(12XU recording artistes Sweet Talk performing in the WFMU studios, June, 2013. Afterwards, Harpal’s No Trend shirt was auctioned off to purchase a steak for the station manager).
No, this is not a solicitation for Dino Costa’s donation page aka “Will Hate Fuck 4 Food (Or Craft Beer)”. Instead, I’m calling your attention to 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 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 for more than 30 years, 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 infrastructure, WFMU has never been more crucial or fun. Even with the disappearance of a certain Tuesday night program (the less said about the show that replaced it, the better) 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. 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 marketing/branding in ways you’d have previously associated with commercial radio. 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, 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.