Monday, May 10, 2004

97X farewell


A goodbye from those who hold 'The Future of Rock and Roll' close to their hearts

By Lauren Bishop
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Last Monday morning, in the one-story building near Miami University's Oxford campus that houses WOXY-FM (97.7), it seemed like business as usual.

DJ Barb Abney took requests from listeners as other staffers walked through the maze of small work spaces and walls covered with 20 years of modern rock memorabilia.

[img]
Doug and Linda Balogh
(Brandi Stafford photo)
In January, owners Doug and Linda Balogh sold the station to First Broadcasting Investment Partners of Dallas for $5.6 million. First Broadcasting has not announced its plans for the frequency.

There were hints last week of coming changes at the station: tags with staffers' initials were taped to signed gold records, posters and framed articles, indicating who takes what after the station closes this week.

The station began streaming its programming onto the Web in 1998, and listeners from all over are filling www.woxy.com's message boards and the staff's inboxes, wondering where they'll get their new music fix.

Why did Doug and Linda sell? Doug, 61, said a friend put it best.

"You have from 20 to 40 to figure out what you want to do. And you have 40 to 60 to do it as well as you can. After 60, you enjoy the fruits of your labors."

Remembering X-actly when ...

July 1981: Doug and Linda Balogh buy the struggling Top 40 station WOXY-FM for $375,000.

September 1983: The Baloghs launch the station's modern rock format, making it the first of its kind in Ohio and the nation's sixth.

June 1985: Reporter Steve Rosen does a cover story for the Enquirer's Sunday magazine on "WOXY's Moxie."

November 1985: The Balogh's name their new Welsh terrier puppy "Moxie."

October 1988: Cincinnati Magazine names 97X "Cincinnati's Best Cutting-Edge Station."

December 1988: The Oscar-winning film Rain Man features Dustin Hoffman repeating what would become the station's slogan: "97X - Bam! - The Future of Rock and Roll."

February 1990: 97X is called "The Best Little Radio Station in America" in a WCPO-TV (Channel 9) feature.

March 1990: Rolling Stone readers select 97X as one of the "15 Best Radio Stations" in the nation; an honor that would be repeated three more times in the next four years.

October 1990: Cincinnati Magazine names 97X "Cincinnati's Best Radio Station."

July 1994: The station is featured in a Spin magazine article titled "A Year in the Life of Rock 'n' Roll."

September 1995: WOXY is featured in a college textbook called Operations Management. The book calls the radio station a "Cutting Edge Company" and tells the history of the station, as well as its influence on the alternative radio format, programming, product philosophy and marketing.

November 1995: WOXY launches its Web site.

April 1998: Rolling Stone says 97X is one of only 10 alternative radio stations in the country that "don't suck."

August 1998: 97X starts broadcasting through its Web site.

December 1998: USA Today publishes a story on Internet broadcasting, saying "Popular stations such as 97X are now on the world's wavelength."

February 1998: 97X is featured in a Spin magazine article titled "Who Killed Rock Radio?" The article holds up the station as an example to other modern rock stations, including Los Angeles' top-rated KROQ.

January 2000: 97X is named one of five modern rock "stations of the decade" by Friday Morning Quarterback, a trade magazine.

June 2002: Rolling Stone selects www.woxy.com as one of 13 "most beloved webcasters" on the Internet.

April 2003: Rolling Stone selects 97X as one of the four best and last great independent radio stations in the country.

July 2003: Out of 13,000 choices, Esquire magazine selects 97X as one of the seven best commercial radio stations in the country.

January 2004: The Baloghs announce the sale of the terrestrial signal of the station to First Broadcasting Investment Partners of Dallas for $5.6 million. They plan to enter into semi-retirement and move to Santa Fe, N.M.

March 2004: According to Arbitron, 97X ranks No. 12 among the top 15 Internet broadcasters, which includes both commercial and non-commercial radio stations and networks. It is the No. 1 commercial radio station broadcasting on the Internet.

May 2004: The Baloghs announce they have been unable to find investors willing to continue the station's Internet broadcast and that the sign-off date will be on or before May 13.

Sources: Virtually Alternative magazine, WOXY-FM, Enquirer research

97X No. 1 albums, 1994-2003

1984: "Two Tribes," Frankie Goes to Hollywood*
1985: "Shout," Tears for Fears*
1986: The Blind Leading the Naked, Violent Femmes
1987: The Joshua Tree, U2
1988: The Lion and The Cobra, Sinead O'Connor
1989: Cosmic Thing, B-52's
1990: Violator, Depeche Mode
1991: Out of Time, R.E.M.
1992: Achtung Baby, U2
1993: Grave Dancer's Union, Soul Asylum
1994: Dookie, Green Day
1995: Under the Table and Dreaming, Dave Matthews Band
1996: Sparkle & Fade, Everclear
1997: Whiplash, James
1998: Hello Nasty, Beastie Boys
1999: Philadelphonic, G. Love & Special Sauce
2000: The Man Who, Travis
2001: Gorillaz, Gorillaz
2002: White Blood Cells, The White Stripes
2003: Elephant, The White Stripes

*Countdowns were individual songs only in 1984 and 1985

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E-mail lbishop@enquirer.com




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