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The Jim Lowe Editorials

The Jim Lowe Editorial 6 February 2006

With Christmas well and truly over (apart from the credit card bills) it is time to reflect on the festering season once again.

As you are probably aware, concept FM as we know it has been scuppered by an informant who has not only grassed me up for doing pirate radio, but also for allegedly receiving stolen property at my address.

The person at the top of my suspect list came up with even more personal information on me when I conducted a mischief campaign on the 80's Nova forum. 

All the websites, alleged pseudonyms and other websites I am involved with were all listed by this person, (including my IP address and server address supplied by Steve Williams, their irresponsible moderator), and for some reason people are still posting on that particular forum although they are being a bit more careful now.  If I ever met this 'Geoff from Oxton' or 'Phase Locked' as he calls himself nowadays I would like to shake him by the throat!

The thing I want to know is how did he find out about my other unrelated and quite legal websites?   I do know the answer to that one because of where he works.

Also The Scene, Dave Collins' station, was raided unnecessarily, because after I had a visit, I warned Dave Collins and Central via email but, for some reason, both stations actually switched on 3 days in a row that week and The Scene were raided the following weekend.   It appears that warning other stations is a pointless activity because they will just carry on anyway !

At first, 7 Waves were on my suspect list but they would not have had that amount of information on me.

There was a reasonable turnout on the Pirate scene at Christmas with Bert Williams teaming up with Andy 'Wobbly' Davies, as well as Central and The Scene being on.   Other stations are planning tributes to Andy Dobbins (Andy from Julie FM) who died in 2005.

The Jim Lowe Editorial 25 June 2005

The Decline Of Pirate Radio

The decline of pirate radio on Merseyside is mainly due to a lack of clear frequencies on FM plus people who like to claim parts of the band as their own.

I see KCR106.7 is now The Rocket. Apparently this may mean syndicated programming resulting in a de-localization process like we have seen with the EMAP owned Magic network.  There was also an RSL promoting the Kerrang! network for a local licence.  Some of Kerrang's output is already on City and Rock FM already so why do we need a local one when that particular syndicated playlist is available on DAB, Freeview, Sky and Cable?

 There are also some very crap RSL's which seem to get their funding too easily, especially Flame FM.  They seem to have no idea about output levels or anything.  Some of them shouldn't be allowed anywhere near any studio equipment as they are just completely clueless.

7 Wave Community Radio, however is technically better, probably due to a computerised playout system which is easy to operate.  It also seems to be nepotistic in it's choice of personnel, as I hear that at least 2 of their presenters are relatives of the licence holder.  I knew someone on 7 Waves who tells me that when someone sent a sarcastic email, criticising the presenters, they had a meeting to see how they could improve things.

The successful applicant for incremental stations are selected by who has got the biggest amount of money to spend and is usually based on them coming up with a story about commitment to local news or the community.

Another knock-on effect, causing the overcrowding of the FM band is DAB which isn't catching on, probably because it sounds like FM with the treble turned down! There are probably no local licences advertised for DAB only, as it has a minority listenership for the above reasons, and also because of the cost of the receivers, which has come down, but not enough for the average person who usually doesn't like messing with receiving aerials. Some have only just got to grips with FM !

The Jim Lowe Editorial 20 Jan 2002

With Christmas well and truly over, it is now time to reflect on the last 12 months

The Merseyside free radio scene has been a lot better with a less hassle with frequencies. The only station, which was affected, was Hot FM, which got raided when it was on 106.2. This was almost certainly because the RSL station Flame FM was about to use the frequency on 1st September for 28 days.

Another nail in the coffin for the pirate band was the arrival if KCR  (Knowsley Community Radio on 106.7 on 16th June 2001.

Most of the free radio operators have actually co-operated by managing their frequencies and, as a result there has been little or no hassle.

Sound FM has been on most weekends and so has the low powered LPR.  Lazer UK has been on quite a few Sundays on high power also.

Central has remained on 104.7 since High Rise FM stopped using it and Pirate FM has made a few appearances on 102.2. Another obscure station has been CFM on 99.8. Reception is poor as the signal is so week but if you like Dave Moore's sense of humor, you will probably tolerate the interference from adjacent channels.

Those Automated Incrementals

I have noticed quite a bit of automation on the incremental stations, especially KCR and Wish FM (107.2). Sometimes these stations are obviously unattended and you hear the news jingle followed by 2 minutes of silence.

Even on KCR I heard the same sort of thing happening during a live show where the news jingle was 1 minute early followed by a minute's silence, then a track was played and suddenly the news came in about half way through!

Whatever happened to continuity? The best policy is, when something goes wrong, you just keep talking. Silence will just make people tune elsewhere.

"Tragic" 1548

I notice a lot more syndicated program's on the de-localized Magic 1548 of late. The worse one being a show from Richard Skinner followed by an hour of non-stop music. Have they really dumped the good local presenters to make way for this or is it just radio on the cheap?

Their audience must be very low except when they cover football.

Atlantic 252 Bites The Dust

Atlantic 252 has finally gone to the wall and the frequency has now been taken over by Team Talk 252, a mainly sports station.

You can always tell when a station is not doing well when they get young pretentious DJ's who talk in a totally false voice with a cacophony of cliché's.

You know who you are !

Jim Lowe.  21st January 2002