Today the radio world was rocked by the announcement that in a convoluted swapping of frequencies, formats & call letters, the legendary rock station where I got my start, WBCN, Boston, is no more. As of next month, the station will exist online only.
WBCN 104.1 FM, the long-celebrated Boston radio station credited with leading the progressive rock ‘n roll radio movement from the 1960s to the modern day, will no longer rock the airwaves.
Owner CBS Radio Boston said today that the legendary station is going off the air in a complicated shuffle intended to make room for a new sports/talk format.
On August 13, 98.5 The Sports Hub will replace the music station WBMX, or Mix 98.5, which will move to WBCN’s slot on the dial. WBCN will become a Web-only operation available at http://www.wbcn.com.
The Sports Hub will air New England Patriots and Boston Bruins games, according to a release from the station. Local personalities Toucher and Rich will anchor the morning drive hours. The station will take the call letters WBZ-FM, pending FCC approval.
CBS Radio Inc. (the former Infinity Broadcasting Inc.) is making a similar move in Washington, D.C., where on Monday, its talk station WJFK FM will become “106.7 The Fan,” with sports talk and broadcasts of Washington Wizards games.
As for WBCN, it will “say goodbye to Boston listeners after 41 years on the air with unique programming and stories celebrating the history and heritage of the station,” according to the release.
For decades, WBCN carried a reputation as perhaps the most progressive commercial rock station in the country, featuring such well-known air personalities as Charles Laquidara, with his “The Big Mattress” morning show, Danny Schechter the News Dissector, and J. Geils Band lead singer Peter Wolf, who worked as a DJ there. Musically adventurous and politically active, the station informed popular tastes both regionally and nationally, in its glory days helping to break such artists as U2, Elvis Costello, and The Cars. COURTESY OF THE BOSTON GLOBE
From 1992 to 2001, I was fortunate enough to get my start, arriving there when I was just a college intern. It was through WBCN that I met and am grateful to have worked for two of the all-time greatest radio DJs ever, Charles Laquidara and Mark Parenteau. It goes without saying I am very proud to have worked there and grown so much under the direction of the great Oedipus, Carter Alan, Steven Strick, John Reily, Tony Berardini, Cha Chi Loprette, and others.
Here are a handful of photos of my time at WBCN from my Dave’s Photo History: A Rock Timeline page:
Johnny Cash & I around the corner from WBCN at Avalon Winter 1996; note the classic ‘BCN shirt, too
Kiss frontman Paul Stanley & I at the Fleet Center, Boston; photo taken by WBCN legend Mark Parenteau:
Alice Cooper & I in the WBCN air studio, Halloween 1996 – taken by Mark Parenteau:
Metallica’s James Hetfield, Mark Parenteau & I in the WBCN air studio, winter 1997
Metallica’s James Hetfield & I talking in the WBCN air studio, winter 1997 – one of my favorite ‘BCN pics:
Snoop Doggy Dogg & I at the Tweeter Center, Mansfield, MA during our WBCN broadcast at Lollapalooza, July 1997- taken by Cha Chi Loprette:
Funk Mobster George Clinton, my buddy Nancy Richmond & I, on George’s bus in Providence, RI, on a field-trip arranged by ‘BCN, October 1999- one of my all-time favorite moments, as we sang “Mommy, Whose A Funkadelic?” together. Singing with George Clinton, courtesy of the great WBCN. Thanks to Steven Strick, who set that memorable night up for me. LOL