Ep. 82: TV Mysteries – The Max Headroom Incident & Other Signal Hijackings

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In November 1987, one of the weirdest moments of TV history happened right underneath the noses of the Chicago viewing public.

That night a mysterious figure wearing a full-head “Max Headroom” mask invaded the broadcasts of local Chicago TV stations WGN and WTTW. Initially, on WGN, the masked marauder was only able to cut in for about 30 seconds before the transmission was re-seized by network engineers…but on WTTW, which was airing an innocuous Doctor Who rerun, the signal hijacking would last an entire minute and a half and include a garbled, manic tirade involving Chicago sportscasters, obscure local children’s shows, New Coke, and, uh, spanking.

To this day, no one knows who was behind the Max Headroom Incident…but that’s where the mystery really begins.

This week, Carrie takes us through the nitty-gritty of late 80s pop culture, broadcasting technology, and Reddit-based speculation, along with the strange stories of two other signal hijackings: the Captain Midnight broadcast signal intrusion and the Southern Television broadcast interruption – the latter of which may possibly have come from a place beyond our galaxy!


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