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WBZ (AM)

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WBZ
City of license Boston, Massachusetts
Broadcast Greater Boston
Branding "WBZ NewsRadio 1030"
Slogan "Every Day"
Frequency 1030 kHz (also on HD Radio)
98.5 HD-3 WBZ-FM
First air date September 19, 1921
Format News/Talk
ERP 50,000 watts
Class A
Facility ID 25444
Callsign meaning sequentially assigned
Sister stations(s) WBCN, WBMX-FM, WBZ-FM, WODS, WZLX
Affiliations CBS Radio Network
ABC News Radio
AP Radio
Boston Bruins Radio Network (1995-2009)
Owner CBS Radio
Sister Stations WBCN, WBMX-FM, WBZ-FM, WODS, WZLX
Webcast Listen Live to WBZ NewsRadio 1030
Website WBZ 1030's Website

WBZ is the callsign for an AM radio station in Boston, Massachusetts which is owned by CBS Radio (formerly Infinity Broadcasting), which itself is owned by the CBS Corporation. Originally based in Springfield, Massachusetts, WBZ swapped callsigns with sister station WBZA in 1931, a move that placed the station @ it's current location.

WBZ radio, which broadcasts @ 1030 kHz, is the oldest surviving commercial radio station in New England, as it began broadcasting in 1921 (pioneering station WGI in nearby Medford Hillsides was transmitting regular programming as early as 1919 as experimental station 1XE, but went out of business in 1925). WBZ currently runs an All-news format during the day & a talk radio format @ night, with hosts like Dan Rea, Steve LeVeille & Jordan Rich. The station is the most listened-to radio station in the Boston area & covers much of the eastern United States & Canada @ night with it's 50,000-watt signal from their transmitter location in Hull, Massachusetts, which has been used by the station since 1940. The transmitter is a 2 tower directional array where each tower is 160 m tall.

During the daytime hours, WBZ is also well-known for "Traffic on the 3s", which provides a summary of traffic conditions in the area. In addition, national & international news, as well as some segments, are provided by the ABC Information network & the CBS Radio Network (until December 2005, this included noted radio raconteur Paul Harvey, which was provided by ABC), but almost all programming, except for nighttime talk shows, is produced in-house. WBZ has also been heavily involved in charitable work, with it's annual Christmastime fund drive for Boston's Children's Hospital (which it does along with sister TV station WBZ-TV) being the most high-profile.

It was the home of talkmaster David Brudnoy for 15 years, until the day before his death in 2004. Other notable personalities included talk show host Bob Kennedy, poet/personality Dick Summer, disc jockeys Bruce Bradley, Jeff Kaye, Ron Landry & later, Larry Justice, jazz DJ turned talkmaster Norm Nathan, late-night talker & humorist Larry Glick & morning personalities Tom Bergeron & Dave Maynard.

During the 1940s, WBZ operated a shortwave station using the callsign WBOS; this station has been dark since 1953 & the callsign has since been reassigned to what is now an AAA station. Group W made half-hearted attempts to launch FM service @ various points operating FM service on 100.7 (now WZLX, ironically a current sister to WBZ-AM) & 106.7 (now WMJX owned by Greater Media), before selling each to other chains. Additionally, during the 1970s, WBZ was 1 of a number of clear-channel AM stations that petitioned to be allowed to increase their power; WBZ would have used half a megawatt out of Provincetown, Massachusetts to reach all of New England during the day. A backlash from smaller stations led to the petition being denied & station protections limited to a 750-mile radius, as well as the cancellation of the entire clear-channel service.

HistoryEdit

WBZ is the oldest surviving broadcaster in New England & was the first licensed "commercial" radio station in the United States. It was first licensed for operation in Springfield by Westinghouse in September 1921. A second station, WBZA, was built in Boston, Massachusetts in 1924. In 1931, the stations swapped call letters & the main studio & operations were relocated to Boston as WBZ, with the WBZA call letters used for Springfield, both stations simulcasting on the same frequency. WBZA, Springfield was deleted in 1962. The original format was general entertainment & information which included dramas, sports, news, talk shows, special events, some music & public affairs programming.

In 1926, WBZ became 1 of the first affiliates of NBC, joining the NBC Blue Network. A 1931 call-letter swap sent WBZ to Boston & WBZA to Springfield. In 1931, WBZ built a transmitter complex in Millis, Massachusetts which allowed the station to boost power to 50,000 watts. However, WBZ didn't stay in Millis for long; the station moved it's transmitter site to Hull, Massachusetts in 1940 a move which allowed Westinghouse to launch a shortwave station & have the transmitters & antennas for both @ the same site. WBZ moved to it's present dial location, 1030 kilocycles (kilohertz) on March 29, 1941. When the Justice Department ordered NBC to divest 1 of it's 2 radio networks, WBZ switched to the NBC Red Network to retain NBC (as NBC opted to sell the Blue Network). Like other major-market network-affiliated radio stations of the time, WBZ also broadcast a few hours of local programming, including Vaudeville-like musical performances from Max Zides, Tom Currier & others, during those hours when NBC wasn't feeding programs to affiliates. On June 9 1948, WBZ-TV ch. 4 signed on & took the NBC TV affiliation. Later that month, WBZ radio moved it's studios from the Hotel Bradford in downtown Boston to join WBZ-TV in a newly-completed building @ 1170 Soldiers Field Road in the Allston section of Boston. In 1951, Don Kent started as a meteorologist @ the station, for a tenure that would endure for over 3 decades.

In 1952, WBZ expanded it's broadcasting schedule to 24-hour-a-day programming. By then, entertainment shows were moving to TV, with the amount of music programming increased as a result. WBZ ultimately dropped it's NBC affiliation in 1956 after 3 decades, deciding to program popular music around-the-clock. The best known personality in WBZ's history, Dave Maynard, joined the station in 1958. Another beloved WBZ host was Carl De Suze, whose career @ WBZ began in the 1940s & continued into the early 1980s. De Suze was the station's morning man for over 3 decades. Another popular WBZ voice was longtime news anchor Gary LaPierre, who began @ the station in 1964. LaPierre, who anchored WBZ's morning newscasts for over 35 years, retired from WBZ @ the end of 2006. Governor Mitt Romney declared the day of his final broadcast, December 29 2006, "Gary LaPierre" day. Romney, Senator Ted Kennedy, Mayor Tom Menino, former Mayor Ray Flynn, former Governor Michael Dukakis & other notables called in during his final broadcast.

By 1960, WBZ offered a full service music format, leaning toward Middle of the road (MOR) music, but also featuring an increasing amount of rock & roll. Within a few years, WBZ was a top 40 rock & roll station & with it's combination of hit music, popular personalities, powerful signal & top-notch news coverage, WBZ was the dominant radio station in the market. However, due to increased competition in the Top-40 format - first from rival WMEX (who had a head start, switching to a Top 40/rock & roll format in 1957) then from WRKO - WBZ adopted a more full-service adult approach.

WBZ wasn't Group W/Westinghouse's only Top-40 music station; for a while, WINS New York & KFWB Los Angeles were as well, although they were both top-40 stations when Westinghouse purchased them. In 1965, WINS dropped rock-and-roll to become the nation's third all-news radio station (after XETRA serving Los Angeles & San Diego from Tijuana, Mexico & WAVA in Arlington, Virginia). Westinghouse eventually took KFWB down that path as well.

By the beginning of the 1970s, WBZ evolved into an Adult Contemporary Full Service format, playing several songs an hour between 6-9 AM, 10-12 songs an hour between 9 AM & 4 PM & 4-6 songs an hour between 4-7 PM. At night, WBZ programmed talk shows with such personalities as Guy Mainella, a pioneer in sports talk; Jerry Williams, in the evenings & Larry Glick's overnight show (the latter 2 held the same popular shifts @ WMEX years earlier). They also programmed music during the day on weekends. Westinghouse offered a similar format on KDKA in Pittsburgh.

Beginning in the late 1960s, WBZ made a major push into live play-by-play sports. From 1966 through the 70s & again for a time in the early 90s, WBZ was home to radio broadcasts of New England Patriots football. In the Fall of 1969, WBZ became the radio flagship of both the Boston Bruins (NHL) & the Boston Celtics (NBA). The Bruins stayed through the 1977-78 season; the Celtics left WBZ after the team's 1980-81 NBA Championship season. During the years when the Bruins & Celtics were both on WBZ & both playing @ the same time, 1 of them (usually the Celtics) would be heard on then-sister station WBZ-FM (now WMJX).

In the 1980s, WBZ began to cut back on it's music programming. WBZ continued the full service AC format until January 1991, when they began wall to wall Gulf War coverage along with other news during the day. After that, WBZ became strictly talk & news. At that point, WBZ began a morning news block until 10 AM & also ran all-news from 4-7 PM. In 1992, WBZ dropped the midday talk shows & became an all-news station during the day & talk @ night. During the 1990s, David Brudnoy had a popular nighttime show on WBZ radio, but his career was cut short by cancer. In the summer of 2007, evening talk host Paul Sullivan stepped down as Brudnoy's successor, due to health issues stemming from a battle with cancer. (Sullivan eventually lost that battle on September 9, 2007)

In recent years, the all-news format on weekdays has been extended until 8 PM. The Boston Bruins Radio Network returned to WBZ in October 1995.

On December 31 2008, WBZ let go overnight talk show host Steve LeVeille, sports anchor Tom Cuddy & talk hosts Lovell Dyett & Pat Desmarais. LeVeille was replaced by Jon Grayson (whose show originates from St. Louis sister station KMOX), while Dyett & Desmarais were replaced by the syndicated Kim Komando Show. After listener efforts were made to restore LeVeille & Dyett to the station, WBZ announced on January 27, 2009 that LeVeille would reassume his shift on February 2, while Dyett would host a half-hour early morning public affairs program on Sundays. On January 30 2009, Long time WBZ Radio sports director Gil Santos retired after 38 years with the station.

In 2009, Bruins coverage moved to newly created affiliate WBZ-FM, 98.5 FM

Hall of FameEdit

In February 2007, the station created the WBZ Radio Hall of Fame. Gary LaPierre was the first inductee. Gil Santos was the second when he was inducted in July 2009.

On-air personalitiesEdit

Morning Drive

  • Ed Walsh - Anchor
  • Deb Lawler - Anchor
  • Elliott Abrams - Weather
  • Walt Perkins - Sports
  • Rick Simonson - Traffic
  • Ron Amadon - Market Watch

Mid-Morning

  • Gregg Jensen - Anchor
  • Laurie Kirby - Anchor
  • Tracy Johnke - Market Watch

Afternoon Drive

  • Anthony Silva - Anchor
  • Diane Stern - Anchor
  • Bob Larsen - Weather
  • Tom Cuddy - Sports
  • Joe Morgan - Traffic
  • John Wordock - Market Watch

Reporters

  • Carl Stevens
  • Lana Jones
  • Mark Katic
  • Karen Twomey
  • Kim Tunnicliffe
  • Doug Cope
  • Lisa Meyer
  • Art Cohen

Weekend News

  • Kendall Buhl
  • Mary Blake
  • Rod Fritz
  • Mina Greene

Talk Show Hosts

  • Dan Rea
  • Steve LeVeille
  • Jordan Rich
  • Morgan White
  • Lovell Dyett

Contributors

  • Jon Keller - Keller at Large
  • Dee Lee - Money Matters
  • Dr. Murray Feingold - Medical Minute
  • Mike Carruthers - Something you Should Know
  • Dave Caruso - Before the Bell
  • Neil Chayet - Looking at the Law
  • Charles Osgood - The Osgood File
  • Paul Harvey - News and Comment (until 2005)

External linksEdit

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