London Pirate Frequencies – VICE (2010)

London Pirate Frequencies - VICE Documentary Film

London Pirate Frequencies – Released in 2010 by VICE television network, this is a short documentary film about the decline of the illegal radio piracy trend that emerged during the sixties and continued up to the mid nineties. This is essentially a form of illegally transmitting radio waves over a particular locale or city. Such radio waves are non standard and do not comply with radio regulations; they can be accessed from specific locations since their signal strength is also greatly reduced as compared to those of licensed broadcast stations.

London Pirate Frequencies – This short VICE documentary film is directed by Thalia Mavros and co-written by William Fairman. It follows a lot of roof climbing as the film crew shows us rooftop antennas and other equipment that needs to be set up to transmit radio signals. It is astounding how much work needs to be done before the transmission process can be started. We also see a number of original as well as new pirate radio stations in London.

London Pirate Frequencies – This VICE documentary film makes a point of giving a one sided view of pirate stations, normally just focusing on the demerits of it. We are told that most of the programs that aired on pirate channels are nearly always substandard and more than often contain hate speech against particular religious or ethnic groups. There are also music programs that are regularly aired on these channels.

The biggest problem that is posed by pirate radio is that the audible radio frequency has a very limited range, and multiple radio stations fighting for air time combined with these illegal stations all working in the same frequency ranges would create a jumble of frequencies; nobody would be able to tune a particular channel or hear anything. This creates an ethical problem as well since these illegal stations are interrupting the reception of official radio stations that have acquired transmission licenses.

Pirate Radios have all but been wiped off since the arrival of the internet, but dedicated fans and broadcasters are still keeping it alive. Nowadays the internet has solved the problem for listening to song albums without purchasing them; digital copies of original soundtracks can be freely downloaded from many websites.

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