Lennart Christiansson

Lennart "Chrichan" Christiansson
Started as a sound engineer on Radio Mercur 1959 and became a DJ in 1962 when live broadcasting started from Cheeta.
Well known programs were Chrichan's Juke Box and " Fix, trix and mix" He was also a pop singer during the 60's and was touring together with his bands The Buccaneers and The Gamblers.
1969 he started Playback, a record company and recording studios, which later became a production company of sound, video and slide shows. He sold the company in 1990 and moved to Australia.
1996 his autobiography was published in Sweden.

Lennart tells us:
"At the time I joined Radio Mercur I was 18 years old.
The ship was still Danish owned and the broadcasting in Swedish was only a couple of hours in the middle of the day.

The name of the Swedish station was "Skanes Radio Mercur" (Skane is the southern part of Sweden.) Pronunciation: Skone. I was working as a sound engineer and was responsible for one of the two studios the station had in Malmo city.

In the beginning of the year 1962 Radio Mercur changed its name to Radio Syd when Britt Wadner purchased the old ship Cheeta I from Radio Mercur Denmark.
Everything was recorded on tape and the delivery of the tapes to the ship could sometimes be an adventure in it self.
Centrum Line- an ordinary Ferry Line, had a couple of ferry boats going between Malmo and Copenhagen. The Ferry Company had free advertising time on the station if they took our tapes on board when they were leaving for Copenhagen.
In Copenhagen a fisherman picked them up from the Ferry and delivered them to "Cheeta" together with the tapes from the Danish Radio Mercur. Every day at half past eleven we were rushing down to the port with the container of tapes.
Some times, we were a bit late, and had to throw the container on board the Ferry, as it had already left the quay. Sometimes the ferry was too far out from the quay so we missed in our attempts to throw the tapes on board, and the station had to go on playing non-stop music for the next day.
When Radio Mercur became Radio Syd we had to find a fisherman in Malmo, Sweden willing to take care of deliveries of tapes, food, personnel and other necessary things needed on board.

An ordinary working shift was one week on the boat and one week in the studio in Malmo. If the weather was bad, we sometimes had to stay on the ship for a fortnight or more.
The equipment in the studios in Malmo was Ampex, Lyrec and Movic tape recorders. Garrard gramophones with Ortofon Pick Ups.
Neumann, Sennheiser, Pearl and Bauer Microphones.
On board the ship were 4 reel to reel Lyrec tape recorders and a mixer. Everything was recorded on shore so the only thing the personnel on board had to do was to play Non-Stop music, recorded programs and spots from tapes. When we built the studio on board we mounted 4 Garrard Gramophones (2 in the studio and 2 in the control room) with Ortofon Pick ups on a special arm, made by Ortofon, that kept the pick-up in the track even in windy conditions.

We had a separate control room with tape recorders to play back recorded spots and there were also two gramophones and a microphone. So you could say that we had two separate studios on board.

One night in January 1963 Cheeta I was stuck in the ice. We were drifting along in a big lump of ice, and the anchor was just rattling along the bottom of the sea.
We were forced to cut the anchor chain and then try to break the ice around the ship. I and another sound engineer, Ake Olsson, were working hard the whole night and managed to free the ship from the ice early the next morning.
As the government had made it illegal to transport anything to or from the ship we had been forced to do alterations on board to be able to do live broadcasting.
The former bridge on the ship was now rebuilt as a studio, and without a proper bridge it was a bit difficult to sail the ship, but we managed to sail her in to Limhamn where we were seeking port of refuge.
On board the ship that night was also The owner Britt Wadner, Skipper Holger Jensen and a guest DJ from Radio Nord Kaj Heager.

The Swedish government tried different ways to stop Radio Syd. At one occasion they acted through The Swedish Tele Board who stopped us from using our CB radio to keep in contact with the office in Malmo.
But we had to tell the office what we needed on board. So in the beginning we were just chatting on the air like we were telling the listeners what we were going to have for dinner and breakfast.
A secretary at the office listened to the program at the same time every day and wrote everything down in shorthand.
But later I came up with the Idea that we could record a list of everything that we needed on tape, and 5 minutes after 3 am every night we told the listeners that we were going to do some tests with the transmitter. Then we played the tape backwards in double speed and Britt Wadner recorded the message on a tape recorder in her home. She then brought the tape with her to the office the following morning where they played it forwards in half speed to get our "shopping list".

I worked at the station until it was forced to close down by the Swedish government in 1966.

In December 1965 TV Syd started test transmissions on UHF. I was responsible for the building of the TV Studio on board the ship, and also responsible for the building of TV Studios in an old factory in Lomma Bay 10 kms north of Malmo."

This Historical look at Radio Syd was researched and compiled by "Lennart Christiansson".

Do you remember those 'Golden' days of Offshore radio? If you wish to add anything to these pages then please E-Mail me
These pages are Limited copywrite and were designed and edited by bebridel@guernsey.net .