Thirty years ago today, a person or persons different quickly hijacked the vigilance of two Chicago radio stations, broadcasting a weird taped summary from a man wearing a Max Headroom mask. The “broadcast intrusion” interrupted a primetime news promote from Chicago’s WGN, and then (more successfully) the 11:00pm promote of Dr. Who on the Chicago open radio hire WTTW. To this day, the perpetrators of the radio penetrate sojourn unknown.
The penetrate was done probable by the analog radio promote record of the day—the assailant was means to repress the signals sent by the radio studios to a promote receiver atop the John Hancock building in Chicago with his or her own signals. In the case of the WGN news broadcast, engineers were means to change the magnitude used in the uplink to the John Hancock building after a brief interruption, and the audio from the bandit delivery was drowned in static. But the WTTW takeover lasted a full 90 seconds, and the bandit TV broadcast’s audio, while distorted, was heard to anyone who happened to be tuned in.
Broadcast intrusions were not singular in the 1980s. The first major one took place in 1977, when someone interrupted the audio of an ITV Southern Television promote from a building in Hannington, England, with a summary supposed to be from an visitor representative of an “Intergalactic Association.” The summary warned, “All your weapons of immorality must be removed… You have but a brief time to learn to live together in peace.”
As with the Chicago takeover, the Hannington promote building was connected by a wireless uplink, not a hard-wired connection. And in 1986, supporters of the Polish labor transformation Solidarność hijacked state radio stations with printed anti-government messages. State radio stations opposite the Soviet Union were frequently taken over by bandit transmissions that captivated transmissions from send stations.
But the Max Headroom promote was both some-more laughable and creepy. The man in the Max Headroom facade called out a WGN commentator, Chuck Swirsky, whom he referred to as a “frickin’ liberal.” He also spoofed a Coca-Cola promotion campaign featuring Max Headroom, observant “catch the wave” (Coke’s slogan) while holding up a Pepsi can—then dejected the can and tossed it, holding up a center finger with a rubber extension.
After a weird loyalty to the 1959 pseudo-animated radio series Clutch Cargo and complaints about “my piles” (or maybe “my files”), he announced he had “made a hulk masterpiece for all the biggest universe journal nerds”—a anxiety to the Tribune Company and WGN’s call sign, which was dictated to be an acronym for “World’s Greatest Newspaper.” He then unprotected his buttocks, great “they’re coming to get me!” and then groan as a lady spanked him with a flyswatter.
The finish of analog radio broadcasting in the US and the acclimatisation to digital signals—as good as the increasing use of cryptography to secure wireless information links—has done promote intrusions much some-more difficult, but not impossible. The HDTV promote of a Washington DC ABC associate was hijacked in 2007, with a morning news promote being superimposed with a black and white photo of a man and woman.
Radio stations are still exposed to this arrange of attack however, since FM and AM stations still rest mostly on analog. A internal radio hire in Mansfield, England, had its vigilance hijacked by someone in Jul eight times—overriding broadcasts with “The Winker’s Song” by a comedy rope called Ivor Biggun. And a radio attack in Apr caused hurricane sirens in Dallas to sound at midnight.