Live at the Transmitter - by Rob Weisberg
One afternoon in the mid-90’s, when WFMU’s studios were housed in East Orange, NJ, the power went out. Even though the station's transmitter 5 miles away was still on and fully functional, there was no way to get audio from our studio to the transmitter… without actually plugging a turntable and microphone into the transmitter itself.
To complicate matters, DJ Rob Weisberg had scheduled a trio called the Atmosphere Crew to perform live on his program that day. The band, consisting of accordionist John Sherman, sax player Sasha Sumner (a member of the Hungry March Band), and a drummer known only as The Dog, had just arrived from Brooklyn, following an hour-long journey through world-renowned New Jersey traffic.
When it became apparent that the power wasn’t returning any time soon, Rob and a few other WFMU DJs made a heroic decision. They drove everyone to the transmitter shack - located in the glamorous parking lot of a local restaurant - plugged the band directly into the transmitter, and said 'go'. The Atmosphere Crew gamely performed through a steady drizzle in WFMU's only known transmitter-parking lot live set.
Illustration by Danny Hellman