East Finchley musician founds radio station during lockdown
- Credit: Archant
Pat ‘Have Mercy’ Leacock is putting a smile on faces with hot97uk radio station under the tagline ‘Cheering up the Nation...together’
An East Finchley musician and DJ has founded a radio station to help cheer up his neighbours in lockdown.
Pat ‘Have Mercy’ Leacock, who was once named the UK’s 16th happiest person, set up hot97uk with his DJ brother seven weeks ago.
Operating under the tagline ‘Cheering up The Nation..Together’ it has already gathered listeners from N2 to Dubai, Greece, and Israel with a blend of “fantastic” music, quizzes and community shout outs.
The MOBO award-winner, who also works as a mentor for special needs pupils at King Alfred’s School, has co-hosted the East Finchley festival for the past five years and hosted comedy nights at The Phoenix Cinema.
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He had just started a tour of East Finchley’s pubs and restaurants with his band The MercyZone when everything got cancelled
“I had set up a tour to promote the local businesses at Madden’s, Five Bells, Bufi’s Pizzeria and The Two Brother’s restaurant, then the whole world went into lockdown on the second week,” he says.
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“I was talking to my brother who is a DJ about how we could get some interaction, to co-ordinate the community support that was happening, and get people to join together in lockdown.
“We said ‘why don’t we get together to do our own radio station with an ethos of bringing communities together, playing great music and offering some fun. We can do that!”
Another contact DJ Ricky came on board as head of broadcasting, and the trio launched within days, broadcasting with a motherhub in Milton Keynes and Pat’s set up in East Finchley.
“We’ve managed to make it work even though we can’t meet each other,” says the drummer and bass player.
“We are about bringing communities families and friends together. It’s allowed us to link in with friends working in the surrounding area, promoting community support Facebook pages to get food for the elderly, or friends who are creating new businesses from home ranging from facemasks to gym wear - with some donating money to the NHS.”
The five DJs - with more coming on board soon - play a blend of 80’s and 90’s pop to funk, soul, disco, reggae and RnB, with listeners encouraged to send in requests and dedications to friends and family they perhaps can’t see.
“Some have held virtual Zoom parties to our music,” says Leacock.
“In future we want to make it as interactive as possible, with phone-ins, livestreamed shows and real time messages from listeners with a plan to go 24-hour soon.
“We made it out of nothing seven weeks ago. I was once named on The Independent’s list of the 50 happiest people and every day I look out, see the sky, hear the birds and want to make other people happy.”
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