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The Midnight Special

Series produced by The WFMT Radio Network

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Welcome to The Midnight Special, one of the most enduring syndicated folk music radio programs from the WFMT Radio Network. The Midnight Special was established in Chicago on 98.7 WFMT-FM in 1953, and went national in 1971. It has stayed current through decades of change, rich in tradition and history while retaining its timeliness, delighting listeners throughout the world with gentle irreverence or touching them with candid observation.

Please login to PRX.org to preview program audio.

For more information about this free long running series, please contact
Estlin Usher at eusher@wfmt.com (p) 773-279-2112
Tony Macaluso at tmacaluso@wfmt.com (p) 773-279-2114

In 1953, Mike Nichols, (then a WFMT announcer and now one of the most respected stage and film directors), developed The Midnight Special as a showcase for recorded folk music. Over the years, The Midnight Special has evolved into an eclectic mixture of song and story that attracts not only a loyal following, but also new, younger listeners with each broadcast. They hear an incredibly diverse selection of artists, from the traditional to the contemporary: Pete Seeger and The Weavers, the New Lost City Ramblers, Joan Baez, Tom Paxton, Arlo Guthrie, Mike Cross, Ani DiFranco, Greg Brown, Alison Krauss and Anais Mitchell, to name a few, along with comedy from the likes of Bob Newhart, Mitchell & Webb, and others. Material comes from an unrivaled library of over 13,000 CDs, 5,000 LPs and 55 years of LIVE concert and studio recordings that began with Pete Seeger and Big Bill Broonzy in a concert that became a Folkways album.

Thousands of traditional and contemporary folk performers and comedians fill this two-hour spontaneous entertainment program that we call The Midnight Special. Original, offbeat, and always entertaining, The Midnight Special offers listeners a program of music, madness and mayhem – a lively potpourri of folk, Celtic and bluegrass, show and novelty tunes, and hilarious comedy routines.

The Midnight Special often airs live performances recorded by WFMT over the past 60 years that are not available commercially, including well-known artists appearing at Chicago area clubs, the University of Chicago Folk Festivals, and the comedy revues of Chicago’s famed Second City troupe. Tomorrow’s folk stars are on The Midnight Special this week!

Rich Warren has hosted folk programs for over 40 years, including 35 years with The Midnight Special, while remaining committed to seeking out new music. He attends the international and regional Folk Alliance conferences as well as other folk music events in search of tomorrow’s songwriters and performers. He studied folk music in college with an acknowledged authority, the late Archie Green. Warren also wrote for Sing Out, the national folk music magazine for 20 years. He was named “Broadcaster of the Year” by the International Folk Alliance Conference in 2008.

A photograph of Rich is available upon request, and a yearly fund-raising program is also available.
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Please login to PRX.org to preview program audio.For more information about this free long running series, please contact Estlin Usher at eusher@wfmt.com (p) 773-279-2112Tony Macaluso at tmacaluso@wfmt.com (p) 773-279-2114In 1953, Mike Nichols, (then a WFMT announcer and now one of the most respected stage and film directors), developed The Midnight Special as a showcase for recorded folk music. Over the years, The Midnight Special has evolved into an eclectic mixture of song and story that attracts not only a loyal following, but also new, younger listeners with each broadcast. They hear an incredibly diverse selection of artists, from the traditional to the contemporary: Pete Seeger and The Weavers, the New Lost City Ramblers, Joan Baez, Tom Paxton, Arlo Guthrie, Mike Cross, Ani... Show full description


Additional Files

36 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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Folk music and farce, show tunes and satire, madness and escape!

  • Added: Aug 01, 2017
  • Length: 01:58:30
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Folk music and farce, show tunes and satire, madness and escape!

  • Added: Jul 30, 2017
  • Length: 01:58:30
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Folk music and farce, show tunes and satire, madness and escape!

  • Added: Jul 24, 2017
  • Length: 01:58:29
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Folk music and farce, show tunes and satire, madness and escape!

  • Added: Jul 16, 2017
  • Length: 01:58:30
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Folk music and farce, show tunes and satire, madness and escape!

  • Added: Jul 09, 2017
  • Length: 01:58:32
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Folk music and farce, show tunes and satire, madness and escape!

  • Added: Jul 10, 2017
  • Length: 01:58:30
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Folk music and farce, show tunes and satire, madness and escape!

  • Added: Jun 20, 2017
  • Length: 01:58:30
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Folk music and farce, show tunes and satire, madness and escape!

  • Added: Jun 15, 2017
  • Length: 01:58:30
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Folk music and farce, show tunes and satire, madness and escape!

  • Added: Jun 11, 2017
  • Length: 01:58:29
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Folk music and farce, show tunes and satire, madness and escape!

  • Added: Jun 05, 2017
  • Length: 01:58:29
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Folk music and farce, show tunes and satire, madness and escape!

  • Added: May 30, 2017
  • Length: 01:58:30
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Folk music and farce, show tunes and satire, madness and escape!

  • Added: May 25, 2017
  • Length: 01:58:30
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Folk music and farce, show tunes and satire, madness and escape!

  • Added: May 15, 2017
  • Length: 01:58:30
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Folk music and farce, show tunes and satire, madness and escape!

  • Added: May 09, 2017
  • Length: 01:58:30
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Folk music and farce, show tunes and satire, madness and escape!

  • Added: Apr 25, 2017
  • Length: 01:58:30
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Folk music and farce, show tunes and satire, madness and escape!

  • Added: Apr 23, 2017
  • Length: 01:58:30
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Folk music and farce, show tunes and satire, madness and escape!

  • Added: Apr 19, 2017
  • Length: 01:58:30
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Folk music and farce, show tunes and satire, madness and escape!

  • Added: Apr 11, 2017
  • Length: 01:58:29