Clear Channel Spits on the Valley

Clear Channel has once again proven they know how to mismanage into the ground.

Back in May – WRNX 100.9 – a progressive rock, adult contemporary station (we’re talking Counting Crows – not Kenny G) was traded to Clear Channel. Nothing much changed at the time but first they fired Denise Mozilla – the news lady. It was replaced by the aptly coined “Robonews” by Steve Cantara, the newer morning man. He was soon to go as well, citing budget and economy concerns. He was one of the greatest morning men I’ve heard. He had true potential but they never let him do the show he wanted to do. He was then replaced by Dave Sears – previously moved to the afternoon when Steve came on. He’s been with them since the beginning and had a charming dry wit about him that you could not help but relate to. Now it appears that he too is “back on the streets”.

WRNX was the perfect station. My wife and I have been listening to it since we arrived in Holyoke about 6 years ago. It was by accident, being unable to find 102.1 – which came in strong and had music it was ok to wake up to. It was perfect. It wasn’t too hard, it wasn’t lame. It was as if the 90s rock stations had aged right along with us. Combining new, classic, folk, alternative, and modern music into a lovingly crafted blanket. It was great for the car, even before we had our son.

I’m beyond words for the situation because I couldn’t have described anything more uniquely “valley” then WRNX – right down to the dry humor of the comforting DJ Dave Sears. I found out this morning, having turned my dial to 100.9 – it is now a country station. They even mentioned the fact that they had moved and that “you should update the first preset on your dial to 100.9”.

No. I don’t like country. I want my perfect radio station back. When they started they had 2 minutes of local commercials. They prided themselves on their “quick commercial breaks” and I would listen to every single local commercial because they were for places I hadn’t heard about, were in the valley, and were of interest to me. They had worked out the pricing so they could sell commercials for enough that they would be value added. Customers would listen to them, and frequent the advertisers.

There was a sense of community, it had the feel of the valley. Now, instead of taking advantage of that – Clear Channel has wiped them out. WRNX had integrity, they knew music, and they weren’t a top 40. You don’t get that much, and Clear Channel is much of the reason why.

Please join me in calling Clear Channel to protest the removal of WRNX on 100.9 – we want our station back!

413 536 1105 forwards to Clear Channel now, it used to be the WRNX offices. Tell them you’re calling about WRNX and they’ll forward you to the head of programming for Western MA.

**Update** I received an official word from the Clear Channel Director of Programming for Western MA.
I appreciate that he took the time to call me back, but any hope I had that my beloved radio station had simply been moved has been dashed.

I wanted to get these down, edit will happen in a bit:
“Kix 97.3 is going to the Hartford market”
“we made the decision based on the popularity of country in western MA”
[in reference to the local advertisers] “If you listen to the current 100.9 I think you’ll find a lot of that, but you don’t like country…”
“…I don’t really like country either. Listen, my heart is breaking but” [in my line of work] “you need to make difficult decisions.”
“If you listen to the river it has a lot of what RNX was playing, in fact many of the River’s listeners are going nuts because it’s becoming more like RNX”
“I’m really trying to make that happen on one of our other” [bringing back the format of RNX]

Unfortunately no… the river is not becoming like RNX. Would the river play tom waits? Would they play an actual CD? Does a track have a chance if it’s not on the official list? RNX had that special sprinkle of love. Please comment if you love RNX.

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11 Responses to Clear Channel Spits on the Valley

  1. Rodney Faille says:

    Completely agree. Well, except about Canterra. If I wanted to listen to misinformed liberal nonsense, I would tune to NPR. Other than that, I am in the same boat. 99% of the songs on my ipod are ones I found by listening to RNX. Songs I would never hear anywhere else. I always thought of the AAA format as it refers to baseball. Many of the artists found on RNX were just one step below the big show. Some made it and can now be heard on standard radio stations. Others didn’t and without a place like RNX, they won’t be heard again. I too remember the old commercial routine. You would never hear a corperate McDonalds type commercial on RNX. Very local and the references in the commercials made sense TO locals. I don’t mind country music and listen from time to time. However, we had room for both here. It did not need to be an either/or situation.

  2. Judy says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I have been in a slow, steady state of mourning for the WRNX that I knew and loved since ClearChannel took over. It really has not been the same since then. Nonetheless, it was better than nothing. I hope that Dave Sears finds a home on a station that appreciates him because he is so talented and entertaining. Rachel Maddow actually got her start at WRNX as Dave in the Morning’s newsperson. That, alone, should be proof that this was a wonderfully independent and unusual station that attracted talented personalities. There really is no station that compares in the Pioneer Valley. I will miss it greatly. We are still in the Northeast, right? Just down the road from Northampton and Amherst, where the open minded and educated are not the minority?

  3. Patty says:

    I began listening to WRNX soon after it went on the air. My son used to call in to Dave and Kelsi to win prizes on the morning show (he won several!) and our entire family loved the music. The morning show always had a different vibe than other stations – Donny’s Used Cars, Mayor Mike, John Allen, Steve Cantara & Denise Vozella – opinions were expressed and explored, and folks weren’t afraid to take a risk in that vein. Then there was the music – Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, Flaming Lips, Tom Waits, and so many others in addition to the classics (Beatles, Grateful Dead, Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers, etc.) and local artists – remember Dar Williams’ singing Pink Floyd? Honestly, we will not find this mix anywhere else. Personally, I like to listen to intelligent discourse and excellent music in the morning as opposed to canned news and bombastic blather. So sad that this is a thing of the past.

  4. Jed says:

    I am so disappointed by this confirmation of the loss of WRNX. I have been a fan since it started broadcasting. I am currently out of power and just searched for this depressing news. Time to change my favorite button on the radio. Good luck to Dave and the other DJ’s.

  5. Mike says:

    Thanks for the info. Rest in peace, WRNX. I have a lot of fond memories of listening to Dave Sears on that station during the mid-1990s. I live near Boston and during my occasional day trips to the Pioneer Valley hearing WRNX on the radio made me feel like I had never left.

  6. meredith says:

    WRNX lost me after they lost Cantara!

  7. Bill Childs says:

    FWIW, the River has played Tom Waits 13 times in the last four days, including a couple of tracks from his fantastic new CD, and tracks from most or all of the artists Patty mentions.

    In fact, I’m playing a new track from him on our kids’ show this coming Saturday morning (8 to 10). From an actual CD.

    If you haven’t listened lately, perhaps you should. Especially give a try to Jim Neill’s show on Wednesday nights from 7 to 10 and Jim Olsen’s Back Porch on Sunday mornings.

  8. Jenn V. says:

    I’m gonna second Bill on this one (you knew I would). The River is a great radio station that you may not be able to get in your car 100% of the time, but try listening to them streaming sometime to get a taste before you give up on music in the valley! They do play Tom Waits, lots of other stuff that I like (and I know you like). I also like Monte in the morning, which I listen to if I’m not in the mood for Morning Edition. Lots of great, really incredible local content. I totally understand your heartbreak – we lost a lot of great stations when I was a teenager in upstate NY. Some *were* actually big stations on a repeater, probably even Clear Channel, but there were options. Now, not so much.

  9. SpfldListener says:

    I can’t get the River in Springfield. I miss WRNX! Where will Dave Sears go? Maybe he can get a gig on WFCR as a reporter. I’d definitely listen to ‘FCR more if he were on air.

  10. Josh says:

    I gave up, Sirius sent me a come back offer of $25 for 6 months. It’s well worth that. I would never pay their $12 again but I have something to listen to in the car again.

  11. eileen says:

    My car radio isn’t turned on anymore period, I was so upset about WRNX the radio isn’t worthy of my ears anymore. I’d rather listen to nothing, hear that Clear Channel! NOTHING!

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