Voice of Peace
The ship MV Peace in East of the Mediterranean and the antenna of the "Voice of Peace" radio station broadcasting to the Middle East
|Broadcast area||East of the Mediterranean Sea|
|Slogan||From somewhere in the Mediterranean, we are the Voice of Peace|
|Frequency||1539 Khz AM (although it would announce it as 1540 Khz) (1973-1993)
100.0M Hz FM (1980-1993)
|First air date||19th May 1973 - November 1993|
|Format||Pop / Variety|
|Broadcast area||Online streaming from Tel Aviv, Israel|
|First air date||November 7, 2009-present|
|Format||Pop / Variety|
Voice of Peace (Hebrew: קול השלום, Kol HaShalom) was an offshore radio station that served the Middle East for 20 years from the former Dutch cargo vessel MV Peace (formally MV Cito), anchored off the coast of Tel Aviv. Founded by the late Abie Nathan and the New York-based Peace Ship Foundation, the station broadcast almost continuously between 19th May 1973 and November 1993.
The aim of the Voice of Peace, rumoured to have been established with the financial aid of ex-Beatle John Lennon, was to communicate a message of peaceful co-existence to the volatile Middle East. The station's output was a popular music format presented by a team of professional, mostly British, DJs broadcasting live from the ship.
The main on-air studio consisted of a Gates Diplomat mixer, Technics SL-1200 turntables, Sony CD Players, and Gates NAB cartridge machines, on which the jingles and commercials were played. The second studio, used for production, had a Gates turntable, reel-to-reel tape recorders, and an NAB cartridge recording unit.
The Voice of Peace was Israel's first offshore pop station and the first commercially-funded private broadcast operation. The station’s use of catchy American PAMS, CPMG, JAM, and TM Productions jingles, English-speaking DJs, and playlist of Top 40 hits attracted such big-name sponsors as TWA and Coca Cola. Initially, the station transmitted on 1539 AM (although it would announce it as 1540 AM) and in 1980 added a second signal at 100.0 FM.
The original AM/MW transmitter was installed in New York prior to 1972 and consisted of two 25,000-watt Collins units and a Collins combiner, giving the station a potential 50 kW AM signal. The MW signal was broadcast from a centre-fed horizontal antenna slung between the fore and aft masts, a design similar to those used by Radio Veronica and later Laser 558. The station normally ran at 35 kW until late 1976, when it was decided to operate just one transmitter at a time, keeping the other in reserve. In 1985, Keith York's repair of the combiner enabled the two Collins units to be run together again, resulting in a large mailbag from Turkey, Crete, Greece, and Cyprus, areas the Voice of Peace message hadn't reached for nine years. After these AM transmitters became unserviceable, a Canadian Nautel 10 kW AM transmitter was installed.
The 20 kW FM transmitter installed in Israel was manufactured by Harris. This, combined with the antenna array, delivered around 80 kW ERP (Effective Radiated Power) of stereo to the region. A second 20 kW Harris FM transmitter was also installed on board the peace ship.
During the station's heyday, many notable personalities were involved in broadcasting on the station. John Lennon, The Carpenters, Johnny Mathis, and many other celebrities recorded messages of peace which were transmitted from the ship. John and Yoko Lennon signed hundreds of peace posters, held on the ship, which Abie Nathan could sell to raise revenue for the station should times become hard. Thanks to Tavas Advertising, this situation never developed and due to their hard work, the peace ship was able to function into the early 1980s on Tavas-generated revenue pre-May 1976.
During the mid-1970s, the station boasted more than 20 million listeners stretching from the Middle East to southern Europe and Turkey due to the format used by the professional broadcast team drawn from Britain and Australia and led by Keith Ashton. The VoP had several (mostly short-lived) rival offshore radio (and even television) stations during its time on air. The best known of these was the right-wing station Arutz Sheva (Channel 7).
Many notable broadcasters spent time as presenters with the Voice of Peace, including Tony Allan, Bob Noakes, Ken Dickin, Phil Brice, Richard West (now using real name Richard Harding on Island FM), Steve Gordon, Richard Wood, Don Stevens, Alan Roberts, and Crispian St. John, who sailed through the Suez Canal on board with Abie Nathan in early 1977; Gavin McCoy, Tony Lyman (as Vince Mould), Malcolm Barry, Guy Starkey, Tom Hardy, Norman Lloyd, Richard Jackson, Keith York, Kas Collins, Nathan Morley, Mark Hurrell, Steve Marshall, Chris Pearson,Keith Lewis, Steve Silby, Rob Charles, Dave Shearer, Doug Wood, Digby Taylor, Tony Mandell, Nigel Harris, Mike Kerslake (Davis/Coconut), Cliff Walker, Alex Skinner, Andrew Yeates, Neil Turnbull, Nigel Grover, John Macdonald, Steve Rowney (AKA Carlos the Chicken), and Grant Benson. Johnny Lewis appeared on the VoP in the early 1980s as Johnny Moss. Steve Greenberg, who would go on to become a Grammy- winning producer and president of Columbia Records, was another early-1980s broadcaster aboard the ship. Kenny Page is acknowledged as being one of the station's longest-serving presenters, having worked on board from the 1970s to the 1990s. Paul Rogers (ex-Radio Elenore, Liverpool) spent one year on board from 1984–1985, before moving on to become Dave Collins on Radio Caroline, and is currently still working on radio in the UK. Writer/Producer Richard Doran Ticho was a DJ on the Voice of Peace in 1985, and went on to purchase the domain name http://www.VoiceOfPeace.com in the early 1993, around the time the peace ship was scuttled. The site is designed to educated and entertain, just like Abie's Voice of Peace.
A reunion in Amsterdam, Radio Day 2006, celebrated the launch of a new book by Hans Knot of station memories on November 4, 2006, and was attended by many media outlets, including Channel Two Israel, which interviewed Don Stevens, Chris Pearson, and Steve Silby, and broadcast the newsreel worldwide. This resulted in Don Stevens making contact with his long-lost child Sarit, whom he'd prayed for every day, and he was overwhelmed to discover he was part of a three-child family.
The Voice of Peace primarily produced programs in English, (but a small section of the output also included shows in Hebrew, Arabic, and French), readily accepted by listeners in all countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea who felt the station reflected Western ideals.
The station had several popular long-running shows that ran for nearly its entire life, including Twilight Time (broadcast daily at 18:00, using the Platters hit of the same name as its introduction theme), the Classical Music Programme (daily from 19:30), and Late Night Affair (00.00-03.00).
The regular telephone forum chaired by Abie Nathan called Ma La'asot? (?מה לעשות, "What to do?") was central to his view of the station's purpose. It took the form of an open multi-line tele-debate accessible to everyone regardless of age, religion, ethnicity, or location, and was the only open and uncensored means of direct public dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. It played a significant role in creating mutual understanding at a grass-roots level.
The Voice of Peace was generally tolerated by the Israeli Government, as Abie Nathan was a beloved personality in the country; however officials at the IBA were alarmed at the station's popularity in its first years on the air, and quickly set about devising a state-run pop service, Reshet Gimel, in May 1976.
Nathan was imprisoned on several occasions for violating Israeli laws forbidding contact with enemy states and the PLO.
The sinking of the peace ship
Nathan decided to intentionally sink the ship in international waters on November 28, 1993 after various promises of a broadcast license and mooring in Jaffa Port failed to come to fruition, and he closed the station due to heavy losses and following the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords, which he assumed was validation of the station's mission. On the final day of broadcasting, he instructed the presenters to play Beatles non-stop. The lineup of presenters on board ship on its final day included Nathan Morley, Matthew French, Bill Sheldrake, and Clive Sinclair.
Since the early 1990s, Voice of Peace website address website http://voiceofpeace.com/ has taken on several formats, from a news forum to an online station, but since 2007, it has been a video-based peace portal featuring playlists and shows hosted by entertainers and educators from around the globe.
Abie Nathan's sickness and death
Station founder Abie Nathan suffered a stroke in 1997 that left him partially paralyzed. In 2005 he was voted the 44th-greatest Israeli of all time in a poll by the Israeli news website Ynet to determine whom the general public considered the 200 greatest Israelis. He died in Tel Aviv on 27 August 2008 at age 81.
In 2003, NMC Music released a CD called the Voice of Peace, featuring songs and jingles from the station. As the Sun Sets, a film about Abie Nathan, soon followed, directed by Eytan Harris. Double CD compilations followed in 2007 and 2008.
On 10 June 2007 the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality passed a resolution to post a commemorative plaque on the Tel-Aviv boardwalk at Gordon Beach, opposite where the Peace Ship had been anchored. This memorial plays recordings of the Voice Of Peace, including the station callsign in Nathan's voice and an explanation in both Hebrew and English.
Israeli radio station Radius 100 (which currently broadcasts on VoP's old FM frequency) airs weekday tribute programs. The first hour is music in the format of Twilight Time. The second hour is hosted and plays hits mostly from the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s, along with some special features. Presenters include Gil Katzir, Mike Brand, and Tim Shepherd.
In August 2009, The Voice of Peace Radio Station was launched as an online radio service (streaming at 128 kbit/s). It returned on Saturday November 7, 2009 at 12.00 UTC at http://www.theVoiceOfPeace.co.il By Christmas 2009, it featured some live programmes, as well as syndicated shows. The Voice of Peace is currently programmed by former Voice of Peace presenter Mark Hanna, who was a regular presenter during the summer of 1992. One of the station's earliest DJs, Alan Roberts, a former programme director who originally spent about a year with the station in 1976 and 1977, also presents some evening programmes. In August 24, 2010, former VOP DJ (1987) Richard Doran Ticho Ticho returned to the air as host of the one-hour program the Spotlight. On August 16, 2010, former VOP DJ (1985), Andy Cox, returned to the station broadcasting a live interactive show on a Monday and a chart countdown on Saturdays. He a also hosted Twilight Time for over a year. November 24, 2010 saw former VOP DJ (1986), Rob Charles returned to the Voice of Peace with all-time number ones show, which aired on a Wednesday. February 5, 2011 former VOP DJ, John Macdonald returned and did several joint broadcasts from PulseFM studios in Scotland. John also hosted his much remembered show 'Late Night Affair'. In July 2010, www.VoiceOfPeace.com welcomed aboard celebrated broadcaster and best-selling author Pete Fornatale with his show Back to the Garden in support of Harry Chapin’s World Hunger Year (WhyHunger.org). The July 2010 edition also included exclusive video presentations featuring music industry legend (Country Joe and The Fish, Blues Project), David Bennett Cohen's Turning Poison Into Medicine in support of Sōka Gakkai, Fab Fourum co-host Tony Traguardo's Peace, Love, and Good Music in support of the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, Tree of Avalon host Winifred Boyd's Universal Brotherhood Through Music in support of the Animal Rescue Site, and actor / entertainer Che Broadway's Peace, Politics, and Protest in support of Amnesty International.
|Broadcast area||Streaming from London, England|
|Slogan||The Vault of Pop
all Time Hits
|First air date||2010-present|
|Format||Pop / Variety|
After internal differences about the station's style, part of the staff established a rival station identified as The VOP. That station streamlines from London through http://www.thevop.net
- The Voice of Peace official web site
- Radius 100FM Voice of Peace page
- More pictures of the ship
- Soundscapes VOP article
- Remembering the Voice of Peace (oral history series)
- Israeli Pirate radio - past and present
- Abie Nathan site
- Today's Kol-HaShalom radio in Miami, Florida online and on the air at 92.1 FM in Aventura Area, Florida the Voice of Peace Radio - this has no connection to the original Voice of Peace station, other than the name.