Clear 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 Ginsbergâ€™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. Weâ€™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