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WBCN dies again

When 104.1 stopped being WBCN in 2009, the station didn't really die, even though much of its staff defected to the Globe and CBS shunted the thing off to one of those sub-frequency things that not everybody's radio could get.

Mark Schultz reports that now even WBCN Free Form Rock is gone - CBS dropped it from the air and deleted the Facebook page for it.

Those of us that supported Sam and BCN vastly appreciate their efforts to provide an oasis in an ocean of bland, preprogramed garbage assembled by consultants. To all of you, you should be very proud of what you have tried so hard to do. For me I guess John Lennon said best "The dream is over". RIP WBCN!

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Comments

Actually, it was most of WFNX (101.7) staff that went to the Globe in 2012, and became Radio BDC.

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For those who dont know, HD Radio (which has been around for 10+ years) is similar to HD Over the Air TV. You pick it up with the same old antenna, but newer hardware is capable of finding the digital sub-channels. If you have a TV antenna at home, youve certainly noticed things like 10-2, 10-3, 10-4 etc that play old moves, religious stuff, korean dramas etc.

Same for radio, except it never caught in, probably because only Ford (I think) ever included it as standard in their cars. Aside from the digital sub-channels, the main channels sounded better (hence the HD).

Downside was, same as TV, if you lose reception you lose the entire sound, rather than it fading and getting into static.

One big advantage of HD Radio sub stations is that because so few people listen to them, they cant sell ads, so you get 24/7 commercial free radio.

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**One big advantage of HD Radio sub stations is that because so few people listen to them, they cant sell ads, so you get 24/7 commercial free radio.**

Not true 100%.

When the HD channels started, station owners and operators decided to make them commercial free to keep their value (and appeal) high and not junk them up with spots. (Much like the appeal of FM in the early 70's)

However, there are now indeed spots on the HD channels....few, but they are now indeed selling advertising on this additional landscape.

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That's good information. Most commercial radio died a long time ago. This playlist syndrome infects most stations these days. I prefer punk/rock/alternative myself and even the once good WERS has turned into one of those "hear the same songs five times a day stations.". "Curated by the students of Emerson?". Tell me another. These days though, most people make their own stations with Spotify and other services. Radio is a dinosaur. Unfortunately.

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Emerson is training students who want to go into commercial radio so it's no surprise their student radio station sounds like commercial radio. It's the only college station I don't like in Boston. But the other college stations are excellent!

88.1 WMBR - MIT's Station. Great Jazz programming, college/alt/hard rock in the morning and afternoon, mix of stuff other times.
91.9 WUMB - Umass Boston. Folk. (Greatest disparity between what most of their students like and what they play.)
90.3 WZBC - BC's Station. Off their peak but still pretty good most of the time.
91.5 WFMO - Tufts. Traditional college station. Hit or miss.
95.3 WHRB - Harvard. Jazz in the mornings, Classical until 10, then pretty good mix of rock, electronica, etc. Their classical programming is excellent -- far better then WCRB and just about any other classical station I've heard anywhere.

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to be a much more varied station. Folk/acoustic in the AM, world music later, jazz in afternoon, reggae at 5. The newer format is pretty dull and I don't listen anymore.

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100.1 WBRS Brandeis

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**Most commercial radio died a long time ago. Radio is a dinosaur. **

Not true. They are all still alive and well. Most every American (95%) tunes into radio every week. The stations are still billing millions.

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The radio stations are one of the things I miss about Boston. I live in southeastern Vermont now and most of what I'm able to get is NPR stations.

I love WMBR! So many great shows, my favorite being Late Risers Club. There was another excellent late night one, Better Off Dead, seems to be off the schedule now. I also like WZBC a lot, too, though they're not always good about posting playlists -- so many songs I heard once and never was able to find again.

The other station I usually listen to in Boston is B87, great alternative to JAMN and Hot 97.7 always playing the same throwbacks over and over. Touch FM is awesome, too (hope they are able to broadcast again -- I'm out of the loop as I'm rarely in Boston anymore). I always liked how positive and community focused they are.

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B87, Hot 97.7, and Touch 106 are operating illegally; they are among a number of pirates who operate in the Boston area and often interfere with the reception of legitimate stations. As someone who has made a living working in radio since 1979, I condemn these volations of the law and hope they may be swiftly suppressed.

There is a legitimate urban station that will be signing on the air in the next month or so; it promises to bring back to the Boston dial much of what was lost with the demise of WILD some years ago.

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I assume it's at some location like 87.1, which is below the frequencies where any licensed FM station operates (they start with 88.1, where WMBR is)

Back in analog TV days, that might have interfered with a TV channel 6, but Boston never had that channel and the digital channel 6 is in a different place entirely.

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Ah, I was referring to Hot 96.9 which I think is legitimate. (97.7 Boston is WAAF, getting my stations confused! forgive me!). I didn't think B87 is interfering with anything at that frequency but I could be wrong. It's surprising how many pirate radio stations are active in Boston.

Any more details on the new urban station? That sounds great!

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probably because only Ford (I think) ever included it as standard in their cars.

Not true! My brand new Toyota came with HD as, I think, do most new cars.

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WBCN's glory days are as far away from us now as the Depression years were to 'BCN's prime.

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Just did the math and... ouch. Thinking about when BCN and COZ (Kickass rock 'n roll!) duked it out... I'm old now.

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I have to go play some Judas Priest now and light a candle in remembrance.

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/gAB5UjX.jpg)

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fainted.

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Were they actually playing interesting music recently? Because all WBCN played before they went off the air in 2009 were the same few Foo Fighters or STP songs over and over. It was the definition of "bland". At least WBCN gave the world Toucher and Rich, for which I am grateful.

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I listen to a lot of "alternative" stations online while I work and they all suck. I think music stopped being created around 1996? the top lead singers of the era? cobain? staley? nowell? weiland? ALL DEAD!

is rock dead too? are we stuck with that one, same foo fighters song they just keep re-releasing over and over? pearl jam at fenway? WEEZER? the friggin dropkick murphys? who cares at this point.

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Go listen to your Frankie Sinatra records. There is TONS of good music being released if you look for it.

I like Alternative too, but you have to look beyond Radio 92.9 that thinks one new song an hour sandwiched between Nirvana/Hole/The rest of the 90s is "alternative". Actually RadioBDC is quite good at showcasing new music.

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by the disappointed

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The mighty WBCN of the late 60s (remember their slogan "the American Revolution"?) and 70s started getting bad in the 80s and never fully recovered, though it rallied a few times. It was really bad by the time it whimpered out. Carter Alan's book "Radio Free Boston: The Rise and Fall of WBCN" is an excellent chronicle of WBCN from the beginning to the bitter end.

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Is shaking his head rn

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RIP 'BCN

Should have moved to Canada, where radio seems immortal.

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Oh yes! My father used to subject my brother and I to French Canadian music ("it's CULCHA!") on family vacations to Quebec. I really like the law that requires radio stations to play a certain percentage of Canadian music.

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by the time they said adios. Their time had come and gone. Technology has changed that industry, can't turn back the clock.

Me, I love the internet and what it offers with radio and other media.

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Recent changes in copyright payments in the U.S. are making it pretty much impossible for a small webcaster to go online unless they have a ton of money to burn.

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Internet streaming was never a viable way to reach a mass audience. Copyright issues relating to musical recordings are merely another nail in its coffin.

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was eclipsed by other sites/apps like tunin-radio.

Over the air radio (HD or not) can certainly thrive if they did it right.

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The members of WBCN's original audience are now in their sixties. It could not continue to serve this audience and hope to recruit new listeners from their children and grandchildren, whose tastes in music are very different.

With the purchase of WZLX, CBS attempted to serve older listeners from that station while targeting younger listeners with WBCN. However, with the growth in popularity of sports-talk and rival Entercom's move of WEEI to 93.7 FM from its former home at 850 on the AM dial, CBS felt it made sense to launch a sports-talker of their own. They chose to put it on 98.5 as WBZ-FM, moving the female-skewing "MIx" hot adult contemporary format to 104.1, replacing WBCN. There was more money in "Mix" than in WBCN, so WBCN went away.

That's the way it looked from my vantage point, anyway.

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WBZ-FM, AKA 98.5 The Sports Hub went on the air in 2009. WEEI didn't move to FM until 2011.

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While looking around for the WBCN Free Form stream, I landed on this, which says it is WZLX-HD3. I'm enjoying it, actually.

The Lounge of Boston

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That's it.

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I certainly miss the glory days of WBCN and WFNX In the 80s and 90s, but the Internet now provides us with practically limitless access to any kind of music. From some guy streaming bossa nova from his basement to XFM in London. As well as acess to still great broadcast stations such as WXPN in Philadelphia, KEXP in Seattle, and WFUV in New York.

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New Haven has a rock radio station and Boston doesn't. Let that sink in.

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When WBCN DJ Mark Parenteau was convicted of raping a 14 year-old boy it was very disturbing. Some members of Aerosmith raising money for his defense was almost as bad. I recall the 2009 WBCN break-up party and outgoing staff weren't even allowed to mention his name. Of the few remaining music stations, it's tawdry to hear these elderly male DJs in many cases playing music and taking requests from tweens. Good riddance.

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