Now that spring semester is in full swing, it is time to bring out those playlists that really get me in a productive mood for the semester. I know what I like to listen to, but have you ever wondered what the past students of New College listened to? What really got them dancing in the middle of Palm Court at 10 p.m. on a Thursday? Well, wonder no more! Or at least a little less, because for my independent study project (ISP) I digitized over 200 New College Radio set lists from 1979, 1980, 1997 and 1998.
What does digitizing these setlists entail? Great question! First, I scanned all of the setlists in the New College Student Alliance (NCSA) Archives and stored them in the NCSA’s digital Archives. Next, I made the scanned setlists into actual playlists on YouTube. Each playlist included multiple songs, artists, albums and even record labels! From this information I searched for the song, and once it was found, I added it to a dated playlist on YouTube. This way anyone who is interested in listening to DJ Lou’s radio show from Jan. 26, 1980 can listen to that playlist specifically! Unfortunately, not all of the songs from each setlist could be found on YouTube. This is mostly due to the popularity of a song; the less popular the song, the less likely I was to find it on a mainstream platform like YouTube. However, missing one or two songs from a playlist will not ruin the overall experience.
To find the playlists on YouTube, search “New College Radio Playlists,” or use the Google Drive link that I will be sharing on the Forum and Students List. From the link you will be able to see a list of the playlists, arranged by date. I could have arranged them by genre, however, I thought it would be more interesting to randomly explore the music of past New College based solely on the date and time. The playlists range from mainstream music to folk music to classical music. There’s even an 80s throwback playlist from 1998! Listening to any random playlist may truly take you back to the 80s or late 90s.
What may be even more interesting than listening to the playlist is looking at the scribbles on the written setlists! To view the actual setlists, you can make an appointment to visit the NCSA Archives, which are located in the Old Mail Room (OMR), by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My personal favorite setlists to read over are the ones from the radio show “Hours of Power” from 1998. Those setlists have cute designs and some funny self-reflective banter. I highly suggest you check them out!
I hope from my ISP others may get a feel for some of the music of past New College, and perhaps even stumble across something else interesting in the NCSA Archives. Good luck in this upcoming semester, and happy listening!