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.


WCBN Fundraiser Closing Party!

February 18th, 2012
Kohwi, fthrsn, Lou Breed, Subvader
Work Gallery, 306 S. State Street, Ann Arbor
Doors open at 8:30 PM

WCBN is happy to celebrate the conclusion of its 40th Anniversary fundraiser with a free show at Work Gallery. WCBN’s own Kohwi performs his experimental, swirling, electric creations, while fthrsn (pronounced FatherSon) explores his version of “lo fi bedroom pop.” Lou Breed’s addictively catchy noisy pop is sure to please, and Subvader ranges from dubstep to what he calls sci-fi sex music.

We hope to see all our pledgers and anyone else out at Work Gallery! Our friends at the Ugly Mug will be providing free WCBN 40th anniversary blend coffee!

WCBN Fundraiser runs from Feb 10 to Feb 19, 2012; call in and pledge your support! 

Even if you can’t donate anything, come show your support, hear some good music, and chat with the CBNers.

Today I was at the WCBN station for a very special reason: Pledge Training. No, this isn’t to be initiated into the WCBN cult (that happens way earlier), but it’s to learn how to take donations for our annual fundraiser, starting today, February 10th, and goes through next week until Sunday February 19th. Taking pledges is a much more complicated process than you might think, but that’s besides the point. The point is that every DJ has to do this, and probably enjoys doing it. Being able to help out the station that has given us so much feels good, whether it’s volunteering for the station, or donating to the station.

WCBN does not have any full-time employees. Did you know that? We have a few part-time employees to keep things running. Our only part-time permanent employee is our chief engineer. At the heart of the station rests in the amazing volunteer core. Everyone here has unique personalities, ideas, backgrounds, and modes of operation that make WCBN the eclectic station that you love. There are so many people that are here simply because they love WCBN, and they love what it does for the Ann Arbor community. I can’t tell you how good it feels simply to know that I’m able to share something I love with the rest of Ann Arbor. The best thing is that our listenership (and I’m not talking about the beer) is so dedicated to us. They really love us as much as we love them (and we do love them).

The most exciting thing about WCBN is that it provides you with a huge variety of music for your ears to consume. Not to say that it is random, because every DJ hand picks the selections for you, but you have no control over what we play (unless you request something), and so you are experiencing a plethora of music that you never even knew existed (at least that’s how I feel when I DJ). Not only this, but there’s a PERSON behind the music. It’s not a robot, it’s not a system, it’s a real person that might even live down the hall from you that is picking this music, and trying to please your ears.

What is the fundraiser about then? Well, the truth is that running a radio station is not free (unfortunately), and every year we have certain unavoidable costs that spring up (equipment replacement, repairs, getting new music, etc.). This fundraiser is to simply cover these costs, so that we can continue to provide you the best music possible. We also have a specific need to increase our power, which means the range of our radio transmission. This means more people listening to WCBN!

If this all sounds good to you, I would highly encourage you to donate to WCBN by either going to the “Donate” section on the WCBN site, or calling (734) 763-3500 to pledge whatever you can. You can also get some really cool premium, like coasters, mugs, coffee, T-shirts, shot-glasses, etc.

Woody Goss @ Work Gallery

January 18, 2012, 8pm

Work Gallery, 306 State Street

FREE admission and FREE Ugly Mug Coffee

Woody Goss will provide a live soundtrack to projected footage from the 2001 film Winged Migration, a documentary showing the migration patterns of birds the world over.

Then, Woody will be joined by Julian Allen on drums and Katie Battistoni on electric guitar to play songs. All three musicians went through the jazz program at U of M. Katie’s playing is dedicated to the marriage of her twin sister, Julian is playing for what’s left of his innocence, and Woody is playing to world-premiere his new secret technique. A magical gathering, indeed!

An interesting fact that you might not know about Woody, is that he is a former WCBN DJ! One of us, guys!  And he is part of a long tradition of U of M jazzers joining the station as well, so it’s good to have him back. Woody’s worked with many performers around the area,

Hello friends,

Some are saying 40 is the new 30. The age until which a growing number of modern Americans are waiting to settle down, become half a marital unit, and begin to breed. But not WCBN. In its heart WCBN will always remain single, independent, and carefree. Actually it wouldn’t be that bad if WCBN reproduced.

Anyway, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of WCBN moving to FM on January 23, 1972, Arbor Brewing Company has brewed up a smoked English pale called “The Listenership.” You may join us in its unveiling on Wednesday, January 11, at WCBN’s monthly movie screening. This month the movie will be “Jailhouse Rock.”

Doors open at 8:30pm in the Tap Room Annex of the Arbor Brewing Company in downtown Ann Arbor. No one is sure how long this brew will be available (true greatness is always fleeting, so be thankful WCBN has existed as long as it has) so make sure you show up for the movie if you want to get a taste.

Your truly,


Announcing the 40th Anniversary Blend!

WCBN and THE UGLY MUG present….
the WCBN 40th Anniversary Blend!

Just in time for Xmas or whichever gift-giving event you celebrate, our two organizations have partnered to bring you a delicious coffee blend that supports WCBN as you drink it! Get it by the pound anytime, or drink it by the cup on weekends.

Happy Birthday to us! Happy Birthday to us! Stay tuned for more WCBN 40th Anniversary events, planned throughout 2012.

See it for yourself online.

It’s been too, too long, folks. So here’s the thing, when WCBN sponsors events, that automatically means that they will be good. Even if you don’t think you’ll like it, just go ok? Because you’re wrong and it will be fun and you’ll meet really cool people that also listen to WCBN. You don’t actually listen to WCBN? First of all, shame on you. Second of all, how did you get to this blog? Third of all, just go to the event anyway. Next Thursday we have a big event coming up at Woodruff’s. Here’s the low-down:

Thursday, December 8th, 2011
36 E. Cross Street
Ypsilanti, MI 
$5.00 Cover ($8.00 for 18,19 & 20 yr old)
Doors at 7:00 PM
Show at 8:00 PM

“His sound is raw it feels old, like the hum of a 50’s convertible cruising the back roads of the Mississippi delta, but it’s new and innovative. While most kids from the sticks heros were rodeo stars and country singers, McPherson heard the liberal screech of The Talking Heads and Bad Brains and let it empower him. But the allure of the American Roots Music scene is what made his musical mouth salivate. The honest troubadours of song that roamed from honky tonks to back alley bar rooms that machine gunned a town every night, one song at a time. The Broken Arrow, OK native brings his fresh and danceable approach to Mid-Century Jump Blues, rockin’ Americana and Midwestern Soul to Ypsi’s Depot Town very own ‘retro roadhouse,’ Woodruff’s on Thursday, December 8th. WCBN’s DJ’s Sashay Delmonico (Friday Nite Fish Fry) & Del Villarreal (Go Kat, GO!) will be on hand to keep the dance floor busy before & between sets with plenty of vintage R&B and Rock-A-Billy. ”

You’re excited now? See, I told you.