Talk:Southern Television broadcast interruption

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Are spacemen hippies?[edit]

So aliens happen to have cliche science fiction names, and spout the middle class New Age platitudes of the time? (Did they watch the original "Day the Earth Stood Still?) --MacRusgail (talk) 16:14, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

I don't see why there is any prevailing reason to assume that "aliens" wouldn't "speak" that way, especially if "they" were making an attempt to communicate..why would they not attempt to use the terms,accents, and observed "slang" of the people they were trying to communicate with?

Besides how do we know it is not some "intergalactic" joke "they" are trying to fool us with? It might be a dangerous assumption to decide that "we" already know how,with whom, and with what level of social etiquette "they" would attempt to communicate with "us". Interesting you should mention "Day the Earth Stood Still" since in that story it seems such kinds of assumptions are very much challenged at least in the film, as Klaathu proceeds to acknowledge the hopes of a kid and a doctor over the demands of a leading government official. (talk) 19:24, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

I was hoping the aliens would have a little class. Actually, MacRusgail's post just solidifies the article's point about this being a (rather pathetic) hoax. (talk) 18:07, 26 November 2017 (UTC)

Weasel busting[edit]

Weasel-ish language depends on context and sourcing... but the article currently uses "some" in several places where we could probably just remove these uses and just make a statement about the reports. Similarly "many" is used and again the particular reported fact could be used. "Observers noted" is rather weasel-ish as it's not clear who this is. I was tempted to use the {{weasel-inline}} tag but the article seems tag heavy already.—Ash (talk) 22:36, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

Good point. Have moved some things around in an attempt at cleaning up and avoiding the 'observers noted..' with a more neutral explanation. Bonusballs (talk) 11:47, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

I think re-stating it as a hoax broadcast is adopting the POV of the media personnel of the time, and the subsequent POV of those who are skeptical of the implied claims of the broadcast pirate. If we have established through reliable sources that this event happened and happened when it did and where it did, then that should be the focus of the article, not upon verifying the claims of this speaker in the interrupt signal, or its detractors speaking of which, the audio recordings and transcripts I DON'T RECALL the speaker outright claiming to be from another world, or to be an alien. Its just as reasonable as assuming this is an "extra terrestrial" as to assume that the Ashtar Galactic Command could be a person or faction of TV signal pirates from Earth. It seems to me that the only thing anyone knows about this event for sure is that it did indeed happen and that it happened as an act of piracy, and that it is a mystery how it was achieved given the presumed limitations of TV pirate technology at the time. I for one am glad that the authenticity and citation reliability of this incident is being scrutinized heavily here and not just submerged in the POV of skeptics and believers. (talk) 19:10, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

If you can find one single reliable source that backs you up in your claim that [...] "[i]ts just as reasonable as assuming this is an "extra terrestrial" as to assume that the Ashtar Galactic Command could be a person or faction of TV signal pirates from Earth" [...] you'll have much better luck convincing people to listen to your argument. cheers Deconstructhis (talk) 20:17, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Re: "it is a mystery how it was achieved given the presumed limitations of TV pirate technology at the time." - This is absolutely not true. There is no mystery whatsoever. Day-in, day-out, the Hannington transmitter worked by receiving and rebroadcasting a UHF television signal which it received off-air from the Rowridge transmitter. The hoaxer merely broadcast an audio signal on the same frequency, from a location close to the transmitter. Hannington continued to rebroadcast whatever it received - but as the hoaxer's audio signal was closer (and therefore stronger in comparison to the received signal from Rowridge) then that is the signal that was rebroadcast. Similar to how if you've got one of those iPod FM transmitters that you can broadcast on another station's frequency as long as it's very very close to your radio. (It won't go any distance.) There's nothing about this broadcast which is not absolutely 100% technically explainable, either now, or previously. There was talk about such a hoaxer having to over-ride complex 'anti-hijacking' procedures but generally (a) those were not in place at the time because something like this had not been done previously, and (b) even where such measures were in place, they monitored the validity of the video signal, not the audio. Obviously things have moved on since then, but either way, there is no mystery at all about this event - it can be fully explained with the technology of the time. Bonusballs (talk) 19:53, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Precisely Bonusballs. The perpetrator needed to know only three things: the frequency of the link (possibly published since reception was taken from an actual transmission to viewers), the modulation mode (presumably the PAL system's wideband FM with 150KHz deviation), and the receiving station's location. As for technology not being available at the time - nonsense. It was technically feasible decades before, if such TV transmissions had existed that far back. I speak as a radio amateur licensed since 1967. On the other hand, technicians routinely perform tests on standby links and it's possible a technician plugged his microphone into what he thought was the standby link and spoke a nonsensical test message that went out on the in-service link. Much more likely, and hushed up to save him embarrassment. Akld guy (talk) 04:09, 26 November 2014 (UTC)


Following the 'See also' link to writer Nelson Algren, we find a claim (plus source) that students were responsible for the hoax. This is not mentioned on this page at all. Now, I'm hoping someone else with more experience of actual editing can find a suitable place for this fact Glesga mick (talk) 05:43, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

The book that is referenced in that article, Television and radio in the United Kingdom by Burton Paulu, is in a library I have access to. I'll take a look at it soon to see what it says about the Vrillon broadcast. Robert Ham (talk) 13:13, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
It's the first reference in this very article - see Bonusballs (talk) 13:28, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
I've got the journal article referred to in the book (Broadcasting, 19 December 1977, p.56) being sent to me through my university's inter-library loan facility. Hopefully it should provide some proper information. Robert Ham (talk) 18:04, 27 May 2010 (UTC)


Just wondering, why is this article called the Southern Television broadcast interruption hoax? When according to oxford dixtionary, the definition of hoax is "a humorous or malicious deception". I dont see the article or the sources providing any proof of it being that. (talk) 14:38, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

There are numerous dixtionaries each offering numerous definitions of the word, but it is commonly used and understood to mean 'an act intended to deceive or trick' and it's reasonably fair to say that someone taking to the airwaves claiming to be an alien from another planet would fall within such a definition. Bonusballs (talk) 21:28, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
How do you know that it was someone taking to the airwaves claiming to be an alien from another planet, rather than an actual alien from another planet taking to the airwaves? Robert Ham (talk) 16:11, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
Robert, if you can provide a couple of reliable references, as per WP:RS, that categorically state that this is in fact a case of an "actual alien from another planet taking to the airwaves", please feel free to add it to the article; but it's important to remember that in Wikipedia, it's not what we "know" or what's "possible"; it's what can be "verified" according to our policies. See WP:VERIFY. cheers Deconstructhis (talk) 16:48, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
This is an odd response. I haven't claimed that an "actual alien from another planet took to the airwaves". I simply asked how Bonusballs knows that one didn't. Robert Ham (talk) 22:49, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
Sorry Robert, I thought you were making a general inquiry regarding the potential appropriateness of material that might contain a counter position to the one held forth in the current version of this article. This now sounds more like a basic epistemological question related to the validity of the basis of human "knowledge" in general and as such isn't appropriate content for the talk page of this article. An article's talk page is restricted to discussing improvements to the specific article itself; questions about many subjects can be posted to our Reference Desk WP:RD. General conversations should be conducted on our personal talk pages. cheers Deconstructhis (talk) 23:52, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
Erm.. I don't think the basis of human knowledge has any relevance to this except in the sense that all questions have epistemological assumptions. If someone says "the concert starts at 8pm" and I ask "how do you know that?" then one could avoid answering the question by saying "yeah man.. that's deep.. how do we know anything?" Of course, such a response would be ludicrous. I just want to know where the person is getting their information. Within the context of wikipedia articles' talk pages, questioning where an editor is getting information about an article's subject is appropriate and relevant. Robert Ham (talk) 08:53, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
When you have an event which can be - and is - fully explainable, and explained, by human activity, there is little need to start reaching for intergalactic explanations which require the implicit acceptance of the wholly unproven premise that there is intelligent, English-speaking life on other planets with a fondness for broadcasting exclusively to the people of Basingstoke. Could there be life on other planets? Yes. Has it been detected yet? No. Therefore, good reasons for assuming "aliens did it!" when humans could also have done it? None. I think the alternate point of view is given good representation in this article too (e.g. the letters in The Times asking "How can anyone be sure that it was a hoax?", and the references to Ufology and Ashtar Galactic Command) but ultimately all contemporary reports of this event call it a 'hoax' and it can be fully explained as being of earthly origin. There is little credit to be had from reaching for less plausible explanations. Bonusballs (talk) 16:56, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
This response is a reasoning about your beliefs on the existence of extraterrestrial life. This is wikipedia. I don't care what you believe, I just care about what you have reliable sources for. It seems that you have no reliable sources demonstrating with fact, rather than reason, that the 1977 incident was a hoax. There are many sources that have labelled the incident a hoax. There are some sources that have reasoned that it was a hoax. However, as of yet there seem to be no sources which have demonstrated that it was a hoax, for example by presenting the report of an IBA or police investigation based on physical evidence or testimony of the perpetrators. The latter type of source is of interest. Robert Ham (talk) 16:23, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
You're arguing for "truth" over "verifiability"; which is not how Wikipedia works. See WP:V. cheers Deconstructhis (talk) 17:32, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
"verifiability" over "truth": is that ALWAYS how Wikipedia works? In it states that Bower and Chorley made numerous crop circles, without any indepedent verification (e.g. eyewitness testimony) of their claim to have done so. (talk) 12:26, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Erm.. I'm really confused about how I could have miscommunicated so badly. Arguing for truth over verifiability is what I was criticising Bonusballs for. Robert Ham (talk) 21:01, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I can share the frustration about 'verifiability over truth' as there are elements of this story which I believe to be truthful and/or of value, from sources which I consider reliable but which don't meet the standards of Wikipedia. I believe that the Fortean Times transcript is far from complete or accurate [but it's clearly the best account from the time] and the much-circulated audio file of the interruption is more likely to be genuine (since I had heard it some years earlier before wingnuts began circulating it around the internet as 'evidence' of the first alien broadcast on BBC Radio, etc - wrong three times there.) But although I believe that to be the case, I can't prove it to a Wiki standard, and even attempting to try would probably count as 'original research' which is also not allowed. Yes, that's intensely frustrating but it's how Wikipedia works - it only echoes what "reliable sources" have said, even when we know that is incomplete or wrong. Either way, that's getting away from the crux of the issue. Verifiability states that 'reliable sources' have almost unilaterally pronounced this to be a 'hoax'. Common sense indicates that they're probably right. Either way, the opposing viewpoint - the extraordinary claim - gets considerable time in this article too. But a viewpoint isn't enough to change the accounts of what happened, and they all say 'hoax' which is probably why this article's title does, and should, too. In my humble opinion anyway - your mileage may vary and that's fine too. Bonusballs (talk) 22:39, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
You've stated that reliable sources have "almost unilaterally pronounced this to be a 'hoax'" but I can only see one source that has explicitly claimed the incident was a "hoax"; The Daily Collegian. On inspection, it appears that the majority of reliable sources have actually refrained from pronouncing the incident as a 'hoax' and left it open to judgement; specifically, the Ellensburg Daily Record, the Rome News-Tribune, and the Eugene Register-Guard. Robert Ham (talk) 19:02, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Plus Reference 7, "Source of HOAX space broadcast stays a mystery" from The Times of London, and the articles in the LA Times, which also made the same point. The article itself refers to the letter The Times received from someone asking "How can anyone be sure it was a hoax?", referring to the labelling of it as such in The Times and other contemporaenous media reports. Bonusballs (talk) 22:22, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Agreed; and I believe any reasonable individual looking at the evidence available in this case, in my opinion, is safely within the realm of rationality in concluding likewise. As you point out, the article already offers proper due weight in the fringe direction; anything beyond that in my opinion would be an 'extraordinary claim' requiring correspondingly extraordinary evidence. I wasn't trying to be "deep" or pedantic; the subject of the article is reliably sourced and labelled as a hoax in several spots; because of that I think I misinterpreted the intent of Robert's original question simply because the answer appeared to me to be so contextually self evident that I believed he had to be talking about 'something else'. cheers Deconstructhis (talk) 19:42, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

WIKIPEDIA and its editors should not be the ones deciding if this is a hoax or not and so the word hoax should be removed from the title. The sources listed claiming it is a hoax have not demonstrated it as a hoax and neither are they authorities on the methods that would be used to determine if it were a hoax. Even if it were debunkable as a hoax based on the technology available at the time, if it was never debunked as a hoax as in never proven or provable that the hoaxes used the methods that would make it possible to pull the prank, then the message should be either reported by wikipedia as what it claims to be in the message, or reported as an wikipedia article describing the opinions of the sources about the incident and only if they are notable enough to warrant such an article. It might be argued that its called a hoax becuase of the IBA "immediately declared it a hoax, but if a criminal robs a bank and the police declare that its a hoax and nothing was really stolen to save face, does wikipedia still enter into the database as a hoax? no we cal it an incident and simply state that the police called it a hoax at the time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:40, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

OK, first of all, "Wikipedia and its editors" aren't calling it a 'hoax', the Reliable Sources and references cited in the article are calling it that. They called it a hoax because the alternative preaccepts that alien life is real, is here, and is interfering with TV transmitters. WP:DUCK applies here. Nothing on Wikipedia is a "report", it is exclusively and entirely summarising what was reported by reliable sources at the time and subsequently. Your robbery scenario would indeed be summarised on Wikipedia as a 'hoax' until RELIABLE SOURCES report otherwise. You might as well argue that the assasination of JFK was actually undertaken by Zing Blattdingdong of the Planet Thaarg, and that therefore since this has never been debunked, it is wrong for Wikipedia or anyone to refer to the 'Assassination of JFK'. Doesn't hold water. The events of the 1977 hoax are, and were, fully explained and explainable with the technology of the time. You might want to Google 'Cosmic Cowboy Vrillon' for further unreliable explanation of the entirely earth-bound nature of the transmission. Bonusballs (talk) 11:28, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

'From another plane'[edit]

In the first paragraph was the line 'The transmission itself claimed to be from another plane.'

I can't see anything in the transcript that mentions other planes (esoteric or otherwise) - unless I've missed something, I think this sentence should be removed, and have done so. Please revert if I'm wrong; but if you do, please explain here what I've missed! -- (talk) 07:57, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

Eviction Notice[edit]

"Leave the galaxy," huh? That would be a good trick. :-) Just another example of why this msg was nothing but someone's idea of humor, and why the R.S.'s citing it as a hoax are, well, reliable.HammerFilmFan (talk) 07:50, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

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