Brooks Brown, independent owner and operator of Modern Rock WEQX/Manchester, VT-Albany, NY, has passed away. Brown founded the long-running Modern Rocker almost three decades ago, and refused any offers to sell his station over the years. In a 2009 feature on Brown and 'EQX in the Albany Times Union, he said to any potential buyers, "It's not very complicated: How deep are your pockets? Send me your first born as a non-refundable down payment, and we'll go from there."
A message posted Friday night on 'EQX's Facebook page reads, "A heartbreaking day in EQX-land. Goodbye to Brooks Brown, creator and owner of EQX. A god among men, he was a bright light of independent spirit in a sea of corporate ownership. He created an oasis of independent rock that would reach and touch all of you. He made the world about a thousand times more interesting. Thank you for EQX, and for teaching us the very definition of independence. But today, we are heartbroken. - Words spoken by [longtime 'EQX DJ] Donna Frank and felt by all."
Brown built the 'EQX studio himself, and was involved in building its antenna as well. If something broke or needed repairs, Brown was always the one to fix it. He founded 'EQX in the '70s after moving to the Manchester area and couldn't find a radio station to suit his advertising needs. You can read the complete 2009 Times Union feature here.
Jim McGuinn, former 'EQX PD and current PD of KCMP (The Current)/Minneapolis told FMQB, "Brooks was one of a kind. Never easy to work for, yet he inspired a love and loyalty in all who did that went beyond the station and continued long after we left WEQX. He shot from the hip, shot himself in the foot, and found great young people and let them help him to build one of America's great radio stations, beaming out of an old Victorian house in Manchester, Vermont. The story of how this unlikely Texan would end up creating a music radio institution is almost too fantastic to be true (a ski rep moves to Vermont and is shocked there's no local station to advertise to hire some kids to empty his moving van - and seven years and a CP later, he signs on a radio station he built himself from scratch!). The WEQX diaspora spreads far and wide across the dial and the world, united today with their sadness, laughter, and love for Brooks Brown, a man no one who ever met him could ever forget. There's a little more static on the dial today, as we say goodbye to the only GM / Owner / Sales Manager / Programmer / Engineer / Father / Husband / Friend all of us will ever know."
Willobee Carlan, Director Of Broadcast Operations/PD at Shamrock Communications-Reno is also a former 'EQX PD and shared his thoughts with FMQB: "The word maverick, by definition means an independent thinker who refuses to conform, a rebel, individualist, one of a kind, odd one out, eccentric. By definition, Brooks Brown was a true maverick. He had his ways, like it or not and always did it his way. He never followed, but rather led. Everything he learned along the way he shared, take it or leave it. He was demanding, obstinate and uncompromising in his quest for perfection. He was a fearless pioneer and for that, he touched so many people, beyond comprehension. His unbridled passion for what he believed in surpassed his own wants. I remember hearing him complain often how he 'hadnít received a pay check in years.' Everyone knew he was never in this for the money. As a wise man once said, a man is rich who has friends. If that be the case, then Brooks Brown left this world the richest man we know."
FMQB sends its condolences to Brown's wife Mimi, as well as their family and friends.