The country’s longest-operating independent radio station, WFMU, out of Jersey City, is finally operating again, after damage from Hurricane Sandy knocked them off the air for a week. So that’s the good news.
The bad news is that the storm cost them roughly $250,000 of their $1.8 million dollar operating budget, including $150,000 from the cancellation of their annual record fair, which was to be held last weekend at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea. According to a report in Capital New York, the station is left with just $15,000 in the bank after paying its full-time employees.
They’re holding a “Silent Fundraiser” to help make up for the huge loss, which has brought in about $40,000 so far. Visit their website to find out how you can help and, of course, what’s in it for you if you do. Like a tote bag! But also the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping preserve one of the most important and overlooked cultural institutions we’ve got.
The 100% listener-supported station has been on the air since 1958 and has in recent decades come to be known for its commitment to all manner of lesser known music, as well as comedy, improv, cooking and much more.
New York City-based country singer Laura Cantrell hosted the wonderful Radio Thrift Shop show on WFMU from 1993 to 2005, sharing her encyclopedic knowledge of old-time country music, and Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum hosted a series of late-night on-air shows in 2002, playing a mix of classical music, field recordings and tape loops. One of the station’s most popular current shows belongs to writer and comedian Tom Scharpling, who hosts The Best Show on WFMU.
In order to help with recovery efforts, the station is reportedly considering a one-day record fair to be held somewhere in Brooklyn.