Monday, March 07, 2011
WFMU Marathon weeks
As one of the worse pitchmakers in the history of WFMU, my Marathon shows were rescued time & again by my fellow DJs. I imagined them listening & wondering, "How can a guy who talks so much on-the-air go so tongue-tied during the Marathon?" It was a mystery. I could pull together coherent monologues from a few sentences jotted on scrap paper, but went blank with a printed list of 100 reasons to pledge in front of me. Other DJs who hardly said anything beyond announcing their setlists became articulate, convincing salespeople at Marathon time. Put me in the second chair in the phone room as a co-host & I was an affable, relaxed, well-organized sidekick.
One Marathon, a long time ago, with the phones dead & panic creeping up my spine, my phone room co-host & I traded seats as a goof. "I'll be you & you be me." I forget who it was - it was his idea - but by ceding my studio chair to him we generated a 15 minute flurry of pledges before the novelty wore off.
Now, there's a WFMU host who raises $80,000 during a single shift. Great for him, great for WFMU. But it's an obscene amount of money to me, as I remember my struggles year after year to justify in dollars & cents my presence on the station. I couldn't allow myself think like that & survived at WFMU even back in East Orange. You have to believe in what you do there enough to let yourself be subsidized.
I remember hanging out with the keg in the front hallway of the former WFMU HQ in E. Orange to close out the Marathon.