Composite: 98 1/2 FM WROR Boston | January 7-14, 1980

98.5 Boston, WBZ-FM The Sports Hub

Courtesy of Big Apple Airchecks - Thanks!In all of it’s history, RKO General’s WROR (98.5) may be best remembered for the personality driven Adult Contemporary format launched just weeks before this recording was made. Out of the ashes of what was Boston’s first full-time Oldies station came this – a station where listeners were known to call and request WROR’s “I’d Rather Be In Boston” jingles!

Boasting a revamped playlist and a staff of personalities whom are still talked about today, WROR took the market by storm. Morning man Joe Martelle is best remembered for his “Saturday Night At The Oldies” show that ran for over a decade… he’s still revered today. Jim Roberts did middays. He would return to the NEW WROR when it launched on 105.7 in the mid-90s. PM Driver Larry Justice was well known to Bostonians from his days at WBZ “Radio 103” in the early 70s, and would stay at WROR for almost two years before hanging it up, but making for one of the best afternoon shows in the market.

Heard here, is Frank Kingston Smith (WRKO, WBZ, WABC, WVBF), doing morning drive, since Joe Martelle hadn’t quite arrived just yet. Then, later in the aircheck, Martelle makes his appearance, but it’s not the morning show, its a Thursday night. You’ll even hear a promo for the “new” Saturday Night At The Oldies show, to make its debut the following weekend.

One could speculate that had RKO General simply moved the WRKO (AM) format over to 98.5, it could have remained a powerhouse Top 40 station, one which could have easilly rivalled the success of crosstown WXKS-FM “Kiss-108″… and indeed, in 1983, WROR DID try personality-driven top 40, but it was too late, as by that time, WHTT 103.3 was already doing the format, along with Kiss 108 and WCOZ 94.5 was just about to enter the race as WZOU. Thus, with all the entrenched competition, WROR ended up reverting to AC by October of ’83.

But this is the beginning, in January of 1980. And for the next 12 1/2 years, this would be THE at work station to listen to, one that many of it’s fans say, was the best middle-of-the-road pop station Boston ever had.


  1. Good composite. John Long had mentioned in his online book “Putting On The Hits” that he wanted to switch WROR to Top 40 to go up against WVBF. But management was afraid that it would hurt WRKO in the process, never mind the fact that RKO General wanted to sell off WROR at the time. By the time WROR found success as a AC outlet, WRKO was in it’s last days as a Top 40 and presumably management didn’t want to tinker with WROR.

    BTW: I hope you put the 1983 Boston Composite that was on the site. WROR sounded good as a Hot AC/CHR during that period.


  2. The composite you’re referring to is definitely here, albeit still in Real Audio format. Yes, WROR is definitely hot in this.

    I just put the link in the post above. You can also access it via the BOSTON Market link below.


  3. Thanks Steve. Now can you please bring back those Kiss 108 airchecks from 1984 that were on here several years ago? One had JoJo Kincade and Sunny Joe White, the other one was a composite that had J.J. Wright, Dale Dorman, and JoJo Kincade.

    Also, there was another one from Kiss that was recorded in Late Summer-1991? Forgot the jock’s name but it was the overnight shift.

    Yes, I love hearing pre-consolidation Kiss 108. And thanks for your hard work on this site.


  4. Bill

    The AC sound of WROR also went through several phases over it’s life. The jingles during this error sounded great. And by the way, the first jock is Bob Stuart. I used to hear him ironically with Don La Tulip on WEZE and others.

  5. Gary B four tracked this composite. It’s the first I’d Rather be package with the jock logos which were custom.
    The I’ll bzeeing you we stole from the old ac WBZ. Judy Caralough from the RAB and an internet startup these days is the afternoon news person. I was doing production and did a 2 hour airshift from 6 to 8. Then Joe Martelle who is now retired in Colorado. Lost track of Jim Roberts wonder what he is up to these days..

  6. RB

    This aircheck of ‘ROR sounds like it was a local Boston affiliate of the ABC FM Network.

  7. Israel Silverman

    I have not an aircheck but about 75 minutes straight of WROR from 1980 just before the Boston Marathon. Does anyone else have WROR straight recorded anytime from September 1979 through late 1981 to trade?

    I have it as a pretty good sounding MP3 recorded on a cassette recorder electronically from the I air. Please let me know. I’m at

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