North London Radio
NLR was first heard in late August 1977. Founder members being myself and Norman Spencer, who had recently left East London Radio due to a management disagreement, leaving Norman Spencer with a studio and no transmitter. As I recorded my ELR programmes at Norman's studio it was decided that since Norman had the recording facilities and I had a transmitter, which were both redundant, that we start a new station to rival ELR. North London was the chosen coverage area and therefore we decided to call it North London Radio. The transmitter was built by Rod Smith who at the time lived in West Green Rd, Tottenham and made transmitters for a living.
At 11am on a Sunday morning we started our test transmission from an ex-ELR site in Claybury in East London which proved to be very successful due to the excellent signal and audio quality that was produced from NLR's solid state transmitter. The following Sunday NLR was back on air this time with 5 DJ's, 3 of them recruited from the previous weeks test transmission. The new recruits were Paul Allen, Adrian Day and Martin Kay. This time transmissions were from Forty Hill in Enfield. Transmissions were made for the next eight weeks from various sites until the then regular site of field behind the Fallow Buck pub in Enfield, this site was used for approx. 4-5 months. This site was used in rotation with another regular site at Whetstone. By now NLR had established it self and had a total staff of 26 people of whom 11 were DJ's.
Norman Spencer, in the same manner that he left ELR then decided to leave NLR. His reason was because he didn't like the non-stop fast moving music format that made NLR so popular.. Together with Paul Allen from NLR and one Christopher England who had somehow contacted Norman Spencer, collectively decided to try to scupper NLR's transmissions and start their own radio station calling it North London Radio. Fortunately myself and Mike StJohn had learnt in advance of their plans so we hurriedly built a studio at my then home in Lancelot House, Edmonton N9.
On the following Sunday there were TWO North London Radio's broadcasting at the same time and both claiming to be on 221m when in fact my station was on the original 1368kHz and Norman's station was on 1386kHz. After a visit by the original NLR team all 26 of them, the band of 3 decided we had more claim to the name, so the following week Norman and his team reappeared as Radio Amy which stood for Alternative Media for You. Ironically some three months further on, when Amy had established it self and built up a strong team of presenters and staff, Norman Spencer decided to leave again. At this point Christopher England and I had a meeting realising that we had a lot in common and then NLR became a close ally of Radio Amy, sometimes sharing equipment, sites and staff, which was a very satisfactory arrangement for both stations.
In it's 2 years of broadcasting NLR was never visited by the authorities, sadly this was not the case for Radio Amy. One particular Sunday in August 1978 close communication between Amy and NLR warned us that they had been raided and their equipment confiscated just 4 miles from the NLR site. With the authorities on their way to our site we switched the transmitter off headed for home where the studio, spare transmitters and a 100ft long wire aerial were waiting on our arrival we put a loop tape out on air warning other stations of the authorities activity. This resulted in Radio City, Celebration Radio and Radio Jackie all going off air and retaining their equipment.
In July 1978 NLR held a roadshow at the then Cambridge Public House in Edmonton in a hall with a capacity of 450. 200 tickets were printed and by nine o'clock we were tearing them in half to have enough to sell to everyone who turned up. With the hall bursting at the seams all the NLR jocks took a turn on stage backed by live band Duffy. This was a very enjoyable and financially successful event, raising enough money to keep the station going for a further year and a good booze up.
NLR had been a very successful station, attracting a large audience across North London and surrounding areas, largely due to the very high level of modulation which at this time was a first being as the BBC and the IBA and all other pirates would or could only manage 70% modulation, whereas the NLR transmitter was 110% modulation just slightly clipping the carrier but with no distortion.
NLR finally ceased transmissions in July 1979. In favour of Happy Music Radio.
|Popular North London Radio sticker 1|
|Popular North London Radio sticker 2|
|An original NLR information sheet that was sent out to listeners|
|North London Radio main studio in Edmonton|
|One of the three North London Radio solid state transmitters|
|Internal view of North London Radio solid state transmitter|
|Prolific broadcaster Mike StJohn who has been with me in all my radio ventures|
|Mike StJohn and Laser transmitter on board the Communicator|
|NLR reception report 1978|
|One of the many NLR small posters|
|A very surprised Garry Stevens, thinking it was the DTI|
|Lancelot House itself|
|Where all dedications and requests were received|
|It speaks for itself, all good things have to end in radio|
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