Solar Radio

25th July 2021

, 15:00

This event takes place downstairs in the Jazz Box, in the Canal Bar

Back in the late 60’s there was a thriving underground soul scene in the UK, but only one show a week on BBC Radio One representing it.

Around 1970 a group of enthusiastic soul fans set up a pirate station in London called Radio Invicta, broadcasting for just three hours on a Sunday. Despite the problems it faced across the decade, the station became more and more popular with its dedicated approach to the music. The weekly mailbag became huge. Tony Johns was Invicta’s founder, and it is largely down to him that the eventual soul radio explosion in the 80’s occurred. Radio Invicta eventually ceased broadcasting in 1984, but not before the next batch of stations came along….

Solar Radio was ‘born’ in 1984 featuring Dj’s from London pirate stations JFM and Horizon. Solar was an acronym of ‘Sound Of London’s Alternative Radio’, and built a DJ roster and twenty-four-hour programme schedule which would continue the crusade to promote soul and related music styles on the airwaves of Greater London.

The station was an instant success and, indeed, with its non-stop campaigning to be awarded a legal franchise it may well have paved the way for the eventual deregulation of the radio airwaves. JFM and Horizon had started this campaign and Solar continued it until 30 September 1985, when the station voluntarily went off the air in order to be allowed to submit a licence application.