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by STEVE PEACOCK (28 November 1970)

SINCE Geronimo went off the air, the rumours have been flying wild. First there was the mystery - no one knew what was happening and people who tuned to 205 found the nearest that could get was Luxembourg or some German station - then there was the speculation about what had happened, and what was going to happen.
There was a great deal of confusion about the birth of the new station on 205 - Monte Carlo International - and there was a generally held misconception that MCI had replaced Geronimo. Among the rumours even wider of the mark was the idea that Geronimo were going to take over late night shows on Luxembourg.

To try to clear up the confusion and set the record straight, I spoke to Barry Everitt at Geronimo and Maurice Gardett, Managing Director of Monte Carlo International and formerly a programme director with Radio Monte Carlo. In January of this year, Radio Monte Carlo started test broadcasts of Geronimo's programmes from their transmitter on 205 meters (sic) on the medium wave. "We went to them with the idea, we more or less had to persuade them to do it," said Barry.
They started out with broadcasts from 12 to 2 on Saturday nights - "we had 100 letters after the first one" - and in June they started to broadcast at the same time on Fridays and Sundays as well. In June they did their first three hour programme, devoted to the Woodstock album and some J.S.Bach harpsichord music.
"Our test agreement was due to run out on November 1," said Barry, "and what they have basically done is not allow us to take up our option to continue with them."
Geronimo say they had planned to start broadcasting seven nights a week on 205 from January 1 next year, and from eight in the evening seven nights a week from August. They claim they had worked out a deal with Monte Carlo where they handled the advertising and transmitting, and Geronimo provided the programmes. They had plans for a new studio to cope with the extra recording and up until three weeks ago they say they thought this deal would go through.
"Maurice Gardett came over to see us in September and offered us this deal", claims Barry. "He even offered to build us the new studio. There would have been three minutes an hour of advertising, and we planned to have a free information service for arts labs, musicians, magazines and things like that.

"Then in November, Maurice Gardett came over again - we thought - to finalise the contract, but he avoided all talk of it," says Barry. "The next thing we heard was these rumours about a new station called Monte Carlo International, and Geronimo's programmes stopped being broadcast, although we'd sent them the tapes. The Friday before our last broadcast, they sent us a bill for 840 overtime. We couldn't pay all of it - we were 300 short - and the Saturday and Sunday programmes just didn't appear. We didn't know any more than our listeners."
Geronimo say they feel they have been used by Radio Monte Carlo to test the potential for another more commercially minded station.

Monte Carlo's version of the Geronimo affair is, of course, somewhat different. "Geronimo told us they wanted to broadcast every day from September 30", said Maurice Gardett, who - as Managing Director of Monte Carlo International - is now based in London. "But as it turned out, they were not ready to do that. The original trial period was due to end on that date, but we kept on transmitting their programmes for another month. We were charging them very low rates, only 80 an hour."
On the overtime bill he said: "The agreement was to do a three hour programme ending at three o'clock. Every day they went on past that - one night they went on for an extra hour and five minutes. This caused us a lot of trouble with the local electricity authorities. At the end of October we sent them (Geronimo) an overtime bill for 840."

He said that he did come over to look into the advertising situation for Geronimo in September, but this was at their request. No, he said, he definitely did not make any promises to Geronimo about an amalgamation deal: "I did not get a very god reaction from advertisers for Geronimo", he said. "They did not like the presentation on the station - sometimes they used crude words, you know."
This 'crude words' may well have contributed to Monte Carlo's decision to stop broadcasting Geronimo's programmes, because Mr. Gardett said later in the interview: "We (Radio Monte Carlo) are not the kind of station that broadcasts crude language."

But there were other reasons. He said that Geronimo had not always paid their transmission bills on time, and that he didn't have much confidence in Geronimo as a commercial proposition.
Monte Carlo International will start broadcasting in December, with Dave Cash and Tommy Vance as DJ's.

Meanwhile, Geronimo are in the process of finding a new home. Barry says they have great hopes of being back on air by the New Year, and Tony Secunda is enthusiastic about the possibility of building their own transmitter.
"Geronimo is certainly not dead as far as I am concerned", said Tony. "Whatever happens, we shall be back, and what we do will be completely legal", said Barry.

Barry Everitt -
click on thumbnail for full size picture

Record Mirror 21 November 1970


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