Local influence

By JIM SULLIVAN  |  December 3, 2008

DAVE HERLIHY (FORMER SINGER-GUITARIST, O POSITIVE, MUSIC BUSINESS LAWYER/NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR) "Back in the day, 'FNX treated us like a major-label band. They didn't have the corporate playlist coming down from the mountaintop. Christmas '87, we were number one on their overall playlist with 'Talk About Love,' ahead of R.E.M. and U2. Yeah, baby. They were instrumental in our reaching our audience. The gigs became exponentially more crowded. 'FNX was a tastemaker and played 'modern rock' before it was a format."

MAX TOLKOFF (PROGRAM DIRECTOR, 1989–1994 AND 2004–2007) "Being an alternative radio station, playing local music goes along with the territory— and being more committed than just having a Sunday show. Every commercial rock station has a Sunday show — we went a step further and made an effort to put as much local music into regular rotation that made sense. Clearly, a lot of developing bands weren't ready for prime time. But we took Bullet Lavolta, O Positive, Tribe, and the Pixies and played 'em with Depeche Mode. . . . If it was good stuff, we'd try to fit it in."

KAY HANLEY(SOLO ARTIST, SINGER, LETTERS TO CLEO) "In 1993, 'FNX took us out of the local radio show and put 'Here and Now' into regular rotation. It was fucking insane! I was working at the take-out at Michela's in Cambridge, and people were coming up to me . . . I'm telling you I can't even describe the feeling. We had been playing around town and had respectable draws, but we weren't headliners like O Positive or Tribe. But when 'FNX put us into rotation, we sold out the Middle East Downstairs, and I was like, 'Are you fucking serious?!' I have chills thinking about it right now."

BILL JANOVITZ (SINGER-GUITARIST, BUFFALO TOM) "WFNX was instrumental in not only the success of Buffalo Tom on a local level, but also in our national recognition. WFNX in the late 1980s and 1990s proved the notion that someone could play new, fresh, intelligent music, a true alternative to the lowest-common-denominator stuff on mainstream radio."

RALPH JACODINE (MANAGER, BANG CAMARO) "When I first started managing artists 15 years ago, the [local] radio situation had several rock radio stations and there was a lot of politics involved and competition. The dust has cleared, and 'FNX has taken the top position with the local music scene. A lot of the jocks I see at shows. They're part of the community, know the artists. 'FNX is the go-to station for my artists in this market, and the station's been instrumental in breaking them in their home market."

CHRIS PRINCIPE (BASSIST, HOORAY FOR EARTH) " 'FNX is directly connected to the local scene, supports what bands in Boston are doing, with the local show, New England Product, but also throwing concerts that promote local artists. 'FNX goes the extra mile. We've played a bunch of 'FNX-sponsored shows— like last year's Disorientation show — and it's a great opportunity for a Boston band to get on the big bill. I commend them."

JASON DUNN (SINGER, THE LUXURY) "You could say, honestly, 'FNX has been instrumental to us every step of the way. It sounds like hyperbole, but they've been champions for us and local music for as long as long I can remember."

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