In the past five years, online radio has become the default option for listeners who prize the unexpected over the obvious.
Playlists are the future, they said, but obviously what our brains really want is to be surprised, and NTS Radio has always delivered on that front, right from 2011 when Femi Adeyemi launched the station in Dalston with co-conspirator Claire Urbahn. From Henry Rollins and Jeff Mills to Andrew Weatherall and Micachu, NTS has lured musicians, DJs and diggers of all persuasions to its humble booth in Gillett Square.
But NTS has always been about community too, placing as much weight on local talent and ultra-niche shows as flashy guest DJs. At its best, radio joins people together, making listeners and DJs feel like part of something bigger, just by giving a signal and getting a shout. It’s no exaggeration to say that NTS (along with the likes of Radar Radio and BCR) has found a place at the core of plenty of local (and international) scenes, and the recent launch of NTS Manchester only underlines that mission.
To celebrate the milestone, we asked the NTS crew to pick five their favourite broadcasts from the first five years – not an easy task considering the sheer size of the station’s vaults at this point. They picked some of the shows that meant most to them, from hip-hop royalty to the head-turning debut of a station regular.
Yasiin Bey with Lord Tusk and Steven Julien
September 2, 2015
“We had Yasiin Bey, aka Mos Def, in the studio towards the end of last year and he dropped 100% new material with longtime NTS family Steven Julien and Lord Tusk.”
Who’s That Girl – Kemistry special
November 24, 2014
“Leyla Pillai’s show is an amazingly consistent exploration of iconic female figures from throughout history. This episode, focusing on the life of the late Metalheadz legend Kemistry, was both bittersweet and beautiful.”
January 18, 2016
“Pipe Down is one of the shows that really takes advantage of the freedom we give hosts to do whatever they want on NTS. This episode was particularly special: often obtuse, sometimes macabre, and brilliantly weird throughout.”
October 13, 2015
“Delroy Edwards’ DIY outlook and penchant for lo-fi techno, hardcore and Memphis hip-hop has made him a favourite at NTS over the last few years. His label, L.A Club Resource, went on to handle our February residency.”
September 12, 2014
“Shanti’s first guest show had us all dancing in the office. She’s been back at least once a month ever since.”