Playlists for Personality Crisis shows!

photo of playlist for Personality Crisis, 15-Dec-2013
playlist for Personality Crisis, 15-Dec-2013

I am not Jon, rather a longtime listener to his show.  I’ve been listening since 1988, when as a Georgia Tech student, I wandered into the WREK studios and started down the music rabbit hole. Now follow me as I tell this story about how now, after three decades, we can see Jon’s playlists!

Used to be, if you wanted to listen to a particular weekly show on WREK, you tuned in at the appointed time on your FM radio, and that was it.  In November 1994, though, WREK started streaming the audio on the internet, so you could listen anywhere on the planet, and by 2000 the archive had been born, so you could now listen to any show, any time.

That changed my WREK listening forever.  Since the early 2000s, I have not listened to WREK over the air.  I download (example links below) all the shows that I’m interested in, put them in my mp3 player, and listen to them that way over the next week.  This allows me to reliably keep up with all of the shows, no matter what my schedule that week might look like, allows me to skip backwards and forwards, keep shows for posterity, etc.

One problem though is that of playlists.  What is Jon playing?  Obviously I can just wait until the next voice break, when he announces what obscure stuff he’s been playing.  But he can go for half and hour between announcements, and by then I’ve forgotten what all the prior music sounded like.  It’s far more useful to have the playlist in front of me while I’m actually hearing the music.

Back around 2000, I was involved in a large-scale re-engineering of WREK, along with fellow WREK alumni Dave Slusher and Jim Evans.  The three of us built a new digital automation system from scratch, a huge, complex undertaking that eventually earned us our names on a plaque on the wall of the studio.  Jim did the digitial audio system, Dave did the database design and implementaiton, and I did all the procedures and processes that the staff use to run the station.

Part of that was an online playlist system so we could rid ourselves of the paper sheets that had been in use since the 1960s.  It allowed you to take any piece of music in our rotation and add it to the computerized playlist in just a couple seconds, in a digital format that would eventually allow us to display the playlist online (at and generate reports such as how often a particular album was getting played.

One of my regrets, though, was that the online playlist system was difficult to use for our specialty show hosts.  Since the bulk of the material that they played was not in WREK’s regular rotation, rather came from WREK’s extensive library if not from the show host’s personal collection, they had to type in all of the information about each song that they were playing, during the show.  And I don’t mean just the artist and song title — the system required that you enter everything, from album name to record label to track number.  Obviously this is onerous and so none of the specialty show hosts used it.  What would have been nice would have been to offer them a way to just enter artist and song title information freehand.

Alas, my time at WREK ran out and I never got to this task on the todo list, and to this day Jon scribbles the playlist on a piece of paper and files it away in a binder, just like he’s done since the show starte in 1983.

Didn’t stop me from complaining though.  Personality Crisis is the best show on Atlanta radio, but it’s even better if you have the playlist while you’re listneing,  So every once and a while, I’d ask Jon if there was some way he could post the playlist.  I thought maybe I could get him to post it on this blog here.  I thought of going back to WREK and implementing the playlist system improvement described above.  I thought of getting Jon to simply take a picture of the handwritten playlist sheet with his mobile phone and post it to Facebook.

Problem is, pictures from Jon’s phone were notoriously blurry.  I mean, laughably so.  His pictures were a hilariously absurd study in murky ambiguity, especially the low-light photos from live shows he was attending.

On December 13th, Jon got a new phone.  The camera was crystal clear.

Aha!  I asked Jon to take a picture of the playlist at the end of his next radio show and post it.  And he did it!

Pictured above is the playlist from the December 15th, 2013 edition of Personality Crisis.

Now, this process is cumbersome for sure.  Jon took the picture and posted it to Facebook.  I downloaded it, authored this blog post, and uploaded the photo.  It would obviously be simpler for him to post it directly here somehow.  But I’ll be thankful for this first baby step for now, and will look forward to Jon posting the playlist for his next PC show, so I can post it here!

Here are the mp3 file download links for Personality Crisis.  Each link is for a 30-minute chunk of the two-hour show, and I include the chunk after midnight because Jon usually runs long.  These links will always work, because WREK has a two week archive with a sliding window.  The first set of links is for the most recent Sunday show, and the second set is for the Sunday before that.

Check future posts for more playlists.  Thanks Jon!

– Chris Campbell

Last Sunday’s show:

download part 1 of 5:

download part 2 of 5:

download part 3 of 5:

download part 4 of 5:

download part 5 of 5:

The Sunday before that:

download part 1 of 5:

download part 2 of 5:

download part 3 of 5:

download part 4 of 5:

download part 5 of 5:

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