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Unity Radio

Rewind 20 years in the music scene and you can easily start to reminisce over exciting, emerging music; artists and their makeshift home studios, UK acts hitting the charts and pirate radio stations being the hub of a bubbling industry, as well as the centre-point of any emcee or producers social life. In Manchester, warehouse parties were part of the culture with the likes of the Hacienda nightclub being a major catalyst for the distinctive musical ethos that had developed. From the Doves to Stone Roses, New Order to Happy Mondays and Joy Division to Oasis, Manchester was the capital of the North and it is here that Unity Radio started. 

The Manchester based station has been broadcasting for over 10 years. In the early years it was a raw, pirate radio station, founded by Jon Green and originally named ‘106’. Shifting addresses and constantly looking over his shoulder were part and parcel of everyday life. Musically, the station was focused on urban genres and emcees and artists would pass through regularly for stints on the mic. As the stations notoriety grew, Jon, also known as ‘Greens’, partnered up with Julian Guest, aka Jules, to move online and the station became known as Unity Radio. The collaboration between the two also brought in other changes for the station as they started to become involved with youth engagement via Manchester City Council, this, in turn, brought around the funding and the opportunity to gain an FM license. As of December 2015, Unity Radio celebrates there 5th birthday of hitting the FM dial as an official station.

Understanding the shape-shifting music culture has set the station apart from its mainstream competition and ensured it retains its individuality and reputation for being connected to the real people of the city. On the current playlist you still hear the sounds that created the station a decade ago with it’s backbone being made up of the subgenres of urban music and dance from local unsigned talent to major label records. The fluidity and freedom to choose what their listeners want, rather than being pigeon holed in to a chart heavy playlist, ensures they don’t sell out. There’s a nod to Grime, Dance, Hip Hop and Electro as well as the numerous subgenres, some with their own flagship shows on the station making Unity Radio the main port of call for artists performing at the nearby Arena or O2 Apollo to come and promote their latest releases to fans in the area.

Not only a doorway to the roots of Manchester’s music, the team behind Unity Radio have evolved to become a DJ destination too. World famous, established DJ’s, such as Yousef and Carl Cox, who broadcast his show from Space in Ibiza this year, sit on the weekly schedule alongside quirky, young local DJ’s who are filled with musical nous. Unity Radio nurtures the talent from the local area, as Georgie K, a new addition to the specialist DJ programming, knows only too well: 

“Being part of Unity Radio has pushed me to the forefront of the Manchester music scene. As one of the only urban stations in the city, Unity Radio has a large following and I can take my passion for music and apply it to my show to share with the listeners. I feel as though my whole outlook on music has changed plus they are doing so much for the local area by supporting the youths of the city and showing them the opportunities within the creative industry.” – DJ Georgie K

The management team behind Unity Radio has multiplied, nowadays comprising of Jon Green, Julian Guest, Dean Mcloughlin and Lee Dinsdale. They have built from the ground up, not only to share music to the masses but also to reach out to the area it serves. It is not only the team that has gained size and strength but also the station, as it has grown in listenership, reputation and trust, and so it’s inevitable that they have become pivotal to numerous charities and organisations that hold young people at their core. The station sits on Manchester City Councils valuing young people’s board, which helps shape youth policy across the region and also hosts a weekly youth radio show giving young people a chance to support other young people.

The flagship station for the North of England, Unity Radio has become a destination; a hotbed for DJ’s and artists to collaborate and find exposure, a place for young people to interact and find their solace, and the heartbeat of the music scene. So what does the future hold for Unity Radio? One thing is for certain, it won’t just stop at Manchester, the rate at which it is growing, you’ll be seeing, and hearing, a lot more about Unity Radio, in a lot more places!

Official Links: || Twitter: @unityradiofm || Instagram: @unityradiofm || 

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