“A radio station should not just be a hole in the universe for making money, or feeding an ego, or running the world; A radio station should be a live place for live people to sing and dance and talk: talk their talk and walk their walk and know that they (and the rest of us) are not finally and irrevocably dead.”
“Sex and Broadcasting” author Lorenzo Milam’s sentiment is still celebrated by the longest-running free-form radio station in the U.S., as well as by Moab’s own KZMU.
New Jersey’s listener-supported, independent community radio station WFMU was launched out of an abandoned college campus in East Orange, New Jersey, in 1958. Rolling Stone Magazine dubbed WFMU the “Best Radio Station in the Country” four consecutive years in a row in the 1990s. Today, it can be heard around the world at www.wfmu.org. And next Saturday it’s coming to Moab to celebrate community radio with us.
On Saturday, Aug. 5, at 7 p.m., Moab’s solar-powered, community-empowered radio station KZMU is hosting a screening of “Sex and Broadcasting: A Film About WFMU” at Star Hall, 159 E. Center St. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion, featuring legendary WFMU General Manager Ken Freedman, National Federation for Community Broadcasters Chief Executive Officer Sally Kane and others.
The filmmakers described the documentary as an “American tale of life, liberty, and independent radio,” while IMDB’s critic John Fink praised its “hilarious off-the-wall approach” that stylistically recalls “the funniest and most sincere moments of ‘The Office.’”
“We follow Freedman and his board as they navigate a major budget crisis, FCC guidelines, the challenges of web streaming, managing the personalities, and the aging building they call home,” Fink wrote.
These challenges reveal the colorful heart of WFMU – something that feels familiar to KZMU’s staff, volunteers and listeners.
KZMU Music Director Serah Mead said she draws inspiration from Freedman’s work at WFMU in more ways than one: programming, music, fundraising and thinking outside of the station’s “box.”
“If you can make it to the film, you’ll see a segment where he broadcasts from a kayak in the middle of a lake and invites listeners to join him in their boats,” Mead said. “It’s things like this that inspire me and help me think of the many other ways that KZMU can interact with our community and provide innovative radio.”
Mead first saw the documentary earlier this year.
“I became inspired and reinvigorated about our little grassroots station, and I wanted to create an event where our listeners could have that experience too; to see how special it is to have a unique station like ours in a small rural community,” Mead said.
Freedman visited Moab two years ago and came to adore the community and the KZMU network. He was eager to accept the invitation to return – this time with “Sex and Broadcasting” and a posse of panelists in support of “what (KZMU is) already doing.”
According to Mead, friends of KZMU provided skymiles and lodging for the WFMU guests.
“And the company that produced the film was inspired by our station and gave us a deal on the rights,” Mead said.
After the screening, audience members can interact with panelists during a discussion on the relevance and importance of community radio today and where it’s headed in the future.
This is a fundraiser for KZMU in its 25th year. Tickets are $10 at the door or $5 for KZMU members.
KZMU fundraiser on Aug. 5 to feature New Jersey’s legendary WFMU manager
“I became inspired and reinvigorated about our little grassroots station, and I wanted to create an event where our listeners could have that experience too; to see how special it is to have a unique station like ours in a small rural community.”
When: Saturday, Aug. 5, at 7 p.m.
Where: Star Hall, 159 E. Center St.
Cost: $10 at the door, or $5 for KZMU members; proceeds benefit KZMU
Information: www.kzmu.org, or www.wfmuthemovie.com
For more information about the film, go to www.wfmuthemovie.com.