The early ’90s saw a much different landscape for discount department stores than we have today. Target had yet to establish itself as the class act of the bunch, while Walmart was just beginning to tighten its stranglehold on the pockets of the Bible Belt. And Kmart, long before it bought Sears, was still a major player on the scene, with the time period seeing the retirement of the Blue Light Special discount and the rise of Kmart Radio.
Thanks to one ex-Kmart employee, Kmart Radio is alive and well in a series of recordings lifted from the store, now serving as a time capsule of days gone by. Over the course of 56 installments, which played on loops, the mixture of music and shopping announcements give a glimpse of just what it was like inside a Kmart more than 20 years ago.
The series reveals the Kmart Radio schtick was more of a 1992 thing, while the fair warning is to stay away from any December-labeled recordings unless you want a heavy dose of Christmas classics. The summer of 1991 saw doses of “Hold On Loosely” by 38 Special, Springsteen’s “One Step Up,” and plenty of Muzak. All in all, it’s a trip to see how the whole concept evolved over a couple years, and just what songs were chosen for the soundtrack of discount shopping adventures.