“It’s the end of the world as we know it.” For Eric Hoffses, a 2003 graduate of Quinnipiac, these song lyrics signaled the end of his deejaying career at Radio 104, a popular alternative rock station among both Quinnipiac students and rock fans in Connecticut.
The station played its final song at 5 p.m. on Sept. 15, wrapping up its legacy as one of Hartford’s only alternative stations.
“I was sad more than anything. I loved working there, I loved the people there and it was the best station in Connecticut. I would say that even if I didn’t work there,” said Hoffses.
Hoffses said that the public did not know about the station shutting down until shortly after the R.E.M. song “It’s the End of the World as we Know it” was played and the station switched over to its new rap format.
“Officially I don’t even think I was supposed to know about it. There was no notice whatsoever to the public, and we [the DJs] were pretty much told to keep quiet about it,” said Hoffses.
According to Hoffses, the closure of Radio 104 was based on a decision to compete with 93.7, a popular rap station.
“A numbers game is what it all came down to,” said Hoffses. “Clear Channel sold the station to rap because that’s apparently where the money is in Connecticut,” he said.
While at Quinnipiac, Hoffses worked at WQAQ, Quinnipiac’s student radio station, for all four years as a student. He graduated from Quinnipiac with a degree in Mass Communications this spring and began work at Radio 104 last December.
The closure of Radio 104 left Hoffses without a job. He says he is unsure what his next step will be, but is hoping that a new alternative rock station will be established in the area within the next few years. In the meantime, he is keeping his options open.
“I find it very hard to believe that there will be no alternative station in Hartford in the near future,” said Hoffses.
According to Hoffses, Radio 104 was a heavy competitor with another local rock station, 106.9, “The Rock.”
“I wouldn’t get a job at 106.9 though, because there was basically a mutual hatred between the two stations. In the past two weeks, that station has been gloating on the air about 104,” said Hoffses. “But ironically, 104 shutting down had nothing to do with competition with 106.9.”
According to Hoffses, he knows of no plans for Radio 104 to make a comeback, and believes that most likely its events such as the Radio 104-fest will be discontinued.
“Todd Thomas, Radio 104’s former program director, and Chaz, the former music director, are both at different stations now, so neither one of them will likely organize anything,” said Hoffses.
According to the now defunct stations website, Radio104.com, the station will “remain alive” online. The website will feature “commercial free new rock 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.”
Additionally, there is also one final Radio 104 event planned for Saturday, Oct. 4. The “Farewell to 104” concert will feature ten bands for ten dollars at the Webster Theatre in Hartford. Additional information about the show and tickets can be purchased at webstertheatre.com.
Radio 104 was owned by Clear Channel Radio, which, according to their website, is the largest operator of radio stations in the United States. Clear Channel provides advertisers with a coast-to-coast platform of more than 1200 stations. Broadcasting across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Clear Channel programming reaches more than 110 million listeners every week. Advertisers spend nearly 20 percent of their radio advertising dollars with Clear Channel.