ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

The Sound of Pirate Radio —

Part of my work with the Internet Archive is writing weblog entries about parts of the whole crazy collections they have to expand knowledge of the mission out to greater realms of folks. I considered writing one on this exhibit/collection but decided it was just a little too far this side of weird, so it won’t go on the official Internet Archive weblog, even though it really should.

Since the 1990s, a fellow named Sealord has been recording pirate radio broadcasts coming across shortwave bands. Without authorization, license, or any sort of oversight, all manner of folks have been broadcasting illegal but probably not overly immoral shows out into the air. This collection, which is over 11 gigabytes and counting, has hours and hours of radio broadcasts, crackling with the sound of distant voices shouting over static and electromagnetic corruption. With names like XYZ Digital Pirate, Wolverine Radio, Whispery ID, Thinking Man Radio, The Voice of the Last DJ…. you’re talking some strange and mysterious personalities out there. (I learned that this beautiful, terrifying thing has been lurking on Internet Archive’s servers from Corqspy.)

Clicking on them is, of course, a total crapshoot, just like if you’d dialed into these places from your rig. And there’s just so much of it, I have no idea what you’ll find buried in there. But what a miracle it is that someone would take the time to record them, record when they got the shows, and then we’d have something like the Internet Archive to allow people to browse this stuff far beyond its ethereal nature and point in time!

Check it out.

Categorised as: Archive Team

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  1. miaw miaw miaw miaw says:

    I listened to 6YCAT 6925 USB 0008z-0027z 02-9-11

    This is insane. Voice of The Cat indeed. Now where did I put my cheapo receiver?

  2. Kermit says:

    Liking the Blitzkrieg Radio 6925 USB 0409z-0510z 11-07-09. I absolutely love the sound of music going in and out of phase. This type of stuff gives me goosebumps really. I love radio in general and the idea of the shared experience. I am much more likely to let a song so on the radio that I would normally skip on the ipod simply because of the idea that on some level, I am listening to it with other people. Love it.

  3. Kermit says:

    I can distill it down to this. It’s like listening to ghosts.

  4. Sealord says:

    Thanks for the write up Jason 🙂

    It’s a credit to Internet Archive for giving individuals like myself a place to document the cool & obscure.

    cheers man!

  5. corq says:

    Jason, it may bemuse you to know I got myself sucked into a raging usenet quallity trollfest and lame pseudo-doxxing due to same said Pirate radio hobby!

    Just a warning to your gentle readers that there’s some unscheduled zaniness jumping out of my normally banal postings. Ah it was long overdue. I regret not having analyzed my logs sooner, and discovered the textfiles referrer!

    Thanks for the mention!

  6. Radio Pirate says:

    Pirate radio is a beautiful thing…. beautiful.

    And Sealord does have the best collection of pirate radio station recordings by far.