Clear Channel Media and Entertainment launched an electronic dance music radio station in Boston on 101.7 FM Thursday, the former signal of alternative rock station WFNX. The news ends months of speculation about what Clear Channel would do with the frequency it purchased from the Phoenix Media/Communications Group in May for $14.5 million.
The new station, Evolution 101.7 WHBA, will broadcast the same electronic dance music featured on Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio Internet station Evolution.
“Like the early days of FM, iHeartRadio is the new playground for programming experimentation,” said Tom Poleman, Clear Channel’s president of national programming platforms. “Evolution’s innovative programming resonated with our iHeartRadio consumers so well that extending the station to a broadcast radio platform was the next step to connect our listeners with great music.”
The arrival of Evolution 101.7 closes the book on the broadcast story of WFNX, which went off the air in July after nearly three decades. Six WFNX staffers migrated to RadioBDC, the Boston Globe’s online radio station that debuted in August.
WFNX relaunched in September as an online-only station with new personalities and programs.
With the addition of Evolution 101.7, Clear Channel now owns six radio stations in the Boston market, including pop music station Kiss 108 and hip hop station Jam’n 94.5.
Dylan Sprague, Clear Channel’s operations manager in Boston, said the city’s appetite for electronic dance music, known as EDM, makes it an ideal setting for a broadcast station devoted to the genre.
“We’ve seen the impact of EDM in Boston through music downloads, sold-out concerts, and passion for iHeartRadio’s new Evolution channel,” Sprague said.
Evolution 101.7 will be anchored by British disc jockey Pete Tong, a BBC Radio host known for dance music. Tong will host a daily program from 7 to 9 p.m. called “All Gone Pete Tong,” showcasing electronic dance music from around the world.
Other shows will be hosted by a rotation of DJs, including Diplo, Wolfgang Gartner, Fatboy Slim, and Dim Mak. None of them will work out of studios in the Boston area, nor will they be producing local programming.
The station will feature interviews with prominent electronic dance music producers and DJs, and exclusive content from the final tour by Swedish House Mafia, one of the genre’s most popular groups.