WADN ended the year by eliminating nearly all of its weekday folk music, replacing it with a local morning talk show, followed by existing specialty talk shows from 10-11 AM, and then a full day of the Bloomberg business news recently dropped by Boston's WBNW (590). The last remaining folk on "Walden 1120" is on weekends; a far cry from the days just six years ago when WADN was a vibrant station run by many of the people who used to do folk on the late WCAS (740) Cambridge.
We've seen a lot of stations and a lot of formats come and go around here; still, "Walden 1120" is one that will be particularly missed on this listener's dial.
Among the founders of WKZE a decade ago was Marshall Miles, who was forced out of the station under armed guard back in 1993. He's now GM at WQQQ (and host of its "Marshall in the Morning" program), and he made good on a promise to celebrate if Gurell and Levy ever sold WKZE. The Lakeville Journal reports Miles popped the cork on a bottle of champagne on WKZE's front lawn...then danced a little jig around the front door. NERW's editorial comment: We need more scenes like that here in Boston!
Starting the AM dial, then and now, was 560 WGAN. Back then, it was a Guy Gannett station (hence the call letters), and co-owned with WGAN-FM (102.9), WGAN-TV (13), the Portland Press Herald, the Portland Evening Express, and the Maine Sunday Telegram. It was sold in 1983, to Taylor Communications, and again a few years later, to current owner Saga Communications. 970 was next on the AM dial of 1971, back then as Maine Broadcasting's WCSH(AM), co-owned with WCSH-TV 6. Maine Broadcasting sold off its radio properties in the eighties, and WCSH found new life as WYNZ(AM), simulcast with WYNZ-FM (100.9), about which more in a moment. The nineties saw 970 breaking free from the simulcast, as hot-talk WZAN, now under common ownership with WGAN. At 1310 we found WLOB back in 1971, owned by Portland Broadcasting, and with an FM outlet on 97.9, WLOB-FM. The rocker of 1971 ended up as a religious outlet (AM-only) a quarter-century later, before being destroyed in the floods that ravaged Portland this past fall. WLOB may yet return; stay tuned. At 1440 back then, Cumberland County listeners heard Westbrook's WJAB, the mighty top-40 voice of the Portland region. By 1980, the station had become WJBQ, and had acquired the 97.9 FM facility from WLOB, making it WJBQ-FM. In later years, 1440 would become an all-news outlet as WMER, then WWGT(AM), simulcasting the FM in its WWGT-FM phase, then (in the earlu 90s) Z-rock affiliate WLPZ, and still later all sports as WLPZ. In 1971, WPOR was country on 1490, simulcast with 101.9; and that's what it remains today, albeit now under Saga Communications' control. The dial was silent above 1490 back then, but it would soon light up at 1590, with the advent of Dirigo Communications' WDCI in Gorham, later known as WASY, and then (under common ownership with WLAM/WKZS Lewiston-Auburn) under the heritage WJBQ calls. In 1988, WJBQ abandoned 1590 for 870 on the dial, and later changed calls twice more, first to WKZN, and then to the current WLAM. The 1590 frequency was reborn briefly as WPNN, a CNN Headline News outlet, but later went dark and lost its license.
On the FM side of the dial, April 1974 saw the debut of Maine Public Radio's WMEA (90.1) in Portland, with a massive 100kw signal. In September 1973, the University of Southern Maine debuted WMPG (90.9) in Gorham. Sunshine Broadcasting put WMGX (93.1) Portland on the air as "Magic" in June 1977. Ten years later, Sunshine added WGAN(AM) to the combo, and a few years later WGAN and WMGX were sold again, under the Saga umbrella. Today, WMGX is a classic rocker. We've covered 97.9's early days as WLOB-FM and WJBQ-FM; and it was in 1986 that it took on the WWGT calls and became legendary CHR "Great 98." The greatness didn't last forever; in the 90s, the station became WCSO, as AC "Coast 98," hot AC "Ocean 98," and then returning to CHR in 1996 as "Q 97-dot-9." At 100.9 we find a station that began life in 1976 as WLOB-FM, the second to bear that name. It was sold to Buckley Broadcasting in 1983, and joined with the former WCSH 970 to become WYNZ AM-FM. Originally an AC outlet, the FM (which was and is licensed to Westbrook) became an oldies station in the early nineties. It too is now owned by Saga. 101.9 was WPOR-FM in 1971, playing country...and that's what it is now, too. 102.9 was the grandfathered 100kw WGAN-FM signal in 1971. When Guy Gannett sold off WGAN AM-FM in 1983, new owner Taylor kept the beautiful music on 102.9 for a few years. The calls were changed to WTHT in 1987, when WGAN(AM) was sold, and the new format on FM became hit radio. WTHT swapped facilities with WBLM (107.5 Lewiston) a few years later, and WBLM's promotions proudly claimed a "Bangor to Boston" reach for the album-rock format on 102.9. At 106.3, we find a quirky little station in Scarborough, which debuted in 1974 as Dirigo Communications' WDCS (later joined by WDCI 1590 Gorham). WDCS kept its classical format when it became WPKM after being sold in 1988.
And finally, we'll leave Maine by way of YORK COUNTY, which had two stations back in 1971, WSME (1220) in Sanford and WIDE (1400) in Biddeford. WIDE-FM debuted on 94.3 in 1972; in later years, it became WBYC, then (in 1985, under new owner Gold Coast Broadcasting) AC WYJY, then AC WSTG, and still later was upgraded to higher power to serve the Portland market as WCYY, today a modern rocker. WSME-FM made its debut in October 1975 on 92.1; it later changed calls to today's WCDQ. Nowadays it's a nifty little rocker called "Mount Rialto Radio." The town of Saco took to the airwaves in July 1982, with Vacationland Broadcasting's country WPIG on 95.9. The "Pig" was roasted two years later, becoming hit radio WHYR ("Y-96"), and then WRED in the mid-90s. On the non-comm dial, Biddeford's University of New England was home to WBSF (91.7), a 10-watter that debuted in April 1972 and survived into the late 80s under the ownership of St. Francis College. WBSF disappeared around 1989. In Sanford, religious WSEW (88.5) made its debut in the early nineties. A few more new FMs finish off our overview of York County radio: York Center's 95.3 turned up in 1987 as WQMI, serving the Portsmouth NH market. It, and co-owned AM 1380 in Portsmouth, became WCQL, "Cool 95," in 1989. The oldies format on the FM lasted until 1996, when it became hit radio WXHT, "Heat." Kennebunk and adjacent Kennebunkport joined the FM dial in the early 90s, with the debut of classical WBQQ (99.3) Kennebunk (née WKME) in 1991, followed by sister AC WQEZ (nee WXPT) on 104.7 in 1995. And lastly, we have the lone Maine FM with its transmitter in another state; 105.3 licensed to Kittery, the southernmost town in Maine. Granted a construction permit in 1988 as WKCD, the station later had the WHIM call, before debuting in 1993 as WXBB with country. A few years later, it was sold to country giant WOKQ (97.5) Dover, moving to the WOKQ studios and changing formats to classic rock as "Arrow 105.3."