Becky and I spent ten years in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. During that time we got a lot of our music from radio station WPGU, 107.1, The Planet.
The Planet was our first experience with “alt rock”. It was a radio station that actually played the alternative music we enjoyed! It was on the Planet, back in the early 90s, where we first heard bands like Radiohead, Tool, Machines of Loving Grace, Manic Street Preachers, Beck, and the like.
One of the shows the Planet had was “Lunch”. From noon to one each weekday the host played a themed set of music. Sometimes the theme was obvious, like “transportation” or “body parts” (each song would have a reference to the theme in its title or lyrics). Sometimes the theme was a mystery and whoever called in first with a guess would win a prize. Sometimes the theme was just all songs by the same band. And on some Fridays it was “You pick the lunch”, where you could send in your theme idea and list of songs for a lunch and if it was chosen, you’d actually get to do the show with the host, Jay Schulman.
On November 18, 1994, I picked the lunch! We went to a lunch place on the corner of Green and Neil (I forget the name of the place) and Jay was there with the remote broadcasting stuff, and we ate, yapped, and played music. It was a way fun time!
This weekend when I was straightening up the office/geek room I came across a long lost gem. Jay had given me a copy of the playlist for the show. And here it is!
(Click to make it Meal Deal sized)
For those who can’t see it so well, here’s the list:
Hey Jealousy — Gin Blossoms
Candy Everybody Wants — 10,000 Maniacs
What’s Up — Four Non Blondes
Gepetto — Belly (note: “PRONOUNCED JE-PET-TO!!!”)
And She Was — Talking Heads
Low — Cracker
Radio Song — R.E.M.
Mrs. Robinson — The Lemonheads
Don’t Dream it’s Over — Crowded House
Far Gone and Out — The Jesus and Mary Chain
Hot! Hot! Hot! — The Cure
Come Out and Play — The Offspring
My theme? “Hey is for Horses!” All the songs have the lyric “Hey” in them in some obvious fashion.
An amusing anecdote. In the later years of our stay The Planet became absolutely unbearable. At some point in the late 90s it was decided by someone there that Pearl Jam should be played at least once an hour. I’m not exaggerating; that was the schedule. I guess Eddie Vedder pulled the station manager out of a burning building or something. The Planet became stuck in this weird grunge time capsule of nothing but Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Nirvana, and Soundgarden, with the occasional GRARG GRARG knockoff band. For a while there was another station that competed with them, focusing more on singer-songwriters and light alternative stuff (I forget that station’s name, but it was something stupid like “The Web” or “The Edge” or something) but before long that station was bought, its format changed, and now we had TWO testosterock stations to choose from.
Anyway, this is significant because when I showed up to do my lunch, Jay said, “Hey, we can do your lunch if you want, but also the new Pearl Jam arrived (probably not Vs. but the one after it, whatever that was) so we were thinking a Pearl Jam lunch would be good!” And I kind of shuffled my feet and said, “Man, I really wanted to do mine.” and he was all, “Oh, that’s cool, no problem!”
So maybe, just maybe, I somehow helped stave off the decline of The Planet for a bit longer.