RIP: Boston Phoenix and WFNX Radio
March 14, 2013 12:29 PM   Subscribe

The Boston Phoenix will be closing immediately, only six months after reinventing itself as a glossy weekly. The Portland and Providence versions will remain open. [Previously]
posted by dunkadunc (66 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh, no.

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posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:32 PM on March 14, 2013


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posted by hanoixan at 12:32 PM on March 14, 2013


From December: What Happened to the Boston Phoenix?:
posted by dunkadunc at 12:33 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm still mad about FNX. We got a call the other day from some pollster who wanted to know what radio station we preferred. My wife said, "I don't know since FNX shut down." The pollster hung up.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:37 PM on March 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ah, shit. :(
posted by zarq at 12:39 PM on March 14, 2013


I was devastated when they shuttered up WFNX the first time, luckily have refound the DJs and similar playlists at Radio BDC - but the Boston Phoenix is something that will be sorely missed, the new magazine format was just starting to grow on me.
posted by danapiper at 12:40 PM on March 14, 2013


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posted by ericb at 12:40 PM on March 14, 2013


The Village Voice should have died instead. Damn.
posted by Ghost Mode at 12:43 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bummer, but not surprising. Some of their good writers were still doing good articles in the new format version, but who wants covers like this lying around their apartment.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:44 PM on March 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


benito, that cover was the blade in the old paper's neck, as far as I was concerned.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:45 PM on March 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Stranger may run on as revenue from dodgy things like TS escort services and American Apparel but news like this makes me happy it at least still runs.
posted by Artw at 12:46 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 12:51 PM on March 14, 2013


What in the hell?! So rings the death knell for another thing from my formative years. And don't tell me about re-opening Man Ray, 'cause no.
posted by loriginedumonde at 12:52 PM on March 14, 2013


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posted by Melismata at 12:53 PM on March 14, 2013


well, i guess it's time to close Middle Earth then.
posted by spicynuts at 12:54 PM on March 14, 2013


Dammit.

.

I don't listen to 101.7 any more since it stopped being FNX, but I take schadenfreude-laden pleasure in the fact that they've been through a couple of format shifts since FNX shut down.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:02 PM on March 14, 2013


Seriously though, the idea that Chris "Motherfucking" Faraone had to share space with glamour shots for the city's rich appalls me even now.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:06 PM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


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posted by Currer Belfry at 1:12 PM on March 14, 2013


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posted by mstokes650 at 1:17 PM on March 14, 2013


close the Middle East. Dammit.
posted by spicynuts at 1:35 PM on March 14, 2013


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posted by virago at 1:35 PM on March 14, 2013


You know. I think these guys are gonna be ok. Dunno why but something about them just makes me sure they'll rise, somehow, from the ashes.
posted by kernel_sander at 1:55 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


No Boston Phoenix would have meant no Pixies, since they formed based on an ad placed in it. No Pixies and, we'll, we'd still be doing hair metal.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:09 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Boston Phoenix: Dead, D-E-D dead.
posted by jozxyqk at 2:19 PM on March 14, 2013


Meh.
posted by spitbull at 2:19 PM on March 14, 2013


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posted by clockbound at 2:36 PM on March 14, 2013


While I'm devastated that the Phoenix is closing, I think it's for the best as ever since the reboot it's been toeing the line between gossip fashion rag and alt weekly. The covers were definitely damning evidence to its attempts to attract a new type of audience.

Does the Dig still have a printed version? I haven't seen one of those in a while.
posted by Therapeutic Amputations at 2:45 PM on March 14, 2013


benito, that cover was the blade in the old paper's neck, as far as I was concerned.

My first reaction to the above was rather uncharitable, so I'll post the second instead. Here's editor Carli Carioli's "Last Words" statement:

The tragedy is that it feels like we're going out at the top of our game. As I write this our best journalists are where they belong: in the field. David Bernstein is in Washington, interviewing Elizabeth Warren for what would have been the next issue's cover story. Music editor Michael Marotta is heading up a team of photographers and writers covering SXSW...Our next issue would also have included an important essay by 350.org's Bill McKibben on the Democratic Senate primary between Ed Markey and Steve Lynch -- and its deep importance to preventing the expansion of the KXL pipeline. The week after that, we were scheduled to run the first in a two-part series by Chris Faraone that he has reported painstakingly over a series of months with an innovative, ad-hoc investigative unit of Somerville reporters. I don't know where these pieces will end up. I hope they end up somewhere. [emphasis added]

She goes on to list and link some examples of recent past reporting she's particularly proud of; it's worth a look, anyway, despite what you may think of cheesy, desperate cover stories aimed at keeping the paper alive. I know nothing about the Boston market or how great/terrible the Phoenix has been over the last 6 months, but I do know that telling staff, including reporters in the field, that the paper is now closed with no advance notice is a *complete* asshole move. Romenesko has the full "wah this is the hardest announcement I've ever made" memo from publisher Stephen Mindich. Keep in mind as you read it that he didn't give any of his employees - office staff, ad people, reporters - a single day's notice. I dunno, maybe once being part of a weekly that got bought out and dismembered ages ago is influencing my opinion here (ya think?), but at least we got a *little* notice. Fuck Stephen Mindich *and* his oh-so-emotional farewell.
posted by mediareport at 2:51 PM on March 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


.

I interned at The Phoenix in college, and loved the experience.

(Oh, and for those missing FNX, please do check out RadioBDC.)
posted by sarcasticah at 2:52 PM on March 14, 2013


Yeah, I don't know what's expected in the alt-weekly world, but a sudden shutdown of the whole organization with no warning sounds completely sketchy. Shouldn't you have at least cancelled all the active assignments?

Feel like there will be a lot of disputed payments in the future.
posted by Therapeutic Amputations at 2:56 PM on March 14, 2013


Keep in mind as you read it that he didn't give any of his employees - office staff, ad people, reporters - a single day's notice. I dunno, maybe once being part of a weekly that got bought out and dismembered ages ago is influencing my opinion here (ya think?), but at least we got a *little* notice. Fuck Stephen Mindich *and* his oh-so-emotional farewell.

Thanks for filling in the blanks. I've been in the business for 25 years, and this is definitely a bush league move on Mindich's part.
posted by virago at 3:02 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Bush league" is being generous to the jerk.
posted by mediareport at 3:05 PM on March 14, 2013


My first reaction to the above was rather uncharitable, so I'll post the second instead.

Sorry for my immoderation. What was good in the paper was still there, but Lord I hated seeing Stuff stow away on the Phoenix's ship. And I owe Mindich a kick in the eye for doing this to his employees.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:05 PM on March 14, 2013


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posted by Gotanda at 3:08 PM on March 14, 2013


Huh. I thought that the Phoenix had been part of the VV/New Times empire.
posted by klangklangston at 3:10 PM on March 14, 2013


They were the first people to pay me to write, back when I was a graduate student with no real claim to being a writer except some articles in the college paper. They let me review David Foster Wallace, they gave me a front-page feature on the MLA .. they let their writers try weird things in public and they were great and it sounds like bad things have befallen the Phoenix since but I don't care, I'm sad it's gone.
posted by escabeche at 3:19 PM on March 14, 2013


Well, that sucks. I recently shot a cover and feature for them (not the aforementioned death knell cover.) Glad it ran, but I guess I shouldn't hold my breath on payment.
posted by chris24 at 3:20 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye
posted by homunculus at 3:47 PM on March 14, 2013


Mindich, you jerk!

This makes me feel old.

The Dig is still doing paper issues.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:44 PM on March 14, 2013


Hey mediareport, Carly Carioli is a "he".
posted by pxe2000 at 4:45 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by maryr at 4:45 PM on March 14, 2013


Does RadioBDC have an actual radio AM/FM station?
posted by maryr at 4:47 PM on March 14, 2013


Wow. Forced to say goodbye to another little piece of my youth. My home town will feel just a little less familiar next time I visit.
posted by ducky l'orange at 5:21 PM on March 14, 2013


No, RadioBDC is only online. They have a pretty good iPhone/iPad app, too.
posted by sarcasticah at 5:35 PM on March 14, 2013


Hey mediareport, Carly Carioli is a "he".

Heh. I interviewed a Kelsey over the phone earlier tonight; as the phone rang I thought "will it be a he or a she?"
posted by mediareport at 6:10 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Dig is still doing paper issues.

It feels like a lot of their distribution boxes have disappeared over the winter. If you can't pick it up at the intersection of Mass Ave and Boylston, something's not right.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:11 PM on March 14, 2013


(Also, once upon a time I knew a Carly who was an awesome woman.)
posted by mediareport at 6:13 PM on March 14, 2013


No, RadioBDC is only online. They have a pretty good iPhone/iPad app, too.

Not helpful for car radio time, sadly.
posted by maryr at 6:55 PM on March 14, 2013


And RadioBDC is only available to the States, as far as I can tell.

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posted by zix at 6:59 PM on March 14, 2013


I sat next to Mindich at a wedding back in the 1990s. Didn't get to know him or anything, but I recall his date being taller than he was.

Never cared for the paper, but to me FNX means "THURSDAY NIGHT. VENUE DE MILO! THURSDAY NIGHT. VENUE DE MILO! THURSDAY NIGHT. VENUE DE MILO!" blaring from the radio while we put the Tufts Daily together.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:06 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Agree, benito.strauss. I only know the Dig still has paper issues because I saw some in a restaurant last week. Heckuva way to run a railroad.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:20 PM on March 14, 2013


I'm sorry on some levels, but the past year or so was just a string of terrible editorial decisions, including going glossy. I'm sorry that it's one less print outlet for a major market, but I was reading it out of a sense of duty rather than a sense of anticipation, basically because I should read it for work, and that's not what you want
posted by Miko at 9:03 PM on March 14, 2013


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posted by bookwibble at 9:27 PM on March 14, 2013


Another one bites the dust.
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posted by jenfullmoon at 10:35 PM on March 14, 2013


Phoenix staffer Liz Pelly on the paper's closing.
posted by pxe2000 at 5:13 AM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was at a concert last night that I wouldn't have known about had it not been for an ad in the Phoenix. It was great, and I'm sad I won't have that insight into what's going on around town any longer.

A friend of mine was on assignment for them in DC yesterday, and the shoot was cancelled. Can't imagine what it'd be like to be left in the cold in the middle of a job like that.
posted by msbrauer at 5:25 AM on March 15, 2013


Susan Orlean on the Boston Phoenix.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:14 PM on March 15, 2013




Susan Orleans' piece is a good one. This, though --

The recession, Craigslist, the Internet, newsprint prices—who knows what finally did in the Phoenix?

No real critical evaluation could ignore the threats to the Pheonix not from these traditional journalism bugbears but from the increasing competition from other print outlets. Improper Bostonian, Metro and Dig and the WickedLocal freebies are all much more recent arrivals than the Phoenix, and were really their direct competition. It's not the internet that kills local print, it's market fragmentation and demograpic issues.
posted by Miko at 4:17 PM on March 15, 2013


I wish that the Phoenix stuck to their strengths of comprehensive arts coverage and ongoing work about issues like the scandal in the Catholic church and the Occupy movement, both of which they did very well. Speaking from the perspective of a local media junkie, I wish they'd kept the newsprint and killed Stuff, an asinine publication if there ever was one. Allowing the Phoenix to write fluff pieces about ridiculously expensive fashion and artisan cocktails made them less relevant to their younger readers who weren't so flush with cash. In the past few months, there was little that differentiated them from the Improper.
posted by pxe2000 at 5:06 PM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]




Wait, the Phoenix is gone but Improper Bostonian is still going? Jeez, now I'm mad.
posted by escabeche at 7:32 PM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]




In the past few months, there was little that differentiated them from the Improper.


So true.
posted by Miko at 8:04 PM on March 15, 2013






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