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Bam! The future of rock and roll returns for special Modern Rock 500 broadcast

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Beloved Oxford alternative radio station 97X will return to the airwaves for two special broadcasts in May on Inhailer Radio and WGUC 90.9 HD3.

More than 30 former WOXY-FM DJs are on board to host the special dubbed "The 2023 Modern Rock 500," according to a release. It's a return to the annual program themed after the annual Indianapolis 500 the station aired during its tenure from 1988 to 2003 and again from 2005 to 2009 online.

The program will count down the best alternative songs as "laps" in five 100-lap segments. It will air on Inhailer Radio from May 22-26 and again in the traditional Memorial Day weekend slot from May 27-29.

"This new Modern Rock 500 will be limited to those songs that landed on the countdown in the past. It's taking a look back from a present-day point of view," states Mike Taylor, 97X program director from 2001 to 2010 in a release. "Any way you slice it, it's gonna be 500 great tunes."

Taylor tells WVXU the program has been in the works since about August 2022, and working with everyone was "like seeing family."

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The release says the program is returning "for one final countdown" and is "a love letter to its loyal legion of listeners and to station owners Doug and Linda Balogh, for giving the world something super special."

The timing is special because its marks 40 years since the station signed on.

The Baloghs launched the modern rock station in 1983. At the time, it was the country's sixth alternative format radio station. From the studios in Oxford, Ohio, the station gained a loyal listenership and rose to nationwide notoriety thanks to the 1988 Academy Award-winning movie Rain Man that sent the tag line "97X BAM! The future of rock and roll!" into the national lexicon.

Here's a list of former DJs that have signed on to participate:

  • Aaron Borns
  • Ali Castellini
  • Barb Abney
  • Bill Douglas
  • Brian Ewing
  • Bryan Jay Miller
  • Damian Dotterweich
  • Dan “Danny Crash” Reed
  • Dave Tellmann
  • Dorsie Fyffe
  • Forrest Griffen
  • Julie “Jae Forman” Clay
  • Jeff Rohrs
  • Jim Mercer
  • Joe Long
  • John Jesser
  • Julie “Maxwell” Argonis
  • Keri Valmassei
  • Luann Gibbs (Miss Kitty)
  • Matt Shiv
  • Matt Sledge
  • Matthew Harris
  • Mike Taylor
  • Mike Winstead
  • Nick Pleimling
  • Phil Kollin
  • Ric “Tile” Cengeri
  • Rob Ervin
  • Robin Plan
  • Stase Wendland
  • Steve Baker
  • Tina Kristina Mueller
Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.