Many people who have recently started listening to our unique
nostalgia programmes will be surprised to learn the truth about
the origins of Angel Radio ........... but here goes -
Part 1 - The Pirate Days
Angel Radio began broadcasting in August 1993 from a small
flat in the Hampshire village of Clanfield. In those days the Angel
team consisted of just Tony and his wife Lorna. The original idea
was to start a radio station which was very different from all the
other stations on the dial. Angel FM, as it was then known, was
to be a community station playing music unheard elsewhere.
They bought a transmitter which had previously been used by a
local bus company to keep in touch with their drivers. This was
converted by Tony to transmit on 105.2 MHz, a clear channel on
the radio dial. No effort was made to seek a broadcast licence.
They just switched on and began broadcasting 3 hours of
programmes each Sunday afternoon.
One of the first broadcasts wasn't actually transmitted from the flat.
The 3 hours of programmes were recorded at the flat and put onto cassette
tape.Then the tape recorder, transmitter and antenna were loaded into a
3-wheeled Reliant Robin and the car was driven to the B&Q store in
Havant. In the B&Q car park the tape player was connected to the
transmitter, which in turn was connected to the antenna.
Unfortunately the antenna was 12 feet high and looked ludicrous bolted
to the roof of an old 3 wheel car. We attracted so much attention from
staff and customers of B & Q that we decided never to do a broadcast
from a car park again.
A few weeks into the broadcasts Tony received a letter from a listener offering to present programmes. This listener was Martin Kirby. Martin had been running his own pirate radio station, which had recently closed down, and was looking for another station as an outlet for
his talents. Tony wrote back and said he would be pleased to give him a programme slot. With Martin's programme filling extra time on Angel FM the broadcasts began to stretch to 5 hours each Sunday.
Although the transmitter being used to broadcast the signal locally on FM was only low power (10 watts) and the transmitter site was surrounded by hills, the Angel Radio signal was picked up clearly as far away as Fareham.
Just before Christmas 1993 Martin brought in the old transmitter he originally used for his station and suggested we connect it up and do a special Christmas Day broadcast on Short Wave. So a 'longwire' aerial was put up by Tony, the transmitter was connected, and at 10am on Christmas morning Tony, Lorna and Martin did their first short wave broadcast to Europe, on a frequency of 6200KHz, using the name Angel International. Their success was almost instantaneous with telephone calls coming in from the Midlands, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany and Italy. A week later their post-bag showed that the signal had travelled much further than expected, with letters also coming from Spain, Russia, Austria and Sweden.
THE ORIGINAL ANGEL RADIO TEAM - LORNA, MARTIN AND TONY IN THE ORIGINAL STUDIO