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WKLB-FM
City of license Waltham, Massachusetts
Broadcast area Greater Boston
Branding Country 102.5
Frequency 102.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)
102.5 HD-2 Classic Country
First air date 1954 (as WCRB-FM)
Format Country
ERP 14,000 watts
HAAT 351 meters
Class B
Facility ID 10542
Callsign meaning The Country KLuB (referring to a WKLB slogan while the format was on 105.7)
Owner Greater Media
(Charles River Broadcasting Co.)
Webcast Listen Live
Website www.wklb.com

WKLB-FM (102.5 FM, "Country 102.5") is a radio station licensed to Waltham, Massachusetts. WKLB was formerly broadcast on 99.5 MHz. It currently has a country music radio format. Its transmitter is located in Newton, Massachusetts. It moved to 102.5 effective December 1, 2006 at noon.

Contents

Past WKLB frequencies

Prior to its current location, the WKLB calls and format were located on 99.5, 96.9, and 105.7. 99.5 started out in 1947 as WLLH-FM, the FM counterpart to WLLH, programming a full-service format to the Merrimack Valley.

During the 1970s, 99.5 became WSSH (for "Wish 99.5"), which programmed a format of chiefly soft instrumental renditions of pop tunes with a few vocalists an hour, consisting of soft AC and standards cuts. In 1982 WSSH, evolved to a soft AC format, gradually eliminating the instrumental renditions and became home to popular nighttime radio personality Delilah Rene (before she became nationally syndicated). Ratings were very high through the '80s and WSSH often led other AC stations. By then, the station was separated from WLLH, but it later gained a sister station on 1510 (now WWZN).

However, in the early 1990s, ratings went from excellent to mediocre, part of the reason was the perception that WSSH was still an elevator music station. During this time period, the station modified their soft AC format by 1991, adding current product and some up tempo AC tunes, evolving to a mainstream AC format. WSSH became the third place adult contemporary radio station, below WMJX and WVBF. So, in 1995, the owner of WSSH, Granum Communications, changed the format to smooth jazz, under the branding of WOAZ ("99.5 The Oasis"), mirroring Granum's KOAI in Dallas, Texas.

Meanwhile, 96.9 was a beautiful music station under the WJIB call sign, and later a smooth jazz station as WCDJ. In 1993, Greater Media purchased this station and converted it to country under the WBCS call sign; however, 105.7 had dropped the AC format and WVBF calls to become another country station, WCLB, shortly beforehand, effectively giving Boston two country stations. Confusion with other radio stations, including 102.5's past occupant WCRB, and a TV station lead to WCLB changing its calls to WKLB-FM in 1995. 105.7 was sold by then-owners Evergreen Media in early 1996 to Greater Media, who combined the two country stations on 96.9 under the WKLB call sign. (105.7 became WROR-FM at that time).

Then in 1997, CBS (which had just merged with Infinity Broadcasting, which itself had purchased Granum) sold WOAZ and WBOS to Greater Media, and on August 22, 1997 it swapped WOAZ and WKLB's formats in a move where the format and personalities of WOAZ moved to 96.9 (but adopting the call sign WSJZ, the station is now WTKK), while WKLB moved to 99.5, where it stayed until December 1, 2006. Greater Media noted that the move was made as the 99.5 signal is stronger than 96.9 in Essex County, home to many country music listeners.

The 99.5 license was spun off to Nassau Broadcasting Partners as a consequence of a deal where Greater Media acquired WCRB's dial position, with 102.5 adopting the WKLB format and call sign, and Nassau acquired WCRB's call letters and programming. Nassau already has four classical-formatted stations in Maine which are affiliated with WCRB's satellite-delivered classical music format. The two stations switched frequencies at noon on December 1, 2006.[1] The last cut broadcast by WKLB on 99.5 was the U.S. National Anthem. The first song played by WKLB at 102.5 was Life Is A Highway by Rascal Flatts. WKLB's last air personality on 99.5 and consequently first live voice on 102.5 was longtime station midday host Carolyn Kruse. A redesigned website was launched immediately after the frequency change.

History of the 102.5 license

The 102.5 license started in 1954 as WCRB-FM, the FM sister station of WCRB-AM (now WRCA), bringing its classical music format to parts of the Boston area which did not get good reception of WCRB-AM's directional signal as well as improved audio quality. In 1961, WCRB-FM was the first Boston-area FM station to broadcast in multiplex stereo; for a few years prior to that, WCRB had broadcast some of its programming in stereo by broadcasting one channel on AM, the other on FM. Although Charles River Broadcasting acquired other radio stations in the last 10 years, WCRB remained the company's flagship station.

In 1975, WCRB-AM ended simulcasting of WCRB-FM, changing call letters to WHET, and its format to big-band/adult standards. In 1978, Charles River sold-off WHET, but retained WCRB, which became increasingly successful over the years as a 24/7 classical music station.

WCRB was under a long term commitment by Charles River Broadcasting to continue to air classical music for the foreseeable future, and it carries no non-classical music programs. However, the decision to interpret the commitment as a request rather than a demand resulted in the announced sale of the station to Greater Media on December 19, 2005. However, as Greater Media already owned five FM stations in the Boston market - the maximum allowed - one of Greater Media's Boston stations would have to be sold before the company could acquire WCRB. The station that was sold was the 99.5 frequency, which was sold to Nassau Broadcasting, who also purchased WCRB's intellectual property. WCRB's transition from 102.5 to 99.5 was completed on December 1, 2006 at noon local time. The first selection broadcast on the new frequency was the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. All of the WCRB announcers including Laura Carlo, Don Spencer, Ray Brown, Mark Calder and Dave MacNeill were expected to stay on with the station. Programs including Kid's Classical Hour and the live Boston Symphony Orchestra broadcasts were also expected to continue.

HD Radio

WKLB broadcasts on 102.5 HD2 as a classic country station, a spinoff of the popular Sunday Morning Country Oldies program.

Sources

  • Archives @ Boston Radio.org

External links

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