Yesterday it was announced that long-time alternative rock station WFNX is selling its Boston-area 101.7 FM frequency to Clear Channel. One of the few independently-owned commercial radio stations, WFNX is currently owned by MCC Broadcasting Company (which is affiliated with the Boston Phoenix aka Phoenix Media/Communications Group).
Stephen Mindich, President of MCC announced in a statement yesterday,
“…This morning I met with the staff of WFNX to announce the pending sale of the station to Clear Channel Communications.
Over the years, WFNX has done spectacular things. Since 1983 the station has played an historic role in bringing new music to audiences in and around Boston. We introduced Nirvana and Pearl Jam to wider audiences in 1991. Together with the Boston Phoenix we staged the notorious Green Day concert at the Hatch Shell in 1994. Three years later, FNX and the Phoenix organized a group reading and broadcast of Allen Ginsberg’s controversial poem Howl, featuring talents as varied as rocker Peter Wolf and Poet Lauriat Robert Pinsky, along with civil liberties attorney Harvey Silverglate and me.
We’ve formed creative partnerships with local museums and many other important not-for-profit organizations such as the AIDS Action Committee. In addition, for years we broadcast One In Ten, the only program on a commercial radio station in the nation dedicated to the issues and lifestyles of the GLBT community. And throughout it all, FNX has continued to break new music…
Here comes the catch….
Despite its celebrated history, its cutting edge programming , its tradition of breaking new music, its ardent fans among listeners and advertisers, for some time it has been difficult to sustain the station — especially since the start of the Great Recession.
And that is why the station is being sold…”
A post on the WFNX website indicates that the WFNX brand is being retained by its owners, which could mean that the call letters and station identity may morph into an online-only station.
Paperwork has not yet been accepted for filing by the FCC, so details aren’t yet available about purchase price.
In the meantime, long-time WFNX fans are already voicing their displeasure. Comments on the WFNX website include the following: “I’m devastated,” “I will never listen to broadcast radio again,” You are killing a part of Boston radio’s history,” and “WFNX has been my favorite station for nearly 30 years.” WFNX fans have also created a petition calling for Clear Channel to keep the station’s alternative rock format.