Hello, everybody, nice seeing you again.
I ran into Sluggo’s friend Sooty the other day, and the first thing he did was to start apologizing to me. “Oh, hey, Bronwyn, oh, yeah, I’ve been meaning to, uh, you know, I’ve been listening to FMU, to the fundraiser, and I was gonna call in and pledge but, uh, so, last year I made a pledge and then I moved and then, uh, I don’t know if they keep records of stuff like that or anything, or if they ever sent anything to my old address or not, but then, uh …” It turns out Sooty never paid his pledge from last year. I guess he was worried that maybe I somehow knew this and was going to chastise him or berate him or shake him down for some dough. I kind of enjoyed the idea of myself as the Avenging Angel of FMU. I could picture myself as an Albrecht-Durer-type figure, little Bronny C. in a suit of armor on a great big horse, coming to extract green American dollars—in the most painful way possible—from Sooty and his ilk. But it doesn’t work that way.
How it really works is perfect: Each one of a bunch of underemployed show-offs (the DJs) comes out to the station once a week and performs on the radio for a bunch of onanistic shut-ins (the Listeners). The DJs are not paid. Once a year the Listeners chip in enough money to keep the station on the air. The simplicity and purity of this arrangement is absolutely breathtaking.
Imagine if everything in the world worked this way, with Art and Mammon precisely balanced on the Teeter-Totter of Contentment. It is a great joint enterprise, in which no one person is more important than any other: The First-Time Listener, stunned into stupefaction by what she is hearing, is no less than the Big-Deal DJ with an ego the size of a Macy’s balloon.
The DJ is just a person who hears some music, and says, “Wow! Listen to this!” and then gives it to the Listener to hear. The Listener is the person who says, “Thank you for the many hours I’ve spent listening this year; I would like some more, please,” and pledges to keep the enterprise going. Listeners give according to what they can afford, with the rich Listeners helping to subsidize the listening habits of the less fortunate. It has been this way since time immemorial—or at least since the early 1980s, when my dear friend Paul introduced me to the station.
Oh, you guys, there is so little that is purely good in this world, and WFMU is one of those few things. Don’t you want to support it if you can?
Thanks for reading my blog post this week, and remember that you only have until Sunday to make your pledge to this year’s WFMU fundraising marathon.