There is an interesting spot on the FM
(all typos left intact (SIC),
Piscataway High School "Chieftan", spring 1980)
WFMU Staff Photo, circa 1978-79
NEWARK STAR-LEDGER (Apr? 1982)
'N' ALL THAT JAZZ
Free form is key to WFMU's appeal
"I know people get weary of public broadcasters asking for money," says Bruce Longstreet, station manager of WFMU (91.1 FM), "but unlike other stations, we only ask for money twice a year and $60,000 is far less than most stations ask for. We try our best to make every nickel go as far as it can and to not ask our listeners for more than we absolutely need."
WFMU is not a jazz station, but it has a format that is kindred in spirit to jazz improvising. That format is called Free Form Radio, and it is an endangered species.
Free Form Radio is exactly what it sounds like: radio free of programming and format constraints. When you listen to WFMU you never know what you might hear, as sounds from all over the musical map constantly erupt in no logical order. But that's the charm of WFMU. It's a station that constantly surprises you.
It's also one of the only radio stations I know with a real sense of humor, a sense of humor that is not afraid to poke fun at established music or at listeners.
WFMU is in the midst of its annual Marathon fund drive, featuring non-stop broadcasting through next Sunday featuring prizes and premiums for pledges of financial support to the station.
There will also be live music specials during the Marathon, including a session Saturday at 3 p.m. by jazz guitarist Jimmy Ponder.
Other live highlights include a guitar duel after midnight on Tuesday featuring R. Stevie Moore and Fred Frith and a live set of Christian folk music Saturday morning.
A series of benefits for the station will also take place at the Dirt Club in Bloomfield, with the first one scheduled for Tuesday night from 7 p.m.
That concert will feature four original rock bands from this area, including The Jitterz, The Individuals, Khmer Rouge and Band of Outsiders.
The concert will be taped and highlights will be played on WFMU during the Marathon.
Three other benefit concerts are also scheduled for the Dirt Club in May.
On Friday, May 7, El Futuro, The Humans from Earth, Quake at Lima and the Whyo's will perform, beginning at 8 p.m.
On Saturday afternoon a special benefit for fans under 19 – with no alcoholic beverages sold – will be held at the Dirt Club at 2 p.m. Performing will be Adrenalin O.D., Ambulance, Network, and Ted Stilles & Bhang.
The last benefit will be at 8 p.m. that night, and will feature Blind Dog Stares, Kid Eldeen, Shox Lumania and TV Toy.
If you believe that radio can be creative and formats can be free form, tune in to WFMU this week, listen to what can happen on truly free radio, and consider supporting it.
–George Kanzler, Star-Ledger