Everitt.
Eventually Tony Secunda confronted me in a meeting with Geoffrey
Hugh and I and demanded I diluted my programmes and use more
commercial rock which I totally refused. Unless I did he would pull
out his support for the Hertford studio. To their shame Geoffrey and
Hugh and said nothing in my defence and I was sacked from the
station I had created.
I was broken and went to stay with my parents for the summer, weak
and sickly and didn’t speak to Hugh again for over twenty years.
In the meantime Barry took over my spot and the rest is history
Marshall-Everitt writes (February 2010):
On February 15th 1970 Radio Geronimo started broadcasting weekly
broadcasts from Radio Monte Carlo. Presenters Hugh Nolan & Barry
Everitt played the now historic version of Amazing Grace by The
Great Awakening and the Radio Geronimo was born.
This is the 40th Anniversary and sadly many of the team are now not
with us, we have lost Hugh Nolan, and the backers Jimmy Miller &
Tony Secunda and this 2010 show is dedicated to them and in
particular the free form musical direction given to the station by
Radio Geronimo was the first European free form radio station,
broadcasting from Hitler's propaganda radio transmitters built in
Monte Carlo in 1940. The signal was heard over the entire continent
and even though it was a legal transmission it was referred to as a
pirate by many countries, including the UK, it's free form non
programming and use of very free speech seemed to upset the British
Government and the BBC started to jam the signal, Radio Geronimo hit
back by jamming the BBC headquarters in London with strawberry jam,
Hugh & Barry were arrested and made the front page of the daily
papers creating a massive new audience.
The success of the station also riled other broadcasters and as
often happens other companies bought there way into Monte Carlo and
by November 1970 Geronimo was off the air and became a legend.