Horizon Radio
History 1981-1985

Horizon Radio History 1981 Until Closedown In 1985

Early in the summer of 1981, with their favourite Radio Station Invicta not being on the air as often as they used to be, 3 people decided to try and provide a radio service which featured the music they loved, but was not featured in the quantities they wanted to hear anywhere else. The concept idea was keep it small & local, so not get busted like the two big stations were only two often. Horizon Radio on 94.5fm – later 104fm and 102.5fm rose to became London’s most  successful non licensed 24/7 soul radio station ever, great things come in small packages?

You can now read the full Horizon Radio History Story (Short Version) Here.

Horizon Radio History – Our Birth

The decision to create Horizon Radio was made in the early summer of 1981. It was Annabel, Roger and Chris who said lets try and see if we can provide a soul radio service that people want.

Roger in his early days had helped out on Radio Jackie and later in Jersey had an FM station on air for a short while and accidentally (smile) blocked out the BBC link to Jersey. It was a few years since Roger had created a transmitter, so had forgot how too build transmitters. After months of trying he finally created a 5 watt transmitter, but it proved to be unstable as we found out later.

Chris had no electrical skills, so concentrated on the other main problem of how to gain access to those high-rise tower-blocks to broadcast from. At the time he worked for a company in Horseferry Rd SW1, who just happened to lease the caretaker vans to a south London Council. First access to every tower block in London was gained, a couple of weeks later he was offered a lot more for the price of 4 new car tyres and a repair & service on a car. These items probably where the making of Horizon Radio history in those early days.

Horizon Radio History with the London base in 1981

Security on tower blocks in those days, was for its time good, but not like today guys, so please do not try to copy what Horizon Radio did. We where able to go on any council tower block in London and where accepted by the residents due to the fact we had the uniforms and even the communication systems the real caretakers had. Certain names where even featured in the logs back at the council offices, so we never had a problem. One thing the Horizon crew always had was respect for the residents who lived in the tower blocks they used. We where like mice on a roof and always spoke nicely to the people we met, our job used to be cleaning the gutters, pointing the headstones and the likes of. Yes we lied but it reassured the residents as to what was going on.

The DTI Files

In the DTI files your learn how we gave (Eric Gotts and his merry men) a ticking off one night for being on a tower block without permission. We will also tell you about the hidden transmitters that took Eric 1+ years to find, link switching at 10pm from one transmitter to another along with Eric raiding one transmitter site, minutes after we had switched to our safe transmitter, not to mention the false transmitters and obstacles Eric went home with. But give him is due he won on a few very few occasions.

The Horizon Radio Studio UHF Live Link Transmitter

If you remember we had also got those council communication systems (2 tone blue) on 461 megs UHF from a connection at the caretakers main office and later two bags full of them. Thanks to Piers Easton, Horizon later used a converted version of these units as the live link from the studio to the transmitter site (read Transmitter Joys for the story, coming soon).

Horizon Radio History – The Story Begins

October the 11th 1981 it was time for the launch of Horizon Radio 94.5fm. Off go R and C to the local tower block Conniston House armed with a 5 watt fm transmitter, a dipole (aerial) and the legendary converted auto cassette machine featuring 2 x 1 hour cassette with Roger’s show on one side and Chris’s show on the other. Ann was managing the phone lines back at base.

The telephone line lit up like a Christmas tree with congratulations and requests for the next transmissions. Those listeners in their homes and cars where not stupid, they knew Horizon Radio in London did not have a broadcast license, but felt they had been left out of the radio system. They where and are today deserving better from our Government who spend their taxes.

The Horizon Radio legend had started, later live broadcasts came and transmitters and studios where lost, but Horizon in the following years showed what could be done on a low cost budget. That gave the kids of the day, the young adults of tomorrow a hope for the future > 1982

Horizon Radio London studio access to studio in the roof 1982/83 at Comber House Camberwell London SE5 OLJ
Horizon Radio London studio view from road in the roof 1982/83 at Comber House Camberwell London SE5 OLJ
Summer time View Horizon Radio London Studio view from road in the roof 1982/83 at Comber House Camberwell London SE5 OLJ

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