Boston rock station WFNX was sold off to Clear Channel for a cool $14.5 million on May 16. The station officially changes hands in July, but the impact of the sale has already sent shockwaves through its audience of faithful listeners, indie rock fans and supporters of local, independent radio.
Recent years have seen shifts on the radio dial as bigger operators scoop up small stations, pressure mounts to "unify" programming to attract advertisers, and media increasingly shift onto the web. The halcyon days of music sets curated by local DJs and spiced up by excitable callers may be coming to a close. The high cost of running a station may also be keeping the voices of people of color off the airwarves.
Today we talk to local Boston radio historian Donna Halper about the changing face of radio in the town. We're also joined by radio legend Bob Bittner, who runs two independent stations, including AM 740 WJIB in Cambridge.
Bob Bittner, owns and operates two independent stations in New England - WJTO in Bath, ME, and WJIB in Cambridge, MA
Donna Halper, assistant professor of communications at Lesley University, author of Boston Radio: 1920 to 2010, former radio consultant