All good things must come to an end, they say. Now the end has come for 97X. This week, the owners of WOXY announced they will be shutting down in 90 days because they can no longer afford to run the station.
When I started The TC 10 in March 2003, I gave it the slogan “the future of rock and roll,” stealing the tagline from an independent radio station in Oxford, Ohio, called 97X, broadcasting at 97.7 FM since 1983.
Because the station was independently owned and operated on an already full range of FM frequencies, 97X had a small listening audience. However, as soon as I discovered the station, there was no going back to corporate-controlled radio. I remember the first time I found 97X on the dial. I thought to myself, is this even radio? This was music I hadn’t heard at all before, but it was incredibly awesome. It totally blew away the same 10 songs that would repeat over and over again on any of the other radio stations in the area.
97X started broadcasting on the Internet in 1998 at www.woxy.com. Since then, the incredibly short listening range of the station was expanded to the entire world. Anyone with a computer could now log on and listen to this one-of-a-kind outlet of new music. Although it became awesome for these Internet listeners around the world, nothing could match the awesomeness and convenience of having 97X on the radio dial at all times. I’ve listened to 97X every day. It starts my morning while I’m in the car and keeps me sane all day. No other radio station can come close to doing that.
Sure, there are countless other radio stations on the dial, but 97X is in a totally different world. On 97X, there’s no endless repetition of songs. There aren’t 100 commercials per hour. The DJs are actually intelligent people and they don’t ramble on for hours about things that no one cares about. And did I mention the music? It’s a never-ending showcase of new alternative music that no other station can match. Alternative and truly independent was the promise that 97X held true for 21 years.
All good things must come to an end, they say. Now the end has come for 97X. This week, the owners of WOXY announced they will be shutting down in 90 days because they can no longer afford to run the station. Competition with large corporations like ClearChannel has become too tough, so they must sell the station to avoid bankruptcy. This means one of the last remaining alternative and truly independent radio stations anywhere will be lost to yet another large corporation. It’s truly a sad day for radio.
Listening to 97X was a way to take a stand against these corporations telling you what you can and can’t listen to. Real people made real requests for real songs that were played by real DJs in a real studio on a real radio station. Imagine that. Now, the corporations have won.
The owners of 97X promise that the station will still broadcast on the Internet at www.woxy.com. However, the station’s biggest fans (myself included) wonder how long this can truly last. Even if 97X does continue to broadcast on the Internet, it simply won’t be the same as tuning the radio to 97.7 FM and being able to listen anywhere — provided you’re within 30 miles of Oxford, Ohio, that is. I’m sure all this is hard to understand for people who never had the opportunity to listen to 97X on their radio. It’s something I’ve taken for granted for a long time, and the way I listen to new music simply won’t be the same without 97X on the air.
As far as I’m concerned, when 97.7 FM goes off the air, FM radio dies. So I send you off with this message: don’t listen to the same shit that corporate radio wants to shove down your throat every 45 minutes. Continue to discover new music and listen to what you want to, not what a corporation tells you to. This week’s TC 10 goes out to 97X: an indirect thanks to the station for introducing me to so much new music over the years and always being there on the radio dial. 97X. BAM! The future of rock and roll.