I’ve spoken previously about my annoyance with the selection of music available when you’re out and about. In the “old days” we’d perhaps get in the car and have a crummy selection of FM radio stations which all sounded very similar and very dull. Heart FM, Free Radio, Capital… yawn. It’s all so false, so commercial and the format is nearly always the same.
Way back in 2011, in an effort to make my 80-mile daily commute more bearable, I experimented with early radio streams, which you’d play on your phone and then send over an FM broadcasting gadget (like this) to your car. Since then, we’ve all got more familiar with doing this and now most cars come with a Bluetooth music connection so that you literally just jump in the car and it’ll start playing your Spotify playlist or other music on your phone.
A fairly decent data package is a must if you’re doing this often. A 1GB or 2GB package isn’t going to cut the mustard. However, I love the fact that the internet, a properly fast mobile data and DAB has given us such an enhanced range of stations.
I’ve spoken about DAB radio in the UK previously. The bitrate isn’t always that great but advances in compression technology and the addition of DAB+ has meant that the “cost of entry” for radio stations has decreased. It means you get more choice and the audio quality is fairly decent too.
On a daily basis, I can be found bashing words into a keyboard while wearing a set of headphones. Those headphones, for the last 6 months or more, have been filled with one station only. It’s called Centreforce Radio and it’s like absolutely no other station out there. You can get it on DAB+ across London, the Home counties, Liverpool, North Wales and the rest of the North West, plus on your phone via their app.
I love this station because I’ve always loved pirate radio stations. Back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, Centreforce was a pirate station – broadcasting illegally on FM from rigs on top of flats around London. They directed people to raves all around the capital. It was the era of underground house and the birthplace of the most influential DJs and record labels in dance music today.
Sadly it got closed down in 1990 but, many years later, those same DJ’s got into Facebook and YouTube streaming. Their mixes and live sets started getting millions of views and – after a lot of form-filling and the addition of young and upcoming talent – they went legal in London on DAB. Now they’re hitting nearly 6 million listeners, smashing Mixcloud records and expanding their DAB network up North too.
Best of all, it still sounds like a pirate station. They’ve got DJ’s like Jeremy Healy, Alex P and tracks you can’t hear anywhere else or buy in the shops. Live, top-class mixing – direct from their studio – all day long. They’ll read out your messages, laugh along and .. it’s just real. No corny catchphrases or sponsored messages and competitions, just real people playing real music.
This isn’t an advert. I just love it. From old-school rave, 90’s house and all the way through to modern dance tracks – mixed brilliantly by some excellent DJ’s who are just appreciate the fact that people are listening. They enjoy what they do and it shows through.
Having that choice is brilliant. Not having to listen to “Jamie and Amanda”, “JD and Roisin”, “Kate and Mike” or some other rubbish in the morning. Having the music you want, wherever you go. That’s why I love technology.