WFMU is a freeform radio station operating out of New Jersey that makes its name by warmly inviting “music lovers” to tune in and then atomizing their sense of self-worth by broadcasting hour after hour of unheard sounds that put to shame anything in their carefully curated iTunes library. Apparently a lot of people like this dynamic of total domination/submission, because WFMU manages to run on a $1,000,000+ yearly budget fully funded by listeners during a two-week pledge drive. Tonight, from 9-12AM EST, is the second and final marathon broadcast of The Best Show on WFMU, a three-hour weekly program that makes its name by warmly inviting “comedy lovers” to call in and then atomizing their sense of self-worth by getting angrily hung up on for being boring by host Tom Scharpling. Last week’s show brought in an astounding $101,000 and tonight’s stacked lineup of guests/incentives proves they won’t be satisfied until they’ve tripled that amount (or something).
Last year’s $75+ (tax-deductable) pledge incentive was a 7-inch of GG Allin covers by Ben Gibbard, Ty Segall, The Mountain Goats, Ted Leo, and Fucked Up, and this year they’re offering a BIGGER package that includes a flexi disc with exclusive songs by Kurt Vile and The Reigning Sound! The flexi is part of issue one of the “Best Show Magazine,” with print content from laugh merchants John Hodgman, Michael Kupperman, David Rees, and Robert Popper. Pledgers also get a comedy CD featuring Scharpling & Wurster, Zach Galifianakis, Jen Kirkman, and rising puppet stars Vance and Gary The Squirrel, plus a Vance stress ball, plus a download of Scharpling’s 2011 Radiovision Conference panel with Marc Maron and Ira Glass! (Additionally, for those in Maurice Kern’s tax bracket, last year’s 7-inch is available for a $500 pledge, and you can even watch a Best Show live in the studio for $1000.)
The only catch for all this is that you have to pledge during the show tonight from 9-12AM EST, where a cavalcade of guests will be cheering you on: John Hodgman, Ted Leo, and Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus will be in the studio, “trading jabs” with Tom, Gary, Vance, and disgraced associate producer Mike. Depending on when you pledge, you’ll also be in the running for a number of bonus prize packages, including massive CD/record bundles from Merge, DFA, and Third Man. I don’t even have room to mention all the other stuff available at different pledge levels, nor the fact that WFMU pays you back year-round by funding amazing online resources like the Free Music Archive and UbuWeb on top of their insane (and searchable) archives. You don’t even have to pay immediately, it’s just a pledge! Can you honestly say you won’t help out a squirrel like Gary in his time of need? Be real.
[Animated GIF: Jake Fogelnest]