Tina Christina was on the air at 97X for more than a decade (1991-2003), doing weekend shifts, then overnights, and eventually middays with her distinctive New York accent. She's still in the radio biz... although she goes by a different name these days. We talk to Tina about her 97X memories, which include barking dogs, sleeping on the air, Bogart's stage fright, and a decoration from Cake.
Dave and Damian continue their chat with Phil Manning, who joined 97X in the summer of 1988 and was with the station until December of 1994, spending most of those years in the program director role. This episode features stories about Bob Mould, Richard Thompson, comedian Chip Chinery, angry Goo Goo Dolls, Folgers coffee, fax machines, Hawaiian honeymoons, and other things that made the station so special.
Phil Manning started at the very bottom of the totem pole at 97X shortly after he graduated from college in 1988. He began with a single weekend overnight shift but gradually worked his way up to program director, and had that role at 97X for nearly five years during the halcyon days of the early to mid 90s. Phil talks about how he got the gig, his interesting side jobs, his roommates, his "whopping" salary and how he became a "radio vagabond" in several major markets after departing 97X in 1994, including spending 10+ years at The End in Seattle and a stint at 91X in San Diego.
There's no denying that the music is what attracted a small-but-mighty tribe of forward-thinking listeners to 97X. But the commercials, promos, contests, station ID liners and DJ breaks helped contribute to the freewheeling, fun-loving, anti-corporate nature of the station. In this episode, Dave and Damian play several bits and breaks from back in the day.
Luann Gibbs started listening to 97.7 FM in Oxford in the pre-97X/Dr. Demento days of the late 70s. When 97X debuted in 1983, she became an avid listener. When the 97X message boards started, she was quite active on them (as "Miss Kitty"). Eventually, her college friend Mike Taylor recruited her to do on-air shifts at 97X/woxy.com. Luann's been with the Cincinnati Enquirer for 15 years (she's the queen of "Things to Do"), and also does shifts at Inhailer Radio. We chat with her about college radio, internet radio, her message board "family" and her ongoing promotion of new music.
Matt Soden moved to Oxford on Memorial Day weekend in 1990 and immediately got hooked by 97X's annual Modern Rock 500. He parlayed his college radio experience into a DJ gig at the station for a year and a half, first doing weekend shifts, then overnights, and eventually evenings. We chat with Matt about crazy callers, drunken door knockers, his Kermit the Frog inpersonation, and his massive salary... but we still can't figure out how he snuck past Department of Defense screeners.
Geography, fate -- and a cool dad -- turned David on to 97X in his preteen years. He never stopped listening, through high school (he and his dad went to a PiL show at Bogart's together!), his college years at Miami University and afterward when he moved back to Cincinnati. We chat with David about how he got hooked, and his 97X memories of college concerts, Oxford bars, local bands and dorm room hijinks.
Mike "Stead" Winstead grew up in Oxford and dreamed of working at 97X. When he got out of the Army in 1994, he "bugged" (his word) the station until he finally landed a job as Director of First Impressions ("Mike the Modern Rock Receptionist"). He also did weekend and fill-in shifts, and helped out at nearly every on-location promotional event that 97X did during his time there. We chat with Stead about singing the Miami U. alma mater (without knowing the words), pizza payola, his first time on the air, and the sweaty mass of humanity at Lollapalooza.
Bill Douglas (a.k.a. "Billy D the Fresh MC") spent most of the 90s working at 97X, starting out as a weekender back in 1990 when he was still in school at Miami University, and continuing on (in two stints) through December of 1998. We chat with Bill about the Free Music Break that gave him his 97X break, as well as his current radio gig(s) and his longtime side hustle with the Cincinnati Reds (trust us, you've heard him).
Craig Snyder grew up in Oxford, Ohio, listening to 97X and making mixtapes for his friends. That love of music stayed with him as he interned at EMI, worked as a producer at Little Steven's Underground Garage, managed and promoted indie bands, and in his current role at Lyte.com helping venues and festivals get more music fans to shows. We chat with Craig about his how his love of 97X and his mixtape mastery led to his future music gigs, and why human recommendations will always be better than algorithms.