|Broadcast area||North Shore
|Branding||North Shore 104.9|
|Slogan||Your Good-Time Favorites Station|
|First air date||September 14, 1964|
|HAAT||98 meters (322 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||WBOQ = W-Bach (former station identifier when it was classical)|
|Former callsigns||WVCA-FM (1964–1988)|
|Owner||Westport Communications Limited Partnership|
WBOQ (104.9 FM; "North Shore 104.9") is a Classic Hits/Full-Service radio station licensed to Gloucester, Massachusetts, United States, with studios on Route 1A in North Beverly. The station is currently owned by Westport Broadcasting.
The frequency was home to a longtime classical format, first as WVCA and then WBOQ ("W-Bach"). After the station's sale to new owner Douglas Tanger in 1988 it maintained its classical programming, adding on-air hosts well-versed in the form, such as professional flutist Heather Kent and program director Steve Murphy, a singer and choral conductor. In the late 1990s WBOQ transitioned to a mix of Broadway and movie music, and later to a jazz standards format. At the end of 2003 the station flipped to an oldies format under new owner Todd Tanger and Program Director Charlie Curtis, a veteran air personality at such oldies outlets as WCBS-FM in New York and WOMC in Detroit. It also adopted the new name "North Shore 104.9", to reflect the station's dedication to its North Shore location. The station's listening audience has grown considerably since then. Since 2006 it has carried Boston Red Sox baseball as part of the Red Sox Radio Network.
The station began broadcasting from a new transmitter site in Topsfield on January 10, 2013, with a 6,000 watt signal which has increased coverage to other areas such as the Merrimack Valley and the Route 1 corridor. The station now identifies as "WBOQ Gloucester-Boston".
The station was founded by Lowell, Massachusetts native Simon Geller (c.1920-July 11, 1995). After working in radio in New Jersey, Geller moved to Gloucester in 1964 because, he told a reporter, it was the biggest town on the East Coast without a radio station. He first applied for a license for an AM station on 1410 kHz but the F.C.C. denied this, awarding the frequency instead to Brockton, Massachusetts. They suggested Geller apply for an FM channel at 104.9 MHz instead. This station became WVCA: The Voice of Cape Ann, a phrase which became attached to Mr. Geller himself. Geller operated the station out of his apartment, running it primarily on donations from among his estimated 43,000 listeners within the 35-mile radius reached by the station. When it was time to take a lunch break or run an errand, the unpredictable Geller might simply shut the station down. His eccentric on-air behavior earned Geller a loyal following of listeners wondering what he might do or say next.
One of the early programming choices was Top 40, followed by Classical later in the evening. Tom Todisco became one of the earliest WVCA DJ's, and his show, "Tommy T's Teen Scene" became popular and made a dent in the ratings at the expense of the Boston stations. Tom later became famous for his award-winning direction of TV-38's Red Sox coverage for many years.
Geller owned the station for over 20 years before selling it in 1988 and moving to Las Vegas. During the time he owned WVCA, Grandbanke Communications filed a petition to deny license renewals because, they argued, he had not fulfilled the station's public service requirements. Grandbanke's application to take over the frequency was at first successful but upon appeal it was ultimately denied in 1985. Geller's argument was that the value of the frequency had gone up considerably, to at least $800,000, due to its proximity to Boston.
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1999 (PDF). 1999. p. D-210. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
- Conniff, Richard (September 15, 1986). "In Massachusetts: Giving Music". TIME.