WFMU-FM is a listener-supported, non-commercial radio station broadcasting at 91.1 Mhz FM in Jersey City, NJ, right across the Hudson from lower Manhattan. It is currently the longest running freeform radio station in the United States.
The station also broadcasts to the Hudson Valley and Lower Catskills in New York, Western New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania via its 90.1 signal at WMFU in Mount Hope, NY. The station maintains an extensive online presence at WFMU.ORG which includes live audio streaming in several formats, over 8 years of audio archives, podcasts and a popular blog.
Rolling Stone Magazine, The Village Voice, CMJ and the New York Press have all at one time or another called WFMU “the best radio station in the country” and the station has also been the subject of feature stories in The New York Times and on the BBC. In recent years the station has gained a large international following due its online operations and counts Simpson’s creator Matt Groening, film director Jim Jarmusch and Velvet Underground founder Lou Reed, among others, as devoted fans of the station.
WFMU’s programming ranges from flat-out uncategorizable strangeness to rock and roll, experimental music, 78 RPM Records, jazz, psychedelia, hip-hop, electronica, hand-cranked wax cylinders, punk rock, gospel, exotica, R&B, radio improvisation, cooking instructions, classic radio airchecks, found sound, dopey call-in shows, interviews with obscure radio personalities and notable science-world luminaries, spoken word collages, Andrew Lloyd Webber soundtracks in languages other than English as well as Country and western music.
All of the station’s programming is controlled by individual DJs and is not beholden to any type of station-wide playlist or rotation schedule. Experimentation, spontaneity and humor are among the station’s most frequently noted distinguishing traits. WFMU does not belong to any existing public radio network, and close to 100% of its programming originates at the station.
Periodically, the station holds board meetings which are open to the public. More information can be found here.
Frequently Asked Questions
HOW DOES WFMU RECEIVE ITS FUNDING?
To sustain our commitment to independent radio, WFMU’s primary source of support comes from listener contributions made during our annual on-air fundraising marathonand revenue generated from our annual Record Fair. WFMU does not accept underwriting or corporate sponsorships. We receive some support from foundations and government grants, as long as they do not contain conditions that determine our programming content or restrict our independence.
WFMU is not a member of any public radio networks nor are we affiliated with any colleges or institutions. Shortly before the closing of Upsala College on May 31, 1995, WFMU purchased the broadcasting license from them and is now fully independent. At the cost of accepting the burden of ghastly new expenses, WFMU’s autonomy opened great new opportunities for high media subversion. WFMU’s license is now owned by Auricle Communications, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group managed by current and former WFMU staff members and listeners.
HOW CAN I LISTEN TO WFMU ON THE WEB?
Our signal is now available live, free of charge, over the web! See our audio page atwfmu.org/ssaudionet.shtml for more info and updates.
WHY ISN’T MY FAVORITE SHOW ON THE AIR ANYMORE?
WFMU changes its programming schedule twice a year, usually in October and June. There are many reasons why shows may not appear on new schedules, but the most common reason of all is that the DJ simply wanted to take a break. But there are many other reasons as well, and sometimes the DJ’s reason is personal and therefore not made public. As Program Director, Ken Freedman also occasionally takes programs off the schedule temporarily to allow for flexibility and to afford newer shows the same opportunity older shows were once given – the chance to get on the air in the first place. For more detailed explanations of why particular shows are not on the air, it’s recommended to e-mail Ken Freedman directly
HOW DO I REACH THE STATION
For individual staff members, see our staff contact page at wfmu.org/staff.html
Our snail-mail address is:
PO Box 2011
Jersey City, NJ 07303
Station Manager and Program Director: Ken Freedman
Assistant General Manager: Liz Berg
Music Director: Brian Turner
Volunteer Director: Scott Williams
Listener Services Director / Swag Inquiries: Joe McGasko
Technology Director: Jeff Moore
Licensing: Andrea Silenzi
Folks wishing to have their music reviewed should send packages to Brian Turner at PO Box 5101, Hoboken, NJ 07030.
On-air call-in number: (201) 209-9368
Studio telephone: (201) 200-9368
Office telephone: (201) 521-1416
IS THERE A PROGRAM GUIDE?
WFMU used to produce a program guide, “Lowest Common Denominator” (LCD) It featured strange articles on radio and records, and comics, and more. LCD is not currently being published, but when WFMU’s schedule changes, a notice is posted towfmu.org. Our current on-air schedule can always be viewed here.
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH WFMU’S BEWARE OF THE BLOG?
WFMU’s Beware of the Blog is chock full of articles, MP3s, movies and more, all assembled by a consortium of WFMU staff members and listeners. The blog has a search engine window on it, which will help you track down older articles. We’re always looking for new authors for the blog. If you would like to become an author and you have some experience blogging, e-mail Station Manager Ken.
WHERE ARE MY GOODIES PROMISED FOR MY MARATHON PLEDGE?
Contact our Tchotchke Services Department at (201) 521-1416 X229, or e-mail and we’ll get to the bottom of it. Our marathon fulfillment does not immediately follow our March fundraisers. We usually gather together a small army and do our mail-outs of prizes, t-shirts etc. during the spring and summer, and we very much appreciate your patience and pledging!
HOW DO I GET ON THE AIR?
We are entirely open to new ideas to enhance our freeform programming, though the scene here for new DJs is pretty competitive. Program Director Ken Freedman will review any tapes sent in, and is the point of contact for any kind of interest in getting involved with the station in an on-air context. A basic cornerstone of the audition process for WFMU is to basically get involved with the station’s off-air activities (and even then there is no sure guarantee of an airshift). We rely a lot on volunteers to keep the day-to-day office operations continuing; so if you can give us some of your time either at the station or at our various functions (benefits, record fairs, etc.) that would be a good way to begin. To do basic volunteer work here at WFMU, contact our Volunteer Director at the phone number or email address listed above.
HOW DO I FIND A SONG PLAYED?
You can start by using our Time Search Page, which will help you figure out whose show you heard the song on. Best bet is to contact the individual DJ who spun the track, and to do that you can refer to our staff list at wfmu.org/staff.html. Some of our jocks post their playlists on a weekly basis onto the playlists page of the web.
HOW DO I GET AN EVENT PLUGGED ON AIR?
Public Service announcements can be sent to the mailing address above, noting: “Attn: PSA Department”. We ask that all PSA’s are sent typed, and as far in advance of specific events as possible.
Non-public service events can also be mailed to WFMU at the address above, or emailed to Brian Turner. We will include them in our events folders if we feel they pertain to our listeners and their interests.
DOES WFMU TAKE RECORD DONATIONS?
Absolutely. Please contact Station Manager Ken at (201) 521-1416 X225 or email him. Also, WFMU can issue certificates of donation for tax purposes.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WFMU MESSAGE BOARD?
The WFMU Message Board ran from 1999 until September 2006. It was ultimately removed due to lack of staff and listener participation, which was due in part to the fact that the board had been overrun with spam.