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What Is The Midnight Special?

What do Cheryl Wheeler, Pete Seeger, Ferron, Woody Guthrie, John Gorka, Ani Difranco, Jean Redpath, Robin & Linda Williams, and Mike Nichols & Elaine May have in common?

They and hundreds of other traditional and contemporary folk performers and comedians fill a three hour spontaneous entertainment program that we call "The Midnight Special." Original, offbeat and always entertaining, "The Midnight Special" is WFMT's (Chicago's Fine Arts Station) weekly aberration of folk music and farce, show tunes and satire, odds and ends, madness and escape.

The Midnight Special has stayed current through decades of change. Although rich in tradition and history, "The Midnight Special" retains its timeliness, delighting listeners with gentle irreverence or touching them with candid observation. Over the years, the "Special" has evolved into an eclectic mixture of song and story that attracts not only a loyal, almost cult following, but also new, younger listeners with each broadcast. They hear an incredibly diverse selection of artists, from the traditional to the contemporary: Joan Baez, Tom Paxton, Arlo Guthrie, Mike Cross, The Weavers, Dudley Moore and Carol Channing, to name a few.

The Midnight Special often airs live performances recorded by WFMT over the past 35 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.

The Midnight Special is on Saturday nights from 9:00 until Midnight, on WFMT, 98.7 FM. One of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is, "If it's the Midnight Special, why isn't it on at Midnight?" That's a good question. It never has been. Check our History page for more information about the origins of the show.