Thursday, February 23, 2012

WFMU's 2012 Music Marathon On Now, with Treats Galore

Here's a bit of a promotional plug... not for me or this blog, but for radio station WFMU in Jersey City, NJ. For decades it has proudly called itself the "free-form station of the nation," and has lived up to that name by serving up a mix of news and talk that defies labels such as "eclectic" or "bizarre."

WFMU (91.1 FM and streaming at is now conducting its annual Marathon, a nearly two-week fundraising drive that features plenty of guest musicians and other treats. The legendary Yo La Tengo will once again sit in on a show later in the drive (March 2nd, between 9 p.m. and Midnight), acting as a live jukebox as it plays requests from pledgers in the WFMU studios.

WFMU's 2012 Marathon has lifted off and is looking for your help.

WFMU features knowledgeable, experienced DJs (Irene Trudel and Terre T. are two of my current favorites; famed rock DJ Vin Scelsa of long-gone WNEW-FM got his start at FMU). These on-air personalities work without pay and often bring in their own music.

If you're looking for diverse programming that's the opposite of that corporate schlock that's programmed by a computer, WFMU is the place to go. You won't find show names like "Inflatable Squirrel Carcass," "Strength through Failure," "Shut Up, Weirdo," and "Music to Spazz By" on your local Clear Channel affiliate. (See WFMU's full winter schedule here, with links to archives and sample shows).

That's not to say that some of the programs might irritate you or make your ears bleed, but half the fun is cruising around the station's extensive online archives and playlists and finding out what you like. Or even better, listening to things you've never heard of before.

One of the CD premiums from this year's WFMU Marathon.

WFMU also has some rather clever premiums for its Marathon that are much more interesting than most public radio fare. Yes, there are tote bags and t-shirts, but the best stuff of all is the one-of-a-kind music collections that you won't find anywhere else. (See the WFMU premiums and the special DJ's premiums.)

Then there's WFMU's unique history of being a college radio station that survived on its own when the college went out of business, but that's a story for another post (which I wrote here).

Above: Kurt Cobain perusing WFMU's first "Catalog of Curiosities" during some on-stage downtime.

Listen in to WFMU at 91.1 FM in the NYC area, WMFU at 90.1 in the Hudson Valley, or at and support the station if you like what you hear.

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