Earlier this month, the DC-based radio station WRQX—better known as Mix 107.3—was sold as part of a $103.5 million deal with a Christian broadcasting organization.
As I reflect on what made 107.3 one of DC’s most legendary frequencies, I’ve run into a problem — I’m not sure I’ll be able to type out “Mix 107.3” without hearing the station’s signature “Mix 107.3 — Washington!” jingle over and over and over again.
In fact, I am pretty sure that lots of people associate that earworm with long car rides, trips to and from school, and lots of other life events that took place during the station’s 30-year run in the DC area.
Mix 107.3 played a broad range of contemporary music, which made it a rare gem on the radio dial: no matter the scenario, eventually a song would come on that even the pickiest person in the room could tolerate. Pearl Jam? Check. Katy Perry? Also check.
Personally, I can’t remember a time when the station wasn’t playing in my family’s car. Before SiriusXM, before Bluetooth-syncing phones, there was the Jack Diamond Show.
Growing up, my mom would keep the show playing in the car while I waited for her to drop my sister off at preschool, because in her words, “[Jack] would always kept the show respectfully clean—I never had to change it when it was on.” When I mention how I’m writing this reflection, she launches into how the station always meant a sing-along in the backseat from me and my younger sisters.
After soccer games, (where we most likely lost), I’d kick off my dirty cleats in the back seat of someone’s minivan where the station was always on in the background. On a drive with a first date, Mix 107.3 played as a safe bet as a good first impression. (Although both eventually came to an end, the station far outlasted the relationship). While getting my driver’s license, I remember how my instructor told me how he only played Mix 107.3 during his lessons. I nearly failed the test, but the music was always good.
I know things change, especially so in radio, where rampant consolidation is squeezing out individual voices. Mix 107.3’s latest incarnation dates back only to 2015. But this change is happening to me—I’ve lived here most of my life, and I was born seven years after the station first aired. This is one of the first constants from my childhood that will no longer be around.
The Jack Diamond Show is reportedly in the midst of moving to another station; I hope it does soon. Maybe it’s my mother’s influence speaking, but as I get older and regularly commute into the city, I could use listening to something a little “respectfully clean.”