Pukar Radio, like Raw FM, was born out of the close down of SPEC Radio at the end of 1991. SPEC’s Asian DJ’s Mac and Jabb decided that the Asian community in Bristol needed its own voice and music station. Bristol’s Asian community had been served on the otherwise largely West Indian operations since 1988, but Pukar was the first all Asian service in the city.
Coming on air on frequencies around 105 FM from the 8th April 1992, they played a mixture of Asian dance tunes and Bollywood soundtracks with announcements in various languages including English. We do not recall hearing many other DJ’s on Pukar besides Mac and Jabb at this time, and it was on quite often during the week at times so it must have been a great effort to get the station going with just two DJ’s.
Starting out with not very good technical ability and rough audio quality, things were learnt and quality improved and by October the station was sounding a lot better and the signal was stronger. By January 1993, they’d changed frequency from 105 to 105.5 and were broadcasting regularly from early afternoon on Sundays to early Monday mornings.
Whilst Pukar were broadcasting live shows, Raw FM had not yet revealed itself as the station it was, as it spent a long time broadcasting taped music and just testing at first. One night, Raw FM’s audio burst into Pukar’s broadcast cleaner and louder than on its own TX, via a link hijack. When the hijack was over (after a few minutes) DJ Mac came back with a tirade against them on air saying, “SPEC Crew, we know it’s you messing around. This is our frequency, it belongs to Pukar Radio.”
As August approached, Pukar made another leap back down the dial to 105.25MHz. As time went on, the station gained more DJs and blossomed into an enjoyable attempt at true community broadcasting catering for Banghra, soul, reggae, Asian house, techno and ultimately fairly mainstream dance music as well. Audio, signal and presentation also improved and they adopted English as the language of all major station identifications and announcements for the benefit of both English listeners and younger Asian listeners. This made its programmes much easier to listen to than those on other pirates at the time.
Pukar Radio disappeared sometime around April or May 1994, but nearly 9 years later in January 2003 a station called Reality FM appeared on 107 MHz. Reality was a standard Bristol pirate playing the usual mix of Reggae, Soul, and Hip Hop etc. However, on Sundays Reality was replaced on the same frequency and from the same studios by the return of Pukar Radio. There were more DJ’s this time, not just Mac and Jabb. Reality / Pukar did not stay on 107 for long though, as there was a legal on 107.3 (Star) that was due to move to 107.2 in January 2004 and possibly give them some trouble.
The solution that they found to this problem was baffling. It is true, that in central Bristol the Real Radio Wales transmitters on 105.4 and 105.9 can’t be heard strongly, but they are heard across a lot of North Bristol quite easily. Reality / Pukar decided to hide behind them on 105.6! They could have cranked up the power a bit to cut through, but the danger is that they would have interfered with Real Radio in parts of their TSA. That would be a reasonable guess at why they didn’t, alongside the obvious expense. By mid 2004, Reality / Pukar were off the air.
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|Pukar Radio (Reality FM) 107 – Sunday 2003||80 mins|