|Broadcast area||Boston, Massachusetts|
|Branding||WZBC 90.3 FM|
|Slogan||Boston College Radio|
|First air date||April 1974|
|Callsign meaning||WZ Boston College|
Boston College |
(Trustees of Boston College)
WZBC (90.3 FM) is a radio station broadcasting an Alternative format. Licensed to Newton, Massachusetts, United States, the station serves Boston and its western suburbs. The station is currently owned by Boston College.
While the station is run solely by students, much of the on-air staff is made up of members of the surrounding Boston community.  The station broadcasts alternative and indie rock during the day, and then branches out to more diverse styles (ranging from funk to lounge to Middle Eastern) in the early evening. At night, the station focuses on experimental music, which it calls No Commercial Potential. WZBC is located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts at the corner of Beacon and Hammond on Boston College's main campus. WZBC also broadcasts sports for the Boston College Eagles, including basketball, football, hockey, baseball, and softball. There are also a few liberal news shows, the syndicated Democracy_Now! at noon weekdays and several hours of WZBC produced shows on the weekends.
Founded as WVBC, "The Voice of Boston College", the radio station began in 1960 as a carrier-current AM station, broadcasting solely to the university community through the electrical wiring of on-campus buildings and dormitories. After operating in this capacity for 13 years, Boston College applied for and was granted a license to operate WZBC, a 17-watt station which aired a wide range of music, from folk to country to rock. With the advent of WZBC, the radio station expanded its listenership and began serving school's neighboring community.
WZBC has seen tremendous growth since its inception in 1974. The station was granted a power increase in 1975, bringing the station's output to 1,000 watts, allowing for further expansion of its listenership. Another important change took place in 1979, when the station started broadcasting in stereo. The first stereo broadcast was officially marked by a guest appearance by British radio DJ John Peel. Perhaps the most important change in WZBC history occurred shortly after the switch to stereo, when the station narrowed its rock format to the genre known as modern rock, playing new bands which, for the most part, commercial radio would not touch, often because they were unmarketable. At approximately the same time, WZBC also began broadcasting more experimental music under the moniker No Commercial Potential.
In addition to the FM station, there is also WVBC-AM—staffed solely by students. The current WVBC can be streamed online. Additionally, the signal is broadcast over the BC cable television system, Channel 47.
When rock band Nirvana released its breakthrough album Nevermind on Tuesday, September 24, 1991, the group was in Boston that day. Band members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic stopped by WZBC and were interviewed on the air. Tracks from the new album were played and tickets were given away to listeners for a newly announced all-ages show that night at the since-closed Axis nightclub.
Although WZBC is best known for its music programming, a number of its former sports announcers have gone on to have successful professional careers in sportscasting.
Notable personalities in WZBC's history
- Brian Carpenter, musician
- Brian Coleman, Check the Technique author
- Gerard Cosloy, record label empresario
- Valerie Forgione, Mistle Thrush vocalist
- Fred Giannelli, musician
- Maura Johnston, writer, music critic, and Boston College journalism adjunct professor.
- Jim McKay, writer, director, producer of film and TV
- Jon Rish, sports announcer
- R. T. Rybak, mayor of Minneapolis, 2002–2014
- Herb Scannell, media mogul and businessman
- Jon Sciambi, sports announcer
- Dave Smalley, punk vocalist
- Joe Tessitore, sports announcer
- Bob Wischusen, sports announcer
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1999 (PDF). 1999. p. D-212. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
- "WZBC Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- "WZBC Station Information Profile". Arbitron.
- Hyun Joo Lee. "Creativity rules at WZBC Campus station attracts diverse DJs". Retrieved 2013-03-16.
- "About WZBC". Retrieved 2013-03-16.
- Wzbc - Wvbc Am
- (Uncredited writer, Photographs by Mark Aguilera) (March 22, 1990). "Radio, Radio". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- Keating, Suzanne (1999). "Unfazed by Occasional Brushes with Success, WZBC-FM Steers Toward the Singular Goal Embodied By Its Bellwether Program: No Commercial Potential". Boston College Magazine. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- Anderman, Joan (April 5, 2004). "Remembering Cobain on the Cusp of Fame". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- YouTube user Lollys Mips (September 24, 1991). "Nirvana Interview on WZBC Radio : September 24, 1991 : Boston College, Newton, MA, USA". YouTube. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
- Finn, Chad (November 30, 2012). "Broadcasters found their voices at BC". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- WZBC web site
- Audio archive
- WZBC's YouTube channel
- Nirvana at WZBC, 24 Sept. 1991 (YouTube)
- "Sound bites" - A March 2013 audio slideshow by Boston College Magazine featuring WZBC music programming and personalities
- Creativity rules at WZBC; Campus station attracts diverse DJs
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WZBC
- Radio-Locator information on WZBC
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WZBC