The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

WXYC Fund-Raiser to Revisit '80s

Thursday night, an expected throng will descend upon the Cat's Cradle for the '80s Dance, a biannual fund-raiser for WXYC, UNC's student-run radio station. The crowd will pay tribute to the 10 years that gave us the Material Girl and hair metal.

The music of the '80s is sometimes mocked for overusing synthesizers and bringing along such wacky acts as Flock of Seagulls. Nevertheless, it shouldn't be forgotten that those 10 years were blessed with the growth of new wave, hip hop and "alternative" rock.

On the air, the DJs of WXYC tend to favor these eclectic styles of lesser-known music instead of more popular tunes. At the dance, however, they will spin the type of Top 40 fare that they hope will move the crowd the most.

The decade's biggest hits primarily came from the realm of dance pop. Many '80s standards urged the up-and-coming generation to dance. Unlikely fads were born, including heavy makeup and an increased use of spandex.

"I just think that it was kind of a decade of extreme trends and looks," said senior Rachel Schuls.

Generally, listeners didn't care about this over-the-top nature. It's not hard to see why so many are still in love with the 1980s and why past '80s dances have been successful.

Each of the five DJs set to get the crowd moving will play an hourlong set, starting the party when the doors open at 9 p.m. WXYC's station manager, Isaac Trogdon, will end his set and the dance at 2 a.m.

Moving to the beat won't be the event's only way of celebrating the decade. Trivia quizzes will be passed out when the doors open, and they will be scored at 11 p.m. The winners will be announced an hour later.

Also at midnight, those '80s aficionados who put a little extra into their look will be given the spotlight. A costume contest will showcase the attendees recreating the appearance of the decade's icons.

"I'm just surprised that the '80s revival set in so quickly," Trogdon said. "It was hardly even a decade later when the clothes started to come back in style."

It's a good bet that some of this year's get-ups will be just as outlandish as they have been for past dances.

WXYC created the event in 1992 as a complement for its '70s dance. Despite the fact that the '80s had ended only a couple years before, the idea caught on.

"Some thought, 'Isn't that a little recent?'" said Bill Burton, chairman of Student Educational Broadcasting and one of WXYC's past station managers. "But we said, 'Go for it anyway and see what happens.' It was pretty great."

In 1999, the station began holding two '80s dances each year as the '70s dance went out of style. For now, the spirit of the '80s is still going strong.

Tickets to the dance cost $5 and will be available today and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Pit. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door. WXYC's on-air number is 962-8989, and the Cat's Cradle can be reached at 967-9053.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.