KUBE Radio and Thorn's Radio

Thorn’s Radio 94.2 FM

"Hawthorns Hall had its own established Pirate Radio station. First established with the technical know-how and resources of Chris McWhinnie (1980), Thorn's Radio offered a wide spectrum of evening and weekend broadcasting to the student community including news, current affairs and religious shows along with popular music fare. Responsible for such staples as "The Bedtime Booze and Boogie Show", the emphasis was on engaging the students at Thorns (and latterly much of campus), with relaxed and fun entertainment they felt was their own. Many shows offered requests and dedications ("Requests on a Postcard left in the X, Y, Z Pigeon Hole" in the General Block). Due to the pirate aspect of broadcasting, the station never had a fixed location, instead "decks" transmitters and a selection of technical gear could occasionally be spotted being moved to the next "studio" under cover of darkness. The fact that the station operated on a low-power transmitter was probably the reason why the university never took great steps to close the enterprise; turning a slightly myopic eye, despite the fact that on one occasion a faulty repair to a component massively increased the signal strength and the station wiped Radio 4 out in the locality and was even picked up on the other side of Stoke.

Thorn's Radio was well-liked and had a following on campus – though it is debatable whether the audience enjoyed it as much as the broadcasters. Chris Mac and I believe Alan "The Salty Dog" Freeman were extremely good and went on professionally, others were enthusiastic Amateurs. A Thorn's Radio show pioneered the idea of open mike studio broadcasting, with a bunch of people in the studio having a laugh and exchanging thoughts and ideas – informality not typical of radio at the time. Not certain how long the station continued beyond our time at Keele, though it certainly continued a while as we did a guest show on a return trip a year or couple of years after graduating. To anyone who remembers the station and listening to the happy band of pirates, on behalf of all of us - thank you for your enthusiastic support and for your friendship."

Graham Boocock (1981)

New stories and memories are welcome!