R.I.P. WFNX, 1983-2012
Welcome to radio nowhere. (Photo via Shovelling Son/Flickr.)
Boston radio, as we knew it, is dead. The final nail in the coffin? Yesterday’s announcement that Clear Channel is gobbling up WFNX, one of the city’s last independent radio stations.
All but four of the rock station’s part-and full-time employees were let go. No more Henry Santoro. And, sob, no more “Leftover Lunch” with Julie Kramer. Where else can I get my daily fix of the Replacements and Joy Division with a side of wry backstage commentary? This is not OK.
Like so many other Bostonians disenchanted by yesterday’s news, I grew up with FNX (and BCN, for that matter). I remember riding the late bus after middle school sports, listening to some band called Nirvana sing about a heart-shaped box — that was in southern New Hampshire, where the frequency is 92.1. The station was my first exposure to Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam and Garbage, too.
Even in recent years, when I’ve looked to friends, Pitchfork, and college stations (WERS is my go-to) over mainstream radio for fresh tunes, I could always count on a dose of shiny new local music on “Boston Accents” Sunday nights.
And, I’ve also been to my fair share of Clambakes and Miracle on ____ Street shows — the 2009 Christmas concert at at the Orpheum with Spoon, Phoenix, and Passion Pit was particularly awesome.
Since the news broke, there has been a social media outpouring of sadness and thanks and disgust (especially over swirling rumors the frequency might morph into a country or talk radio format). My feelings are perhaps best summed up by commenter on the Phoenix’s Phlog: “This is literally the only radio station I listen to. I feel like someone just broke up with me.”
One by one, the presets in my car are falling off the dial. I can always plug my iPod in for music sans DJ — but where’s the local color, the sense of place, the personality? It’s just not the same.