RADIOACTIVITY #5 The seminal Pirate Radio scene in London
- 01:00 The pirate radio scene in London: an extremely rich and inventive media ecology
- 07:19 The components of the system: light weight, replaceable and modular
- 08:58 The power of black communities in a racist society
Some thirty years after the first pirate radio broadcasts in the United Kingdom by radio stations like Radio London and Radio Caroline, illegal radio enjoyed a second golden age in the nineties. At the height of rave culture, these clandestine stations emerged as the ideal communication tool for party organisers, record labels, DJs, artists, and, of course, listeners. Gone were the marine adventures of the radio pirates of the sixties, who broadcast on medium wave from ships anchored near the coast, taking advantage of a legal loophole to circumvent their total illegality. In the nineties, the movement became strictly urban. An amateur, affordable, and sufficiently slippery method for the daily dissemination of new tracks, information, and dates and locations of upcoming raves.
Media studies expert Matthew Fuller talks about the origins and legacy of pirate radio culture in London, focusing on this fertile period of DIY resurgence, when radio resumed a prominent role in a scene hungry for alternative channels before the arrival of the internet.