Concept Radio News

Inside Free Radio Series






The Mediumwave Transmitter In 1987

Jim Brown on a visit to concept Radio

The Transmitter and Lethal Power Supply

Geoff Thompson

The central Turntables

Jim Lowe

A view from the Kitchen,

An Overall view of the studio.

Central Radio International

Jim Brown R.I P.

Central Radio founder Jim Brown has died on 10 November 2017, aged 68, after a long battle with Cancer.  Jim (or Kev, as we all knew him) has been involved in free radio since the late 1970s and started Central Radio in the erarly '80s on the Mediumwave but the station later closed due to location problems.  Central re-appeared on FM in the 1990s and has broadcast mostly on Bank Holidays until August 2017.

See more at Brian Grant's official Central site:

Phill Davies R.I P.

Phill Davies 

Former Central Radio DJ Phill Davies has died on 28 January 2013, aged 65.  Phill also had his own weekend station Liverpool Pirate Radio as well as doing shows for Merseywaves Radio Julie and other stations as well.

1987. The Return
Central Radio 'International', as it was known, (It once recieved a reception report from Albania) was originally on  Mediumwave between 1984 and 1987. Due to problems with unreliable transmitters in the early days, it was never on for more than six weeks at a time. They were raided in 1984 and I joined Central with Tom Webb September 1985.  Other presenters were Jim Brown, Phill Davies, Mark Evans, Geoff Thompson and John Sanderson.  The station got raided again in 1986 because it was decided to go on Fridays and Mondays, which has been the downfall of many stations in the eighties. We all had a meeting and decided to put money into getting another transmitter built by Joe the engineer who decided to make it the best transmitter the station ever had. It proved to be reliable and we had no further problems. The twin turntable unit was built by me from 2 old BSR decks which had been found in the tower block where we broadcast from.  The set-up was cheap and cheerful, like many set-ups at the time but it worked.

The station was on for about 3 months and things got difficult. Phill Davies appointed himself as station manager and brought others on to the station. Things needed doing to the transmitter and turntables as there had been no maintenance and we wanted to stay off for a few weeks and got accused of trying to take over the station. As I had spent 37 Pounds on components, including the crystal, I decided that if Phill Davies and others wanted to tell me what to do, they should pay me what was owed to me. There was a negative response to this suggestion so the equipment was removed from the location until an agreement was reached. The station then carried on as normal.

The End Of Central on Mediumwave

One Saturday in 1987, I was doing my show and there was a visit from Manweb. Apparently the electricity to the flat was connected directly to the mains without a main fuse or even a meter !
Nothing was said by the Manweb engineers, but as there was the possibility of a raid by Manweb (Merseyside and North Wales Electricity Board), Phill Davies removed the transmitter to his home and used it to transmit his station Liverpool Pirate Radio. His home was eventually raided and the Central transmitter was apparently taken by the DTI in the raid.

The decline of Mediumwave pirates is mainly due to lack of suitable locations, wheras FM stations can broadcast from virtually anywhere. At first, I enjoyed doing Central Radio, but it eventually became a duty rather than a pastime.

Pirate operators may have to return to AM, as the FM is officially full in the Merseyside area, but there are plans to discontinue the big national FM transmitters, and sell licences to smaller, local stations on FM, so there may well be more free channels on FM in the future.

The BBC's policy is to avoid duplication of output on FM and DAB, but commercial station owners prefer FM and DAB.

Central On FM
Central returned. In 1999, it has been on FM on occasional weekends. At Christmas 1999, they did a reunion broadcast with Jim Brown, Phill Davies Mark Evans & Tom Webb. In the early 200's Central made many appearances on FM, with original presenters Jim Brown, Phill Davies, Mark Evans, Brian Grant and Paul Hunt, plus Tom Webb, Jim Lowe and other DJ's occasionally including Rick Dane DJ Alien, and Dr. TK.  For updated information, audio clips and more, go to Central's official site:
Also check out this Youtube Video

Phill Davies also did Liverpool Pirate Radio on 1431 Khz. which was later  on FM (105.00) on occasional weekends.

Central Radio audio clips can be found at Gary Hogg's excellent site The DX Archive


Pictures by Jim Lowe © 1998. All indoor photo's were taken with a Chinon CA4 35mm SLR camera using an aperture of f8 at 1/60th shutter speed with a Prinz fixed flash unit. 400ASA Kodak film used.