Legendary radio stations are falling and/or changing this week around the country and in some respects this week is unlike any other during the modern radio era.
Two of the longest tenured and pioneer “album rock” stations have been declared dead within a matter of hours. WBCN Boston and its 40 year history of playing rock music are grinding to a halt within the next month. It began playing “album rock” when it was known as “underground rock” back in 1968 and in the early 70’s evolved into playing album tracks and appropriate current hits, adding new tracks each week as new releases came onto the market.
In later years, WBCN developed some popular shows and personalities, yet stayed with their core music format with the (noteworthy) exception of carrying Howard Stern for several years from the late 90’s until the end of 2005.
Meanwhile, in Louisville, WLRS began in the 70’s as that city’s album rock station. Like WBCN, it played “classic rock” before it became known as classic rock. Heck, a portion of its playlist this month has remained the same for 30+ years.
Yet, this week brings the sad news that both of these radio icons are leaving us. Mind you, not for other music. Instead, for still more talk. The Boston station is being indirectly replaced (due to related frequency moves) by a new Sports Radio station for Boston, even though WEEI Boston has been the dominant sports radio station for a few years. In Louisville, the station will change to syndicated talk shows in hopes of competing with WHAS-AM and its mostly local talk shows that have reached solid audiences for years.
It will be interesting to see if either move pays off in the long run. For now, we should all remember the “long run” that WBCN and WLRS brought to each market for generations.
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