Matt Lacefield played cutting-edge music on a Cincinnati radio station... but it wasn't 97X. While Dave and Damian were on the air at 97X in the 90s, Matt was a DJ for Nightwaves, which aired overnights on WVXU-FM. So we were kindred spirits... and still are, because Matt loves discovering new music. He's sharing his favorites via his blog/podcast called "The Unfamiliar." We chat with Matt about his radio days and how he finds and shares the latest and greatest indie tunes.
Jayne Sachs credits her discovery of 97X (thanks to her now-husband) with putting her on the singer/songwriter path. She's been able to carve out a career in music, and has picked up plenty of accolades along the way, including winning 97Xposure in 1995 and garnering two first place wins (in different years and different categories) in The John Lennon Songwriting Contest. We talked to Jayne about her Xposure spoils, her performing career, record label interaction, and her current songwriting work in Nashville.
This is a shorter episode, but it's deep. The culmination of our conversation with 97X station owners Doug & Linda Balogh includes Doug's "big thought" about the legacy of the station... and how the listeners and the station alums will always be a connected community. 97X Forever!
Here's Part II of our second interview with 97X station owners Doug and Linda Balogh. (It's like a Star Wars triple trilogy... the subtitle for this one is "Episode 5: Revenge of the Good Guys.") In this podcast, we talk about 97X's memorable artwork, the outside-the-box thinking that went on at the station, the diversity of programming, and we find out if Doug and Linda ever thought about getting back into the radio game after selling 97X.
Yes, we've interviewed 97X station owners Doug and Linda Balogh before (check out Episodes 56 and 57). But they are such founts of 97X knowledge and stories that we had to go back to the well. In this episode, Doug does a 97X role call, we talk about 97Xposure, the station's charitable endeavors, a Riverbend-adjacent party, and one of Linda's decidedly unglamorous yet crucial behind-the-scenes role on the prize patrol.
Mike Jacobs is a legendary independent record promoter who ran campaigns for alternative success stories like The Offspring, Rancid, Nine Inch Nails, Bush and No Doubt, among others. He also was CEO of MCA joint venture Way Cool Music from 1995-98, where he signed Blink-182, and was a lifelong friend of Rick Carroll, who started the pioneering modern rock radio station KROQ-FM in L.A. We chat with Rick about his time in the trenches, his memories of 97X and the modern rock format.
"Randy the Redneck" - the name pretty much sums it up. He's like a hillbilly Forrest Gump, and had the uncanny knack for showing up at pretty much every 97X event ever. Concerts at Bogart's, B&B Riverboat Cruises, Rock & Bowl, Breakfast Club Home Invasions... somehow he even managed to attend an music industry convention with 97X program director Phil Manning. In short, if 97X was there, so was Randy.
Author and college professor Robin James is a self-described "philosopher of popular music." She grew up in West Chester, Ohio listening to 97X and is writing a book about the station and the community that formed around it. She's also going to give a talk about the Modern Rock 500 at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame once we get through the pandemic phase. In this episode, Robin gives us an update on when the book will be published... and turns the tables by interviewing Dave and Damian for that book.
On her blog, It's Her Factory, here's how Robin summarizes the 97X book project:
The Future of Rock and Roll: 97X WOXY and the fight for true independence. (Under contract with UNC Press). This is a book about the philosophy behind former modern rock radio station 97X FM/woxy.com. The station and its programming was driven by the idea that true independence is possible only when practiced with and for other people. The book argues that this idea of independence is what we need to fight the 21st century corporate mainstream, which is driven by the false idea that real independence is being left to fend for yourself.
Mark Abuzzahab (who just went by "Mark" on air... we can't imagine why) was at 97X for a year and change (Jul '98-Sept. '99) at the dawn of the streaming era. He then served as music director at several other cool stations all over the map (Vermont, Boulder, Austin, Dallas) and still programs music and promotes cool artists today. We chat with Mark about his 97X memories, his current gigs and how he protected our ears from bad "alternative" music.
Steve Roemer (a.k.a. "Roemie da Homie") served three tours of duty as a Breakfast Club co-producer in 1993, commuting to the station on a balky bicycle. He also started a heavy metal sport at Miami U., was the 90s version of "Schneider" from One Day at a Time... and even though he's a lifetime non-smoker, his two favorite stories from his 97X days involve generic cigarettes.
Steve shares his radio memories and also talks about PawsForPatrick, the charity that his family started to honor his son Patrick, who passed away last May.