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WBUR: Wikis


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WBUR logo.png
City of license Boston, Massachusetts (FM)
West Yarmouth, Massachusetts (AM)
Broadcast area Greater Boston (FM)
Cape Cod, Massachusetts (AM)
Branding "WBUR"
Slogan "Boston's NPR News Station"
Frequency FM: 90.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)
AM: 1240 kHz
First air date 1950
Format News/Talk
ERP FM: 12,000 watts
AM: 1,000 watts
HAAT FM: 305 meters
Class FM: B
Facility ID FM: 68241
AM: 6251
Transmitter coordinates 42°18′28.00″N 71°13′25.00″W / 42.30778°N 71.22361°W / 42.30778; -71.22361
Callsign meaning We're Boston University Radio
Affiliations NPR
Owner Boston University
Webcast Listen Live

WBUR refers to two radio stations in Massachusetts, WBUR AM and FM, both owned by Boston University. WBUR is the largest of three NPR member stations in Boston, Massachusetts, along with WGBH_(FM) and WUMB-FM, and the only one to focus exclusively on news and talk. WBUR produces several nationally distributed programs, including Car Talk, On Point, Only A Game and Here and Now and previously produced The Connection (which was canceled on August 5, 2005). RadioBoston, launched in 2007, is WBUR's only purely local show.

The station is owned by Boston University and its positioning statement is "Boston's NPR News Station."

In addition to WBUR's AM 1240 signal, WBUR also carries its programming on two other stations on Cape Cod -- WCCT-FM, 90.3 MHz in Harwich and WSDH, 91.5 MHz in Sandwich-- via local marketing agreements. In 1998, the station helped launch WRNI in Providence, Rhode Island--the first NPR station within Rhode Island's borders. It has since sold the station to a local group.



WBUR programs On Point, Only A Game and Here and Now are carried nationwide in the US on hundreds of public radio stations and on XM Radio's public radio station, XM Public Radio. In total, WBUR produces more than 25 hours of news and programming each week.

On Point is two-hour discussion show hosted by Tom Ashbrook, broadcast from 10 a.m. to noon on weekdays, with two hourly segments devoted to separate topics. Often one hour-long block will focus on a political issue and the other will focus on arts and culture. On Point began as 'special programming' in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, originally airing from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. It took over the time slot of the similar The Connection when that show was canceled in 2005. "On Point" is rebroadcast each day from 7 p.m to 9 p.m.

Here and Now is a news and culture digest show hosted by Robin Young, normally consisting of several interview segments with reporters, authors, artists and statesman. It began as a regional and local show, but soon expanded to cover national and international issues. The show is broadcast on WBUR on weekdays from noon to 1 p.m. and is distributed elsewhere by Public Radio International.

In 2007, WBUR launched Radio Boston, a weekly radio show featuring longtime Boston journalist David Boeri. The show is now hosted by Jane Clayson Johnson who conducts a one-hour discussion and interview, though Boeri still introduces each show with a report from the field. The show airs live Fridays at 1 p.m. and is rebroadcast Saturdays, also at 1 p.m.

Only A Game is a weekly sports program broadcast Saturdays at 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. The show is hosted by Bill Littlefield and is syndicated to about 200 affiliate stations by "National Public Radio". The wide-ranging program describes itself as "irreverent" and often covers sports from a human interest angle, rather than appealing directly to a particular fan base.

On Sunday evenings at 9 p.m., WBUR also broadcasts a show entitled Boston University's World of Ideas. The show features academics and intellectuals presenting lectures and answering questions on issues of national or global importance.

The 3-minute comedy sketch program 11 Central Ave, broadcast on WBEZ Chicago Public Radio, was once recorded at WBUR.


Initially, most of WBUR-FM's staff were Boston University students and the station broadcast a number of BU sporting events. By the 1970s, WBUR-FM began receiving funding from the Corporation For Public Broadcasting and became a "public radio station" with a professional staff.

During the 1970s and 1980s, the station had several jazz music and classical music programs. The disc jockeys demonstrated a broad knowledge of composers, performers, and the execution of jazz, demonstrating familiarity with such matters as improvisation and shared this with listeners. [1] [2]

Noteworthy jazz and classical disc jockeys include:

  • Dennis Boyer, classical: FM in the PM
  • Steve Elman, jazz: Spaces
  • Tony Cennamo, jazz: New Morning and subsequently, a night-time show
  • James Isaacs, jazz
  • Jose Masso, Latin: Con Salsa

At the end of the 1980s, WBUR began replacing many of its music programs with news and information programming from NPR, Public Radio International and the BBC. This brought WBUR into competition with another major Boston area NPR station, WGBH. WGBH eventually decided to remain a mostly music (classical music daytime/jazz nights) and cultural programming format (WBUR's former territory), although WGBH does broadcast NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered".

By the early 1990s, with the exception of Con Salsa on Saturday nights, WBUR had adopted an around-the-clock news and information format. Numerous NPR member stations have since followed WBUR's lead and eliminated music programming in favor of news and information programming; indeed by 2009, the majority of NPR member stations were programming 24/7 news and information formats.

In the early 1990's, auto dealer Ernie Boch, Sr. purchased WOCB-AM and FM in West Yarmouth and donated WOCB-AM to Boston University, which changed the call letters to WBUR-AM and used it to rebroadcast WBUR-FM's programming to Cape Cod.

In the late 1990s, WBUR helped to found Rhode Island's NPR station WRNI. At the time Rhode Island was one of two states lacking an NPR station. WBUR decided to partner with the newly formed Foundation for Ocean State Public Radio to build a state of the art facility at historic Union Station in downtown Providence. Initially, WBUR invested heavily in WRNI's local programming, but several of these programs were soon canceled.

In 2004, WBUR announced suddenly that it planned to drop the station by selling it, raising a number of questions. Rhode Islanders were angry at the thought that they would be forced to buy a station they had invested greatly in creating. It was later revealed that the WBUR management believed WRNI was a financial drain and wished to get rid of it. The resulting management scandal resulting in the departure of longtime WBUR station manager Jane Christo. WRNI has since moved towards independence and is now mostly autonomous, although it still carries a great deal of WBUR programming.

Since 2001, WBUR has lost more than $1 million in contributions due to a boycott launched by donors and underwriters maintaining NPR coverage of the Middle East is biased against Israel.[1] Boston is a major center for the American Jewish community and this made Israel a particularly sensitive subject. The boycott started in October, 2001, when two Boston-area businesses ended contracts: WordsWorth Books (now defunct) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Cognex Corp. in nearby Natick, Massachusetts. The two businesses are reportedly tied with the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), a persistent critic of NPR's coverage for almost a decade. [2] CAMERA has demonstrated outside National Public Radio (NPR) stations in 33 cities in the United States.

See also


  1. ^ A Beautiful Friendship?, Washington Post, July 16, 2006
  2. ^ NPR's pro-Israel critics punish WBUR,, June 3, 2006

External links



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