For the love of radio

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The year was 1994, and as you can clearly see, I had already amassed an impressive amount of audioequipment.

I am not sure, but I believe it was in 1984, when my audio/radio-romance begun. It happened as almost all my life-changing events do by mere coincidence. I went with my mother to an infamous, now defunct, flea market here in Stockholm and bought some antique 8mm movie equipment. Once I got home, I found out it was “double 8”, which I could not use with the films I had. The salesperson was recalcitrant to give me a refund but offered me something else worth the 20$ (200 sek) I had paid for it. Not knowing what to do, I pointed to an old open reel tape recorder. Once I got it home, I got a cheap microphone from an electronics store and set the whole thing up. My first recording was some chirping birds outside the window.

As I got several old vinyl players, cassette desk and an amplifier, I built my first own radio studio and recorded several radio shows with my very uncooperative neighbors, a few kids my age. They mostly did not want to say anything and asked me not to disturb them as they were busy reading comics. I already obsessed with audio and radio, and that never changed. The tapes are long lost, but they were not really that much of a master piece anyway. One of the shows had me shouting “I’m besieged” when I could not keep my brothers from entering my room. Also, I did not know how to pronounce it, as I only seen it in text. So, I shouted “I’m bes-eye-jdged”.

At night I slept with a radio in my bed, listening mostly to Swedish Radio Program 1 (P1). Sometimes the shows could be scary as they dealt with getting old and dying and that was no help with my sleep, that much I can tell you. I also remember tuning into Radio Luxemburg or listening to Swedish community broadcasts from SAF Radio City.

A logo type I made fot the school’s radio station. It was used on the stationary I sent to them with the new jingles and probably ended up in their circular files. Geek points if you can tell which old Amiga game I got some of the graphics from.

In 1991 I enrolled into second upper class school in Sweden (Brännkyrka gymnasium) and they had a couple of older students running a radio station called Radio B.R.I.E. I was hooked and listened every week at Wednesday through a home-built receiver.
Over the years, I tried to join the radio team. At first, they were interested, but I had a habit of being more than just a little bit into doing things my way, while being very energic and not listening to what other people said (I got much better over the years 🙂 ). I believe they eventually didn’t really want me to join after all. But I remained a loyal listener and purveyor of “creative” jingles, made on my Amiga 500. They put some of them on the air, mostly to be nice to me. You, know, those jingles were… to put it mildly… not so good.

In 1994, I saw an ad for a community broadcasting activity for teenagers (and I was one of them, back then!). I joined them three times and every time made a new show that was heard over 95,3 MHz here in Stockholm in Sweden. I did not speak on the first show as I was the audio engineer, a job I loved beyond belief. The second one was the same, with two guys from school that spent most of the time joking and telling rude stories. They interviewed a person talking about Leonardo Davinci but spun out of control when she spoke about his sexual habits. The result was borderline catastrophe and it just had to be put on the air. The third session was just me and some BBS-sysops talking about all the unjustified fear mongering that was going on about our dear BBS:es. The radio studio was shut down that same year.

But at the same time, around February 1994, I was also involved in broadcasts on Radio Sydost 101,1 MHz. This was cut short after a month when they lost their studio due to unpaid dues.

In 1995 another project I had started finally came to fruition. I had long wanted the Swedish federation of young scientists (Förbundet Unga Forskare) to start broadcasts here in Stockholm. And on the 26th of February 1995, it went on the air on 88,9 MHz with the program “Radio Unga Forskare”. We were also one of the first broadcasters in Sweden providing on demand streaming in 1997. Today, this phenomenon still exists, but is now known as a podcast. We used to put out science shows and had a team of scientists and students doing weekly clips that ran on the radio and on the Internet.

Me in the foreground recoding a science show with four of the science team.

In 1995 I took an old essay I wrote as a school project and started spreading it over the bulletin board systems of the day, while adding more text to it. This essay covered audio enginering and community broadcasting here in Sweden. The title of it alluded to the sci-fi book series “The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy” and was thus called “The audio engineer’s guide to the galaxy” (Ljudteknikerns guide till galaxen). For a number of years, it was really popular. But it’s just an archive now, I guess.

This is a story all by itself, but it ended in 2006, as I had no more time and wish to continue. At our height, we had 10-15 persons regularly contributing to keep the station running.

After that, I found my love for listening to radio rekindled as streaming radio was becoming a common thing. Then I bought a CB radio kit and found it to be quite boring as no one really was on the frequencies. 2011 I took the step and finally became a radio amateur (Ham radio). I took up shortwave listening but lost interest as the number of stations dwindled.
During all this time I dreamt about starting a YouTube-channel.

In 2018, a friend tried to get me to start a podcast with him. This DID happen, and as I write this, it’s still running.

Me trying a webinar format on the pod. This was interesting, but we soon went back to just using audio.

The podcast, IT-säkerhetspodden, has been quite a journey. While a fairly popular niche-podcast in itself, it has taught me and Mattias a lot about interviews, audio editing, microphones, writing better texts, meeting people, using social media to get listeners and web site design. Not to mention digital imaging and keeping everything running during half way impossible dead lines.

My podcast cohost (or am I the cohost?) Mattias Jadesköld talking to Matilda Sjöstrand who works at Swedish cyber security company Sentor and who is also involved in a project to protect women from digital violence (Yes, that is real thing!)

In September 2020 I bought the software “Playit live” and setup a real 24/7 radio station with a lot of old Amiga music, professional jingles (Yes, I finally know how to make jingles that don’t suck!) and funny little messages from me.

It runs itself. Unless the computer dies or something really bad happens.

It runs on an old PC located on my balcony. You can listen to it here. It has been a lesson in how to properly format a station with clocks, scheduled, recurrency and Internet streaming.

So I have in some capacity been into nearly all radio there ever was. As a broadcaster, as an avid listener and as an engineer. It should be told, though, that I have never held a paid position in the business.

As I listen to my oldest shows and to what I do today, it is clear I have really improved. Anything else would have been strange, so all those years listening to radio, creating radio and recording the spoken word has really given me something.

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