Episode 68: The Legacy of 97X

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! 

In this episode, we reference a recent letter from Jen L., who grew up “in the cornfields of Crosby Township”… she had such kind words to say about the station, and we think her feelings reflect those of many listeners:

That was about the only good thing about where I lived: 97X came in crystal clear and was like an oasis among the fields of corn. The music you played opened my mind and heart to soundscapes so different than anything I’d ever known. You took me to places I was sure I’d never get to go. How lucky was I! 

I remember the summers in high school listening to 97X. I always had leftover notebooks at the end of the school year. So I ripped out all my biology and algebra notes, and used up the remaining pages keeping lists of songs I heard and liked on the radio. I filled pages and pages. I hung on every note, counted each song, waiting for you to backsell what you just played so I could write it down. (Gosh I wish I still had those lists!)

Whenever I could, I kept a Memorex 90 minute cassette in the player so I could spring from my bed in time to hit record/play and catch those songs and make mix tapes. And I waited all week for Saturday overnights when you’d play an album in its entirety. I struggled to stay awake til midnight just to hit record, then turned the volume low so I could sleep. In the morning I rewound to listen back, and was either happy or bummed to find out if the entire album fit on one side. I remember getting XTC “Apples and Oranges” that way, and The Indigo Girls and The Smithereens. Then later I would make my own album covers from a collage of pictures and patterns I’d find in magazines.

Really I just wanted to let you know how much 97X meant to me in my teen years. You truly saved me. I can’t fully express how much you did. But I am here in large part because of this station. You gave me hope and an outlet. I heard you, and my spirit felt heard in return.

Jen L.
Why yes, that is MTV VJ Alan Hunter with station staffers.
97X alums at a station reunion.
More alums.
97X sticker on the wall at Canal Street Tavern in Dayton.
page from a 1996 radio industry publication

One Reply to “Episode 68: The Legacy of 97X”

  1. Lisa

    What a fantastic fan letter that sums up the station’s legacy so well!


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