The Eastern Massachusetts Radio Timeline: the 1990s

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1990

1991

July 1
WLVG sold at auction to Bob Bittner.
Sept. 3
WEEI flips to all-sports.
Oct.
W249AX becomes W242AA, translating WGBH-FM.

1992

Feb. 12
WVBF flips from gold AC to country as WCLB.
Aug. 4
WWEA flips to beautiful music, becomes WJIB.

1993

May
WCDJ sold to Greater Media and flips to country as WBCS.

1994

May
WCGY is sold to American Radio Systems; WMFP is sold to Shop-at-Home network.
Aug. 29
WHDH expires; the WEEI call sign and programming moves to 850. The following month, the old WEEI would become business-talk WBNW.
Sept. 27
WCGY interim format begins.
Sept. 28
Silent WCVX (58 Vineyard Haven) is sold to Boston University Communications.
Sept. 30
WCGY flips to seventies oldies.
Oct.
WVEI (1440 Worcester) drops WEEI simulcast and becomes WWTM.
Oct.
WBMA (890 Dedham) is on the air testing.
Nov.
WSSH (1510 Boston) is purchased by religious broadcaster Communicom. WCGY becomes WEGQ, “Eagle 93.7”.
Nov. 3
WBIV (1060 Natick) goes dark; WBMA is operating full-time from the old 1060 array in Ashland.
Nov. 30
WCVX returns to the air as WZBU // WABU.

1995

Feb.
WSSH becomes WNRB; WBMA flips to all-sports.
Apr.
W32AY started on channel 32.
June 1
WBMA picks up Prime Sports Radio affiliation and becomes WBPS.
June 22
WCLB(FM) becomes WKLB-FM.
June 25
WPLM-FM flips to smooth jazz.
July 10
WFXT sale for $105M to News Corp. finally closes.
July 14
Simon Geller, eccentric former owner of WVCA-FM (104.9 Gloucester, now WBOQ), dies at age 75, at a hospital in Rockville, Maryland. Geller had operated the station, the “Voice of Cape Ann” from studios in his home from 1964 until he sold the license for $1 million in 1988.
July 17
Pyramid Communications sells out to Evergreen Media.
Aug. 1
CBS agrees to be purchased by Westinghouse Electric, bringing WBZ and WODS under common ownership. Westinghouse will drop the “Group W” moniker and rename itself CBS Corporation after spinning off its remaining non-media businesses.
Sept.
WNHT (21 Concord, N.H.) returns to the air as WNBU // WABU.
Dec.
Westinghouse purchase of CBS closes.
Dec. 13
WSSH-FM becomes Smooth Jazz WOAZ.

1996

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 ushers in a new era of media consolidation, eliminating most national limits on station ownership and allowing one owner to control as many as eight radio stations in a market (depending on the definitions of “control” and ”market”, both of which would remain in flux for some time). Limits on newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership remain in place, but are under challenge. The FCC will eventually permit common ownership of multiple television stations in the largest markets as well.

Also as part of the Telecommunications Act, Congress imposes a one-year deadline for silent stations to return to the air, or else the license expires irrevocably, and a three-year deadline to build out construction permits. Previously both had been left up to the FCC's discretion, with stay-silent authorizations renewable every 6 months and construction permits every 18. This causes a burst of activity to get long-pending permits constructed, and the FCC allows long-term silent stations to request “major modifications” without waiting for an application window, in order to beat the deadline.

Jan.
Evergreen purchase of Pyramid closes.
Feb. 8
Peterborough Broadcasting files to sell silent WRPT (1050 Peterborough, N.H.) to Alexander Langer of Cudjoe Key, Florida.
Mar. 4
Granum is sold to Infinity for $410M, including WBOS, WOAZ.
Mar. 6
WBOQ (104.9 Gloucester) receives a construction permit to increase power to increase power from 1.53 kW to 3.2 kW by installing a directional antenna.
May 31
Langer Broadcasting closes on its purchase of WRPT (1050 Peterborough, N.H.).
July 18
Southfield Communications files to sell WBOQ (104.9 Gloucester) to Marlin Broadcasting for $3.2 million — but the station will stay in the family, as Southfield's general partner Doug Tanger is the brother of Marlin's principal owner Woody Tanger and son on Marlin chairman Alex Tanger.
Oct. 1
Ownership of WBOQ (104.9 Gloucester) passes from Southfield Communications (Douglas Tanger) to Marlin Broadcasting (Howard “Woody” Tanger); Woody pays his brother $3.2 million for “W-Bach”; the men's father, Alexander Tanger, is Marlin's chairman.
Oct. 17
Children's radio network KidStar comes to Boston, via WROR (1150 Boston).
Oct. 25
Enterprise Publishing Company, the publisher of the Brockton Enterprise, files to assign WBET (1460 Brockton) and WCAV (97.7 Brockton) to WBET, LLC, as part of the newspaper's $25 million sale to a new ownership group; the FCC's cross-ownership rule will require the stations to be separated from the newspaper with the change in ownership.
Nov. 1
Alexander Langer files to move long-silent daytimer WRPT (1050 Peterborough, N.H.) to the WKOX site on Mt. Wayte Ave. in Framingham, with new frequency 650 kHz and 250 W ND-D (using the tower that WKOX does not use during the day), changing city of license to Ashland. The station will count as a “first local service” to Ashland, while Peterborough will still retain a “local” station, WNHQ (92.1).

1997

Feb. 4
The FCC grants Langer Broadcasting's application to move WRPT (1050 Peterborough, N.H.) to 650 kHz in Ashland, as a 250-watt daytimer.
Feb. 18
Langer Broadcasting files for a license to cover on WRPT (650 Ashland) after completing the station's move from Peterborough, N.H. — beating the one-year deadline for silent stations to return to the air after passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The FCC grants the new license on May 16.
June 26
WBOQ (104.9 Gloucester) completes its upgrade to 3.2 kW ERP, directional, although it takes the FCC until April 4, 2000, to finally grant the license to cover.
Oct. 9
WBET, LLC files to sell WBET (1460 Brockton) and WCAV (97.7 Brockton) to Joseph Gallagher's KJI Broadcasting, for $1.5 million. The FCC will approve the sale on November 25.

1998

June 2
KJI Broadcasting (Joe Gallagher) closes on its purcahse of WBET (1460 Brockton) and WCAV (97.7 Brockton) from WBET, LLC.
Oct. 29
WCVB-DT signs on, first digital TV station in New England.

1999

May 28
KJI Broadcasting files to sell WCAV (97.7 Brockton) to Washington-based Radio One, which specializes in formats targeting African Americans, for $10 million.
May 30
WCAV (97.7 Brockton) moves to its new transmitter site in Abington.
July 26
Class-D WAVM (91.7 Maynard) applies to upgrade from an unprotected, 10-watt class D to a protected, 150-watt class A. On its application, WAVM incorrectly indicates that this is a “major change” under the FCC rules, resulting in the FCC inviting competing applications on December 17.
Oct. 5
WJLT (1060 Natick) flips to a secular talk format, taking new calls WMEX; WRPT (650 Ashland) takes the WJLT calls and, for a time, the “J-Light” Christian format that had been on 1060.
Oct. 8
Radio One closes on its purchase of WCAV (97.7 Brockton).
Oct. 21
WCAV (97.7 Brockton) files for new callsign WBOT.
Dec. 6
WBOT (97.7 Brockton) relaunches under new Radio One ownership as “Wild 9-7-7” with an urban hits format.
Dec. 17
In a public notice, the FCC invites applications that would be mutually exclusive with the “major change” to WAVM (91.7 Maynard), setting a deadline of next January 18.

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