If your day hasn't been bizarre up until now, it's about to be because of what you're about to learn. If you've ever wondered why there has never been a channel 37 on your television, the reason is because of Illinois and aliens and I'm not making any of this up.

I saw this completely strange television reference appear on the Illinois sub-Reddit. It's a reference to an article by Vice which explains why there has never been anything but static on channel 37. I recommend reading the entire dialogue and history about how Illinois is directly involved in this weird channel anomaly, but here's the short version:

  • The University of Illinois had a radio telescope designed to detect signals from space (in other words "aliens").
  • They asked the FCC to allocate channel 37 to radio telescopes alone.
  • The FCC said no.

But, there was a compromise. The federal regulators decided they would block off an area of 600 miles around the University of Illinois radio telescope to avoid any kind of interference. No stations anywhere in America were allowed to air anything on channel 37 between midnight and 7am, so even those few and far between stations that were on channel 37 didn't have anything but static.

That is the short version of why channel 37 never became anything other than static. All because of a scientist at the University of Illinois listening for aliens.

Now back to your regularly-scheduled programming. Leave it to Illinois to have such a weird part of television history (and aliens).

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