Horizon Radio was part of a new wave of pirate radio stations that took to the airwaves of the capital in the early 1980s.
In the 70s, you would only hear pirates for a few hours on Sundays or bank holidays. Then, following a loop hole discovered in a Radio Jackie court case, a number of stations began broadcasting 7 days a week, and then 24 hours a day. These new stations were different in other ways too. They were specialist music and FM only; at a time when FM was not the most popular wave band.
Horizon Radio was first heard on the 11th October 1981 and played soul, jazz and funk music. They were part of the start of pirate radios involvement in club culture that continues to this day. The station would promote club nights and club DJs would pay to do shows on Horizon to raise their profile and publicise their own nights.
Things were going well for Horizon, but in 1984 they had two problems. Firstly, they suffered a revolt which led to 11 DJs leaving to set up a new station, Solar Radio. Also, following the 1984 Telecommunications Act, there was a crackdown on the big stations of the day and Horizon suffered a crippling studio raid in October which caused the station to take a 4 month break. When they finally returned, first at weekends and then non-stop, it was with a new set of DJs who appeared to retain little of the original stations impact.
The raids were getting heavier, and Horizon had hopes to get one the forthcoming community licences. So, they decided to call it a day on Sunday the 15th September 1985. The stations founder and owner, Chris Stewart, presented the final programme leading up the studio close at 4:30pm. A live broadcast from the Harrow Leisure centre presented by the DJs then finally closed the station.
Many of their DJs continued to be heard on other stations, both pirate and legal. The court case following the raid of October ’84 was heard in January ’86. All equipment had to be forfeited, which was the most successful prosecution of any pirate at the time.
There were rumours of a return broadcasting recorded shows 24/7 and also re-launching in Spain, but neither of these plans ever happened. This shouldn’t have worried the owner too much, as there were stories in the press at the time that Horizon had been very lucrative for him, and when he decided he had had enough, he was able to treat himself to a new Porsche!
More on Horizon Radio can be found on these sites:
To download, right click and ‘Save As’
|Horizon Radio – 102.5 – Froggy – Royalty Mix – 1984|
|Horizon Radio – 102.5 – Froggy – Mega Mix – 1984|
|Horizon Radio – London – Various Clips – 1982-1984|