Saturday, April 26, 2008

"Hang the DJ, hang the DJ..."

I will try to post all of the playlists I have on hand. I haven't yet located any from 1985, and all of 1988 seem to be missing as well. Still, the ones I do have are a nice little glimpse at the golden years of College Radio.

From playlist to playlist there will be songs and artists repeated - these were the songs/artists that were in current rotation at the time. Albums in current rotation were labeled as "Light," "Moderate," "Heavy," "Recurrent," "Current Single" and "Power."

1. Light, Moderate, Heavy and Power are pretty self-explanatory. These were albums in light rotation (played a few times a week), Moderate rotation (played every other day) and Heavy rotation (played nearly every day). Power cuts were played every day.

2. Current Singles were those being heavily promoted at that time - usually they were pre-released songs from upcoming albums. These were played once every four or five hours.

3. Recurrent cuts were songs that had been in rotation (usually in heavy or power rotation) previously but had been removed when new stuff was added to the rotation. Recurrents were played every so often.

4. The rest of the shift was made up of "DC's," and "K's." These were songs not in current rotation but filed away in the record library.
* "DC's" were known as "DJ Choice Non-hits." The DJ could choose any track on any album, as long as it wasn't considered a "Known Cut."
* "K's" were "Known Cuts." These were popular songs that could have been considered "hits" if there had been such a thing back then for the type of music we were playing. Remember, back then college radio was one of the few outlets for this type of music, which was usually termed "college rock" or "modern rock." Most of the time known cuts were those played on USA's Night Flight or MTV's 120 Minutes. Of course our neck of the woods was also graced by 97X (WOXY) out of Oxford, Ohio, one of the few commercial stations playing "college/modern rock," so we had them to gauge "hits" by as well, although their signal wasn't strong enough to reach all the way to Wright State.

Each DJ followed a pre-printed playsheet consisting of the above labels. Each album in current rotation had a large rectangular sticker in the upper left-hand corner; each sticker was hand-labelled as L, M, H, REC, # or PWR. The station's Music Director chose the rotation, as well as the order in which the albums would be played.

The playsheet dictated which type of cut should be played. When the form said "M," for example, the DJ went to the album crate marked "Medium" and pulled the front album. Usually there were several tracks on each album that the DJ could choose from. The track to be played would be written down on the playsheet, and after the album had been played it was placed in the back of the crate, so that it would not be played again until such time as it landed in the front of the crate again.

Clear as mud?

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