Although Radio Mercur’s coverage was aimed at the Danish capital, Copenhagen, the station quickly became very popular in southern Sweden too, so in September 1958 experimental Swedish language broadcasts began.
At about the same time a Swedish freelance journalist, Nils-
Encouraged by the success of the experimental Swedish language broadcasts from Radio Mercur, he explored the possibility of establishing a commercial radio station exclusively for Swedish listeners. Svensson, who had studied at the University of California in Los Angeles, and was familiar with American commercial radio subsequently registered a company, Skånes Radio Mercur with the declared objective of ‘engaging in commercial radio broadcasting’.
Without a ship and transmitter of his own he planned to rent airtime from Radio Mercur (at times during the day when that station was not broadcasting) to provide a service for Swedish listeners. He negotiated an agreement with Ib Fogh of Radio Mercur and through a Lichtenstein based company he entered into an agreement to hire airtime and broadcast a minimum of three hours a day between 11.00am and 5.00pm when the Danish Radio Mercur was off the air.
Skånes Radio Mercur officially opened on 14th December 1958, with programmes exclusively aimed at a Swedish audience.
In January 1959 a former 1940’s Swedish beauty queen, Britt Wadner, who was working as a travelling salesperson, joined Skånes Radio Mercur as a sales representative. She later took over as Sales Manager, with responsibility for obtaining new advertising contracts and from this small beginning Britt Wadner became a major figure in the history of Scandinavian offshore radio.
Skånes Radio Mercur continued to build its audience in Sweden throughout the early 1960’s and by 1961 broadcasting had been increased from the original 4 hours a day to around 15. This was made possible technically by the installation of a second transmitter on the Radio Mercur ship, Cheeta 2, so that both Danish and Swedish services could be broadcast simultaneously. For a short period the station broadcast as ‘Skånes Radio’, but after a few months returned to the full call sign acknowledging its affiliation to Radio Mercur.
By October 1961, Sweden had two stations beaming programmes to its population -
In August 1961 when he realised that Scandinavian laws would close down the offshore broadcasters Nils-
Mrs. Wadner intended to keep the Swedish language programmes on the air, but wanted to break away from hiring Radio Mercur’s spare airtime and planned to start her own full time Swedish language offshore radio station directed at Malmo in southern Sweden.
Click on picture to enlarge
Ship and Location
‘Daily closedown announcement, Rolf Nordstram,
Courtesy Ingemar Lindqvist
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