Remembering Radio Countdowns

When I was a kid, back when “new”/”popular” music was still halfway decent, the local radio stations would have big end of the year countdowns. These would last the better part of a day, and they would play the full version of each song. I remember my mother spending all day recording the whole affair off the radio. She would have to keep track of the cassette & try to catch it before it hit the stupid leader portion of the tape (the clear plastic strip at the beginning/end of each side, the part you can’t record on) and flip the tape or insert a new tape. Leading up to the big event she would go to the D&K store and get a bunch of blank tapes. (They typically came in a pack of 3 tapes packages in a long plastic pouch, without any individual cases, and were around $1/pack.) She would then get the stereo set up & monitor it all day. I seem to recall her making written lists of the songs too, but I’m not 100% certain of that.

Since the tapes didn’t have individual cases, she would store them all in a plastic shoe box (which was still a relatively new product at the time). I don’t really know what the point of all of it was though, because despite having many years of those countdowns saved up, she never once listened to any of those recordings again. The plastic shoeboxes were essentially blackholes, tapes would go in & never come back out.

Still, it’d be interesting to go listen to some of those tapes now, some 20+ years later. I’m sure she still has them, the question would be how well the magnetic recordings have held up over the years (and how many of the little felt pads inside the tapes have come unglued), and whether or not I can dig up a functioning tapedeck.


Team Retroist Chief Nostalgia Psychic...

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