In the late 70s and early 80s there were many short wave pirates broadcasting from the UK, and one of the most popular was Empire Radio.
They first took to the air on 28th May 1978, broadcasting on 6200 kHz Short Wave, with the slogan “Serving a Free United Europe”. This was later changed to “The Voice of Alternative Broadcasting in Europe”.
Regular, monthly, broadcasts were made for nearly 3 years, and attracted a loyal audience across much of Northern Europe. DJs included Albert Hall, Mike Thomas, Rick St James and Dave Cooper. Up to 100 letters per month were received from as far afield as France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and all Scandinavian countries, in addition to the whole of the UK.
Some Empire Radio DJs also did shows on local medium wave pirates such as Radio Free Birmingham at the time, so when Empire stopped regular broadcasts they decided to start their own local stations. Mike Thomas became Keith Rogers, and set up Sounds Alternative, while Dave Cooper (along with Rick St James of Empire) established EST (Electronic Sound Transmission).
Sounds Alternative broadcast to the West Midlands on Medium Wave between 1980 and 1985, while EST broadcast to the West Midlands on FM between 1981 and 1984.
Although regular Empire Radio transmissions ceased at the end of 1980, it never quite went away and still made spasmodic broadcasts. The most recent was in 1999 – Still with the same old crew! Also, one of Empire and EST’s biggest fans set up Crystal Radio on Short wave in the mid 80s, which would also sometimes feature some of the Empire crew!
For more information about EST then why not read the full EST story as written by Dave Cooper, Albert Hall, Tim Shepherd & Nick.
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