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    This originally appeared in the 2019 Best of Louisville issue of Louisville Magazine.

    I first tuned in by accident, while trying to find a static channel so I could connect my iPhone Bluetooth transmitter. Fumbling through the airwaves, I stopped on 88.1 when I heard Cher’s heart-wrenching “Love And Understanding” from 1991. I hadn’t listened to that song in years. Up next was “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows,” by Brand New. I immediately jolted back to my early high school years, when I dyed my hair red and wore too much eyeliner. Then came Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup.” I added the station to my presets.

    88.1 WNAS-FM, broadcast from New Albany High School, was founded in 1949, which, according to its website, makes it the nation’s first high school FM station. Unlike other stations, 88.1 plays every genre, in no particular order. I can hear Don Henley, Paula Abdul and the Pointer Sisters in the same 10-minute block. (Call the request line at (812) 542-4702.) I listen on my drive to and from work. The station tends to get fuzzy around my home in Germantown but is clear near my office in the Portland neighborhood. The random blocks of songs are interrupted by advertisements for local orthodontists targeting mouthfuls of crooked teenage teeth and interjections from teachers (“I listen to 88.1 when I’m grading papers,” NAHS teacher Mr. Townsend says).

    A few weeks ago, my heart skipped a beat as I ducked into the bathroom at the MerryWeather in Schnitzelburg and spotted a small red radio mounted to the wall. It was playing 88.1.

    This originally appeared in the 2019 Best of Louisville issue of Louisville Magazine. Read more.

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    About Katie Molck

    Loretta Lynn is the best country music singer of all time and if you don't like pickled foods, you can leave.

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