February 7, 2002
8:31 AM   Subscribe

There's no better way to go back in time than listening to airchecks -- recorded segments of top 40 radio from years past, often an hour long, sometimes including commercials and news.
posted by luser (12 comments total)
This is one of the coolest things i've ever seen on the net. Strangely, it doesn't feel good to reminisce. Instead, I want to throw up.

We're all getting very very old, very very quickly.
posted by jpoulos at 9:05 AM on February 7, 2002

Great link! Cousin Brucie, WABC New York, February, 1968. Boy, does that bring me back.
posted by crunchland at 9:15 AM on February 7, 2002

Does anybody remember a show from the early 90s, syndicated out of K-Rock in New York, called something like the K-Rock 100? It was on Sunday night, and it was the top 100 metal songs that week. God, I loved that show. Does it still exist?
posted by starvingartist at 9:27 AM on February 7, 2002

thats great! i used to love listening to WLS in Chicago back in the early 80s. can't get enough.
posted by jbelshaw at 10:03 AM on February 7, 2002

Great link, I'd been looking for something like this. Thanks!

I'm another aging WLS fanatic, in the '60's they had a great lineup of jocks, and I found many samples on this site. WLS had a powerful signal and could be heard almost across the country. I remember driving my dad crazy on a vacation to Arizona, listening to the same top 40 tunes (and commercials) over and over and over.....
posted by groundhog at 10:25 AM on February 7, 2002

Anybody check out Rush Limbaugh from 1971? Hahahaha!

Fantastic link, luser.
posted by briank at 12:11 PM on February 7, 2002

Cool as hell.
I love radio culture, it's soooo cheezy.
posted by dong_resin at 12:53 PM on February 7, 2002

luser, thanks for the link. That stuff is amazingly cool. I can't stop listening to Mad Daddy Pete Myers (with masterful use of tape echo) and KCBQ San Francisco's insane Last Contest from 1972.
posted by tranquileye at 2:59 PM on February 7, 2002

Gawd, the prank phone call from Dick Purtan on CKLW is hysterical. There used to be a pirate radio station on shortwave that did a letter-perfect rendition of CKLW The Big 8, which was the soundtrack to my childhood. Scary. I agree with jpoulos; I want to throw up too. :-)
posted by geneablogy at 4:33 PM on February 7, 2002

Every month for a year in 1992, I recorded 5 minutes of each of the whopping 36 channels we had back then. The taping began at 6 PM; 5 random minutes of each channel, starting from the first channel, 2, proceeding in order to channel 36, were recorded. Then, keeping the tape running, I switched to the next channel, and so forth. Each tape was labeled "Television: 3/13/92 6PM-9PM" and, when the project was complete, I made a special box for them out of wood, labeled "Television: 1992", which I used as one of the pieces for my high school AP art portfolio (I don't know where I got so savvy and hip in Chambersburg, PA pre web).

The tapes were immensely tedious to produce, but I figured they would be interesting in 10 years or so. I was prompted to do it because a friend of mine and I, in high school at the time, became obsessed with the early eighties (yes, we were the first to revive the eighties, 10 years ago) and we were always looking for funny ads and things that had that '81 look to them. Needless to say, at the time, it was very difficult to come across recordings of old TV shows and harder to come across old commercials. So, I figured that if the nostalgia thing ever came to '92, I would create little slivers of 1992 television for posterity. I haven't looked at any of the tapes since then, but I plan to this year. (They're in storage in Pennsylvania).

Thanks for the great link; it makes me feel not so crazy.
posted by evanizer at 4:49 PM on February 7, 2002

That's very cool, evanizer. Can we come over for the viewing?
posted by jpoulos at 6:15 PM on February 7, 2002

Sure, jpoulos, just as soon as I pick them up when I next go down there. This means visiting Dad (they're at his house) which is always a bit disconcerting. I sure hope he hasn't thrown them out. EEK!

Visiting the "airchecks" also reminded me that so much of the culture's production is discarded. Sure, we protect Citizen Kane and Seinfeld and whatnot, but what about the mundanery? I got totally hooked on Game Show Network a few years back, and have learned more about the day-to-day culture of the past from old "I've Got A Secret" episodes than from a documentary on the era. The game shows also provide glimpses at lots of "regular" people(non actors, housewives, salesmen), who weren't often shown on television until fairly recently.

Imagine the joy I felt when I discovered that Google had indexed all those years of Usenet. I thought it was gone. Sure, Usenet may contain lots of worthless crud, but it also contains a vital record of a growing part of the culture.
posted by evanizer at 6:51 PM on February 7, 2002

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