WFMU Playlist Analysis


Since roughly the year 2000 DJ’s have been uploading playlists of their sets on the WFMU website. I scraped the playlists to determine what artist, albums and songs are consistently played on WFMU.



WFMU-FM is a listener-supported, non-commercial radio station broadcasting at 91.1 Mhz FM in Jersey City, NJ, right across the Hudson from lower Manhattan. It is currently the longest running freeform radio station in the United States.

The programming on WFMU can only be described as eclectic which is no surprise given the station’s free-format approach. Even with this eclecticism the programming is consistently great, a product of the remarkable commitment of the station’s unpaid DJ staff. As a result it’s become one of the most well regarded radiostations in the US, at one-point being called the best radiostation in the US by Rolling Stone, CMJ, and the Village Voice. Neutral Milk Hotel lead singer Jeff Magnum had a show on WFMU for a bit, and a number of bands have performed live in their studio.

As a lifelong listener of tri-state radio, WFMU has always been a welcome oasis of ‘different’ in the increasingly commercial dominated FM band. It’s been my go-to station for years, I’ve lost count of the number of new bands or songs the station has turned me onto.



Available here (note: fields with _clean are after my data quality efforts).

  • 78,000 individual playlists at the time of my analysis in 2018
  • Roughly 12 playlists a day since the year 2000 or 12 DJ’s a day each doing 2 hour sets
  • The number of songs played per set varied but the average was roughly 15
  • 1.2 million played songs were included in this analysis



  • Playlists scraped using python
  • Maintained in postgresql database
  • Openrefine for cleaning (the playlists are structured in tables the actual inputs into the cells appears to be freeformat leading to lots of inconsistencies)
  • Analysis done in Excel



Top Tracks

Two views of the most played tracks on WFMU across all DJ’s.

Top Tracks by DJ

A series of playlists featuring the most played songs by individual WFMU DJ’s.

Top Artists

The top artists played on WFMU across all DJ’s.

Top Albums

The top albums played on WFMU across all DJ’s.