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Dec 27 2010

On New Year’s Eve, suddenly, it’s 1960!

The New Frontier was about to dawn. Color TV was a luxury. Transistor radio was cutting edge. Computers were the size of trailer-trucks. And WRCT was still on 900 AM at “dear old Carnegie Tech.”

Return with us now to those thrilling (?) days of yesteryear this Friday, December 31, from 9 p.m. to midnight as Carnegie Mellon University’s student-owned radio station, WRCT-FM (88.3) tolerates… er, welcomes … another “blast from the past” with Jay Thurber.

For the ninth year, Thurber (nom de radio for a CMU alumnus) is ringing in the new year by celebration WRCT’s history. This time, it’s pre-Kennedy Top 40 as he counts down the top tunes of 1960.

It’s not just the music — it’s also the commercials, the news and the jingles of radio as it sounded 50 years ago.

Even the sounds themselves coming from the radio speakers (and from the Internet at www.wrct.org) will be authentic 1960s-style LOW fidelity in glorious monoaural AM — thanks to some modern electronic gadgetry.

Thurber, WRCT’s resident overgrown sophomore reprobate, hosts a weekly oldies program, “Radio 9” on Saturday afternoons from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.

The “number one song of 1960” will be unveiled at 12 midnight. (Don’t worry — WRCT’s clock will be accurate … only the music and the DJ “chatter that matters” will be 50 years out of date.)

WRCT’s programming includes all types of music, Carnegie Mellon sports, and public-service and educational shows, including the award-winning Saturday Light Brigade, as well as news from the Pacifica Network. The station signed on at 900 AM in 1949 and moved to the FM dial in March 1974.

Owned by the students of Carnegie Mellon, WRCT-FM is staffed entirely by campus and community volunteers. Broadcasting 24 hours per day at 1,750-watts at 88.3 FM, WRCT’s signal reaches all of Allegheny County and parts of three adjoining counties.