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The Danish offshore station, Radio Mercur, had been broadcasting programmes aimed at listeners in southern Sweden under the call sign Skanes Radio Mercur, since 1958.


In January 1962 the owner of Skanes Radio Mercur decided to sell his interest in the station to Sales Manager, Britt Wadner.

Britt WadnerBritt Wadner, a former 1940’s Swedish beauty queen, had recorded some commercials for the station in its early days and in January 1959 she joined Skanes Radio Mercur as Sales Manager, with responsibility for obtaining new advertising contracts. From this small beginning Britt Wadner was to become a major figure in the history of Scandinavian offshore radio.

Mrs. Wadner intended to keep the Swedish language programmes on the air, but wanted to break away from hiring airtime from Radio Mercur and planned to start her own full time Swedish language offshore radio station directed at Malmo in southern Sweden.

At the beginning of March 1962 the former Radio Mercur vessel Cheeta (which had been damaged in a storm at sea) was put up for sale by the salvage company. The vessel  was purchased by Britt Wadner who returned the radio ship to sea, anchoring outside Swedish territorial limits off Malmo.

On 1st April 1962 the first transmissions from the new Swedish offshore station - Radio Syd -were heard, broadcasting popular music programmes 21 hours a day.

Following a recommendation by a special committee of the Nordic Council in February 1962 a concerted approach was agreed by four Scandinavian governments to deal with the 'problem' of offshore radio stations. The four governments in question - Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland - started to progress through their respective parliaments domestic legislation making it an offence for their nationals to supply, broadcast from, advertise on or assist an offshore station in any way.

With each country now having the relevant legislation in place agreement was reached at a meeting of ministers representing the four governments in Stockholm that all anti-offsRadio Syd QSL cardhore broadcasting laws would come into effect at midnight on 31st July 1962.

When the other Scandinavian offshore stations ceased transmissions as the new legislation came into force Radio Syd decided to defy the laws and continue broadcasting to southern  Sweden from a position outside territorial waters off  Malmo.

Following Mrs. Wadner's announcement that she would defy the new law and keep Radio Syd on the air after midnight on 31st July 1962, the Swedish Government tried to interfere with the station's broadcasts by changing the FM frequency of the much more powerful state station, Radio Halsinborg. However, two days before the change was due to take place Radio Syd itself moved frequency from 89.62mHz to 88.3mHz and so avoided a potential jamming situation.

Radio Syd cClub Radio Sydontinued to grow in popularity and, despite the station being outlawed after 1st August 1962 a Club Radio Syd was formed for listeners, achieving an almost immediate membership of over 10,000. In October 1962 Mrs. Wadner was prosecuted under the provisions of the anti-offshore broadcasting laws and fined for continuing with Radio Syd's broadcasts, but despite her prosecution the station remained on the air.


The station's original vessel Cheeta  had run aground and subsequently sunk in Malmo Harbour in October 1964, Radio Syd brought into use another vessel, Cheeta 2 which had been purchased from the former owners of the Danish station Radio Mercur. Radio Syd was therefore able to return to the air within two weeks of the Cheeta sinking.


Britt Wadner was imprisoned again for one month in May 1965 after being convicted on charges of contravening the Swedish anti-offshore radio legislation. In June 1965, twenty seven advertisers were also prosecuted by the Swedish authorities for promoting their products on the station.

A public opinion poll survey at that time showed that Radio Syd was attracting 80% of listeners in southern Sweden and such immense popularity made the station's owners determined to continue broadcasting despite the frequent prosecution of both themselves and their advertisers.

During the summer of 1965 Radio Syd made plans to start television transmissions from the Cheeta 2, which was already partially equipped for such a service from the embryo plans made between the vessel's former owner, Radio Mercur and the now defunct Radio Nord in the spring and summer of 1962. A new 5Kw transmitter and  90' aerial mast  was installed as well as on-board television studio facilities.

Faced with this continued defiance from Radio Syd and the prospect of an offshore television station being launched from the same vessel in mid-1965 the Swedish Government set about drafting further legislation to strengthen the existing anti-offshore broadcasting law.

This new, tougher legislation was designed to follow the Council of Europe recommendations to ban offshore broadcasting stations, which had been agreed at the Strasbourg Convention earlier that year and extended the authorities' powers to prosecute anyone who assisted an offshore station in any way as well as to confiscate the station's assets.

Pending the introduction of this new law the Swedish authorities continued with prosecutions against Radio Syd and its advertisers using the existing legislation. In December 1965 Mrs. Wadner was convicted and given yet another jail sentence, this time for three months and during the same month several more advertisers were prosecuted for buying airtime on the station.

The television transmission equipment was fully installed on board Cheeta 2 by early December 1965 and on 13th December the first test transmissions for TV Syd took place. Once the equipment had been fully tested plans were made to launch a television service from the ship broadcasting programmes to the Malmo area for 12 hours a day.

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Radio Syd - History

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Britt Wadner

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