My favorite Massachusetts radio station, 101.7 WFNX Boston’s Alternative Radio, was sold this week to Clear Channel. Articles stated that even though this station is historic, it simply could not afford to be on the airwaves anymore. And long time radio personalities like Julie Kramer and Adam 12 are out of a job.
Historic? Yes. Even though the call letters have changed, this station is credited for introducing bands like Nirvana to the East Coast, and Florence + the Machine and Mumford and Sons to the U.S. WFNX lended hands in many festivals around the Boston area, including the Clam Bake, Harpoon Fest and recently, the Seaport Six. They hosted a free Green Day concert in 1994. Every year, a couple of DJ’s traveled to Ireland for St. Patty’s Day and set up camp at Coachella Valley during their giant music festival. And FNX is also credited for introducing a little band called U2 to the United States.
As for the shows and DJ’s, 101.7 has seen a few changes. When I first moved to Mass about five years ago, the Sandbox was on the mornings. It boasted movie reviews, including 80’s movies radio personality Fletcher had never seen. Henry Santoro news sounded over the dawn airwaves since 1983, and he was co-hosting the Breakfast Show when it was sold. The “My Song is Better than Your Song” competition was always an interesting joy during the morning commute. Late at night, one could listen to local bands (Boston Accents) or brand spankin’ new tunes. In the late afternoons, Adam 12 and Jim Ryan usually got into some sort of playful tiff on the air at the switch of the shows. My favorite show was the Leftover Lunch with Julie Kramer. She served daily retro dosages of David Bowie, The Clash, Ramones, Sex Pistols, etc.
Right now, rumors are flying as to what tunage will spill over the airwaves once the switch is completely final. But I do not believe it has been officially announced what kind of music WFNX or 101.7 will now play. I would like to point out that Boston and Massachusetts have plenty of rock, variety, and pop stations. But we have now lost our one, truly alternative station. Sure, there’s 92.9, but they’ve even started playing Guns ‘N Roses (which we can hear on three other channels). Hopefully it will keep its alternative sound and continue bringing underground sounds from across the Atlantic to the U.S. Because there are a lot of us that don’t want to hear Katy Perry all damn day long.
WFNX, I will miss the Leftover Lunch, streaming music on my computer at work while doing paperwork, and the most awesome call letters in radio history W F N X. I belive it was the Silversun Pickups that described it best when stating they liked saying FNX, because it sounds like “cursing on the air.” When I moved to Mass, you all introduced me to new loves such as Mumford and Sons, Florence + the Machine, and the Black Keys. You got me better acquainted with the Dropkick Murphys. And I thank you all for that.
I cling to hope that the crew can make new memories, and that WFNX will somehow live on.