The Commercial Radio Supporters Club was founded in May 1967 by Paul Rusling and a few schoolfriends to 'save' Radio 270. They had little idea of quite HOW they would even attempt to save Radio 270, but they were determined to do something for the radio station they loved.
Paul Rusling had been to the 270 office in Scarbough several times after keeping notes of the Radio 270 Top 40 chart positions and constructing an analysis of them, which he had sent in to the station. Wilf Proudfoot, the MD of Radio 270 had written a very complimentary letter praising the efforts he had made and offered him a job in admin, but when Paul turned up at the offices it was clear he was still a few years too young (13!). Paul had been made very welcome at the Radio 270 offices, which were in a small extension built on the side of the home of Managing Director, Wilf Proudfoot, in Scalby Road.
In 1967 Paul organised a petition and took to the streets to get signatures in support of the cause - over 3,000 in the first weekend were garnered just in Hull city centre. He wrote to the DJs on Radio 270. Just to make sure, he went out to the radio ship on the regular Tuesday tender from Bridlington, the tiny fishing cobble the Monica 2, to cajole them into giving their support.
The DJs began announcing details of the petition on the air, and announcing that the signatures would be collected in Hull again on Saturday and in Bridlington and Scarborough on the Sunday. They also gave out Paul's home address on the air - 10 Wellstead Street, in Hull - for people to contact. The mail response was astonishing; hundreds wrote in offering to help, to the astonishment of Paul's parents who had never seen so much mail and had no idea this was going to happen!
A meeting was convened at the YPI in the centre of Hull a couple of weeks later, and local business man Bill Hornby took the reins as Chairman, with Anita Bailey as Secretary. Bill was to remain chairman until the CRSC disbanded in the 1970s, and he ably steered the club through many storms !
Paul had brought along Maurice Jeffrey ("Jeff") the Radio 270 Advertising Salesman (or had persuaded Jeff to take him along, as Jeff has a car and Paul didn't!). Jeff's main activity as Radio 270 closed was to organise a series of Radio 270 Dances throughout the north which were also very well attended, making a tidy bonus for Maurice, dennis the Menace and some of the DJs, some of whom got a months wages for one gig!
Over a hundred Radio 270 fans / listeners attended the inaugaural CRSC meeting and one of the suggestions was a leaflet campaign to boost membership. This innovative campaign saw the production of tens of thousands of car stickers, which were distributed through letterboxes, and left on cars everywhere.
Squads of well organised 270 fans would descend on car parks, housing estates and town centres giving these out, and all were paid for by the Radio 270 advertisers who were persuaded to buy the space on the back of them in return for the free distribution. About fifty or sixty regular distributers helped get those leaflets out, and the response to join the CRSC membership campaign was pretty good.
Radio 270 star DJs Mike Hayes and Mike Barron agreed to be Honorary Members of the CRSC and Radio 270's Managing Director Wilf Proudfoot gave support by introducing leading policians as advisers. Rusty Allen also joined as an Honorary Deputy Chairman and gave much encouragement and advice on his frequent trips up to Hull.
Branches of the CRSC were set up in Leeds, Hartlepool, Newcastle, Wakefield and Rotherham and by the 10th August the CRSC had over 1000 paid up members and over 62,000 signatures on its petition. This was handed over later to the much larger national Free Radio Association, which the CRSC became affiliated to and eventually a branch of. The CRSC in turn had 22 local branches.
The CRSC ran several social events and dances in local nightclubs and dance halls. The first of these was at the Music Box in Bishop Lane, Hull, which later became known as the Bierkeller. The first DJs of these were Paul Rusling, Rob Walker - who later ran the successful Blacklight discos and shop in Hull, and Mike Milner, who wore flowers in his hair and call everything "groovy". Various former offshore DJs were engaged to also perform and among the regulars were Rusty Allen, Ross Randell and Mike Barron, all from Radio 270, as well as Don Allen and Mike Ahern from Radio Caroline North and Spangles Maldoon from the Radio Caroline South ship.
The following year the FRA held a huge rally in Trafalgar Square which was attended by around 20,000 offshore radio supportrs, including a contingent of over 40 CRSC members who travelled down from the North East. Ross Randell and Paul Kramer of Radio 270 were there too as was Wilf Proudfoot who got loud cheers when introduced.
The CRSC's petition had now got over 84,000 signatures and this was added to the FRA's petition making just over a million signatiures being delivered to Downing Street. Prime Minister Harold Wilson steadilly ignored the request for new radio stations to replace Radio 270, Caroline and Big L. The CRSC continued lobbying MPs for the introduction of commercial radio and organiising disco dances and steadilly built up its membership to well over 1000.
Inspector Johnny Walker (!) interviews Geoffrey Pearl of the FRA and Paul Rusling (back to camera, wearing an anorak covered in CRSC and Radio 270 car stickers!) at the 1968 rally in Trafalgar Square.
Mike Dean and Maurice Jeffery outside a CRSC disco night at the Penny Farthing club in Hull. Mike later bought the Gondola Club in Hull where the CRSC sessions moved to in 1969.
The CRSC disco sessions were by now doing very well and soon moved to larger premises at the Penny Farthing on Spring Bank in Hull. Later in 1968 those premises were also outgrown and so the now twice weekly events moved into the bigger and more centrally located Gondola Club off Jameson Street in Hull.
The resident DJs every Thursday and Saturday were still Paul Rusling & Rob Walker, with Radio 270 DJ Mike Barron becoming a regular monthly 'star' on his breaks from work as a continuity announcer at Westward TV. The biggest attendances were those with Rusty Allen headlining and 'Daffy' Don Allen from Radio Caroline North.