Here’s something that you’d normally see in a post-apocalyptic, zombie TV show, only instead of a mysterious radio message luring Rick and the gang to a group of cannibals, it’s a road closure notice from Obama’s second presidential inauguration. According to The Drive, the same AM radio station in Washington, D.C. has been broadcasting the same message for the last eight years, and apparently, no one noticed.
The message on 1650 AM was recently pointed out by Matt Blaze, a security researcher and chair of computer science and law at Georgetown University, who jokingly posted “I’d imagine this will be the last thing left broadcasting after WW III” on his Twitter. The signal, Blaze said, was very weak and possibly emitting from inside a garage or from a broken antenna. Static makes the message hard to understand, but he could make out a voice telling people to “avoid the 14th Street bridge.”
As fascinating as it might be to imagine that this signal was broadcasting from another dimension, someone probably forgot to flip the off switch. At least that’s what Bill Curry, chief of communications security at Homeland Security Emergency Management in Washington, D.C., told The Drive.
Curry also theorised the signal could have been transmitted on several temporary stations, but all those stations should have been decommissioned a long time ago. It might have managed to keep broadcasting if the transmitter equipment was placed into a solar-powered trailer, the kind which is often used to power the equipment inside in case the trailer needs to be transported somewhere without a fixed power source. Obviously, this would have given the signal just enough juice to keep broadcasting the same moment in time for eight years.
Curry and his team ended up locating the ghost signal, and as of March 3, the signal is completely off the air. But Blaze saved a recording, which you can listen to here.
No one but Homeland Security Emergency Management knows exactly where the signal has been broadcasting from all these years. Blaze speculated that it could have been somewhere in the far end-area of North East D.C., but it’s likely we’ll never know. (Security reasons and all that.) Kind of gives a new meaning to the old expression “riding the airwaves,” doesn’t it?