What makes this show stand out is not a slew of big names, though. It's the talented team behind No Signal, a radio station created by and for black people
British radio station No Signal has been operating under the radar for about a year. They gained mass attention from March when COVID-19 had forced us all into the lockdown. When we have been stuck in our homes, this music-passionate community started streaming tunes from their homes in Essex. No Signal is now gaining a steady, dedicated following in the UK and worldwide.
Every Wednesday at 9 pm, hundreds of thousands of listeners tune in for the station's flagship game show NS10v10. What makes it viral? The presenters pit two legendary musicians of their choice against each other for a chance to be crowned as the ultimate community champion. The listeners choose the winner of each of the ten rounds through Twitter polls, so the show is best enjoyed live. If you missed any of the episodes, they are archived on SoundCloud. Some of the most iconic battles of the first season include Drake versus Rihanna, Burna Boy against Popcaan, and Mariah Carey challenging the queen status of Beyoncé. So far, in season two, the show has asked its community to choose the winner of UK drill v international drill, SE London v SW London, as well as Pharrell v Timberland.
Notably, the first NS10v10 episode that went viral online was a standoff between Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim. At that point, the crew has realized that it's not just friends of friends listening, and the station's audience grew from a couple hundred to a couple thousand overnight. Soon enough, the episode with J Hus and Kojo Funds has catapulted the hashtag #NS10v10 to trending No 1 on UK Twitter. Both artists were also reported to have locked in. On May 3rd, the 10v10 battle of legendary Wizkid and Vybz Kartel has gathered as many as 1.2 million listeners, unexpectedly even to the organizers themselves.
What makes this show stand out is not a slew of big names, though. It's the talented team behind No Signal, a radio station created by and for black people. No Signal was founded by the brothers, David and Jojo Sonubi. A force behind the archiving photography project Black In The Day and London party series called No Recess, which champions hip-hop, neo-soul, and R&B artists. The NS10v10 radio show is created to celebrate black culture in an authentic manner. The station can do so because the team members have their fingers on the scene's pulse. They are the same people who study it, participate in it, and keep pushing black culture forward.
Apart from the founders, the core No Signal crew also includes DJ and presenter Henrie Kwushue recruited as the Head of Production. Henrie is known for the heartfelt show "Is Your Area Changing?" exploring the changes to the local communities due to new developments. No signal contributors also include Jameela, Lillian, Bola, Scully, and VI.
The magic combination of charismatic hosts - who profusely champion their contestants and exchange competitive banters in good humor are the core reasons for their success. The format to include the pro-active audience on social media makes NS10v10 an exceptionally fresh radio show. In a current situation where we are starting to return to normalcy, NS10v10 a playful and meaningful reminder to cherish life and time when we will feel free again.