The Boston Radio Dial: WROL(AM)

Who, What, Where

Community: Boston (app: Revere)
Frequency: 950 kHz
Class: D (app: B)
Ownership: SCA License Corp.
(Salem Communications [Nasdaq: SALM])
Studio: 308 Victory Rd.
Quincy, MA 02171
Transmitter: Salem Turnpike
Saugus, MA 01906
Phones:
Office +1 617 328 0880
Format: Religious, ethnic
Networks: Boston Red Sox Spanish network (flagship)

Technical Parameters

WROL operates at 5,000 watts daytime, 90 watts night on 950 kHz, from a single 279-foot-tall (85 m) tower in the Saugus marshes, five miles northeast of Boston. (This is the former site of WHDH 850 in its 5-kW incarnation, although the original two towers were demolished.) WROL has an application to become a class-B with 5 kW full time, directional at night from three towers (two of them new) at the existing site, with a change in community of license to Revere.

Station History

The earliest ancestor of WROL was WBSO, erected in Wellesley by Roger Babson, the founder of Babson College. (One reference lists the callsign as WBJS.) WBSO operated on 1240 kHz at 1,000 watts from a since-demolished structure at Babson College; the original studio building is now a faculty residence. In 1935, Babson sold the station to the Crockwell Broadcasting Company, which moved the studios to a hotel in Boston, changed the callsign to WORL, and flipped the station to 920 kHz, still from the Wellesley site. Crockwell and his partners had financial difficulties, and the station was sold in 1938 to Harold Lafount. In 1941, the aftermath of NARBA moved WORL to 950 kHz, where it has stayed ever since.

Harold Lafount owned several other stations in partnership with one Arde Bulova. Bulova's business practices at one of those stations were brought into question, and in 1945 Bulova and Lafount both were declared unfit to be radio licensees, and were ordered to liquidate their stations. Their last appeal ran out on May 31, 1949, and WORL went silent.

In 1950, Pilgrim Broadcasting became the new owners. They purchased the former WHDH transmitter site in Saugus, and put WORL on at 5 kW from there. Some time later, Pilgrim sold the station, and the new owners changed the calls to WRYT; WORL was picked up in Orlando, Florida, where it remains. In 1977, Carter Broadcasting purchased the station, and tried without success to get the WORL call back; they settled for WROL as the closest they could get.

Under Carter, WROL became the flagship of a New England regional network carrying religious programming. It also took on the last vestige of the old Yankee Network, Gus Saunders' “Yankee Kitchen” program, which ended its decades-long run in 2000. With the addition of minimal night power, WROL also became the Spanish-language flagship for Red Sox home games.

In 1999, the Catholic Family Radio network announced its plans to purchase WROL and most of the rest of the Carter chain from owner Ken Carberry. That deal fell through later in the year as CFR fell into financial troubles. In 2001, Carter finally did sell WROL, to national religious operator Salem Communications, while keeping their other stations.

Donna Halper researched the circumstances of WORL's 1949 silence.

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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