(from Flickr user graciepoo)
The greatest radio station in America, if not the world, is probably WFMU in New Jersey. Their listener-supported, non-commercial, free-form format specializes in exploring music on the fringe and for decades has been a major trendsetter in music (put it this way: it’s Lou Reed’s favorite radio station and Jeff Magnum used to be a DJ there). This station plays some of the most interesting music I’ve ever heard: you can listen online here.
The operating expense of running a midsize radio station outside New York comes to roughly $1.2 million, and FMU makes that money almost entirely during a mammoth two-week pledge drive (think of it as the super-cool cousin of a PBS pledge week, complete with swag-for-donations and impassioned pleas on the air), currently four days from conclusion. The station has made $800,000 as of this moment, but they need a big push to cover a variety of unexpected additional fees that have come up this year. FMU is putting in a booster transmitter in New York that must be completed by August, so their signal can reach Brooklyn (so do it for Alix and Michelle, if not for me), and are working out tenant issues and other affairs (hear station manager Ken’s “State of the Station” address here).
Donations can be made here. And be sure to tune in to WFMU on Friday night from 8-11 to hear the one and only Yo La Tengo do their annual marathon pledge-for-covers event. The premise is simple: you donate and request any song (and they’ll do almost any song) and YLT will cover it right then and there on the air. It’s a fantastic show.