|First air date||February 20, 1957|
WBOR (91.1 FM) is a radio station licensed to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, United States. The station broadcasts from the basement of the Dudley Coe Building on the Bowdoin College campus. Programming includes indie rock, classical, electronic music, blues, jazz, metal, talk, news, sports, political, along with a large variety of other shows. In the past, WBOR has also published a music, arts, and literature magazine called the "WBOR Zine." Although WBOR can not air ads as it is a non-commercial educational license on a designated non-commercial frequency, public service announcements are read every hour. Show hosts are predominantly Bowdoin College students; however, many Bowdoin faculty members and community members host weekly shows. WBOR can be heard throughout the Midcoast area and sometimes as far away as Portland.
Radio has been a Bowdoin tradition dating back to the early 1940s when students and faculty sporadically hosted and recorded programs on campus, which were later broadcast through Portland's WCSH, Lewiston's WCOU, Augusta's WRDO, and Bangor's WLBZ. These programs usually consisted of a combination of play readings, faculty interviews, and live vocal music, usually from the Bowdoin College Glee Club and the Meddiebempsters.
In the late 1940s, Bowdoin began a program entitled “Bowdoin-on-the-air” (BOTA), where students would record radio broadcasts which would ultimately be rebroadcast on Portland station WGAN. After years of BOTA popularity, the College invested in an AM transmitter and built a station on the second floor of the Moulton Union. However, due to weakness of their AM signal, BOTA continued to broadcast through WGAN, but live, thanks to a dedicated phone line in the college's new studio. Along with this dedicated phone line to WGAN, BOTA also changed their name to WBOA (Bowdoin on-the-air).
In December 1956, WBOA applied to the FCC for an FM station license and was granted one on the frequency of 91.1 MHz. In conjunction with the switch to FM, WBOA changed its name to WBOR (Bowdoin-on-radio). On February 20, 1957, WBOR's first FM broadcast was heard across campus. Prior to this, WBOA could only be heard in the freshmen dorms within a few hundred feet of the Moulton Union station.
On October 19, 1982, after a two-year battle with local radio and T.V. stations, the FCC gave WBOR the go ahead to increase their signal strength to 300 watts.