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Radio Free Boston: The Rise and Fall of WBCN
     

Radio Free Boston: The Rise and Fall of WBCN

4.8 7
by Carter Alan
 

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Blaring the Cream anthem “I Feel Free,” WBCN went on the air in March 1968 as an experiment in free-form rock on the fledgling FM radio band. It broadcast its final song, Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” in August 2009. In between, WBCN became the musical, cultural, and political voice of the young people of Boston and New

Overview

Blaring the Cream anthem “I Feel Free,” WBCN went on the air in March 1968 as an experiment in free-form rock on the fledgling FM radio band. It broadcast its final song, Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” in August 2009. In between, WBCN became the musical, cultural, and political voice of the young people of Boston and New England, sustaining a vibrant local music scene that launched such artists as the J. Geils Band, Aerosmith, James Taylor, Boston, the Cars, and the Dropkick Murphys, as well as paving the way for Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, U2, and many others. Along the way, WBCN both pioneered and defined progressive rock radio, the dominant format for a generation of listeners. Brilliantly told by Carter Alan—and featuring the voices of station insiders and the artists they loved—Radio Free Boston is the story of a city; of artistic freedom, of music and politics and identity; and of the cultural, technological, and financial forces that killed rock radio.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“From the first note of Cream’s “I Feel Free” carried by the FM signal at 104.1 in 1968 to the final note of Pink Floyd’s “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” bringing the story to a close in 2009, Alan traces the station’s wild ride from its roots as a foundering classical music operation (WBCN stood for Boston Concert Network and employed a young Ron Della Chiesa), to its evolution into a free-form, counterculture outpost, and finally to a tightly controlled, corporate enterprise with two of its most popular, and controversial, shows emanating out of New York City. . . . The fairy tale of WBCN may not have had a happy ending, but Alan tells it with the kind of flair that does its original free-form spirit proud.”—Boston Globe

“Incredibly well researched, deeply interviewed, and as close to being ‘down the middle’ as is possible for a writer who was involved in much of the action.”—Arts Fuse

“Carter Alan remembers the first song he played on WBCN, “I’ve Had Enough” by The Who, from “Quadrophenia.” The former ’BCN DJ and current midday man and music director at WZLX remembers much more in his recently released and thoroughly engrossing chronicle, Radio Free Boston: The Rise and Fall of WBCN.”—Boston Globe

“Alan’s book traces WBCN’s unassuming birth from the ashes of a classical music station in 1968, through its heyday as the ‘Rock of Boston’ in the ‘70s and ‘80s, to its demise in 2009, when, Alan writes, the station was ‘drained of its blood in the consolidated radio industry of the new century.’ To recount the story, Alan interviewed most every personality involved and willing to speak on the record.”—Boston Globe

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781555538262
Publisher:
Northeastern University Press
Publication date:
08/07/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
704,032
File size:
3 MB

What People are Saying About This

Gregg Allman
“WBCN welcomed us in those early days; so much so, that Boston became a home away from home for the Allman Brothers Band and for me. ’BCN was truly one of the greatest of American radio stations. I miss those guys.”
Bono
“WBCN—four letters that made a big difference to our U and our 2. . . . Without them taking risks on new music, I’m not sure the U2 story would have been the same.”
Joe Perry
“To a kid growing up in the suburbs of Boston, WBCN was on the front line of the culture war, with Peter Wolf, Maxanne Sartori, J.J. Jackson, and all the rest bringing us the music that would be the soundtrack to our cause.”
Stephen Davis
“I hereby certify that Carter Alan’s cast of hippies, freaks, madmen, admen, music fans, leftists, visionaries, new wavers, New Agers, grunge dudes, bluesmen, and especially rock stars and the girls that love them is worthy of a sprawling novel that now doesn’t have to be written because Carter Alan expertly brings it all to life in Radio Free Boston.”

Meet the Author

Currently a DJ and music director at WZLX in Boston, CARTER ALAN was a DJ at WBCN for nineteen years. He is the author of U2, Outside Is America, and Life on the Road.

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Radio Free Boston: The Rise and Fall of Wbcn 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Help me to buy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Vhhfg
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book that brings back great memories when radio was radio. WBCN was the best. Great stories of a better time in Boston radio. WBCN was catalyst for so many rock n roll bands. A must read for WBCN and rock n roll fans. Very enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the paperback. No typos and what a great read. I loved hearing about the different bands that developed through Boston. And the Dj that wrote the book who I used to listen to is a great author as well. Totally and completely detailed and backgrounded I was amazed at all the information in here and yet it was a lot fo fun to read.  Great Job. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story but the ebook has the most typos I've ever encountered in a published book. What happened to good copy editing?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Chipdip101 is in cont. Now minecreft forever./:)?