Rinse FMRinse FM is a London-based community radio station, licensed for "young people living and/or working within the central, east and south London areas". The station plays garage, grime, dubstep, house, jungle and funky and other UK-centric dance music.
The station was founded in 1994 and operated as pirate radio station until it was awarded a community FM broadcast licence in June 2010. Rinse FM was described as London's biggest pirate radio station and provided first exposure to grime artists Dizzee Rascal and Wiley and later provided a home for dubstep DJs like Skream, Kode9, and Oneman. DJ Geeneus is the station's head.
Early yearsRinse FM first broadcast in September 1994, and was founded by DJ Geeneus and DJ Slimzee. For a three-year period in the early days of the station the Rinse studio was hosted in DJ Slimzee's house. In its early years the station played predominantly jungle music with a particular focus on MCs, a direction which set Rinse apart from competing stations. At the time the broadcasts were being made out of secret, makeshift locations such as kitchens and bedrooms belonging to friends and DJs, constantly moving between these locations to avoid getting shut down by authorities - the first broadcast coming from Ingram House in Tower Hamlets, London. This continued to a lesser extent all throughout the 16 years during which Rinse was a pirate radio station.
Kool FM was the leading pirate radio station within the jungle scene, and it wasn't until Rinse changed its focus to the emerging garage scene around 1998/1999 that it became really popular, thanks to the darker sound that it brought with it from its jungle days. Into the early 2000s, the station became critical for emergence and development of the genres grime and dubstep., and was managed during this time by DJ Uncle Dugs. Rinse broadcast on the frequency of 100.3/100.4FM for the majority of its unlicensed years on air.
Radio 1 DJ John Peel recommended the station in 2004, stating that: :"When I'm in London I listen to the pirates as much as I can. There's a station I like called Rinse FM, which is somewhere in the area banded by [ie between the frequencies of] Kiss FM and Classic FM."In April 2005 Ofcom disconnected a Rinse FM radio transmitter and Dean Fullman, known on air as DJ Slimzee, received an ASBO, believed to be the first of its kind, banning him from every rooftop in the borough of Tower Hamlets.
FM licenceAs of August 2007 the station was seeking a legal FM licence. Rinse FM created a petition which received hundreds of supporters within less than a week, including some from countries other than the UK. The station's owner DJ Geeneus at the time said that: "We don't want to be legal to play stupid adverts and make loads of money from advertising. We want to be legal to say: look at our scene, look at what we're doing. We're a business, we're not criminals. We're supplying something that no one else is supplying, and we're professional."
Rinse FM was awarded a community FM broadcast licence by Ofcom in June 2010 for frequency 106.8 FM, and commenced broadcasting legally on 7 February 2011. The station is presently managed by Sarah Lockhart.
As part of its community broadcasting remit, Rinse FM is engaged in training young people in broadcasting skills who are considered marginalised, even working with children who are in Pupil Referral Units. These are units for persistent truants and people with special educational needs.
DJs and presentersDJs and presenters to have appeared on Rinse include:
Rinse RecordingsThe station first released music under the Rinse Recordings imprint in 2003. Currently the label releases albums and singles from a roster of signed artists as well as mix CDs from DJs associated with the station, the label first saw chart success when Katy B released "Katy on a Mission" with the label in 2010. Currently signed acts include P Money, Katy B, Novelist, Roska and Royal-T. DJs who have released mix albums for Rinse Recordings include Skream, Skepta, Kode9 and Elijah and Skilliam. With the release of the 23rd mix CD (mixed by Richy Ahmed), Rinse has stated that it broadens the concept to include non-residents of the station. The label went on to release Katy B's chart-topping album Little Red and Route 94's chart-topping single "My Love" in 2014.
Internet radioRinse began streaming its shows online in 2006. All shows are available both on the website and SoundCloud.
Rinse FranceIn February 2014, Rinse launched Rinse France based in Paris.
LegacyThe station has been described as London's biggest pirate radio station and "without doubt the world's leading grime station." Writing for FACT magazine in 2007, Simon Hampson stated: "Without Rinse, Grime and Dubstep would be very different: indeed, it’s fair to say that they might not even exist at all."
Rinse celebrated their 20th birthday in 2014.