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Origin of Name


The Four Freedoms Federation was created in stages by various groups who incorporated the name Four Freedoms into their activities.

Application to Broadcasting


It was first used in Texas during 1983 to promote two offshore radio stations that were to be situated on board a ship to be (Motor Vessel) renamed MV Four Freedoms. The renaming of the broadcasting ship was inspired by the Atlantic Charter incorporating the spirit of the Four Freedoms which had been signed by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill aboard a ship anchored off Newfoundland. The name of the new offshore broadcasting operating company that would operate the MV Four Freedoms was named after the Atlantic Charter itself.

These plans were repeatedly discussed on the international shortwave Media Network program of Radio Netherlands. The linked reason given for naming the ship MV Four Freedoms was because one of the two stations to be located on board would be called VFG (Voice of the Free Gospel), and at the time there were no full time commercial religious stations that could be heard in the United Kingdom. The other station was to be a revival of the famous 1960s offshore station created by Don Pierson called Wonderful Radio London. The new version was to be given the name WRLI (Wonderful Radio London International) on which the format was first announced as Top 40 and later as C&W. Prior to becoming Prime Minister during World War II, Churchill, whose mother was American, had been kept off the airwaves of the BBC. In the 1950s Churchill retaliated against the BBC by causing the termination of its television monopoly with the introduction of an Independent Television (ITV) competitive network of commercial stations. The BBC radio monopoly had been left intact. The WRLI and VFG stations were also promoted to provide an alternative to the BBC radio monopoly which had been repeatedly challenged from by offshore radio stations since 1964.

Inspiration for Federation


Although the offshore venture did not succeed in coming on the air, programs of both stations were syndicated from Mexico over XERF and a handful of licensed stations in Texas, USA. Some of the taped WRLI programs began to find their way back to England where many of them had been originally produced and some of them were subsequently rebroadcast in Europe by supporters of free radio over unlicensed, clandestine transmitters. These unauthorized relays generated international mail response received in Texas, where the commercial venture behind WRLI and VFG had become unsuccessful in raising both the capital and paid advertising necessary to expand the venture beyond the XERF and Texas syndicated station operations. Consequently further commercial activity in this regard was brought to a close.

The disappointing end of the offshore venture, coupled with the lack of freedom of the airwaves in Europe and other parts of the world, created inspiration for some members of the original commercial broadcasting group, to research the history of both the copyright laws and broadcasting history in the UK and USA. This research coincided with one member having published a university thesis on the history of offshore broadcasting.