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WRKO City of license Boston, Massachusetts Broadcast area Boston, Massachusetts Branding AM 680 WRKO Slogan "Boston's Talk Station" Frequency 680 kHz First air date 1922 (as WNAC) Format Talk radio Power 50,000 watts Class B Facility ID 1902 Transmitter coordinates 42°29′25″N 71°13′05″W / 42.490278°N 71.218056°W / 42.490278; -71.218056 Callsign meaning RKO General (former owner) Affiliations NBC News (1981-1995) ABC News (1995-present) Owner Entercom Sister stations WMKK, WKAF, WAAF, WEEI Webcast Listen Live Website http://www.wrko.com/ WRKO (680 AM) is a radio station based in Boston, Massachusetts, currently owned by Entercom. Its transmitter is located in Burlington, Massachusetts, next to the Burlington Mall. Contents 1 History 1.1 1920-1940 1.2 1940-1981 1.3 1981-Present 2 Programming 2.1 Programs 2.2 News 2.3 Skyway Patrol 3 References 4 External links // History 1920-1940 Settling on 1230 kilocycles (kilohertz) in 1922, WNAC was founded by John Shepard, a Boston businessman whose father John Shepard Jr. had a department-store empire throughout New England and saw the potential of radio to publicize himself and his stores enough to finance his son's venture. The previous month WEAN (another Shepard-owned radio station) went on air in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1927, WNAC became one of the sixteen charter members of the CBS Radio Network[1], and remained a CBS affiliate for the next decade. In July 1929, WMAC Radio moved into new studios inside the basement of the Hotel Buckminster. Later that same year, using a 100-foot antenna connected to the building's roof with a clothesline, WNAC arranged the first network broadcast in the history of radio with station WEAF in New York City.[2][3] Shepard also launched a regional network to serve radio stations throughout New England; called "The Yankee Network", it was also a pioneer in radio news coverage. For many years, the Yankee Network was one of the best local/regional radio news operations in the country. Shepard also purchased a second Boston station, WAAB, which became an affiliate of the Mutual Radio Network in 1935. He also launched a second regional network, "The Colonial Network", with WAAB as its flagship station. Outside of Boston, Yankee and Colonial programming were usually heard on the same station; additionally, Colonial carried Mutual programming to its affiliates. 1935 also saw the hiring of Fred B. Cole, a disc jockey who would spend more than 50 years on the air in Boston at various stations.[4] Cole left WNAC for WHDH in 1946. In 1937, WNAC became an NBC Red affiliate after losing CBS to WEEI. Four years later, WNAC's frequency changed to 1260 kilocycles (kHz). In 1942, to comply with FCC anti-duopoly regulations, WAAB was moved to Worcester. At the same time, WNAC lost NBC "Red" to WBZ and with WAAB having been moved, took over the Mutual affiliation. 1940-1981 By 1949, WNAC was sold to General Tire and Rubber. For a brief time in 1956 and 1957, WNAC - which moved to 680 kHz when General Tire bought 50,000 watt WLAW (based 25 miles north of Boston in Lawrence, Massachusetts) in the early 1950s - was affiliated with both Mutual and NBC. The station would remain a Mutual affiliate until the network, of which General Tire was a part-owner, was sold in the late 1950s. WNAC lost NBC to WEZE (the station, ironically, that took over WNAC's original 1260 frequency) in 1957, and would lose Mutual as well. After MOR music, a brief attempt at top-40, and a format featuring a variety of chat programs, major changes came to WNAC in March 1967. The station's call letters would be changed to WRKO, the format to Top 40 rock and roll, and the Yankee Network would cease to exist. The complete history of WRKO, complete with airchecks and official reproductions, may be found at http://wrko.org. The move to a rock format in March 1967 was an enormous success. For the next decade, WRKO was one of Boston's top-rated radio stations, and absolutely dominant among its target audience of listeners under the age of 35. Known to its listeners as "The Big 68" and a Top 40 station of considerable influence, WRKO was home to such well-known personalities as longtime morning man Dale Dorman, Joel Cash, J. J. Wright, J. J. Jeffrey, Shadoe Stevens, Frank Kingston Smith (who was known as "Bobby Mitchell"), Steve Anthony and many others. Mel Phillips, who replaced Bob Henabery as program director, served in that position from 1967 to 1972 before being replaced by Scotty Brink. WRKO in 1967 even took a dig at market leader WBZ, a Westinghouse station that played pop music. In advance of WRKO's format change to top 40, WBZ tried to get in front of WRKO by adopting the slogan "Boss Radio" (used on famous RKO General top 40 station KHJ in Los Angeles). WRKO, in response, actually had their DJs reading a liner that said "WRKO, putting the Boss in the Restinghouse." WRKO did ultimately drive WBZ out of the top 40 format, but certainly didn't retire its competitor. By the end of the 1970s, however, rock and top-40 radio had begun to migrate from AM to FM. In a three-year period from 1978 to 1981, WRKO lost much of its audience. The station tried to compete with the surge in FM listening, first with a short-lived focus on album cuts and later by switching to Adult Contemporary music, featuring a morning program with market legend Norm Nathan. A switch to a country music format was also reportedly briefly considered. In 1980, WRKO began having talk programming during evening hours. On September 27, 1981, the station switched to an all-talk format: at 6pm on that date Justin Clark played the last song, "American Pie" by Don McLean. WRKO has been a news and talk station ever since. 1981-Present After switching to the talk radio format, the station ran a number of service oriented and general chat programs during the day. Moving to more issue-oriented talk, the station enjoyed a resurgence of popularity with some of the most prominent talk-program hosts in the country such as Gene Burns, Jerry Williams, Ted O'Brien and Paul Parent. The station was often the highest rated station in Boston during the 1980s and early 1990s. But while WRKO was growing and changing formats, its parent company, General Tire and Rubber, later renamed Gencorp, was under multiple federal investigations and ultimately under an FCC investigation due to its "lack of candor" for failing to disclose unlawful operations by General Tire. In the midst of the investigation into its parent company's problems, RKO General found itself under investigation for reciprocal trace practices involving several of its properties, and later for double billing by a radio network it organized, the RKO Network. The FCC license hearings culminated in the loss of the company's license to operate WNAC-TV, Channel 7 in Boston before the commission. Several years later, the FCC denied renewal of all RKO General's broadcast licenses (with the exception of WOR-TV in Secaucus, N.J. which gained a permanent license by agreeing to relocate to New Jersey from New York City) and the assignment of the licenses to designated competing applicants. Gencorp appealed, but rather than be stripped of the valuable licenses without compensation, the company's broadcasting subsidiary, RKO General, entered settlement agreements with the competing applicants that allowed the sale of its stations to third parties by making settlement payments to the applicants that had been awarded the licenses. At the time, Gencorp was strapped for cash as the result of a hostile takeover bid in which management decided to buy back the company's own stock to fend off the takeover. As part of the settlements worked out in Boston, New York, Memphis, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles and San Francisco; WRKO and its FM sister station, WROR, were sold to a neophyte broadcaster, Atlantic Ventures Corp., which was operated by a former cable television executive. After several mergers, Atlantic Ventures (renamed American Radio Systems) decided that owning broadcast and cellular telephone towers was its preferred business and merged with CBS, Inc. WRKO was spun off to Entercom since the merger brought CBS over FCC ownership limits. In recent years, WRKO has featured such local talk hosts as John "Ozone" Osterlind, Scott Allen Miller, John DePetro, and Howie Carr, as well as nationally-syndicated hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage. The station was the flagship radio station of the 16-time National Basketball Association champion Boston Celtics from 2005-2007. Entercom Communications in Boston (parent company for WRKO and its sister station, Sports Radio WEEI) assumed the broadcast rights in 2005 from WWZN and WRKO became the flagship station. Beginning in 2007, Entercom moved most of its Celtics coverage to WEEI. WRKO was, from 1986 to 1994, the flagship station for the Boston Red Sox. In 2006, Entercom inked a 10-year deal to make WRKO co-flagship station for the Red Sox Radio Network along with incumbent WEEI. WRKO airs most night games, while WEEI generally carries day games plus any weeknight game on a specific day of the week. WEEI once again became the sole flagship station on August 26, 2009. The station began streaming its broadcast online in April 2005. On November 3, 2006, the station fired host John DePetro for calling gubernatorial candidate Grace Ross a "fat lesbian" across the airwaves.[1] His 9am - noon time slot was taken by Todd Feinburg. On January 11, 2007, former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Tom Finneran, was announced as the morning drive-time host on WRKO, replacing Scott Allen Miller.[5]. Co-host Todd Feinburg joined Finneran on January 5, 2009, and the show time was shifted from 6am-10 to 5:30 to 9. On December 19, 2007, Reese Hopkins took over the 10am - noon time slot from Todd Feinburg.[6] Hopkins was let go on October 16, 2008 and the time slot was filled by Laura Ingraham's nationally syndicated talk show.[1] Programming Programs The programming currently mostly consists of conservative syndicated programming found on most talk stations nationwide, including a locally-based conservative talker: Howie Carr. Morning drive is devoted to locally produced programming by former Democratic state House of Representatives Speaker Tom Finneran and co-host Todd Feinburg [2]. Late Mornings are occupied by nationally syndicated conservative host Laura Ingraham. The current afternoon and evening lineup includes Howie Carr on afternoon drive, Michael Savage on evenings, the syndicated Jerry Doyle on nights, and the syndicated "Red Eye Radio" with Doug McIntyre overnight (weekends). WRKO reruns the Carr show overnights during the week. WRKO had run the syndicated The Rush Limbaugh Show on early afternoons and "Coast to Coast AM" with George Noory for years but lost the rights to those shows as Clear Channel, whose Premiere division syndicated the show, pulled them both from WRKO and put them on their WXKS AM 1200. Local Republican political consultant Charley Manning will host a show in Limbaugh's former slot, weekdays from noon to 3 p.m., effective March 8. Notable Saturday programming includes Doug Stephan's Talk Radio Countdown, the syndicated "Money Talk with Bob Brinker", the syndicated "ABC Perspectives", and the syndicated Jerry Doyle. Also there is a two hour locally originated show hosted by Avi Nelson and the two hour Jennifer Brien Show. . Notable Sunday programming includes "The Jim Zoppo Garden Show", the syndicated "Unconventional Wisdom", "Senior Financial Focus", "The Pat Whitley Restaurant Show", the syndicated "Money Talk with Bob Brinker", and "Pundit Review Radio" with Kevin Whalen News As of November 16, 2006, all of the on-air news anchors have been fired by station management.[7] WGBH's Beat the Press reported that the news staff was aware of the situation, one by one, and they got their severance checks. As of November 2006, the hourly news updates (including traffic and weather) during the day is provided by Metro Networks. WRKO said in the announcement after the decision that the station's local news and issues would be driven by the talk show hosts, instead of the news anchors. Former News Director Rod Fritz, can now be heard on rival WBZ in Boston, after spending a year in New York at Fox News. Metro's Bruce Adams is now the lead anchor. Skyway Patrol The title "Skyway Patrol" was first used by the old WHDH radio in 1961 for their aerial traffic reports. After Entercom moved WEEI's call letters and programming to the old home of WHDH radio, WRKO inherited the rights to the name "Skyway Patrol". In November 2006, along with the layoffs of the news department, the "Skyway Patrol" was replaced with "WRKO News" as their signoff every 20 minutes. Traffic reports come from Metro Networks traffic desk. "Skyway Patrol" reporters include Malcolm Alter, Bruce Adams, Joe Stapleton, Steve Hartman, Scott Pike, Mike Riley and Lisa Jackson. Massachusetts state trooper Grant Moulison, who for 21 years reported to WRKO listeners on the morning and afternoon drivetime situations, left in April 2006 after retiring from the force with 32 years of service behind him.[8] Matt Hillas reported for "Skyway Patrol" from May 1999 to June 2006. References ^ Radio Digest, September 1927, quoted in: McLeod, Elizabeth (September 20, 2002). CBS—In the Beginning, History of American Broadcasting. Retrieved on 2007-01-01. The other stations were WOR in Newark; WADC in Akron, Ohio; WAIU in Columbus, Ohio; WCAO in Baltimore; WCAU in Philadelphia; WEAN in Providence; WFBL in Syracuse; WGHP in Detroit; WJAS in Pittsburgh; WKRC in Cincinnati; WMAK in Buffalo-Lockport; WMAQ in Chicago; WOWO in Fort Wayne, Indiana; KMOX in St. Louis; and KOIL in Council Bluffs, Iowa. ^ Boston Hotel Buckminster, "About Us" ^ Grahm Junior College Memorial Page ^ Marquard, Bryan (2007-12-11). "Fred B. Cole, 92; mouthpiece of big-band era". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/obituaries/articles/2007/12/11/fred_b_cole_92_mouthpiece_of_big_band_era/.  ^ Report: Tuning in to Tommy: Finneran’s ‘RKO deal set The Boston Herald, January 11, 2007. Retrieved January 11, 2007. ^ WRKO's Newest Talk Host Has Wild Resume The Boston Herald, December 19, 2007. Retrieved December 19, 2007. ^ The Greater Boston Blog » Blog Archive » ^ Boston Radio Watch - May 2006 (see May 16) External links WRKO official website The Big 68 Remembered - A retrospective of WRKO's history as the most popular Top 40 music station in Boston Query the FCC's AM station database for WRKO Radio-Locator Information on WRKO Query Arbitron's AM station database for WRKO Preceded by first Radio Home of the Boston Red Sox 1926–1938 (as WNAC) Succeeded by 1440 WAAB 1939–1942 (split with WNAC, 1942) Preceded by 1440 WAAB 1939–1942 Radio Home of the Boston Red Sox 1942–1946 (as WNAC; split with 1440 WAAB, 1942) Succeeded by 850 WHDH 1947–1975 Preceded by 1510 WMEX/WITS 1976–1982 Radio Home of the Boston Red Sox 1986–1994 (split with 99.1 WPLM-FM, 1983–1989) Succeeded by 850 WEEI 1995–present Preceded by 850 WEEI 1995–present Radio Home of the Boston Red Sox 2007–August 25, 2009 (split with WEEI) Succeeded by 850 WEEI 1995–present v • d • e Radio stations in the Boston, Massachusetts, region By AM frequency 590 · 650 · 680 · 740 · 850 · 890 · 950 · 980 · 1030¹ · 1060 · 1090 · 1120 · 1150 · 1170 · 1200 · 1260 · 1300 · 1330 · 1360 · 1390 · 1430 · 1470 · 1510 · 1550 · 1600 By FM frequency 88.1 · 88.9 · 89.7 · 90.3 · 90.9 · 91.5 · 91.5 · 91.5 · 91.7 · 91.9 · 92.1 · 92.5 · 92.9 · 93.7 · 94.5 · 94.9 · 95.3 · 95.7 · 95.9 · 96.1 · 96.9 · 97.7 · 98.5 · 99.1 · 99.5 · 99.9 · 100.1 · 100.3 · 100.7 · 101.1 · 101.7 · 102.5 · 103.3 · 104.1 · 104.5 · 104.9 · 104.9 · 105.7 · 106.3 · 106.7 · 107.3 · 107.9 By callsign WAAF · WAMG · WATD-FM · WAZN · WBMX · WBNW · WBOQ · WBOS · WBRS · WBUR · WBZ-AM · WBZ-FM · WCAP · WCRB · WDIS · WEEI · WERS · WEZE · WFNQ · WFEX · WFNX · WGBH · WGIR-FM · WHEB · WHHB · WHRB · WILD · WJDA · WJIB · WJMN · WKAF · WKLB-FM · WKOX · WLYN · WMBR · WMFO · WMJX · WMKI · WMKK · WMLN-FM · WMWM · WNTN · WODS · WOKQ · WPLM · WPLM-FM · WQOM · WRBB · WRCA · WRKO · WROL · WROR-FM · WSRO · WSRS · WTKK · WUMB-FM · WUML · WUNR · WWDJ · WWZN · WXKS · WXKS-FM · WXLO · WXRV · WZBC · WZID · WZLX Massachusetts radio markets: Boston · Cape Cod · New Bedford-Fall River · Springfield · Worcester Other Massachusetts radio regions: Pittsfield See also: List of radio stations in Massachusetts See also: Manchester Radio v • d • e News/Talk Radio Stations in the state of Massachusetts By callsign: WARL · WBEC · WBSM · WBZ · WCAP · WCRN · WHMP · WHMQ  · WHNP · WHYN · WPKZ · WRKO · WSAR · WTAG · WTKK · WXBR · WXKS · WXTK By frequency: 560 · 580 · 680 · 830 · 980 · 1030 · 1200 · 1240 · 1280 · 1320 · 1400 · 1420 · 1420 · 1460 · 1480 · 1600 · 95.1 · 96.9 By community of license: Attleboro · Boston · Boston · Boston · Brockton · East Longmeadow · Fall River · Fitchburg · Greenfield · Lowell · New Bedford · Newton · Northampton · Pittsfield · Springfield · West Yarmouth · Worcester · Worcester See also: Adult Contemporary, Classic Hits, College, Country, News/Talk, NPR, Oldies, Religious, Rock, Sports, Top 40, Urban and Other radio stations in Massachusetts v • d • e Entercom Communications AM radio stations KCSP · KCTC · KEZW · KFH · KFXX · KJCE · KKHK · KKSN · KMBZ · KNSS · KWOD · KXTR · KYYS · WBEN · WEAL · WEEI · WGR · WILK · WMC · WORD · WPET · WRKO · WROC · WSSP · WVEI · WWKB · WWL · WWWL · WWWS · WXNT · WYRD FM radio stations KALC · KAMX · KBWF · KBZC · KDFC · KDGS · KDND · KEYN · KFBZ · KFH · KGEX · KGON · KISW · KKMJ · KKWF · KMTT · KNDD · KNRK · KOIT-FM · KOSI · KQMT · KQRC-FM · KRBZ · KRSK · KRXQ · KSEG · KSSJ · KUDL · KWJJ · KYCH · WAAF · WBEE · WBZA · WBZU · WCHY · WCMF · WDAF · WDMT · WEEI · WEZB · WFBC · WGGY · WILK · WJMH · WKBU · WKQK · WKRZ · WKSE · WKTK · WKZN · WLKK · WLMG · WMC · WMFS · WMFS · WMMM · WMYX · WNTR · WNVZ · WOLX · WPAW · WPTE · WQMG · WROQ · WRVR · WSKY · WSMW · WSPA · WTPT · WTSS · WVEI · WVKL · WWDE · WWL · WXSS · WYRD · WZPL Annual revenue: $468.35 Million USD (2007) · Employees: 2,343 (2008) · Stock symbol: NYSE: ETM · Website: entercom.com