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WFNX Boston Sold To Clear Channel

101.7 WFNX Lynn Boston Phoenix Stephen Mindich Clear ChannelClear Channel has agreed to purchase Alternative 101.7 WFNX Boston for an undisclosed price.

The station which had been co-owned with the Boston Phoenix newspaper has carried an Alternative Rock format since April 1983. It will now join a Clear Channel cluster of “Talk 1200” WXKS, Spanish AC “Mia 1430” WKOX, Rhythmic CHR “Jam’n 94.5” WJMN, and CHR “Kiss 108” WXKS-FM.

Not included in the sale are the WFNX intellectual property and archives. The Boston Business Journal reports that 17 of 21 WFNX staffers have already been let go including middayer Julie Kramer and morning news anchor Henry Santoro. The Phoenix retains WFNX simulcaster 92.1 WFEX Peterborough, NH for now at least.

Owner Stephen Mindich released the following memo to the Phoenix regarding the sale:

Dear Members of the PM/CG Family:

Because this is an emotional announcement to make, let me cut right to the chase.

This morning I met with the staff of WFNX to announce the pending sale of the station to Clear Channel Communications.

Over the years, WFNX has done spectacular things. Since 1983 the station has played an historic role in bringing new music to audiences in and around Boston. We introduced Nirvana and Pearl Jam to wider audiences in 1991. Together with the Boston Phoenix we staged the notorious Green Day concert at the Hatch Shell in 1994. Three years later, FNX and the Phoenix organized a group reading and broadcast of Allen Ginsberg’s controversial poem Howl, featuring talents as varied as rocker Peter Wolf and Poet Lauriat Robert Pinsky, along with civil liberties attorney Harvey Silverglate and me. We’ve formed creative partnerships with local museums and many other important not-for-profit organizations such as the AIDS Action Committee. In addition, for years we broadcast One In Ten, the only program on a commercial radio station in the nation dedicated to the issues and lifestyles of the GLBT community. And throughout it all, FNX has continued to break new music, most recently the work of Foster the People, Fun, and Gotye — to name just three.

Here comes the catch….

Despite its celebrated history, its cutting edge programming , its tradition of breaking new music, its ardent fans among listeners and advertisers, for some time it has been difficult to sustain the station — especially since the start of the Great Recession.

And that is why the station is being sold.

The mechanics of the situation are this:

WFNX will the file the paperwork necessary to trigger the license transfer with the Federal Communication Commission later today.

WFNX will remain on the air during the time it takes to complete the FCC process.

Events and concerts — such as the Best Music Poll (June 13th) and the Seaport Six (June 14th) — will take place as scheduled.

The best place to get news about the last round of FNX happenings will be to stay tuned to the station itself.

In closing, let me salute the scores of immensely talented and dedicated staff who sold the ads, promoted the events, programmed and played the music, and did so many other things that made WFNX a national force in modern rock and — most important of all — a force, an outlet, and a sponsor for the music that defined Boston for nearly 30 years. It was a great run and I will miss the station.

Thank you all,

Stephen M. Mindich

Profile photo of Lance Venta
Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

15 Comments


  1. I can’t see Clear Channel keeping WFNX-101.7’s alternative rock format, for if there was even a chance of doing so, they would have kept the station’s staff.

    My guess is that WFNX will either:

    (1) Simulcast WXKS-1200’s all-talk format, or more likely,

    (2) Become Boston’s first Spanish-language FM station, with a format aimed at young Hispanics under 40.

  2. Profile photo of MattParker


    Well, well. Clear Channel (aka Bain Capital Radio) is not “disclosing”) what they pay for stations any more. I guess they learned their lesson after they paid a little old lady $4 million for a class D weak stick medium market AM and let everybody know it.

    • Profile photo of Lance Venta


      The purchase price will be released when the FCC filing hits the database. It’s rumored to be $11 Million.

      Many purchase prices not just by Clear Channel are not made public until its the paperwork is filed with the FCC. Nothing new and no conspiracy.


  3. Funny thing is it was rumored that Entercom was trying to buy WFNX last year and was going to move either WAAF or the old Mike-FM to 101.7. The Phoenix vowed not to sell WFNX. I guess they kept their word because only the frequency is being sold. I wonder what will happen to 92.1 in New Hampshire. FNX won’t live on there. They would have kept the air staff if that was the case.


  4. That rumor was put out by the Weekly Dig–a competitor to the Phoenix. When I saw who had put it out, and the fact that not only were both parties denying it but it didn’t show up elsewhere with solid evidence, I knew it was a hoax. The Dig even acknowledges it now but says they’d be sad to lose WFNX.

    We don’t know yet of the format but WXKS 1200’s facebook is either funnin’ us
    or giving us a clue: “Like us if you have 101.7 reasons to listen to Talk 1200. Stay tuned!” Again, don’t take that as gospel, they could just be taking advantage of a current news item. But former FNX PD Bruce Mittman is quoted in the Herald saying he THINKS they will put talk 1200 on 101.7. But again we have nothing solid…yet.


  5. I really think that they would move Talk 1200 to 101.7 before starting a Spanish talk format or country format. The only competition is 96.9 and the amount of money they are spending to run WXKS-AM on that frequency doesn’t make sense to not use this opportunity. I personally can’t stand to see the rock stations go, especially leaving only WAAF in Boston, but talk still makes the most sense. This could be the nail in WRKO’s coffin. As I see Entercom keeping WAAF around. Also, what about WBOS? They could use this as an opportunity to pick up where FNX left off, including hiring some of the staff.


    • WRKO has better ratings than WXKS, whose lineup is mostly syndicated and nearly all right-wing. Boston is one region where local hosts outperform national syndication.

      As for country, Boston has full-power WKLB on 102.5.


  6. The Fat Man:

    I doubt WBOS-92.9 will hire much of WFNX’s airstaff (if any) because as an automated station, they’re very profitable, and most of that profit would likely vanish were they to suddenly hire an airstaff.

    The signal area of WXKS-1200 is bigger than that of WFNX. WFNX has a good signal inside Route 495, but beyond that, forget it.

    Besides, a Spanish-language music format aimed at Hispanics under 40 would make sense for another reason: While C’s current Spanish-language station (WKOX-1430) has a good daytime signal for it’s frequency (5,000 watts nondirectional), the power drops to 1,000 watts at night with a very directional signal which misses much of the Boston market.

    Simulcasting or moving WKOX to 101.7 (with, as noted above, more of an emphasis on listeners under 40) will end these problems WKOX-AM now has at night.


  7. I agree about 101.7s limited range outside 495. However, as someone who lives in the interstate 495 area, I can tell that 101.7 picks up where 1200 is horrible. Who’s also not to say that Clear Channel is thinking about a bid for Howie Carr, McPhee, or another local personality. Also, as a lurked here for years, there have benn many intelligent radio people here, who always go to the same well that when a rock station goes away anywhere in the United States that Entercom was going to flip WAAF or at least one of its frequencies to WEEI. What happened, WAAF was kept in tact on both frequencies and the automated Mike was flipped to WEEI. I don’t buy that automated does better. It does in some cities, but in New England, they either added local personalities or flipped to talk. WBOS being the only hold out. So yes, I do see them trying to fill in the void that FNX will leave behind.

  8. Profile photo of raccoonradio


    We don’t know if they would go talk (simulcast of 1200) or not. Some think it likely, some unlikely. Some domain names related to 101.7 talk, etc haven’t been registered yet but I note that http://www.bostonsnewtalk.com was used in the prog. talk days–and guess what, is still being used now, to redirect to WXKS 1200 site. IF (if, if) they decided to do a 1200 simulcast or move, there’s one domain they already have (looked up WHOIS–private, don’t know when it expires) and could use.


  9. As of the afternoon of May 21st, no one has yet registered either http://www.mia1017.com or http://www.mia1017.net .

    • Profile photo of Lance Venta


      Clear Channel is NOT going to show its hand this early. We won’t see any registrations for 101.7 until a few days before CC takes over the station.


      • Yes. I will add that someone put down info on Wikipedia’s pages for WKOX and WFNX saying that the new format would be Spanish language and the new calls would be WKOX-FM. This is wrong; it is possible that the format
        and call change may happen with that result, but Clear Channel has not made any announcement yet and putting such info on Wikipedia is speculation, not fact. I revised the entries to say that CC has not yet announced a new format. Someone was jumping the gun here.


  10. I can only hope that Clear Channel sees the light over the next 60 days and carries on with WFNX and perhaps bring this station to the next level with the resources CC has.


    • They will probably run up (with the FNX format) till the actual turnover of ownership, probably with a skeleton crew. They did have Julie Kramer back on today. Keep in mind they have sold ads and are making good on them, so don’t expect “dead air” or “off air”
      in the meantime. They have to make good.

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