Kool FM

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Broadcast area London, Worldwide
Slogan Kool with a K
First air date 1991
Format Jungle, Drum n Bass, Old Skool
Website koollondon.com

Kool FM is a London pirate radio station that also broadcasts as an internet radio station, started on 28 November 1991.[1][2]


Kool FM has stated that it has been "the very first pirate station ever to play Hardcore Jungle".[1] Simon Reynolds called it "London's ruling pirate station" in an account of the beginnings of jungle music in the early to mid 1990s.[3] Similarly, Billboard magazine referred to Kool FM as "leading jungle station" in a 1995 report about the genre.[2]

In January 1996, Kool FM Midlands started broadcasting to the Midlands on 105.6 FM, based in Birmingham; by then dedicated to drum'n'bass.[1]

In the same year, Kool FM featured in a BBC documentary about pirate radio.[4]

In 1998, U.S. magazine Vibe compared it favorably to Kiss FM (a former London pirate radio station which had become legal): "Meanwhile, U.K. pirates like Kool FM and Hard FM continue to broadcast even better music without interference from authorities."[5]

A 2002 article in the Evening Standard reported that Kool FM was making profits from advertising and organizing raves.[6]

In 2005, a Kool FM transmitter broadcasting from Wapping (in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets) was seized in an Ofcom operation against London pirate stations.[7]

In 2007, Kool FM was featured on a BBC London News report about pirate radio station interference to the emergency services and their use of the airwaves.[8]

Kool FM was still operating illegally in February 2008, broadcasting on 94.6 FM from Tower Hamlets, when three of its phone lines were disconnected during a series of raids led by Ofcom.[9][10]

The station celebrated its 21st birthday in 2012 and now broadcasts 24 hours a day, 90 percent of which is live[11]

The station has won "Best Radio/Internet Station" at the Drum n Bass Awards numerous times, most recently in 2012. ( 13th time )[12]

Kool FM's history and that of its rave arm Jungle Fever are detailed extensively in Brian Belle-Fortune's book All Crews Journeys Through Jungle Drum & Bass Culture [2004 Vision Publishing]. Jungle Fever and rare studio footage of Kool FM (cited above in foot note 4) can be seen in Belle-Fortune's BBC film Radio Renegades now available on YouTube. One pirate radio engineer commented, "We use the film for training. It says everything."


From August 2010, Kool FM was rebranded and now operates as an internet radio station, Kool London, providing a live audio stream of radio shows on its relaunched website.[13] The site appears to be under active development with new features being implemented. Kool FM have also launched the Kool Archives that is regularly updated with recordings of the live shows and has recordings that span from 1992 to the present day.[14]

In June 2013, Kool London broadcast live for eight hours a day from the Royal Academy of Arts as part of the RA Schools Show, forming part of a graduate's final year project.[15][16]


  1. ^ a b c h i s t o r y on the home page of Kool FM Midlands (archived by the Internet Archive on 25 December 2001)
  2. ^ a b Kwaku: Pirate UK Radio Propels Rising Soulful Jungle Style. Billboard, 29 July 1995 p.39
  3. ^ Simon Reynolds: Energy Flash. Picador 2008, ISBN 978-0-330-45420-9, p.245.
  4. ^ Prototypeuk (9 October 2006). "Kool FM 94.5 - PART 1 of 3" – via YouTube. 
  5. ^ Vibe, issue 6, no.9, November 1998, p.110
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Ofcom tackles illegal broadcasting Ofcom News Release Archive, 3 November 2005
  8. ^ Prototypeuk (2 May 2007). "BBC News Pirate Radio - Kool Fm 94.6 -" – via YouTube. 
  9. ^ Victoria Huntley: Pirate radio sunk from airwaves East London Advertiser, 23 February 2008
  10. ^ Ofcom, police and London Boroughs take action against illegal broadcasting Ofcom News Release Archive, 19 February 2008
  11. ^ "20 Years Of Kool with A K". Resident Advisor. 
  12. ^ "Drum n Bass Awards 2012". 
  13. ^ [2] Kool London new live online stream
  14. ^ [3] Kool Archive. (Varsitycloud)
  15. ^ Administrator. "Kool London broadcasting live from the Royal Academy of Arts". koollondon.com. 
  16. ^ "Kool London at the Royal Academy of Arts, London". www.youtube.com. [dead link]

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