From Pirate To The Internet A Radio Stations Story As Told By The People Who Know Best The Dj’s Themselves
The idea of Itch FM first started back in the year 2000 by Eza and Trevor.
Born out of the question “Why isn't there any hip-hop radio stations?”
At the time, the only way to listen to hip-hop on the radio was a few hours here and there. This was not enough to satisfy the ever-growing number of hip-hop fans’ needs.
To the two founders, starting a radio station, which was dedicated entirely to hip-hop, seemed like a pipe dream.
However, after some perseverance, getting some key advice, receiving help from industry
individuals and hand picking the first set of DJs, Itch FM’s first live broadcast was throughout the weekends.
The weekends’ shows eventually turned into seven days per week and momentum swiftly followed.
It wasn't all smooth sailing. There were times when it seemed the best option was to give up. The cat and mouse games with the Broadcasting Authorities and the initiation tactics of other radio stations trying to find out whether Itch FM was “serious” about being a radio station or not, all took its toll.
Like the people’s champ, the management team, the DJs and engineers dug deep and kept on relentlessly. Itch FM was getting established and the station was attracting more listeners.
In year one, the hard work paid off and was truly celebrated when the station had its first year anniversary event.
The event pulled in hip-hop fans of all backgrounds from across the UK. Also well known radio presenters, industry heads, press and established hip-hop artist came in tow. The night was truly a success.
The buzz from this event went on to get Itch FM notoriety and the title of being the home of hip-hop in the UK.
Continuing to push hard with the growing momentum, Itch FM thrived on creating outlandish marketing promotions to create buzz and to stay relevant.
The station also started club nights such as The Grits and Naked, and collaborated with numerous cross genre events and of course organized their yearly birthday jams. The station also created a DJ management agency and sold merchandise like T-shirts, DVD’s and mixed tapes to help sustain the entity.
Itch FM lasted for 7 years. However, as one can imagine, it wasn't a straightforward experience.
The Broadcasting Authority did not allow radio stations to broadcast without a license. Unwisely, one was not requested. Getting shut down every two weeks, having equipment confiscated and the odd studio raid or two, was hard to bear. It eventually resulted in the fall of this legendary radio station. It was losing money fast.
Itch FM would be no more.
The station ended in 2007. The founders, the team, the DJs, and volunteers pursued their careers in different directions.
For 5 years the UK hip-hop scene has been missing a place to call its own. A place where all fans of hip hop and hip-hop related music could hear their favourite DJs playing the latest tunes. A place to take part in hip-hop debates or listen to live interviews of artistes, from the UK, U.S and across the globe. A place where listeners could send requests and interact with the DJs and hosts live over the phone.
That is what this second chapter of Itch FM will bring. It will rebuild what was started 13 years ago and take it to a new and higher level.
With the help of the never-say-die hip-hop community, sweat equity of the DJs, the persistence of the management team, and the leverage of the Internet, Itch FM takes up the baton and marches on.