"The Radio 270 boat was a Dutch trawler, renamed the Oceaan 7, and registered in the Honduras in my name (a non-British person)," explains Noel. "Some DJs saw the ship and returned immediately to shore, never to be seen again! However I find it quite amazing how many DJs claim to have worked on 270."
"We had fish feasts beyond belief when trawlers pulled alongside and gave us baskets of seafood in exchange for playing their requests. We went through a lot of cooks. Some couldn't handle the weather and some just couldn't cook! One of them, Little Norman, had been involved in a collision at sea, and consequently used to pace the deck during foggy weather ringing a bell. (We were not far from the shipping lane.)"
"Once during a violent storm the then Captain, whose experience was limited to a barge on the Hudson River in Canada, came below, put his head in his hands at the mess table, and stayed there. It was our technician Henry and the crew who saved the boat, even though, after the storm had passed, nobody knew where we were."
"Then there was the DJ Revolt, led by Dennis ‘The Menace’, who had assumed culpability for putting us off the air for a day when he tricked me with the vacuum cleaner. The matter was resolved after I met with him (he was a fellow Aussie). We agreed to a week on, week off the ship (originally it was 2 weeks on 1 off) with the same pay."
"The studio set-up was very basic with two turntables and two tape decks, the turntable was set on a gimbal to keep it level. It certainly made us aware of the boat's movement when it was almost at right angles to the rest of the studio."
"With only one studio all recording had to be done after closing so the hours were long. The news came from the BBC, recorded then rewritten for our shorter bulletins. All announcers had two on-air shifts plus news duty as well as extra responsiblities like cleaning, filing, music catalogue etc. so there wasn't much spare time. Recreation included fishing, darts, cards, watching TV. Most memorable TV.... England's World Cup victory."
"Would I do it again? When can I start?”
After his time at sea Noel went back to Australia via the USA. He settled in Tasmania and worked at 7EX Launceston before returning to Melbourne and joining the family meat business whilst also working on 3XY.
In 1980 Noel joined 2 - Triple M in Sydney pioneering FM radio in Australia. Twelve months later he moved to Fox FM in Melbourne where he hosted a breakfast programme until 1986 when he was again drawn back into the food industry. While conducting his catering business he also worked at various radio stations including 3AK and 3DB (later 3TT-FM). He had one last stint as a full-time broadcaster on 2SM Sydney but quit radio in 1990, preferring a more stable existence as a caterer and chef.
“You know old DJs never die .... they buy radio stations, become actors, or find some other outlet for their egos. In my case, I have started writing and recording songs under the name The Ned Miller Band.”
In late 2016, Noel added a new song of particular interest to fans of offshore radio - The Ballad Of Radio 270. It is available on iTunes, or you can get a opy along with some of the home movies he shot on the ship in the Radio 270 Store.