|City of license||Brookline, Massachusetts|
|Broadcast area||Greater Boston|
|Slogan||The 90's to Now|
|Frequency||92.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)
92.9-HD2: Local 92.9
|First air date||February 1960|
|Former callsigns||WBOS-FM (1960–1981)|
(Greater Boston Radio, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WBQT, WKLB-FM, WMJX, WROR-FM|
Listen Live Local 92.9 (HD2)
WBOS is a commercial radio station located in Brookline, Massachusetts, broadcasting to the Greater Boston area on 92.9 FM. The station airs a hybrid alternative rock/active rock format, branded as "Radio 92.9". WBOS is owned and operated by Greater Media, which is based in Braintree. Its studios are located in Dorchester and broadcasts from the top of the Prudential Tower in Boston's Back Bay.
The early years
WBOS-FM signed-on in 1960, simulcasting most of the programming of WBOS. Most of the AM station's programming was beautiful music, but when the AM side began to broadcast ethnic programming, the FM side continued to broadcast beautiful music, which was branded on both AM and FM as "Boston's Music Theatre". In 1975, WBOS changed to a hodgepodge format which did not gain much of an audience.
In 1978, Boston radio personality Ron Robin, disgusted at the fact that the airtime for his weekly disco music show on WVBF had been cut back, left WVBF and began doing a four-hour Sunday-night disco show for WBOS. Initially, Robin bought the airtime and sold commercials for the show.
The success of that show led to WBOS hiring Robin, and a rapid expansion of the disco programming, first to seven nights a week from 8 p.m. to 12 midnight (April, 1978), and then to 24/7 in September 1978. For a brief time in late 1978 and early 1979, WBOS was one of Boston's most popular radio stations. But when WXKS-FM came on the scene with a highly-promoted disco format, including big promotions and hiring away some WBOS jocks, WBOS' ratings suffered.
WRKO midday legend J.J. Wright (most recently at WODS) was one of the original disco DJ's for WBOS when the station went round-the-clock disco in 1978. Jack King produced most of the disco specials at the time.
AOR/Adult Contemporary and Country formats
In January 1980, the station flipped to an adult contemporary format which was a little less "adult" and a little more "contemporary", but that format would only run for two years. This was followed by a short-lived (January 1982–July 1983) attempt at a rock format, programmed for some of that time by legendary Boston rock personalities Jerry Goodwin and Maxanne Satori.
But the rock format didn't make any inroads against established rockers WBCN, WCOZ and WAAF, not to mention the fast-rising WLYN-FM. On July 14, 1983, WBOS' format was abruptly changed to country, and was moderately successful for several years; it was the only FM country station in the Boston market at the time.
Program Director and morning personality Dean James, along with General Sales Manager Dave DiGregorio, worked diligently to bring Country to the mainstream. Many local jocks are still working the Boston market. The country format would remain for the next six years.
Adult Album Alternative format
In 1989, WBOS dropped country and adopted a "triple-A" format, initially with a bit more of an eclectic focus than most triple-A stations at the time, incorporating classic rock, soul, r&b, and singer-songwriter cuts into their playlists, along with new releases. Eventually, the station gravitated more toward current material and new releases. At that time, when CDs were just starting to be used in radio, WBOS promoted itself as the first all-compact disc radio station, eliminating vinyl, and very sparingly using carts for some songs. Unusually, the vinyl themed retro show The Lost 45s with Barry Scott aired on Sunday nights after leaving rival WZLX.
In April 2005, WBOS made changes to play more music and decrease the amount of talk. The station's morning show, hosted by Bill Abbate and Kristin Lessard, was abruptly cancelled to make way for the jockless "All Music Mornings". "It's putting the station somewhat back to where it started in terms of its ideals. Listener perception is that radio plays too many commercials and that DJs can be boring and irrelevant," said Buzz Knight, operations manager for WBOS. Knight said that WBOS will be "the cool station for people over 30."
In September 2007, George Knight began hosting morning drive on the station, but that would be short lived. That same month, Greater Media registered domains that showed that the station was possibly flipping to Sports Talk as 92.9 The Ticket, complete with a logo and a slogan, "Boston's Only FM Sports Station". The station was rumored to flip on October 1 of that year, but never materialized. WBMX (now WBZ-FM) and WMKK (now WEEI-FM) eventually flipped to the format in the next 5 years afterward. Little did anyone know a bigger change was coming to WBOS.
Alternative Rock format
On February 1, 2008, the station saw its biggest change since flipping to AAA in 1989, as the format changed to alternative rock and the name became "Radio 92-9". While George Knight continued to host his popular "Sunday Morning Over Easy" program, and music director Dana Marshall was promoted to Program Director, the rest of the station's airstaff was let go. Since WBCN's demise in 2010, WBOS has adopted a mainstream rock direction, but continues to report on Mediabase & Nielsen BDS on the alternative panel. This was due to the addition of Def Leppard on the playlist, and the move leaves once again WFNX as Boston's only pure alternative rock station. However, in 2011/2012, the station reverted to playing mostly alternative tracks, while playing some classic hard rock tracks (but at a very minimal amount), usually from artists/bands such as Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Metallica, Pink Floyd, Billy Idol, and Guns 'n' Roses. By July 2012, WBOS became Boston's only alternative rock station following the closure of WFNX.
WBOS was originally owned by Boston businessman Herbert Hoffman. In the 1980s, he sold it to Sconnix, which later sold it to Ackerley Media in 1988. The station was sold to Granum Communications in 1992, which merged with Infinity Broadcasting in 1996. In 1997, the station was traded to Greater Media, which has owned it ever since.
WBOS's new alternative format is projected to reach a younger, more dynamic male-skewing audience in their 20s and 30s. The reach of the station's previous AAA format skewed towards females in their 30s and 40s.
WBOS is actively broadcasting using the iBiquity HD Radio digital broadcasting system, and had an HD secondary channel called Radio You Boston, featuring content programmed by college-aged residents of the Boston area. This was re-branded as Local 92.9, featuring local music artists from the Boston area.
- J. J. Wright
- Ron Robin
- Jack King
- Neal Robert
- Charles Laquidara
- Barry Scott of The Lost 45s
- Dick Pleasants
- Maria Morgan
- Carolyn Morrell
- Liz Solar
- Bill Smith
- Cliff Nash
- Kevin Malvey
- Bill Abbate
- Kristin Lessard
- Amy Brooks
- Melissa Gaudette
- Gerrie Burke
- John Laurenti
- Eduardo Nash
- Joanne Doody
- PD-George Taylor Morris
- Robin Young
- Julie Devereaux
- Dave DiGregorio
- Keith Murray
- David O'Leary
- Dominic Lewis
- PD-Chris Hermann
- PD-Shirley Moldanado
- PD-Jim Herron
- Matt Phipps
- George Knight
- Bob Bayne
- Kevin Collins
- WBOS was also the callsign of a shortwave station operated by Westinghouse's WBZ affiliate during the 1940s. (The 92.9 frequency now occupied by WBOS was one of the early frequencies used by WBZ's FM station in the 1950s.)
- Arnie Ginsburg was the nighttime host on WBOS (AM), one of Boston's first rock-and-roll DJ's. However, by the time the FM station signed on, his show had moved to WMEX.
- Charles Laquidara hosted a show from Maui entitled WBOS Backspin during the Spring of 2006. The show aired commercial-free on weekdays, from 9–10 a.m., live.
- Studio 7 is the recording area where common heard artists on the station record and play some of their songs live. Since 1992, John Mellencamp, Sarah McLachlan, John Mayer, Lionel Richie, Barenaked Ladies, Alanis Morissette, and others have performed here while on tour in a major venue in Boston (e.g. Boston Garden, Tweeter Center, etc.).
- Given the station's February 2008 format adjustment, it is not yet known whether WBOS will continue with their "Studio 7" broadcasts.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1971 (PDF). 1971. p. B-98. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
- Official Website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WBOS
- Radio-Locator information on WBOS
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WBOS
- Boston.com article on the new format (2005)
- BostonRadioWatch including 2008 format change