SAVAGE YET SERIOUS
Venue Magazine, 8th – 22nd November 1991 page 27
Previously mocked as the most amateurish pirate radio station in town, SYT Radio has gone dead serious with deep commitment to professional-standard broadcasting. Or maybe not, as John Mitchell finds out.
It’s 6.30pm on a very dark Sunday evening in Bristol. Deep in an underground bunker, Billy Ray Stillman’s ‘Hardcore Hayride’ is moseying through another ear-bending hour and Billy’s inimitable mix of noisy tunes, impossibly difficult wrestling competitions and ludicrous Deep South accent is just one of the attractions to be found on SYT Radio, Bristol’s brashest pirate station and the place to tune in for a full on eardrum assault any time on Sundays.
Aided by only a 38-watt transmitter, a four pack of Red Stripe and boundless enthusiasm for the joys of broadcasting, SYT cranks into life every Sunday morning and continues into the night. Ambitious plans are afoot for a transmitter three times the size of their current one, giving them the power to probe deep into previously unconverted territory, like Frampton Cottrell.
If the letters SYT signal old punk songs and ten drunk DJs yelling obscenities into the microphone, then you are sadly behind the times. Whilst we’re not talking Radio Four standards here, the whole operation does sound a great deal more listenable nowadays.
SYT disagree. “It hasn’t gone professional at all,” say DJ Elevator. “That’s just a myth put around by our adversaries; we’ve got better structured that’s all. It’s been so ramshackle since we took over four months ago but as you go on, you get more and more into it and you want to make the whole thing easier to run. We’re just a group of friends who want to come in and play their favourite type of music. It’s as uncontrived as you’re going to get.”
SYT shifts swiftly from assorted addresses throughout Bristol every Sunday, livening up the sleeping masses with a mix of offbeat sounds of all shades, pithy comments on the state of Bristol, Best Chop Shop In Town competitions and much, much more (as they say on real radio stations). Most, though not all, of the presenters belong to a surprisingly wide selection of local bands and must have better things to do on a Sunday than risk prosecution by running a pirate radio station. So why bother?
“It started off a non-stop party station because Sunday is such a downer of a day,” enthuses Elevator. “We just want to bring it up a bit and play some music with a bit of bollocks to it. I never used to be into radio as a media at all because I just thought it was so bland and most pirates aren’t really covering what I’m into.”
DJ Elevator as a future Steve Wright perchance? Possibly not. “It’s nice to be enthusiastic about it but nobody wants to do it as a job. Most of us had never got in front of a mic ever (except for all the muso bastards amongst us!) but deep down we’re just a bunch of brash big heads who want to get our voices on the radio!”
11am-Midday: DJs Lead Pipe and Rocking Chair – House, rave, techno.
Midday-1pm: DJ Nice ‘n’ Early – Indie, Sub Pop and Hardcore.
1pm-2pm: Guest Spot
2pm-3.30pm: The Doktor and the RnB Machine – RnB, blues, country, rockabilly, obscure 60s and 70s.
3.30pm-5pm: DJs Elevator and JD – Indie, punk, Sub Pop, hardcore, news, views, local gigs etc.
5pm-6pm: Teetotal – 70s/early 80s punk and rock pop.
6pm-7pm: Billy Ray Stillman’s Hardcore Hayride – 100% American hardcore plus wrestling info from Kentucky’s finest DJ.
7pm-8pm: DJ Low Alcohol – Sinead O’Connor to Sham 69.
8pm-9pm: Third Maggot Radio Show with DJ Joko – 77-79 Purist Punk.
9pm-10pm: DJ Louis – Roots Reggae
10pm onwards: Various Bristol DJs play rave and techno.
SYT Radio broadcasts all day Sunday on 104.4FM. Other news on the pirate front is the welcome return of SPEC Radio on 101.25FM. They’re going out seven days a week from 6pm til late.
To return to the main SYT page Click Here