About HitOldies 2 – Boston’s Best Rock
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What is BOSTON’S BEST ROCK and why did the station change formats?
Boy. Those are two incredibly good questions that deserve answers.
1. Fans of Rock Radio in Boston must remember the heritage stations of their youth. For some of you, it was 104.1 WBCN. The Rock of Boston. The station was a progressive rocker and while it probably doesn’t evoke many memories for those who remember it in the 60s (well, because back then it was a CLASSICAL station – those call letters stood for “Boston’s Concert Network”. You really should read some of Donna Halper’s writings on the subject.), beginning in the mid-70s the station really hit the Boston rock scene with a bang. Another station many remember, even though it was short-lived, was WCOZ. 94 1/2 WCOZ used to have these in your face, iconic television commercials featuring bands like The Who and a slogan that said “Kick Ass Rock and Roll”. How they got away with that with the FCC’s obscenity policy at the time is beyond me. Out in Metro West, there was 105.7. First, as WKOX-FM, a faux-Drake style Top 40 in the late 60s and early 70s, then WVBF. WVBF was called “The Electronic Mama”, branded so because that was owner’s wife, Virginia Brown Fairbanks name. That was a sort of Album Rock/Top 40 hybrid station that went full out Top 40 in the late 70s… then spun the wheel of formats so to speak in the 1990s, finally ending up as today’s Classic Hits station WROR.
Then, of course, there was 92.9 WBOS, a station which was AOR in the early 80s (and I could give you the whole list of formats they did over the years), played disco, country and today is Boston’s modern Alt-Rocker. WZLX which has been doing Classic Rock in one form or another since the 80s when it tried Top 40 after decades of Beautiful (background) music as WHUE.
I could give a lecture on the number of Rock stations Boston has gone through.
Most recently, and for a much larger and wider audience, suburban 107.3 WAAF, which for decades was in Worcester (there’s a history behind this station that goes back to the very beginning of FM radio in the U.S., but we won’t get into that here). WAAF, from the early 70s on, was an Album Rocker. It had, beyond a doubt, the largest signal in New England and was heard from northern Vermont to Long Island and even into some parts of Maine from it’s longtime location on a place called Asnebumskit Hill northwest of the city of Worcester. It was rock steady and stayed with the Rock format for four full decades. After their move to Westborough (and wherever the damn transmitter went after that), the signal stunk, but the station did have the reputation as being the hardest rocker in the city. Until, early 2020, when the station was sold to Educational Media Foundation, the owners of K-Love. A national Contemporary Christian network. With the loss of that signal, WCOZ (which after a few format changes in the 80s is today’s WJMN), WBCN and WAAF, plus the addition of so many low powered translators wiping out any chance of hearing out of town signals like WAQY Springfield or WGIR in Manchester… that leaves one Classic Rocker at WZLX (Where, by the way, Chuck Nowlin – himself a WAAF alumn, just celebrated 30 years on the air), and one Alt-Rocker at WBOS.. and if you like AAA there’s The River. But that’s it, folks.
Boston’s Best Rock is here to rock your world!
2. We changed formats because Airchexx Live did not have much of an audience. Who could blame folks for tuning in, hearing a scratchy old radio station and after their ears bled, tuning out. Airchexx is best known as a museum for those who want to remember. A streaming internet station needs to play music or something enjoyable. So here we are!