The Resurgence of UK Black Radio

The impact online radio stations are having on the Black British radio scene is indisputable. If there was ever a time to divert from mainstream radio and support Black-owned Radio, now is the time.

"The Square On NTS Radio" by ElSevenUK is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Creative Commons

Towards the end of 2020, British DJ and radio presenter MistaJam announced on Instagram that he had decided to leave his drivetime spot at BBC Radio 1 and BBC 1XTRA after a longstanding 15-year journey. This reminded me of the importance of Black presenters and DJs on radio when I was younger, and how they shaped and validated not only my interests, but Black musical interests collectively.

As Black British young adults, Choice FM floods us back with warm, nostalgic memories of community, good music and a space where we could listen to people like us. Choice FM was more than a radio station—for many, it acted almost as a cultural body that ran through the Black community within the UK. It brought a sense of belonging through listening to both Black music, as well as presenters and DJs arguing over whether Nelly’s plaster was a look. Choice FM was owned by the publishers of Root magazine - a Black culture journal from the 1970s—a big part of the creative scene in Brixton. Choice FM was solely rooted in Black creativity and it was the first licensed platform on mainstream radio to push music of Black origin.

However, in October 2013 we mourned the loss of Choice FM after it was branded as Capital Xtra