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Breaking on the Boston Phoenix website is some sad news for Boston-area music fans, regarding the independent rock radio station WFNX.

Not much to say about this personally, other than it bums me out.  For decades, WFNX has been the last real "independent" radio in the Boston listening area.  (Other than the college stations, like WERS Emerson and WMBR MIT, which can usually only be picked up if you're standing in the right place, on one foot, holding a coathanger in the air.) WFNX was the only station that played new bands and local music instead of just waiting to see what was popular and playing only that.  It was also the only station that was really tied in to the local music scene in some form or another.

But now, its owners, the Phoenix Media Group (publishers of the BoPho), have decided it's not making enough money  and have sold it (pending FCC approval) to the company that is, in every conceivable way, the very oppostie of WFNX: ClearChannel Communications.

So Boston loses an independent radio station and gets... what? Probably another Top 40-esque "we play everything" station ("everything" being, of course, limited to the commercially successful and artistically vapid hits of the last three decades).  Or worse, right-wing talk radio.

From the article linked to above, a rather typical statement from the guy in charge:

Despite its celebrated history, its cutting edge programming , its tradition of breaking new music, its ardent fans among listeners and advertisers, for some time it has been difficult to sustain the station  -- especially since the start of the Great Recession.

And that is why the station is being sold.

(Note the use of the passive.  Apparently, no one including the executives made a decision to sell the last bastion of independent radio programming in the Boston market... it just happened.)

So, RIP WFNX... you will be missed by many including me.

4:08 PM PT: More on WFNX (h/t Phil S 33):

http://www.boston.com/...

Originally posted to looty on Wed May 16, 2012 at 10:08 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKOMA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    In the sea, Biscayne, there prinks
    The young emerald evening star,
    Good light for drunkards, poets, widows,
    And ladies soon to be married.

    by looty on Wed May 16, 2012 at 10:08:04 AM PDT

  •  Oh Geez! (9+ / 0-)

    I have such fond memories of WFNX from my years in MA.

    Fuck Clear Channel.  I fucking hate them.

    :sigh:

  •  Bummer.... (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    looty, brillig, mik, EMBA30, Phil S 33, x

    Late 70's-early 80's high school hanging out in Harvard Square listening to 'FNX.  Memories!

    It will be missed, but like 'BCN it was just a matter of time.

    At least WERS is still carrying the torch.

    "All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree" -- James Madison

    by paulitics on Wed May 16, 2012 at 10:12:27 AM PDT

    •  WERS is decent (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      paulitics, x

      but hard to pick up in a lot of places.

      There's also "The River" which broadcasts from the North Shore (Andover, I believe).  Still the place won't be quite the same.  Thanks for commenting.

      In the sea, Biscayne, there prinks
      The young emerald evening star,
      Good light for drunkards, poets, widows,
      And ladies soon to be married.

      by looty on Wed May 16, 2012 at 10:16:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Definitely. WFNX was (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      looty, paulitics, boudi08

      very good to a lot of local musicians at that time. That is just damned sad.

      In the mid-70s, you might even have been listening at the time that the MIT radio station became WMBR (Walker Memorial Basement Radio). 10 points in radio trivia to whoever remembers what its callsign was before that....

      Since chances are nobody will remember, it was actually  WTBS. A gentleman nobody had heard of named Ted Turner came along and made an offer to them to sell that call sign that they just couldn't refuse.That upgraded a lot of their equipment- and the rest is, as they say, history.

      Glad to hear WERS is still at it. They were also very good to local artists, back in the day. As was WBRS out at Brandeis.

    •  IMHO, WERS lost an awful lot in Sept (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      paulitics

      presumably during the annual management turnover.  It was great before that... FNX and ERS were my #1 and #2 settings.

      Never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth. -- Henrik Ibsen

      by mik on Wed May 16, 2012 at 10:45:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  i think we were hanging there together... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      boudi08, looty

      ...we must have been.

      I remember the first of my friends to get her own apt and the many gin and tonics and camel lights that were consumed (note the passive voice) as we listened to FNX.

      The gay show "one in ten" was an FNX show, too. I'm not gay, but one in ten really helped get the word out about some of the plays I was in in Boston in early 90's, so there's a connection to the local theater scene as well.

      sigh.

  •  FNX will be missed! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    looty, brillig, mik, EMBA30, boudi08

    This is bad, really. I listen to ERS and The River too, but those stations don't hold a candle to what FNX was. Or to what WBCN used to be, or if you're old enough to remember WCOZ.

    Everybody got to elevate from the norm....

    by Icicle68 on Wed May 16, 2012 at 10:26:09 AM PDT

  •  sigh (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    looty, mik, jabney, paulitics, boudi08

    I've listened to WFNX ever since I moved to Boston.

    Clear Channel on another dial spot? Another reason to turn the radio off.

    "But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die." - - Cherokee saying

    by brillig on Wed May 16, 2012 at 10:26:51 AM PDT

    •  Some talk (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brillig, mik, jabney

      on the Phoenix site about it becoming an online radio station.  Apparently Phoenix has retained the "intellectual property" and brand, if they wanted to launch online.

      But yeah, less signal and more noise on Boston radio.

      In the sea, Biscayne, there prinks
      The young emerald evening star,
      Good light for drunkards, poets, widows,
      And ladies soon to be married.

      by looty on Wed May 16, 2012 at 10:35:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There's still one indie left (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mik, looty

    The River, WXRV.

    Republican Family Values: Using the daughters from your first wife to convince everybody that your second wife is lying about your third wife.

    by jsfox on Wed May 16, 2012 at 10:42:39 AM PDT

    •  Only real problem with WXRV (0+ / 0-)

      is that it's hard to pick up in a lot of parts of Boston.  I think they broadcast from the North Shore and for some reason the signal doesn't work everywhere in the city.

      In the sea, Biscayne, there prinks
      The young emerald evening star,
      Good light for drunkards, poets, widows,
      And ladies soon to be married.

      by looty on Wed May 16, 2012 at 10:53:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, that totally sucks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brillig, looty, paulitics

    WFNX is what I listen to on my commute.  Of course, it has felt like it was losing its edge in the last year or so... maybe it got boring enough so that Clearchannel actually wanted it.

    Coupled with WERS (Emerson College's radio) having lost all semblance of edgy eclecticism in the annual turnover in September...

    I guess I'll withhold judgement, but I'm thinking webradio might be the last bastion of decent music mix available - satellite radio certainly isn't thrilling me, even if it is uncensored.

    SIGH

    Never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth. -- Henrik Ibsen

    by mik on Wed May 16, 2012 at 10:43:37 AM PDT

  •  Indie radio still alive and well elsewhere... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    looty, boudi08

    Here in Tucson, our local community-supported indie radio station, KXCI 91.3 FM is a year away from having its 30th birthday. This is the station that literally plays a little bit of everything. Really. And you can listen from far away from Tucson via the web stream.

    One of the coolest things that KXCI does is train people to be deejays. I'm in the deejay training program right now, and lemme tell you, that being on the radio thing is a lot more difficult than it sounds.

    •  That's awesome (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      milkbone, boudi08

      I had a chance to DJ a bit in college (my little college's radio station's signal was so weak you could barely pick it up in the dorms!) and it certainly was a lot more work than I had expected.  

      In the sea, Biscayne, there prinks
      The young emerald evening star,
      Good light for drunkards, poets, widows,
      And ladies soon to be married.

      by looty on Wed May 16, 2012 at 10:55:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ye Olde Silver Lining Department... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    looty

    ...the loss of local content is yet another incentive for car listeners to seek the ability to get internet reception on the go. And for music lovers to seek out live music.

    Now, if we can just keep the inter-tubes from turning into a top-down, focus-group programmed imitation of FM (but with lower sound quality), we may be entering a new golden age.

    (I was tempted to put something in about the 'brass' getting the 'lead' out but then thought that might arouse too much antimony amongst metal-heads. {Bah dum puhm.} Try the veal, it's delicious. And don't forget to tip the waitstaff!)

    best,

    john

    Strange that a harp of thousand strings should keep in tune so long

    by jabney on Wed May 16, 2012 at 11:01:42 AM PDT

  •  if you're looking for an independent talk station (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    looty

    in the Boston area, look no further than AM 1510 Revolution Boston - Progressive Talk.

    I've had it with all the ClearChannel music stations and I turned most of them off years ago.

    If I want music - it's usually my own.  If I want progressive talk, it's Revolution Boston.

  •  O' Wfn shame (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phil S 33, looty

    i listened while i was in Boston in the ninety's.   pretty much turned me on to alternative music.  
    Well hell i will shout out out Lakes region WMWV fairly independent.  No fnx  

  •  Most of 21 staffers let go.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    looty, boudi08
  •  Thanks for the diary, though the news sucks. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    looty

    I lived in Boston '83-'91, mostly in college. Yeah, so what if it took me seven years?

    FNX was a truly great radio station.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Thu May 17, 2012 at 07:48:47 PM PDT

    •  Only seven years? (0+ / 0-)

      That's faster than a lot of my friends.

      And I spent almost 10 years in grad school, without earning a degree to show for it.

      In the sea, Biscayne, there prinks
      The young emerald evening star,
      Good light for drunkards, poets, widows,
      And ladies soon to be married.

      by looty on Fri May 18, 2012 at 08:26:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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