What is this UK radio broadcast called?
December 22, 2013 11:37 AM   Subscribe

A long string of obscure messages. Almost like code. Said in a low voice, a hypnotic monotone. I though it might be the Shipping Forecast, but that has some sense to it, in that it uses recognizable area/place names. What I'm thinking of seemed more mysterious, harder to parse. Does this ring a bell? Thanks.
posted by the sobsister to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Were you on shortwave? It could have been a numbers station broadcast. IIRC there may still be some active, but I'm on my phone and it's hard to Google & link.
posted by cobaltnine at 11:48 AM on December 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

Numbers stations were my first though, too.

My second thought was possibly a time signal station, like this one in North America.
posted by ernielundquist at 12:19 PM on December 22, 2013

Can you tell us when and on what programme/station/frequency you heard it? Or perhaps reproduce some of the phrases you heard? Was there music, an identifiable accent, series of beeps, etc?
posted by metaBugs at 12:29 PM on December 22, 2013

Numbers stations are one of my favorite rabbit-holes. The most famous one in the UK was called the Lincolnshire Poacher, after the little tune it played as an identifier. It's been off the air for some years, though I read an article the night before last on The Kernel about it moving to a phone number (which they called, and which was changed the next day with a code to find it elsewhere, and then they got a text asking not to call again). You might google that, it was a fun read and they have recordings of both calls.

99 Percent Invisible (99pi.org) just did an episode that was a rebroadcast of a brief audio program about them from 2000, plus some updated info at the end. There are some clips there, including Lincolnshire Poacher, but you can also find plenty of recordings on various websites, youtube, etc.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:09 PM on December 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

Here's a link to the Conet Project mp3's, which I'd guess is probably the best compilation of numbers station recordings.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 2:11 PM on December 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

Hmmm, have you been listening to Boards of Canada of late? Samples of numberstations are interspersed in a number of their songs.

Regardless - as above..
posted by numberstation at 2:17 PM on December 22, 2013

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