I spend a lot of time blasting commercial rock radio, and for good reason I believe. It is ad driven instead of music driven, it is devoid of personality, it caters to the lowest common denominator and it plays the same songs over and over again. That being said, non-commercial radio still holds out some hope for all of us who actually care about radio (and I do actually give a shit about the medium). From my very own CKUT FM here in Montreal which broadcasts an amazing array of programming serving a population that is not adequately served by “mainstream” media to stations like KCRW and the Pacifica Network, non-commercial radio is frequently challenging, often frustrating but never boring, just what good radio should be, and at the top of the heap in my opinion sits WFMU, gazing down regally at us all with a slightly bemused smirk on its face.
To me, WFMU embodies everything that is great about radio. Featuring a mind boggling array of programming that is astonishing in its depth and let’s face it weirdness, WFMU continues to fly the freeform flag proudly while existing solely due to the support of its listeners. And unlike other non-commercial stations that run fund raising events throughout the year, WFMU runs their fundraising marathon just once, and now is the time.
From February 25th until March 9th, 2008 WFMU is holding out their hand to their listeners, fans and people who just like to support freaky institutions for their annula fund raising extravaganza. And WFMU is truly an institution as this is the 50th anniversary of the station. Whether you are into garage punk, Tahitian guitar music, reggae, warped country and bluegrass and numerous other “genres” of music, ‘FMU probably plays it. And if listening to them online at www.wfmu.org won’t convince you, perhaps a flip through the utterly fascinating and borderline psychotic The Best of LCD: The Art and Writing of WFMU will.
Recently published by Raincoast Books, The Best of LCD is as eclectic as the station it portrays featuring a number of articles, comics and just plain weirdness from “FMU’s defunct program guide LDC (Lowest Common Denominator). Chock full of amazingly interesting portraits of zany DJs from the ‘50s, guides to the best “Anti-Rock” books and a still accurate diatribe against commercial rock radio, The Best of LCD is a worthy read and perfect for that well stocked bathroom.
If you care about radio, I urge you to make a pledge towards WFMU where freeform radio is not just a slogan; it’s a way of life. Here’s to another 50 years of WFMU, arguably the greatest radio station on the planet.