Here you'll find an edited selection of airchecks from many of the pirates operating in London during the eighties. There's a mixture of the big names that blasted out all over the capital, some of the smaller community operations, a few famous DJs early in their careers and some radio that's just plain weird.
Stations are mostly on medium wave and only for a few hours each week.
Mike Knight / Radio Jackie (1976), Mark Ellis / London Music Radio - London Transmitter of Independent Radio (1975), Pat Edison / Radio Kaleidoscope (1976), Richard Jackson / Jackie FM (1975), Chris Hill / Radio Invicta (1977), Bob Edwards / Thameside Radio first broadcast (1977), North London Radio (1978), Radio Amy (1978), Alan Brown / Radio Liberty (1978), Roger Tate / Radio Liberty (1978), Radio Telstar South temporary closedown (1978), Radio Free London (1979), Roger Tate / Radio Invicta promo tape (1978), Radio Amy (1979), Bear / Telstar One (1979)
More pirates move to VHF but it's still mostly hobbyist stations.
Bob Edwards with outside broadcast / Thameside Radio, Dave Adams / Radio Jackie, Andy Allman / RFL, John Dawson / RFL, Roger Tate / Radio Invicta, Sean French / Radio Invicta, Johnny Haywood / Bromley Sound, Steve Russell / South London Radio, Bob Edwards / Thameside Radio, Aleks Wright / Thameside Radio, Christopher England / Radio Veronica, Roger Davies / Radio Veronica, Radio Gamma, Phil Thomas / RIP, Kid Johnson / Radio Telstar South, Phil Thomas / Radio Eric International, Dave Birdman / Thameside Radio, Aleks Wright with news / Thameside Radio, Tony Rogers / Radio Corina, Radio Jackie, Mark Ashton / RFL, Kenny Myers with Radio Free London News / RFL
The VHF band starts filling with stations on the air for a few hours each week and with mostly taped shows.
Jeff Young / JFM, London-FM, Tony Johns / Radio Invicta, Steve Russell and Kenny Everett-produced jingle / South London Radio, Dave Birdman / Thameside Radio, Aleks Wright and the Fast Food Survey / Thameside Radio, Bob Edwards with a mock studio raid / Thameside Radio, Parkside Radio, Steve Walsh voiced Bluebird Records ad / Radio Invicta, Steve Chandler / Radio Invicta, Roger Vosene at Free The Airwaves stand at 1981 CB Show / Radio Zodiac, Terry Anderson / Uptown Radio, Topper Lindsay jingle / Uptown Radio, Terry Anderson / Uptown Radio, Bob Edwards on recent raids / Thameside Radio, The Curlyman / Thameside Radio, Tony Johns / Radio Invicta, Roger Vosene / Radio Zodiac, Paul James / Santa Sounds
Jackie, JFM and Horizon start turning into businesses and a few stations begin live broadcasting.
Papa Chuckie / DBC, Lepke / DBC, Greg Adams / Horizon Radio, Nicky Dene / Radio Alpha, Ricky Stevens / London Music Radio, Peter Gilbert / South London Radio, Aleks Wright / South London Radio, Kid Johnson / Radio Telstar South, Chris Stewart / Horizon Radio, Bob Edwards / Thameside Radio, Dave Birdman reads from City Limits on recent raids / Thameside Radio, Roger Vosene / Radio Zodiac, Papa Festus / Radio Zodiac, Ricky Stevens / London Music Radio, Terry Anderson / Uptown Radio, Paul James with news on recent Thameside court case / Thameside Radio, Justin Simmons / Radio Weird, Paul James / Thameside Radio, Dave Birdman / Thameside Radio, Smiley / DBC, Ranking Miss P / DBC, Radio Suburbia, Gary Hughes / Radio Alpha, Chris Miles / London Music Radio
A loophole in the law is found that prevents transmitters being seized unless ordered by a court and the first stations start to operate seven days a week.
Jerry Peters with first regular broadcast / London Weekend Radio, Martin James / LWR, Nicky Holloway / Radio Invicta, Hollywood Curl ad / Radio Invicta, Nicky Holloway / Radio Invicta, IRN news / Radio Jackie, Crispian St John with station launch / Radio Sovereign, Rob Randall / Radio Sovereign, Dave Birdman's Do You Ever Have Difficulty jingle / Thameside Radio, Paul James / Thameside Radio, Dave Birdman BBC warning / Thameside Radio, Steve Price / Alice's Restaurant, John Scott / Phoenix Radio, Brian Marshall voiced bootleg tape ad / Phoenix Radio, Gill Black / Phoenix Radio, Nicky Dene / Radio Alpha, CJ Carlos / Horizon Radio, Mike Standing / Radio Zodiac, Vince Cent / Radio Zodiac, Roger Vosene / Radio Zodiac, Chris Miles / London Music Radio, Steve Devonne with Mastermind Roadshow's Max LX and Leroy / Radio Invicta, Johnny Haywood voiced LWR body-popping contest ad / LWR, Tim Westwood / LWR, Chris Miles and Christopher England with second birthday outside broadcast / London Music Radio, Lady Leather / RFL, Kenny Myers / RFL, Nigel Grant voiced Kisses Nightspot ad / City Sound Radio, George Power / City Sound Radio, John Kenning voiced licence campaign ad / Radio Sovereign
Lots of stations take to the air as serious business operations, broadcasting 24 hours a day ahead of the new Telecommunications Act becoming law on 15 July which closes the loophole – and a few stations.
Radio Shoestring, Mark Ashton / Skyline Radio, Les Adams / Radio Jackie, Crispian St John / Radio Sovereign, The Marquee Club's Jerry Floyd / LWR, Gordon Mac / JFM, Tony Monson / Horizon Radio, Dave Collins / Alice's Restaurant, John Scott / Phoenix Radio, Kid Johnson / Radio Telstar South, Hard Rock Cafe, Mike Burnett / London Rock, Memphis Mick / Radio Memphis, John Shakespeare / Radio Amanda, Radio Andromeda, Danny Dipole / Radio Comsat, Floss Roadshow ad / Radio Floss, ED / DBC, Asian People's Radio, Gary Taylor / Sunfire Radio, Jamie Crick / Rooftop Radio, Les Adams / Radio 103.4, Radio Jackie 15th Birthday, Mike Knight / Radio Jackie, Graham Gold / JFM, Paul Dodd / JFM, Jim Colvin / JFM, Brian Anthony / JFM, Froggy / Skyline Radio, Caesar The Geezer aka Chris Ryder / Skyline Radio, News with Mark Ellis / Skyline Radio, Robbie May and Johnny Haywood voiced LWR Day Out ad / LWR, Del Stevens Rock Show / LWR, Mark Mason's Alternative Revue / LWR, Danny Dipole with news and Paul McKenna voiced jingles / Radio Shoestring, Gilles Peterson / Horizon Radio, ad sales ad / Horizon Radio, T-shirts ad / JFM, Marc Damon voiced JFM Funk Cruise ad / JFM, Horizon Radio licence campaign ad / Horizon Radio, Chris Stewart on licence campaign / Horizon Radio, Mark Ashton voiced licence campaign ad / Skyline Radio, LWR closedown speech with Johnny Haywood / LWR, Shoestring closedown announcement with Christopher England / Radio Shoestring, first LWR closedown with Johnny Haywood / LWR, Lepke / DBC, Lepke with Notting Hill Carnival outside broadcast / DBC, Les Adams / Radio Contact, Clive Richardson / JFM, Yellowman concert ad / JFM, test transmission with Paul Buick / Solar Radio, Bill Mitchell voiced Gulliver's Nightspot ad / Solar Radio, Robert Allen / Solar Radio, Brixton Exchange Mart ad / Solar Radio, Tim Westwood and Spats club plug / LWR
Raids from the DTI's Radio Investigation Service start getting more serious, while some stations close down after the Government announces a community radio experiment.
Final Jackie closedown with Dave Owen, Kate Davies, Les Adams, Pete Rivers / Radio Jackie, Tony Monson / Solar Radio, Gary Richards / LWR, LWR Roadshow hire / LWR, Debbie Gopie / City Sound Radio, Marky P / Cruise FM, Brian Marshall / Alice's Restaurant, Radio Contrast, Steve Martin / Imagine, final Horizon closedown with Chris Stewart / Radio Horizon, Video Box ad / Radio Contact, Ray Sawnee / JBC, K-Jazz, Simon / Renegade Radio, South East Sound, Sina Radio, chemists check / Skyline Radio, Solar DJ hire / Solar Radio, Graham Gold and Barry Jameson / Solar Radio, Kenny Myers / RFL, Mike Burnett / RFL, Three Boroughs Radio, West London Radio, Tim Allen / Radio Duck, Tim Westwood / LWR, Barry B / LWR, first Solar closedown with Paul Buick / Solar Radio, CJ Carlos / TKO, Dean Savonne / Kiss-FM, Tosca / Kiss-FM, Colin Faver / Kiss-FM, Paul Oakenfold / Kiss-FM, Jez Nelson / K-Jazz, Ben West / Radio Activity, Steve Bishop / Thames Music Radio, Chris Philips / K-Jazz, Dave Lane / Alice's Restaurant, Brian Marshall / Alice's Restaurant, Mix Master Mac and DJC / Starpoint-FM
The Government axes its community radio experiment over political concerns but stations are still nervous about returning to the air as new tracking technology and the use of private detectives means pirates are regularly busted at their hidden studios.
John Dawson / Starpoint-FM, Ben West and Chris Philips / Starpoint-FM, Desmond D / Kiss-FM, Christopher England voiced ad sales ad / Kiss-FM, Unknown / Fame-FM, Nightmoves ad / Fame-FM, Princess Asha / JBC, Unknown / Time-FM, Errol T / Time-FM, Tim Westwood at Hammersmith Town Hall ad / LWR, Chris Stewart / TKO, Miss TKO ad / TKO, Chris Miles plugging TX Magazine / Alice's Restaurant, T-shirt ad / Alice's Restaurant, Chris Philips and Ben West / Starpoint-FM, Scott Tracey / Fame-FM, ad sales ad / Fame-FM, Greeny / Kiss-FM, Richie Rich / Kiss-FM, Prince Kiss cover jingle / Kiss-FM
The number of pirates begins to grow again, some old names return to the air and the first of many new black community stations launch.
Dave Birdman / The Clockwork Wireless Broadcasting Company, Faze-1 FM, Community Development Radio mission / CDR, Fresh-FM, ad sales ad / CDR, report of raid / Radio Interference, Christopher England voiced ad sales ad / Kiss-FM, DJ Andre / Kiss-FM, Quest-FM, Martin Drake / TKO, DJ Stepper / Traffic Jam, Deptford Spa supermarket ad / Sky Radio, test transmission / Hits-FM, contact us for when the revolution will take place / Radio Interference, Dave Birdman / Clockwork Wireless, Terry Anderson on Radio Today / Clockwork Wireless, Dave Birdman / Clockwork Wireless, Marc Damon voiced Music Power Records ad / Kiss-FM, Chris Philips phoning people at random / Starpoint-FM, Bear / RFM, Terry Anderson and Dave Birdman / Clockwork Wireless, Phil Thomas plus Dave Lane impersonating Chris Miles / RFM, Chris Philips phone-in / Starpoint-FM, Graham Gold / TKO, Sir Lloyd Revival Show / TKO, Tony Bevins / TKO, Sister Mars / Traffic Jam, Kiss-FM second birthday at The Wag ad / Kiss-FM, Tim Westwood / Kiss-FM, Ian Laird African show / TKO, Goodbye / Radio Badger, Phil Thomas and Brian Marshall / RFM
The FM band explodes with pirates thanks to a combination of cheaper, more secure technology and reduced raids due to the sheer number of stations on air.
Studio-FM, Unknown reggae station, Les Adams voiced Spinoffs ad / Kiss-FM, The Lone Ranger (Dave Gregory) / TKO, Dave Gregory / LWR, Trevor Nelson / Kiss-FM, The Base ad / Kiss-FM, Lisa I'Anson with The Word / Kiss-FM, Danny Rampling / Kiss-FM, DJ Willber (Willber Willberforce) / Starpoint-FM, Passion Radio, gospel show / WLIB, safe sex ad / Sky Radio, Hits-FM, Unknown / London Rock, Chris Philips / Starpoint-FM, Unknown / London Greek Radio, Unknown / Sunrise-FM, Dave Pearce voiced Jackmaster 3 ad / LWR, Jazzy M / LWR, Streetsounds House Tracks 2 and Streetsounds Acid Tracks ads / Kiss-FM, Starpoint jazz night / Starpoint-FM, Christopher England / RFM, Arthur Burton (Andy Allman) and Barry Morgan / RFM, Chris Philips and Jez Nelson late night talk show / Starpoint-FM, Say no to drugs PSA / Sky Radio, Chris Philips and Jez Nelson part two / Starpoint-FM, WLIB, Angie D / TKO, Uncle Ray / TKO, ad sales ad / Time Radio, Unknown / Passion Radio, Unknown / RJR, CRN, Unknown / Powerplay, Unknown / People's Choice Radio, Junior Dan / Fun Radio, Dave VJ with then-rapper Will Smith / Kiss-FM, Matt Black and Juan Atkins / Kiss-FM, City Limits ad / Kiss-FM, Jonathan More Meltdown Show / Kiss-FM, Maxi Jazz / LWR, Rock 2 Rock, kebab house ad / London Greek Radio, Tony Davenport / Radio Jennifer, CD93, unknown preacher / Unknown, B-Boy Posse ad / Starpoint-FM, Arthur Burton / RFM, Arthur Burton and Christopher England on Radio Today publication delays / RFM, DJ Willber on The Starpoint Percussion Ensemble / Starpoint-FM, Rob Galliano / Starpoint-FM, DJ Willber / Starpoint-FM, TKO, Trevor Nelson / Kiss-FM, Groove-FM, unknown / Studio-FM, Obala Destined To Rap night ad / LWR, Gordon Mac / Kiss-FM, unknown / Hits-FM, Streetsounds 88 ad / Starpoint-FM, The Wing Commander (Patrick Meads) / LWR, Jazz Combination / Sky Radio, unknown on Enterprise Allowance Scheme / Passion Radio, property agents ad / Time-FM, T-shirts ad / Kiss-FM, Dean Savonne and Nick Power on final night's broadcast / Kiss-FM, LWR second closedown with Chris Collins, Zak and Wayne Turner / LWR
Several stations have closed to apply for the new 'incremental' radio licences while the rave explosion sees its first pirates and the black community stations keep on multiplying.
Station promo / LWR, unknown / Studio-FM, Endurance rave / Sunrise-FM, unknown / Tropical Radio, unknown / Lightning Radio, unknown / Injection-FM, Adrian Gibson / Q102, unknown (luckily) / WIBS, Bob Matthews / Q102, unknown / LWR, Rod Lewis / WIBS, Bad Boy West / Sunrise-FM, Howard Peters / Raiders-FM, Miss WBIB ad / WLIB, DJ Cuddles / Eurojam, Richie B / Laser Radio, DJ Wildstyle / Medina Radio, DJ Willbur voiced Millennium 2002 rave ad / Sunrise-FM, unknown / RJR, The Bank Manager / Twilight Radio, barbers shop ad / Twilight Radio, Mix Master Mac does Bill Mitchell for Starpoint ad sales ad / Starpoint-FM, unknown / LWR, DJ Hugs / Centreforce Radio, DJ Jazzy J / Centreforce Radio, anti-needle sharing PSA / Lightning Radio, Starpoint T-shirt ad spoof of the previous PSA / Starpoint-FM, Steve Lamacq / Q102, Kenny Myers / RFM (yes, RFM), DJ Hype / Fantasy FM, DJ Tricks / Fantasy FM, unknown / Laser Radio, get mental ad / Unknown, ad sales ad / Centreforce, Kicking-FM, Obsession-FM, Smokey Joe / WLR, Stewart Ross / Radio Veronica, Kenny Myers / RFL, Stage-FM, DJ Hype / Fantasy-FM, Don P / Lightning Radio, Howard Peters / Raiders-FM, Memories from the Punjab show / London Asian Radio, Injection Radio, QFM, Lightning Radio, Ellis D / Sunrise-FM, DJ Willber ad for new presenters / Starpoint-FM, Bob Matthews / Q102, Christmas party ad / Joy Radio, Christmas showcase and Calendar Girl 1990 event / WLR, Christmas secret feature / WLR, Christmas party ad / SLR
New laws against the pirates take effect and the first new licensed stations are now on the air, but there is minimal impact on the number of stations as house music becomes the dominant new sound on the airwaves.
Don't talk to strangers PSA / Lightning Radio, unknown / Unknown, Keithley / Supreme Radio, DJ Willber voiced ad sales ad / Starpoint-FM, Mystery Man plugging Biology / Fantasy-FM, Scott James / Stomp-FM, Steve Brown plus Tim Allen jingles / Middlesex Music Radio, merchandise ad / LWR, DJ Rap / Fantasy-FM, Walthamstow Homebase rave meeting point / Fantasy-FM, Right Fit ad / Sunrise-FM, unknown / Sunrise-FM, Rodney B / Star Radio, Amsterdam trip ad / Powerjam Radio, drugs phone-in / Lightning Radio, Corporation of New Generation rave ad / Rave-FM, Anton / Fantasy-FM, Inner City Radio, Bass-FM, Biology Freedom to Party ad / Fantasy-FM, unknown / Sunrise, unknown / LSR, acid show / RJR, Del / Eurojam, unknown / Powerjam Radio, ravers' phonelines / Fantasy-FM, Bob Matthews / Q102, unknown / Lightning Radio, Paul Phillips / Starpoint-FM, 1990 The Year of Soca Music ad / unknown, unknown / Unknown, LWR at Escape ad / LWR, Mystery Man / Fantasy-FM, ecstasy helpline ad / Rave-FM, Bucky B / Lightning Radio, DJ Hype / Fantasy-FM, unknown / Crystal Radio, DJ Crazy / Supreme Radio, unknown / Superstar Radio, DJ Double O / Smart Boys, DJ Tasha / Friends-FM, Fuzz / Starpoint-FM, Freedom warehouse party ad / Friends-FM, Starpoint final closedown with DJC / Starpoint-FM
Adverts made for TX Magazine that ran on several London pirate stations.
Many thanks for additional material to Arthur Burton and Phil Thomas's Flashback '87, The Medium Wave Circle, Radio Eric, The Pirate Archive, FM Then and assorted past tape swappers. And of course thank you to all the DJs and the stations that originally put out these broadcasts.
Read more about all these stations in the new book London's Pirate Pioneers.