Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Chi TV Pirate Grins & Bares It, Interrupting Station Programming

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1987-11-25 Variety.jpg

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Washington — A tv pirate struck two Chicago tv stations Nov. 22, briefly interrupting regular programming on superstation WGN-TV and educaster WTTW-TV. The FCC said it is actively investigating the incidents.

Both breakins featured a person wearing a mask of Max Headroom. In one of the incidents, the figure dropped his pants for a spanking.

Unlike an incident last year involving Home Box Office, the interference did not involve a satellite feed but affected only the local signals.

First interruption occurred during the sports segment of a 9 p.m. local news broadcast on WGN, and lasted about 90 seconds. The second, on WTTW, occurred at 11:10 p.m. during an episode of "Dr. Who." It reportedly lasted about 90 seconds.

"There was a character of Max Headroom that appeared on the screen and it was like a puppet," according to one observer. He said the character began to do numerous contortions in front of a moving background before tilting down, dropping his pants and getting spanked.

Another witness told reporters the person was waving a can of Pepsi and saying, "Catch the wave." The Max Headroom character was initially used in tv commercials for Coke.

Last year, the FCC tracked down a video pirate who interrupted a Home Box Office satellite feed. The miscreant was a 25-year-old Florida salesman of home satellite dishes. In a deal with the U.S. attorney in Jacksonville, he agreed to pay a $5,000 fine and was placed on a 1-year probation. He faced up to $10,000 in fines and a 1-year stint in the pokey.

It could not be determined how much of the Chicago area was affected by the interference. Considering the power radiated by both stations, the pirate transmitter would have to have been close to the receivers it was interfering with, an expert said.

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  • APA 6th ed.: (1987-11-25). Chi TV Pirate Grins & Bares It, Interrupting Station Programming. Variety p. 98.
  • MLA 7th ed.: "Chi TV Pirate Grins & Bares It, Interrupting Station Programming." Variety [add city] 1987-11-25, 98. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: "Chi TV Pirate Grins & Bares It, Interrupting Station Programming." Variety, edition, sec., 1987-11-25
  • Turabian: "Chi TV Pirate Grins & Bares It, Interrupting Station Programming." Variety, 1987-11-25, section, 98 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Chi TV Pirate Grins & Bares It, Interrupting Station Programming | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Chi_TV_Pirate_Grins_%26_Bares_It,_Interrupting_Station_Programming | work=Variety | pages=98 | date=1987-11-25 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=17 November 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Chi TV Pirate Grins & Bares It, Interrupting Station Programming | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Chi_TV_Pirate_Grins_%26_Bares_It,_Interrupting_Station_Programming | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=17 November 2019}}</ref>