Illegal Broadcasters

This is a feature written by Steve White, which was given to me by DJ Emotion from Chillin FM in late 1993 with a couple of mix tapes he’d done. I’d forgotten all about the article as it was put away for safekeeping a long time ago & only unearthed recently in a big clear out.

Download & View the original scan here

Radio Waves

Steve White inspects the ever-growing fleet of pirate operators and offers the first in a series of profiles on the best ones.”

New pirate radio feature

This month we début our new pirate radio feature by chilling out with one of London’s coolest house stations, Chillin’ FM and also catch up with all the pirate happenings.

The Radio Investigation Service (the squad responsible for busting illegal stations) have been out in force in the last few months targeting some of London’s biggest pirates.

Paradise FM and Pulse FM were both raided but, as usual, returned to the airwaves within weeks. Pulse suffered a studio raid (rare with today’s sophisticated transmission equipment) losing equipment valued well at over a thousand pounds.

It is believed the DTI were “tipped off” about the studio location by a former DJ who was sacked. DJ Warlock, who was broadcasting at the time of the raid, was fined £900.

Meanwhile, reggae and soul giants Station FM have also been under pressure from the authorities. Following lengthy investigations the DTI fined DJ Keithly £1500 with £3.500 in costs, amounting to a cool £5000 for illicit broadcasting from 1992 to September of this year. Despite this, Station FM are continuing relentlessly and recently staged a prestigious ‘Station FM Awards’ event to much success.

Other Stations affected include long-running and suffering Sunrise Radio and the also popular Buzz FM. Both by now should be back on the air.

Although facing an impossible task of killing the pirates, the authorities wish to appear effective by ‘making examples’ of a few of the bigger pirates in the hope that this will deter other stations from continuing and indeed launching.

Also, fuelled by malicious media reports (eg the Rush Incident etc), the authorities cannot afford any adverse criticism for doing nothing by not raiding the stations even though their resources are relatively limited.

Nevertheless, more stations are appearing in London. Traditionally it has been the black music orientated pirates who have flourished, but in recent months other musically inclined stations have arrived. Electric FM (Rock), Radio Tip-Top (Wednesday night Pop station) and Laser (Sunday Pop) are all regularly broadcasting and there is even a new Asian station (Bhangra FM?).

Other new stations include reggae/soul/dance outfit Sky FM and BCR (reggae and soul), and yet more house stations, namely Krush FM, London FM, Rhythm FM and Escape FM. Concept FM have been also been broadcasting chiefly to Essex and some areas of London. The pure soul and funk station are the original Stomp FM crew, who closed down in November 1991, but returned in August to pirate airwaves.

Radio One, under the new leadership of Matthew Bannister, have undergone a massive schedule revamp and now reckon to be offering more black/dance orientated music than ever before.

Soul jock Steve Edwards has been moved from Wednesday to Sunday evenings 8-10pm, gaining an extra half-hour extension to his now Friday 7-10 show. In addition Tong will now host a new mix show on Saturday nights 11pm-1am, while DJ Normski retains his Wednesday Dance Energy slot.

In the BBC’s quest for more equal opportunities for ‘ethnic-minorities’, One FM has scheduled in Mark Tonderai for a new 1-4am show, every Saturday and Sunday morning playing black/dance music. The 23 year old presenter joined the BBC as a trainee four months ago as part of the corporations very slow attempt to include more black presenters on radio. The best of British!

The radio Authority have re-advertised the licences currently held by South London’s Choice FM and the North London franchise shared by WNK and London Greek Radio. Choice failed in their bid for a Greater London licence in the recent shake up, so it will be imperative that they hold on to their current licence. All three stations will have to wait until April next year (1994) when their fate will be known

And finally, while Kiss feel the need to spend £750,000 on a new advertising campaign, some radio jingles seem to say it all. Firstly there’s Choice FM with “Why be satisfied with a Kiss when you can go all the way with Choice!” and also a pirate version “I don’t want no kiss, but you ain’t got no choice, you’ve got…..”

So you know who to listen to, don’t you?

Till next month!

Pirate Profile

  • STATION NAME: Chillin
  • FREQUENCY: 102.9 FM
  • CITY: London (West and South-East, Home Counties).
  • BROADCAST TIMES: Weekdays (Mon-Thurs) eves: 20.00-24.00, weekends from Fri. 20.00 – Sunday midnight.
  • STATION HISTORY: Originally began as a rap station in 1989 before switching to playing house in 1990, continuing until April 1992. Re-launched in May 1993 on a new frequency with a new DJ line-up.
  • MUSIC POLICY: Hardcore house, Garage, Progressive, Techno, Trance and Ambient – UK and US product.
  • DJ’S: Dream Experience, Paul Ryman, Chris Redmand, Sen-C, Chris C, Urban Beat, Huckleberry Finn, Mr Omosley, Ben Long, Steven Christie, Bish, Peter P, DJ Cola, Rackit, Urb, Tripsin, Emotion, Major, G-Whiz, DJ FT
  • SHOW SYNOPSIS: Dream Experience – Mon & Wed eves, DJ Rackit (Hardcore) Sat 12-2, Omosely (techno) Sun night 10-12, Bish (Ambient) Fri/Sat Midnight-6am, Huckleberry Finn – Sun afternoons 2-4
  • Shows generally last for two hours, although there is no firm programme schedule Saturdays is more hardcore house, while Sundays is more original House, Techno and Garage.
  • OTHER INFO: Chillin are completely MC-free, are a non-profit making radio station (no adverts!) and broadcast in stereo sound quality. The station is dual run with management split: music programming and technical.
  • They are currently seeking more DJ’s, especially females, with the emphasis on good mixing skills and enthusiasm rather than looks. Contact 081 528 9001 pager no. 840351. Future station plans include starting a DJ tape mailing list.
  • MY VIEW: Although only on for seven months in this new format, Chillin are offering a different perspective on house music and have already proved to be a real alternative to the other London ‘rave’ stations

Words by Steve White