mon 06/07/2020

Rinse and repeat | reviews, news & interviews

Rinse and repeat

Rinse and repeat

The cover of Rinse FM's first compilation CD featuring station founder GeeneusRinse FM

Today Rinse FM, London's leading pirate radio station, announced it has been granted a legal broadcast licence after 16 years of illicit transmissions. It's almost impossible to overstate how potentially momentous this event is for the UK's most vibrant and promising music scenes, and what opportunities it presents for artists, personalities and record labels ranging from the deep and experimental to the most flagrantly commercial. From the rumbustuous, teen-friendly fun of Scratcha's breakfast show to the experimental electronic jazz and funk of Alex Nut at Saturday lunchtime to various hard and dark grime and dubstep shows - as often as not playing exclusive music fresh from the hard drives of its creators that may never even become commercially available - it is a brilliant representation of London's cultural vitality in the 21st century.


Of course Rinse's output will stay the same. There are plenty of middle of the road radio stations on the FM dial. After 16 years of bucking the trend do you really think Rinse would start pumping out mainstream dross? Of course not!! Rinse's output is what makes it unique and they have ZERO need to change. Specifically, Rinse have been awarded a community licence. This means that in their application they must have defined a community - their listeners and their music tastes, culture etc. - and they also must have explained how that community is under-served by mainstream radio. OFCOM obviously agreed with them, and so now London has a radio station for the dance music community. Other recipients of licenses today are Betar-Bangla (to serve the Bengali community in Tower Hamlets) and Greenwich Kasapah (to serve the African community of Greenwich). These clearly are two groups that clearly have minimal (if any) representation on mainstream radio. To sum up: As a pirate Rinse served the needs of London's (and the worlds, by virtue of their stream & podcasts) dance music community. Today, Rinse have been legitimised and given a remit by OFCOM to serve London's dance music community. Ergo... RINSE FM's OUTPUT WILL NOT CHANGE!!!

The output will definitely change. Larger stars who live in London and the surrounding areas will fight for a chance to be part of the station and muscle their way in and day time soldiers like Crises and L-Vis 1990 & Bok Bok and Braiden etc will probably be slowly forced out to do stupid o'clock time slots or none at all. More dnb will make it onto the station, more rotational slots will surface (so and so on the first monday of the month etc) and we might even see the loss of a big name or two due to unable to dedicate their time to their sets and do pre-records instead or give up paying the £60 for the ability to do a show and have an unreliable podcast.

••• Braiden, L-Vis & Bok Bok all play music that is hot right now so their places on the roster are safe as houses. ••• Geeneus has a strong hold on the timetable, shows are awarded by merit - no-one will 'muscle their way in' ••• Plenty of big names on the station make their set time every week. By the same token Skream misses his timeslot every so often but it's still his show. Rinse's bigger profile will mean the DJ's will MAKE TIME to appear on Rinse! Rinse would be fucking insane to get rid of a big name! ••• Why do you think more DnB will make it on to the station? Because it only gets 2 shows per week at the moment? ••• Unreliable podcasts. I bet you they allocate some funds for a better server ••• I think you're being very pessimistic and clearly imagining some kind of worst case scenario. It won't be half as bad as you fear bruv

Read this - It states what they are going to include in their station as part of becoming legal...

This is a community licence so ther are restrictions on how much revenue can be commercially generated, and as it is not therefore working to a commercial business plan the station can go on as it pleases. The important thing here is that Rinse got a licence at all given Ofcom's general attitude to illegal stations, I'd imagine that the move to net only garnered some respectability in the regulators eyes and has helped Rinse win this licence. One thing though, was Rinse paying all the licence fees and licences when it was net only, for things like royalties (fixed fee arragement I'd guess) etc.? Also this is the doc you need - Page 22: Our Programme Service Objectives include: 1. To promote social and community cohesion via the medium of radio 2. To empower and build capacity in young people, other individuals and within the local community and voluntary sectors 3. To promote the services of local youth, community and voluntary groups 4. To encourage young people to gain a ‘voice’ through the medium of radio 5. To partner, promote and support other music or social development-led outcomes 6. To encourage debate, express youth culture and to challenge negative stereotypes Page 25 details music type by % of broadcast too. Never knew a Met commander was on the board! Respect to Rinse.

Haha I misread that first aim as "To promote social and community cohesion via the medium of radio 2" to begin with. But yes that is all pretty laudible, and I will be writing more on here about whether and how Rinse and organisations like it have a social effect beyond simply showcasing grassroots music... Re the community license I'm guessing Rinse would hope that's a stepping stone to bigger things, but I don't know - I think XFM started with a short-term community license before becoming a full-on commercial station (but again, look what happened to XFM!).

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