My g-g-g generation

MV Caroline

Go back with me.

It’s 1964.

And something important has happened in the broadcasting industry. Something so disruptive it will change things forever.


From its creation in 1922, the BBC and the big record labels (EMI, Decca, Pye,  Philips, and others) controlled British radio.

This didn’t sit well with some people.

Ronan O’Rahilly was one of them. When this Irish artist manager and visionary could not obtain airtime for one of his clients, Georgie Fame, he bought a 702-ton Danish passenger ferry called the Fredericiaconverted it (pictured above) into a radio station, and renamed it the MV Caroline.

On Friday, March 27, 1964 this unlicensed, unsanctioned broadcaster sent his first test signals across the open sea. The next day, “Radio Caroline” hit the airwaves.

Pirate Radio was born. And the lock the BBC had on the airwaves died.

I can’t explain

Got a feeling inside, I can’t explain. A certain kind, I can’t explain. I feel hot and cold, I can’t explain. Down to my soul, I can’t explain.

– The Who

The Beatles, The Kinks and The Stones were revolutionizing pop music in 1964. The Who were different. On the surface their music appeared to be frilly and pop derived, but their lyrics and attitude were anything but.

And unlike their polished counterparts, their recording contract provided no distribution and no radio play.

So The Who’s managers went pirate.

On January 15, 1965 I Can’t Explain exploded — from Radio Caroline.

The single climbed to number 8 on the New Music Chart. 104,000 copies sold almost instantly.

A new idea, a new sound. The beginning of something big.

The Who trashed the British Rock mold. What they did was punk. Rebel. The band paved the way for Hendrix, Zeppelin, Floyd – and inspired a new generation.

I was 9 years old when I can’t explain made it to WMCA in New York City and tore through the tiny speaker in my transistor radio.

It made me want to change the world.

Talking about my g g g generation

As a result of Ronan’s interloping, the BBC’s hold on radio was rocked from its foundation. History shows that while many labels and acts who did not or would not adapt to the new sound withered, those who embraced it succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

The lessons drawn from this are worth reflecting upon. Specifically for those of you who are part of this generation, who grew up during this era. You listened to this music. You were influenced by it. And if you glance at your iPod playlist it’s likely that it still resonates with you today.

You now sit at the controls of the real estate industry. You run MLSs. You run big franchises. You own big brokerages. Mid-sized brokerages. You’re agents. And thought leaders.

Every time you torpedo a new idea, a breakthrough, a punk and grunge move folks like Glen Kelman or Bob Hale bring to real estate’s shores, you deny the very influences that shaped you.

Redfin’s Scouting Report wasn’t accurate. The HAR app had plenty of kinks to work out too. They were no different than the garage band rock and roll that fed your mind years ago and now serves as the soundtrack playing – sometimes almost inaudibly – behind the scenes of your life.

The rebel you were as a child, teenager, and young adult has grown. You now control what ideas will spin. You broadcast what you can control.

Real estate’s BBC

Raise your periscopes. A flotilla of pirate ships are bobbing in the waters off your shore. Their captains are going to create that which you deny. That which you fear. The things that will, should you chose to champion them, make this industry better.

Don’t deny, block or shut down new ideas just because they aren’t perfect. Allow them to exist, and make them better. Otherwise this great industry, so central to our economy and our lives, will be deafened by the saccharine sounds of the manufactured pop to which it so often resorts.

Or, it will embrace something different, dangerous and pregnant with its own future. And get on board.

Either way, the pirates will have their day.

I thought I was, The Bally table king, But I just handed, my pinball crown to him.

Don’t let this be your fate.

More info on the history on Radio Caroline