“Music we like.”

Finding an airplay chart from a station you knew, before you knew it, is like seeing pictures of your high school before they added the big south wing …

or pictures of your parents before they had kids …

or pictures of your favorite sports hero in the minor-league uniform of his younger days.

You feel some degree of connection. But at the same time, everything seems so alien.

And so it is for me tonight, as I contemplate the April 22, 1974, airplay chart for WCMF 96.5, from my hometown of Rochester, New York.

Before you check it out, a little history is in order:

‘CMF was my preferred radio station throughout my high school years in the late ’80s and early ’90s, dishing out a predictable, reliable diet of arena rock — Zep, Bad Company, Steve Miller, Queen and like that.

(Its slogan for a time was “Outlaw Radio.” As risible as that seems today, nobody laughed in 1990 when ‘CMF would run an ad proclaiming itself Outlaw Radio, then play REO Speedwagon or something equally freeze-dried.)

I couldn’t take much of that nowadays, but Rochesterians disagree. WCMF is still on the air, with an only marginally updated classic-rock menu. According to its website, the three most recently played songs as I type this are “I’m Your Captain,” “Don’t Stop Believin'” and BadCo’s “Shooting Star.”

So, WCMF might end up playing the old warhorses until the sun swallows the earth.

It wasn’t always like that, though.

Looking at the 1974 chart — and if you haven’t already done so, g’wan ahead now — I’m tickled to see that ‘CMF had an alternative/progressive jawn going in its earlier days.

(Dig the gnarled old tree bending away from the sun, and the slogans “Unlike Any Other Radio Station” and “Music We Like.” No platinum corporate rock for this ‘CMF. Note also that the chart listed top albums, but not top songs or singles. The LP was what mattered in those days.)

In fact, the 1974 edition of ‘CMF was so far off the wall, I had no idea who five of the top six artists even were.

I thought I vaguely recognized one of the names, but beyond that, research was required:

Howdy Moon was a folk-rock trio featuring singer-songwriter Valerie Carter. Their only album featured a version of Carter’s “Cook With Honey,” which I once wrote a weird, schizophrenic blog post about in its Judy Collins version.

Harriet Schock was (still is) a singer, songwriter and actress who cut three major-label albums in the mid-1970s before concentrating on writing for others. “Ain’t No Way To Treat A Lady,” from Schock’s LP Hollywood Town, was later a hit for Helen Reddy.

Sharks were a British rock band featuring ex-Free bass player Andy Fraser and well-traveled session guitarist Chris Spedding. As far as I know, they didn’t write any material that was successfully covered by soft-rock chanteuses.

Passport I thought I recognized … but I was wrong. Wiki describes them as a German jazz-rock ensemble somewhat akin to Weather Report, and I note the presence of former Weather Report drummer Alphonse Mouzon among their long list of former members. Apparently they’re still around.

Snafu was a British heavy-R&B-funk band, one of those journeyman ’70s ensembles whose members would either go on to bigger things (guitarist Micky Moody and keyboardist Pete Solley joined Whitesnake) or were coming down from bigger things (guitarist Clem Clempson had played in Humble Pie).

Albums by Mouzon, Deodato, Charles Mingus and the Modern Jazz Quartet showed a solid bent toward jazz — and not all freaked-out fusion, either, as the MJQ stayed close to its cool-bop roots throughout its career.

(Tom Hampson, who hosted a Friday night jazz show on ‘CMF in ’74, is still playing jazz on Rochester’s NPR AM station, WXXI 1370.)

For the live-music freaks in the crowd, ‘CMF offered the King Bisquit (cq) Flour Hour and live sets by local and regional bands with names like Big Screaming McGrew and Ko Ko Morgan.

For those who still wanted to smoke hash and giggle a lot, the station picked up the National Lampoon Radio Hour and the Firesign Theatre’s “Dear Friends.”

And, as a stoney old-time touch on Sunday nights, there were Sherlock Holmes dramas.

(The WCMF of my era programmed a long-running program of local music on late Sunday nights, featuring a locally beloved DJ named Unkle Roger. I didn’t listen to it, but I wish I had, as it was probably the most interesting thing on the station.)

I’m not sure when ‘CMF gave up the hippie-freeform ghost and went corporate.

As late as July 1979, they were willing to let progressive-rock icon Robert Fripp do some live improvising on their airwaves — a sign they hadn’t totally abandoned their wild roots. The tree was still growing away from the sun, at least a little bit.

I would have liked to have heard that version of WCMF. I bet it was pretty wild, edgy even, by the prevailing standards of the upstate Seventies.

Outlaw radio, you might even say.

An affront to public decency.

No particular point to tonight’s entry … just offloading a radio-related memory that goes all the way back to my elementary school days.

In the late ’70s and early ’80s, two stations in Rochester, N.Y., faced off in the hard-rock/album-oriented radio market — WCMF 96.5, and WMJQ “Magic 92” 92.5.

WCMF was winning the battle, and WMJQ was starting to get desperate.

So — I’m guessing this was sometime around 1982 — Magic 92 decided to play a little blue, adopting the slogan “Kick-Ass Rock and Roll.”

(It didn’t use the slogan on this October 1980 airplay chart, so it must have come along a little bit later.)

I saw a mention of that online tonight, and it reminded me of the infamous Magic 92 T-shirts that circulated around town for a season or two, bearing the “Kick-Ass Rock and Roll” slogan.

In my memory, they are classic early-’80s softball-style shirts, though they might really have been short-sleeved Ts. I cannot find a picture of one online for the life of me.

Every so often I would see one in a public place, and to an impressionable lad like myself, they carried a certain frisson of the forbidden.

Certainly, my parents — and all my friends’ parents — would not have let their kids walk out of the house with a Kick-Ass Rock and Roll T-shirt on.

I have a vague recollection that the shirts were banned in the schools of my hometown, as well. (Again, I was in elementary school at the time; this was the sort of rumor that magically trickled down from the exciting, distant world of the big kids.)

Those who dared wear them — at the grocery store, or Silver Stadium, or at the Fourth of July celebration — seemed just a little dangerous, a little devil-may-care. The sorts of people who listened to loud, clangorous, treasonous rock music that only existed at the very edges of my imagination.

Today, of course, I know the shirt-wearing lumpen were listening to nothing more dangerous than Foreigner and For Those About To Rock We Salute You. Which is to say, nothing particularly dangerous at all.

And the whole “edgy” stunt seems kinda silly in retrospect … both in regards to the people who dreamed it up, and the people who saw it as an affront to the public good.

Still, seeing the “Kick-Ass Rock and Roll” slogan reminded me of growing up — of being that age when you’re just starting to collect diverse information from the teenage and grown-up worlds, and trying to make sense of it all.

As for the radio competition, WCMF won — and in fact is still on the air today, playing hard rock of various vintages.

Having lost the album-rock battle, WMJQ switched sometime around 1984 to a Top 40 format — only to get its arse kicked in that format by Rochester’s preferred Top 40 station, WPXY.

(I was a Q92 listener during the year or two of my life when I liked Top 40, sometime around middle school. Didn’t seem like it helped them much.)

The 92.5 FM frequency finally got occupied by a station capable of owning its niche: country station WBEE.

(The joke around Rochester, apparently, is that the station’s call letters stand for “We’ve Been Everything Else.” It’s a fair cop.)

I guess WBEE’s success means it won’t have to resort to cheap tricks (or Cheap Trick) to attract attention.

Which is good: The high-school principals of Rochester have enough to worry about these days without having to deal with “92.5 FM: Shitkicking Country Hits” T-shirts.