98.5 WROR Boston becomes WBMX Mix 98.5 | 1991

98.5 Boston 104.1 Boston WBMX

Your webmaster has always wondered why it is that radio companies can’t respect heritage call letters. Well, here’s another set of calls that went away in 1992– at least off the 98.5 frequency. WROR was the FM station to WRKO until RKO General was forced to sell off all it’s radio properties. Before WROR they were first WRKO-FM – ARKO-Matic, the automated top forty station in the 60s. Later, it was Boston’s first Oldies station as WROR. In 1980, they went live AC, with some of Boston’s most melodic and historic jingles (JAM’s “I’d Rather Be In Boston” series #1). In 1983 they experimented with CHR using a version of the WLS-FM jingles… but later reverted back to AC, which they stayed until ’92.

WBMX remains to this day on 98.5. The WROR calls were launched on 105.7 when the Country format and calls on 105.7 WKLB moved to 96.9 (and later to 99.5). Confused? There is more information to be learned about this at the Boston Radio Archives site.

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  1. Lori Gans

    What’s with the 24/7 Christmas tunes? I’ve always tuned into this station for the music I love and now I have to go looking elsewhere for, what, the entire season?! What gives? As if we don’t hear it enough in elevators and stores? Please… try to remember that not all of your listeners are Christian and we STILL will spend money on your advertisers if you don’t annoy us too much. I’m not Christian but I DO enjoy holiday songs. But not when they are broadcast non-stop for the entire season. Please, it gets old very fast. Even your Christian listeners are going to get sick of this muzak. Please, give me back my oldies or I’ll stop shopping at 98.5 altogether… I’m already out of the habit of turning it on in my car since early November JUST TO CHECK to see if you’ve finally gone back to your bread and butter! I may forget to even bother after the holidays are over.

  2. You know, its funny we should get a comment like that. I’m frankly surprised nobody’s mentioned it sooner. These days we kinda take these 24/7 Christmas music formats for granted, but remember, this is a format geared more toward the SALES departments than listeners. Here’s why.

    The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is traditionally the hottest time for business, and those businesses want to advertise during peak times when they’ll be able to bring in the most customers. For those businesses that play radio stations in their stores, which ones do you think they’ll have on? The ones in regular format, whatever that is? Or the station that goes all Christmas and enhances the holiday feel at the store? You guessed it. Also, shoppers (the LADIES) love to listen to Christmas music in the car on the way to the mall, etc., so it makes great sense from a programming perspective to put on an all holiday music format that will attract the most advertisers and listners.

    I think it’s true, there is a certain burnout factor with the Christmas format… after all, its only December first and I’m already sick and tired of Burl Ives and Karen Carpenter… their two biggest hits, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Merry Christmas, Darling I’ve already heard over two dozen times since Thanksgiving… and I’m ready to go back to the Toby Keith station now.

    Lori, I feel your pain, but that said, I’ll have to gently say, get used to it and find another frequency starting November 26 each year because the holiday formats are profitable, and they are here to stay.

    Its noteworthy at this point to finish by saying I really do love the holiday formats, but frankly, none better than the Sirius “Pops” (classical) version, with symphonic versions of traditional holiday favorites. There’s nothing better than the long, unadulterated version of Handel’s Messiah to get me in the holiday spirit.
    And once December 25th has passed, I’ll be once again ready for Gwen Stefani, Akon, Zeppelin, or whatever genre happens to hit me at any particular moment… and that holiday station will be back to normal at midnight on 12/26.

    Hey…. Merry Christmas to all. Its the season. How ’bout we spread the love.

  3. Wow, I’m really surprised to hear the emphasis on Motown. Listening to the airchecks before and after the flip, one wonders why they bothered with the rebranding; wasn’t WROR in the 80s known for a mix of AC and oldies? WBMX here hardly sounds like a Hot AC. When I moved to Boston in ’95, they seemed to be a Hot AC by then without the oldies and with plenty of Whitney Houston. By 1997, they’d flipped to Modern AC, and it’s the heritage of this sound that supplies their recurrents today.

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