Solar Radio closed down on the 29th September 1985 in order to apply for the forthcoming community licences. Horizon and JFM had also gone by this point and a number of former Solar DJs had seen Kiss FM successfully emerge from the ashes of JFM. Not wanting to be left behind, they decided to launch their own station called Total Knock Out – TKO.
TKO was first heard in Nov 1985 on 102.4 FM, close to the old Solar channel of 102.5. This didn’t go down well with the Solar management, but TKO’s defence was that even if Solar is successful and gained a licence, there would not be enough slots for all of the former pirates presenters to have their own show.
TKO, along with LWR, Kiss and a returned Solar, went on to become one of the main stations of the mid to late 80s. In June 1986 they changed frequency to 90.9 FM, but by September 1987 were back on 102.4. TKO became known for not only playing good music, but having a good quality signal. They were strong and nicely processed and also had weekends of CD music when they would ID as CD1024.
As well as the soul music, TKO featured the American comedy series “Dirk Danger”. These were 5 minute episodes lampooning the Sam Spade type detective shows.
By early 88, the strain of operating a station 24/7 was beginning to tell, and in March TKO suffered a transmitter and studio raid. They struggled to return to their former glory after this and were off completely between June and August, when they returned as a weekend only operation. By this point they were sometimes just playing tapes and then in September 88, the station appeared to have changed name to Atlantic Radio.
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