WWZN: Wikis

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WWZN
Wwzn.JPG
Broadcast area Boston, Massachusetts
Branding "1510 revolutionBoston"
Slogan Your Progressive Voice in New England
Frequency 1510 (kHz)
First air date 1934 as WMEX
Format Progressive Talk (via a time-brokered arrangement)
Sports/Talk
ERP 50,000 watts
Class B
Facility ID 12789
Callsign meaning WW The ZoNe (former slogan)
Former callsigns WSZE (2001)
WNRB (1995-2001)
WSSH (1990-1995)
WKKU (1989-1990)
WMRE (1983-1989)
WITS (1978-1983)
WMEX (1934-1978)
Affiliations CNN Radio
Dial Global
WCVB-TV
Owner Black Strap Broadcasting LLC
Website 1510thezone.com

WWZN is a AM radio station licensed to serve the Boston media market. Its programming is a time-brokered mix between progressive talk radio during the daytime (as "1510 Revolution Boston"), sports talk (as "1510 The Zone") and religious programming in the overnight hours (as "1510 Victory Radio"). WWZN is also the radio station for the Boston University hockey team as well as Boston University men's basketball, Boston College High School football, and Harvard football.

The station's entire daytime lineup of progressive talk is brokered by current morning-drive host Jeff Santos, who also has helped furnish airtime for Stephanie Miller (which airs from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.), Ed Schultz (12 p.m. to 3 p.m.) and Thom Hartmann (3 p.m. to 6 p.m.) in an arrangement with syndicator Dial Global.[1]

Contents

History

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WMEX: Influential jazz and Top 40 station

Founded in 1934 as WMEX by Bill and Al Pote, the station was originally on 1500 kHz, with 500 watts day, 100 watts night from a transmitter site off West Squantum Road in Quincy, near the then-WNAC/WAAB (now WMKI) site in the Neponset River valley. After several unsuccessful attempts to move to 1470 with a power upgrade to 5,000 watts, WMEX finally made the move (with power increase) in 1941, just in time for NARBA to move that channel to its current frequency, 1510 kHz. Throughout this period, WMEX operated as an independent (non-network) station with a program schedule filled with everything from live music remotes to ethnic programming. In the early 1950s, the station featured some notable jazz programming, and the recording of a WMEX originated Billie Holiday remote broadcast from a Boston club survives.

In 1957, the Pote family sold WMEX to the Richmond Brothers. Max Richmond, one of the brothers, changed the format of WMEX to a rock and roll dominant pop music format (one of the first in the nation) and hired Arnie Ginsburg, whose nightly rock and roll broadcasts on WBOS (now WUNR) were very popular. The format lasted from 1957 to the early 1970s. Max Richmond was reportedly a challenge to work for, with his alleged micro-managing and abrasive personality, yet there is no denying his uncanny ability to spot deejay talent, and to keep his station--despite a poor nighttime signal in many suburban locations--a major player and innovator for many years.

Among Max Richmond's innovations was the hiring of Jerry Williams to conduct a nighttime telephone talk show, with the caller heard on the air, a revolutionary concept in the late 1950s. With the weekday-only Williams show beginning at 10 PM (after many of the young rock and roll audience was in bed), Richmond shrewdly was able to expand the appeal of his station to the adult community in the late night hours. Malcolm X was a favorite guest of Williams, and many WMEX broadcasts featuring Williams and Malcolm X survive. When the Beatles broke in the USA, WMEX was at the forefront, playing virtually every Beatles song available and fueling the already rabid Boston fans. In the early 1960s, main personality Arnie (WooWoo) Ginsburg began his Sunday night Oldies Show, one of the first in the nation to feature early pioneer rock and rhythm and blues recordings in a specialty show.

In the late 1960s, WMEX received a power upgrade to 50,000 watts daytime, still with 5,000 watts at night. Station engineers had to constantly adjust the phasing network as tides in the Neponset River would play havoc with the station's directional pattern. However, the salt-water marsh area provided the station with an excellent coastal signal. While the night signal could not be heard clearly inland to many Boston suburban locations (especially in the growing and affluent western and southwestern suburbs), the station's nighttime transmissions were heard very clearly across the salt water to the Boston city neighborhoods and the working class North Shore areas, which gave the station's programming a more gritty, earthy sound. The salt-water path nighttime transmissions kept going right up to Nova Scotia and Labrador, gaining the station an audience in those areas as well.

WITS: Information, talk and sports

By the late 1960s, WMEX was facing tough competition in the top-40 format from WRKO, which featured a tight playlist, a more "suburban oriented" polish, and a 50,000 watt day and night signal which was heard clearly in all suburbs. However, under the programming of John Garabedian, WMEX countered with an expanded playlist featuring some "progressive rock" album cuts. WMEX shot back up in the ratings and actually beat WRKO in a few demographics and time periods, but it was a temporary--and final--victory for the venerable station. Shortly thereafter, Max Richmond died, and FM radios became more common, especially in cars where WMEX was getting the FM audience who didn't have an FM car radio yet. WMEX decided to abandon top-40 in 1975. Although briefly a MOR station with some talk programming, WMEX captured the broadcast rights to the Boston Red Sox beginning with the 1975 playoffs and became an all-talk station in 1976. In 1978, to better promote its talk format and sports coverage, the station changed call letters to WITS ("We're Information, Talk and Sports")

Adding the Boston Bruins hockey team in the 1978-79 season boosted WITS' sports profile, but the station came in for considerable criticism after the 1978 baseball season when it fired the popular Red Sox commentary duo of Ned Martin and Jim Woods. Although Martin was able to continue broadcasting the Red Sox on TV, Woods never again broadcast the team's games on a regular basis.

Long a 5,000-watt station, WMEX/WITS in the 1970s had a daytime power output of 50,000 watts and a nighttime power of 5,000 watts, which led to a less-than-perfect signal in parts of the Boston area, especially at night. WKBW, with 50,000 watts, right next door to WMEX on the dial, at 1520 from Buffalo, New York, and directional straight at Massachusetts, all but buried the weaker 5,000-watt WMEX after dark, in the western Boston suburbs (like Wellesley). On the other side of WMEX, was an equally strong signal from a Washington, DC station (then WTOP), which, together with WKBW, would really put the squeeze on WMEX's signal at night. One would really have to "eke out" the 1510 signal, in the face of these 50 kW blowtorches. In 1981, the station moved its transmitter to Waltham and was able to boost power to 50,000 watts day and night. But while some areas did get an improved signal, especially at night, other areas did not.

Not long afterwards, WITS owner at the time, Mariner Communications, suffered financial problems. The station lost the Red Sox and Bruins, and had to abandon its talk format.

Since 1983: Multiple call signs — and formats

WITS flipped to an adult standards format under the call sign WMRE, but was not successful. Other formats quickly followed, one after the other. Among them were a return to talk (featuring Morgan White Jr. and Bob Katzen), soft adult contemporary (as WSSH-AM), country (as WKKU), and (as WNRB) first, brokered religious programming and then Spanish-language programming, before settling on sports under the call letters of WWZN. Most WWZN programming came from the One-On-One Sports Network, and now from One-On-One's successor, Sporting News Radio. For a time, there were local sports talk hosts on WWZN such as Sean McDonough, Ryen Russillo and Boston sports-talk legend Eddie Andelman.

During this time, Paul Allen's Rose City Broadcasting held the license. Allen also owned Sporting News Radio and The Sporting News magazine. For a few years, WWZN had the local radio broadcasts of the Boston Celtics basketball team, but financial problems forced the station not to renew the deal when it expired at the end of the 2004–2005 NBA season.

Prior to the station's sale, WWZN started to rely on time-brokered programming in addition to its coverage of Sporting News Radio. On May 31, 2007, Blackstrap Broadcasting completed its purchase of this station and WSNR in the New York City area (licensed to Newark, New Jersey). In the fall of 2007, WWZN moved from Burlington, MA to brand new studios overlooking the ocean at Marina Bay in Quincy, MA.

Starting with coverage immediately before and on Election Day, 2008, WWZN began to air progressive talk, a format that had existed in Boston on WKOX and WXKS from late 2004 until December 2006. On December 1, 2008, local progressive radio personality Jeff Santos began hosting a 6 to 9 a.m. show, with syndicated host Peter B. Collins from 6 to 9 PM. Collins dropped out in early 2009. Beginning on May 4, 2009, Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz and Thom Hartmann were added to the schedule, all but relegating sports programming to solely the evening hours and for part of the weekends.

Programming

Weekday line-up

Saturday line-up

  • 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.: Global TV and Radio Network [2]
  • 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.: Wine Crush
  • 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.: Samantha Clemens Show (progressive talk)
  • 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.: The G Man
  • 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.: Consumer Debt Radio
  • 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.: Sporting News Radio
  • 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.: Mouthpiece Boxing Show
  • 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.: Mouthpiece MMA Show
  • 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.: Mouthpiece Wrestling show
  • 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.: All ACC
  • 7:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.: Sporting News Radio
  • 12:00 a.m. - 3:00 a.m.: Best of Norman Goldman
  • 3:00 a.m. - 6:00 a.m.: Best of Leslie Marshall

Sunday line-up

  • 6:00 a.m. - 6:30 a.m.: Public Affairs
  • 6:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.: Global TV and Radio Network [3]
  • 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.: PWF
  • 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.: Schultz/Sierra
  • 1:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.: Sporting News Radio
  • 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.: Global TV and Radio Network [4]
  • 10:00 p.m - 12:00 a.m.: Speed Freaks Radio

References

External links

Preceded by
850 WHDH
1947–1975
Radio Home of the
Boston Red Sox
1976–1982
(as WMEX/WITS)
Succeeded by
99.1 WPLM-FM/680 WRKO
1983–1994

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