Last year, we had so much fun with it that we knew we'd have to do another one in 2016. So here we go again, from "ABC" by the Jackson 5 -- the first song on the list -- all the way to Red Hot Chili Peppers' "The Zephyr Song," our last track. (Should I have given a spoiler alert first? Nah, it's not the destination, it's the journey!)
I guess I should go over the parameters of the week, just so you know what to expect. All week, from December 5th through the 9th between 6 AM and 6 PM, the songs we play will be presented in alphabetical order by song title.
We're not playing our entire library alphabetically, though. We have around 20,000 albums in our library, so a quick back-of-the-envelope math suggests that it would take almost two straight years of continuous 24/7 airplay to plow through our entire library alphabetically!
Here are a couple of answers to questions we've heard from listeners about our A to Z Week:
Q: Do you allow cover songs during the A to Z Week?
Yes! However, only one version of any one song. So while we might play, say, Jimi Hendrix's cover of "All Along the Watchtower," we wouldn't also play Bob Dylan's original version. Otherwise, they would alphabetically come right next to each other and we don't want to play the same song twice in a row (great as they both are).
Q: Hey, I just heard a song with a title that begins with "The" in a different part of the alphabet! What gives?
We're using traditional alphabetization rules. (The way books are filed in your local library.) All song titles beginning with the words "A," "An," and "The" get those words dropped from the title. Numbers are sorted as if they are words. Titles that begin with non-alphanumeric characters (like a parenthesis or an apostrophe) are sorted as though that character was not there.
Q: Is there any date/year range or cut-off for songs included?
Nope. The songs we're playing this year during A to Z Week span from 1955 through to this year. Also, they're not limited by style (there will be rock, folk, soul, blues, reggae, and more) or geography (we'll have songs by local artists all the way to performers from Somalia, London, Jamaica, and Sweden).
Q: Why are you only doing this from 6 AM to 6 PM?
Well, we have a lot of great shows during the week (like the World Cafe, Grand Groove Radio, the Block Party, and WYEP Afterhours) that we don't want to mess with. We wouldn't incorporate their music into the A to Z mix because then it wouldn't show up during the show time. And we can't really do a separate A to Z during these other shows -- that would just be confusing. So each day, we'll pause the A to Z progression at 6 PM and then pick it up again at 6 AM.
If you have any other questions, feel free to send 'em my way at firstname.lastname@example.org. And enjoy A to Z Week!
WYEP Director of Content and Programming