|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2009)|
|City of license||Boston, Massachusetts|
|Broadcast area||Greater Boston|
|Slogan||"Boston's NPR News Station"|
|Frequency||90.9 MHz(also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||March 1, 1950|
|HAAT||305 metres (1,001 feet)|
|Callsign meaning||Boston University Radio|
|Former callsigns||WBUR (1950–1997)|
Public Radio International
(The Executive Committee of Trustees of the Boston University)
|Webcast||Listen Live PLS MP3 Ogg Vorbis|
WBUR refers to two radio stations in Massachusetts, WBUR-FM (90.9 FM) in Boston and WBUR (1240 AM) in West Yarmouth (on Cape Cod), both owned by Boston University. WBUR is the largest of three NPR member stations in Boston, along with WGBH and WUMB-FM. 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. 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. Boston University also owns a satellite station on Martha's Vineyard, WBUA, 92.7 MHz in Tisbury, using the frequency formerly occupied by WMVY. Following the acquisition of WBUA, on August 5, 2013 BU announced that it would sell the 1240 AM facility to Alex Langer, who will program it with Portuguese-language programming. In 1998, WBUR 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 statesmen. 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 2 p.m. and is syndicated nationally by other NPR member stations.
In 2007, WBUR launched Radio Boston, a weekly radio show featuring longtime Boston journalist David Boeri. The show was later hosted by Jane Clayson Johnson as a one-hour discussion and interview, though Boeri still introduced each show with a report from the field. In 2010, Radio Boston expanded to broadcast Monday through Friday and the program now airs from 3:00 to 4:00pm. In the fall of 2010, new host Meghna Chakrabarti went on maternity leave and was temporarily replaced by WBUR reporter Sacha Pfeiffer. Chakrabarti has returned.
Only A Game is a weekly sports program broadcast Saturdays at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The show is hosted by Bill Littlefield and is syndicated to about 210 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.
WBUR first went on the air March 1, 1950. Initially, most of WBUR's staff were Boston University students and the station broadcast a number of BU sporting events. By the 1970s, WBUR 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.'
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 (including rival WGBH, which dropped classical music following its 2009 acquisition of WCRB, though it continued to program jazz at night until July 2012; since then, WGBH has only aired a few horus of jazz on weekends); indeed by 2009, the majority of NPR member stations were programming 24/7 news and information formats.
During the 1990s, WBUR began expanding onto Cape Cod. In 1992, it partnered with Cape Cod Regional Technical High School to air WBUR programming over its WCCT-FM when students were not on the air. The following year, WBUR reached similar arrangements with WSDH at Sandwich High School and WKKL (90.7 FM) at Cape Cod Community College. In 1997, auto dealer Ernie Boch, Sr. donated WUOK (1240 AM) in West Yarmouth, which had been simulcasting WXTK, to Boston University, which changed its call letters to WBUR and made it a full-time satellite of WBUR-FM (which added the "-FM" suffix to accommodate the West Yarmouth station). (The 1240 AM signal is older than the Boston flagship station, having signed on as WOCB in 1940.) WBUR programming was then dropped from WKKL in 1999, as the 1240 AM signal can be heard in much of WKKL's coverage area. On November 27, 2012, WBUR announced that it would acquire WMVY (92.7 FM) in Tisbury (on Martha's Vineyard) to serve as an additional satellite, under the call letters of WBUA. The transaction was completed on February 8, 2013; at midnight that night, WBUA began to carry the WBUR schedule. WMVY's adult album alternative programming continues through an online stream run by a nonprofit not associated with WBUR. The acquisition of WBUA rendered the 1240 AM facility redundant; on August 5, 2013, BU announced that it would be sold to Alex Langer, who will program it with Portuguese-language programming similar to that of another Langer station, WSRO.
In 1998, 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 WRNI 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 Jewish groups maintaining NPR coverage of the Middle East is biased against Israel. 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 advocacy group Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), a persistent critic of NPR's coverage for almost a decade. CAMERA has demonstrated outside National Public Radio (NPR) stations in 33 cities in the United States.
|Station||Frequency||City||First air date||Power||ERP||HAAT||Class||Facility ID||Coordinates||Call Sign Meaning||Former Call Signs||Owner|
|WBUR||1240 kHz||West Yarmouth||October 2, 1940
(current license dates to May 6, 1944)
|1,000 watts||C||6251||derived from parent station WBUR-FM||WOCB (1940–1991)
(sale to Langer Broadcasting Group pending)
|WCCT-FM||90.3 MHz||Harwich||1989||160 watts horizontal
640 watts vertical
|38 m (125 ft)||A||8574||Cape Cod Regional Technical High School||Cape Cod Regional Technical High School|
|WSDH||91.5 MHz||Sandwich||1976||310 watts||46 m (151 ft)||A||59002||SanDwicH||Sandwich, Massachusetts Public Schools|
|WBUA||92.7 MHz||Tisbury||June 1, 1981||3000 watts||96 m (315 ft)||A||7055||derived from parent station WBUR-FM||WMVY (1981–2013)||Boston University|
- "The Boston Radio Dial: WBUR-FM". The Archives @ BostonRadio.org. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
- "WBUR Buys Martha’s Vineyard Station 92.7-FM", WBUR website
- Wells, Julia. "Radio Station WMVY Will be Sold to WBUR". Vineyard Gazette. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- "Call Sign Changes" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved December 15, 2012.
- Venta, Lance (August 5, 2013). "Boston University Sells Cape Cod Signal". RadioInsight. Retrieved August 6, 2013.
- Reidy, Chris (August 5, 2013). "Langer Broadcasting to buy 1240 AM signal in West Yarmouth from WBUR". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 6, 2013.
- Scott Fybush. "New England RadioWatch: January 18, 1997". The Archives @ BostonRadio.org. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
- Myrick, Steve (November 27, 2012). "WMVY sold to Boston station WBUR, will cease local programming". The Martha's Vineyard Times. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
- "WBUR will begin broadcasting on 92.7 FM at midnight Friday". The Martha's Vineyard Times. February 6, 2013. Retrieved February 9, 2013.
- "After WBUR Purchase, Martha’s Vineyard Station WMVY May Move Online", WBUR website
- Glenn Frankel (July 16, 2006). "A Beautiful Friendship?". Washington Post. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
- "NPR's pro-Israel critics punish WBUR". Current.org. June 3, 2006. Retrieved May 6, 2012.
- Halper, Donna; Wollman, Garrett. "The Eastern Massachusetts Radio Timeline: the 1940s". The Archives @ BostonRadio.org. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1999 (PDF). 1999. pp. D–213–4. Retrieved February 9, 2013.
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WBUR
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- Radio-Locator Information on WBUR
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WBUR
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WCCT
- Radio-Locator information on WCCT
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- Query the FCC's FM station database for WBUA
- Radio-Locator information on WBUA
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