thoughts on the demise of WFNX by a former intern

Heartbreaking news to hear that another radio station succumbs to a corporate takeover. It just can’t make enough money in this economy or in these changing times. As a journalist, I understand just how much the internet’s changed media and the public’s consumption of news and new products.

While a sophomore in high school, on my boom box in my bedroom, I heard my first song on WFNX: “Running Up That Hill,” by Kate Bush. The reception always proved challenging. I’d make mix tapes from the radio. Remember that Gen Xers? In 1986 I saw my first concert–General Public– at The Orpheum.

I spent 25 years listening to WFNX and discovered lots and lots of new music: Catherine Wheel, Rancid, Blur, The Charlatans, Lush, Ivy, Curve, R.E.M., General Public, The Cranberries, The Smiths, Fiona Apple, Joy Formidable, Mistle Thrush, Letter to Cleo, Trona, Orangutang, Naked and Famous, Big Audio Dynamite, Death Cab for Cutie, The Decemberists, Foster the People, Florence and the Machine, Mumford and Sons, Garbage, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, The Black Keys, The White Stripes and many more. Sure I have new and different sources to discover new music now but maybe I’m old-fashioned that I enjoy the radio format and listening to DJs chit-chat.

My strongest friendships and relationships will always be based firmly in alternative music. I realize that I have more Facebook friends connected to WFNX than to my high school [shout-out to Acton-Boxborough]. In college, my friends and I went to “X-Night” at Axis on Landsdowne Street every Saturday night to hear DJs spin WFNX-influenced club and dance tunes. I even ran into Donnie Wahlberg and Jordan Knight from New Kids on the Block there one night. I met a guy there who I went on a few dates with. It was part of our collegiate routine as was the station along with MTV’s 120 Minutes.

While completing a graduate degree in print journalism at Boston University, I interned for then Music Director Laurie Gail [thanks again for early copy of IVY] at WFNX. Despite being a writer, I wanted to learn about the music industry directly and what better way then at my favorite radio station, WFNX. I wrote those A-Z FNX-files heard online– bios of bands. I pulled music for special themed weekends. I filed. I organized. I met lots of cool people– Neal Robert ["Amy, could you please step out for a minute I'm going on air."], Liquid Todd [thanks for the writing tips], Jason Steeves, Angie C [sweetness], Henry Santoro, Julie Kramer [lots of good karma], Angelle Wood, Roubena Surenian, and tons of cool bands.

I’m a talented writer but if it weren’t for the internship and Laurie Gail I doubt I’d have gotten paid writing gigs for The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Globe [lasted four years--thanks again Steve Morse], The Weekly Dig, WBUR and now The L Magazine. I may not have become a staff member anywhere as I’d have liked or made the money I’d wanted but I still write about music and hopefully always will.

with Iain Baker of Jesus Jones in New Jersey [I gifted him the Red Sox hat]

Music is a major aspect of my life. Can be a deal-breaker in many cases. Country music or world music 24/7? Haven’t heard of some of my favorite bands. Don’t listen to music that music or think there’s a difference in genres? No thank you. At 42, I meet people daily who’ve never heard of the artists and bands I listen to and cherish. It amazes me. But I like it that I’m in that elite club of those with exquisite taste in music.

If it weren’t for WFNX, I’d never have followed Jesus Jones [I still remain friends with keyboardist Iain Baker] and The Charlatans on tour– from Washington, DC to Montreal. I’d never have dated silver-tongued [in every way] Jed Parish from The Gravel Pit. I’d not have hung out with Karen and Anne and Bridget. Or Trona, Cherry 2000 or Fuzzy. And I wouldn’t have hooked up with a guy at the Rancid show at Avalon, a guy at The Arctic Monkeys concert and a guy at The Cult. Plus there’s all those guys I made out with–PJ Olsson, who opened for Rufus Wainwright at TT the Bear’s and Bobby Schayer, then drummer for Bad Religion. Oh, and best kisser ever Jon Baird of Seventeen.

with Rob Collins of The Charlatans, 1992

As former Program Director Max Tokoff told Julie Kramer today (paraphrased) ‘WFNX listeners are above-average, more discerning, intelligent, willing to take risks . . .’ Today, I still listen to WFNX. Especially while driving. My publicity contacts have shifted to much more independent than before with smaller, lesser known acts. My tastes are a bit broader– I listen to NPR/WBUR and I like some alt-folk, alt-country acts but my favorites remain alternative such as Death Cab for Cutie, The Decemberists, Joy Formidable, Keane, Gorillaz, Juliana Hatfield.

I’m an alterna-chick always and forever. #WeAreWFNX

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