FEATURE: Sheffield DJs set up new music platform for city’s artists

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For most aspiring artists, getting your music played on the radio and heard by thousands of new listeners is the ultimate goal.

But what do you do when your efforts to get played on local and national radio stations fail to get you anywhere?

For six Sheffield DJs in the form of Matthew Gibbs, Jordan Gladwyn, Dudley Sampson, Ben Rhodes Kason Jay and Josh Kerr the answer was to set up their own internet radio station.

The group launched UK Mondo Radio in November last year, and since then have attracted over 55,000 listeners on Soundcloud.

Operating from a premises in Kelham Island, the radio station has around 35 DJs, all of whom are passionate about ‘discovering new music,’ which owner, Josh Kerr, says is what the radio station’s ethos is centred around.

Josh, of Abbeydale Road, said: “We saw a gap for artists to push their content easily as Sheffield was missing a platform to listen.

We saw a gap for artists to push content as Sheffield was missing a platform

Josh Kerr

“Our statistics inside the small time we have been running shows that it has been an overwhelming success.

“We initially literally started with nothing, all being DJ’s we donated our own setups and equipment to the cause and put in many, many hours of graft to paint the room and build the things we needed within the studio.

“Our first event raised money for us to upgrade to a newer model of DJ decks which made it able for more people to easily play on our station.

“We have had no funding at all we have bought everything either out of our own pockets or by running events to try raise money to buy things we need for the station.

“We’ve also ran a handful of events which have all gone really well and UK Mondo Radio will be playing a role in tramlines festival this year, not only event wise but streaming some of the music via our station for those who are unlucky enough not to make it.

Among the types of music played on UK Mondo Radio is techno, drum and base, house music, garage and hip hop.

But that is not an exhaustative list of the type of music you hear on UK Mondo Radio if you join the 400 people who tune in daily- because according to Josh pretty much anything goes.

Prior to setting the radio station up, the six-strong group had tried to get their music played on local stations including Hallam FM and had enjoyed small success with coverage on BBC Radio One, but Josh describes the process as ‘being ‘long and complicated’.

He said: “We just found it very difficult to get anywhere. It shouldn’t be that difficult to get your music out there, and that’s part of what we’re about.

“We all love finding new music, and get about 30 or 40 acts contacting us every week with their stuff.”

Among the DJs who have shows on UK Mondo Radio are Oris Jay, Andy H, Pipes, ScumFam, The Leng and regulars at Tramlines, Unit 3.

And internet radio is currently having its moment with thousands of independent radio stations broadcasting to millions of people across the UK.

The radio station currently pays for its overheads, such as rent at the Kelham Island premises, partly through charging its DJs for each slot they perform on.

Josh said: “As it stands at the moment we need to charge by the hour for each slot.

“We currently have two hours slots, but we’re considering maybe introducing one hour slots so we can increase the revenue.”

DJs from UK Mondo Radio have also tried to increase the radio station’s profile by playing gigs at venues across the city including Plug and The Harley

Moving forwards, Josh says the group has big expansion plans.

He said: “We are currently looking into funding so that we can get better equipment and move into a bigger, needed studio.

“The dream for us is to move this station into a bigger place, so we can follow through with our plans and expand into the creative hub we are becoming.

“Then we can look at moving our station from online to something like DAB or FM.

“That’s still a big dream but with the current interest in our station continuing to grow it could be something we could achieve in the near future.

“Additionally to this we have future plans to launch a record label which will be a fantastic platform for Sheffield artists generally and those on our station.

“We also plan to hold workshops, open to local young adults who have a keen interest in music.

“This will range from as many aspects as we can cover, but a strong focus on djing and producing.”

UK MONDO RADIO

* You can listen to UK Mondo Radio seven days a week by visiting: UK Mondo Radio

* Shows are broadcast live between 6pm and midnight Monday to Friday, and on Saturdays and Sundays the station runs between midday and midnight.
* You can also follow UK Mondo Radio through their social media pages on Facebook at: UK Mondo Facebook or on Twitter at: @UKMondo
* The radio station also has a Soundcloud account where you can listen to previous shows you may have missed from the last few weeks. 
* You can listen by visting: UK Mondo Soundcloud