The Eastern Massachusetts Radio Timeline: the 1960s

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Payola scandal continues: In 1960, the Legislative Oversight subcommittee of the House Committee on Interstate Commerce held hearings on the “payola” issue, bringing numerous famous radio personalities to testify under oath about the practice. Stan Richards, formerly of WILD (1090) and before that WORL (950), testifies that he had received undisclosed payments to plug records on his show, and that he thought the ownership was aware of the practice. The FCC cracks down on stations whose DJs admit to taking payola.

The FCC was also concerned about “double billing”: the practice by which a media outlet would send two different bills for the same advertising contract, one to be used for the client's own business records, and another to be used to fraudulently claim reimbursement from the client's national suppliers under a “co-op” advertising program. Often these were arranged by sales staff without informing the station, in exchange for some private benefit from the advertiser, like a new TV set. The FCC issued a public notice on March 9, 1962, putting stations on notice that such practices were contrary to the public interest.

The six-year saga of WILD's license renewal involved accusations of both payola and double billing, although the FCC hearing officer found no evidence of either.


Jul. 29
WILD (1090) studios move to the Sherry Biltmore hotel, 150 Massachusetts Ave.


Apr. 10
WTBS-FM started on 88.1 MHz.


July 17
WBZA shut down.
Oct. 30
WILD (1090) moves studios again, now to 719 Boylston St.


May 17
Nelson Noble files to sell WILD (1090) to Dynamic Broadcasting. This assignment is never granted by the FCC, but a new deal with the same purchaser is executed in 1966.
Dec. 4
WILD's application for license renewal, pending since spring of 1962, is designated for hearing.
Dec. 22
WMLO (1570) takes to the air as a 500-W daytimer.


May 5–19
The FCC holds ten days of hearings in Boston regarding whether WILD (1090)'s license should be renewed.
Oct. 12
WIHS-TV (ch. 38) started.
Dec. 11
An FCC examiner decides in favor of renewing WILD's license.


Jul. 9
WILD (1090)'s license renewal application is considered in a hearing before the full FCC. On July 28, the FCC overrules the examiner's initial decision that renewal should be granted, but orders Noble Broadcasting to file a fresh renewal application (as all Massachusetts stations were required to do) by January 1, 1966, so that the FCC may make its decision based on up-to-date information.
Dec. 30
WILD files its renewal application.


June 6
The FCC finally grants WILD (1090 Boston) a full-term license renewal as the station has been requesting since 1960.
July 6
Nelson Noble files to sell WILD to Dynamic Broadcasting, Inc., which already owns WUFO (1080 Buffalo, N.Y.). The transfer is granted August 25.
WXHR-TV becomes WKBG-TV, adds color.
Oct. 12
WRKO-FM becomes automated rocker “ARKO-matic”.


Feb. 26
Yankee network disbanded.
Mar. 13
WNAC becomes WRKO, flips to Top-40.
Sept. 25
WGBX-TV started on channel 44.


Apr. 1
WNTN started on 1550 kHz.
Feb. 5
WBRS-FM started on 91.7 MHz.
Mar. 15
WBCN begins playing rock music late at night.


Jan. 1
WRKO-FM adds stereo, becomes WROR.
Jan. 27
Dynamic Broadcasting (WILD) files to sell to Cypress Broadcasting, but the application is dismissed in October, before the FCC has a chance to rule.

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