Oddtober 2020: WKCR Interruption and Master Post

I began a discussion about the creepy WKCR broadcast interruption tape last October and I hate to admit that I still haven’t “solved” it.  But I have cleared up a bunch of the names in the video, and still think that I, or anyone else who reads here and takes up the mantle of transcribing the tape, can eventually determine its purpose or its creator. I’ve noticed some incoming links from other sites that analyzed  the tape and realized I never shared what I discovered since I last wrote about the case.  So this will be a master post that has all of my research and I’ll post any new findings in this entry as I find them. If anyone reads this and has information they’d like to share, please comment. I’d love to hear what you think.  Also please feel free to take any of my research and run with it.

My first entry beat down a few of the more unfounded conclusions people had regarding this tape interruption, and in the interests of completion, I’ll pull that data over into this entry.

The lore behind this tape is that in 1994-1996 – the time frame is never clear but is restricted to these years – a kid who enjoyed taping radio shows and listening to them later accidentally recorded a broadcast hijack in a radio program on WKCR radio, the station for Columbia University.  He or she rediscovered this strange recording twenty years later and shared it on 4chan. It’s not as well-known as the bizarre Max Headroom broadcast interruption, but is still discussed on paranormal sites, mystery message boards and similar.

Quick description: In the middle of a radio broadcast, the music was interrupted by a strange recording that began with the sound of breath exhaling and soft feminine moans.  It’s fairly creepy to listen to.

Initially you can hear a bit of chatter and eventually the sound of chatter increases enough in volume that you can tell names and dates of deceased people are being recited, along with names of the deceased’s family members.  Each person’s information ends with a ringing bell.  After the recording ends, there’s a brief moment before the DJ comes back to continue with the show’s format and many people, myself included, think the DJ’s voice is identical to the voice reciting names during the interruption.

Multiple attempts to contact WKCR regarding DJs who worked at the station during this time frame have gone unanswered.  In fact, the station stopped broadcasting this year and I suspect there is little to no chance any time soon of finding someone who has the time to search such records.  Similarly I cannot find anyone who claims to have heard this broadcast interruption as it happened.

My goal has always been to either find out if there is a link between all these names, or if these names could lead us to the person who performed the interruption.  I’ve never felt this was a genuine broadcast interruption.  Either the radio DJ staged this as some sort of avant garde experiment or the tape was created by the person who leaked it with the purpose of passing it off as an interrupted broadcast.  As I listened to the recording over and over (and over and over…), I picked up on some clues the performer seemed to have laid that might lead to her identity or purpose, but I still don’t have the whole of the tape deciphered.

Before I share my research, I want to emphasize that you should not get hung up on the fact that one of these names is of a student who died in the PanAm 103 flight that Libya shot down over Lockerbie.  Also, don’t put too much into the fact that one of these names belonged to a famous physicist who was the brother of the father of the Manhattan Project.  Though I have not figured out every name yet, among those I have I cannot find any links to terrorism, plane crashes, or nuclear physics.  The connection these people share – if they share any connection – I suspect will be the person behind the interruption, a belief bolstered by the fact that the speaker in the interruption specifically states her relationship to some of the people whose names she recites.

I also want to emphasize that the recording has errors in it, either by design or by accident.  If this recording was actually aired between 1994-1996, errors could be chalked up to misremembering dates. It could be deliberate, but I tend to think it wasn’t. If this recording indeed happened more than 20 years ago, it’s not like the woman on the tape could look up information on the Internet.  When you have to rely strictly on memory because Find-a-Grave and Ancestry.com weren’t invented yet, you’re gonna make some mistakes. I also am not wholly sure who the “my friend” or “our friend” portions refer to, the deceased or the name that immediately precedes such statements of relationship.

So join me under the cut and see what I’ve come up with.  And please share anything you think may help or that I’ve overlooked.

WKCR Broadcast Interruption, Part One

Hi, if you’re arriving at this entry via a link from others interested in this recording, I’ve done more research on the names and created a “master post” with all the data I’ve collected.  If any of this data is helpful in figuring out the intent of the speaker in the tape, please share.  This is a weird and loose collaborative effort, solving this 4chan mystery, with people building on the research others have done.  It would delight me if anything I’ve done helps figure out the link between all the names in the audio or the person behind the tape.

And if you’re here just to enjoy the weirdness, both entries are hopefully still readable for those who just want to read something fun and creepy and move on to the next unsolved mystery.