Thursday, January 29, 2004

Oxford's WOXY Net-only after sale

By Jon Gambrell
Enquirer contributor

OXFORD - The "future of rock 'n' roll" will now be heard only on the Internet.

Known nationally for its mix of alternative rock, WOXY-FM owners Doug and Linda Balogh announced the sale of the station to First Broadcasting Investment Partners, LLC of Dallas, Texas for $5.6 million. Pending the approval of the Federal Communications Commission, the sale will be final May 1.

The news stunned loyal listeners locally and on the Internet. WOXY's creative song selection and ear for the next big thing earned accolades from Billboard, Rolling Stone and Spin. WOXY-FM was also named the one of the top 10 stations in the nation by Esquire.

In Uptown Oxford at Mac & Joe's Restaurant and Bar, worker Greg McNamee said the station's mantra of "corporate radio sucks" now "just sounds like a contradiction. They are not sticking to their guns."

Even though the Baloghs plan to keep the name and Internet broadcasting, when the station posted its plans on the Web site Wednesday, fans were worried. The station, the most-listened-to alternative station on the Internet and 12th overall according to Arbitron ratings, is seeking investors or advertisers to support the move to Internet-only.

The Baloghs, who moved to Oxford from Chicago in 1981, bought the station for $375,000. After changing its format to alternative rock in 1983, the station gained a loyal base of student listeners from Miami University.

The 1988 film Rain Man immortalized the station, with Dustin Hoffman's repetition of the station's slogan: "97X, Bam! The Future of Rock and Roll!"

The station has broadcast simultaneously through its Web site since 1998.


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