WBCN Goes Digital-Only

I wish I had learned about this sooner. But news in Boston seldom travels out of the city (unless it's an embarrassing episode involving Mayor Menino).

Boston's most legendary rock radio station, WBCN, ended its 41-year analog broadcast run just after midnight on Wednesday, August 12th (here's how the station went out). The station will continue to stream classic and alternative rock from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s on HD digital radio and the Internet. It is most easily accessed on iTunes, in the Radio folder, under the 'rock' category.

I worked at WBCN's original Boylston Street location in the summer of 1993 as a sales / copywriting intern. I was in the only office with windows, facing north, overlooking the brick and mint green facade of Fenway Park. I mostly did traffic reports and put together media kits. But eventually, I got to cover the switchboard (Peter Wolf once called with, 'Hey this is Peter Wolf, who's this?'), write a couple of radio commercials, and attend a Lansdowne Street block party to send off Mayor Ray Flynn, who was chosen by Bill Clinton to become ambassador to the Vatican ('natch).

It was an unforgettable summer...to be 20 years old and working (albeit part-time) at the most popular radio station in Boston, a city that was undergoing a healthy economic, cultural, and architectural boom that continued into this decade. The current stream at WBCN captures a lot of songs from that era by such bands as Stone Temple Pilots, The Breders, Radiohead, The Smashing Pumpkins and so many others. I love my XM Radio, both in my car and online, but I do hope CBS Radio keeps WBCN alive online. The online stream acts as a kind of live memorial or historical archive (the classic WBCN station ID's from the 1990s continue to be used). I can see CBS shutting it down in a few years. But until then, we have a fairly good rock radio stream that captures the 90s rock revivl (the 'alternative rock' era).

It was Boston's first full-time contemporary rock station. It was the first commercial US radio station to play U2 songs. And it had the best morning show (The Big Mattress) for 28 years.

Just listen to the voices in this MP3 clip that closed out the analog broadcast.