The Boston Radio Dial: WMKI(AM)

Who, What, Where

Community: Boston
Frequency: 1260 kHz
Class: B
Ownership: Radio Disney Group, LLC
(The Walt Disney Company [NYSE: DIS])
Studio: 226 Lincoln St.
Allston, MA 02134-1317
Transmitter: 100 Riverside Ave.
Milton, MA 02186-4319
Phones: +1 617 787 0146
Format: Pre-teen
Web site: radiodisney.com

Technical Parameters

WMKI transmits with 5000 watts day and night from three 210-foot-tall (64 m) self-supporting towers in the marshland along the Neponset River in Milton. Its daytime signal is non-directional, but at night the station's signal is aimed mainly to the north towards Boston.

WMKI transmits a digital signal during daylight hours using iBiquity Digital Corp.'s “HD Radio” system.

Station History

The early history of the signal that eventually became 1260 in Boston is that of WNAC, the ancestor of today's WRKO 680, and its early history is covered in the WRKO story.

When WNAC acquired the 680 signal of WLAW in 1953, the FCC's duopoly rules required the 1260 facility to be sold. Vic Diehm and Associates bought 1260 from General Tire and relaunched the station as WVDA, with studios in the Statler Office Building in Boston.

WVDA was a short-lived footnote in Boston radio history, as the station changed hands again in December 1957. “WEZE, Inc.” was the new licensee, and WEZE became the station's new call letters for the next four decades.

The WEZE calls were meant to suggest “Easy”, and for many years the station programmed a light pop format aimed at older listeners. In the mid-1970s, the station experimented with a top-40 format, complete with DJs in a picture window facing Copley Square.

In September 1977, WEZE was sold to New England Continental Media, owned by Stuart Epperson. NECM was an ancestor to today's Salem Communications group, and under its ownership WEZE became a religious station. Studios moved to the transmitter site, then to the Marina Bay complex in Quincy.

In December 1996, Salem exercised an option to buy WBNW (590 Boston) from Back Bay Broadcasters. On December 16, WEZE programming began to be simulcast on 590 and 1260. In February 1997, Salem began separate programming on 1260 under the WPZE calls as “Praise 1260”.

The new programming was even shorter-lived than WVDA; Salem reverted to a simulcast in the fall with the announcement that it was selling WPZE to Hibernia Broadcasting, a new company owned by Mike Craven and Jim Thompson. On November 21, WPZE abruptly switched to ABC's syndicated Radio Disney format at 4:30 PM.

WPZE changed calls to WMKI (for “Mickey”, as in Mouse, of course) in late December 1999. In July 2000, ABC exercised its option to buy the Hibernia stations, giving the network its first owned-and-operated station in Boston.

See Also


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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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