Thursday, 01 December 2022

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Hero of the Week Time Out London (

Hero of the Week: Pirate radio

This goes out to pirate radio (crackle, crackle)In the wake of the horrific spate of gang violence across London in recent weeks, pirate radio stations, long associated with dodgy reception from grimy tower blocks – have been getting responsible and possibly respectable.

What are they doing?Drawing on their often cult-like status with the kids, many of them are leading the way in urging better community relations and promoting anti gun crime messages. Lush FM, one of north-west London’s most popular pirate stations is yielding its power in such a fashion. ‘We have talk shows covering the issues that affect our listeners,’ says DJ Rema Dee, spokesperson for Lush , which plays The Metropolitan Police’s ad’s for the Trident Anti Gun Crime Campaign. ‘The Lush mobile phone goes on overload with text messages whenever we host such debates on how we should deal with gang crime and violence. ‘There needs to be a greater level of community focus within radio. Gun crime and the lives hurt in the recent (stabbing) incidents affect everyone,’ he said.Other stations such as React FM, also in west London and Rinse FM in the east have a smiliar ethos. ‘I know which tunes not to play, which will create violence and hostility between gangs and I choose not to play particular tracks’ said Yungstar, producer of Dizzee Rascal’s hit single ‘Stand up Tall’, and a DJ on Lush and Rinse.

This all sounds very responsible: It is. The stations are even being endorsed by Lee Jasper, Senior Policy Advisor on Equalities for the Mayor, Ken Livingstone and consultantfor the Met’s campaign. He has said that he will actively support pirate radio stations that support anti gun crime measures. Armed with a proposal to set up a scheme giving such stations the opportunity to receive digital licenses, Jasper said; ‘Pirate radio, although illegal, remains highly popular and influential. We need to work hand in hand with them’ But isn’t it a big turn-off for listeners? Gun crime victim Maxwell D (formally of garage collective Pay as You Go Cartel) disagrees. ‘In 2004, I was shot at 35 times in Birmingham coming out of a club where I had been performing. I salute stations such as Lush FM who are actively doing something positive.’

Danielle Aumord
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