Lola Christina Alao shines a light on No Signal Radio, who are responsible for creating a space for creative innovation.
Over the past three months, the world has been uncertain, scary and depressing. In the midst of this, independent Black radio station No Signal, generated a considerable buzz through their work and rose very quickly in popularity. Running seven days a week with around 40 shows and 115 hours of innovative entertainment online, No Signal have put their all into creating something Black people can call their own. Often using the hashtag, #blackradio and #forusbyus, No Signal is a station that is paving the way for a resurgence of independent Black radio. Focusing on a whole host of genres of the diaspora, including Grime, Dancehall, R&B, Neo-Soul, Reggae, No Signal succeeds in it’s’s ability to create a space for Black music in all of it’s’s forms.
No Signal saw a need to represent diverse Black music across all genres, something that is lacking among Commercial radio stations—echoing the same issues faced in the 80s, where Black people didn’t see a space for them and had no choice but to carve out something for themselves. They’ve given the spotlight to many Black DJs and curators, to exercise their creativity during one of the most uncertain periods the world has seen. Some of No Signals shows include #SundaySESSIONS, #SLOWJAMSwithA, #KickBackWithKara and #NSLunchtime.
“No Signal embodies Afro-futurism. It’s about Black people operating outside of the constraints of society.” – Ghadir Mustafa, No Signal Playlist Team.
The concept stems from Recess, a series of independent club nights and day parties. Both were created by brothers, Jojo and David Sonubi, with the team totalling 14 members.
Their series of sound clashes labelled Ns10v10 gained a considerable amount of traction, with prominent artists such as Burna Boy and his mum tuning in, Daniel Sturridge and Adele. Ns10v10 involved ten-song battles between different artists, with the No Signal audience, encouraged to vote for their favourite songs from each battle on Twitter. They held over 20 clashes across the lockdown period, including Kano v Stormzy, J Hus v Kojo Funds and 2000s v 2010s.
No Signal has played a massive part in connecting the lives of many across London, The UK and beyond and I’m forever grateful for their efforts to create some harmless and well-implemented entertainment. Bringing Black communities together at a time when the world felt so broken, was needed and is appreciated by many.
This week, No Signal announced their fundraiser. They hope to raise £450k to continue and progress in their journey to provide grassroots entertainment. The money raised will allow them to create a physical studio space (a home for High Roller, comprised of radio station, No Signal and party, RECESS). With this money and space, they plan to “begin building a new generation of Black-owned media and entertainment.”
You can read more about their fundraiser and donate here.