We Want The Airwaves: A WFNX Tribute
featuring O Positive, Orbit, Garvy J, Parlour Bells and other special guests. WFNX DJ sets by Anngelle Wood & Angie C., Boy Troy, Duane Bruce, Bruce McDonald, Mike “X-Night” Gioscia. Also, a sneek peek of the film “We Want The Airwaves: The WFNX Story”
This article was to be something of a eulogy, after hearing of the sale of WFNX 101.7 fm to the evil empire of Clear Channel Communications. Happily, Boston.com came to their rescue, and the station will be continuing on as an online entity at WFNX.com. But I’d still like say a few words as this radio station that has meant so much to so many begins its new phase of life. Like a phoenix risen from the ashes (pun intended).
At the Paradise tomorrow night, it’ll be a special evening of remembrances from DJs throughout WFNX’s history, with some fine Boston bands – old and new – performing, and a sneak preview of the new documentary “We Want The Airwaves: The WFNX Story.”
I’ll be honest; I’m not a regular listener of ‘FNX. Over the years, they’ve basically been my “car station,” though living in and around Boston for some 20 years now, I’ve done my fair share of commuting. And I’ll admit to yelling out some disparaging things such as “oh god, not that song again!” There are a good handful of ‘FNX bands that I could, quite frankly, do without. But despite the playlist and some differing personal tastes, they also sandwich in a lot of bands that other stations aren’t playing, and through the years, introduced plenty of ‘off the beaten track’ acts (and a slew of local bands) to a large ‘commercial alternative’ rock station audience. This is a HUGE thing.
As I type this, Bruce McDonald, ‘FNX music director in the 1980s, is on the air playing a truly inspiring set of old school WFNX. In an interview with Dave Herlihy of O-Positive (who are performing tomorrow night at this special show), he said that when the band first started, they were “too weird for commercial radio, and not cool enough for college radio.” The ‘FNX airplay ended up getting them both. And that’s the point. There are quite a few bands who, through no fault of their own, end up in that ‘no mans land’ between Justin Bieber and Diamanda Galas. WFNX, with actual DJs rather than pre-programmed music like most of their fellow commercial stations, gives a home to a wider swath of artists. If you think I’m wrong about that, how many radio stations on the airwaves do you know of who’ll play The Killers next to Bowie or The Violent Femmes; The Mighty Mighty Bosstones or The Pixies right after Coldplay?
Then there’s the show promotion, ‘FNX-sponsored concerts, and special acoustic sets. Every ‘FNX listener will have a favorite band they’ll name that the station has supported and brought to town, perhaps even first introduced them to. For me, that band is The Airborne Toxic Event. I first stumbled upon their MySpace page in January 2008, but unbeknownst to me at the time, ‘FNX was already playing their pre-debut demo. It was at a wacked out ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ radio station event where I first saw the band live. A memorable experience. I’ve also had the pleasure of attending several acoustic sessions, The Miracle On Tremont Street, The ‘FNX Clambake… Fortunately, that fine tradition of bringing great bands into town for special performances (and of featuring notable local bands) will continue with their online streaming incarnation.
But for now, help celebrate their 29 years of existence, and usher in what will hopefully be many more.