For the first ten or so years of my tenure at WNUR DJs recorded the playlists for their shows in ratty spiral bound notebooks or three ring binders. When the notebooks were full, or at other random times, the old playlist would disappear and a new book would take its place. I’m not sure what happened to the old books; they may be filed away carefully in an archive somewhere, but knowing the station, this seems unlikely. More probably they are taking up space in some landfill or other. Eventually the station installed a computer in the control room and we started entering playlist information into a either a word processing document or a spreadsheet. There wasn’t any great consistency, and every now and then a computer crash would take all the playlists with it.
Around 2002 things got a little better organized. The PC was added to the network and the playlists were saved more securely and they started standardizing the format. At about the same time I decided to put my playlists on-line here on my website in a nice easy to find and view format during my show. There was talk of putting them on the station’s website too, but I decided not to wait for that. Eventually some of the playlists made it on- line at wnur.org either as rtf documents or simple html, but it was a manual process. It was all very messy and not very listener or DJ friendly, and was no reason for me to change how I was keeping my own playlists. There was talk of providing a nice web-based entry system; easier for the DJs and real-time information for the public, but nobody got as far as implementing it.
Fast forward to today — finally there is an on-line real-time playlist system at WNUR! Not all DJs have got with the program yet, but for those that have, playlist information is showing up on the station’s home page as the updates occur (with luck the time might actually match reality too!). There is also a way to pull up old shows by DJ, show, and date. I have started using the new system, so my playlists are showing up correctly on the WNUR home page, updated as I play each track — much easier for anybody who has a question about what’s on air.
What about this site? The short answer is that it’s not going anywhere. One of the things that my playlist system has done for me for the last seven years is to give me the ability to search over all my old playlists. I really like this as it helps stop me from getting into ruts, playing the same few tunes over and over, and it reminds me of artists whom I might otherwise neglect — too useful a featue to lose. So I have written a little script that copies the data from the new system onto my private site, so the two systems will continue in parallel for the foreseeable future. If you are used to coming here for the playlists there’s no need to change your habits; for everybody else the station’s website is an easy access point for my, and everybody else’s, playlists.