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The Charming Story Of Radio Nord—A Pirate Radio Station Broadcast From A Ship In The Baltic Sea 1961-1962 To Swedes Who Were Starved For Commercial Radio
"They Have Freedom Of Everything Except Radio, And There's Just One Station." --Barry Farber
—For Håkan Waxegård
My father Barry died at home in the early evening of May 6, 2020, the day after his 90th birthday, in New York City. The night before he died, he spoke his final words to his radio audience, closing out 60 years of broadcasting, begun when he was 30.
On May 5, My sister Bibi posted this interview he did with one of his vast collection of eclectic heroes—Finnish-Swedish film producer and pirate radio legend Jack Kotschack.
The full story of “Radio Nord,” (Radio North) is far more hilarious as well as innocent than I ever knew.
In 1961, Sweden had only one state-run radio channel, and all commercial radio broadcasting was banned, which made Jack Kotschack decide to set up a pirate station from a ship in the Baltic Sea, flying a Nicaraguan flag. (!)
Despite being a-political, playing popular music, (like Elvis Presley,) and running ads for lipstick and chewing gum, Radio Nord was so intolerable to Sweden’s government at that time they dredged up an old pre-war German Nazi law that have them pretext to take it off the air. All this is explained in the interview.
My father loved radio, loved Sweden, and loved freedom fighters like Jack Kotschack.
I think you will too when you hear this crazy, lost story of a short lived pirate radio station millions of Swedes tuned into every day, for a delirious 16 month period between 1961 and 1962.