The #Radio1 Dance Anthems Chatroom began originally back around December 1997, under another name.
The room was then a little gathering place for people to come and chat about whatever they wanted, with a slant towards Dance Anthems with Dave Pearce on Radio1.
After a while, the channel became more popular, and we started e-mailing Dave Pearce on Sundays during his show, for shouts out to the visitors to the chatroom, and coupled with the excellent tunes Dave played, it made for a fun and very social time, with increasing numbers of people coming to the room, especially after Dave began to "advertise" how to get on it during the show.
The chatroom changed to the one we know and enjoy now, #Radio1 some time in early April 1998 - this was seen as an opportunity to dedicate the room to club culture and dance music, with a fresh start so to speak. Dave continued to give us shouts, sometimes fitting in up to forty "nicknames" in a shout, with complete instructions on how to access the server and chatroom. You can hear many of the shouts from this link.
I won tickets in July 1999 to the Dance Anthems first birthday party at the Cafe de Paris in London, and while there was able to talk directly to Dave Pearce about the chatroom and where it might be headed for the future. Dave felt at this time that the Dance Anthems Chatroom had undoubtedly become an aspect of the show, uniting clubbers and even DJ's up and down the country, and even all over the world, every Sunday night during the show.
The room and its corresponding web pages grew thanks to a growing interest from Dance Anthems listeners, and an operator in the chatroom, Stealth, set up a JAVA based chat client page on the website, for the use of listeners who had an internet connection, but were perhaps unfamiliar with the use of IRC. This new website address could be read out by Dave, adding yet another new aspect to the show, which made it even easier to connect to #Radio1. The website at http://radio1.cjb.net/ had now been referred to by Dave as The Unofficial Dance Anthems Website, and seems to be the only site dedicated to the show with so much support and interest.
All this of course helps to promote Dance Anthems, and this can only be a good thing, as the show breaks new music onto the scene frequently, as well as keeping the classic tunes that shaped what dance is today, alive.
What about the future? Well there has been interest in the website and chatroom from various sources, including the Ministry of Sound, and also DJ's and promoters looking for ways to promote club culture on the internet - and surely Dave Pearce himself has been one of the most dedicated to explore the Internet as a new medium for spreading a positive message about dance music, and getting the new tunes out there to the people in every way possible.
In the future we hope to involve DJ's and artists in the chatroom, and perhaps even host chat events in different rooms on a dedicated network eventually, for now we have started the ball rolling by buying the Internet domain http://www.radio1.org/ - a non profit venture which will open more opportunities for the chatroom and website, and those interested in making use of it for a variety of purposes. The first advantage of which is the address "irc.radio1.org", which allows redirection to any server and chatroom required, thus making connection via IRC clients to the chatroom easier, and giving the administrators more flexibility in directing users to a particular location. Dedicated e-mail redirection from a firstname.lastname@example.org address is also now possible, allowing for new addresses such as email@example.com - which may be used for special purposes in the future.
Whichever way things go, I hope that the whole idea has done something positive for club culture already, and will continue to grow into a useful resource for the coming years.
Update - we have recently moved to another IRC network - via irc.radio1.org to IRCtoo. Use irc.zone.dk to access this server and type /join #radio1 .