FIP FM - France Inter Paris

This station is sorely missed - it brought a fresh musical perspective to our city. -- Susan Bentley, Compton Avenue, Brighton

I am a pensioner living on my own and FIP was one of my few comforts. -- Jacquetta Benjamin, from St Michael's Place, Brighton

I've been listening to FIP for around ten years now - it's one of the perks of living here. -- Bill Randall, Brighton and Hove city councillor

I know a couple who bought their house because it had good FIP reception. That was their actual reason for buying it. -- Dave Mounfield, Vive La FIP

FIP FM, France Inter Paris, is a radio station broadcasting in Paris.

For the last decade or so, FIP FM has had something of a cult following in Brighton. The signal is heard loud and clear, though this had more to do with the signal being rebroadcast in Brighton by pirate transmitters, than freak weather conditions allowing the signal to bounce over from France.

The popularity of FIP is due to its lack of advertising, minimal DJ chat and its eclectic mix of music. None of your usual formulaic Top 20 moronic pop crap. It would not be unusual to have Dvorak followed by dance followed by trance.

Early 2007, the airways over Brighton suddenly went silent following a raid on the pirate transmitters by Ofcom, the industry regulator. [see Au revoir to French radio in Sussex and Brighton Fip radio bloke pulled off air]

This has led to widespread public outcry. The sensible outcome would be for Ofcom to licence a FIP relay for Brighton.

The station is still available on the Internet and via satellite feed, on Astra 19.2 E.

FIP spread by word of mouth. One reason for it being shut down may have been an article in the Brighton Argus listing the frequencies it broadcast on, which may have drawn it to the attention of Ofcom. [see City tunes in to Gallic station]

That the FIP relay got shut down may also have had something to do with the fact that a self-publicist and attention seeker going by the name of Iain Smith (it may not be his real name) may have snitched to Ofcom, which if nothing else got him featured in Wankers Corner in Brighton's radical monthly newssheet Rough Music (July 2007).

In a first for RM, this month we’re giving the crown, we’re not sure who really. Basically this month’s wanker is whichever killjoy is responsible for shutting down Brighton’s only decent radio station. No, we don’t mean Radio 4a (never a byword for quality, just check out that Rough Music show at 1pm on the 2nd Sunday of the month and you’ll appreciate what we mean), although they’ve had transmitters busted / nicked lately too - but those Gallic tune-sters at FIP. Since one enthusiast community hero from Hanover began relaying the signal of the French-based station around town, Brightonians have enjoyed a decade of eclectic vibes, without the crass ads and inane egos of UK presenters.

Whilst it was on air and before it was shut down by Ofcom, the signal in Brighton was rebroadcast on 91.0 MHz and 98.5 MHz. This was the same frequencies as in France, and may have explained lack of action by the regulator. It was only available in Brighton, and the fact that it was the same frequencies as in France, may have been put down to some local anomaly and freak atmospheric conditions.

Vive la FIP, who meet regularly in Brighton and have visited the Paris studios of FIP, have vowed to get FIP back on the air.

Dave Mounfield, who runs the successful Vive La FIP tribute nights, told The Argus he hoped that the station will be back on the air in Brighton soon and has announced the intention start up a fighting fund to make it happen. [see FIP fund launched to get station on air and Fip radio to make a comeback]

After seven years of continuous broadcasting purely for the listening pleasure of the Brighton people, for no financial gain, the powers that be have leant on the mysterious folk who make FIP happen in this groovy city.

It has made Brighton that bit less of a groovy place to be - for the time being.

We at Vive La FIP are appalled at this bit of cultural vandalism and judging by the response from the public so are all good, honest Brightonians.

Such was popularity of FIP, that it is rumoured, maybe an urban myth, that people moved house to guarantee reception of FIP.

Jean-Luc Leray, who is responsible for programme content at FIP, says the success of FIP is simple:

The concept is simple and it is the same today as back then.

Music is all - there is not just one kind.

We have seven programmers whose job it is to research and choose the best mixes of music. They are like musicians themselves the way they blend the tracks together.

This is human radio, with real emotions.

FIP FM (France Inter Paris) was launched in 1972 by Radio France, the French equivalent of the BBC.

Sussex ~ Brighton
(c) Keith Parkins 2007 -- July 2007 rev 1