I’ve been a huge fan of WFMU, the longstanding free-form radio station based in New Jersey, for years.
I first discovered the station when we were researching a documentary on Gordon Thomas, the now 96-year-old singer/songwriter from NYC. Irwin Chusid, a longtime WFMU DJ and fellow GT enthusiast, agreed to be interviewed for our doc, and the station was kind enough to let us film there.
Whenever we were in NYC for the shoot, we’d always listen to the station. Being the technologically challenged person I am, I only realized later that it also broadcasts online, and I could listen to it at home as well.
It’s characterized by a genuinely free-form musical mix, as well as by DJs who really know and care about the music they’re playing. Some of them have been hosting their shows for decades and specialize in rare and obscure music through the ages, although the station also stays current with interesting things going on today across all genres. The Cherry Blossom Clinic with Terre T, Gaylord Fields, Transpacific Sound Paradise and Irwin’s show are some of my favourites. Aside from music, they also have a lot of amazing talk-radio personalities, from Tom Scharpling’s venerable comic extravaganza The Best Show on WFMU to Dave Emory’s weekly hour of conspiracy theorizing. They even play host to Canada’s own beloved Nardwuar.
In the recent Sandy storm, WFMU’s transmittors were knocked out (the station continued to broadcast online, with DJs spinning from their homes, until they were repaired) and their annual record fair, a major source of income, had to be cancelled.
The station has had its own funding drive going on, but I banded together with some sympathetic Montrealers to put on a show to raise a few bucks to pitch in.
It goes down Friday, January 4 – giving you plenty of time to recover from New Year’s Eve shenanigans – at L’Escogriffe (4467 St-Denis, corner Mont-Royal). Confirmed so far are The Pouteens (featuring Bloodshot Bill), Baked Goods, Giselle Numba One, the WP (with secret surprise guest member) and very special guests No Negative (a Montreal noise-punk supergroup featuring members of Holy Cobras, Black Feelings, Thee Nodes, and Total Crush).
If you’re in town, I hope you come out – it’ll be a good show for a good cause, at the unbeatable rockonomic price of $5.