The Boston Radio Dial: WZLX(FM)

Who, What, Where

Community: Boston
Frequency: 100.7 MHz
Class: B
Ownership: CBS Radio Inc. of Boston
(CBS Corp. [NYSE: CBS]/Sumner Redstone)
Studio: 83 Leo M. Birmingham Parkway
Brighton, MA 02135-1154
Transmitter: Prudential Tower
800 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02199
Phones:
Studio +1 617 931 1007
Office +1 617 267 0123
Format:
MainClassic rock
HD2Blues “Radio Mojo”
HD3Rock “Freeform 'BCN”
Web site: wzlx.com

Technical Parameters

WZLX transmits at 100.7 MHz with an effective radiated power of 21.5 kW (analogue) from the Prudential Tower upper master antenna. This antenna, which is shared with WBMX, WMJX, and WXKS-FM, is a six-bay ERI COGWHEEL 1084-6CP, a non-directional, four-around, circularly-polarized panel antenna system; its center of radiation is 235 meters (771 feet) above average terrain (258 m above sea level). A two-bay shared backup antenna is located elsewhere on the Prudential Tower roof, at 223 m above average terrain; WZLX is licensed for 1 kW ERP when using the backup.

WZLX transmits a digital signal using iBiquity Digital Corp.'s “HD Radio” system.

Station History

The earliest station on 100.7 MHz was the original WBZ-FM, whose history is detailed under WMJX. Soon after WBZ vacated the frequency in 1948, the drug company Plough—owners of WCOP(AM) 1150—put up WCOP-FM on 100.7, simulcasting the AM's Top-40 format. A new guyed tower was constructed at the site of WCOP(AM) in Lexington (pictured, second in from the left); the 100.7 transmitter remained there until 1980. In December of 1960, WCOP-FM became one of the few FM stations to be programmed independently from the AM before the FCC mandated it, and also became Boston's first 24-hour classical music station under the moniker of “Your Heritage of Great Music”. In 1962, WCOP-FM added stereo, but in 1963, the station went back to a simulcast of WCOP(AM) and so the stereo generator was turned off. When the simulcast rules came into effect, the independent programming became classical, and gradually evolved in a beautiful music/standards mix by 1967.

In 1972, the AM side switched to a country format, and the FM dropped the simulcast completely, switching to beautiful music full-time. In September 1973, the FM flipped again, this time to Bill Drake's oldies format (“Total Gold 101, WCOP-FM”). Even though this format did very well in the ratings, station management inexplicably decided in October 1974 to return to a simulcast of the AM station's country format. This lasted for two years, when the station became WTTK and added rock to its country rotation. The following September, the country was dropped entirely and album rocker “TK-101” was born. In the fall of 1978, Plough sold both stations to the Douglas Tanger family.

On January 1, 1979, the station flipped yet again, this time to beautiful music, and changed calls to WHUE-FM. (The AM side also ran beautiful music, but did not simulcast.) In 1980, the FM transmitter was moved to the Hancock Tower in downtown Boston. It didn't stay there for long, however: the transmitter burned up in 1982, and the Hancock people decided that they really didn't want broadcasters on their building if the equipment was going to do that. For a few weeks, they were able to keep the station going from the Hancock with just the exciter, but eventually had to move back to the Lexington site, and from there to the current transmitter location on the Prudential Tower. WHUE lasted until December of 1984, when the combo was broken up and the FM sold to First Media; the call became WCOZ (“Cozy 101”) for a week, and then the station went dark for a short period. New Years', 1985, saw the station's rebirth as “The Cat” WKKT, becoming a CHR station. In September of that year, “The Cat” turned into “Classic Hits 100.7” with the classic rock format which prevails today; the next month, the calls were changed to today's WZLX.

By 1993, the station was owned by Cook Inlet Radio Partners, which was sold as a group to Infinity Broadcasting. In June of 1996, Infinity itself was sold to CBS, in a stock-swap valued at $3.9 billion. CBS merged with Viacom, Inc. in 2000, and Viacom changed its name to CBS Corporation at the end of 2005 (while simultaneously spinning off a new company under the Viacom name).

On April 1, 1996, former WBCN institution Charles Laquidara moved his “Big Mattress” morning show to WZLX, as Howard Stern moved from tape delay to a live morning clearance on WBCN. After his retirement in 2000, Laquidara was replaced by comedian Steve Sweeney, who was in turn replaced in the fall of 2005 by the Karlson and McKenzie show last heard on WEGQ (93.7 Lawrence).

After moving its studios from the John Hancock Tower to the 24th floor of the Prudential Tower in 1995, WZLX ended up as the last of many radio stations (WEEI AM-FM, WVBF/WKLB/WROR, WBCN) to have its studios there. On March 2, 2007, WZLX relocated to the former WSBK studios on Leo Birmingham Parkway in Brighton, joining sister stations WBCN and WODS there.

WZLX added an HD2 subchannel in 2006, programming “deep cuts” of classic rock. At the NAB Show in April 2006, WZLX announced a partnership with Telos/Omnia and Fraunhofer to offer its main-channel digital signal in 5.1 surround; that service was expected to be on the air in the spring of 2007, but appears never to have come to fruition.

When WBCN 104.1's 41 years of rock ended in August, 2009, WBCN's “Freeform 104” HD2 service moved WZLX's HD3.

Historical information provided by Peter George, Joseph Ross, and an anonymous contributor.

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This station profile was written by the editors of The Archives @ BostonRadio.org. We have no relationship with the station; please send any comments or questions about their programming directly to the station. Network connectivity courtesy of MIT CSAIL.

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