The New Atlantic 252

Atlantic 252, the longwave giant, was serving UK & Ireland with the best dance and pop music for over a decade. It is obvious that powerful 500kW transmitter reached deep continental Europe or even across Atlantic Ocean itself.  
I think I was the only faithful listener of the station in Poland and this is my tribute to the "non-stop rhythm & dance"-era (2000-2002) of Atlantic 252.  

There are many memories about A252 in 90s on the web, but not from the early 2000s. So here I am.

For the first time I picked music on 252 kHz around 1999. I distinctly remember it was a snowy late autumn morning, back in my school days. I also remember the very first song heard right then - "On the radio" by The Corrs. This pop song by an Irish band maybe does not precisely fit the station's dance format I'm focusing on here, but what a metaphoric title it has (and The Corrs serving as a hint to the real country of its origin - i thought it was a UK station).

Longwave band provides enough quality for speech but way too poor for music (bass is massive, though), so hearing purely music station amazed me. Broadcasting on such low frequencies has couple decades of tradition in Poland - our public PR Programme1 is on 225 kilos, but almost nobody here knew about Atlantic252.

I fell in love with the station since 2000 - the times of "The New Atlantic 252" with "NonStop Rhythm and Dance"-liner, and continued listening till the end. By this time the Internet and music channels on satellite began attracting more and more with its music variety, but for me it was A252 - a reliable source of fresh dance music - a weak, sometimes horribly sounding radiostation of an unpopular LW band...

I even got this old radio (Taraban 2 by Polish factory - Unitra) specially adjusted, aligned and plugged to couple meters of wire for the best reception at exactly 252 kHz. The best 24/7 reception was possible during fall and winter, for the rest of year only at night the signal was sufficient. It was totally unaudible during hot summer daytime, I also remember listening to it in deep noise or interfering with an Algerian or a Russian station during winters. Yup, the listening sometimes was a struggle and a pleasure at the same time.

So much effort... Polish stations played crappy music back then (well, they still mostly do) and A252 was a great alternative - it always had fresh tracks with this prestige-Western-Europe-feel, at least from my foreign point of view. Radio Luxembourg analogy comes to mind, doesn't it? I was a toddler when Radio Luxembourg was live legend, but i'm glad I came accross Atlantic 252.
Obviously, the station has influenced my music taste. It was the place where I found out about and could listen to Kosheen, which quickly became one of my favourite bands.
Here is the sound of Atlantic 252 in 2000-2001:

Because of the heavy rotation on the playlist it was easy to catch up with its music - typically every hour they would play the same tracks, only in a different order (many say it was station's drawback). I remember they introduced the competition for listeners to call the studio and name all tracks played in previous hour. "Twelve in a row is cool, but twelve in a row for cash is better!"
Using the playlist below, you can easily retrieve couple of last months, last weeks even, of Atlantic's existence. Here are all the tracks I associate with Atlantic 252:

Aaliyah - More than a woman
All Saints - Black Coffee
Architechs - Body Groove
Artful Dodger - Movin' Too Fast
Artful Dodger - Please don't turn me on
Baha Men - Who Let The Dogs Out (Barking Mad Mix aka Artemis Remix)
Basement Jaxx - Where's your heat at
Basstoy - Runnin' (Mark Picchiotti pres. Bass Toy feat. Dana Divine)
Blackstreet Feat. Dr. Dre - No Diggity
Blu Cantrell - Hit 'Em Upstyle
Bubba Sparxxx - Ugly
Daniel Bedingfield - Gotta Get Thru This
Dannii Minogue - Who Do You Love Now
Destiny's Child - Independent Women
Dr. Dre & Knoc-Turn'Al - Bad Intentions
Dr. Dre - Still Dre
Goldtrix presents Andrea Brown - It's Love (Trippin)
Ian Van Dahl - Will I
iiO - Rapture
Ja Rule Featuring Ashanti - Always on Time
Janet Jackson ft. Missy Eliot & Carly Simon - Son Of A Gun
Jam & Spoon - Be angeled
Jennifer Lopez - I'm Real (Murder Remix)
K-Ci And JOJO - Tell Me Its Real (2step Remix)
Kosheen - Catch
Kosheen - Hide U (John Creamer & Stephane K Remix Radio Edit)
Madison Avenue - Don't call me baby
Mary J. Blige - Dance For Me
Mary J. Blige - Family affair
MJ Cole - Sincere
Mr. Pink presents The Program - Love & affection
Nelly Furtado - On the Radio (Remember the Days)
P. Diddy - Bad Boy For Life
Pink - Get This Party Started
PPK - Resurrection
Samantha Mumba - Body to body
Shanks & Bigfoot - Sweet Like Chocolate
SisQo - Thong Song (Artful Dodger Remix)
Slam - Lifetimes
Sophie Ellis Bextor - Murder on the dancefloor
Sugababes - Overloaded
The B15 Project Feat. Crissy D And Lady G - Girls Like Us
The Corrs - Radio (Unplugged)
Tweet Feat. Missy Elliott - Oops (Oh My)
Wamdue Project - King of my castle
Wycleff Jean - Perfect Gentelman
Zombie Nation - Kernkraft 400

If you remember more A252 tracks from 2000-2001 let me know down in the comments section.

Faithful 'till the end
Last weeks of December 2001 passed without DJs, only music and some Christmas ads. In December 2001 the name of A252 successor was revealed: TeamTalk, sports talk fomat, BBC R.5Live's competitor.
January 3rd 2002 was doomsday. And as good a the first song heard on 252, I also remember one of the last ones: Nelly Furtado - On the radio (Remember the days).

Life after 252
Right after station's disappearance some other "music on AM" projects showed up and caught my attention. They include: German mediumwave network MegaRadio and UK's LBH Radio "The Scene" (1386 AM), but any of these and other stations resembled the 252 spirit.
After I installed a satellite dish in 2005, I came accross HINRG/LONRG, a non-stop music channel, which was available on Eurobird/Astra 28E satellite - not included in Sky Guide. Sometimes HINRG would play the entire playlist from Atlantic's 2001! BassToy was the most significant! A coincidence?
Saddly they discontinued HINRG as well. Sky also had "Pure Dance" channel for couple of years, which - by the low-bitrate sound, music style and heavy playlist rotation - could possibly be an A252 incarnation.

Back on longwave, years after Atlantic's passage, Irish public radio RTE1 took over 252 kHz LW. Just for nostalgia I occasionally tune it on the radio to hear the transmitter back on air, with a different programming of course. I don't know how, but it is not that strong as it used to be a decade ago. Maybe it's the transmitter that is old, maybe my receiver isn't so perfectly aligned to 252 anymore or maybe the longwave got polluted with all the noise from the new devices that appeared in my life (to provide new music, for example..).
As far as I am aware, the Irish transmitter will continue operation untill at least 2019.

For those who enjoyed Atlantic 252 more in mid-90s, here's the link for 24/7 stream with music and jingles from 15 years back. The've recently updated the playlist with many past-2001 tracks, so it's not the same. But I think they saved 89-99 playlist for the daytime.

Surprisingly, YouTube has only couple of recordings of Atlantic 252 from the Rhythm and Dance times, like these:

Some links:
The Official Atlantic 252 tribute Site
The ORIGINAL tribute site dedicated to Long Wave Radio Atlantic 252
Atlantic 252 on Wikipedia
Some recordings from the very begining
Scottish DJ, MYLO recalls A252

6 komentarzy :

Martin Payne pisze...

I was a big fan of Atlantic 252 around the year 2000. I bought a portable radio around 1999 which had LW on it, specifically to listen to Atlantic. Reception in London was very good, except at night when there was interference from Algeria. Even in the remote parts of Scotland it could be picked up easily. RTE isn’t as strong as Atlantic was, I believe because the daytime power is 300 KW rather than 500 KW.

I was a big fan of the breakfast show with Tony and Becky. I often emailed the studio during the day, between my exams at school. I hung out in their chat room at biscuitweb too.

I love the YouTube recording in this article. Tracks such as Wamdue Project and All Saints are very typical of Atlantic 252, and the dance version of Who Let The Dogs Out? was a favourite of mine. I doubt LW radio will ever be the same.

Anonimowy pisze...

the old power with the valve transmitter was 500kw.the one they use now is a transistor based one and they only use 100kw.even though they have the licence to use 500kw 24 hours a day now.thats the reason that that it hasnt the same coverage.

Anonimowy pisze...

Ja słuchałem tej stacji od okolo 1996-97 do końca. Z prostej przyczyny, nie miałem innego odbiornika jak nieprzestrojonego w UKF, a szukałem fajnej muzyki. Znalazłem tę stację, oraz jedną duńską (w tej w środy była fajna audycja).
Do tytułów niestety nie mam pamięci.

Anonimowy pisze...

Anonimowy pisze...

It was a very interesting and gorgeous review about Atlantic 2-5-2!

Thanks for it, Brother!

73! (John from Hungary)

EMEL pisze...

Jo napot, thank you for visiting and commenting. That's really appreciated. Maygar, Lengyel - kett borot ;)