WRNX FM Goes Dark after 21 Years of Rock

I heard the news about WRNX last Saturday, while I was in a record shop in Easthampton full of beautiful old vinyl albums. The proprietor there is an old radio guy, who used to have a blues show. He is and was in the loop about the station’s switch from alternative rock to the new home of KIXX, country music.

Today it’s in the Gazette, along with news that popular GM Sean O’Mealy is leaving Northampton for Scranton. This sounds like an episode of The Office. Sean is a great guy and contributed mightily to the success of WRSI, I am sure he will be missed by the folks at the station. Scranton? Really?

After 21 years, the little station that tried to be as cool and fun as WRSI will finally fold its tent. It must have been hard being the worst performer among Clear Channel’s stable of big money makers. When it came right down to it and the station needed to shuffle for licenses, dumping WRNX made the most cents, er, sense.

In 1989 I was working at the Daily Hampshire Gazette as an ad salesman, and I had a dream come true. One of my best friends in the world sat right next to me, he sold ads in Hadley. We had a lot of fun back in those days, but it was not to last. Joe got inspired, thought about his radio roots, and met a man who was starting the Valley’s new radio station. He jumped ship, got back into radio, and for ten years he sold ads for the young station as they made their mark.

I was and am a WRSI listener, preferring their music, their people, and generally, how they run their station. But for so many years, Joe peddled WRNX, and he became a believer. I never did, but I was happy for Joe when he joined the better sounding WRSI up in Northampton after leaving WRNX.

On Facebook, I tried to post on WRNX’s wall, asking them why they hadn’t mentioned to their listeners that they were terminally ill, and would be leaving the airways soon. Instead, the Gazette reports today that last week WRNX posted a note there denying that KIXX was taking over, and that they would be playing their alternative rock for years to come. It’s silly to deny what their corporate parents are doing to them since they can’t stop it. Nobody tells Clear Channel what to do.