Archive for Monday, January 7, 2013

KU student, father joining to play long-lost 1970s playlist on KJHK airwaves

Pete Barrett and his daughter Katie Barrett, a KU junior and DJ at KJHK,  have teamed up to broadcast songs from a playlist Pete prepared during his days as a college DJ about 35 years ago.

Pete Barrett and his daughter Katie Barrett, a KU junior and DJ at KJHK, have teamed up to broadcast songs from a playlist Pete prepared during his days as a college DJ about 35 years ago.

January 7, 2013



Some of the songs scrawled on Pete Barrett's long-lost college-radio playlist from the late 1970s, which he and his daughter Katie will play on KJHK 90.7 FM Tuesday:

• "Dream On," Aerosmith

• "Jailbreak," Thin Lizzy

• "Roll with the Changes," REO Speedwagon

• "Feels Like the First Time" and "Cold as Ice," Foreigner

• "Baba O'Riley" The Who

• "Take the Long Way Home," Supertramp ("real nice segue" written in the margin)

• "Heartache Tonight" and "Those Shoes," The Eagles

• "Armageddon," Prism

• "Move it on Over," George Thorogood

• "Somebody's Been Sleepin' in My Bed" and "My Babe," Foghat

• "Hot Legs," Rod Stewart

• "Blue Collar Man," Styx

• "The Last Time," The Rolling Stones

• "Running with the Devil," and "You Really Got Me," Van Halen

For years, Pete Barrett had hoped his daughter Katie might take an interest in broadcasting, the same field that had called to him.

Growing up, she was an actor, dancer and musician. But this fall, she took a DJ shift at the Kansas University student radio station, just as Pete did back in the late 1970s at Northern Illinois University. And Pete, who lives in Overland Park, made sure to listen, even though her shift was 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Thursdays.

"He's been really into it," said Katie, a junior at KU.

That connection helps explain why if you turn on the KU student station, KJHK, on Tuesday afternoon, it may sound more like a classic-rock station.

From noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Pete and Katie will team up to broadcast songs from a playlist Pete prepared during his days as a college DJ about 35 years ago.

Pete found the list, jotted down on the back of a resumé he typed up during college, while packing up for a move during the fall semester. He snapped a picture on his phone and sent it to Katie.

"It was just a slice of a moment in time," Pete said, or, as one friend called it, "freeze-dried rock ’n’ roll."

Katie says she's not surprised her dad still had it around. He has a weakness for nostalgic artifacts, she said.

"He keeps bills from, like, gas that he paid in the ’70s," Katie said.

While Katie was home for the holidays, they hatched a plan to play the list on KJHK during a winter-break shift, when DJs are granted freedom to largely do what they want. Each credits the other for the idea.

On the list are some bands Katie had heard of: The Eagles, Aerosmith, Van Halen. And there were some mysteries: Prism, Foghat, George Thorogood (spelled "Thoroughgood" on the handwritten list).

Katie will mix in some of the music she usually plays, which often includes selections from rocker Jack White's various bands or groups on his record label. They plan to break down the inter-generational connections between the tunes.

"I think she will appreciate mine more than I'll appreciate hers," Pete said.

On Monday, Pete stepped into a college-radio studio for the first time since 1978 when he and Katie visited KJHK to prepare.

Back then, he would jot down a list of songs off the top of his head before his shift. Then he'd wander into a room that he says resembled the final scene of "Raiders of the Lost Ark": rows of cardboard boxes filled with vinyl records, atop sagging wooden shelves. He'd pick out what he needed and spin them.

When he and Katie do their show Tuesday, they'll simply search for song titles on the online streaming music service Spotify, drag them into a queue and let it run.

In Pete's day, being a DJ required some serious training. But today's young people have already been making playlists for years.

"In some ways, this is second nature," said Pete, who went on to work at KCTV5 in Kansas City as marketing and program director before starting his own video-production business.

Some aspects of the college-radio game are the same. Just like Pete, Katie had to start out by working an odd-hours "rookie shift," putting in dues and trying to stay awake in hopes of a daytime slot in a future semester. Pete remembers putting on the 17-minute-long "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" so he could take a quick nap.

After coming in at 4 a.m. every Thursday in the fall, Katie will work a noon-2 p.m. shift in the spring.

"I powered through that and showed them that I want to do this," Katie said.

Maranda Jones, a KU junior who works as program director at KJHK, said students have brought their parents into the studio before, and it makes for an interesting experience. College-aged listeners might learn a thing or two about the music their parents listened to, and older listeners can hear something familiar.

"It's always nice to have that bridging of gaps between generations there," Jones said.

Listeners can hear the show from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday on 90.7 FM, as well as at Pete, who Katie says is jumping into the project with fierce enthusiasm, is also preparing an online video stream at They're also taking requests at 785-864-4747 and via email to

Pete said he's long thought that Katie, a natural performer, was cut out for broadcasting. Now he'll get to see it in person.

"Any opportunity to do something creative with Katie, I'm taking it," Pete said.


KiferGhost 5 years, 3 months ago

Thank God the format changed around '78. Did we really need just one more station playing the top hits of the day? When the format change came Lawrence moved ahead in the music scene nationally.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 3 months ago

Uncle John's Band>Playing In The Band>Uncle John's Band>Space>Drums>Not Fade Away>GDTRFB.

If you're going to have Capt. Trips as your avatar, then you've got to advocate for the man.

Bassetlover 5 years, 3 months ago

Great hobby for a dad/daughter to enjoy together. Am sure they have a blast! Pete is also very easy on the eyes!

dinglesmith 5 years, 3 months ago

Foghat and George Thorogood are "mysteries". How can that be? I'm officially old now...

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