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Pirate Radio: a special series from The Verge

Features and podcasts that explore the complicated narrative of what illegal transmissions can do and who they reach

Where does your mind go when you hear the phrase “pirate radio”?


Maybe you think of revolutionaries, deploying broadcasts to subvert an oppressive regime. Or maybe you imagine a raucous boat of rock stars, buoyed by the consequence-free promise of international waters. Maybe it evokes something far away, distant, from the past.

But once you remove the idea of pirate radio from its mythology, you realize that it exists largely for people who live in the margins. The Haitian Americans of Brooklyn. The Hmong people of the Midwest. The Pashtuns across Afghanistan. The space between the frequencies, it turns out, is vast. The stories and people explored in these pages present a complicated narrative of what illegal transmissions can do and who they reach. Because that’s always been the power of radio — its reach.

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