Radio, Someone Still Loves You

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 109 months ago
Radio, Someone Still Loves You

0303_antenna.jpg
Image by Mike Webkist
Old media may be on the wane, but pirate radio is booming, at least judging by the number of operations busted by the old bill. Nationwide, the number of stations raided was up to 881 in 2008, an increase of nearly 200 year-on-year, and a warning for any wannabe pirate Tony Blackbeard Blackburn out there: the cops boast of a 100% conviction record.

The majority of stations are based right here in London, with our constellation of skyscraping council towers offering a perfect spot to fix up the necessary antennae and equipment. Though often hailed publicly as the embodiment of independent, can-do spirit, Ofcom allege that pirate radio signals can interfere with emergency service radio equipment, and a member of London and Quadrant Housing Trust said that those involved commit criminal damage on council buildings. One BBC expert even makes the spurious claim that stations play songs whose lyrics "may provide codes for drug deals". Didn't they make a similar accusation when they used to dub Gerry Adams' voice on TV broadcasts?

Though the methods may be illegal, isn't there something admirable about our oft-loathed youth doing something more than manning up with gangs and knives for early-morning skirmishes? Or is that just the typical liberal response by somone who hasn't yet been introduced to the banshee howls of MC Murderdeath as his radio dial tumbles onto an unknown frequency while tuning in to Classic FM.

Last Updated 03 March 2009

chibaken

I heard this story on Radio 4 this morning - some of the accusations were astonishing: codes for drug dealers, causing death by interfering with police channels, attracting "undesirable" elemnts to a comunity (including damage to lifts and stairwells) - another example of the media whipping us all into a state of frenzy... amazing...

By the way, the Rajars (http://www.guardian.co.uk/medi... suggest that listening figures to the more "traditional" BBC radio stations are, on the whole, not on the wane - Not sure where you get your info from...

DeanN

I meant that old media in general is in decline. Radio isn't doing too badly, in comparison with, say, print journalism.

SallyB

Good pirate stations are like good graffiti - they give our city an edge and provide an outlet for up and coming talent.
There is far too much civic energy going into censoring things which are basically for the good - and that is very depressing. Of course, they provide a much softer target than things which really need to be stopped.