|First air date||1970|
|ERP||125 watts, Stereo|
WMFO (91.5 FM) is a freeform radio station licensed to Medford, Massachusetts. The station is owned by Tufts University and is run by students and community members. WMFO is funded by the Tufts Student Activities Fee as allocated by the TCU Senate and through community donations.
WMFO streams worldwide from wmfo.org as well as broadcast locally on FM radio at 91.5 FM.
Prior to the licensing of WMFO, the station was home to the unlicensed AM radio station WTCR (Tufts College Radio.) In 1957, Tufts University students used WTCR's war surplus 20watt transmitter (Tuned to 560 kHz on the AM dial) from the third floor of Curtis Hall, adjacent to the B&M Railroad line. Legend has it that in Powderhouse Square, you could get WTCR on your toaster; that in close proximity to Curtis Hall, you could receive nothing BUT WTCR on a car radio, and that the signal "skipped" to B&M telegraph lines running along the tracks and carried the signal as far North as Quebec. This stunt drew the attention of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which promptly shut the station down and forbade Tufts from having a station for 10 years. Less reliable is the legend that the chief engineer actually spent a night in jail.
In the Fall of 1967, several students got together and created a closed circuit station under the call letters WTUR (Tufts U. Radio.) The signal was spotty at best and often carried static, but Tufts had a radio station again. Among the founders were Tommy Hadges (later of WBCN, WCOZ and consultancy fame), JJ Jackson (one of the first generation MTV video jocks)and Sam Kopper (later of WBCN and Starfleet Remote Studios.) Late that school year, work began, led by RJ Trodella, to get Tufts a licensed FM station, which went on the air in early February 1971 at 10 watts. Call letters WMFO were assigned by the FCC, which denied call letters WTUR, WTCR and WWFM. A number of years later, the station got an upgrade to 100 watts stereo.
On April 2, 1977, Curtis Hall, the building that WMFO resides in, had a major fire. The station was knocked off the air for a short time, but was up and running within a few hours when student DJs plugged a portable broadcasting board directly into the station's transmitter. Prior to this fire, WMFO was said to have the second most comprehensive rock vinyl collection in greater Boston, with only WBCN having a larger one.
In March 2009, the station left the airwaves for a week, replacing its aging analog equipment with an all-digital system including a Rivendell Radio Automation server that houses much of the station's rock and pop music collections in a lossless format.
WMFO occupies the entire third floor of Curtis Hall on the campus of Tufts University. Studio A houses the main broadcast room, which features three vinyl turntables, three standard CD players, two CD turntables, two auxiliary jacks for laptops, a cassette deck, and microphones for up to four guests. Studio Dee, named for late Boston music writer and WMFO DJ Mikey Dee, is used for live performances that undergo professional mixing, recording and effects processing in the adjacent Studio B. Studio C is a secondary broadcast and production studio. An extensive collection of vinyl records is housed throughout the station. Much of WMFO's vinyl collection was destroyed during the 1977 fire, but appeals to the Tufts community and local residents resulted in donations that replaced some of the lost albums.
The transmitter is atop Ballou hall, has a directionality of due east and is rated for 125 watts.
WMFO is a freeform station that imposes no content restrictions on its air staff, apart from FCC requirements for content, station identification and public service announcements. Programming ranges from rock and roll, rock and all its subgenres including hard rock, punk, glam, garage, indie, goth, rock-a-billy, psycho-billy, metal, blues, reggae, folk, easy-listening with hip-hop, dance, jazz, classical and humorous shows to political talk, sports talk and community issues. You can search for show types and times on the schedule you can find at WMFO.org.
As a condition of the station's FCC license, a portion of the weekly program schedule must be allotted to volunteer DJs from the local community. There are no financial requirements for community members, but they share the same on- and off-air responsibilities as student DJs and must volunteer additional hours each year for station maintenance and upkeep to remain in good standing with the station.
Some of the areas best and longest running radio programs are found on WMFO. These include "A Crash Course For The Ravers", "On The Town With Mikey Dee", "Something About The Women" and many more.