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Pirate Radio History: DBC Dread Broadcasting Corporation

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The pirate that changed British radio

In 1981 Rita Marley’s brother Leroy Anderson aka Lepke launched the Dread Broadcasting Corporation (DBC), Europe’s first dedicated black music station.

Frustrated by the lack of airtime for reggae music in the UK, Lepke setup a mast in his back garden and began to broadcast to a small area of West London every Sunday afternoon. DBC soon expanded to cover all styles of black music and with its unmistakable logo featuring a dread with headphones and a spliff became a trailblazer for the future of black British radio in the UK.

DBC began broadcasting from the Neasden and Labroke Grove areas in autumn of 1980. Originally broadcasting on AM, then moved to FM at the end of 1981. DBC would play Reggea, Lovers Rock, Afro beat, Soul and Funk.

The legendary Ranking Miss P originally started out on DBC, eventually moving onto a long career at the BBC. Guest shows would include the likes of Joe Strummer from the band The Clash as well as singer song writer Neneh Cherry to name a few.

DBC would eventually cease broadcasting in autumn 1984