Rinse Announces Takeover of London’s Legendary Pirate radio Station Kool FM

5 Minute Read
Screenshot 2023-02-03 at 12.42.19
Art & Culture
Written by Grace Morton

Rinse FM announces its acquisition of London’s notorious underground station Kool FM, original pirate radio station that birthed early Jungle and DnB.

Rinse are gearing up a brand new relaunch, collaborating with DJs mixing drum and bass, jungle and old skool in honour of Kool FM’s roots. Before gaining an FM license in 2011, Rinse found their feet in pirate radio in 1994 by DJ Geeneus and Slimzee, contributing vast amounts to London’s underground airwaves.

Rinse FM have been working over the past 25 years nurturing genres such as Grime, Dubstep, Garage and Funky, with the communal spirit of pirate radio never leaving their core.

Rinse FM founder Geeneus says:


“Around the age of 12 years old I was introduced to pirate radio by some of my older cousins. I spent most of my time trying to figure out what was going on and get more understanding of Pirate radio, but it wasn’t long after that I stumbled upon Kool FM 94.5 and it soon became an obsession.”

In 2003 Rinse launched their own label with releases from the likes of Suspect, P Money, Route 94 and Skepta. With the success of the label only growing, it was no surprise they released Watch The Ride x Nia Archives that was triple playlisted across BBC Radio 1, 6Music and 1Xtra “Mash Up The Dance”.

Eastman from Kool FM adds:

“Back in the day [Geeneus] was a big Kool listener and took inspiration from Kool and the way we ran the station. His love for Kool is 100% and that’s why we have put trust in Gee to get Kool to the next level. We must say thank you to those who have helped with the running of Kool or been a part of Kool in any way over the past 31 years. It’s been a massive, life changing journey for Suzy & myself. This is not the end, this is a new beginning for Kool. Thank you all for your support.”

With new beginnings for Kool FM, its influential legacy cannot and will not be forgotten. Kool FM earned its status as the longest running jungle station, founded in 1991 by Eastman and Smurff on none other than the roofs of Hackney’s council flats. Eastman describes Kool FM’s debut broadcast:

“The first show we did was from Banister House [housing estate] in Hackney. It was November the 28, 1991. We commandeered Smurffs’ brothers bedroom, put our stuff in there, and went down to [another building on] Clapton Square to set up the transmitter on the roof. There was nothing better than getting up there, plugging everything in and hearing that ‘shhhh’ —that white noise [meaning the equipment was working]. It’s always an amazing feeling.”


"There was nothing better than getting up there, plugging everything in and hearing that 'shhhh'."


For Kool FM this was only the beginning of what became London’s most influential jungle milestone. Bringing it back to the late 90s in the rave scenes golden era, Kool FM had established their regular club night Jungle Fever and promoted Heat Meets Jungle Fever at London Astoria, former warehouse and raver’s utopia. On the night of May 30 1999, icons in the scene Ray Keith, Hype, Shabba, IC3 and Bassman represented the rhythm of Kool FM on this unforgettable night of old skool jungle.

A decade later the hunger for jungle continued and Kool FM provided at The Coronet, London with the celebratory ’20 Years of Kool with a K!’ on Saturday 10th December 2011 and ‘Jungle Fever vs Pure Science’ on Friday 19th October 2012.

By collaborating on London artist Eddie Peake’s solo exhibition Concrete Pitch at the White Cube gallery in 2018, Kool FM broke down barriers by fusing the worlds of modern art and underground jungle music. During the exhibition Kool FM spun vinyls live and direct accompanying Peake’s performance.

With a rich cultural history and support from pioneers at Rinse FM, Kool FM is not dead, just re-incarnated. With plans to cherish Kool’s legacy, Rinse FM make it their mission to sustain the community that Kool has built.