Ring in the old (1971) on New Year’s Eve

Nostalgic for the AMC Gremlin, Spiro Agnew and “The Flip Wilson Show”? Of course you aren’t. Ready or not, WRCT-FM (88.3) will take listeners back to Dec. 31, 1971, this New Year’s Eve, beginning at 9 p.m.

In what has become a dubious New Year’s radio tradition in Pittsburgh dating back nearly 10 years, WRCT’s resident oldies guru, Jay Thurber, will again roll back the clock four decades, beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31. The broadcast also will be heard online at www.wrct.org.

WRCT’s time-traveling sports car (well, actually, it’s a Dodge Dart Demon) will rev its slant-six-powered flux capacitor up to 88.3 MPH and head for Carnegie Mellon’s old student union, Skibo Hall, in the era when the station was still at 900 kHz AM.

Thurber, an aspiring elderly crank, will count down the top songs of 1971, interspersed with news reports, commercials and other announcements from the Pittsburgh of December 1971.

Even the audio — in glorious low-fi mono — will sound like 1971. No HD, IBOC or 5.1-channel digital sound here, even though WRCT is based at one of the nation’s leading research universities. (Please don’t tell the National Science Foundation that we’re setting back progress 40 years.)

The “number one song of 1971” will be unveiled at 12 midnight. (Don’t worry — WRCT will tell you exactly when the New Year 1972 … er, 2012 … arrives.)

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