Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What's In a Name? Pirate Radio Station Names

Some of the most interesting station names have come out of the world of pirate radio. Many of the older generation may remember Jolly Roger Radio from way back when. The first pirate I heard was called "Up Your Radio", back in 1997. I thought that "Up Your Radio" was inspired by another term that's so frequently uttered (I'm not going to mention the phrase). The verification I got from the station was quite interesting in itself; it features a picture that may have been taken from one of the supermarket tabloids. (What the alien said to Newt Gingrich wasn't my idea, even if I did used to live in his district..)

Another one I heard was XEROX. Even the name is based on the photocopier: "Radio Duplicado". The picture of the "Director Gerente", Bart Sambo, is really that of NASWA's QSL editor, Sam Barto. Somehow, would you think it's also a tribute to XEROK (800 kHz) in Ciudad Juarez?

Many of us also remember "The Voice of Bob" and its successors, "The Radio Airplane", "WHYP, The James Brownyard Memorial Station" and even "Radio Michigan International." One of my favorite pirate QSLs was from Radio Michigan International; it was one of my first eQSLs!

Some other pirates also used the calls of existing radio stations. One station that IDed with an already issued call sign from way back when was WKND, "Weekend Radio". That's assigned to a radio station in Connecticut. Another one, called "Pirate Radio Central", used the calls KPRC, assigned to a radio and TV station in Houston, TX. Another one used "WARR"...that, last I heard, was assigned to Warrenton, VA. And WHYP? That was reassigned within the last two years to a radio station in Corry, PA, in eastern Erie County.

Today's pirates keep up the tradition of unique names, such as the ones I've recently heard, "Radio Ronin Shortwave", "XFM Shortwave", "Red Mercury Labs" and "Wolverine Radio". Some pirate stations use Morse Code today; others use slow scan television to identify themselves at the end of their transmissions. Two examples came from Fuzzy Radio and Wolverine Radio.


What names will follow in the tradition of unique names associated with pirate radio? Who knows? Regardless what the name of the station is, the programming is enjoyable. Maybe one will send you a CD of their program, like Undercover Radio did for me back in 2003? Would we hear a "Voice of Jim"? "Radio Lunkhead"? "Inga Calling"? You never know in the world of pirate radio.

Pirate radio is one of the most interesting aspects of our hobby. You'll need a better antenna than a whip to receive these stations, along with a good receiver. 


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