||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (April 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
|Broadcast area||Greater Boston|
|Slogan||Boston's Greatest Hits|
|Frequency||105.7 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||May 1960 (as WKOX-FM)|
HD2: Classic rock "The Bone"
|HAAT||224 meters (735 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||Former call sign of WBZ-FM from 1968–1991, original (1996) format was modeled after it|
|Former callsigns||WKOX-FM (1960–1971)
|Owner||Greater Media (sale to Beasley Broadcast Group pending FCC approval)
(Greater Boston Radio Group, LLC)
|Sister stations||WBOS, WBQT, WKLB-FM, WMJX|
|Webcast||Listen Live (requires login) or
Listen via iHeart
HD2: Listen Live (requires login) or Listen Live
WROR-FM is a radio station licensed to Framingham, Massachusetts, serving the greater Boston region. WROR-FM is owned by Greater Media and broadcasts on 105.7 MHz. The station offers a classic hits format, concentrating on the rock and roll hits of the 1970s and 1980s, with an occasional song dating back to the 1960s or 1990s. Its studios are located in Dorchester. Its signal transmits from the Prudential Tower and reaches as far north as southern New Hampshire and as far south as Providence, Rhode Island.
WROR's roots go back to WKOX-FM, the FM sister station of WKOX, then on 1190 AM (now WXKS on 1200). WKOX-FM aired classical music for Boston's MetroWest suburbs until January 1969, when it began broadcasting a Top 40/Rock format as The New FM 105, and then later as FM Stereo 105. WKOX-FM was the Boston area's first FM Top 40 station featuring live disc jockeys, as opposed to some stations that played automated music. In July 1969, WKOX-FM converted to stereo broadcasting. DJs on WKOX-FM included Bill Thomas, Brother Bill Heizer, FM Douglas, (Program Director) Dick Stevens, John Leisher, Alan Fraser, J. William Charles, with Kenny McKay and Jimmy Conlee.
WKOX AM and FM were acquired by Fairbanks Communications in July 1971. After the sale, WKOX-FM became WVBF (also known as the Electronic Mama), as a top 40/rock station, initially retaining some of the WKOX-FM DJs. The call letters officially stood for Welcome Virginia Brown Fairbanks, the wife of station owner Richard M. Fairbanks (who himself had a station named after himself, WRMF in West Palm Beach, Florida). WVBF also began to target the Greater Boston area. Some of the DJs that were added to WVBF during their early months included Buddy Ballou, John "Big John" Gillis, Bill "BLF Bash" Freeman and Charlie Kendall.
During Fairbanks ownership in the 1970s, WVBF evolved from being a high energy Top 40/AOR hybrid station in 1971/1972, to becoming a full blown top 40 station by 1975, and eventually evolved into a hot adult contemporary format over the years. WVBF also had many different nicknames in that era, including WVBF FM 105, WVBF Stereo 105, F105 WVBF and The New WVBF Boston 105. In the early 1990s, WVBF was the radio home of Delilah before she moved to Seattle and became a syndicated evening radio personality across the country.
However, on February 12, 1993, citing the growing popularity of country music, WVBF became WCLB, "The Country Club". The format change was made in an effort to throw off Greater Media from launching a country format on smooth jazz station 96.9 WCDJ, which had just been acquired from Emmis Communications. Nevertheless, Greater Media went ahead with its plans, launching 96.9 as WBCS and giving Boston two country stations. Confusion with other FM stations and WCVB-TV led to a call sign change to WKLB in 1995.
In 1995, WKLB was to be sold to Evergreen Media, and was widely expected to become a talk station. However, a series of subsequent trades in 1996 placed WKLB under the ownership of Greater Media, owner of WBCS.
On September 5, 1996, after a brief period of simulcasting, the intellectual property of WKLB merged with WBCS, with the newly merged country station utilizing the 96.9 frequency of WBCS and the WKLB call letters, with a combination of personalities from both stations. Some 105.7 personalities remained there for the new format. On August 22, 1997, WKLB-FM relocated to the weaker 99.5 frequency, but returned to full-market coverage in 2006 with the station's move to the 102.5 frequency.
The move enabled 105.7 to pick up a new format, and the station became a 1970s-based oldies station using the WROR call letters that were used years earlier on 98.5 FM. (For years, 98.5 WROR had been an oldies oriented adult-contemporary station.) When 105.7 picked up the call letters, they had been in storage on co-owned 1150 AM (now WWDJ). The station played 1970s pop and rock oldies, disco, some 1960s oldies, 1980s soft rock and top-40 crossovers, and some classic rock. The legendary WROR call letters were familiar to many listeners, and the station originally attempted to re-assemble the WROR identity, including hiring several personalities from the defunct WROR. Leading broadcasters who were involved with WROR in the 1970s and early 1980s included program director Gary Berkowitz and air personalities such as Joe Martelle, Phil Redo (former market manager of Greater Media/Boston), Larry Justice and Frank Kingston Smith, as well as current WROR General Manager Tom Baker. By 1999, the format had been modified to a classic rock format, similar to co-owned WMGK in Philadelphia.
In early 2006, WROR launched its HD2 digital sidechannel with a "Laugh Tracks" format, which consisted of a mix of song parodies, classic comedy bits and upcoming local comedians. This would later be replaced with an all-70s hits format. In December 2013, it was replaced with a classic rock format known as "The Bone."
In 2006, WROR gradually moved back to more of a pop-based classic hits format. While the format emphasises pop adult rock hits, the station also mixes in some R&B, disco, and harder rock songs. The station continues to emphasize the 1970s and 1980s, but also plays some well-known 1960s and 1990s hits. In 2012, following the switch by longtime rival 103.3 WODS from classic hits to top 40, WROR became the only classic hits station in Boston. On September 2, 2012, The Lost 45s program hosted by Barry Scott returned to WROR. It had previously aired the show for several months in 2001 and the program aired on WODS before its format change. In April 2014, the show was dropped by WROR.
Loren and Wally
The station is best known for its morning team, Loren Owens and Wally Brine, co-starring Tom Doyle who contributed character voices and parody songs, along with Lauren Beckham Falcone reporting news and Hank Morse with traffic, and produced by Brian "Lung Boy" Bell. (Doyle was let go on November 19, 2014 for unknown reasons.) The program has aired on the station since 1981 (when it was still WVBF). The show has several segments:
Men from Maine
Men from Maine is a one- to two-minute comedy segment, opening with soap opera organ music and Loren stating something varying along the lines of, "Welcome to another thrilling episode of the exciting adventures of Men from Maine. As today's action packed drama begins...". Airing typically at 6:17 AM and 7:17 AM, episodes typically revolve around the two main characters Lem (played by Tom) and Ephus (played by Wally), and other residents of Bangor, Maine, such as Ephus' wife Effie and son Ephus Junior, Doc Cider (after Dock Sider shoes) and Pastor Fazool (after pasta e fagioli). The same characters have been used in songs about Maine on the segment "Tom's Townie Tunes" (see below). The humor of the segment is at its root generic "redneck humor", but set in very rural, backwoods Maine as opposed to the American South. Episode themes can run all the way from industrial accidents handled in incompetent ways (many residents, including Lem and Ephus work in the local sawmill), to bestiality. In all cases, the humor comes from the stupidity of the characters, and their obliviousness to it. Every episode ends with the characters going "Ayuh!"
At least one listener has found the show offensive, as heard on the first Men from Maine CD (sold during the holiday season to raise money for charity). Offended by the humor poking fun at her home state, a woman called the station, threatening to continue protesting the show until it is taken off the air. But as of September 2011, the segment is still played on the Loren and Wally show and some can be found as a "Loren & Wally Podcast of the Day" on iTunes, and 2 episodes are posted on YouTube.
Tom's Townie Tunes
Tom's Townie Tunes is a segment created by morning crew member Tom Doyle that spoofs classic rock hits, using humorous lyrics to poke fun at towns in Massachusetts (and an additional few songs about the surrounding region, such as Maine). Often the songs are about high crime rates, poverty, and the general misery of residents in low class areas, while other songs satirize Harvard graduates and Kerry Healey's failed run for Governor of Massachusetts (sung to the tune of "867-5309 (Jenny)" by Tommy Tutone). The first ever Townie Tune was about Provincetown, Massachusetts (sung to the tune of Funkytown). Doyle's sports-related songs have occasionally gained airplay on other stations during championship seasons. During the holiday season, Tom often sings parodies of classic Christmas songs.
Other Townie Tunes include:
From 2007 through 2011, WROR-FM broadcast an all-Christmas music format during the holiday season. Also, from 7-8 p.m. on weekdays, kids could call Santa Claus and talk to him about what the kids want for Christmas by phone. Kids could also e-mail Santa Claus. The all-Christmas music format was competitive, with WROR and rival WODS often starting the Christmas music within hours. In 2011, for example, WODS started playing Christmas music on November 10, and WROR changed within an hour. Holiday music could start as early as November 6 (as was the case in 2008) and as late as November 18 (in 2010), and usually ends on December 26. After WODS changed its format in 2012, Greater Media elected to move the all-Christmas format to co-owned 106.7 WMJX as of December 5, 2012 (that station had previously offered such programming in 2005); however, WROR continues to incorporate Christmas music into its normal format during the holiday season, and the station's Santa Claus program still aired during the 2012 holiday season.
- "The Boston Radio Dial: WROR-FM". The Archives @ BostonRadio.org. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
- Tucker, Ken (January 19, 2006). "Greater Media, Emmis Unveil HD2 Strategies". Billboard. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
- Simon, Clea (July 26, 2001). "Loren and Wally: 20 years on air". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
- "WROR flips to oldies music". Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- Heslam, Jessica (November 7, 2008). "Oh, joy! Radio stations take Christmas carol plunge early". Boston Herald. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
- "Radio Stations Kick Off Holiday Season". CBS Boston. November 18, 2010. Retrieved December 8, 2012.