NTS Radio founder Femi Adeyemi can be the next John Peel - if he wants to
PUBLISHED: 17:26 31 October 2013 | UPDATED: 17:29 31 October 2013
© Dominick Tyler 2013
Walking through Gillet Square in the heart of Dalston with Femi Adeyemi, the man behind online revolution NTS Radio, is an experience.
Making our way through the twilight bustle there are flutters of acknowledgements everywhere, from the hipsters, to the down-and-outs and everyone in-between.
When we arrive at the studio there is a throng of scruffy looking men carrying vinyl and a carrier bag of cans. The studio itself, no bigger than a broom cupboard with the décor to match, tells you all you need to know about NTS Radio.
There’s no show, no pretention, just quality music. As Adeyemi explains: “We don’t necessarily look for big names. A lot of the people at the station have never done radio before. We look for someone with an amazing idea. We have maybe ten well known DJs and everyone else is just someone who loves music.”
And it’s that genuineness that serves the station so well. NTS mixes everything from rasta to roots, blue grass to vintage electronica, surf to psychedelic folk.
To make the John Peel comparison is an easy one. And though Adeyemi cites the champion of eclectic as inspiration for many at NTS, his muse was a little more surprising: “I’m really inspired by American college radio, like WFMU… There’s no commercial interest, they’re doing it for themselves. As soon as you don’t have that sponsor you have to answer to, you have total freedom to do what you want.”
But it’s never quite that simple and Adeyemi admits that due to a no advertising policy, NTS does have to work with brands, but insists: “We’re not going to sell out, yes it’s a business but everything is under our terms.”
Talk then turns to Dalston and while Adeyemi agrees it has itself become a brand, he is cautiously optimistic about its recent revival.
“I think a lot of old Dalston appreciates the change,” he says, “But there needs to be something there for everyone. When you start focusing on one person because they have money, it loses its soul.”
I then hit upon Femi’s former life as a club DJ, known as Mr Wonderful. “Blagh, I hate that name,” he cringes. “It was a joke when I was like, 19. I still like to do the old warehouse parties but nowadays you get the police on your case and I’ve just got too much to lose.”
With ambitions to make NTS Radio the biggest online set-up in the country within his grasp, its slogan ‘Don’t Assume’ is bang on. The station is full of surprises - ones which will no doubt help it one day rival the BBC radio monopoly. So is he the next John Peel? No. He’s Femi Adeyemi and that’s just (Mr) Wonderful.
Massive Arms: Bring Da Ruckus-Hip Hip Halloween, The Attic, 31 Oct, e8. Thirsty Thursdays, House of Wolf 31 Oct, n1. Dirty Little Secret, Stoke Newington High-street, 2 Nov, n16. Fireworks, Netil House Nov 2, e8. Glitter Mask, The Star by Hackney Downs, 1 & 2 Nov, e5. DPA Sunday Sessions present: Jazz at Union Chapel Bar, 3 Nov, n1. Reset in support of C.A.L.M, The Bells of Shoreditch, 3 Nov, e2.