Coolest fundraising imaginable

Regular readers of this weblog are undoubtedly tired of my repeated references to WFMU, but the station remains my most vital cultural touchstone (they run one of my favorite weblogs too).

The station (freeform legends since the 1960’s) is a model of how to adapt and thrive in the web era. Every show is archived, and the site has search features that allow you to find shows that have played any of the station’s very eclectic range of artists and bands. They do podcasts too. The cumulative amount of great music and talk on this site is astonishing, and the station’s live feed and archives probably make up half of my listening fodder.

100% free of advertising or underwriting. Its sole means of support is a two-week listener marathon, nearing completion (and nearing its goal). This is as unlike the spirit of the traditional fundraiser as you can imagine — check out this video clip (.avi 12 MB) to get a flavour.

The toughest part for me is deciding which show should get my donation (there is an element of internal competition). This year I decided to throw my money down with Kenny G (pictured above in orange wig) — because his show is so audacious it borders on unlistenable, because he is the driving force behind the awe-inspiring UbuWeb, because I have appropriated his image in the past, and because his premium (singing the hits of theory: Wittgenstein, Adorno, Deleuze, Derrida, etc., all ramped up to a rocking beat) sounds like it could be useful for clearing the house of unwanted guests.

Only two more days of the marathon remain — the finale is the Hoof and Mouth Sinfonia, a five-hour plus jam in which WFMU’s DJ’s sing their favorite tracks backed by a rotating band of other DJs (led by Scott Williams (show, photo), who may well be the coolest man alive). Webcast via a shaky Windows Media stream, the Sinfonia finale is great fun and a huge event at our house — kind of like Super Bowl Sunday for indie radio geeks.

If you want to strike a blow against bland corporate media, you could do worse than chip in a few bucks. If you want to support brilliant, untamed and idiosyncratic radio, you couldn’t do better.

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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8 Responses to Coolest fundraising imaginable

  1. First time tuning in, and it’s a telethon. Sounds like a PBS fundraiser. I’ll check back after the begging’s over to get a better feel for the station… (I think they’ve played 3 songs in the last hour) 🙂

  2. Brian says:

    Some segments are more fundraising oriented than others. If you want to get a feel for the station, check out the arcives, or give the blog a spin.

    They’re in the final push, so if the begging turns you off, you might want to check in on Monday.

  3. Scott Leslie says:

    I thank you for every single post you’ve ever written about WMFU, because everytime you post I go back and listen some more and get turned on to more new and bizarre (in a good way 😉 sounds. I am just listening right now to your man Kenny G’s show featuring Christian Bok ( – who I also have you to thank for turning me onto) and it is just freakin’ weirdly awesome, no other words for it. I will be sending them all my royalty checks when the money starts to pour in.

  4. Jeremy says:

    Sorry, off-topic a bit, but the Museum of Bad Album Covers you Furled today is un-freakin-real. Hilarious!

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