A Sad Farewell to WFNX

Not to sound dramatic, but Wednesday May 16, 2012 will be a day that will go down in infamy. Why? It was the day that the last meaningful radio station in Boston sold its soul to the radio devil. Yesterday Phoenix Media/Communications Group announced the sale of the legendary station to radio conglomerate Clear Channel. When I read the news my heart sank into my shoes. How could this be happening? Was it not only 3 years ago when I listened to “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” followed by an eerily unsettling silence on WBCN? Now the last remaining hope in local alternative radio is gone. Rumors are Clear Channel has planned to move one of their AM talk stations in to the 101.7 slot, others have said the format will change to country or Spanish talk…

Being a lifelong fan of WFNX, and even lucky enough to be a part of the FNX family for a short time as an intern in college, to see the outpouring of support via social media is emotional to say the least. Sure there were times where FNX may have lost their way (Eminem and Panic! At the Disco in heavy rotation in the mid 2000s to name a couple instances), but over the past 4 or 5 years they have truly hit their stride. A great example of this would be last year’s Clambake lineup which featured Young the Giant, The Naked And Famous, and Foster the People all on the same stage. Look at what all three of those bands have done in the past year- Foster the People performed at the Grammys with the Beach Boys, The Naked And Famous are literally everywhere in television, commercials and video games, and Young the Giant sold out nearly every date on their headlining tour earlier this year. Who was there to break these bands and promote the shit out of them in the Boston market? WFNX was, and with Foster the People and Young the Giant especially, you can’t tell me that their FNX airplay and sold-out Boston shows are no coincidence.

Does this mean the end of indie music in Boston? I wouldn’t go that far, but I would say that it will be a hell of a lot more difficult for the next Foster the People or the next Young the Giant to sell out venues like The House of Blues without the support and airplay of WFNX. People need to realize that we are not just losing a radio station, but also the personalities and the artists that come along with it. Afternoon DJ Adam 12 was lucky enough to catch on with FNX after BCN went by the wayside, but now there are no other alternative stations for our favorite DJs to turn to in this market. WAAF? I’ll try not to laugh. Radio 92.9? I’m convinced that they have the MTV Buzz Bin records set on a permanent loop. WXRV? Not nearly edgy enough to call themselves alternative.

Not to mention the impact that WFNX has had in supporting local bands. I think that Boston’s Weekly Dig Music Editor, Hilary Hughes, put it best in her article yesterday

WFNX also incorporates the music of local bands into it’s regular programming seamlessly, showcasing bands like Mean Creek and You Can Be A Wesley and Viva Viva alongside the Foster The Peoples and Funs and Joy Formidables that strangers to the Boston music scene may recognize.

To play a Bostonian underdog’s song before or after a major, recognizable single is a GOOD thing by association. It introduces the local band to listeners tuning into WFNX as one on par with the national hit-maker, and hey, maybe the local band will get a few more new listeners out to the show and cultivate more fans.

I couldn’t agree more whole-heartedly with this statement. WFNX has done so much to help promote local bands and as I already mentioned, without that support the local music scene will suffer. Personally I am still trying to digest the news of the sale and the end of WFNX, but I wanted to take this opportunity to formally thank everyone at WFNX for the incredible run, especially Julie, 12, Driscoll, Henry and Fletcher.

One of my favorite song lyrics of all-time comes from Ted Leo’s “The Lost Brigade” where he repeats over and over– “Every little memory has a song.” For this reason and for many others WFNX will never die or completely fade away into obscurity, at least not while I’m around. Every time we hear “Pumped Up Kicks” or Pearl Jam’s “Alive” for an older generation, we will remember the first time that we heard it on WFNX. There are so many memories that I have of WFNX whether it was last year’s Clambake, the ’07 Best Music Poll or going into the office two times a week to produce and schedule commercials, I plan on reliving all of them over the next few months.

Thank you for the memories WFNX, Boston will never be the same without you.

Posted on by Eric in M&T Favorites, Music News

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