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WFMU-FM is a noncommercial radio station in Jersey City, New Jersey, broadcasting at 91.1 MHz FM using a freeform radio format. It is currently the longest running freeform radio station in the United States.

The station first went on the air on April 24, 1958, and was formerly affiliated with Upsala College, in East Orange, NJ. Shortly before the closing of Upsala College on May 31, 1995, WFMU purchased its license from Upsala, and is now fully independent. It relocated in 1998 to Jersey City, NJ. WFMU's license is now owned by Auricle Communications, a nonprofit group made up of current and former WFMU staff members and listeners. WFMU has a relay station, WXHD, 90.1 MHz FM, broadcasting in the Hudson Valley, NY, the Lower Catskills, NY, Western New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. Along with its traditional radio broadcast, WFMU is broadcast live over the internet in a wide variety of streaming formats and all programming is archived on the website in MP3 for two weeks, then in RealAudio indefinitely. Podcasts of 16 WFMU shows are also available.

WFMU receives absolutely no corporate or government funding, nor does it accept any type of foundation grants. The station is 100% funded by listeners through an annual on-air fundraising marathon as well as a fall record fair and other events. All DJs are unpaid volunteers, some of whom have been with the station since the 70s and 80s.

WFMU was named "Best Radio Station in the Country" by Rolling Stone magazine for four consecutive years in a row, and has also been dubbed the best radio station in either NYC or the US by The Village Voice, New York Press, and CMJ, among others. A New York Times Magazine feature article called WFMU "a station whose name has become like a secret handshake among a certain tastemaking cognoscenti", and cites Velvet Underground founder Lou Reed, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and playwright Eric Bogosian as avowed fans of the station. Other celebrity fans of WFMU include Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant, Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore, The Cars vocalist/record producer Ric Ocasek and television talk-show host Conan O'Brien.

Many national and international media outlets also covered WFMU DJ Glen Jones's successful attempt to break the Guinness World Record for longest consecutive radio broadcast by staying on the air a full 100 hours, 41 seconds.

WFMU's programming ranges from flat-out uncategorizable strangeness to pure rock and roll, lots of "alternative" (although no DJ on the station would ever call it that), psychedelia, experimental, obscure 50's-60's blues, unpopular jazz, R&B, soul, hot-rod music, 78's, 8-tracks, twee indiepop, schlock-a-billy, hip-hop, electronica, hand-cranked wax cylinders, punk rock, exotica, downtown art music, radio improvisation, classic radio airchecks, found sound, comedy, call-in shows, anti-fascist lectures, off-kilter kids' music, interviews with obscure radio personalities, interviews with notable science-world luminaries, spoken word mish-mashes, Andrew Lloyd Webber soundtracks in languages other than english, Gospel and Good Ol' Country Music. The station also hosts a "Listener Hour" every Saturday morning, where any WFMU listener can try their hand at DJ'ing live on the air.

WFMU is credited for playing a large part in the early-90's resurgence of the Exotica and Lounge music phenomenon, via WFMU DJ Irwin Chusid and his role in the re-issue of the music of Esquivel. Chusid also popularized the acceptance of "outsider music" as a genuine musical genre, through his weekly (and now defunct) Incorrect Music show on WFMU. The discovery and popularization of "outsider" artists such as Jandek and The Langley Schools Music Project can be directly attributed to Chusid and his programming on WFMU.

The Air America Radio show The Majority Report had its origins on WFMU in 2003, when Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder appeared as guests on The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling, and as a result of the appearance, were later approached by Air America Radio to host their own show on the fledgling "liberal" radio network.

Although WFMU has traditionally eschewed news oriented programming, the station volunteered its airwaves in 2000 to become the temporary home in the New York area for Amy Goodman's Democracy Now! program (which was renamed Democracy Now! In Exile), after it was "banished" from WBAI and the Pacifica Radio Network during a highly controversial "coup" of WBAI's station management by Pacifica's national Board of Directors.

In a similar example of its stalwart support of community broadcasting, WFMU began hosting the webcast of legendary New Orleans radio station, WWOZ, when its studio and transmitter were destroyed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

The station's past and present on-air DJ lineup has included many notable people from the world of art, music and television, including Saturday Night Live and Late Night with David Letterman comedy writer and creator of Monk, Andy Breckman, country musician Laura Cantrell, Monk television producer/writer Tom Scharpling (who also released the first Portastatic single), R. Stevie Moore ("The father of home-recording"), comic book writer Bronwyn Carlton (Catwoman, The Big Book of Death, Books of Faerie), Vin Scelsa, and Matador Records co-founder Gerard Cosloy.

External links WFMU web site WFMU's Beware of the Blog WFMU podcasts An interview with WFMU station manager Ken Freedman on The Rock and Roll Report "No Hits, All the Time": New York Times article on WFMU (April 11, 1999) "WFMU Exposé by Theresa Stern", Perfect Sound Forever "A brief history of Freeform Radio," WFMU's Lowest Common Denominator magazine "The worst of Irwin Chusid," "N.J. station keeps Crescent City radio afloat," Nashua Telegraph online FM radio stations in the New York City market Based on a list from the New York Radio Guide.

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