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UK Radio History - 1990s

 

1990

During 1990 UK Radio continued to operate as a free radio station on 212m in the Medium Wave band, that's 1413 KHz AM, using 20 watts of power, and also on 99.6 MHz FM in mono, from the 6th floor of a high rise block of flats on Sundays only. Programmes were broadcast most weekends throughout 1990 until the end of the year when the station was closed down following a DTI raid in November of that year.

Following the passing of the 1990 Broadcasting Act at the end of the year, UK Radio remained silent in the hope of one day being able to raise enough funds to apply for a restricted service licence, which would allow us to broadcast for up to 28 days at a time legally. Also at this time we were joined by new DJ Mickey Whitt.

1991

During 1991 UK Radio was silent until Christmas when the station did a 2-day Christmas broadcast on 99.3 FM.

1992

During 1992 the station set up a 30ft aerial mast and did several broadcasts on Short Wave with some success. In September 1992 the station returned again briefly on FM, but in October a strong gale broke the wooden mast in three places and so the station went off air.

1993

1993 saw the station off air although our newest presenter Mickey Whitt did some Christmas shows that year. In May UK Radio suffered a break-in at its studio, and several hundred pounds worth of electrical equipment including speakers, mixer and CDs were stolen. New equipment was purchased, including a nine-channel mixer.

1994

Following the burglary we moved to new premises. Several tests were put out on FM, but the signal was very poor. Therefore it was decided to abandon FM until a new transmitter could be found.

1995 - 1997

September saw the station return on 6266 KHz 48 metres SW with a new phone number and mailing address. The station began operating at weekends and was met with good response. The station continued to broadcast on SW throughout 1996 and 1997, with response from listeners all over Europe, and many telephone calls. Also in March 1997 a new 20 watt stereo FM transmitter was aquired, and the station returned on 99.3 FM, in stereo for the first time and with a much improved signal thanks to our 40ft mast on the roof.

1997 also saw the start of Mickey Whitt's new dance show "The Chill Out Zone" which goes out every Sunday afternoon.

1998 - 1999

Two new presenters joined the station in 1998, Simon Owens and Marc James.

A new service was introduced on 15.060 KHz in the 19 metre band with 50 watts.

Power was increased on 6266 KHz 48 metres from 30 watts to 120 watts.

Transmissions are also planned on 1404 KHz MW with 30 watts, mainly during the summer months, with FM in use during the autumn and winter. Power was increased on FM to 100 watts output on 99.3 MHz and could be heard in the Midlands some weekends and Bank Holidays throughout 1998 and 1999.

The station is currently looking for funding so it can go on air for 28 days at a time with a Restricted Service Licence. In order to do this, the station needs to raise at least £6,000 to cover all the licences including PPL and PRS.

Recent attempts at securing funding for a licence have not been successful. Two applications to the National Lottery Charities Board were rejected. Obviously they didn't consider UK Radio to be a good cause.

UK is now looking to other charitable organisations who may give us the funding we need for a Restricted Service License. Should UK Radio obtain funding for an RSL all pirate activity will cease in favour of going legal. Anyone who can help us can write to us at this address:- UK Radio, PO Box 53, Bilston WV14 6YS.

Some people ask me why have you stuck with UK Radio for 22 years despite all the ups and downs. Well the reason I think is because we have always strived to bring some enjoyment and free entertainment to the people of the West Midlands and beyond on shortwave. I will admit that there have been times when I have felt like closing the station down, especially following the raids of July 1985 and November 1990, but I think as long as there are people who believe in UK Radio and want it to continue, then I'll be there to see that it does. Some people who are close to me have said that they think I have wasted my life by setting up UK Radio because they don't see any future in it. But over the years I have made many friends through the radio station, and one day I would like to see the station legalised on FM or MW. Whether this will ever become a reality depends on if we can get the finance to pay for a Restricted Service Licence, a fee of around £6,000 for 28 days.

I don't know how many programmes I have presented since 1978 but I should think it must be over a thousand, all on pirate stations, none on legal radio ironically although I will admit to sending out a couple of hundred demo tapes in a vain attempt to get a job on a legal station.

I think now that I'm nearly 40 I'm a bit too old to be playing the latest chart sounds, that's why I launched my Goldmine programme in November 1997. I can now play music that means something to me and hopefully our older listeners. The most recent Goldmine programme I have ever done is 1992. I won't be featuring music more recent than this.

"Many thanks to all the people who have helped us over the past 21 years, without whom UK RADIO would not be possible. And to free radio people everywhere."

November 1999 Update

UK Radio was raided by the authorities in November 1999. The raid happened at 8 minutes past 2 on the afternoon of Sunday 28th November. The DTI broke down the door and took away approx £1,500 worth of equipment. This included 2 stereo FM transmiters, 1 medium wave transmitter and a 120 watt SW transmitter for 6266 kHz. They also took much of the UK Radio studio, such as a nine-channel mixer, 3 twin cassette decks and 2 CD players. The DTI asked Paul Johnson if any vinyl was used, and Paul said no, so they left just a couple of turntables. They also took 25 CDs and 88 programme tapes of various DJs including Mickey Whitt, Dave Green, Bogus Jobseeker, Mike Harris and Paul Johnson. They also took a communications receiver that was not used in the broadcast.

Following the raid, a few members of the station left and deserted Paul Johnson in his worst hour of need....

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