In 1980, Stuart Russell and Peter Gilbert were running Radio Saturn on FM, medium wave and short wave. On 5th July 1980, this became South London Radio.

Early broadcasts went out on a Saturday night on 92.5 and were low powered, until RFLs John Dawson got involved the following year, along with DJ Vaughn Smart and a higher powered transmitter.

By the summer of 1981, John Dawson had took the station over, and broadcasts extended from 6pm till midnight. The shows were up to each individual DJ, so a variety of music could be heard such as pop, soul, hi-nrg, alternative and rock. DJs from other London pirates such as Mark Ashton, Mark Mason, Alex Wright, Ricky King and Dave Brown were also on SLR. Some shows were recorded at John Dawson’s house and some in the RFL studio, as Rob Andrews remembers:

“I was a DJ for SLR around 1981-1982, give or take, while I was still at school. Other DJs at the time were John Dawson, Nigel Grant, Ken Myers and Marcus (forget his last name). We used to record our shows at the same place at RFM (Ken Myers bedroom). Ken was on both stations and we were friends with those guys (like Steve Ego), but other than that, we were separate stations. They were more rock based and we were more alternative.

I used to record my show on Thursday evening and then someone else would haul the tape machine and the transmitter up to the roof of a tower block on Saturday. We broadcast from 6pm to midnight. The mailing address that we used was a friend’s house and the phone number that we gave out was the phone box in the Shirley Poppy parking lot (a pub in Croydon). We used to take turns hanging out by the phone box to take dedications and requests for the following week.”

Transmitter power was later increased even higher, along with a high gain aerial, meaning they covered the whole of London, one of the first stations to do so.

SLR were last heard in the summer of 1982 but John Dawson was later involved the first incarnation of LWR.

More on South London Radio can be found here:

Radio Eric


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Nigel Grant – April 1982
5 mins
John Dawson – April 1982
42 mins
John Dawson – Rob Andrews – April 1982
10 mins
Nigel Grant – Oldies – April 1982
21 mins
Ricky King – May 1982
4 mins
Alex Wright – Summer 1982
3 mins