Radio — July 14, 2009 at 3:28 pm

WBCN ‘The Rock of Boston,’ station that helped break U2 in U.S., going off-air

WBCN 104.1 FM 'The Rock of Boston'

Boston modern-rock radio station WBCN (104.1 FM), aka “The Rock of Boston,” will be pulled off the air next month and survive as a Web-only outlet, its owner announced today in a surprise move.

Launched as a classical-music station in 1958, BCN gained initial fame in the ’60s and ’70s for its progressive/underground format, then — under the direction of DJ-turned-program-director Oedipus — built its name in the early ’80s playing punk and New Wave acts such as The Clash, The Police and the Ramones.

Most famously, BCN was the first U.S. station to play U2, garnering the Irish foursome a key early foothold in Boston before breaking wide open in America in the mid-’80s. U2 always has repaid its Boston fans for that early support, most recently by playing a BCN-promoted club gig there in March to launch No Line on the Horizon.

Mike Dreese, CEO and co-founder of New England record chain Newbury Comics, lamented the news of BCN’s over-the-air demise on his store’s Facebook page today:

“Friggin’ the end of an era. The great talent that Oedipus assembled was the most influential force in Newbury Comics’ history. God bless all who contributed to that great era of original new music in the ’80s!”

The changeover is slated for Aug. 13, when the brand-new 98.5 The Sports Hub will replace music outlet WBMX, aka Mix 98.5, which will then move to WBCN’s spot on the FM dial. BCN, at that point, will go Web-only at


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