AGAINST THE MAINSTREAM :: AGAINST THE NORM
RADIO SYLVIA - THE BEGINNING
OUR FIRST REBELLIOUS YEARS
As RTI's successor, we founded Radio Sylvia on 7th July 1977. The station's name was taken from the single "Sylvia" released in 1972 by the Dutch band "Focus" - until the present day this is our station theme. As a start, tests and regular broadcasts began on medium wave 1345 and 1562 kHz. However, these transmissions suffered from permanent technical difficulties and were ceased in June 1978.
Our new aim was to restart transmissions on FM with a more powerful transmitter using new broadcasting sites: In November 1978 Radio Sylvia began regular broadcasts on 100.5 MHz FM, which were aired on every 1st Sunday of the month and lasted four hours. For security reasons, all programmes were pre-recorded in a secret recording studio. The transmissions were conducted from various sites without any persons being present during the broadcasts. After a period of undisturbed activities, the authorities increased the pressure. Several times the German post office and police arrived at our broadcasting sites and confiscated the equipment - without getting hold on any of us. Even so we managed to continue our regular transmissions for a long time. The problem was that the authorities knew about most of our broadcasting sites and we could not switch to other - more distant - sites without massively moving our target reception area. We only had two alternatives: Close down or change to shortwave again, which would enable us to use sites that were far away from each other, without affecting the reception area.
We decided in favour of the second option and changed to shortwave 6225 kHz. From then on we were back on the air regularly once a month. Listener feedback was very positive; letters from all over Europe reached us via our P.O. box address in Hamburg. However, as so often in the past, Radio Sylvia's shortwave activities did not go unnoticed by the authorities. After several attempts that were in vain, they finally had their big success on 9th December 1984: The transmission on 6225 kHz had run about 90 minutes when the German post office and police arrived at the broadcasting site. There was no time to get away. Four persons were temporarily arrested; the broadcasting equipment (consisting of shortwave transmitter, SWR meter, half-wave dipole, car battery, DC/AC converter and two cassette decks) was switched off and confiscated. During the subsequent four house searches, two shortwave receivers as well as programme tapes, promotion material and several listeners letters were seized. The recording studio was not found.
To commemorate the raid of Radio Sylvia, we had an obituary printed, which we sent to our listeners. Some months later we were sentenced to heavy fines.