Inside Tottenham – and the UK’s – premier Italian radio station

Rosita Dagh at London ONE Radio reflects on ten years of a radio station celebrating the UK’s Italian community

We at London ONE Radio, the official Italian radio station in the UK, are celebrating our ten year anniversary this year, which also coincides with the 100 year anniversary of radio in Italy.

Founded in 2014, London ONE Radio is located in Tottenham Hale at the Millmead Business Centre, where you can also find Bally Studios, one of the most important rehearsal studios in the capital. We are now recognised as the first Italian radio station to broadcast 24 hours a day in digital audio broadcasting (DAB) and online across the UK and Italy.

Over these ten years, London ONE Radio became a relevant voice in the UK by bridging the Italian and the British communities. We run shows that help Italians to better understand the bureaucratic, health, and political systems in the UK by keeping the audience updated with the latest news and by hosting doctors, experts, politicians, and lawyers. However, the radio also runs shows that give the chance to discover both the Italian and British culture, traditions, and beautiful places both countries have.

The reason why radio will never die is thanks to its ability to adapt. Nowadays, radio has become visual too. We do broadcasts live with live videos on social media platforms. However, we were ahead of the curb, fusing radio-video production since 2014. We report news and events by going on the ground to offer a visual service to our audience too.

Things turned into something bigger in 2017, when we produced a radio-video documentary about radio inventor Guglielmo Marconi’s
life. So, since 2017, we have also been focused on the production of documentaries that unveil the stories of Italian immigration in the UK and the history of Britain. For example, Lord Mayor Michael Mainelli hosted us to look into the history of the city of London; Sir Lindsay Hoyle then asked us to document the speaker of the House of Common’s role historically.

We visited the Italians in Manchester, on the Isle of Man, and in Glasgow, who told us their precious stories that contributed to making
Britain what it is today. The aim is to meet all the Italian communities across the UK in order to underline the importance of our community in this country and show how it was able to integrate itself into British culture.

Our projects and developments throughout the years gave us the chance to sign an official contract with Rai, the national Italian television channel. Every week, Rai broadcasts our radio-videos telling interesting stories of Italians living in the UK or sharing Italian curiosities related to Britain. One of our most successful shows is the ‘London ONE tour’ which aims to attract tourists to the UK. Every Saturday, the radio-video show brings the audience to hidden places in London and Britain by also sharing historical facts.

When we talk about radio we also talk about music. Since 2014, London ONE Radio has been focused on promoting emerging
artists from the UK and Italy but they have also opened up a new market for mainstream Italian music in the UK. By working alongside the big record labels we are able to give them an insight into Italian music consumption in this country. That is why we are the official radio partner of Italian concerts happening in the UK and also, two years ago, we created the ‘London ONE Radio Award’. The annual award is given to the artist most requested by listeners. The first artist who won the award was Andrea Bocelli, followed by Luciano Ligabue, and last year won by Giorgia.

Our commitment to the promotion of the Italian music industry in the UK led to us being the official Italian broadcasting company that covers the Festival di Sanremo every year since 2018. We are accredited at the official media centre of the festival, so every year we go to Sanremo where we work to better represent all the artists selected in the competition. The winner of the Sanremo Festival goes to Eurovision where we are also accredited to follow and promote the Italian artist.

Looking ahead, we want to continue our successful journey in radio broadcasting. With the rapid development of digital technologies and the growing importance of online platforms, the station has the opportunity to further expand its reach and engage with ever-wider audiences. On this double anniversary of both ten years of London ONE Radio and 100 years of radio in Italy, we reflect on the extraordinary evolution of this medium and celebrate the vital role that radio continues to play in our ever-changing society.

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