WFNX: Beloved alt- radio station signs off

It’s still unknown who will occupy 101.7 on the FM dial.
NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO

By the time you read this WFNX will either be playing its final songs on 101.7 FM or will no longer exist on terrestrial radio.

WFNX, which broke music and for decades brought a distinctive sound to the ears of Boston radio listeners, will play its final songs this weekend. It was 29 years ago that WFNX started broadcasting from Lynn.

While the terrestrial life of WFNX was expected to last until 7 p.m. Friday, according to one station DJ, the station will continue to play on through the Internet.

However, some music business experts said they were unsure if the WFNX fan base would follow.
“It’s going to be difficult,” said Jeff Dorenfeld, a professor of music business management at Berklee College of Music. “Young listeners are on Spotify and Pandora and they make the playlist that meets their need. I think that’s probably where they (listeners) are settling into at this point.”

One of the reasons the station’s transition to online could be successful is the following and trust built up by the DJs. But complicating that is the station moving on in two forms with many of the well-known DJs moving to Boston.com.

Dorenfeld recalled growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area and listening to a DJ that played an imported Jimi Hendrix single. He called the DJs “gatekeepers” and “tastemakers” of music.

However, he said young listeners are now turning to blogs and Pandora for that responsibility.
Dorenfeld said he personally would miss the station.

“I grew up with DJs playing a new record or talking about an artist releasing a new album and they would talk about the artist’s tour, the record. They’d prepare you, get you excited about it,” Dorenfeld said. “But for the generation that is coming up, they’ll find their own way because music’s a necessity.”

Alternatives rock

WFNX and its well-known DJs will live on online.
   
WFNX announced shortly after its sale that it will continue streaming online at wfnx.com.

Boston.com will soon launch RadioBDC and has recruited many of the WFNX DJs including Julie Kramer, Adam 12, and Paul Driscoll.

The 101.7 to come

When the Phoenix Media/Communications Group announced its sale of WFNX to Clear Channel earlier this year — which would be for about $14 million — it was speculated that 101.7 would become a Spanish language or a Republican talk station.

Earlier this month the website talk1017.com began linking to the website for 1200 AM, which is the Hub’s home for Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

However, recently radio1017.com began to link — although very indirectly — to a Spanish language AM station.

Radio blogs have also said Clear Channel recently filed for the call letters WHBA and, according to the FCC, a request for those call letters was filed July 13.


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