Corporate Rock: Not Selling As Much As It Used To

Boston-area rock stalwart WBCN is going off the air later this summer, with its Linkin-Park-and-Led-Zep playlist being shoved aside in order for parent company CBS Radio to make room for a new, all-sports yakfest on the area’s radio dial. (WBCN had broadcast New England Patriots football.) The flip is scheduled for August.


WBCN was one of those stations that bridged the gap between “modern” and “mainstream” rock, two genres that have been coming together more and more as the number of rock stations in the country have diminished; as a marketing deck from December 2008 put it, “On WBCN you will hear Classic Rock, Alternative Rock, 80’s Gold, 90’s Rock, Grunge and breaking new rock. It is the appeal of the station’s music and it’s personalities that attract listeners that are educated, goal-oriented, well-established and have money to fit their lifestyles and needs!” [Sic.] The “classic” and “alternative” were particularly well-represented in this sample playlist from the same deck:


“Come As You Are,” Nirvana
“What I’ve Done,” Linkin Park
“Yellow Ledbetter,” Pearl Jam
“Immigrant Song,” Led Zeppelin
“Snow,” Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Comfortably Numb,” Pink Floyd
“Big Empty,” Stone Temple Pilots
“Mr. Brightside,” The Killers
“Loser,” Beck
“Sweet Child O’Mine,” Guns N’ Roses


Quite the soup, that. WBCN had been rumored to flip formats at 9 a.m. ET, although its channel on the iPhone’s AOL Radio app, which broadcasts CBS Radio stations, is playing the Dropkick Murphys as of this writing. (And BCN’s “Indie” offshoot, which is available on HD radios and on the aforementioned app, is still churning out the Bright Eyes.)


10:45 a.m. ET UPDATE: The Boston Phoenix has more on the flip:

CBS, ‘BCN’s owner, is moving Mix 98.5 to 104.1, WBCN’s frequency, and starting a new, all-sports station–apparently to be dubbed the Sports Hub, and to carry the call letters WBZ-FM–at Mix’s spot on the dial. Word is that ‘BCN’s morning team of Toucher and Rich will do the Sports Hub’s morning show when the change is implemented in mid-August, just in time for the Patriots’ preseason.

The station will live online, and presumably on the aforementioned iPhone app.


[HT: Fletcher]

idolator
  • Evie

    This actually makes me kind of sad. I’ve had a soft spot for WBCN since about 10 years ago, when I lived in Boston and some DJs from [a competing station] decided to “out” BCN’s Nick Carter as black, because he “didn’t sound like it” or some shit and they thought this might turn loyal listeners against him.

    Not that I need to hear “Sweet Child O’ Mine” on the radio or anything.

  • doubtingthomas

    Could you cite some sources? What proof is there to support this? All the WBCN signs still point to the same old same old…

  • http://www.twitter.com/fontbandit fontbandit

    WBCN and the people who work there have done a lot to support independent music. “Boston Emissions,” their local rock show is a great program, produced by music junkies who eat, sleep and breathe local rock. Every year, the station puts on the Rock & Roll Rumble (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WBCN_Rock_&_Roll_Rumble), which puts dozens of mostly unsigned bands on stage and is a proven community/scene-builder.

  • http://idolator.com/ Maura

    The flip is happening in August:

    CBS, ‘BCN’s owner, is moving Mix 98.5 to 104.1, WBCN’s frequency, and starting a new, all-sports station–apparently to be dubbed the Sports Hub, and to carry the call letters WBZ-FM–at Mix’s spot on the dial. Word is that ‘BCN’s morning team of Toucher and Rich will do the Sports Hub’s morning show when the change is implemented in mid-August, just in time for the Patriots’ preseason. (WBCN will, apparently, survive as an Internet station. Any ‘BCN listeners excited about that?)

  • 2ironic4u

    Shouldn’t be a problem for rock radio listeners in the Boston area as they still will have THREE STATIONS to choose from: WFNX (indie/alternative leaning), WBOS (general “modern rock” Seether affair) and WAAF (which is out Worcester and is “Active Rock”). Plus, if you live south of Boston, you might also be able to pick up WBRU out of Providence.

    As for any NYers, you’re still stuck with the “hey, let’s throw everything against the wall and see what sticks” WRXP.

  • kicking222

    This fucking sucks. I love BCN, and while 2ironic is right- Boston is a great place to be if you like rock and listen to the radio- it’s certainly going to be a crappier landscape without BCN. (The station was also a champion of my favorite band, Splashdown, and I’ll always be thankful to them for that.)