B.A.D stood for Bristol’s Amalgamated DJs and it was the first West Indian / Black music pirate in Bristol. Some would say it was the first to really get the attention of the public in Bristol. Three DJs, Leroy, Dixon and Dee, known as “The Soul Twins”, finished a residency at Hollywood’s night club and found it hard to get DJ work in other places as venues were not so keen on having Soul, Funk and Hip Hop at this time. Radio seemed to be the logical solution to this. In June of 1987, they started with a small transmitter, broadcasting from Dee’s St. Werburgh’s bedroom from 9pm to 3am on Sunday evenings on 106.95MHz.
The first night, the signal and audio levels were quite good apparently, with the programmes euphoric and communal. No jingles or IDs were used, but they did employ the use of a Casio sampler keyboard during one of the early transmissions. Keeping the signal level the same every week seemed to prove difficult for them though, so throughout the rest of the summer and the autumn it varied wildly. One of the early broadcasts was on 107.4 MHz approx.
DJ Brova Nick says on his SoulTrain.co.uk profile, “The Soul Twins changed the whole music scene in Bristol. Two boys from Easton, twins of course, smashed the scene, with up front RnB of the highest standard, and brought slow jams to the forefront of the club scene. More impressively than that, they played Rare Groove as their signature music, challenged the best DJ’s in London, and were the only crew in the UK to make such an impact. They also set up the first ever [black owned] pirate station in Bristol, BAD Radio. This station was the biggest change in underground music history in Bristol, every top DJ was on it, from all genres.”
The transmitter problems were solved and by January they were more organised, with 20 people involved and the schedule was running from 5pm on Fridays and 3pm on Saturday and Sunday, ending at 3am each night. They were now hitting most of the city and stereo broadcasts were tried out too. A spin off group had formed and was preparing to set up FTP Radio.
DJs included Mike Shawe, Deli G, Billy D, Jazzy, Sam Tonge, Benji, Lynx, Mac 3, Nikey, Bandit, Juice, The Bad Girls and Dirty Den, who later went on to become legendary hardcore rave DJ, Easygroove.
On 6th February 1988 an article appeared in the Style section of The Bristol Evening Post titled ‘Pirates of the Airwaves’. It explained a lot of BAD Radio’s ambitions for the station and advertised the times and frequencies. This obviously did not go down too well with the authorities as they had their first raid around Valentines Day, probably not helped by the fact that 106.95 was a gas board frequency. They thought that the Gas Board would not use the frequency outside of office hours but you’d sometimes hear the gas board cutting over them.
BAD Radio was back very briefly in March on 105.2, although they were quite sporadic having a large break of several weeks until May. They continued to broadcast regularly throughout May and June, had a little glitch, and then managed to get back on air just after the St. Pauls Carnival in July. They returned with the promise of a community news programme (which didn’t seem to materialise) and with the official title of ‘Bristol’s Amalgamated DJ’s Community Radio’, but by the late summer they were off air again for no apparent reason.
The government had offered to accept license applications from pirates as long as they were off-air by the end of 1988. All of Bristol’s pirates who were broadcasting at the time turned off except SYT Radio, which carried on.
BAD had not given up just yet though, and returned on 105.2 on January 20th 1989 after a week of test broadcasts on 104.2. The signal was stronger with clean and level audio in mono. They still didn’t seem ready to get into full swing for another week or so, but eventually they operated nightly and all day at the weekends, with a package of well put together jingles and IDs, some of them from Bill Mitchell.
Unfortunately, they were eventually raided for the last time on 1st March 1989.
More recently BAD Radio DJs Deli G, Mike Shawe and Lynx have been doing regular BAD Radio revival nights at The Love Inn in Bristol. They’ve also got a Facebook page and a Mixcloud page:
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