(from 2013 : Lamont Thomas and Elijah Vasquez of Cleveland, OH’s Obnox react to the news they’ll be using microphones once touched by someone who’d met someone who once hung out with Adrenalin O.D.)
There’s no better way to distract yourself from the craven, creepy meat-marketing that is Austin’s annual tech/film/music trade fair than by focusing your attention on Jersey City’s venerable WFMU, and their annual fund raising marathon. Keep in mind, this is the station that ended my own radio career in the most inglorious (if not brutally unfair) way, so I must really really love the fuckers to death to continue shilling for them.
I don’t listen to enough other radio — online or otherwise — to say with authority that WFMU is the nation’s (or the world’s) best broadcaster. But as someone who’s been listening to the station for longer than some of you have been able to scratch yourselves, I will say this much : in an era in which there’s myriad options that all but guarantee you’ll never encounter something you dislike, a genre you’re unfamiliar with or an artist that lacks the backing of a colossal/rigged infrastructure, WFMU has never been more crucial or fun. Even with the disappearance of a certain Tuesday night program two years ago, WFMU’s cavalcade of hosts have the ability to entertain, educate and enrage, sometimes within the confines of the same show/hour/set.
I live in a house surrounded by more interesting records than I’ll ever have time to listen to, yet I still find myself listening to WFMU when I get up, in the middle of the afternoon, driving around town or at the end of the night. At any given moment I might hear an amazing song I’ve not even thought of in years. Or I might hear something (old or new) that I’ve never come across that’s nothing short of mind-blowing.
Is every show the greatest listening experience of all time? Absolutely not (HELLO, DAVE HILL). But the vast majority are programmed by the sort of insane music obsessives that have the sort of wit, zeal, perspective that no algorithm can ever hope to replace. To say this type of broadcasting is not exactly in vogue would be a huge understatement — even so-called public radio is tightly playlisted, genre-specific and fixated on branding in ways you’d have previously associated with commercial radio (or sterilization via pesticide exposure). So give what you can ; they only do the shakedown thing once (ok, sometimes twice) a year and given the amounts people are dropping on cable, netflix, hulu, various music subscription services, Nintendo Switch, washed coffee beans, Zosia Mamet’s kickstarter etc., throwing a few bucks at WFMU isn’t the least you could do (that would be giving them no money at all), but please consider it just the same.