Signing Off

Saw this story this morning in The Cincinatti Post about the shuttering of woxy.com, the acclaimed Internet-only statio, that offers a pretty hip playlist of alternarock and Amerindie--which is to say, Midlake gets played alongside Yo La Tengo and R.E.M., while Tom Waits and Johnny Cash can even find their spots next to Kasabian and Primal Scream. (There's also a Vintage WOXY that plays the likes of the Clash, Bob Mould, the Smiths and Modern English--what George Gimarc used to call "The Rock and Roll Alternative" before the format had a name.) In other words, WOXY is what KDGE-FM (102.1) might sound like were it listenable for more than three hours every Sunday night.

Turns out, there is a Dallas connection here: The station, which began broadcasting on the FM dial Labor Day weekend in 1983, was sold for $5.6 million in January 2004 to Dallas-based First Broadcasting Investment Partners, which owns 11 stations across the country (only one of which, classic-country-playin' KFXR-AM (1190), is local). But First Broadcasting only bought the station's license and its so-called terrestrial frequency, 97.7 (which is to say, the version you hear over the radio). First Broadcasting did keep the call letters and operates the station today, but its format is radically different than its Internet sibling: It's more of a Jack format, playing "maximum music from the 80's, 70's, 90's and now!," according to its Web site. It broadcasts without disc jockeys, and somewhere on there are pictures of Billy Idol and Kansas.

The owners and founders of WOXY, Doug and Linda Balogh, kept hold of the "intellectual property" rights, and they took the show to the Interweb in June 2004. For a while it went OK--a four-person operation was relatively inexpensive to maintain--but apparently $5.6 mil doesn't go far when you're a Web station pretending to be a radio station, and eventually WOXY was forced to move to a subscriber-only set-up to stay afloat. Turns out, that didn't work, and unless someone with big money steps up, WOXY's gone as of September 15. "Linda and Doug are nice people," says one staffer who works at WOXY-FM and was with the couple before they moved to the Web. "They were excited when they sold the FM, and this is kinda sad." --Robert Wilonsky

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