Car Tunes Radio (CRT) is a different kind of oldies station. "It's all music, all the time," as the 60s jocks used to say because there are no commercials, jingles, or fast talking DJs. So, if you're trying to relive the memories of a favorite top 40 station of your youth you may be disappointed. Instead, CRT's defining asset is its broad musical eclecticism.
For the last eight years the Birmingham, Alabama station has played the hits from the 60s and 70s, as well as a smattering of long forgotten records from the 50s interspersed with important album tracks and flipsides of big hits you may not have heard in years. As proof, take a look at the playlist below that CRT aired one morning not long ago.
When was the last time you heard Jerry Jeff Walker, Mac McAnally, Sanford-Townsend Band, Billy Joel's "Miami 2017", or Bruce Springsteen's nine-plus minute opus, "Jungleland," on your local oldies station? I would venture to say probably never for the first three while the last two are album tracks played almost exclusively on classic rock radio.
Among the "b" sides station owner, manager, and program director Steve Gilbert adds to the mix are Carly Simon's "No Secrets" (the flipside of "The Right Thing To Do") and Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Born on the Bayou" (the other side of "Proud Mary"). They were not hits but they're good songs that many people are still familiar with today.
Chicago's "25 or 6 to 4" is the album version, not the single, so you get to hear Terry Kath's rocking solo in all of its glory.
The most unusual song played on this particular morning was "Sixty Minute Man." This crossover, R&B, novelty hit was released by the Dominoes way back in 1951 before there was even a Billboard Hot 100.
Check out CRT's website after you read Bloggerhythms' interview by email with Mr. Gilbert that begins immediately following the playlist.
Dusty Springfield - Wishin' & Hopin'
Jerry Jeff Walker - LA Freeway
Joni Mitchell - Big Yellow Taxi
Tyrone Davis - Turn Back The Hands Of Time
Bruce Springsteen - Jungleland
Freddie & The Dreamers - I'm Telling You Now
Petula Clark - Don't Sleep In The Subway
Johnny Rivers - Seventh Son
Sanford Townsend Band - Smoke From A Distant Fire
Chicago - 25 Or 6 To 4 (album version)
Mac Mcanally - Barney
Simon & Garfunkel - My Little Town
Billy Joel - Miami 2017
Gerry & The Pacemakers - Ferry Across the Mersey
The Bellamy Brothers - Let Your Love Flow
Herman' Hermits - Can't You Hear My Heart Beat
CCR - Born On The Bayou
Billy Joe Royal - Cherry Hill Park
Tommy James - Draggin' The Line
Three Dog Night - Never Been To Spain
Stealers Wheel - Stuck In The Middle With You
Carly Simon - We Have No Secrets
Doobie Brothers - China Grove
The Dominoes - Sixty Minute Man
Marvin Gaye - Too Busy Thinking About My Baby
Moody Blues - Tuesday Afternoon
Chambers Brothers - Time Has Come Today
The Vogues - Five O'Clock World
CR: What is the inspiration behind Car Tunes Radio?
SG: The name came about as a result of my two passions, music and classic cars. I also spent a lot of time in my teenage years cruising around listening to the radio and 8 track tapes.
CR: Do you have a radio background? If so, what is it?
SG: Yes, I have Bachelors Degree in Communications. I spent several years on the air and have been a club DJ at various points throughout my career. I also have done hundreds of class reunions, private parties and car shows.
CR: Lots of these small stations are financially tenuous. It appears that your only revenue streams are the ads on your website & your GoFundMe link. Are you a non-profit? Do you have any other sources to keep the station afloat?
CR: How big is your staff or are you a one man operation?
CR: What are the recommended ways of listening to Car Tunes Radio?
SG: Via our web site at Cartunesradio.com. We are also listed on the Tunein Radio App as well as with RadioGuide.FM. You can also direct link us in Windows Media player or WinAmp Player at the URL's http://18.104.22.168:5500 or http://22.214.171.124:5000.
EDITOR'S NOTE: For listeners using Alexa and Amazon's Echo with TuneIn you should reverse the last two words in the station's name when giving the command. Say "Alexa, play Car Radio Tunes (not Car Tunes Radio) on Tune In" to get your party started.CR: Do you program the station yourself?
SG: Yes, I use a program called OTS AV DJ Classic. It controls the music library files and manages the playlists. It also encodes the music and streams to the Shoutcast server.
CR: It's possible that a listener who has a taste for Herman's Hermits and Freddie & The Dreamers may not be interested in Bruce Springsteen's "Jungleland." How do you determine what to play?
SG: You are correct, that is always the case with any station that has hard and fast rules about their playlist. I really have not spent a lot of time on audience research. I love all kinds of music, but being a child of the 60s and 70s that music is the main portion of our playlists. I also try to program special events such as Motown Mondays, Fifties Friday's or all 60s and 70s weekends. We also have a feature from time to time called London Calling featuring British Invasion music. East of Midnight airs after 12:00 PM Central time and features deeper album tracks. Sunday Morning Coffee is my weekly live show. It airs from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM CST every Sunday. It is a themed show or a flashback to a year in music. I think those programs offer something for any listener.
CR: Do you take requests?
SG: Yes, we take requests via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. They could be delayed depending on when I check email but more in real time during live Sunday Mornings where we have a live chat feature via the website. Listeners can also message us via our Facebook Page: facebook.com/cartunesradio.
SG: That is a difficult question. The audience numbers vary widely throughout the day and there are so many choices for listeners. Our archived live shows get on average 40 to 50 plays per week outside of the live listeners. Our demographics are 35 plus male and female.
CR: Can someone outside of the United States listen to you?
SG: Yes, we have listeners from around the world. I have received emails from England, Germany, South Korea, Russia, Canada and South America.
CR: Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
SG: I do this as a hobby and out of love of good music. This music was the soundtrack of my youth. It is my "music therapy" so to speak. Tune in. I think you will hear something you'll like, and let me know what you are listening to. I'd love to hear from you. email@example.com.