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The KCSBeat listens to the station’s finest casts

This week in the Independent‘s column on KCSB, The KCSBeat, Colin Marshall finds delightful oddities in KCSB’s digital audio library of promos, station identifications, and public service announcements:

Carts were like regular audio cassettes in that they contained a reel of tape onto which you could record a song, a commercial, a public service announcement, or a brief station identification. They weren’t like regular audio cassettes in that you had to load them into a particular type of rack to play them. Theoretically, you shoved a bunch of them into a rack and they would play in order, one by one, although the number of moving parts involved in such a system sometimes made this a dicey proposition.

Most radio stations have long since set both carts and racks out on the curb in favor of computer-based digital audio libraries. KCSB did this in the 1990s, eschewing jammed tape, questionable labeling, and ever-diminishing sound quality for simple pointing, dragging, and clicking. Since digital “carts” don’t need active preservation or maintenance — you can play a sound file over and over until the end of time, after all — the average life span of an audio clip at the station has risen tremendously. Weird stuff of hilarity both intentional and unintentional hangs around in the system for years and years, providing a peculiar kind of continuity through KCSB’s perpetually changing schedule.

Read all about them (and listen to a few of them) here.