Episode 80: Jim Vinch, the student has become the teacher

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.

Jim connected with us via email – here’s the wonderful note he sent to us:

Just finished listening to Episode 68 and, even though it was the shortest, it was by far the best.  Doug and Linda’s thesis that 97X is still alive really resonated with me.

I graduated from Miami in 1984, and so only caught the very earliest years of WOXY.  Having grown up on a fairly sheltered environment, college was an explosion of new ideas and experiences for me.  Truly life changing in every way.  I came to Miami as a rock fan mostly raised on the sounds of WMMS in Cleveland, Springsteen being the center of my musical universe.  At Miami,  I met friends from Chicago who exposed me to “new” music and I was immediately hooked.  97X, though, “set the hook.”  It was about the music, but also much more. 

My Miami friends tell me I should move on. “97X was 35 years ago” they say.  However, 97X is a part of me.  I cannot move on from it any more than I can move on from other important milestones in my life without giving up who I am.

I wish I had something as powerful to say as what as Jen L. shared with you.  97X might not have “saved me” but my life would not have have been as rich and vibrant if I didn’t have that experience—or worse— had I chosen to “move on” as my friends have suggest.  In the grand scheme of things, 97X might not warrant a mention on my resume, but it’s as essential to who I am as any job held or degree earned.

I am now an assistant visiting professor at Miami this year 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.

Thanks for what you do.

Jim Vinch

Please note that Jim isn’t just a run-of- the-mill visiting professor at Miami University, he’s a distinguished visiting professor:

As far as Dave and Damian are concerned, that puts him in great company:

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