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With the engines now running, but only at a quarter power because of problems with the water cooler, a decision had to be made about where the ship should head. The Captain, aware that the law forbade offshore radio ships to enter Swedish territorial waters except in an emergency nevertheless, sought, and was given, permission from the Radio Nord office to head for the Swedish port of Sandhamn because of the critical situation facing the Magda Maria at that time. By midnight on 6th December 1961 it was estimated that the ship must be inside Swedish territorial waters and so transmissions were suspended.

The ship was guided into port at Sandhamn by pilots and docked for repairs. Fortunately for Radio Nord the authorities did not enforce the law relating to confiscation of broadcasting equipment and merely sealed the station's transmitters.

Repairs to the engine and aerial mast stays were completed and a new anchor installed by 8th December 1961. The Magda Maria left port hurriedly in case the authorities changed their minds about confiscation of equipment and sailed, through thick fog, back to her anchorage from where broadcasts recommenced later the same day.  Apart from some hours in the early days of the station's broadcasts this short break in transmissions was the only time Radio Nord went off the air during its 15 month life.


During  the summer of 1962 plans were made by Radio Nord to start an easy-listening service on FM to complement the Top 40 Format on 495m, with the same commercials being broadcast on both stations. Work on installing the FM transmitter to launch the service was completed on board the Magda Maria early in June 1962.

An even more ambitious plan, involving co-operation with another offshore broadcaster, was also in the pipeline during the summer of 1962. Jack Kotschack and the other owners of Radio Nord had long cherished the idea of doing for television what they were already achieving with their radio station - breaking the state monopoly and giving audiences the sort of programmes they really wanted.

The problem with television transmissions from a ship is that when the vessel pitches and tosses in rough seas, the transmitted signal is badly distorted and satisfactory reception is virtually impossible on land. It was only when the Radio Nord directors heard about a technical development in America that the idea of an offshore television station became more than just a dream. The US Navy had managed to develop an aerial system which could be used on board ships anchored at sea to transmit television signals. Exactly how this device solved the 'rolling picture' problem was, of course, top secret, but through various contacts in the American Navy Radio Nord were convinced that they could acquire one of the units for use in their project.

As the Stockholm Archipelago where the Radio Nord vessel, Magda Maria was anchored was considered too wide to achieve satisfactory transmissions into the Stockholm city area it was decided that the project would have to be based in the south of the country with programmes beamed to Sweden's next largest city, Malmo, from a vessel anchored in The Sound.

Across The Sound is Denmark and its capital city, Copenhagen, which was already served by an offshore station, Radio Mercur. Initial discussions took place between the two stations (both of whom were keen on establishing a television service) and a joint venture was officially entered into by Radio Nord and Radio Mercur. A new company - Mercur Television Anstalt - was formed under the joint ownership of both stations. Nord Establishment was to be responsible for the acquisition and installation of the transmitting equipment on the Radio Mercur vessel and for the purchase of programme material from the USA, while Radio Mercur would provide the ship-borne base and handle local programme production from its landbased studios. The service was planned to operate for 18 hours a day beaming entertainment and news programmes to an audience of over 3 million people in Denmark and southern Sweden.

The easy-listening FM service of Radio Nord and the joint television service with Radio Mercur were planned to start in July 1962, but the introduction of pan-Scandinavian legislation outlawing offshore broadcasting meant that both stations had to close before either new service could be launched.

In the face of the Scandinavian anti-offshore legislation coming into effect Radio Nord closed on 30th June 1962, with a final hour of nostalgic music and station jingles. Most programmes during the last few days of broadcasting were transmitted live from the ship and Jack Kotschack went on air during the final day to thank listeners and advertisers for their support during the previous 15 months.

It had been decided to close Radio Nord a month ahead of the new legislation coming into effect because prospective purchasers had been found for the fully equipped radio ship. The purchasers, Project Atlanta, had plans to use the Magda Maria as the base from which to launch the first offshore radio station off the British coast.

A few days after Radio Nord closed the Magda Maria sailed first to Belgium, then to Spain to be overhauled as part of the sale agreement with Project Atlanta, arriving in El Ferrol on 2nd August 1962.

Radio Nord - History (4)

Radio Nord’s final Top 10 chart

Click on picture to enlarge


8th December 1961

Ingemar Lindqvist

Dagens Nhyter

1st July 1962

Ingemar Lindqvist


1st July 1962

Ingemar Lindqvist

Bon Jour in Belgium after Radio Nord had closed, July 1962

Photo: Ingemar Lindqvist

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Trailer for ‘De Tio’

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Commercials and Programme Trailers courtesy Ingemar Lindqvist

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