Like many of you, we learned today that KYW 1060AM — whose teletype audio ambience is perhaps the permanent sound of the city’s brain at rest — has retired what is for some of us its most defining feature: The reading of the school numbers, indicating school closings on snow days. The numbered system, as best we can gather, began in the 1960s, whereupon many stations would read them off on snow days, but over time, it was KYW who owned the practice. And as a result, innumerable Philly-area childhoods were marked by the sounds of the readoff — a rundown whose anticipation level was on par with Christmas wish lists.
But alas, technology and the era of the helicopter parent has rendered the snow day readoff a redundancy, and KYW will now instead merely forward its school closing information to a website, KYWschools.com, which has none of the nuance or theater of the beautiful lottery that marked many, many wondrous days for Philly kids. As a tribute, however, YouTube user Ian Bush has uploaded the clip above, preserving once and for all, that gorgeous litany. We’ll remember it — and our school number — for the rest of our lives.