Freeform Timeline
Sometime in 1863:
First rumored use of wireless transmission during Civil War by Union troops transmitting morse code from a hot air balloon to a ground station. This claim has never been substantiated.
Sometime in 1892:
Rainey T. Wells becomes first radio listener when friend Nathan Stubblefield of Murray, KY, transmits words, "Hello Rainey" throught the air via mysterious "black box." In the subsequent days and years, many others witness Stubblefield's radio transmissions.
June 9, 1934:
Maj. Edwin Armstrong's first test of FM from roof of Empire State Building. Despite sensational results. David Sarnoff/RCA and World War II manage to keep FM under wraps until war's end.

    1. April 24, 1958:
WFMU's first ever broadcast. Nothing is known about it. For its first ten years, WFMU serves Upsala College students, broadcasting lectures, Lutheran services, classical music, jazz and international music.


2. Feb 27, 1962:
Lou "The Duck" D'Antonio begins broadcasting on WFMU, 1962 (He retired from WFMU in 1990.)
Terry Lapham
3. May, 1962:
FCC ponders congestion on AM dial, conceives of FM non-duplication rule to force FM stations to cease mere transmission of AM sister stations.

   
4. July, 1962:
RCA engineers transcribe erroneous government figure re: terrain measurements in WFMU power boost application, triggering four-year "Border Skirmish" beginning 1989. WFMU applies to FCC to incrase power from 10 to 1440 watts, and the increase goes into effect in 1965, giving little WFMU what the FCC calls "Class A" radio coverage of NYC.
Walt Dafter, Station Manager, 1969 5. November 9, 1963:
The first fundraising "marathon" on non-commercial radio (or TV, for that matter) on Lorenzo Milam's KRAB. The goal was $1000 in 42 hours. They made it. Milam felt sullied afterwards, for he knew what was to become of his concept. Prior to this marathon, Pacifica stations (and KRAB) had raised money through low-level, year round membership announcements.



6. July 1, 1965:
FCC "prohibits" FM stations from simulcasting more than 50% of programming of parent AM affiliates, paving way for FM rock radio, 1965 (effectively enforced 1/1/67).
 
7. July 6, 1965:
WBAI staff walks out in dispute over news department censorship, 1965; programming void filled by Steve Post, Larry Josephson and Bob Fass, who usher in WBAI's golden age of freeform (1965-1972).
Steve Post

8. November 20, 1965:
Steve Post's fabled programThe Outside debuts on WBAI.


9. July 30, 1966:
WOR-FM(NY), blaring Troggs' "Wild Thing" becomes first US "progressive rock" outlet; "counter-cultural" programming pre-recorded fro first 3 months; format lasts one year.
  10. April7, 1967:
Tom Donahue begins progressive programming on KMPX, San Francisco, declaring, "no jingles, no talkovers, no time and temp, no pop singles," initiating underground commercial rock radio.
11. October 21, 1967:
WOR-FM drops freeform; Scott Muni and other progressive DJs bolt for WNEW-FM.
Chuck Lundgren with new
transmitter, 1969

12. November 4, 1967:
First WFMU Freeform show, Vin Scelsa's The Closet,debuts (midnight-6am).
Station staffers/commie running dogs protest 13. March 18, 1968:
Tom Donahue and KMPX air staff go on strike, 1968; staff soon moves over to KSAN.


14. May 31, 1968:
First WFMU marathon, Memorial Day weekend. Goal: $3,000 needed to stay on the air all full-time through the summer.


15. October 31, 1968:
2nd WFMU marathon, with live broadcasts from Cafe Au-Go-Go, NYC.

16. April 28, 1969:
Columbia Records adopts hippie-bait marketing ply: "The Man Can't Bust Our Music," printed on LP inner labels; one week later, label releases first LP by Chicago.
 
17. August 31, 1969:
Fearing Upsala College takeover and feeling general disgust with demise of counterculture, Vin Scelsa signs off as WFMU staff shuts down station. Upsala keeps station dark for ten months. Lou D'Antonio keeps Freeform flame burning when station resumes broadcasts.
  18. November 7, 1969:
"Old Yellow," former WFMU house on Upsala campus, demolished and replaced with parking lot, sealing staff time capsule under asphalt.
  19. May 8, 1971:
Under legal pressure from "The Man," Columbia Records quietly replaces slogan "The Man Can't Bust Our Music" with new motto: "The Revolutionaries are on Columbia."
 

20. August 26, 1971:
ABC's flagship "progressive" station, WPLJ (New York) imposes playlist, taking programming control permanantly out of DJ hands, 1971.
  21. February 1975:
No-account geezer Irwin Chusid hosts his first show (midnight-2am) on AOR-leaning WFMU, suspended two weeks later for overtly promoting freeform.
22. 1976 on:
More and more DJs adopt Freeform, as Chusid and D'Antonio lead by example and strength of their programming.
Card carrying Save WFMU-er

23. August 25, 1985:
Ken Freedman begins pro-freeform, pro-FMU independence stint as WFMU Station Manager.
24. April, 1989:
Four mainstream public stations try to use RCA's 1962 error as a pretext for lowering WFMU's power and raising their own. Litigation lasts three years and costs over $400,000, with one dozen listener-lawyers working for free. WFMU's fund-raising capability triples in one year.
  The Avatar house at 580 Springdale Ave
25. September 24, 1989:
WFMU relocates from basement of an Upsala Dormitory into renovated digs at 580 Springdale Avenue (the "Avatar" house).
 

26. September 1992:
The FCC rules in WFMU's favor, saying that WFMU can keep its power, but it needs to reconfigure its transmission pattern.
27. June 1994:
WFMU becomes legally independant of Upsala College, but agrees to remain located on campus.
28. May 30, 1995:
Upsala College closes, declaring bankruptcy, 1995. WFMU is the only part of the College to escape the bankruptcy court's auction block.
 

29. April, 1996:
WFMU quadruples its coverage area into New York State's Hudson Valley with addition of 90.1 FM frequency.
  30. June 6, 1997:
WFMU begins broadcasting worldwide on Internet.
  31. September 4. 1997:
WFMU closes on purchase of its Jersey City home.
 


 

 

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