In 1990, a number a Freedom Radio DJs including Wayne James, Lee Clarke and John Saunders decided to break away and start their own station. So, in April of 1990 the first tests took place for Elite 100 FM.
The station was more of a dance station than Freedom, had some good DJs and was very professional, but they also had their fare share of problems. Sometimes these were technical problems and, like many stations before and since, Elite lost a few transmitters to thieves.
The first rig site was in Halesowen but when they were setting the rig up, a police helicopter came right over them. Unknown to them, the police were only keeping an eye on an Indian parade in the town and never even saw them on the roof! After that they got a bit scared off so it was decided to go to Romsley court in Dudley. This was because Wayne James had got a set of keys to access the roof. One night they got a fishing basket containing the rig and a steel box, a rod holdall for the dipoles and coax and a net bag with concrete and water in. This was done so as the security would let them in the block thinking they had been fishing! Dave Stevens and Lee Clarke got into the block and waited for Wayne and Ryan to come with the keys and spanners. They eventually got the tx site set up and they started the tests on the Saturday and all was well.
The first day they went on air was from a studio in Stourbridge Road, Dudley. They tried to get the link working all morning but it just wasn’t happening. Dave Stevens and Wayne James went to the rig site 4 or 5 times to see if there was anything wrong at that end but all was fine. When they got back to the studio someone started having a bit of a mess with the link tx and for some unknown reason touched the coax on to the fire escape ladders and bump silence on the carrier.
Lee Clarke started the test and the others decided to split up in the cars and go for a drive to see how the signal was. John Saunders went to Worcester, kayleigh went to Birmingham and Dave Stevens and Wayne James went to Wolverhampton. The signal was good but the rig drifted like mad, although that rig only lasted about 2 weeks before some other pirates stole it. So up went the next rig which was a bit more stable than the first. The rig was concreted to the top of the flats in a solid steel box and some hefty chain ran through the concrete and through the steel box.
After a couple of the early rigs went missing, they then got one which was crystal locked and a bit more powerful at 150 Watts. When that rig was on they went from strength to strength taking calls from Blackpool Stoke and even Bristol and Manchester on a good clear night. That rig lasted about 8 months before the DTI turned up. On that Tuesday night all the Elite team rushed up to the tx site because they thought it was the guys from other pirates again, but when they got there they saw Les Jones walking out the building with the rig in hand! After that, everyone met up at the studio on the Wednesday where they decided not to carry on with the station.
A few months passed and they all lost touch for a while, until Dave Stevens got his hands on a 50 watt direct rig and started getting the bug again (as you do). He called Lee Clarke and a couple of others and they got Elite back on the air in Walsall right opposite the police station. The only original DJs were Dave and Lee Clarke with the odd show from Nessa and Ryan. They only broadcast on a weekend and had a pretty good following around Walsall but it was short lived as they lost the flat they were using.
Dave started Elite up again in 2000 on 106.4 with Adam Griffiths (Griff DJ) where they had the main tx on top of The Grange school in Lye and the studio was above a chippy in Lye. They then moved to a garage in Brookmoor where Lee Clarke did a few shows, while the tx was in a pigeon pen in Brierley Hill! Things were going well and the signal was OK. They were taking calls from pretty much everywhere around Brierley Hill, Stourbridge, kiddie and even Telford. Unfortunately, it was short lived (about 4 or 5 months) as Dave got sick of having to do all the running around because he was the only one with a car at the time. Also they couldn’t really get the quality of DJs they wanted so they pulled the plug.
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