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Marathon Man
Gonzo DJ Glen Jones Aims to
Etch His Name in Radio History

by Ian Landau

In his nearly 15 years on the air at WFMU, DJ Glen Jones has carved a niche for himself as the station's resident wild man. During that time, he has used his Sunday-afternoon program as a platform to attempt an array of death-defying -- or just plain ill-advised--stunts, including being smashed over the head with a metal folding chair and hanging from a cable above the Asbury Park boardwalk. But all of his past exploits pale in comparison to his latest quest: to break the Guinness world record for continuous broadcast by a radio DJ.

To take home the crown, Jones must beat U.K. DJ Greg Daines's record of 73 hours, 33 minutes, set in September 2000. Jones's attempt gets under-way 9am Friday 25 and -- if all goes as planned -- will conclude sometime after 10:33am Monday 28.

"I'm somewhat nervous about it", Jones confesses on the phone. "I'm not sure what to expect -- you know, how it's going to feel and all that stuff." The rules, as set by Guinness, are foreboding: No piece of music can exceed six minutes in length (forget about the Doors' "The End"), and although on-air guests are welcome, they cannot speak continuously for longer than a minute. Jones will receive some help in the form of two assistants, who will be on hand at all times to run errands like fetching CDs, food and drinks, and performing one more crucial task: "I'm going to put them under explicit instructions, in all seriousness, to smack me around if necessary, if I start to really fade," he says. Also a rally to boost Jones's spirits is scheduled to take place outside the FMU studios Sunday 27 during his regular noon-to-3pm time slot.

But in the end, it is Jones alone who must fight off sleep (not to mention hallucinations) on his way to a date with history. And no matter how nervous he is now, he says failure is simply not an option. "It's not like I'm going to walk away after it becomes too painful," he declares. "I'm just going to have to put up with whatever I encounter."

Jones signs on the air Friday 25 at 9am on WFMU-FM 91.1. The rally in support of Jones takes place Sunday 27 from noon to 3pm outside the WFMU studios, 43 Montgomery Street in Jersey City, NJ. To get there, take the PATH to Exchange Place. Call 201-521-1416 for further information.

May 24-31, 2001


DJ Wants That Record

Daily News Staff Writer

n an age when deejays are known for saying wacky things, Glen Jones is returning to the golden years when they also did wacky things.

Jones, host of a charmingly nutty three-hour program at noon every Sunday on WFMU (91.1 FM), hopes to spend Memorial Day weekend breaking the Guinness world record for marathon radio broadcasting.

The mark is 73 hours, 33 minutes, set by Greg Daines of Britain last year. Jones goes on the WFMU air Friday at 9 a.m., meaning that if he succeeds, Daines will be the ex-record holder as of 10:34 a.m. Monday.

At least Daines will be well-rested. Jones will most likely be a semi-delirious wreck.

"I expect it will be painful," says Jones, whose day job is with Court TV. "But once [station manager] Ken Freedman agreed, I couldn't resist.

"It's like one of those great old-time radio stunts. And I'd love to be in the Guinness Book of World Records. You know, bring the championship back to the U.S. where it belongs."

Breaking a Guinness record isn't some casual thing you just show up and do. There are very explicit rules. No musical recording can be longer than six minutes or shorter than two. Nothing can be prerecorded. If WFMU had ads, news or traffic, Jones could run those. Because it doesn't, he can't.

He expects that after the first 24 hours, caffeine will be his good friend. He has also lined up call-ins from radio people such as Dan Ingram, and there will be a stream of visitors.

He's done some training. On the advice of sleep experts, he has had his sleeping patterns logged. But because sleep can't be banked, all he can really do is daydream about how good it will feel to go to bed on Monday.



Wake Up, Glen Jones!

WFMU-FM D.J. Glen Jones has done some scary things to attract listeners. "I was lowered from the top of the Howard Johnson's in Asbury Park on a rope," he said. "I lit myself on fire. I suffered some pretty severe burns from that. And one time I invited listeners to hit me over the head with metal chairs." All were endured in the interest of attracting attention to the one-of-a-kind free-form radio station that's based in Jersey City, N.J.

On Memorial Day weekend, Mr. Jones will attempt what you might call a more mature, but no less frightening, publicity stunt. He will attempt to get himself and his beloved radio station into the Guinness Book of World Records by broadcasting for 73 hours and 33 minutes straight.

There are all sorts of questions about what "straight" means and what "broadcasting" means, so the first thing Mr. Jones did, he hired a lawyer. "They have some very strict rules," he said. Every song has to be between two and six minutes long, and guests on the show can't talk for more than one minute without Mr. Jones saying something. His lawyer advised him to have two witnesses on hand at all times, and to collect two letters of recommendation from prominent people attesting to the fact that Mr. Jones actually is the kind of honest person who really would stay up for 74 straight hours.

Mr. Jones isn't doing too much to prepare himself. He's been "working on focusing," he said, and cutting down on coffee. "I tend to drink a lot," he said, "but I've stopped drinking." He's not too worried about what's going to happen to him after 74 straight hours awake. "I'm told I'll start hallucinating and stuff. But that'll be the interesting part of the program," sort of like watching Jerry Lewis lose it on Labor Day.

And if he drifts off and doesn't break the record? "I'm not going to let that happen," Mr. Jones said. "If it ever did, I would slip into a major-league depression. "

The important question, of course, is when will Mr. Jones use the bathroom? "I have a 15-minute break every eight hours," he said (thank his lawyer for that). "Otherwise, I'm just going to have to hold it." And if nature calls during the show? "We might use the trucker's technique if necessary," he said, which involves utilizing the nearest empty receptacle. "But that's a little degrading."

- Ian Blecher



WFMU dj Glen Jones will attempt to set a new world record for continous broadcasting starting Friday morning at 9am.WFMU is located at 43 Montgomery St. in Jersey City.The public is invited to witness the show on Sunday May 27th between noon and 3pm.



DJ will play everything (except lullabies)

No matter what time you hit the sack Friday night, you'll beat Glen Jones. In fact, Jones will still be awake when you get up Saturday morning.And Sunday morning.

Monday, too, if all goes according to plan.

In the tradition of wacky radio- DJ stunts, the host of Jersey City- based station WFMU's (91.1 FM) "The Glen Jones Radio Programme" is out to break the Guinness Book of World Records' "radio DJ marathon" record.

Staying on the air for longer than 73 hours and 33 minutes probably falls somewhere in the middle of Guinness Book challenges -- easier than running a three-minute mile but harder than swallowing goldfish or packing your frat brothers into a phone booth.

Remember how blotto you felt the last time you had to stay up for, say, 24 hours? Dizzy, no energy, irrational giggling, inability to focus. All you wanted to do was close your eyes.

Now imagine, at that point, someone telling you that you had to stay up another 50 hours. You'd slap that person silly -- if you thought you could raise your hand that high.

"It's gonna be painful," Jones concedes. "I expect it to hurt. But it's also a way of doing something grandiose in radio."

As a self-professed radio junkie, he likes that part. He grew up on the likes of WABC's Dan Ingram and Cousin Brucie, both of whom are among the radio personalities who will be calling in to help him stay awake.

Jones and WFMU station manager Ken Freedman hatched the idea in March during the station's fund drive. "We stated on the air that if . . . I raised $20,000, we would do this," says Jones.

Listeners ponied up $24,000, and now it's his turn.

As it turns out, the Guinness folks have strict and specific rules designed to make sure the contestant does not sneak in any inappropriate sleep. Nothing can be pre-recorded. He can't have a co-host (except during his standing noon-to-3 Sunday slot, when his regular co-host, X-Ray Burns, can join him). No song can last longer than six minutes. Since WFMU (the sole surviving vestige of Upsala College) is noncommercial, he can't even break for ads, news and weather.

"We're being very careful," says Jones, 39, whose day job is programming for Court-TV radio. "We have a lawyer advising us." As for what he expects by Sunday or Monday, "punchy" won't begin to describe it. Neither will "delirious."

"Nuts," on the other hand, may be redundant.

"Close friends think I'm crazy -- but they already knew that," he says. "A few are worried about physical or mental harm. But I don't believe there are any risks, beyond just collapsing. Tests on mice and rats have shown sleeplessness causes brain lesions. But not in humans."

Not surprisingly, Jones admits to an "obsessive" nature. He snagged his first radio gig at 16 as a professional wrestling correspondent with Newark station WHBI, and soon he was hosting his own disco show on that station.

Trouble was, it was broadcast at 2 a.m. out of New York. So his mom drove him and "sat in the car while I did my shift."


"She knew I was determined and that if she didn't drive me, I'd venture into the city alone."

He says he's "confident" he will succeed although he has a few fallback systems lined up. The station's staff has been instructed to "slap me if necessary." He has "a timer that goes off with a blast," a device used by long-distance truckers. And full- spectrum lights "to trick my system into thinking it's daylight."

But there will be no coffee until Saturday -- "not even one cup." Caffeine will be more effective, he figures, if he waits until he really needs it.

In contrast with marathon runners, Jones says, there's only so much training he can do -- ratcheting up his general fitness, getting more sleep.

But you can't put sleep in the bank, so mostly "it's mental training, getting psyched up, finding out what people do to stay awake. In casinos, they pipe oxygen into the room. Maybe I'll get an oxygen tank in here."

He's also hoping to get a boost from a rally at the studio Sunday and from the warm feeling of knowing that, since his bid will be streamed live on www.wfmu.org, people all over the world "will be able to watch me fall apart."

And, with luck, bring another world record home to New Jersey.

Fran Wood is a Star-Ledger columnist.



WFMU Marathon Radio DJ Broadcast 

Listen in as WFMU DJ Glen Jones tries to break the Guinness World Record for longest radio broadcast.

WFMU (91.1 FM) Radio
43 Montgomery St.
 Jersey City, NJ
When: 9:00 am Friday, May 25

Event Profile

The Skinny
You've gotta love WFMU (91.1 FM) for being such a wigged-out weigh station for all that's wacky and weird. As a listener-supported station, it's become world-renowned for its way-out programming and devotion to the radio arts. With this, however, they're upping their own considerably high ante.

The lowdown is this: Starting on Friday at 9am, DJ Glen Jones will try to break the Guinness World Record for longest marathon broadcast. The current record is 73 hours and 33 minutes, held by a guy from the U.K. To break that, Jones will have to last till Monday at 10:33am. And there are rules: No song can be shorter than two minutes or longer than six minutes, and invited guests can speak no longer than one minute without Jones saying something. And since WFMU is listener-supported, he doesn't have the luxury of some past record-holders to sit back while newsreaders and commercial breaks fill the air.

If listening's not good enough for you, fans are invited to a rally for Jones, to be held at the WFMU studios on Sunday, May 27, from noon to 3pm.

Andy Battaglia

May 22, 2001

You can "post reviews" on this article by clicking here.
So go spread the gospel according to Jonesey!



Raymond A. Edel

Could DJ be the air apparent?

WFMU-FM's (91.1) Glen Jones is hoping to have a memorable Memorial Day.

Beginning 9 a.m. next Friday, Jones will attempt to enter the Guinness Book of World Records by breaking the longest continuous broadcast by an individual.

Jones, a former Kearny resident, must stay awake and continue broadcasting through 10:33 a.m. Memorial Day to set the mark.

The record, held by Greg Daines of the United Kingdom, is 73 hours, 33 minutes.

Jones must adhere to Guinness rules: No song can be shorter than two minutes or longer than six minutes; guests cannot talk longer than one minute without Jones chiming in.

The Jersey City-based station will hold a rally to support Jones noon to 3p.m. May 27 at its Montgomery Street studio.

The Record - May 18, 2001


Glen Jones: Last Man Standing

WFMU DJ Attempts to Set New World Record

DJ Glen Jones, of Renegade Public Radio Station WFMU prepares Memorial Day Marathon Broadcast commencing 9am May 25, 2001.

Critically acclaimed public radio station WFMU (91.1 FM) hosts the first ever U.S. attempt to break the currently held Guinness Book World Record for "Radio DJ Marathon." The current record is 73 hours, 33 minutes held by Greg Daines of the United Kingdom. Over Memorial Day weekend, that record is expected to be shattered by insurgent DJ Glen Jones. The quest will commence May 25th at 9am EST and to be successful, Jones must stay awake and continue broadcasting until at least Monday, May 28th 10:33am EST. The event will be simulcast live on the Internet at http://www.wfmu.org/jones/jonesmain.html.

The rules as set forth by the Guinness Book are as follows: no song can be shorter than 2 minutes or longer than 6 minutes. Invited guests cannot talk for longer than one minute without Jones chiming in. Although past contenders to the title have had the luxury of a break 15 minutes an hour for news and 8 minutes for commercials, unfortunately for Jones, WFMU as a public station, has neither.

This is truly a feat of Olympic proportion. In preparation for the challenge, Jones has taken up a rigorous 6 month regimen, the details of which remain classified.

"The Glen Jones Radio Programme" regularly broadcasts Sundays from Noon to 3pm on WFMU and its affiliate stations, as well as worldwide over the Internet on www.wfmu.org. The show has developed more than just a cult audience of adoring music fanatics. With a passion for the eclectic, vintage Rock & Roll, irreverent chit chat and a lethal dose of attitude, the show has become a must-listen for any serious pop culture fan.

The public is invited to witness world history in the making at a rally during Jones' regularly scheduled programming: noon - 3pm on Sunday, May 27. WFMU is located at 43 Montgomery Street in Jersey City, NJ. Listeners are encouraged to bring signs, canned goods, bedpans, Taylor Ham, coffee, and anything else they think will help to support Jones as he attempts to obliterate the previously held record for "Radio DJ Marathon."

New Media Music (newmediamusic.com) - May 11, 2001


New York City
Eva Neuberg

Radio Daze

"I'm not really concerned about Glen's physical health, so much as his mental health."

WFMU station manager Ken Freedman is talking about Glen Jones, whose past stunts include inviting listeners at a live broadcast to hit him over the head with chairs (result: one black eye, one mild concussion), having himself suspended in mid-air above the Asbury Park boardwalk (the same trick that killed wrestler Owen Hart) and setting himself on fire.

Now Jones is aiming for a less fleeting kind of fame - a place in the Guinness World Records. Starting the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, he'll attempt to break the record of 73 hours and 33 minutes in the "Longest Radio DJ Marathon" category, currently held by Brit Greg Daines. Jones wants to bring the record "back to America where it belongs," and in order to put the title out of reach he'll be aiming for something like 100 continuous hours on the air.

What's so hard about that? you're probably thinking. A little "In A Gadda Da Vida," a little "Midnight Rambler," a couple of tracks from Songs for Swingin' Lovers, and he's all set. But the Guinness rules specify no songs longer than six minutes, and Jones must either introduce or back-announce every single track. In other words, he'll be going 103 hours - or as close to it as he can get - without sleep of more than, say, five minutes 45 seconds in duration.

And no speed, either. "I assume if it's illegal, Guinness won't be into it," Jones says. In fact, he'd like to do the first 24 hours "clean," which is to say, without even caffeine.

"What's going to happen is that Glen will fall into what the researchers call 'microsleeps,'" says Freedman. "The risk is that when he's woken up he'll be disoriented - he'll forget where he is and what he's there for."

So Jones' studio "helpers" may have to put the mic in front of him and tell him when to punch the buttons - but Guinness rules state they can't do much more.

Jones, 39, is a radio producer for Court TV. He's been doing radio since he was 16. On the air at WFMU since 1986, he's received two New York Press "Best of" awards (including "Best Non-Commercial DJ" in 1995), and is sanguine about the possible consequences of his stunt.

"I spoke to the doctors and they say there's really no risk to the human from staying up too much. In mice and in cats it causes brain lesions and stuff, but in humans I'm told there're no long-term effects."

Jones has already booked veteran radio jocks Dan Ingram and Meg Griffin, as well as the ubiquitous Joe Franklin, to provide on-air encouragement, and he's trying to line up more "people that would inspire me," like Chuck Wepner, the glutton for punishment and real-life model for Rocky Balboa who went 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali in 1975.

Does Jones have a special "training diet" in preparation for his feat?

"Some people have said to eat raw foods, some just meat, and everything in between. One guy said to do it entirely on Gatorade... It might be funny to just eat normally, which for me would be ham sandwiches, mashed potatoes, things like that."

While Daines, the current record-holder, started his 73 hour-plus broadcast with the Boo Radleys' "Wake Up Boo" and ended with Spandau Ballet's "Gold," Jonesey's tastes are slightly different. There won't be a final decision until the last minute, but he's considering the topical "Rock Around the Clock" (either the original Bill Haley or the Sex Pistols' version) and maybe Arlo Guthrie's "City of New Orleans." Whether the attempt to break the record is successful or not, as Jones says, "it'll certainly be less damaging than a lot of other stupid things I've done."

Volume 14, Issue 19


Motor-Mouth Revs for Record

Daily News Staff Writer

len Jones, wacky Sunday afternoon host on WFMU (91.1 FM), will spend Memorial Day weekend trying to break the Guinness Record for marathon broadcasting.

The record, held by Greg Daines of the United Kingdom, is 73 hours, 33 minutes.

Jones, who will go on the air at 9 a.m. May 25, says he is "talking with a sleep-deprivation center to get some tips.… I also hope to be as prepared as possible with music and guests. If I knew I'd be talking with Dan Ingram in an hour, maybe it would help keep me going."

Under the rules, no song can be shorter than two minutes or longer than six. Guests can't talk for longer than a minute without Jones saying something. Hosts can break 15 minutes an hour for news and eight for commercials, but that doesn't help Jones. WFMU has neither.

Jones says one of his themes will be bringing this title back to the USA, "where it belongs." Station manager Ken Freedman says 'FMU will videotape and Webcast the whole thing.

LOW-POWER, LOW IMPACT: The FCC has approved a new low-power FM plan, one that — per the mandate of Congress — severely limits the originally proposed number of new stations. The National Association of Broadcasters convinced Congress that too many stations would clutter the airwaves.

New York applications have been taken, but few are likely around the city.

The new FCC guidelines also forbid giving an LPFM license to anyone who ever operated an unlicensed station.

Original Publication Date: 4/4/01