Oxide Radio

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Oxide Radio
File:OxideRadio logo.png
Broadcast area The World
Slogan Your Sound Education
Frequency Online
First air date Term-time
Format Various
Owner Oxford University Student Union
Website www.oxideradio.co.uk

Oxide Radio is a student radio station run by members of Oxford University in Oxford, England.[1] It was established in 2001 and as Altered Radio made brief forays onto FM in 2004 and 2005 before complications regarding FM licensing and funding forced it onto internet-only broadcast.[2] It features a wide range of different shows that broadcast throughout the Oxford term: music shows of all genres, from indie tracks to Nordic tunes; chat shows featuring student agony aunts, or discussing the latest celebrity news; and plenty of news and sport for good measure too covering stories in Oxford and further afield. Despite its very limited central University funding, since 2009 Oxide Radio has allowed any students to get involved with the society, without any subscription charges or fees, giving students the opportunity to share their passions and voice with a global audience.


Oxide Radio was founded in 2001 [3] spearheaded by Simon Demetriou, following the demise of the previous student radio station, Oxygen FM. Broadcasting from 1997 to 2001, Oxygen FM was Oxford University's student radio station which broadcast full-time on FM, as well as an internet stream. Oxygen's closure came about as a result of fabricating a whole day’s programming in an attempt to deceive the Radio Authority, which led to a record fine of £20,000 and a shortening of the broadcast licence by two years, the most serious sanctions the Authority had ever imposed.[4]

Given that the expiry of Oxygen FM's licence and the subsequent dissolution of the organisation had left students without a station, a new station was formed in 2001 as Fusion FM, before becoming Oxford Student Radio approximately 10 months later. It was then rebranded as Altered Radio in 2003.[3] Initially broadcasting from an office in Little Clarendon Street, Oxford, the station transferred ownership to OSSL (Oxford Student Services Limited, the financial arm of the University's Student Union), and was accommodated in the student union buildings in 2003.[5]

A third rebranding to Oxide Radio was shortly followed by the impact of a Student Union financial crisis. In significant monetary difficulties during 2006, OUSU cut Oxide's £5,700 per year budget completely and presenters were forced to pay membership dues to keep the station afloat. Fortunately, this no longer takes place.[6] but the cuts did see an increased move towards the application for sponsorship.

Nick Griffin Controversy

In Hilary Term 2007, British National Party leader Nick Griffin was invited to speak on Oxide. Despite the presenters receiving death threats,[7] the broadcast was scheduled to go ahead until OUSU (the university's student union) demanded that the broadcast be cancelled as part of their "No Platform Policy".[8][9] Griffin criticised the decision by saying, "Fundamentally, this is not only an attack on freedom of speech but an attack on Oxford students’ rights to hear things and make their own minds up."[10] Nick Griffin and David Irving, the controversial historian, were later invited to speak at the Oxford Union about free speech, the cancelled Oxide show cited as one of the reasons for the invitation being extended.[11] As a result of this controversy, Oxide Radio was granted editorial independence from OUSU and its own constitution.[12]

January 2009 Relaunch

The station began broadcasting once more on 18 January 2009; previous station manager Katie Traxton (08-09) returned to present a valedictory edition of her past show "Sunday Lunch.".[13]

The first week saw a number of technical difficulties and the Head of Technical, Richard Fine posted a postmortem at the end of the week[14] reviewing the problems and discussing solutions. The second week of broadcasting went much more smoothly, with most shows being delivered on schedule, and almost no dead air. Relying almost entirely on freeware or student-designed systems, Oxide now prides itself on its technical and financial independence in an increasingly commercialised world. Whilst there are still reports that the broadcast is not accessible in some colleges due to restrictions on internet radio usage, it is now freely accessible via iTunes and the programmes' Radio section.

Technical information

Since January 2009, the station has been running on a heavily computer-based setup. The core component is the open-source broadcasting suite Rivendell, which maintains a central database of available music and audio, tracks audio usage for licensing reports, and handles automated playback of broadcast logs. Significantly, the use of this system has allowed many shows on the station to pre-record their episodes for playback later, relaxing the time constraints on presenters. The easy availability and size of the audio database has also encouraged some shows like 'Sliced Bread' to begin experimenting with things like sound effects.

In 2012, after years of enduring technical breakdowns and software crashes, Oxide Radio successfully gained OUSU funding to transform the technical architecture from an outdated Linux-based setup to a Mac OS X based system with new mixers, microphones, and software. Technical guidance was provided by the University's IT services, but all work was completed by committee at the time.

The current Oxide Radio website was developed by the committee in 2012 using the Wordpress platform. This has provided the opportunity for the Oxide to showcase the full scope of outputs the society creates and curates. The site receives several thousand daily visitors from all over the country.

The station currently broadcasts a single 128-kilobit MP3 stream through an Icecast2 server.


  • BBC Radio 1 Student Radio Awards Bronze 2003: Newcomer of the Year[15]
  • BBC Radio 1 Student Radio Awards Gold 2003: Best Female Presenter[15]
  • Student Radio Awards Gold 2005: Off-Air Promotions and Imaging[16]
  • Student Radio Awards Bronze 2006: Best Specialist Music Programme[17]
  • Student Radio Awards Bronze 2007: Student Radio Newcomer of the Year[18]


  1. "Oxide student radio goes onto FM". BBC. 2005-11-02. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  2. Goodman, Jessica (2006-01-26). "Student Union to cut radio station funding". The Oxford Student. Archived from the original on 9 June 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 [1]
  4. [2]
  5. [3]
  6. [4]
  7. "Hang The DJ". The National Student. February 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  8. Bennett, Rachael (2007-04-26). "Students back OUSU in No Platform showdown". The Oxford Student. Archived from the original on 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  9. Lidbury, Emma-Kate (2007-02-08). "Students' BNP interview plan prompts death threats". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  10. Baraniuk, Chris (2007-02-01). "Death Threats Sent to Oxide DJs". The Oxford Student. Archived from the original on 22 June 2011. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  11. Matthews, David (2007-10-12). "Union under fire over extremist invitations". Cherwell 24. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  12. "Have you met ... Paul Arrich?". Cherwell 24. 2007-06-01. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  13. "Oxide Returns". Oxide Radio. 2009-01-18. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  14. "Week 1 Postmortem". Oxide Radio. 2009-01-26. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 "The Winners: BBC Radio 1 Student Radio Awards 2003". BBC Radio 1. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  16. "Student Radio Awards — 2005 — Winners". Student Radio Association. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  17. "Student Radio Awards — 2006 — Winners". Student Radio Association. Archived from the original on 2007-12-09. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  18. "Student Radio Awards — 2007 — Winners". Student Radio Association. Archived from the original on 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 

External links

Coordinates: 51°45′07″N 1°15′37″W / 51.751919°N 1.26021°W / 51.751919; -1.26021