Tuesday, November 04, 2003

I used to love the radio. My AM radio favorite was the Mighty 690 until Mom and Dad, who had remarkably similar taste in music at the time, introduced me to new audio delights with 102.7 KIIS FM. The grand prize of a remarkable MTV contest was a radio station. I was too young to enter but I always felt the winner possessed the type of good fortune known only to lottery winners and kids who were allowed to ride motorcycles. I loved radio on television although I passionately disagreed with the belief that Loni Anderson was "hot." For a long time I considered Pump Up The Volume the greatest movie of all time.

As I got older I became more of an FM vagabond, drifting away from KIIS and its Top-40 fecundity and towards the more fertile plains of 100.7 "Pirate Radio" and eventually the world-famous KROQ. But, despite a few inspired choices in the playlist, radio's outright refusal to deviate from revenue-producing programming proved to be its most unforgivable flaw. Its narrow-mindedness and tolerance for repetition proved that radio did not love music so I could not love it. "Damn you and your greedy little secrets!" I screamed and left the commercial interruptions and the station identifications behind, never to return again.

Until now.

WFMU, broadcasts its freeform format at 91.1 fm in the New York City area, at 90.1 fm in the Hudson Valley, and on the Web. It's that last part that has helped to partially restore my faith in the medium. I never would have been able to tune in otherwise.

I would not have experienced a portion of the FM spectrum that is willing to engage and challenge its listeners, to expose them to something new. Or frightening. Or delightfully odd. I never would have known that anyone had bothered to record an entire album of prog flute music.

And so I refer you to them now, the first station I've encountered that attempts to live up to what I always thought radio could be.

Happy listening.


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