Echoes of Pirate Radio. From the tower blocks to your speakers.

February 29, 2024

2024 Select Radio continues to grow as a brand and electronic music platform with a residency at Ministry Of Sound, New World Festival and further events on the horizon, but this year has already had its setbacks. On 2nd January storm Henk literally blew the roof off of our studios forcing us off air.

Within hours we managed to roll out a temporary stream and continue to provide electronic music to our listeners and just weeks before that, we had some transmission issues due to the windy weather throughout December. All challenges of running a radio station here in the UK but the recent months have been somewhat testing times for team Select.


Damage to our studio meant we were in a position where we were forced to relocate, a harsh reminder of pirate days when this would happen on a much more regular basis; hiding from authorities or avoiding noise complaints. The past few weeks have given us time to reflect on past experiences and how times have been very different since we were awarded our FM licence. 

We formed in 2002 as Select UK and a group of naive kids who grew up listening to pirate radio stations, sending in shout requests and later joining as DJs/Mcs, long before progressing to management. But the musical history of our founders goes further back than 2002.


Speaking to Co-founder (As I Am) 

It all started around 1992 when I was about 10, I used to find radio stations like Eruption and Dream FM on my little stereo. I used to use speaker wire and a metal coat hanger to try to get a better signal.

I became a huge fan of the pirates as it was the only way we could hear underground music. By 1996/97 the House and Garage scene was really kicking off in London and I used to listen to UpFront FM avidly. By 1999 I was doing events with my mate Shaka and starting record labels when I was barely old enough to drive. We grew up around pirate radio stations popping up on our estate. There’s too much history to talk about just yet but we plan to tell our story in full  when our studios are back. 

What is a shame is that radio support from underground stations is barely recognised by modern brands and the daily listener reach is often underestimated. 

Radio support for underground music and underrepresented artists is needed now more than ever, with mainstream stations focussing on set playlists and specialist shows often saturated with and supporting music from labels who pay for stronger PR. Playlists are often curated using algorithms or favoured through the size of an artist’s fanbase. 

Our talented DJs and Presenters have the freedom to produce their own shows and curate their own track lists supporting up and coming talent, who are far too often overlooked. Underground Radio DJs played a huge part in the birth of Electronic Music and we must never forget this. 

You can listen to Select throughout the day and literally be introduced to new music from 8 or 9 DJs of different tastes. Our brand, sound quality, talented schedule and professionalism means we will always offer the best to our listeners. We have had a tough year so far but we relish in it, it’s what we do and have been doing for 22 years and that’ll never stop.  


Keep it Select!

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