Monday, 12 January 2009

R.I.P. ITCH FM!!! 1 year Anniversary


(Originally posted 1 year ago)

Dear UK Hip Hop people,

It is with great sadness to inform you that London's own ITCH FM (105.1fm) has shut down for good…

For me personally it has been 7 Years of fun, hard work. I will always feel proud of the station and the DJ's past and present for what we have accomplished. Itch blessed me with a lot of opportunities and confidence to pursue a little career (whatever that means) in Hiphop, and I will forever be grateful to Itch Fm family for their support, teamwork and friendship.

The other day I met someone who has been listening to us for a while and he said, "yeah man Tizer told me it was a Pirate Station, I thought it was legit!!!" That was the thing about Itch, it wasn't like other stations. There was no 35 kids hanging out, getting zooted in the lobby! The management ran a super tight ship, and that reflected on the broadcasting quality, it instilled a serious attitude in the DJ's.

I understand fully their reasons for closing the doors, 7 Years of sitting in their cars making sure no one steals our transmitter. Sneaking around looking out for the authorities, nosey neighbours, jobs-worth Janitors, CCTV cameras, keeping X amount of DJ's in line, and dealing with the so-called UK hiphop industry.

A lot of people make up the team behind the machine, for us DJs it was not without its risks and hard work, minimum £2000 fine for illegal broadcasting, a criminal record and possible prison time, all for what?!!! To play hiphop, the music we love. But for the management and Technical team it was often a joyless job. They deserve a big thank you from the whole scene.

Hiphop in the UK has never been the success story it should have been, you only need to look back at the early days to see that the UK music industry has never really taken UK Hiphop very seriously. I feel that Itch Fm came around at the right time, and gave it a bonafide platform to provide balance for rating UK alongside US. Without Itch, Channel U, and a few others, you might not have had a 1Xtra perhaps, and I can tell you that certain "urban" stations DEFINITELY changed up their playlists because of us specifically!!!

The Itch management gave us total creative control, we could play what we liked how we liked (except no cursing), and for anyone who knows about commercial stations, words like "payola" and "programming" definitely eats into the creativity of the DJ. In these times (as always) of hiphop bashing by the media and Politicians, "Free" or Community Radio is in a better position to play the music that means something, and the UK has always put out music that was really saying something positive.

There were many people who helped raise our profile when we first started, and put themselves open to a lot of personal risk, Supar Nova, Solo One, Afrika Bambaataa and the many guests, the many writers who smacked the UK with the sticker campaign. It was appreciated, thank you.

A big salute to DJ Disorda, DJ MK, Channel U, Keith Laurence, Kemet Entertainment, all of the UK artists, record labels, promoters, magazines past and present that were down with us and supported the scene! Big up to all of the others who continue to carry the torch, Y2K, Vibes, Genesis, Lightning, Juice etc.

I would also like to thank all of the people who supported Itch FM and particularly the Kool Skool for over 7 years, DJ O Double Ess, DJ Taz, Beermoney, P-Break, Shanks (DJ Havok) the listeners, DJs, MCs, B-Boys, B-Girls Graffiti Writers "and exciters"… Yes even the crackhead landlords!!! Hahaha!

I know there will be a lot of deflated Itch DJs walking around so if you see them give a pound (and a £ Hahaha)! And to all you other stations that "support UK music", give some of them a break, there's a lot of radio experience at stake here. Don't waste it!

All the best

The Kool Skool's 1 Idiot

1 comment:

Mark 563... said...

RIP Itch FM in indeed.

I'll forever be thankfull of the opportunities I was given by the Itch management.