‘The Future of Rock and Roll’, A Book About the Independent Radio Station 97X WOXY in Oxford, OH

The Future of Rock and Roll by Robin James tells the story of 97X/WOXY, the legendary independent, and later internet-based radio station in Oxford, Ohio, that started in 1983, broadcasting rock and alternative rock while focusing on community.

In 1983, an Ohio radio station called WOXY launched a sonic disruption to both corporate rock and to its conservative home region, programming an omnivorous range of genres and artists while being staunchly committed to local independent art and media. 

For a long time, the station fought off corporate ownership and maintained its independence until 2004, when the owners of the station sold it to a Texas corporation.

In The Future of Rock and Roll, philosopher Robin James uses WOXY’s story to argue against a corporate vision of independence—in which everyone fends for themselves—and in favor of an alternative way of thinking and relating to one another that disrupts norms but is nevertheless supported by communities. Against the standard retelling of the history of “modern rock,” James looks to the local scenes that made true independence possible by freeing individual artists from the whims of the boardroom

The book can be pre-ordered through UNC Press for delivery in May 2023.

The station was known for its ubiquitous tagline, “97X, Bam! The future of rock and roll!”, which was made famous by Dustin Hoffman in the 1988 film “Rain Man”.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.