I recently lost a dear friend.
It always knew what to say and what I needed to hear, it was a companion that knew how to wake me up every morning with a spring in my step and was dedicated to keeping me company on long drives.
And it was sure to introduce me to the best new, local music.
WNKU played its final song “This Must be the Place” by Talking Heads and switched to static at 6 p.m. Sept. 28 after more than 30 years of broadcasting over airwaves covering Cincinnati, the Miami Valley and beyond. The non-profit station was owned by Northern Kentucky University and was listener supported. It didn’t play commercials but was sold within the last year. They made the announecment on Valentine’s Day this year, prompting a petition among us listeners but also an inevitable final broadcast.
I know it’s “just” a radio station, but I and many others have dreaded the day when it would actually end. While I am trying to remain grateful for the music I found through WNKU, I can’t help but to be sad.
The hosts felt like friends and I question where my new music discoveries will come from now. Listening to the songs I found through WNKU on my playlists bring a sense of nakedness. I have lost a part of my daily routine.
WNKU is responsible for giving many new artists their first spin on radio waves; for giving Cincinnati a reputation of being a music town; for supporting local music and showing us the importance in recognizing the greatness that can be found within your own backyard.
And its end is an example of why it’s important to show support to the things you love and don’t want to see go away — with your time, attention, money and love. While all good things will come to an end, tangible support can delay the final curtain call.
Supporting local things — music, businesses, media — means supporting local dreams. Just like supporting this newspaper, you should be mindful of your online clicks, your radio dial, your dollars. What are you really supporting?
WNKU gave me an avenue to support local music. I love discovering new artists, especially local ones who are doing things not heard several times before on the radio. Seeing music performed live, feeling the energy radiate from the stage and into my dancing feet, is what I do for fun and I thank WNKU for helping me figure out how much those experiences mean to me.
I’m grateful for WNKU helping me discover my favorite modern and local band Dawg Yawp, the best new song I’ve heard in 2017 “Thinking of a Place” by The War on Drugs, for introducing me to several other artists and songs I’ve come to love and especially for giving something for my friends and I to bond over.
I now have a free spot in my car’s radio presets, but I will never forget what once was and what will never be again. Waking up without it, as my best friend Stephanie pointed out, feels a lot like “Woke up New” by The Mountain Goats:
“On the morning when I woke up without you for the first time,
I felt free, and I felt lonely and I felt scared.
And I began to talk to myself almost immediately
Not being used to being the only person there.
Thank you, WNKU, with all the love, gratitude and appreciation in my heart.
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532 or [email protected]