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City Newton, Massachusetts
Broadcast area Boston, Massachusetts
Branding 1550 WNTN
Slogan The World and You
Frequency 1550 kHz
First air date April 1, 1968 (1968-04-01)[1]
Format Community, ethnic
Power 10,000 watts daytime
3 watts nighttime
Class D
Facility ID 48781
Transmitter coordinates 42°21′27.00″N 71°14′30.00″W / 42.3575000°N 71.2416667°W / 42.3575000; -71.2416667 (WNTN)
Callsign meaning NewToN
Owner Colt Communications
Webcast Listen Live
Website www.wntn.com

WNTN is a daytime-only, 10,000-watt day and 3-watt night omnidirectional radio station licensed to the city of Newton, Massachusetts, serving the greater Boston area. It broadcasts on 1550 kHz on the AM radio dial.

WNTN broadcasts a community-based format that includes music, sports, talk and news shows. Much of the programming is aimed at the areas many ethnic cultures, including shows broadcast in Haitian Creole, Greek, Indian and Arabic languages. Programming is also produced for Christian audiences and the areas large Irish population. Programming in the English language includes local daily talk show 1550 Today with Sybil Tonkonogy and Paul Roberts.

In May 2007, a new Light Entertainment Irish Program began to air. The Irish Rambler Radio Show is now one of Boston's most popular Irish community programs.[citation needed] It is hosted every Saturday evening between 6 and 7 by Dan Hallissey, who is also a well-known Boston Irish entertainer.


WNTN signed on April 1, 1968, broadcasting a "middle of the road" format. After a year of poor ratings, management was convinced, in 1969, to initiate an original format of free-form "Adult Rock" after 2 PM, somewhat similar in style to the radio industry's current adult album alternative format. WNTN's after 2 PM programming featured an eclectic, freeform rock-based format mixed with folk music, progressive rock, soul music, jazz fusion and various other musical genres. With FM radios still a rarity in cars at the time, the station received a boost in listenership and notoriety, primarily due to the Boston area's high concentration of college students and musicians. The "free-form rock" hours were later increased to include the entire broadcast day, by 1970. Two of the earliest members of the staff were Music Director John Gorman and afternoon host Denny Sanders, both of whom later relocated to Cleveland, and were instrumental in the rise of that city's influential WMMS in the early 1970s. Also working there during the rock days was a young Howard Stern. The free-form progressive rock format lasted until January 1976, when the format reverted to MOR after the station had been recently sold.

In 1977, the station became the first in the Boston radio market to adopt a disco music block. With its unique sound and popular disc jockeys, including Wendy Hunt and Vinnie 'Disco Vinnie' Peruzzi, WNTN experienced a ratings rise and attention from the areas newspapers and television stations. The format's success, however, was short lived. By the spring of 1978, crosstown FM station WBOS began playing disco music in the evenings and adopted the format full-time that autumn as "Disco 93". In addition, Wendy Hunt left WNTN to work at WBOS in 1978, as did Vinnie Peruzzi. In 1979, he joined another new FM disco station WXKS-FM "Kiss 108".

Unable to compete with the two FM disco music stations, WNTN switched its format to adult contemporary music mixed with local news and information in 1977. But that format was short-lived; it flipped within a year to oldies music and within six months had a brief catapult into legitimate Boston ratings as the oldies format managed by Rob Wolf, who had earlier hired Howard Stern.

For a brief time in the early 1980s, the station resurrected a disco (or by that time, "contemporary dance music") format, promoted as the "Daytime Nightclub".

In 1987, the station dropped music and changed to a talk radio format consisting of syndicated national talk shows with local and national news updates.

By the 1990s, many local AM stations, including WNTN, experienced a downturn in advertising revenue. WNTN responded by adding leased-time programming, allowing groups and individuals to pay for an allotted amount of time on the station and program it to their taste. The station now airs a variety of talk and music shows aimed at numerous ethnicities and age groups. Recently, it has experimented with Internet-only programs that air on their web site http://www.wntn.com after the station has signed off for the day.

Current programs[edit]

  • 1550 Today
  • Grecian Echoes
  • Vwa Lakay
  • Roger Sturgis
  • Sports Thursday
  • Radio Compas
  • Jhankar
  • Sound of Erin
  • The Benchwarmers
  • Frugal Yankee
  • Arabic Baptist Church
  • Gallerie Haitienne
  • Brase Lide
  • Saturday Afternoon Live

Howard Stern[edit]

From August to December 1975, while studying at Boston University, future radio pioneer and self-proclaimed "King Of All Media" Howard Stern was an on-air personality at WNTN, his first professional job in the radio industry.[2] Stern claimed that the manager of WNTN at the time never paid him for his first week of work.[3]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ Halper, Donna; Wollman, Garrett. "The Eastern Massachusetts Radio Timeline: the 1960s". The Archives @ BostonRadio.org. Retrieved December 28, 2011. 
  2. ^ Stern, Howard; Larry "Ratso" Sloman. "Mein Kampf "My Struggle"". In Judith Regan. Private Parts (1st ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-671-88016-3. OCLC 28968496. And lo and behold as soon as I graduated, I got a job at WNTN, doing daytimes at this progressive AM rock station in Newton.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  3. ^ Stern, Howard; Larry "Ratso" Sloman. "Mein Kampf "My Struggle"". In Judith Regan. Private Parts (1st ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-671-88016-3. OCLC 28968496. I didn't last long at that station. I wanted to be in radio, but not for free.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)

External links[edit]