By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor
In the heart of Soho on Windmill Street, located next to Paul Raymond’s famous Windmill Club and opposite the new Firmdale Hotel, a brand new radio station has evolved and is aiming to revolutionise the air waves in London and beyond.
Soho Radio is a street level visible station, broadcasting via a large shop window which is a unique attraction in itself. I met up with Co-founder Dan Gray, 33, whose day job is in music management representing the likes of DJ Yoda, Howard Marks, The Cuban brothers and Reeps One. A fellow geordie making his way in London he set up the station with Adrian Meehan Toolshed Music (who owns the recording studio underneath the station) and Martin Johnston of Earth Branding.
Dan says, “We decided there was a market for a new fresh and exciting station, we wanted to create a community radio station for one of the most creative communities in the world.
“It isn’t about making a huge profit, in fact none of us make any money, well apart from the barista Joe, but we have a vision, which we think could make us a vital part of Soho.”
They do make a good cup of coffee, linking up with the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, and when I visited various people popped in and out picking up a coffee and a biscuit and watching the DJ’s air their show. It is a small space and you feel like you are almost in the studio with them. As Dan explained “it used to be cab office,” well that explains it then.
Dan continues, “We aim to provide the listener with an eclectic mix of everything Soho is renowned for. The area is bursting with creatives, they might live in East London, but a lot of them work and play in Soho and we wanted to tap into that.
“Our aim at Soho Radio is to reflect the culture of Soho through our vibrant and diverse content. We bring together musicians, artists, film makers, chefs, poets and the generally curious.
“We have local piano tuners, a hip-hop loving father and son duo to Nick Grimshaw and Tony Blackburn popping in, it really is that eclectic. We’ve also had Harry Shearer, Mark Ronson, Sarah Cox, Marcus Brigstock, Kevin Rowland (Dexys) Edwyn Collins….”
Soho radio sees itself as a breeding ground for creativity, giving up-and-coming artists a chance to have their music heard and also offering great experience to aspiring producers, sound engineers and so on. The producer in the studio today is only 19 and also a talented MC, these are the people they want to have around the place.
Like all start-ups I wonder where the income might come from, Dan replies, “we have enough funding to last until Jan and we have plans to possibly have sponsors for our shows. We don’t really want adverts in the content, but we will see how it goes.
“We only operate online but that is the way of so many other radio platforms, it is cost effective, digital is dying, we didn’t need to get involved with it.”
The show airs live between 10am – 10pm everyday with repeated shows streamed again through the night. Listening figures have been encouraging and if the influential people of Soho throw their weight behind the station, or even a little tweet of support, it could soon muscle in with the big boys operating just around the corner. It might not be a cab office any more, but you get the feeling that this little radio station is going places.
Soho Radio can be found at 22c Great Windmill St, London, W1D 7LD and heard @ http://www.sohoradiolondon.com/player/ @sohoradio