Generally speaking, radio today is not terribly adventurous. Whether stations are part of a commercial conglomerate or independently owned and operated, you tend to hear a lot of rigidly formatted, repetitive programming. A notable exception is one of my favorite stations: Jersey City-based WFMU. I recently had the chance to visit and talk with WFMU’s general manager, Ken Freedman. WFMU is freeform and 100% listener supported, which means it doesn’t have a governing institution like a corporation or college that provides it with funding. WFMU also doesn’t accept underwriting, which means it has nothing on its airwaves that resembles a commercial, and it holds only one on-air fundraiser annually. Nevertheless, WFMU is the longest-running freeform radio station in the US. The key to the station’s success has always been its commitment to non-restrictive programming and its unique approach to audience engagement. As Freedman explains, the station’s just-launched morning show will take this approach to an exciting new level.
#28 in the Rumpus profile series “Sound & Vision.” For the full profile, click here.