Oberlander came across the record—which features some of the New Orleans blues giant’s greatest hits including “Iko Iko” and “Blow Wind Blow”—the same way he’d been operating most of the summer, by breaking a time-honored rule.
“I’ve been judging records by their covers all summer,” Oberlander said in August, “and it hasn’t steered me wrong yet.”
June, July, and August in Beloit afforded him the chance to re-order and re-rack the station’s collection of rock, folk, bluegrass, country, and new wave. WBCR’s record collection spans much of the 20th century until the early 1990s. Now, thanks to Oberlander, some of the records are better organized by genre and then alphabetically, but he admits there was plenty he couldn’t get to this summer.
“I just didn’t have the time for jazz,” he says.
Academic-year station manager Nora Kane’16 says that in spite of vinyl’s resurgent popularity, she thinks only a handful of the station’s dee-jays know how to work a turntable into a program that also includes digital recordings.
The work that Oberlander began will continue throughout the school year and perhaps even into the foreseeable future. Oberlander also began to pull albums out that none of the hosts of the station’s 60 shows would likely play anymore. They are being considered for a purge in the station’s bi-annual record sale.
Kane made it clear that “Ernest Anyway and the Mighty Mighty Squirrels Sing the Hits of Johnny Kidd and the Pirates” will not be for sale.
“I’m thinking we’ll keep this one,” Kane says, “because of our campus-wide fascination with squirrels.”
Kane says that WBCR would be open to expanding its collection and interested in accepting donations of records from members of the alumni community who might want to divest in vinyl.