London Greek Radio is celebrating 33 years since first taking to the air on October 8th 1983, transmitting to the very huge community of Greek and Cypriot listeners, and not only. The sometimes turbulent history is absolutely fascinating; during the 1980’s LGR survived a number of police raids in attempts to close the station down, forcing it to relocate premises regularly, from above a Greek delicatessen in Muswell Hill to the up-stairs of a Dj’s house in Highbury.
LGR was not like other ‘illegal’ entities it was itself a pioneer for ethnic radio for listeners, serving the Greek speakers of London. LGR’s very being was definitely innovative and persisted despite the obvious drawbacks. LGR faced may problems and hard times but persisted and look at us today!
Ms Soulla Violaris is one of our longest serving Dj’s who started in the early days gave us her personal account. During one of her live shows she was interrupted by the authorities resulting in her arrest. She was taken to magistrate’s court and ordered to pay a fine. She felt it was right to continue at whatever cost or risk and her dedication and loyalty lead her to occasionally put in 9 hour shifts. The staff and Dj’s certainly braved much adversity and went to great lengths during the 1980’s to keep London Greek Radio being heard on air.
In a very interesting book ‘London’s Pirate Pioneers‘ this explains how a year before LGR was awarded its legal licence, authorities made their largest ever raid on them.
The biggest action ever taken by the authorities against LGR came in 1988 when the police raided LGR’s offices, yet again, only this time they confiscated all paperwork related to the station. In a case at Highgate Magistrates Court in July, companies and staff associated with London Greek Radio were fined £13,900 plus £10,550 in costs and expenses.
After losing several hundred transmitters over the years, LGR was awarded the North London Community License, returning to the air on 13th November 1989. For the first three years they had to share the frequency with an African speaking station WNK who unfortunately went out of business soon after.
The licence was granted with the essential help of tens of thousands of people who signed petitions demanding the legitimacy of LGR. The public’s voice made it clear that there was a void and vital space to fulfil for the Greek Cypriot’s long, robust community in the UK.
The station’s iconic status is truly still relevant and very popular today, and the LGR family continues to grow and expand with talented radio hosts and DJ’s entertaining our community with Greek songs for every genre, that the Greeks are known to have in absolute abundance.
Given the huge advances in technology, LGR is live on 103.3 FM and can be found on DAB in Birmingham and Manchester adding many thousands of extra listeners every month. It can be downloaded from the App store and the Play store. Our vast audience is not only Greek speaking listeners but also English, Jewish, Albanian, Arab, Bulgarian, Turkish and Russian and so many more who are constantly tuned in.
It’s very exhilarating to know, LGR has by far the biggest downloads to on TuneIn with listener statistics via our LGR App outweighing the other Cypriot radio stations based in Cyprus on the basis of the numbers. According to the current statistics, LGR is officially No.1 downloads on #TuneIn when comparing to the equivalent Cypriot stations…
This fact about London Greek Radio is a fact to be proud of.
Happy Birthday LGR! May you live to be 100 and continue your hard-work; delivering informative and entertaining formats to your listeners.