JJ Jackson

WBCN

WBCN 104.1 FM, is a commercial radio station based in Boston, Massachusetts. WBCN is a modern rock/active rock station that mixes music that is popular in the modern rock, alternative rock and Classic rock genres. WBCN is a CBS Radio station. Known as 'The Rock Of Boston', its two main Boston-area competitors are Album Oriented Rock/Active rock WAAF and alternative music WFNX.

Station history

Before the middle 1960s, the station played classical music exclusively. The call letters stood for the Boston Concert Network. One of the on-air personalities at that time was Ron Della Chiesa, who also served as music host and program director. Della Chiesa is still active in classical music broadcasting on WGBH.

The station slowly began to change to an 'underground' music format on the night of March 15, 1968. The first song played that evening to usher in the new format and slogan 'American Revolution' was "I Feel Free" by the rock group Cream. At first the new 'American Revolution' format was only heard during the overnight hours, but by the summer of 1968 it encompassed the entire 24 hour programming day. As a part of their new format, WBCN began supporting non-mainstream investigative reporting and such novel concepts as a show oriented toward prison inmates, health warnings about the hazards of street drugs, and live updates on the traffic problems at Woodstock.

By 1975 WBCN had gradually evolved from the underground/progressive format of the 1960s to the more mainstream album-oriented rock format popular in the 1970s. Unlike most rock stations of the era, WBCN still allowed a degree of individual DJ control of the music. Their playlist in general was more varied than many of their competitors, there was some focus on local music (also see the WBCN Rock & Roll Rumble), and the station was known nationwide for breaking acts (The Cars, 'Til Tuesday, U2) and setting trends. Oedipus (who had the first punk rock show in the country while at MIT's college station, WTBS) was hired first as a DJ in 1977, and then installed as program director (1981), and helped to break the Ramones, the Clash, the Police, and countless punk and new wave bands out of Boston.

In 1979, the station was purchased by Infinity Broadcasting (now CBS Radio) who let go several longtime employees who they determined "non-essential." This set off a local controversy in Boston that resulted in the entire airstaff walking off the air striking in protest. During the walkout, WBCN stayed on the air with substitute DJs imported from several out-of-town Infinity sister stations. The protest got local media coverage and the attention of several well-known Boston-based music acts, including The Cars, Aerosmith, and Boston, who got behind the protest. Charles Laquidara played "Superman" by the Kinks back to back for an entire show as part of his protest. When several large advertisers pulled spots, Infinity relented, the fired staffers were rehired and the DJs went back on the air. The protest was over.

By the mid 1980s WBCN had successfully fended off a number of challengers (the hard rocking but tightly formatted WCOZ, Top 40 Hitradio WHTT, Classic Rock WZLX, among others) to become/remain the region's top rock station. Many of the DJs, particularly morning "Big Mattress" host Charles Laquidara, were now local quasi-celebrities. Laquidara had Billy West on the show on a daily basis, as well as Karlos, the first computer-generated (using Digital Equipment's DECtalk) on-air personality in radio history. The station was more commercial and "programmed" by this point but still retained some of its progressive energy and edge.

Charles Laquidara had an alter ego, Duane Ingalls Glasscock, and a dog YOOP. Many humorous episodes were told. The station had frequent political and environmental messages. After the 3 Mile Island accident, there was much lobbying by DJs to stop work on the Seabrook NH powerplant.

The station played a top ten countdown Fridays at lunchtime featuring the above bands and many others.

"Mishigaas" was a quiz/trivia show done as part of the morning show, and the losers would have to DANCE the "Funky Chicken".

By the '90s, WBCN was at a crossroads. With its audience aging, it risked becoming a classic rock focused station and losing its currency as an outlet for new music. For a long time WBCN successfully balanced new and old music (featuring the slogan "classic to cutting edge"). In the early 1990s, the station began playing the nationally syndicated Howard Stern Show but aired it in the evenings on tape delay instead of during the morning drive. This allowed them to retain their "Big Mattress" audience.

In early 1994, WBCN made its first major format adjustment since 1968. The old DJs, station IDs, and classic rock were gutted, replaced by an alternative music format featuring new, younger jocks; at the same time, the Stern show was switched to the morning. The station lost some of its longtime listeners (who migrated to the now co-owned WZLX) but quickly gained credibility among many younger people.

In the summer of 1999, WBCN moved its format away from alternative music and more toward a modern rock/active rock lean. The station by this time was playing some hard rock and Nu metal acts such as Godsmack, KoЯn, Limp Bizkit, and Linkin Park. By the autumn of 2002 certain classic artists, such as Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, and Ozzy Osbourne, were added back in the station's playlist rotation.

Much of the station's programming is now focused on talk shows (former WAAF personalities Opie & Anthony replacing David Lee Roth, who had previously replaced Howard Stern in morning Drive Time). During the autumn months, WBCN becomes more focused on sports as the station broadcasts the games of the NFL team the New England Patriots.

In early 2006, with the Howard Stern morning drive time show gone, WBCN experienced a plummet in Arbitron Ratings that the station had not observed since the late 1970s and early 1980s when it fell behind then rock format competitor WCOZ. The station has now started to air the syndicated Opie & Anthony morning drive time show. WBCN also launched The Toucher and Rich Show, a new locally produced comedy based afternoon drive time show starring Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb. The duo formerly worked together at Atlanta alternative music station WNNX.

Patriots Rock Radio Network

WBCN is the flagship station of the Patriots Rock Radio Network of the which carries game broadcasts of the New England Patriots. Gil Santos, WBZ sports reporter, does play-by-play and is known as the "Voice of the New England Patriots." Gino Cappelletti, former Patriots star, provides color commentary.

  • Marc D. Cappello 1994-Present (Producer of "The WBCN Patriots Rock Radio Network")

Awards

In 2007, the station was nominated for the top 25 markets Alternative station of the year award by Radio & Records magazine. Other nominees included KROQ-FM in Los Angeles, KTBZ-FM in Houston, Texas, KITS, in San Francisco, KNDD in Seattle, Washington, and WWDC in Washington, DC.

Notable station alumni and years of service

  • Dave Wohlman 1978–1983 Personality, Production Director and Host of The Wohlman Archives
  • Bill Abbate 1983–2003 (Overnights midnight–6:00AM 1988–2003, Also host of WBCN’s pregame, halftime and postgame Patriots football programming 1995–2004)
  • Katy Abel 1982–1988 Air Talent
  • Carter Alan 1979–1998 (Music Director 1986–1998; Air Talent, Weekends 1979–1982; Overnights June 1982–January 1983; Evenings 1983–1986)
  • Andy Beaubien 1969–1977 Air Talent
  • Tony Berardini 1978–2004 General Manager
  • John Brodey 1969–1979 Air Talent
  • Nik Carter 1996–2004 (Evenings 1996–1997, Host of drive time show "Afternoon Fiasco" 1997–2001, 2002–2004, Mid-days 2001–2002)
  • Jerry "The Duke of Madness" Goodwin 1977–1981 Air Talent
  • Kenny Greenblatt 1968–1979 Air Talent
  • Tommy Hadges 1968–1978 Air Talent
  • Tami Heide 1977–1979 1984–1991 Air Talent (Evenings)
  • J. J. Jackson 1968–1971 (later one of the first five MTV "VJ's" 1981–1986)
  • Sam Kopper 1968–1973 Morning Air Talent, 1968–1970 First Program Director, hired JJ Jackson, Charles Laquidara, Norm Winer, Maxanne Sartori, re-hired Tommy Hadges. Left and returned to station four times with final DJ years 1987–1991
  • Charles Laquidara 1969–1976, 1978–1996 (host of long-running morning drive time show "The Big Mattress")
  • Kathryn Lauren 1985–1987, Nights
  • "Little Bill" Lichtenstein 1970–1979 Air Talent
  • Larry "Cha-Chi" Loprete 1982–present Air Talent/Promotions Director (Host of WBCN's "Get Back to The Beatles" heard on Sundays in the 1980s) Took over from Charles Laquidara hosting chores of the nationally distributed cable television program "Your Mothers' on the Roof."
  • Darrell "Cosmic Muffin" Martinie 1977–1982 1985–1996 Astrological Reporter (died in 2006)
  • Ed Moloney 1986–1995. Part of Big Mattress morning show/ assistant Production Director
  • Lance Norris 1986–1996 Air Talent (Ask a Bitter Man)
  • "Metal Mike" Colucci 1986–1993 Air Talent (Host of "Heavy Metal From Hell" on Saturday nights).
  • Harold "Mississippi Fats" Wilson (aka Mississippi Harold Wilson) 1968–1977 Air Talent
  • Albert O 1983–2004 Overnight host midnight–6:00AM
  • Oedipus 1976–2004 Air Talent, host of "Nocturnal Emissions" and Program Director from 1981–2004, executive producer New England Patriots Rock Radio Network 1995-2004
  • Cali 1997–2005 (Promotion Director and On-Air Personality)
  • Megaphone Matt Segien 1999–2005 (Assistant Promotions Director)
  • Lesley Ann Patten 1977-1979 on air talent [http://www.ziji.ca]
  • Mark Parenteau 1978–1997 (Overnight and Later Evenings 1978–1980, Most known for drive time 3:00-7:00 P.M. shift 1980–1997)
  • Jim Parry 1968–1979 Air Talent
  • Al Perry 1968–1975 General Manager, Air Talent
  • Tracy Roach (1977–1983) Air Talent
  • David Lee Roth January 3, 2006–April 21, 2006 (Nationally syndicated morning drive time show)
  • Maxanna Sartori 1970–1977 Air Talent
  • Matt Schaffer 1981–1989 Air Talent
  • Danny "The News Dissector" Schechter 1970–1979
  • Ken Shelton 1980–1993 Mid-day air talent, 10:00AM-3:00PM
  • Matt Siegal 1976–1980 Drive time (Since 1981 host of 'Kiss 108's morning show on WXKS-FM, Boston)
  • Howard Stern 1993–2005 Nationally syndicated morning show (aired evenings March 1993–March 1996, morning drive time April 1, 1996–Dec. 16, 2005)
  • Steven Strick 1978–1981 News Director. 1981–1985 WFNX (then WLYN) DJ'ing part time. Eventually, went full time as Music Director/Afternoon Drive. 1985–2005 Back to 'BCN as part timer. Eventually became Assistant Music Director, then Assistant Program Director and added Music Director title when Carter Alan left in 1998. Left in September 2005 to be the Rock Editor at Radio & Records in Los Angeles.
  • Susan Sprecher 1976–1979, news reporter and on air news talent
  • Paul "Tank" Sferruzza 1981–1996 Sports Director (Part of Charles Laquidara's "Big Mattress" morning show)
  • Lisa Traxler 1983–1989 Air Talent
  • Billy West 1983–1990 Production and Voice Talent (later, Voice Talent for Nickelodeon cartoon Ren and Stimpy).
  • Norm "Ol' Saxophone Joe" Weiner 1969–1970, 1971–1977 Air Talent
  • Joshua Wachs 1983–1989 Operator and creative behind Karlos, the talking computer. (Part of Charles Laquidara's "Big Mattress" morning show)
  • Peter Wolf 1968 Air Talent (Lead singer of the J. Geils Band 1967–1983)
  • James "Baby Gorilla" Frawley Asst. Music Director 2004–2006, Star of "Name That Out of Tune"/Inspiration for "Name That Outta Work".
  • Bill Bracken 2002-2008 Chief Engineer.1997-2002 Assistant Engineer.1989-1991 On Air Producer.
  • Ken "Bomber on sports" LeClair was the sports jock before the "tank" on the "big matteress" and other "call in" times.
  • Duane Bruce Part-time airstaff 1993-1994:WFNX Air Staff 1987–1992 Killed in a driveby shooting 2007.

References

External links

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