While cleaning out a closet the other day, I discovered an old, forgotten case of cassette tapes. Among them was a ninety-minute recording I made from the radio in 1987. It provides a rare time capsule of college radio in the 1980s.

The station I recorded, WRAS Atlanta (“Album 88”) was the 100,000-watt voice of students at Georgia State University. Although it changed formats and became a PBS station, its online broadcast still serves as a source of new music for listeners in the Atlanta area. The recording made that Memorial Day in 1987 lives on as an example of the variety, quirkiness, and sometimes delightfully amateurish haplessness that made college radio special.

Before the explosive growth of commercial “alternative rock” networks, college stations like WRAS provided access to music one could hear no where else on the dial. Listening to this recording reveals the Cambrian-Explosion-like variety of styles and genres juxtaposed in a single afternoon’s playlist in 1987: reggae, cowpunk, blues-oriented rock, synth pop, rockabilly, goth rock, and folk music all lived together in a strangely symbiotic harmony.

Return with me now to those days of yesteryear, and listen to an hour and a half of great music and college DJ announcements from 1987:

Listen on This Page: WRAS Atlanta – Album 88 – May 25 1987
Direct Download: Link to MP3 file

Several of the tracks you’ll hear are rare and hard to find today. After you’ve listened to the broadcast, you can check out this Spotify playlist to hear clearer versions of the songs (at least the ones available on Spotify.)

SPOILER ALERT

A list of all the songs and other ephemera on the recording appears below. If you want to enjoy the listening experience the same way any other radio listener would have, without foreknowledge of the playlist, don’t read the text below. For those of you who want to know what you’re getting into, click the + below to expand the list:

WRAS Atlanta Recording Contents
  • Bob Pfeifer – Success
  • Jane Siberry – Map of the World
  • Thrashing Doves – Jesus on the Payroll
  • China Crisis – Worlds Apart
  • Paralyzers – Two Different Things (the Paralyzers were a local Atlanta band that eventually became the Blacktop Rockets. They are still making records today.)
  • U2 – Trip Through Your Wires
  • Redd Kross – Ballad of a Love Doll
  • Jon Astley – The Animal
  • Del Fuegos – Name Names
  • PSA for American Heart Association
  • ABC News Update
  • Bill King (the DJ) returns
  • Jonathan Richman – Party in the Woods Tonight
  • Album 88 Concert Calendar for May 25, 1987
  • Fuzzbox – XX Sex
  • The Colourfield – Confession
  • Oingo Boingo – Outrageous
  • The Fall – Petty Thief Lout
  • The Replacements – I.O.U.
  • Pastels – Get ’round Town
  • PSA – GSU Blues and Folk Music Club
  • Contest – Win “Dead Letter Office” by R.E.M.
  • David Bowie – New York’s In Love
  • Bill Lloyd – Feeling the Elephant
  • UB40 – Rat in Mi Kitchen
  • Walk the West – Think it Over
  • Husker Du – You’re A Soldier
  • The Fall – Shoulder Pads #1
  • Suzanne Vega – Gypsy
  • Siouxsie and the Banshees – Sea Breezes

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