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DAB Radio Gets Colourful

• Launch of Colourful Radio takes place on Monday 2 March

• Media mavericks Henry Bonsu and Gordon (Mac) McNamee behind launch

A new radio station will be launched on 2 March 2009 by an unlikely partnership of two broadcast media mavericks. The award-winning broadcaster Henry Bonsu teams up with the legendary ex-pirate, Gordon (Mac) McNamee to launch Colourful Radio on DAB in London to a potential audience of 12 million listeners. Henry was famously axed by the BBC for being ‘too intellectual’ and Gordon is the man who fought government’s control of the airwaves and won with the launch of pirate radio station Kiss FM in the 80’s.

Colourful Radio is set to take the radio industry by storm with a mix of the best soul, jazz, reggae and r’n’b from the sixties to the current day, coupled with informative debate on topical issues. The station, run by broadcasting professionals with years of experience, will bring a real alternative to the mainstream, often bland, often can’t-tell-them-apart, stations currently flooding the radio waves.

Gordon Mac said:

“I think it is time for another broadcasting revolution. DAB gives radio operators a chance to build independent stations that are not bogged down by big company mentality and bureaucracy. Colourful Radio offers the perfect combination between an uplifting ‘feel good’ station and a forum for debating issues that are close to people’s hearts. It will no doubt make a fantastic contribution to the capital, its citizens and visitors”.

Both Gordon and Henry will present shows alongside a dream team of some of the most celebrated radio and club djs – an impressive line-up of the greatest names in soul, jazz and gospel music over the last twenty years - alongside emerging talent. This includes Aitch B from Soul 2 Soul, Femi Fem (Young Disciples), Mastermind, Mistri, Dave VJ, DJ Elayne, Lindsay Wesker, Mickey D, Rosemary Laryea, Chris Philips, Dave P and Stretch Taylor, playing ‘old school to new cool’.

Adding extra muscle to the team is Mike Franklin, former MD of both LBC and TalkSport who is the station’s Director of Strategy.


Further information, pictures and interview arrangements from:
Rita Vail/Annette Maylam/Carol Twigg, Vail & Associates, T: 020 7738 0722 – E:

About Gordon McNamee (Mac)

With his distinctive blond dreadlocked appearance Gordon Mac is possibly the least likely-looking Managing Director in radio history. He crashed on to the airwaves with Kiss FM in 1985, running the pirate station from a South-East London council estate. Eventually authorities tracked him down and the fire brigade moved the station’s transmitter from a chimney in a local shop. Despite his constant battle with the Department of Trade and Industry, he kept the fledgling station alive. In May 1989, the station came second to Capital in the London Evening Standard’s most-listened-to poll. In September 1990, the station became legitimate. Virgin and Emap were brought on board, with respective stakes of 20% and 25%. Emap took full control in 1992 and Mac final left the station in 1997. He went on to make Choice FM the No 1 station for hip-hop and r’n’b music.

Gordon Mac also owned the Z Bar in Brixton, one of the UK’s most celebrated black music party spots.

About Henry Bonsu

Best known as the man axed by BBC London for being “too intellectual” Henry has worked in the print and broadcast media for nearly twenty years, winning numerous awards along the way. After graduating in Modern Languages at Magdalen College, Oxford, he trained as a journalist in his home city of Manchester, before moving to London to pursue a career in broadcasting.

Henry has researched and produced on BBC programmes including Radio 4’s flagship ‘Today’ and ‘World at One’ as well as BBC 2’s ‘Public Eye’ and ‘Black Britain’. More recently, Henry presented major Radio 4 documentaries on the colour bar in the British army, the abolition of the slave trade, and the trafficking of young African footballers into the EU. He recently presented a Radio 4 documentary on the 50th anniversary of the Notting Hill riots, as well as one on the education of white working class boys. He is the UK correspondent of B.E.T. Television and reported for them from Washington on the inauguration of President Barack Obama

About Colourful Radio

Digital radio station Colourful Radio was first established as a cross-cultural music and speech radio station in May 2006. The station provided a rich mix of news, current affairs and journalism, discussions, phone-ins and music. It was the first station of its kind to prioritise speech over music – an important counter-cultural move which gained it plaudits among the community and critics alike.

With the arrival in July 2008 of new Station Manager Gordon McNamee of Kiss FM fame, and a survey of 20,000 of the station’s subscribers in August 2008, Colourful Radio’s format was retuned. The launch on to DAB in March gives the station the opportunity to lend itself to more music aimed at an audience turned off by the trend of London’s major stations increasingly to cater for the under-25s or for lovers of easy pop-soul play-lists.

The Colourful Survey 2008 found that 81% of the on-line station’s listeners are ABC1s; over 83% are aged 22 and over; 48% listened to the station each day for between one and three hours, while 30% listened for four or more hours daily.

As well as DAB, Colourful Radio can be found on Sky Channel 0194 in the UK and Eurobird satellite across Europe and online at

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