Thursday, March 05, 2009

WFMU Marathon

Annual WFMU Marathon, through March 15.

When one has been on the WFMU staff for a few years - around five years it kicks in - one grows a proprietary attitude toward the station, & an odd loyalty toward DJs whose programs one might not even like. This attitude isn't just an on-going concern for the station's financial solvency, but also a protective feeling for WFMU's identity, its collective personality, because one has become part of the personality. Anyway, it sometimes takes a couple of years before younger DJs unburden themselves of the musical baggage they brought from college radio, however expert, & fully realize they can do anything they want. At that point, they understand veteran DJs have been patiently waiting for them to start having fun. If they're good enough to get on the staff to begin with, they're in. They don't have to impress other DJs, & even when they do, they probably won't hear it. They wouldn't be around if they didn't belong. By about five years, the ones that never got comfortable are gone, & the ones that stick around may never leave.

I don't have to do a regular show to hear myself. I joined the station when its existence wasn't yet in danger through the demise of Upsala College, but its free form future then was far from a sure thing. My first few years there, I expected the college to come in at any time, throw all of us out, & use it to train Marv Albert clones & dimwit morning zoo hosts. I'm very proud of being part of a group of DJs that fully reestablished WFMU as a free form radio station. Many of those DJs from the 70s & 80s are still with the station, one is the general manager, & what we all had in common was that free form was the only kind of radio we wanted to do, & most of us would've walked away if we couldn't do it.

I was never a spotlight DJ. But for 18 years, I always had a show somewhere on the schedule when I wasn't taking a sabbatical. I'm a long thread in the station's fabric, if not a colorful one. I was shy, I stuttered, I could feel invisible & even a bit intimidated by others on the staff. But underneath I was an erudite artist, stubbornly creative, had a knotty ego, & I regarded my air time with the same sense of an open field as a blank piece of paper (or PC screen). There are always DJs like me at WFMU. Some of them don't know me - I can tell because they look at me quizzically in the music library when I walk in & make myself at home, as I've done for three decades. But I know them from their shows, & I root for them all the time, especially during the Marathon. Not that they raise a lot of money - they may or may not, & some other DJs will always raise much, much more. I want them to enjoy the two weeks, which are a great time at the station, & not be too anxious, then get on with their regular shows.


Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?