Pilot speaks while off-air in 1989

Pilot presenting 'Talk-Back' 1992
With PCRL being off the air I'm sure that you"re thinking we're lazing around doing nothing well chance would be a fine thing.

While we are off the air there is still the office to run because our Gift Shop is still open for sale of our paraphernalia and also of course doubling up as an Information Centre.

With the application pending we are at this present moment forming a working party consisting of people who have the knowledge and background to present our application for a Broadcasting Licence in the strongest possible light. This particular committee has been meeting once, sometimes twice, per week in meetings lasting at least 4 hours duration and I'll tell you, you feel pretty tired after one of these meetings.

Being off the Air also creates another problem, how do you keep the presenters interested? What we try to do is to hold regular staff meetings so as everyone knows what is going on but still it is a very difficult task.

Some of our Presenters are attending the Community Radio Training Course (CRT) to enhance their Broadcasting skills, they are working very hard to attain their certificates in Broadcasting Proficiency I'm sure that a lot of their training will reflect in forthcoming programmes.

Before I close it must not be forgotten the hard work that has gone in to putting this magazine together, if I went into that it would take another page. So as you can see there is a lot going on behind the scene!         By Pilot

(taken from PCRL's Off Air Bulletin magazine - 1989) Sadly though it was not to be - Ed

Inside PCRL
Many people ask me how is PCRL run? How do we maintain discipline within the ranks? Are there rules to abide by? Who decides who does what?

I could take quite a long time to answer these questions but I'll try and keep it short. First of all when PCRL first started it was obviously run by the Founder Member, (Music Cecil Morris Master) I have to say it was very difficult 4 years ago but everyone at that time as enthusiastic about the project and had the same aim of becoming legal.

Gradually, the original team started to break up and new people joined the organisation, this presented problems. One of the major ones was the fact that some of the people who joined did not know the unwritten rules of the organisation.

We all got together as a group and came up with a document which is called 'The Code of Conduct' which is still in operation today it also forms the basis of discipline within the ranks.

PCRL has been through various crisis where the very foundations has been stretched to the limit, but I am glad to say that we have survived them all mind you, can anybody tell me of an organisation which exists on volunteers that hasn't had its turmoils? Bet you can't.

Where rules are concerned, which do not appear in The Code of Conduct, the main one is Presenters must not! say anything on Air to upset our Listeners or anything that could be detrimental to any particular Group or Groups.

For the past 2 years PCRL has been run by what is called a Council of Management, this Group was formed to make policy, steer the organisation in (hopefully) the right direction, keep up morale and most important to inform Presenters on whats happening.

Meetings are held once a month and let me say these can be very fiery sometimes with so many different opinions coming into the arena but at the end of the day common sense must prevail, I can safely say that All Presenters are well informed.

One great thing about meetings is that they create some really funny moments and they are also a morale booster, I might tell you about some of those funny moments at a later date anyway you know a little bit more about inside PCRL. - Pilot


We applied to be legal

We did go 'off air' in 1989 to apply for this licence, but it was given to Buzz FM, that only lasted 6 months and was sold for £1.


Pirates who keep one step ahead

November 17th. c.1988 Sandwell Evening News (Maureen Messent)

'They are communication in a way no other station can, filling a gap'

Pirates who keep one step ahead

  "Carlton C" is hunting through letters of support to find the telephone. He picks it up in the Dudley Road, Winson Green, office, listens a while, then speaks. 
  "Don't believe the rumours," he says. "We'll be back soon."
  The room above an empty shop is HQ for People's Community Radio Line, the pirate radio station silenced from its spot on 103.5 FM since last week when they removed their transmitter from the tower of Winson Green church. The Rev Richard Bashford, vicar of Winson Green, had been its willing host.
  The move was nothing new to these die hard pirates of the airwaves.
Their mastermind — known as Music Master over the air — points out that they have had to move their radio equipment about 200 times since 1981, been raided 67 times in the last 19 months by the Department of Trade and Industry's officials.

Valuable service
  He's black, gentle, helpful. And a bit hurt that what he and his 21 presenters see as a valuable service to the community is breaking the law.
  PCRL broadcasts — for as long as it can keep a leap ahead of the Department of Trade and Industry —  for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Its programmes are n combination of Afro-Caribbean music, community notices, advice, home and health hints, news from
  It claims a listenership of more than 250.000 in Birmingham and surrounding areas, and has a following in Leicestershire.
Its presenters are volunteers. Those that have regular employment say they pay a little in support of the station. "And look at those," says Music Master, pointing at some beautiful wooden clocks, in the shape of the Caribbean islands. "We're helping a small business to get known by broadcasting advertisements for them. When they'll start to pay us. "Blacks get only five hours on Radio WM per week, BRMB broadcasts two-and-a-half hours per week for blacks and Asians. And that's mainly music.  It's not sufficient for the people who like PCRL, nor is it so informative and varied. "Our people are often out of work, which means they don't have money to buy the records that would keep them abreast of our ethnic music, a great link with our roots.

Great support
"We are keeping them in touch this way and telling them of events within our own community.
"We have used an Asian presenter, receive great support from Asians. We get letters from hundreds of white people who enjoy our music.
"We also broadcast religious programmes. So what's so bad about us? why should be hounded like this? I see us more as radio social workers than law-breaker."
  This view is echoed by the Rev Richard Bashford, PCRL's transmitter host until the diocese pointed out could not condone law-breaking.
"This station is providing a voice for a section of the community who wouldn't otherwise be heard," says Mr Bashford.
  Some nights, requests are played for John the Godfather, alias the Rev John Geyer, a United Reform Church minister from Weoley Hill, whose church council supports PCRL.
"I think it is vital that the station be granted a licence," says Mr Geyer, "even though I know the legal difficulties.
"This is the voice of the inner-city now. It could be used for enormous good in times of trouble.
"They are communication in a way nor other station can, filling a large gap, I've found them sincere people of integrity, motivated by genuine desire to help their community and all those who listen to them.
"I know they have support from sections of the West Midlands Police.
"I can only hope that public opinion will encourage the government to issue a licence as a special case -- and this is what I'm campaigning for."
  Music Master points out that they have equipment confiscated time and time again by Department of Trade and Industry "boarders".
"But each time the community rally round, to help replace it" he says.

Plans Shelved
  PCRL claim that BRMB, dismayed by their success, is behind the raids.
"That's simply untrue," says a spokesman for the Trade and Industry Department in London.
"Local stations like BRMB in Birmingham, and Capitol in London, are either independents or part of the BBC. They are licenced by the department.
"Any station broadcasting without that licence is in breach of the Wireless and Telegraphy Acts, 1959 and 1967.
"There is nothing that can be done to help PCRL until community radio licences are issued. No matter how much support they have in Birmingham, they are just like any other pirate station - but more persistent.
"I'm afraid they must wait for community radio licences before they can operate legally.
"In the meantime, it must be remembered they are using airwaves which might be needed for important emergency services or military operations."
  Back in Dudley Road, Music Master and Carlton C are unbowed.
"The said the same about CB radios before they were legalised," they say. "But we have a service to perform and perform it we will."
  At BRMB, managing director Mr Ian Rufus said PCRL were a "minor irritation."
"But we'd like them off the air." he said. "We have to pay something in the region of £300,000 a year rental for our transmitters which is supposed to guarantee our right to be the city's only commercial station.

Last Word
"They interfere with places on the broadcasting system allocated to legal stations and they pay no royalties to companies for using their discs."
  Last word came from Dudley Road.
"We are just asking for the chance. Give us the licence and we will pay whatever's needed from us."
Meanwhile, a lot of fingers are swinging dials for the first sounds from the relocated pirates on 103.5 FM.


67 Park Lane

Cecil Morris' first outing with the music business, he had spent £500 on a drum kit and formed a group and the went to London to make the last release for the Toast record label. Vicki Wickham and Dusty Springfield were there during the session.

The Spotlight Allstars 'Black Man Time' was a 1979 recording featuring the vocals, arrangement and production of Cecil Morris. the flip was a DJ version  by Jah Kenneth called 'Message To The Blackman'


Rising Star Agency (The Bands)

Cecil's Rising Star Agency aka E.M.S. was using local talent but also singers and groups from all over the UK. His office was housed above the record shop with band rehearsal room in the basement at; 151 Dudley Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, once a Black Culture shop and later Ideal Records and even a Flower Shop in the 90's. The outside photo, supplied by the stations jazz dj  Steve Williams, he tells us it shows members of Beshara leaving after rehearsals in the basement.
Ann & Sonia
The Drum Dancers (from Hudderfield)
7-The late Junior Delgado, 3-Dennis Brown ,1-George Nooks, front: Danny Birmingham
Freddie McGregor
Denzil, Ras Lynvest & Banner (a driver)
Odessus - Steel Fingers
Ricky Tamlin

Bands gigged at Rialto Club on Soho Road, Handsworth
Third World
Far Image
Eruption (Precious Wilson lead singer in white)
The Mighty Diamonds
Eclipse (Handsworth band)  Jacko Melody (The advert 'voice-over man' in white cap)
Reality (1-Robert Green, 4-Cliff Morris (Cecil's brother).

Sandra Cross
Carroll Thompson

Earth Herms
Amlak - Princes Trust Winners

Sweet Harmony (Laura Parks)
Thelma Mae 'Wonderman Lover' 81

Steel Pulse
Stringbeats later The J.A.L.N. Band (Just Another Lonely Night)
Beshara, 1980
Many more photo's and video footage can be found on the PCRL site by clicking on the Index for the pages on the right hand side of the Blog. This web site has been an on-going concern for Birmingham's musical history and unlike places like Facebook the pages are permanent and stored not just on-line by Google. Although the site has had 63,000 (2015) visitors, people rarely leave comments, rather sharing on FB - remember here is history, not elsewhere!