Perhaps one of the best-known and best-loved radio stations in the Boston area was WFNX. After the station's frequency was recently sold to Clear Channel (News - Alert) in a deal that took place earlier this year, many wondered if this was the end for the popular independent radio outlet. But as is so often the case, the Internet allowed an old favorite to find new life...in a different format.
Following the sale of the WFNX frequency to Clear Channel, the Boston Globe stepped in to provide new jobs for the popular local disc jockeys who were fired as a result, and created RadioBDC from the newfound talent. RadioBDC streams programming from Boston.com, which is the Globe's entertainment news site as well as their current events site.
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WFNX, which launched in 1983, has had something of a storied history in music circles, including being the first to play not only Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" song, but also the entirety of the album "Nevermind", which in turn gave Nirvana their big chance at becoming a national word.
The announcement that WFNX would go silent following its frequency sale to Clear Channel prompted an outpouring of support, like that of longtime fan Andrea Berman, who launched a Facebook (News - Alert) page dubbed "Occupy WFNX", as well as a blog and Twitter account to back it up. The announcement that the DJs would return to RadioBDC made her very happy indeed, along with several others like her.
Independent radio stations have been falling by the wayside in recent years, mostly because advertisers are demanding more bang for their collective buck, and wanting broader platforms to work with. Thus, radio stations are turning to streaming radio, much less expensive but still able to reach that local audience, or anyone with an Internet connection. Considering that streaming audio is much less bandwidth-intensive than streaming video, it works with many more kinds of connection overall.
Interestingly, WFNX still exists as WFNX.com, playing much the same kind of music that it did when it was a radio station, but the key difference is that it's doing so without the DJs, as many online radio stations do. RadioBDC--which takes its name from Boston Dot Com--brings in the DJs, which is something of a new step in online radio as many online radio stations work without the DJs to save money.
The station is having some issues getting started, but is finding some impressive workarounds, like an expanded focus on alcohol advertising to reach a 21-to-34 year old male demographic, as well as using the DJs to manually upload music from their own CD collections into the RadioBDC computers to save money and build a music library entirely from scratch once they have the rights to that music.
It's posing a very interesting potential solution for those looking for a new source of music as well as a new dynamic to bring into play in their home theater. Indeed, there are quite a few sources of streaming radio out there, even including radio plays and dramas, both classic and modern-day. It should prove well worth watching to see just what direction this growing new, or rather old made new, media is going to take, and should provide plenty of entertainment for listeners in the interim.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman