|Branding||590 AM The Word|
|Slogan||Boston's Christian Talk|
|First air date||September 29, 1924(license, as WEEI)|
|Callsign meaning||EZE = Easy|
|Former callsigns||WEEI (1924–1994)
|Former frequencies||990 kHz (1924–1925)
630 kHz (1925–1926)
800 kHz (1926–1927)
860 kHz (1927)
670 kHz (1927)
820 kHz (1927)
|Affiliations||Salem Radio Network|
(Pennsylvania Media Associates, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WBIX, WROL, WWDJ|
The history of the 590 frequency dates back to 1924 as WEEI, owned by (and whose callsign meant) Edison Electric Illuminating. In its earliest days, the station was a public relations vehicle for Edison. In 1926, the station had become a charter member of NBC Radio, broadcasting NBC Red Network programming, before CBS leased them out in 1936 in response to WBZ being leased by NBC for its Blue Network in 1932. Soon after, CBS completely bought WEEI from Edison.
CBS was the last network to maintain a full schedule of radio comedy programs, dramatic series, variety shows, and soap operas in the traditional sense, so such programming took up much of WEEI's schedule until 1960. By the early 1960s, WEEI had a MOR format interspersed with talk programming, making the station a talk radio pioneer. By the mid-sixties, WEEI was all-talk, except in the overnight hours, where "Music 'Til Dawn" would continue for a few more years. Popular WEEI talk hosts ("talkmasters") of the period included Paul Benzaquin, Howard Nelson, and Len Lawrence.
However, in 1974, this format was scrapped in favor of CBS's standard all-news format, which continued after Helen Broadcasting bought WEEI in 1983. (Its FM sister station remained—and continues to be—owned by CBS.)
By 1991, the Boston Celtics had become the owners of the station, and had interspersed sports programming into WEEI's schedule, before the remaining news programs were finally cancelled on Labor Day of that year, taking the station all-sports. The station also took over operations of WVEI in Worcester to simulcast its programming in central Massachusetts.
In 1994, American Radio Systems purchased the WEEI intellectual property, but FCC regulations prohibited them from actually taking over 590 AM. As such, the station was spun off and became WBNW, while ARS merged the old WHDH radio into WRKO and installed WEEI's programming on the 850 frequency. (WVEI was given up and became WWTM, but was later purchased by WEEI and has returned to WVEI.)
WBNW's new business format (mostly supplied from Bloomberg) failed to catch fire, and so the station was sold to Salem Communications in December 1996. Salem moved the religious programming and call letters of WEZE 1260 onto WBNW (which remains on the station to this day) on December 15 of that year, while 1260 became WPZE and was later spun off (and became WMKI).
The void left by WBNW's replacement with WEZE would soon be filled when WADN (1120 AM) started adding financial programming in 1997, eventually changing its format to business news/talk entirely to become the new WBNW. Incidentally, a format similar to WBNW's was installed onto its recently reacquired sister station WBIX in September 2015 by Salem.
For more of the history of WEZE prior to its move to 590 kilohertz, see WBIX.
For a short period, Salem Communications operated WEZE-FM in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, billed as "Easy 104.7". Though unusual, FCC rules allow co-owned stations in different cities to share call letters between themselves. Salem purchased the Pittsburgh station as part of a strategic move to compete against a Christian-formatted AM/FM competitor, but would have to run another format until the contracts with the client ministries could be obtained. Salem chose to run an easy-listening format until the contracts were obtained in October 1991, when WEZE-FM evolved into WORD-FM.
- Halper, Donna; Wollman, Garrett. "The Eastern Massachusetts Radio Timeline: The First Fifteen Years". The Archives @ BostonRadio.org. Retrieved December 28, 2011.