On the air with 1020 Radio

Despite multiple technological advances, radio has always been along for the ride, constantly adapting and remaining a popular platform for music discovery. Thanks to the internet, creating your own radio station is well within your means if you're willing to put the work in. We sat down with Sean McGovern, founder of 1020 Radio to learn more about how the idea became a reality. 

Tell us a little about how 1020 Radio was formed...

1020 Radio is my brainchild after sitting in a pub chatting to a friend about my passion for radio. From this the process began. I sat down with Joelie and started plotting some ideas from branding designs to contacting DJ’s that I had met since moving to Bristol. Once I had the basics nailed down I emptied my bedroom and turned it into a fully operating studio.

It’s quite a common desire amongst musicians/music lovers to start their own radio show, yet rarely ever happens. What was it that really motivated you to start not just your own show, but your own station?

I was personally motivated by wanting to create a platform to showcase the wealth of creative talent that there is in Bristol and around the South West.

I’ve always listened to radio and used to spend every spare moment searching for new music particularly via radio on stations like Rinse FM. I love the style of radio that is fully focused on the artist and allows hosts to express their interests with no limitations. My interests are always expanding within radio and I'm always looking for new ways and methods to create exciting content.

How do you even begin to go about creating an online radio station? What were the steps you had to take to make it a reality?

I guess the hardest part is turning the initial idea into a basic reality. I spent most of my time at first researching every aspect of radio, from streaming services to building a studio. I had the basic equipment, coming from a DJ background. To build on this I asked friends to borrow or buy some other bits off and spent any spare money I had on getting everything together to get things started.

Once the studio was sorted I started contacting all the producers, and DJ’s I had met since moving to Bristol to build a small schedule broadcasting 4-6 hours a day. This network expanded naturally but quickly over the years as the station has grown and there’s always new people passing through the station everyday.

As it has grown there is more to think about and learn on a daily basis, from managing the business side of it, building a team, building a schedule that runs 24/7 from various countries and cities across the world.

What would you say has been the biggest factor in getting 1020 Radio to where it is today?

I don’t think there is a particular factor that has helped push the station to where it is, other than working non-stop and putting in a lot of time and effort. It can be difficult at times, but I'm so passionate about what I do that it makes the long days and endless workload a lot easier. I love what I do so I want to constantly work on this project and push it as far as it can go.

What has been your proudest moment so far and why?

Providing a platform for people to express their interests and meeting like-minded people on a daily basis. Alongside this I would say gaining our proper studio space around two years ago. For those that don’t know, we are in the back of Elevator Sound on Stokes Croft. Working in this environment is a pleasure. Surrounded by several other businesses that share a similar vision.

What advice would you give to any of our students who are interested in starting their own radio station?

Firstly gain as much knowledge as you can on radio, whether that’s getting some experience working at a radio station or even hosting a radio show, it’ll all help give you a better understanding of how they work behind the scenes.

Get a business plan together, this is something that I didn’t do until a later date. This can really help gain the necessary advice and support needed to launch a business.

Ask for help and advice from others in the community, everyone’s very happy to offer advice.

Learn more about the upcoming Mi Casa Su Casa x dBs Music takeover on 1020 Radio.


Are you interested in learning more about electronic music production? Watch our recent masterclass with Danny Byrd as he takes us behind the scenes of the creation of his track 'Salute'.


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