The Godfather of Dance Music, Gordon Mac is a highly innovative and successful entrepreneur with a wealth of experience in the music business. He was the first person to succeed in taking a pirate radio station to legalisation in the UK, the youngest ever Managing Director of a radio station (1985-1997) and is renowned for creating the Kiss FM brand, Britain’s first dance music station. The list goes on, Gordon talks to us about his story and his latest venture, Mi-Soul.com.
A bit about Gordon
Mac’s musical obsession started in his early years with his first DJ experience at a family party and the tender age of 12. “It was a Halloween ball at the church, the vicar had no one to play so I grabbed my family’s Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin records,” he laughs.
Like many of his peers, Mac loved black American music but found it poorly represented on Britain’s regulated legal radio. So, in 1983 he made his mark in radio starting his own pirate station, Sound City. This radio station was a little short lived and was quickly busted by the authorities. But Mac couldn’t stay away and on October 7, 1985 a new station, Kiss FM, made its first tentative transmission and the Kiss FM radio station we love and adore was born.
Kiss was initially set up as a way of promoting Mac’s residency at the Peckham nightclub, Kisses. From the start he was savvy enough to create a brand, adopting the logo and identity from the New York station of the same name.
While many of Kiss’ rivals were essentially hobbyists, Mac made sure his station was financially organized. He set up a front company for Kiss’ business dealings, hired office space in Camden and started throwing hugely popular club nights. Early on, Mac offered equity in Kiss FM to some of his key DJs, incentivizing them to promote the station and making them feel part of the Kiss family. The tactics worked: By 1987 Kiss had become London’s most popular pirate, coming second in an Evening Standard readers poll to the legal and well-funded Capital FM.
He made brand extensions his passion with a TV channel, events and even holidays carrying the Kiss name. Moving forward and selling to media giant Emap for £43 million in 1993.
In 1998 The Radio Academy awarded Gordon the John Peel Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music Radio. Gordon also hosted a weekly radio show on Choice FM, set up Z bar and Restaurant and became Station Manager at Colourful Radio in 2008.
In 2011 Mi-Soul Radio was born. “I curated, with the core Kiss FM team an environment where people sharing a love of soulful music can listen connect and interact with an A-List team of DJ’s who respect the past, present and future of our music.”
Mi-Soul Radio the project
Mi-Soul.com, is Gordon’s latest venture, it is a multi-platform radio station playing a broad spectrum of ‘soulful’ music. It is run from a studio in the Stephen Lawrence Centre, offering space to digital start-ups, and visiting school and charity groups. In its first three years, Mi-Soul has grown into one of London’s leading online radio stations. In July 2015 Mi-Soul went live on DAB and its audience is growing daily.
Although money can be made from advertising. Real revenue comes from events. We recently transformed London’s southbank with our Soulful Sunday Series on the London Riviera Stage, it was part of the London Bridge City Festival 2016. We are now running our Soulful Sunday Series in Fulham from 12 pm.
Gordon Mac continues to draw in huge crowds DJing at venues across UK and Europe. Mi-soul is continuing to grow and we can’t wait to see what Gordon will be up to next.
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