The Fort Atkinson Club Community Center presents….

Spring 2020 FACTalks

May 19: Mark Furst (Pirate Radio Enthusiast)

“The Strange Politics of Pirate Radio”

The growth of Pirate Radio in Europe starting in the late 1950’s and into the 1970’s is as much a tale of weird politics and social upheaval as the unstoppable growth of popular music (mainly rock music at that time). In the early days these first broadcasters were considered benign by their governments (UK, France, Belgium, Scandinavia, etc.) but as rock music became more popular they were increasingly outlawed. The Labour government in the UK at the time was very conservative in this regard and fought hard to prevent these stations from operating. Weird maritime laws were invoked and strange political bedfellows emerged. On top of that was the structure of broadcasting in the UK, being regulated as if it was the BBC at a time when almost all broadcasts were live, and the broadcasting of “recorded” music was still seen as a threat to the livelihoods of orchestra musicians in particular and radio performers in general.

Mark was born in Dublin in the early ’60’s and grew up in Northern Ireland and England where his love of modern music began, primarily through listening to the new and slightly dangerous pirate radio stations operating off the coast at that time. After moving to the States in 1980 he lived and worked in many places throughout the country, but has settled with his wife Janice here in Fort Atkinson. Professionally he works in the energy efficiency business but still dreams of becoming a rock star some day.

Free and open to the public.