97X - Rumblings from the Big Bush-logo

97X - Rumblings from the Big Bush

Media & Entertainment Podcasts

Two former 97X DJs reminisce about the independent music and the dedicated people that made the station one-of-a-kind.

Two former 97X DJs reminisce about the independent music and the dedicated people that made the station one-of-a-kind.


United States


Two former 97X DJs reminisce about the independent music and the dedicated people that made the station one-of-a-kind.






Mike Jacobs, indie rock promoter extraordinaire

Mike Jacobs is a legendary independent record promoter who ran campaigns for alternative success stories like The Offspring, Rancid, Nine Inch Nails, Bush and No Doubt, among others. He also was CEO of MCA joint venture Way Cool Music from 1995-98, where he signed Blink-182, and was a lifelong friend of Rick Carroll, who started the pioneering modern rock radio station KROQ-FM in L.A. We chat with Rick about his time in the trenches, his memories of 97X and the modern rock format.


Randy the Redneck, the Forrest Gump of 97X

"Randy the Redneck" - the name pretty much sums it up. He's like a hillbilly Forrest Gump, and had the uncanny knack for showing up at pretty much every 97X event ever. Concerts at Bogart's, B&B Riverboat Cruises, Rock & Bowl, Breakfast Club Home Invasions... somehow he even managed to attend an music industry convention with 97X program director Phil Manning. In short, if 97X was there, so was Randy.


Robin James is writing the book on 97X

Author and college professor Robin James is a self-described "philosopher of popular music." She grew up in West Chester, Ohio listening to 97X and is writing a book about the station and the community that formed around it. She's also going to give a talk about the Modern Rock 500 at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame once we get through the pandemic phase. In this episode, Robin gives us an update on when the book will be published... and turns the tables by interviewing Dave and Damian for that...


Mark Abuzzahab: Music skills from A to Z

Mark Abuzzahab (who just went by "Mark" on air... we can't imagine why) was at 97X for a year and change (Jul '98-Sept. '99) at the dawn of the streaming era. He then served as music director at several other cool stations all over the map (Vermont, Boulder, Austin, Dallas) and still programs music and promotes cool artists today. We chat with Mark about his 97X memories, his current gigs and how he protected our ears from bad "alternative" music.


Steve Roemer: Co-producer to the (non) Stars

Steve Roemer (a.k.a. "Roemie da Homie") served three tours of duty as a Breakfast Club co-producer in 1993, commuting to the station on a balky bicycle. He also started a heavy metal sport at Miami U., was the 90s version of "Schneider" from One Day at a Time... and even though he's a lifetime non-smoker, his two favorite stories from his 97X days involve generic cigarettes. Steve shares his radio memories and also talks about PawsForPatrick, the charity that his family started to honor his...


Steve Leeds: a music biz legend

Steve Leeds has had a long and illustrious (dare we say even Gump-like) career in the music business. Terrestrial radio (Murray the K!). Major labels (Led Zeppelin!). Indie promotions (Joan Jett!). MTV (Adam Sandler!). Today he's a VP of Talent for Sirius XM and a college professor. If it's happening, Steve was -- and still is -- involved. Steve shares his memories of working with 97X (and getting lost leaving...) and what stations like 97X meant to emerging artists. Check out Steve's blog...


Hungry for more Brett Heartz

Here's Part Deux of our chat with Brett Heartz, who bookended his long and illustrious radio career with stints at 97X in the late 80s and 2004. This episode includes the on-air banter between Brett and the late Kerry Grey when an earthquake struck the San Francisco area during a 1989 World Series game between the SF Giants and the Oakland A's, as well as Brett's tales of corporate radio (spoiler alert: it sucks).


You Gotta Have (Brett) Heartz

Brett Heartz got the 97X bug when he was in high school, a fever that was aided and abetted by his interview with Danny Crash and Mr. K for a cable-access program. Thanks to his Mr. K connection, he wound up working on-air at 97X in the late 80s (and being roommates with Phil Manning). His long career in radio came full circle 15 years later when he returned to 97X for weekend shifts before the terrestrial station signed off in 2004. We talk to Brett about Hamilton's "Modern Rock Mafia,"...


Elizabeth Cannon: Our Riverbend Friend

The Lovely & Talented Elizabeth Cannon started working at Riverbend as an usher when she was 16... and wound up staying there for nearly 15 years. For most of her tenure, she managed Riverbend's marketing, working closely with local radio and TV stations and record labels on media buys, ad scripts, promotions (ticket giveaways, meet-and-greets), artist interviews, and more. As a 97X listener in high school and a Miami U. grad, she always had a special place in her heart for the tiny modern...


Doug and Linda Part 2: More Fun in the New Radio World

In the second part of our interview with 97X station owners Doug & Linda Balogh, we find out why Steve Baker was the soul of the station, Dave was Mr. Sunshine, and Linda was the lady behind the curtain. Doug also talks about "buyer's remorse" at his welcome BBQ and Linda recalls the 97X mission statement and the baby in the file cabinet. Oh, and we hear about how the Rainman movie appearance happened... and how legendary record exec Howie Klein freaked out about it.


Doug and Linda Balogh: The First Family of 97X

Doug and Linda Balogh bought 97.7 FM in Oxford, Ohio in July of 1981, adjusted the format to modern rock in September of 1983, and spent 23 years giving their heart and soul to a "mom and pop" radio station. 97X's signal was tiny, but its impact was mighty, and Doug and Linda guided it every step of the way. In the first of a multi-part interview, Dave and Damian talk to Doug and Linda about why they got into the radio game in the first place, and the station's formative early years.


Dan Bockrath: Our CityBeat Buddy

Dayton native Dan Bockrath left San Diego in the mid-90s, returning to southwest Ohio and joining forces with editor John Fox to launch CityBeat, Cincinnati's alternative weekly newspaper. One of the first media partnerships they formed was with 97X, because championing local music, arts and culture was their raison d'êtra and 97X listeners were open-minded and adventurous. We talk to Dan about that synergy, CityBeat's sponsorship of Midpoint Music Festival (MPMF), and his ongoing love...


Terry Burke: from Screed 'zine to Master of Puppets

In the mid-80s, Terrence Burke came to Cincinnati from Boston, where he was weaned on a steady diet of Beantown's finest alternative/indie/college rock stations. He quickly discovered 97X and was hooked. After a few years back in Boston, he returned to Cincinnati in 1993 and was so enamored with how the Cincinnati/Dayton music community had blossomed that he published a 'zine about it called Screed. (He made several appearances on 97X's Local Lixx during this time.) Terry also hosted a show...


Stase: A credit to middays

Stase worked weekends at 97X in 1995-96, and then handled the midday shift in 1997. She got the gig partly due to the fact that her previous job was working alongside Rictile (in his side hustle) at GE Credit... and partly because she went to the same high school as 97X co-owner Doug Balogh. But what sealed the deal was her effervescent personality, which remains intact 25 years later. We chat with Stase about the party patio, unbreakable piñatas, the Michigan Mafia and pandemic parenting.


Brian Ewing - an Overnight Success

Brian Ewing spent the early to mid-90s on the air at 97X, including three full years doing the overnight shift, which surely must be a record for "the cave." During that same time, he was also playing in the local band Messerly & Ewing, so music ruled his life. We talk to Brian about his 97X days, including party patio drunks, open mike nights, long-distance tea-making, and rocking the vote.


Dorsie Fyffe: the Freest of Free Spirits

Dorsie Fyffe worked at 97X from 1993 to 1998, eventually winding up as Music Director (nominated by Billboard Magazine for "Music Director of the Year") and afternoon host. During that same era, he led the local band Johnny Smoke, and lived with Tim Taylor, lead singer of Brainiac, and Dave Doughman of Swearing at Motorists. Since then, much like Johnny Cash, he's "been everywhere, man" - San Francisco, Seattle, Kansas, Austin, Los Angeles. But he's still rockin'. We chat with Dorsie about...


More Mark Messerly

We continue our conversation with Mark Messerly, a key player in the Cincinnati music scene. In this episode, he talks about the genius of his Wussy bandmates Chuck Cleaver and Lisa Walker, and pays tribute to John Erhardt, who passed away earlier this year. We also talk about his tour blogging (Robert Christgau loves it and we do too!), his day job as a music teacher... and Superchunk.


Mark Messerly: Music maker for life

Mark Messerly has been a key player in the Cincinnati music scene for decades, and he's still going strong. Mark was the longtime co-leader of Messerly & Ewing, which won 97Xposure in 2002, and he joined Wussy as their bassist that same year when they expanded from a duo to a full band. He also released a 2018 album under the INERT moniker, and teaches music in the Cincinnati Public Schools district. In this first of a two-part interview, we talk to Mark about INERT, the perks of winning...


Dan McCabe: Cincinnati's premier promoter of indie music

From 1991-1999, Dan McCabe booked local and national bands (and tended bar, and cleaned the washing machines) at the late, great Sudsy Malone's on Short Vine, fronting his own money to book the national acts. Decades later, he's still promoting great live music, as co-owner of MOTR Pub and The Woodward Theater in Over-the-Rhine. Dan shares some amazing memories from his Sudsy's days (Morphine, Jesus Lizard, Mercury Rev... and Reverend blood on the sidewalk), and talks about why indie venues...


Tina Christina: a Radio Lifer

Tina Christina was on the air at 97X for more than a decade (1991-2003), doing weekend shifts, then overnights, and eventually middays with her distinctive New York accent. She's still in the radio biz... although she goes by a different name these days. We talk to Tina about her 97X memories, which include barking dogs, sleeping on the air, Bogart's stage fright, and a decoration from Cake.