When I started my current job in 2004 and finally had an office to myself (at Boston.com, I essentially shared a giant cube with five other people), I had one thing on my mind: internet radio. I did some research and tried out a few stations, such as KCRW and the live stream of WERS. But eventually, I settled on WOXY.com, “The Future of Rock and Roll.” I appreciated the station’s history, shifting to an online-only model after their radio-dial identity folded, determined to rock no matter what.
For me, WOXY was an all-you-can-eat buffet of music, and I had an insatiable appetite. Incorporating internet radio into my musical landscape changed the way I learned about new music, and an incredible number of bands passed through my ears. When I covered SXSW in 2005 for Splendid, I made it a point to hit the WOXY.com day party at the Blind Pig, where I saw the incredible lineup of Giant Drag, Feist, Earlimart and the National (pictured here). It was an amazing afternoon, with a great vibe and incredible music.
Eventually, after a few friends began raving about it, I switched my workday allegiance to KEXP, where my browser still turns at the start of every workday. Still, I kept an eye on WOXY, saw its occasional struggles to stay afloat, as well as increasing numbers of music fans I know coming out of the woodwork as loyal WOXY.com listeners.
Now, WOXY appears to be ceasing transmission once again. While the door is not shut on WOXY entirely, the station’s future is uncertain.
Independent radio — whether it is WOXY or KEXP or my early morning mainstay WERS — has been a constant of my workweeks for the past five and a half years. It has kicked off my mornings, inspired my projects, soundtracked key events (whether the election of Barack Obama or the death of Alex Chilton) and otherwise kept me company through the ups and downs of professional life. I owe a lot to independent radio, but I perhaps owe the most to WOXY, for being the first and setting the example of what it could be.
I know it’s nothing but an uphill effort for these stations to stay afloat. It makes the benefits we reap from their existence all the sweeter. And it makes me feel bad that, for all my enjoyment of WOXY, I never donated to the station. I hope I get a second chance.
I also hope this tribute is premature, that as happened in 2004, anonymous benefactors will come to the station’s rescue. Or perhaps not-so-anonymous benefactors. At any rate, whatever its fate, WOXY will always have a special place in my heart and my eternal gratitude for always putting one thing first: the music.