I had a very liberating night last night at WCBN FM Ann Arbor. From 10pm-6am, the folks at WCBN have an annual night where we make as much noise as humanly possible, live on the radio. We stop playing albums, and we start making music ourselves…and I use the term music very liberally.
When I arrived at the station, I was greeted to the entire station dark, except for Prod. A and B, both which were taken over by about 7 people use all sorts of instruments. One on tambourine, one on a drum set, one on an electric drum set, a tenor and alto saxophone, one guy screaming into a mic, two guys on electric guitars, and someone playing the piano from the strings at the bottom and alternating with the electric organ. James and I played the kalimba (thumb piano) for about 30 minutes, and now my thumbs are sore, but my soul is revived. Later in the evening I was able to play the piano exactly how I have always wanted to: loudly and badly. The kinds of sounds we were making collectively were just amazing, and the feeling of being unrestricted, and being with a group of people that love freeform as much as anybody.
Speaking of freeform, this “Night of Noise” really made me think about freeform, and how it really applies to radio. The way I usually think about freeform is that I can play whatever music I want without being restricted by a station playlist, or any sort of outside tyranny. I can layer any music I want, play sound effects, have live musicians, etc. But this “Night of Noise” gave me new perspective. Not only can I do all of those things, but I don’t have to apologize for it. No amount of money can stop WCBN from making as much noise as we want at the end of the fundraiser, but if you decide to support us, we will forever be playing freeform.
As a last ditch effort, I want to encourage all of you to go to our donate page on the website, and give us a couple of bucks so that we can keep the spirit of freeform alive. We can’t do it without you, and we don’t want to do it without you.