Local influence

WFNX is keeping it close to home
By JIM SULLIVAN  |  December 3, 2008

Mission of Burma

In August, the Luxury won a WFNX contest to open for Coldplay at TD Banknorth Garden. They went on to use the money from the gig to finance their first West Coast tour. Weezer's Rivers Cuomo, a Harvard grad, enlisted WFNX to hold a contest to find 24 local musicians to join his band on stage at the Tsongas Arena on September 23. WFNX has long had a local music show, now called New England Product and hosted by Dave Duncan, Sundays at 10 pm.

In a day when so much radio seems less and less local, WFNX remains in touch. It's been a major player in the local music scene throughout the past quarter-century. Here's what select WFNX staffers (past and present), musicians, and music-biz folks remember.

TOM LANE (DJ, 1983–1988) "We were a kind of 'Cellars by Starlight' on the air. We expanded exposure to local music that college stations had been doing. It put a brighter spotlight on the scene. Boston was a vital music city — scads of bands, lots of clubs, and we had club reports every hour, local music in the rotation."

DAVE DUNCAN (LOCAL-MUSIC DIRECTOR, HOST,NEW ENGLAND PRODUCT) "For a lot of bands, it's their first real exposure to radio. College radio plays a role, but this is the first time they're having their music heard by a wider audience."

MORNING GUY TAI (DJ, 1985–1997) "Why ignore something right under your nose if it's great? We loved doing our part to help launch groups upward, and we would out-hustle other stations. . . . but, oh, could we be wrong! I recall vividly having an argument with [fellow DJ] Angie C about the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. I introduced them onstage at the Orpheum and I thought they were unstoppable. However, I didn't have faith in the audience to catch on to it. Angie said, 'You watch, they are going to break,' to which I countered, 'in Boston, nowhere else.' Boy, was I a mook."

AMANDA PALMER (SOLO ARTIST, SINGER-PIANIST, THE DRESDEN DOLLS) "I was reared on 'FNX through my teen years. I used to tape Joanne Doody's show and listen to it on my Walkman. It was my mainline to finding new bands from my little hamlet in the suburbs."

HENRY SANTORO (NEWS DIRECTOR, 1983–PRESENT) "What we try to do is play everything we could that fit into our format. Our DJs are in the clubs constantly, out and about, scoping it out big time."

SUSAN SCOTTI (PUBLICIST, CLUB PASSIM, EVERYDAY VISUALS) "For commercial radio, they are the only ones that still support local music and haven't sold themselves out. . . . If you are at a show, you'll see the DJs out seeing the music they play."

PETER PRESCOTT (DRUMMER-SINGER, MISSION OF BURMA) "Over the years, [WFNX was] one of the main stations that kept Burma in the public eye . . . one of the first stations to put us on an equal footing with everyone else. It was local music as part of a bigger thing, which gives it a little more dignity."

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