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For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media — comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more. Contact John at

Inhailer Radio continuing Indie 500 May music marathon tradition


Cincinnati's independent web radio station pays homage to the rich histories of WOXY-FM and WNKU-FM with a week-long countdown of rock hits May 20-27.

Inhailer Radio will follow its 97X Modern Rock 500 reunion of former WOXY-FM DJs last year with a week-long Inhailer Radio Indie 500 featuring former music hosts from Oxford's 97X and Northern Kentucky University's WNKU-FM.

The May 20-27 marathon "promises to be an unforgettable celebration of independent music and radio, with a narrative deeply rooted in the legacies of two iconic predecessors: WOXY and WNKU," says Coran Stetter, an Inhailer founder and development director. The station is available at and on Cincinnati Public Radio's WGUC-FM HD3 channel.

For years the Oxford station broadcast the Modern Rock 500 countdown on Memorial Day weekend when the Indianapolis 500 motor race occurs. Owned by Doug and Linda Balogh from 1981 to 2004, WOXY-FM gained national attention in the 1988 Oscar-winning Rain Man movie filmed in Cincinnati when Dustin Hoffman's Ray Babbitt character quoted the station's tagline: “97X. Bam! The future of rock ‘n’ roll!” (It is now the Latino "Le Mega 97.7.")

Northern Kentucky University sold its WNKU-FM flagship station on the Highland Heights, Ky., campus, and network stations in Middletown and Portsmouth, Ohio, and ceased operation in 2017.

WOXY-FM and WNKU-FM alumni, and Inhailer Radio DJs, will host their own segments and add commentary to the countdown this year, Stetter says.

Last year's 97X reunion broadcast included Barb Abney, Steve Baker, Julie Clay, Bill Douglas, Rob Ervin, Luann "Miss Kitty" Gibbs, Matthew Harris, Bryan Jay Miller, "Danny Crash" Reed, Matt "Shiv" Shiverdecker, Matt Sledge, Mike Taylor, Stase Wendland and Mike Winstead. See the full list of DJs and songs, and listen to the 2023 97X Modern Rock 500 here.

Here's the release from Stetter:

Inhailer Radio Presents: The 2024 Indie 500 – A Milestone Celebration of Independent Music & Radio

Cincinnati, Ohio – [04.19.24] – Inhailer Radio, Cincinnati's premier independent radio station, proudly announces its inaugural event, the Inhailer Radio Indie 500, scheduled to captivate music lovers from May 20th to 27th, 2024. This unprecedented extravaganza promises to be an unforgettable celebration of independent music and radio, with a narrative deeply rooted in the legacies of two iconic predecessors: WOXY and WNKU.

Inhailer Radio's Indie 500 pays homage to the rich histories and contributions of WOXY and WNKU, two stations that left an indelible mark on the Cincinnati music scene and beyond. WOXY, affectionately known as "97X," was a pioneer in promoting alternative and indie rock music, earning a loyal following for its adventurous playlist and discovery of emerging artists. Similarly, WNKU, with its commitment to showcasing local and independent talent alongside established acts, became a beloved institution beloved by listeners throughout the region.

For those unfamiliar, 97X was a fantastic and influential radio station out of Oxford, Ohio, playing modern rock and hosting an annual Memorial Day marathon countdown between 1989 and 2009, showcasing their 500 favorite Modern Rock tracks.

The Indie 500 serves as a continuation of the legacy established by these iconic stations, carrying forward their spirit of discovery, innovation, and dedication to independent music. This year's event also marks a significant milestone as it represents a "passing of the baton" from 97X's Modern Rock 500 to Inhailer Radio's Indie 500.

In 2023, Inhailer Radio hosted the highly successful 97X Modern Rock 500, a reunion of former 97X DJs broadcasted on Inhailer Radio. The event garnered widespread acclaim and served as a nostalgic reunion for listeners and DJs alike. This year's Indie 500 aims to build upon that success, further solidifying Inhailer Radio's commitment to celebrating independent music and radio in the Cincinnati area and beyond.

Former WOXY, WNKU, and Inhailer Radio DJs will participate in this historic event by hosting their own segments, adding their unique perspectives and insights to the countdown. Each DJ's contribution serves as a tribute to the stations they once called home and the audiences they once captivated.

As the countdown unfolds, Inhailer Radio will retain the exhilarating "race/laps/countdown" theme that made the 97X Modern Rock 500 such a fun and memorable experience. While paying homage to WOXY and WNKU, this year's Indie 500 stands as a testament to the enduring power and influence of independent radio in shaping the indie music landscape.

Inhailer Radio invites music enthusiasts and aficionados alike to join in the fun May 20th-27th for the Indie 500, an event that not only celebrates the past but also embraces the present and future of independent music! Businesses who would like to support the station and the event are encouraged to visit while patrons interested in contributing may visit

John Kiesewetter's reporting is independent. Cincinnati Public Radio only edits his articles for style and grammar.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.