|This site has a modest aim, namely to provide for posterity a brief history of the London based pirate radio station "Phoenix Radio".
In keeping with the shoestring budget that Phoenix operated within this website is produced under similar restraints !
Detailed records of dates, events etc were never really kept so it is not possible to provide a full timeline of events but it is known that the first broadcast took place in November 1979 and the last in 1984, probably around October.
The version that began in 1979 was very different in content to what Phoenix eventually evolved into
and elsewhere on this site you will find links for the "info" booklets that were sent out to listeners who had contacted us and these will give you a good idea as to what we were trying to achieve.
It should be noted that my own involvement with Phoenix did not start until 1982 when the FM service started and it is this service that Phoenix would (hopefully !) be remembered for.
We were by no means perfect. None of us would have claimed to be "djs", the term "presenter" being more apt, but the important thing to us, and hopefully the listeners, was the music content.
If you wanted to listen to any form of "indie/alternative/punk/new wave... etc" then at the time your choice was basically John Peel on Radio 1 Mon-Thurs 10pm-Midnight or the later added segued slot of Mon-Thurs 8pm-10 pm hosted by David "Kid" Jensen which was aimed very much at the commercial end of the market.
No other pirate stations in London were playing music anything like that of Phoenix , although one or two did start later on, and during our time on the air we always tried to provide something different.
Guest shows included The Marine Girls, Monochrome Set, Robert Wyatt, Red Flame Records, Rough Trade Records, On-U-Sound. We did interviews and features with locally based indie labels, producers, fanzine editors, bands and even had a regular "guest" show (on tape) recorded and produced in Seattle, USA covering indie music in the USA.
We managed to get listed in publications such as Time Out and City Limits and in May 1984 Phoenix Radio was featured on the Channel 4
tv programme "Earsay" presented by Gary Crowley. An eventfull day was had on the day of filming a few days earlier when we were raided at our "mock-up" transmitter site whilst the cameras were rolling !
Like all pirate stations Phoenix suffered its fair share of raids and confiscated equipment which in time culminated in the arrest of one of the key operators. This kept the station off the air for a short period of time and upon its return resources and personel had dwindled. One final raid around October 1984 saw the remaining "staff" deciding to call it quits.
We had a good run for the (lack of !) money, enjoyed the buzz of running the station and along the way pumped out a lot of good tunes. There are too many people to say "thanks" to but if you helped out in any way you know who you are so thanks for your contributions and dedication.
This site will shortly be closing and moving to a new (better) host.
You will find the new site on this link ...
Phoenix Radio on film - clip from Channel 4 TV programme "Earsay" from 1984