|Broadcast area||Northern New England|
|Slogan||Maine's Rock Station|
|First air date||1973 (107.5)
1989 (102.9) see History below
|HAAT||435 meters (1,427 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||The BLiMp|
|Former callsigns||WLOB-FM (?–1966)
|Affiliations||Patriots Rock Radio Network|
(Townsquare Media Portland License, LLC)
|Sister stations||WCYY, WHOM, WJBQ|
WBLM 102.9 FM is a classic rock radio station serving the central and southern Maine and northern and eastern New Hampshire listening areas from Portland, Maine. The station has a studio in One City Center, along with co-owned Townsquare Media stations WJBQ, WCYY and WHOM. During football season, the station broadcasts New England Patriots games. WBLM is one of the most powerful FM stations in New England, licensed to operate at 100,000 watts. It broadcasts from a transmitter tower near Route 121 in Raymond that is the second tallest man-made structure in Maine (second only to the tower for WMTW TV 5).
WBLM signed on the air on March 1, 1973 on 107.5 MHz. By day, it played Beautiful Music (also known as Easy Listening, mostly instrumental versions of Broadway, Hollywood and popular hits) with free-form progressive rock airing from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. The station was licensed to Lewiston, Maine and its antenna was located in Litchfield, Maine, also the site of the original studio, which was a double-wide mobile home. Later that year, WBLM became a full-time progressive rocker. Given that the transmitter site was some 40 miles away from Portland, the station's signal was somewhat spotty in Portland and beyond. In 1979, it modified its format to mainstream album-oriented rock, after being challenged in the ratings by what at the time was a new 3,000-watt album rock station, 100.9 WLOB-FM, known as "FM 101" and currently WYNZ. On December 6, 1989 it switched frequencies with 102.9 WTHT. 102.9 was previously beautiful music station WGAN-FM from its sign-on in February 1967 until 1985. Prior to 1966, 102.9 was WLOB-FM, but not related to today's AM 1310 WLOB. The 107.5 frequency is now WFNK, ironically a direct competitor to WBLM with a classic rock/classic hits format. The two stations are often at the top of the Portland ratings list.
WBLM has a colorful connection to rock acts Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart. WBLM's nickname is "The Rock and Roll Blimp". The stations on air catchphrase is: "It's The Blimp Frank it's The Blimp!"; both refer to the Captain Beefheart track off the album Trout Mask Replica "The Blimp", which is where the catchphrase comes from (the catchphrase is a portion of the beginning of that song). It's The Blimp "Frank" is in reference to Frank Zappa as the portion of the song used for the catchphrase is a recording of a phone call made from Beefheart's recording session back to their record label owner Frank Zappa about their new song titled "The Blimp". The "Cosmic Muffin" astrological forecast, which was a daily report on WBLM for years also used as its theme song "Muffin Man" by Frank Zappa, specifically the vocal portion proclaiming "The man thought he was a man but he was a muffin."
On August 30, 2013, a deal was announced in which Townsquare Media would acquire 53 stations from Cumulus Media, including WBLM, for $238 million. The deal is part of Cumulus' acquisition of Dial Global; Townsquare and Dial Global are both controlled by Oaktree Capital Management. The sale to Townsquare was completed on November 14, 2013.
- "Official: Cumulus Buys Dial Global, Spins Some Stations To Townsquare; Peak Stations Sold To Townsquare, Fresno Spun To Cumulus". All Access. August 30, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
- "Cumulus Makes Dial Global And Townsquare Deals Official". RadioInsight. August 30, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
- "Cumulus-Townsquare-Peak Deal Closes". All Access. November 15, 2013. Retrieved November 16, 2013.