London pirate radio - biggest/most critical scene in the world?

Discussion in 'music, bands, clubs & festies' started by stethoscope, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. stethoscope

    stethoscope Well-Known Member

    This could have been posted in a few places, but thought I'd keep it to the music forum.

    Spending some good time flicking through the dial at the weekend, London continues to be utterly crammed with pirate stations - some great, more than some pretty dire.

    Here's what I picked up in varying reception over the weekend just gone...

    87.9 Shine FM (house)
    88.2 Rude FM (drum'n'bass)
    88.6 House FM (house)
    89.4 Unknown FM (house)
    89.8 Station (reggae/ragga)
    90.2 Pointblank FM (house/breaks)
    90.4 Woah (r'n'b/hip-hop/soul)
    90.8 Lightning (reggae/ragga/r'n'b/hip-hop)
    91.6 Genesis Radio (talk/reggae/ragga/r'n'b)
    92.2 Metrolove Radio (r'n'b/soul/reggae/hip-hop)
    92.7 Energy (r'n'b/reggae/soca)
    92.8 Klimaxx Radio (r'n'b/reggae/ragga)
    93.0 Rhythm Radio (garage)
    93.8 Vibes FM (reggae/ragga)
    94.0 Touch FM (house/garage/drum'n'bass)
    94.6 Kool FM (drum'n'bass/jungle)
    95.1 Origin FM (drum'n'bass/jungle)
    95.5 On Top (r'n'b/hip-hop/r'n'b/grime)
    96.3 Hot 96 (r'n'b/hip-hop/reggae)
    97.6 Bounce FM (r'n'b/reggae/hip-hop)
    97.9 Passion FM (house)
    98.1 Mystic (r'n'b/reggae/soca)
    98.3 RJR (reggae/soul)
    99.3 Select UK (house)
    99.5 Galaxy Radio (talk/reggae/ragga/soul/hip-hop/r'n'b)
    100.2 Tru (garage/r'n'b/drum'n'bass)
    100.4 Rinse FM (grime/dubstep)
    101.2 Unique (reggae/r'n'b)
    102.5 Inna City Radio (r'n'b/reggae/hip-hop/garage)
    102.8 Urban Love Radio (reggae/r'n'b/hip-hop)
    103.0 Icecold (garage/house/drum'n'bass)
    103.8 Blues (r'n'b/reggae)
    104.7 Subjam (garage)
    106.8 Laylow FM (garage/drum'n'bass/grime/r'n'b)
    106.9 Conshus (hip-hop/ragga/reggae)


    Despite Ofcom constantly upping the stakes - increasing fines, dishing out ASBO's to stop people climb onto towers, spending more resources to take stations off air, aswell as supposedly there being more choice than ever before with digital radio and community licenses, I don't think I've ever seen as many pirates anywhere else across cities I've ever visited (UK and abroad) than right here in London.


    It seems that London pirates have pretty much been instrumental in the development/popularising of most contemporary and modern music styles in this country (and sometimes beyond)??

    late 70s/early 80s - DBC (reggae)
    80s - Kiss/LWR/Horizon/Solar/JFM (soul/jazz-funk/hip-hop)
    very late 80s/early 90s - Sunrise/Centreforce/Fantasy (house/techno)
    90s - Kool/Rush/Don/Pulse/Rude (hardcore/jungle/drum'n'bass)
    late 90s - Ice/Freek/Girls/London Underground (garage/uk garage)
    00s - Rinse/Dejavu (grime/dubstep)

    RubyToogood likes this.
  2. Yelkcub

    Yelkcub Well-Known Member

    That's just reminded me of a fairly embarassing incident when I won some tickets for a rave in a competition on Pulse FM. Only tuned in at the end of the competition and didn't realise it was an under-18s do! Luckily I realised before the day of the party:D
    passenger likes this.
  3. el-ahrairah

    el-ahrairah forward communism, forward gerbils!

    don't forget the ones urbanites play for ;)
  4. Divisive Cotton

    Divisive Cotton Now I just have my toy soldiers

    i wonder what the longest running pirate radio station is
  5. stethoscope

    stethoscope Well-Known Member

    Don't know for sure, although from my list above, Station FM and Lightning have both been on since about 1989/90.
  6. ajdown

    ajdown Posting in this thread

    Not one station on that list would play music I would want to listen to.
    starfish2000 likes this.
  7. sim667

    sim667 Licking windows on the 303 bus.

    kool isnt pirate anymore is it?

    thought they went legit
  8. DJWrongspeed

    DJWrongspeed radio eros

    Well I'm sure they don't care :rolleyes: they're not out risking everything to play whatever it is you're into. Agree as above, the rich radio culture is responsible for pushing forward many genres and why the UK leads on cutting edge dance music. Pirate radio is kind of institutionalised in London. Even when they closed them all down one w/e a few years ago they were mostly back on within a week.
  9. purplex

    purplex New Member

    Touchdown FM was magic bitd.

    That list is fantastic.
    ruffneck23 likes this.
  10. stethoscope

    stethoscope Well-Known Member

    still pirate and been on air since 1991! :cool:

    ATOMIC SUPLEX Member Since: 1985 Post Count: 3

    Why is it that the people who like shit music are the ones that start pirate stations?

    Also, why don't they just do internet shows legally?
    starfish2000 likes this.
  12. purplex

    purplex New Member

    Opinions are like arseholes weve all got one ;)
  13. maldwyn

    maldwyn What?

    Then ones I get to hear play some self-indulgent shite.
  14. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baŠĻČned: All

    Cos you can't get the Internet in a car.
  15. stethoscope

    stethoscope Well-Known Member

    Because they are filling in demand that legal stations do not play much, or badly?

    Legal stations are often 6 months behind the pirates with certain musics.

    People want to listen to one style of music all the time.

    Legal FM/DAB radio is still overwhelmingly conservative and 'white'? After all, why not a dedicated reggae/ragga station in London.

    Pirates tend to be much more local community focused than networked/London-wide/UK-wide legal ones?

    Also, 'shit music' is kinda subjective innit.
  16. 19sixtysix

    19sixtysix Life as viewed from a Gay Gorbals Garret

    X-FM started as a pirate went legit to get a licence then went broke due to the amount to money the government wanted for a licence. So now we have a fake XFM usurped by the big commercial radio companies who are still going broke cause their bland shite is not being listened to by enough people.

    The biggest problem with radio is the government represented by OFCOM who could not regulate anything properly. They only listen to those representing the big business radio model. The chances of local radio in the country is slim. There is no chance of say a Radio Brixton emerging. That is why the pirates continue to survive providing a full range from utter crap to brilliant.
  17. sim667

    sim667 Licking windows on the 303 bus.

    Im gonna check this out......... I thought it went legit, or internet only a while back :hmm:
  18. stethoscope

    stethoscope Well-Known Member

    Still on 94.6 FM.

    Most of the London pirates internet stream these days aswell as FM :D
  19. Onket

    Onket Je suis [CONTENT REMOVED]

    Cheers for this. I made my own list a few years back when I used to have a radio. Need to sort that out actually.
  20. WWWeed

    WWWeed Bandwidth Bandit

    kool fm legit?!?! dont make me laugh :D:D

    people used to say the same about freeze when they where on 92.7
  21. blossie33

    blossie33 trailer trash

    To the OP - that's quite an impressive list, I get less than 50% of those stations in my area.

    Maybe I'm just someone who 'likes shit music' but I love the pirate stations. I don't have the internet at home so I really appreciate having something to listen to on the radio. I gave up listening to Radio 1 some years ago as I'm not into Indie music and I don't like a lot of chat from show presenters.

    A huge 'big up' and many thanks to the pirate technicians and DJs :cool::cool::cool:
    Enviro likes this.
  22. wemakeyousoundb

    wemakeyousoundb and calm again

    shit music is music you don't like...

    ...most of the time
  23. sim667

    sim667 Licking windows on the 303 bus.

    I know.....

    I just know one of the guys who is seriously involved in kool fm, and i swear he said they went legit :hmm:

    Edit: Yeah your right, his response was, "running for 18 years and still on the run!"
  24. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    Still pirate AFAIK

    The answer to the thread title is YES- no one does pirate radio in the world like London! Its one of the things Im most proud of about London (not that its anything to do with me directly). There's something about FM pirate radio that internet stations jsut cant match (even listening to FM pirate streams over the net).

    The fact that a lot of those stations are now 24/7 is also incredible.Partly this is down to some well organised players who've entered the scene (cant say too much - DTI and all that)

    Personal favourite all time pirate was Defektion 89.4 - splintered off from Weekend Rush and then mutated into Freak - but Defektion was a really professional hardcore station with top notch dj's , little jingles and the best vibe. Golden radio days for me.
  25. sam/phallocrat

    sam/phallocrat Denarian + 1 R.I.P.

    eruption was a mint hardcore station
    ffsear likes this.
  26. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    Listening to Rinse today, and supposedly they are trying to get a petition together to go legal. They wont get it mind - the authority that gives out those licenses are a bunch of ____ , but it was encouraging to hear lots of Rinse listeners complaining that if they go legal the station will go shit. I agree with them - inevitably it will go advert mad, and lose its soul. Look at Kiss and Choice (better still don't).

    However, it is worth remembering that people who run these station do it for the love: on the whole DJs dont get paid (on Don FM you had to pay them to play!) , you have to put up with getting all your equipment nicked - its one big headache really. There's a few pennies to made out of ads, but barely.

    Someone posted "I dont like any of the music on any of those stations" - fact is its the peoples love of the music and the scene that makes these stations run - if your taste in music isn't being represented, its down to people from your scene to get it together. When you think of it that way you realise just how much hard work goes into pirates - especially now they're 24/7.

    *P.S. I noticed DeJa Vu 92.4 FM isnt on the list, just in case you want to have it more complete! (
  27. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    Could you ask your mate why they broadcast in mono? Kool really doesnt sound too good these days (in terms of sound quality)
  28. stethoscope

    stethoscope Well-Known Member

    Sadly, their experience (like Kiss and Don) might be that going legal isn't all its cracked up to be.

    Ofcom (Radio Authority) still don't really understand urban, specialist and ethnic audiences in London, despite having commissioned research the last few years which highlighted just why so many people continue to listen to the pirates. :rolleyes:

    Yeah, they didn't seem to be on at the weekend, or at least I couldn't get them from over East sides, but there's a few more than can be added to that list which have been on at some point the last few weeks, including:

    87.7 Hightz FM (garage)
    92.0 Pulse 92 (garage/drum'n'bass)
    94.2 Flex FM (house/garage/drum'n'bass/breaks)
    94.4 Tempo FM (soca)
    96.1 Supreme Dance (house/garage)
    99.1 Hav It FM (ragga/r'n'b)
    99.6 Ragga FM (reggae/ragga/talk)
    101.3 Eruption (hardcore)

  29. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    Did Don ever go legal?
    I live behind a f****** hill so my radio reception is shite. East London is the place to live for pirates thats for sure. I used to have some old raving mates up in Hitchin and surrounding areas, and some of them used to drive down to London just to listen to the radio and make tapes! Ay, when I were a lad... clearly pre-internet days that!

    Somehow that having to work for it makes it all the more special. I was reading this Russian account of revolutionary struggle circa 1900 and all the shit you would get into just for printing a little revolutionary leaflet. banged up in jail and the rest. Then if you got to read the leaflet you feel inspired by it all the more. Now that you can read everything and anything with little fear (maybe still a tiny bit fear if its any good ;) ) it doesn't seem quite as potent. For me pirate radio over the FM dial still holds some of the renegade sparkle.
  30. stethoscope

    stethoscope Well-Known Member

    Well it did one of those temporary license things back in 94 around about the time of Carnival.


    Some stations I can only get when near or at work (West-end), whilst others only at home. Eruption is one of those I can only ever get out East.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice