September 8, 2006  |  music, web

Apologies for the scarcity of posts lately, the long holiday weekend combined with a recent move and new puppy have been occupying a lot of time.

Rain Man

Anywho, things haven’t been going exactly well in Cincinnati since I moved here over a year ago.

The city, which has been in a freefall since the 2001 riots, is barely hanging on by a pinky and there remains little incentive for anyone to come downtown after work. National chain restaurants are moving out and aren’t being replaced (downtown doesn’t even have a McDonald’s for crying out loud). The Main Street entertainment district continues to empty as bars either shut down for good or head for greener pastures across the river (or, in the case of Alchemize, to Northside). The Reds, up until recently, were in a pennant race yet had to offer half-price tickets and $1 hot dogs to get anybody to come to the game. Meanwhile suburbs like Mason and Westchester are growing like gangbusters. Some locals blame the construction on Fountain Square, but let’s be honest, is lowering a fountain to street level any kind of reason to come downtown?

And now WOXY is fading out.

That’s right, the radio station that Dustin Hoffman made famous to a generation outside of Cincinnati with his mantra of “97X, bam! The future of rock ‘n’ roll,” will play its last song on September 15. What began as a traditional radio station playing the alternative format in 1983 gradually morphed into an internet-only radio station in early 2004.

And now this:

This is the moment all of us hoped would never come. After plugging away at this for the past two years, it’s become pretty clear that operating as a stand-alone Internet “radio station” is not going to cut it. Our operating costs are higher than you might think, and the revenue we were able to generate from advertising isn’t close to supporting what we’re doing. Even membership revenue wasn’t enough to get us there. When your business doesn’t make money, you eventually go out of business.

It’s a real shame, because unlike the closing of say, Redfish, the effects of WOXY’s closing will extend far beyond the city limits. The station’s listenership stretched from Cincinnati to Melbourne, Australia to Sao Paolo, Brazil.

If you’ve never listened to WOXY, I urge you to check it out before it’s gone. A good place to start is their extensive Lounge Acts archive where you’ll find live sets from the likes of Architecture in Helsinki, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Gomez, Neko Case, and Rogue Wave. Lounge Acts’ final segment, featuring Syracuse’s Ra Ra Riot, will air on Tuesday, 9/12.

Ra Ra Riot will be doing what a lot of bands have increasingly been doing over the years, driving through Cincinnati on the way to someplace else. Playing in WOXY’s Lounge Acts was, for many bands, the only reason to stop. Wonder what will happen now?

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