In an era when everyone pretends that the mobius strip of endless ipod jams are satisfying I choose to stay freshly amused with a battery of living deejays who never leave the station in East Orange, and even if they did leave they’ve archived every show since forever and there’s no commercials.

I was first taken in by WFMU in the 95th year of last century when some deejay played the entire radio conversation between a train driver who had lost his brakes as he was heading into a big curve and certain doom. I think someone had put something in my drink because by the time the guy jumped from the burning train (and survived! he gets on the radio and tells everyone he’s buying them beers tonite!) I was crying and checking my radio dial to try and figure out who had just saved my life.

I’m serious when I say that I lived in New York until this radio station went live on the interweb. Out of all the New York things I could not part with, WFMU was the most important one.


When people ask me what I’m listening to I tell them, “WFMU, never ask me again!” because WFMU is all I listen to, ever. There is nothing that WFMU can’t do. I used to be worse. If I went out of town i would be overcome with ennui, wondering what Brian Turner might play this week. The sense of loss was overwhelming, depressing even.

People always want to know how come I write so good. What I tell them is: I listen to Brian Turner on Tuesday, followed by the brilliant and bizarre Dave Emory (Daves of The World Unite!), who would have to be my greatest inspiration in my amazing career as a whatsit.

My favorite five hours all week to get the drivel wrote is Tuesday because I know that Brian Turner is deejaying just for me. Yeah. We work together, me and Brian. Of course Brian doesn’t know about me yet, but he will, and one day we’ll be together.


After Brian Turner’s show, Dave Emory delivers a well-footnoted dissertation confirming what I suspected about how Nazis are still the running the game, whilst I get all the cooking and cleaning done. Then I get drunk, abuse myself and cry to Al Jolson songs during the Antique Phonograph Music Program. It’s a cheap date night and everybody is happy afterward.


I then float off on the night time deejays who often do the greatest stuff because they are allowed to get weird. Solid Gold Hell with Sue P. never fails to gird me up for the extra hour of an all-night typing binge.

I love the ever discombobulated Terri T and her little Attitude (“I said don’t call when I’m on the mike!”), and I can’t tell if I like Dave the Spazz or Fools Paradise with Rex more. Rex has the politically incorrect 78s in the fur-lined fallout shelter with the bubbles. Dave the Spazz has a monkey. Both of them use soundbites that seem to work with my life (“Dave? Dave? this is highly irregular. I think you should take a stress pill and think things over”.)

The station is also a great way to scare indie rock idiots or Vice types out of your house at four in the morning if you know how to blast the awesome, unparalleled gospel show called “The Sinners Crossroads which is worth the link just to hear Kevin Nutt’s North Carolina accent. It makes their haircuts hurt!

If there is something on WFMU that doesn’t suit you, like that guy who screams in ersatz german (stop it for the love of god!), you can always go to the recent archives page.

Categories: "Do the Math" column by Dave Reeves | Tags: , | 14 Comments

About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in Tucson, Arizona with Stephanie Smith.


  1. Come on, no mention of the Best Show with Tom Scharpling? One of the most addictive shows ever, and I can’t rightly say why. He just does it and he does it and he does it some more.


  3. what??? no mention of Fabio=strength through failure? or Bethany’s Stochastic Hit Parade? WEll thats all right DAve that leaves more for me…who left NYC for the first time in her life this year and its been really hard in oh so many ways but thank g-d for the interweb so i never have to leave my wfmu anyway

  4. WFMU is my reason for living. don’t forget Bob Brainen and Gaylord Fields. OH OH OH and 7 second delay and Shut Up Weirdo! My life is complete thanks to WFMU

  5. I once mentioned to Ken that I only listen to WFMU- no matter what they are playing and he told me that he even has to change the station once in a while.

  6. And ‘Mudd Up!’, c’mon!
    The runaway train recording was probably what’s described as release/324843 at

  7. you forget kenny g, bro. one of the most stimulating noise shows. also, advanced d&d with donna summer, brilliant electronica archives. Do or DIY with People Like Us, superb mashup shows… the list goes on, this radio station is iconic like prince’s wardrobe.

  8. You can’t leave the NY metro area. The airwaves never fail you and how can you rely on getting an internet connection elsewhere. Life’s scary enough without FMU.
    and for those older folks: Hound, Krinsky, Brainen, wild girl,O’Toole, Vanilla Bean…

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