My Car’s Radio Needs an Internet Connection (AKA: RIP, WFNX)

From previous posts, you might know I’m a huge radio fan. Music flows in my family’s blood. I don’t remember how old I was when my parents gave me a radio, but I remember doing homework in elementary school with music playing in the background. I remember Dad being impressed at how I could sing along with most of the songs or name artists and titles after only a few notes. Public radio/National Public Radio was his car’s evening soundtrack. I warn people who ask me for rides that they have to tolerate me listening to (which usually means singing along to) the radio. Some cars don’t go without petrol. Mine almost doesn’t go with the radio off.

I grew up with one of the country’s best alternative, independent radio stations that did a lot to support new bands and local music. That station is my benchmark for what an ideal radio station is. One of my fears moving to new places is whether the radio stations will be decent. Very shortly after moving out here, I fell in love with WBUR (the public radio station famous for some distributed shows, including ones about cars and sports) and WXRV, The River (in part because I heard them play Jump, Little Children–a band I didn’t expect to hear on the radio around here). And there were stations like the powerhouse WBCN and a few others. I still remember the day I noticed the WFNX billboard while driving to a hike and tuned in, thinking “How did I not know about this station already?” It’s been my primary station for years. It kept me sane during a previous job. Leftover Lunch was my reminder to eat mine (which I didn’t always obey). And for a few weeks now, I’ve been pondering my post-‘FNX life because of their sale to Clear Channel.

Boston has gone through a few station changes in recent years. WBCN is gone. Mike is gone. WBOS lost its DJs and is now mostly just music and commercials without any announcers, chatter, or the charm and uniqueness that go along with radio personalities. And, gosh, that awesome radio station of my adolescence has been gone for a few years now, as is its immediate predecessor. And I’ve survived the transitions so far. But losing yet another station that was willing to play more than what the record companies want us to hear, one that has definitely introduced me to new bands and tunes, and one with wit and creative, original shows stings a little. I laughed so hard at Keith’s Stupid Game. The Nightly News keeps my feet tapping on the way home from dancing. Will ‘FNX’ demise finally lead me to plug WERS or WMBR into my radio presets? Or will I figure out how to connect my car’s radio to the Internet to pick up The Boston Globe’s Boston.com’s new streaming station that is the new home of several ‘FNX DJs and staff? (A smartphone with an adapter just seems too simple a hack.) I guess I’ll just have to wait to hear what happens.

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