DJs toasting five years of broadcast notoriety

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CHESTERFIELD-based web station Notorious Online is toasting five years of dropping beats on listeners across the region - and the globe.

As the station’s DJs prepare for a hefty slab of back-slapping and birthday cake, we caught up with Notorious manager Chris Parker for a quick Q and A.

He told us about the station’s underground origins that led to difficulties with the authorities, the highs, lows and what the future holds...

How and why did you first set up?

“Notorious was originally set up by me, and three other DJ’s as the pirate station “Notorious FM”, as you may know. We started in a bedroom somewhere in Chesterfield by simply connecting transmission equipment to a mixer and turntables putting the aerial on the roof switching on every Saturday and beaming the signal out as far as we could.

“We set the station up to showcase new music genres, at the time such as hip hop, UK garage and grime and other UK music genres that weren’t getting as much air play as we felt they should’ve been.”

What have been the highs?

“One of the initial highs I suppose was getting on air for the first time; I and one other DJ were just in awe at the response.

“There are also some funny moments, such as back when one DJ’s parents arrived at the end of the show and we had to quickly hide the fact that we were still on air and managed to do so in under 15 minutes However, later the DJ’s mum confessed to us, she would often hear her son on the car radio on her way back home from the studio and thought it was brilliant.”

What have been the lows?

“The only low I can really think of is when we received a visit from the authorities. Even though we knew that it “came with the territory” of pirate radio, the boredom of being off air really got to me.

“The feeling of being unable to do anything to change the situation we were in was stressful.”

How has the station changed in the past five years?

“Over the last five years I have seen new genres come and go; the emergence of genres such as UK Funky and Dubstep has changed the station’s sound completely.”

What does the future hold?

“In the future we’re going to be taking on board more people, as well as further increasing our work with outside organisations in order to maximise our work and involvement with the local community and local youth in particular.”

Could you describe the station, what it does and what it sounds like?

“I would describe the station not only as a service to Derbyshire’s youth community, but to the community at large in the sense that we do not only provide a chance for the new and innovative talent that is sometimes shunned by the mainstream, but also simply giving young people something to do and getting them to use their time as constructively as possible, hence our current work with local youth organisations.”

“In the early days we played indie rock and rap music from the States, then it was indie rock and new UK music genres such as UK garage and grime, and now there’s a mixture of trance and UK funky.“

What has surprised you about running the station?

“What has surprised me is how something as simple as the mere topic of music, can bring together people no matter what factors define their lifestyle.”

To celebrate the fifth anniversary itself, a five-minute documentary wil lbe available to download from the station website at www.notoriousonline.cjb.net.

On Saturday, there’ll be a special birthday broadcast show, with DJ Middy from 5pm to 7pm and a second half from 8pm to 10pm.

Chris added: “Expect a lot of guests from Notorious, both past and present, and - of course - the latest in new music.”

STEFAN HALL