SPEC Radio was set up by DJ Stax and Junior Ash to try and achieve what they thought the legal version of FTP would fail to achieve – to give a real community voice to the Black and Asian communities of Bristol, especially in the areas of St. Pauls and Easton. The station was first heard on the 9th December 1989 on 101.25 FM.
The decision to bring the station on the air was made before Black FM came on air to fill the musical gap left behind by the first wave of urban pirates which included BAD Radio, FTP, and Emergency, all of whom were no longer broadcasting. SPEC was there to fill the community gap, although there was plenty of music of all styles. Shows included Asian and African programming and although it was mostly Reggae and Soul, Hip Hop and House were still represented. SPEC was also able to give a home to many DJ’s who had previously worked on stations that had closed down.
Within a month, SPEC had got a full 7 day schedule going and was ready to host its first roadshow. The roadshow was cancelled at the last minute, but SPEC carried on, surviving a gale which took GWR off the air in January! By Easter they had introduced a 30 minute ‘community interest’ programme, something which had not been fully achieved by previous ethnic pirates in the area. They also had live on air phone-ins of direct relevance to Bristol’s West Indian and Asian communities. Towards the end of April 1990 they introduced a pager to collect messages from listeners.
In July, SPEC announced it was planning to go for a license and began airing this announcement during its advertisement breaks. This was despite FTP now broadcasting legally in the city.
SPEC was raided a number of times by DTI officers and yet Stax carried on. At one point they were raided twice in a week just after Black FM closed down. Throughout 1991 SPEC remained a fixture on the Bristol dial until eventually it closed down itself in the hope of getting its license. It returned a handful of times as ‘ReSPEC FM’ – an RSL station. Stax changed his on air name to ‘Stretch’ for these broadcasts.
To save any item from the list then right click and ‘Save Target As…’