Brian Niesz engineered more than 400 live on-air performances at the woxy.com studio in Longworth Hall in Cincinnati, as well as dozens more during the station's short-lived stint in Austin, Texas. No one had more of a hand in capturing the magic of those live music moments than he did. Brian tells us how he connected with woxy.com, lists some of his favorite live performances, and shares how he's keeping "Lounge Acts" alive at WCPO-TV in Cincinnati.
Dave Tellmann spent nearly a decade on the air at 97X (1988-1997)... and sometimes he thinks he's still on the air there! Dave combed through his "aircheck" cassettes from 1993 and put together some snippets of audio that give you a feel for what listening to the station was like back in the day. Come for the Eavey's commercial, stay for the Marge Schott news story.
Jim Vinch was a Cleveland-raised classic rocker... until he moved to Oxford for college and caught the earliest years of 97X. Jim credits the station and its community of listeners with helping him be open not just to new music, but to new ideas. As he puts it, "I am now an assistant visiting professor at Miami and every time I step onto campus I can’t help think about how the university and the local radio station exploded my small little Midwestern world." We talk to Jim about those connections, some concerts he saw back in the day, and his day job protecting America's waterways as an environmental lawyer for the EPA.
The second part of our conversation with Jay Batista, who helped WOXY-FM make the transition to the 97X we all know and love. Jay was the station manager, was involved in programming, did sales, and also knew how to whip an ancient transmitter into shape. In this episode, we hear about Dr. Demento, an "Army of Ticks" (not a Dr. Demento song, but it could be!) and the infamous "Beer or Buns" guerilla promotion for the station.
Jay Batista joined 97X before it was 97X... it was more like a real-life WKRP. Jay played a pivotal role in helping the station make the switch to the modern rock format. We talk to him about those formative days, going from spinning the Spinners to hanging with the Talking Heads.
Aaron Sharpe never listened to 97X... but he wore many hats at WNKU-FM, a station that picked up the mantle from 97X/woxy.com in being a free-spirited, adventurous, community-oriented radio station that introduced many to music they couldn't hear elsewhere -- including plenty of local artists. Unfortunately, WNKU suffered a similar fate to 97X, signing off for good in September of 2017.
In this episode, Aaron talks about how he got involved at WNKU-FM, the bittersweet ending, and what he's up to now.
Here's Part 2 of our interview with Jeff "DJ Sloth" Rohrs, where he talks about the community of music lovers at 97X, the great program directors during his tenure, his scary sighting on the Party Patio, his side hustles (DJ... and grocery bagger), and "Balogh University."
Jeff Rorhs was hooked on 97X from the very first song he heard on the station. In fact, he attended Miami University mostly because of 97X, and he was so determined to work at the station that he played polka music at his hometown radio station just to get on-air experience. All that polka-playing paid off - he wound up working weekends and fill-in shifts at 97X for his entire college career, from 1987 through 1991.
In this episode, we talk to Jeff about that first song he heard, how he scored the weekend gig, his unfortunate mispronunciation of an artist's name, how he pissed off Doug Balogh, the longest song in the 97X library, the bands he championed both at 97X and on his music video show at Miami U., his MTV regrets, and the Violent Femmes concert at Bogart's when it started raining on the stage.
Anthony Hartke was really into music even in grade school. He discovered 97X around 6th grade and stuck with the station throughout its existence. (He even tuned in to woxy.com when he was deployed overseas in the Army back in 2005-2006.) When woxy.com sold off vinyl LPs from the original 97X music library, Anthony picked up several albums that still contained an old school "grid" on the cover for 97X DJs to mark the date and time that they played a track. We talk to Anthony about his love for the station, and Dave explains what the heck "ultracore" meant.
Joe Voet was a mild-mannered student in a small Midwestern college town, working at the Miami U. student radio station and listening to 97X... until one day Rictile turned him into Joe "Rock the" Voet, political correspondent. That led to a Breakfast Club co-producer role, with highs (a meeting with The Cure) and lows (reading the news on-air without any prep).
Joe claims he was the worst Breakfast Club co-producer ever, but we beg to differ. We talk to him about his 97X memories, and learn how he's used his IT skills to build a mini-97X radio station that he listens to every day. We also learn that Damian sucks at geography.