Listening to WFNX 1983-2012

Celebrating the live and times of 101.7 FM, Boston's only true alternative radio station
By PHOENIX STAFF  |  July 24, 2012


APRIL 1995

For the fifth straight ratings period, the Boston Globe reports, WFNX posts a gain in listenership — rising from a 2.1 to a 2.5 share of the listening audience. It's the highest rating the station will ever achieve.

MAY 3, 1995

Lou Barlow got sick and Sebadoh went on without him at the Best Music Poll, which nonetheless highlighted a high-water mark for Boston bands and featured slots by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Letters to Cleo, Fuzzy, Come, and Tracy Bonham.

MAY 18, 1995

WFNX partners with Cambridge's legendary Fort Apache Studios — home to Sean Slade and Paul Kolderie, the producers whose credits include seminal records by the Pixies, Hole, the Lemonheads, Uncle Tupelo, Dinosaur Jr., and Juliana Hatfield. The partnership brings Hatfield, Belly, Throwing Muses, the Muffs, Morphine, and studio co-owner Bill Bragg to the studio for intimate lunch-time concerts staged for a handful of WFNX listeners and broadcast live on the air. (You can hear many of them at

PLAY WFNX: In August 1995, Slade and Kolderie bring in their most famous clients, Radiohead, for a legendary performance.

DECEMBER 14, 1995

The cross-town rivalry between WFNX and WBCN heats up again. When WBCN copies WFNX's Christmas show at the Middle East downstairs, with Garbage headlining, WFNX's street team stands outside and gives away Garbage T-shirts with WFNX logos printed on the back.


WFNX has taken over Axis on Saturday night: downstairs is the long-running alt-rock dance party X-Night, and upstairs is the progressive dance session Spin Cycle. Mike Gioscia takes a break from the former to banter upstairs with Liquid Todd.

PLAY WFNX: Listen to Spin Cycle.

APRIL 16-17, 1996

Best Music Poll features sets by Everclear, Veruca Salt, Mercury Rev, Girls Against Boys, and Gravity Kills — whom the Phoenix's wiseass reviewer refers to as "Eight Inch Nails." The Aerosmith-owned club Mama Kin is turned into the Spin Cycle room, with Crystal Method headlining. Local bands Scarce, Papas Fritas, and Elevator Drops round out the bill. Meanwhile, Garbage, Letters to Cleo, and G. Love play the Orpheum — and the festival has expanded to include a day of free music-industry panels.

MAY 1996


WFNX and the Phoenix go to war with the MDC, which suddenly — and yet belatedly — cancels a summer's worth of new-music and jazz concerts after caving to Back Bay politicians, who use the Green Day riot as an excuse to ban all rock music from the state-administered park. Listeners in turn deluge the State House with thousands of letters, e-mails, and faxes to Massachusetts's Republican governor, William Weld. Weld's office ultimately overturns the MDC, returning the WFNX New Music Series to the Esplanade. The series draws upward of 20,000 fans per show to concerts by artists including Letters to Cleo, Morphine, They Might Be Giants, and the Cardigans.

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