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40 Years of the Anti-Headache Machine

This Saturday night at 8 o’clock, or thereabouts, Doug Harwood, of the Class of 1974, will sit down at the controls of WLUR-FM for yet another Saturday night. Since 1971, the Saturday nights stretch beyond 2,000. He will spend the next four hours playing music that may be accurately described as eclectic, though it is not any any sense random. One track leads to the next and then the next and on and on through the night. He will make the briefest of welcomes at the start, and the only spoken words thereafter will be to identify “WLUR, Lexington” on the hour, every hour.

This is “The Anti-Headache Machine,” and the program and its creator will celebrate the 40th anniversary Sat., Oct. 8.

There will be no celebration, on air or off, on Saturday, but WLUR will pay tribute to Doug and his show with a reception on Wednesday, Oct. 12, in the Elrod Commons Living Room.

“The Anti-Headache Machine” was born during Doug’s W&L student days. Although there is hardly a doubt that it is the longest-running radio program of its kind in the U.S. (since there is nothing else quite like it), and almost certainly the longest-running on a college station, Doug has a ways to go to catch the leader when it comes to all types of programming. That honor belongs to “Music and the Spoken Word,” the weekly, 30-minute program featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir that began in 1925.

Five years ago when Doug, who is editor of the Rockbridge Advocate, celebrated the 35th year, University Photographer Patrick Hinely, of the Class of 1973, described the show this way: “While the links he senses from one piece to the next can occasionally leave even the most open-eared among his listeners scratching their heads, he lets the music itself, whether obvious or obscure, tell its own story.”

Among the many changes since “The Anti-Headache Machine” first aired is the expansion of WLUR’s reach by virtue of the Internet. That means you can listen to the 40th Anniversary show on-line at wlur.wlu.edu.