I still can't imagine what Boston will be like post-'FNX. The station connected so many people together through music in a way social media never could. 'FNX made Boston one of the best local music scenes and gave the city a cool vibe that I took for granted until I moved out west. I taught high-school science for a year in Utah. It was a difficult year for me and I felt like an orphan. That was the year 'FNX began to stream over the Internet. What a godsend! I listened every chance I had. I even turned it on during class while my students were doing lab work. It was great! It kept me grounded and helped me feel a connection to home that I really needed. Like everyone else who's been posting, I don't know what I'm going to listen to now. There's really no alternative because it's not just about the music — it's about the community. Thanks to everyone at 'FNX who made the station a legend.
It's hard to believe it's been 16 years since I last worked for WFNX, as the program director and DJ named Boy Troy. But it's even harder to believe that this radio legacy will no longer be a part of Boston's cultural community. For many of us, WFNX was the reason why we moved to Boston. For others, it was the reason why we stayed. WFNX was more than a music provider; in many ways, it was both a salvation from and a front-row seat to the ugliness of the world around us. It provided many with the opportunity to make change, positive change, in their lives and their society, and exposed the hypocritical operatives that were determining our social well-being right here in this city.
To that end, we, as programmers of WFNX, were convinced that playing songs that were written about things that were important to us was far more significant than playing songs that were simply popular. And you agreed. The songs we played, the songs you kept asking for, were first-person tell-alls of our generation, an inside look at what moved us, what hurt us, what encouraged us. It still shows in our community even today — Boston has come a long way culturally since WFNX first burst on the airwaves in the early 1980s.
I am still stung by the irony that the best years of my life were spent working at a radio station in a city I swore I would never set foot in. I was 13 years old and living in Connecticut during the very patriotic summer of 1976 when the United States was celebrating being the world's leader of liberty and justice for all. I picked up a copy of a popular magazine at the time and saw a frame-by-frame pictorial of a black man walking through the streets of downtown Boston, being chased down and beaten by a drunken mob of white people in Sully (Sullivan) Square, now Government Center. This was Boston? I am never living there.
And yet, I did. On a visit in the mid 1980s, I heard this station, this alternative station, and it was calling out to me. It was playing the same music I was playing at my college radio station. The pull was undeniable. The DJs were talking to me. Or at least that's how it felt. Wasn't that how you felt when you first got hooked?
I remembered that magazine's pictorial on the first day I worked at WFNX. But then, I quickly forgot about it. I was handed a gift — I was working at a radio station that could absolutely affect and change the future of Boston. A new generation determined not to repeat its tainted, racial history. My fellow FNX-ers were a group of individuals who shared their like-minded love of alternative music and lifestyle — not only within our immediate radio family, but with our extended family of devoted listeners as well. We believed our generation had so much to contribute to the development of our Boston community, and we were honored to have the opportunity to share the music and thoughts of so many talented, like-minded musicians and community leaders who were writing songs and leading rallies that spoke directly to our hearts.
Is Boston a better city because of WFNX? I'd like to think so. And I think you'd agree. WFNX was so much more than a choice on the radio dial. It was a choice of a way of life that satisfies so much more than musical need. It is a lasting, positive community legacy that makes it very clear that when it comes to lifestyle, there is no other choice.
There is no alternative.
Author, Nirvana: The Chosen Rejects