When it comes to enjoying entertainment, we are comforted by the fact that there is security and consistency in various forms of broadcasting from radio to television thanks to rules and regulations. If you’re not an engineer, basically the way that these broadcasts work is that there are satellite dishes and signals that run through the sky and electrical wiring to bring you the entertainment that you so desire. Almost on a regular basis, things go smoothly.
Notice how we say, “almost”? When you’re dealing with radio waves and television signals, occasionally someone else figures out how to infiltrate the system and hijack the broadcast. This is equally alarming for both the audience and station executives, as you don’t know what will come through the speakers or the screen. There could be a gruesome message or image that will upset the public, corrupt the children, or expose confidential information.
For decades, originating in the 20th century, there have been numerous interruptions in broadcasting. Usually, it is pretty easy to detect the origin and the perpetrator. But when the source of the hijacking isn’t found, there is a sense of unease that leaves us to wonder when will another interruption strike again. In this video are ten strange and unexplained broadcasts that have made an impact on our modern-day society and how big of a role censorship plays in modern-day media.
However, it is important to note that after the first world war, it came out that there were a plethora of radio stations that became known as “numbers stations”, meaning that they would broadcast weird transmissions that acted as messages for spy agencies. This means that instead of sending letters, Morse code messages, or anything that could be easily intercepted, spies and government agencies tuned into radio stations for their messages and orders. It sounds like a conspiracy theory, but things such as these actually happened during times of war.
The Lincolnshire Poacher station is considered to be a numbers station, with the English folk song signaling the beginning of the broadcast, and the song closing the broadcast. UVB-76 is also considered to be a numbers stations with buzz tones changing pitch about 25 times per minute that occurs 24 hours a day, and then a Russian voice interrupting the broadcast on occasion.
Sometimes, broadcast interruptions happened because of jokers and people who wanted to inflict discomfort onto the public. For example, in 1977, the Southern Television Broadcast was an incident consisting of a voice overriding the audio system and sounding like a message from outer space. Some people may have heard the broadcast and chalked it up to jokers, while others may have actually thought that the broadcast was from aliens and that the world was on the brink of an invasion. Sometimes interruptions occurred due to political and protesting reasons.
For more strange and unexplained broadcasts, check out the rest of the video. Some of these broadcasts may confuse you, make you laugh, or positively terrify you.