Pirate Profile from the Archives: Mystery Science Radio

Mystery Science Radio was a shortwave pirate station that was inspired by the television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 (known as MST3K) which was broadcast for a total of 11 years on American television. MST3K started at a small UHF station KTMA in Minnesota and was quickly picked up by Comedy Central, then finally the Sci-Fi Channel for its last three years. Mystery Science Radio appeared in late 2000, broadcasting tributes to Andy Kaufman, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and a whole program devoted to Theremin music.

MST3K involved Joel (and later, Mike) trapped in space by mad scientists (Dr. Clayton Forester and TV’s Frank) on the Satellite of Love with robot puppets Tom Servo, Crow, Gypsy and Cambot. Each week they were forced to endure horrible B movies and the show revolved around their satirical and hysterical commentary while watching the movies. Typical films shown were Japanese monster flicks such as The Creeping Terror, or movies like The Amazing Colossal Man or The Atomic Brain. Between movie segments audiences were treated to comedy sketches with Joel (or Mike) and the bots. Many of the sketches were themed around the week’s movie. Sometimes they’d even break into a song such as Slow the Plot Down sung as a sea shanty with Joel and the bots dressed as pirates.

In the early transmissions of Mystery Science Radio, the lone host was Cherokee Jack Perkins. Cherokee Jack claimed to be broadcasting from the Yellow Submarine where he was somehow forced to listen to really bad radio shows. Later episodes included Cherokee Jack’s sidekick Torgo (a character from MST3K cult favorite Manos, Hands of Fate). Torgo had a wavering voice and loved bizarre records like Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals. According to Cherokee Jack, the December 2002 transmission of Mystery Science Radio was the final broadcast, however the station then evolved into Theremin Radio which was heard once on shortwave frequencies during 2003.

Cherokee Jack once said, when asked if he’d be returning to the airwaves, “I never say never, except just then.”

Here's a link to an archived Mystery Science Radio from 2002:

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