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WVEI (AM) logo.png
City of license Worcester, Massachusetts
Broadcast area Worcester, Massachusetts
Branding SportsRadio 1440 WEEI
Frequency 1440 kHz
First air date February 27, 1927 (as WBET)
Format Sports
Power 5,000 watts
Class B
Facility ID 74466
Transmitter coordinates 42°17′25.3″N 71°50′45.3″W / 42.290361°N 71.845917°W / 42.290361; -71.845917 (NAD83)
Callsign meaning similar to WEEI
Former callsigns WWTM (1994–2000)
WBHT (September 10–17, 1992)[clarification needed]
WVEI (1991–1994)[clarification needed]
WFTQ (1977–1991)
WNCR (1976–1977)
WAAB (1931–1976)
WLEX (1929–1931)
WBET (1927–1929)
Affiliations WEEI Sports Radio Network
ESPN Radio, Westwood One
Owner Entercom Communications
(Entercom License, LLC)
Website WVEI site within WEEI

WVEI is an AM radio station in Worcester, Massachusetts, operating on 1440 kHz with 5,000 watts. The station is owned by Entercom Communications, and has an all-sports format. Most programming is provided by Boston sister station WEEI-FM.


Former logo of the radio station

The station that now operates as WVEI originated in Boston as WBET, the radio station of the Boston Evening Transcript, which was granted a license on December 18, 1926.[1] The station was originally authorized with 100 watts on 780 kHz;[2] however, when the station signed on February 27, 1927, it was operating with 500 watts on 1130 kHz. The inaugural broadcast was plagued by severe technical problems, leading to a front-page apology on the next day's paper, and the station went off-the-air until April 20, when WBET moved to 760 kHz and began operating from studios originally used by WGI. After moving to 1240 kHz and then back to 1130 kHz in June 1927, the station moved to 1040 kHz on August 15, sharing time with religious station WSSH; on November 11, 1928, the station moved to 1360 kHz, where it shared time with South Dartmouth station WMAF as well as WSSH.[1] The city of license was changed to Medford in February 1928.[3] However, WBET was plagued by continued technical issues and increasing expenses, leading the Transcript to sell the station; on February 15, 1929,[1] it was purchased by the Lexington Air Stations, owner of Lexington radio station WLEX (now WLLH in Lowell and Lawrence) and experimental television station W1XAY.[4] The new owners moved the station to Lexington and transferred the WLEX call letters from its new sister station (which became WLEY).[1][3] On March 20, 1930 the station moved to 1410 kHz and was still time-share.[5]

WLEX became an affiliate of the Yankee Network on January 20, 1931, and soon thereafter the station moved back to Boston, changing its call letters to WAAB and sharing studios with WNAC (now WRKO) at the Hotel Buckminster at Kenmore Square; by April 20, John Shepard III of Shepard Stores, owner of WNAC and the Yankee Network, had acquired WAAB outright.[6] Shepard had shown interest in the WLEX license as early as the fall of 1929, when he attempted to lease the station and relocate it to Worcester; this plan was rejected by the Federal Radio Commission (FRC) following objections from WTAG.[4] By 1938, WAAB studios were located at 21 Brookline Avenue.[6]

On January 26, 1937, the ownership of WAAB and WNAC was consolidated under the Yankee Network, Inc. As a result of the NARBA frequency shift, WAAB moved to 1440 kHz on March 29, 1941.[5][7][8] In late 1942, Shepard moved WAAB to Worcester to avoid anti-duopoly rules.[5][9] Though this gave Shepard his long-desired Worcester station,[9] ownership of the two stations was broken-apart in 1943.[10] On June 15, 1961 it started an FM sister station, WAAB-FM, which later became WAAF.[8] As early as 1948, the station was broadcasting with 5,000 watts.[11]

In the 1950s and 1960s "14-40 WAAB" was a Top-40 radio station. In 1965, the "Fun-in-the-Sun Guys" were Bill Garcia, Chuck Spencer, Don Stevens and Bob Carrigan[12][13] Morning man Steven Capen recalls the station then and how Atlantic Records purchased it and changed things around in 1967:

I was doing the morning show at WAAB in Worcester, my very first stint in rock & roll radio and in a metropolitan market. My first air name, in fact, Stephen Kane. A lot of firsts. Best of all I was given plenty of latitude. At this point I was so engrossed in my new work I was completely oblivious to the upheaval going on across the country and indeed in radio. A progressive music show—Cream, The Doors, The Mothers of Invention—premiered at night hosted by Jeff Starr while we continued our Ron Landryesque comedy in the A.M. It seems that just like almost all of my gigs the good times weren't to last. Atlantic Records bought the station, and you'd think that would be a good thing, but in came the consultants from New York and Washington, the air sound was tightened beyond belief, catchy new jingles added, and it wasn't long before their newly-installed PD, Sebastian Tripp, gave me my walking papers.[14]

In the early 1970s, WAAB began to shift to a talk format. A local sports talk show, Sportsbeat, was added in the evening with former Boston Bruins TV voice, Don Earle. Bob Merman, who later had a laryngectomy from throat cancer and did many anti-smoking ads, was the political talk show host following Sportsbeat. In the fall of 1971, WAAB replaced the Don Earle show with an ambitious nightly news block to 7:00 pm, anchored by Ron Parshley and Mike Cabral (who later went on to become news director at WGNG (now WSJW) in Pawtucket). A news correspondent for this program was Paul Del Colle, a senior at Holy Cross, who assumed news anchor duties for the Bob Merman's talk show, which ended at 11:00 pm. Bob Merman was later replaced by the Wizard of WAAB, the above-mentioned Ron Parshley, a former male witch who did many of his shows on the occult. Ron died in 2001. Paul Del Colle eventually became a professor of communications and earned his Ph.D. at New York University. Mike Cabral left WAAB to become the News Director at WGNG in Pawtucket, R.I., and continued in various news capacities with radio stations in southeastern Massachusetts for many year after.

About 1972 or 73, WAAB switched to a full-time news/talk format with the All News Morning Journal and the All-News Afternoon Journal during drive times. Talk show hosts included WSB's Bob Coxe, Kurt Oden (who was an aide to Buddy Cianci), Paul Stanford (now running a gift shop in Naples), Bob Morgan on Sports, Ron Parshley, Alan Michael Rowey, Skip Quillia with Tests and Trivia, Dick Steven's Feminine Forum, Jeff Katz, John Gallager (formerly of Westwood Family Dental and East/West Mortgage), Steve Booth (daytime talk show producer), Dave Houle (evening talk show producer and later WFTQ p/t announcer), and Mike Moore (sales guru at WAAF). In the newsroom were Forest Sawyer (later to work for CBS, ABC, and CNBC), Bob Parlante (later to work for WHDH and WSB), Aviva Diamond (later to work for ABC), John Sterns, Dave Brown, and Geoff Metcalfe.

In 1976, WAAB became WNCR (Worcester's News Center). The station's emphasis shifted to news programming, with the entirety of the station's staff being news staff (automated beautiful music was aired during non-drive times). The staff included Bob McMahon (later at WBZ and now at WBUR-FM), News Director Tom Hughes (later at several Atlanta stations), Larry Cohen, Sarah McGaw, Bob Maxon (who hosted the one talk show), Steve D'Agostino (who returned to WFTQ as news director and morning news anchor and later worked for Worcester Magazine, Business Worcester, and Worcester Business Journal), Pam Coulter and Marcia Salter (both subsequently and now with ABC News Radio), Norm McDonald (formerly of WBZ-TV) on weather, and Greg Gilmartin (later at WTIC) on sports.

The station owner about this time was Bob Williams.[15] By December 1977, WNCR changed call letters to WFTQ and was known as "Fourteen Q" (14Q).[7][8][16][17] 14Q was a full-service adult contemporary format station playing a mix of music from the 60's, 70's and 80's and weather reports every 20 minutes.

In March 1981 the Katz Agency purchased WFTQ and WAAF from Park City Communications.[18] In 1986 the Katz Agency sold all its radio stations[19] to NewCity Communications. This new company was organized at the time by members of Katz management to purchase all of Katz's radio holdings, under its subsidiary Katz Broadcasting.[20]

During the '80s, WFTQ was known as "Worcester's Weather Station".[21] As early as 1985, WFTQ was broadcasting in stereo using the 40 kHz Kahn system[22] The name and format continue today as an online station[1]

During the summer of 1989 NewCity Communications, Inc. sold WFTQ and WAAF to Zapis Communications in exchange for Atlanta station WEKS.[23][24] WFTQ then underwent restructuring.[23] By 1990, WFTQ called itself "The Sports Channel" and was known for broadcasting live Boston Celtics games.[25]

WFTQ's notable personalities included: J. Bruce, Mark Laurence, Lorraine LeDuc, Mike Finneigan, Dave Taylor, Steve LeVeille, Don Kelley, Dave Houle, Chuck Perks, Gary Nolan, Bill Robert, Karen Williams, Mike Shaun, Mike Warshaw, Cliff Blake, Dave Windsor, Chuck Nowlin, Donna Halper, Steve D'Agostino, Geraldo Tabio, David Goblaskis, Tom Cuddy, Steven Brown, Paul Stevens, Steve York, David Bernstein, Harry Jacobs, Roger La Plante, Jeff Taylor, Chris Tracy, John Barber, Tim Fontaine, Earl Finkle, Mark Veau, Melanie Moore, and Kevin Mannix, and featured shows such as The 14 Minute Flashback at noon, 6p And 9p; Solid Gold Saturday Night with Dick Bartley; and American Top 40 with Casey Kasem. Memorable station events included: The 14Q Sock Hop, The Bed Race For MDA, Chili Challenge, Neighborhood Block Parties.[26][not in citation given]

WFTQ had massive lay-offs, however, and began simulcasting WAAF on January 15, 1991.[27] Over the summer of 1991, General Manager John Sutherland cited 18 months of "substantial losses" due to poor advertising sales.[28] On September 3, 1991 WFTQ changed its call letters to WVEI and began simulcasting WEEI, a sports-talk station at that time broadcasting at 590 kHz.[8][28] Although WEEI supplied the majority of the station's programming, WVEI would break away from the WEEI simulcast for local weekend morning public affairs programming and broadcasts of Holy Cross football and basketball.[29]

On October 10, 1994 WVEI changed calls to WWTM[10] and was known as "Worcester's Team". It briefly had a locally-based sports format.[8] At the time, station Chief Engineer Eric Fitch wrote, "We have just recently changed our call sign from WVEI to WWTM, effective October 1, 1994. Prior to that we simulcast WEEI from Boston. With their move to the old WHDH frequency of 850 kHz, we found we would be better off programming the station ourselves with IMUS in the Morning, The Fabulous Sports Babe Mid days, Kiley and the Coach 2P to 6P, Dan Miller 6P to 10P and Ron Barr with sports By-Line USA overnight. We also feature Holy Cross Football and Basketball, Giants Football, Bruins Hockey (when they actually play a game), and selected games from the Mutual network."[17]

On July 31, 1996, Zapis Communications announced it was selling both WWTM and WAAF to American Radio Systems (ARS) for $24.8 million.[30] At that time, ARS also owned WEEI (by now located at 850 kHz), and within a year some WEEI programming was restored to WWTM.[31] On August 13, 1998, David Field's Entercom purchased most of ARS's Boston-market stations, as well as WWTM, for $65 million from CBS as part of an anti-trust settlement from CBS's purchase of ARS.[32]

WWTM discontinued most of its remaining independent programming in favor of WEEI's in late 2000 and the station was reverted to the WVEI call letters on August 8, 2000.[33]

Personnel highlights[edit]

WAAB era[edit]

  • Roy Harlow, Program Director 1937[6]
  • Gerry Harrison, Publicity Director 1937[6]
  • Irving B. Robinson, Chief Engineer 1937[6]
  • Dick Partridge 1950s – 1960s (exact dates unknown)[34]
  • Neil Scott 1964[34]
  • Steve Booth, producer 1972–1975
  • Dave Houle, producer 1973–1975
  • Bill Garcia, DJ 1965–1968[12][34]
  • Chuck Spencer, DJ 1965[12]
  • Don Stevens, DJ 1965[12]
  • Bob Carrigan, DJ 1965[12]
  • Steven Capen A.K.A. Stephen Kane, Mornings, Music Director 1966 - 67[35][36]
  • Jeffrey Starr, DJ 1967[37]
  • Sebastian Tripp, Program Director 1967[14]
  • Sean Michael Devlin 1968[34]
  • Rod Ewing, DJ 1969 (from WFEA)[38]
  • John Gallagher 1972[34]
  • Geoff Metcalf 1974[34]
  • Bill Shupert 1974[34]
  • Kurt Oden 1976[34]

WFTQ era[edit]

  • Richard A. Reis, General Manager 1981, 1983–1989[39]
  • John A. Sutherland, General Manager, Summer 1989[23]
  • Steve A. Marx, Vice-President & General Manager "for seven years"[40]
  • Don Kelley, Program Director 1984[8][34]
  • Ron Valeri, Program Director 1991[28]
  • Steve LeVeille, Mid-Day Newscaster 1986, News Director 1987, Operations Manager (Program Director) 1989, Morning Show 1990–1991[8][41][42]
  • Bruce Feniger, Account Executive 1984[43]
  • Donna Halper, DJ 1981.[8][34]
  • Chris Tracy, DJ 1981.[34]
  • Mark Laurence, DJ, Music Director 1981–1991
  • Paul Stevens, DJ 1979-1981
  • Jimi Bruce, DJ 1979-1982
  • Mike Shawn, DJ 1979-1986
  • Tim Fontaine, DJ 1983–1986, 1988,1990
  • Geoff Scott, DJ 1987–1989[44]
  • J.Bruce, DJ - 1983–1990
  • Dave Houle, p/t & swing shift DJ - 1979–1987
  • Lorraine LeDuc, DJ, Boston Celtics coordinator - 1983–1990
  • Harry Jacobs, DJ 1985–1987
  • Erica Fairbanks, DJ 1980s[45]
  • Mark Veau, DJ 1986[46]
  • Steve D'Agostino, News Director, 1978-1982 - Launched and hosted "14Q First Amendment," a Sunday morning community-affairs program; and led WFTQ coverage of the Democratic National Convention in 1980[47]
  • Bill Downs, on-air personality[48]
  • Joe Biedrzycki, on-air personality[49]
  • Chuck Perks, on-air personality[50]
  • Gary Nolan, DJ, late 1970s-early 1980s
  • Mike Finneigan, DJ, 1983–1987
  • Dave Taylor, DJ, 1983–1986, Program Director 1988
  • David Goblaskis, host of "First Amendment" Sunday morning community affairs program, 1987[51]
  • Neil Sullivan[52]
  • Steven Craig[53]
  • Bill Robert, DJ, Producer, Public Service Director, 1989–1991[17]

WWTM era[edit]

  • Chuck Perks, Director Programming & Production[50]

Network and sports game broadcasts history[edit]

  • John Shepard's Yankee Network January 20, 1931 WLEX[9]
  • Mutual's Boston affiliate 1936[6]
  • Shepard's Yankee and Colonial Networks 1937[6]
  • Father Charles Coughlin's broadcasts carried on WAAB in 1938[54]
  • Red Sox games 1939–1942 WAAB AM[55]
  • Red Sox games 1995–2006 WEEI AM (WVEI simulcast)[55]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Halper, Donna L. (January 2, 2001). "The Boston Radio Timeline: The First Ten Years". The Archives @ BostonRadio.org. Retrieved September 13, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Radio Service Bulletin". United States Department of Commerce Bureau of Navigation. December 31, 1926. p. 14. Retrieved September 14, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Radio Service Bulletin" (PDF). U. S. Department of Commerce Radio Division. February 29, 1928. p. 6. Retrieved September 14, 2011.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "rsb228" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  4. ^ a b Halper, Donna L. "How Television Came to Boston—The Forgotten Story of W1XAY". Television History-The First 75 Years. Retrieved September 13, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c Boston Radio
  6. ^ a b c d e f g OldRadio, Bos1.
  7. ^ a b FYBush
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Boston Radio Gallery.
  9. ^ a b c Old Radio, Shepard.
  10. ^ a b Boston Radio
  11. ^ Jeff.
  12. ^ a b c d e Mark. July 12, 1965 Chart Survey image.
  13. ^ Worcester Magazine.
  14. ^ a b Kane.
  15. ^ AccessMyLibrary.
  16. ^ Worcester Magazine, Lead.
  17. ^ a b c "Ernie Cooper's QSL Verie Collection; WNCR, WWTM". National Radio Club. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  18. ^ New York Times.
  19. ^ Funding Universe.
  20. ^ Cox.
  21. ^ Boston Radio, Weather.
  22. ^ Totse.
  23. ^ a b c Newsbank 131. If Newsbank search expired, go to telegram archives and search WFTQ article September 2, 1989.
  24. ^ Newsbank 141. If Newsbank search expired, go to telegram archives and search WFTQ article 1989-03-11.
  25. ^ Newsbank 41. If Newsbank search expired, go to telegram archives and search WFTQ article 1990-11-10.
  26. ^ "WFTQ Tribute Page". MySpace. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  27. ^ Newsbank 31. If Newsbank search expired, go to telegram archives and search WFTQ articles for January 4, 1991 and January 10, 1991.
  28. ^ a b c Newsbank 11. If Newsbank search expired, go to telegram archives and search WFTQ articles dated 1991-08-08 and 1991-08-31.
  29. ^ "WVEI reception verification" (PDF). October 29, 1991. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  30. ^ Find articles.
  31. ^ Fybush, Scott (May 22, 1997). "Back to Boston". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved July 25, 2009. 
  32. ^ Boston Radio.
  33. ^ "The Boston Radio Dial". Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k 440int.
  35. ^ Bay Area Radio.
  36. ^ Jive95.
  37. ^ Reel Radio.
  38. ^ Man From Mars.
  39. ^ Cox Radio People.
  40. ^ The CSS Team.
  41. ^ Radio Steve.
  42. ^ Radio Steve, Tripod.
  43. ^ InterRep
  44. ^ Geoff Scott
  45. ^ Worcester Union
  46. ^ My Oldies.
  47. ^ City Desk.
  48. ^ Boston Talent.
  49. ^ NHRT.
  50. ^ a b Chuck Perks. Also see WWTM.
  51. ^ Tobacco Documents
  52. ^ Boston Radio Nerw
  53. ^ Old Radio Archives.
  54. ^ Jeff.
  55. ^ a b WRKO.

Preceded by
680 WNAC
Radio Home of the
Boston Red Sox
(as WAAB; split with 680 WNAC, 1942)
Succeeded by
680 WNAC