Havant’s Angel Radio station rises from the ashes to the airwaves

Tony Smith, station manager at Angel Radio in Havant, after the fire
Tony Smith, station manager at Angel Radio in Havant, after the fire
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  • Nostalgia radio station blaze sparked by electrical fault
  • Caused thousands of pounds worth of damage
  • Fears it could be off-air for a month
  • But thousands of digital copies of songs found on computer
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FIRE-RAVAGED Angel Radio is back on air just a week after a blaze caused major damage.

It was thought the station would be closed for at least a month. But founder Tony Smith has spoken of his joy after he discovered a computer was still working – and on it are the 10,000 songs he had painstakingly digitally uploaded from vintage shellac vinyl over the past year.

I pressed the start button on one of the computers, not expecting anything to happen, but it burst into life as if the fire had never happened.

Tony Smith

It means the much-loved nostalgia station, in Market Parade, Havant, is back on air, albeit without presenters.

Tony said: ‘Myself and a colleague went into the fire-damaged building on Monday morning to start assessing the damage and clean up.

‘While Mark swept soot off the ceiling tiles I went into the back room, which had suffered least fire damage.

‘I pressed the start button on one of the computers, not expecting anything to happen, but it burst into life as if the fire had never happened.

‘By sheer good fortune this was the computer that I had been using over the previous few months to turn some of our LPs and 78rpm records into digital mp3 files.

‘There were 10,000 vintage records on the computer, together with over 70 community announcements that I’d been updating before the fire.

‘So I connected the computer up to the transmitters, pressed the Random Play button, and, hey presto, the sound of old records was back on the wireless’.

The blaze broke out last Wednesday in a light fitting.

Tony has received hundreds of offers of support from around the world to replace the damaged records and equipment.

Tony added: ‘It’s so nice to know when we broadcast that it means so much to the people.

‘You do something for them and you don’t expect for them to do something back.’

Tony thanked people for the donations, but said that he has nowhere to store them yet.

A £50,000 fundraising campaign has begun for new, bigger premises. Donations can be made via PayPal to angelradiohavant@yahoo.co.uk or by cheque made out to Angel Radio and sent to 17 Market Parade, Havant PO9 1PY.