My radio station has been hijacked. I know it’s not my radio station, but I’ve come to think of it that way, having been a loyal listener to WBOS 92.9 FM since my days in college.
My radio station has been hijacked.
I know it’s not my radio station, but I’ve come to think of it that way, having been a loyal listener to WBOS 92.9 FM since my days in college. In fact, I did an internship at the station writing copy for radio spots and commercials —remember those ‘BOS Daytripper and Odyssey File segments?
When my alt rock loving husband’s stations were giving me a headache, ‘BOS was the middle ground we could meet on in the car and in the kitchen. My 8-year-old son became keen on Keane listening to 92.9, and I could let him listen without fear of him picking up any of the wide variety of expletives in songs played by other Boston radio stations.
What made ‘BOS unique is likely what ended its current programming, as station owners like Greater Media struggle to survive in this brave new world forever changed by iTunes and the growth of satellite radio.
The programming at WBOS included an excellent mix of music; from rock, pop and acoustic folk to blues (on Sunday) and alternative rock – the format the station has now embraced fully to the exclusion of all else.
More jarring than the music the station is now playing, Nine Inch Nails was the artist that greeted me on my way to work Monday morning, is the suddenness of the change. Without warning, the very popular DJs listeners had come to know — on-air personalities who were knowledgeable about the music they played and enjoyable to listen to — were sent packing and we were left with a station that sounds remarkably like WBCN, WAAF and WBRU.
There are already plenty of alt rock options in this market, why was there a need for another station dedicated to that format?
Perhaps it seemed to some listeners and radio executives that WBOS was eternally searching for an identity, a label it could slide easily under. But for me and for so many fans of the station that was its identity, and we were glad to be along for the ride all these years.
‘BOS played and promoted dozens of new artists long before they became popular iTunes downloads — Brandi Carlisle and Paolo Nutini among them. The DJs let listeners know who and what they were listening to and if you missed it, the ‘BOS Web site included the last 100 songs played so you could check back later and find out the name of that great new song you heard on the way home from work.
From Earthfest concerts to Studio 7 sessions with live performances, WBOS was innovative and in touch with the community. Its demise, and the lack of any other station similar to it will drive me to tune out broadcast radio and plug in my iPod full time now, and I know I’m not alone. On the blog site http://pamelarosenthal.wordpress.com/2008/02/03/wbos-format-change-disappointing-its-listeners/ dozens of listeners have weighed in with similar reactions.
In an ever-changing media market, companies are searching for the formula for success. Too bad Greater Media executives couldn’t see they had found it with WBOS.
Alice Coyle is the managing editor for Community Newspaper Company’s Raynham office. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.