|Broadcast area||Boston, Massachusetts and Worcester, Massachusetts|
|Slogan||"Boston's rock station"|
|Frequency||107.3 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||1937 as W1XOJ
1967 as WAAF
HD2: WEEI-FM simulcast
|Former callsigns||WAAB-FM (1961-1967)|
(Entercom License, LLC)
|Sister stations||WEEI, WEEI-FM, WMJX, WODS, WWBX|
WAAF (107.3 MHz) is a commercial FM radio station licensed to Westborough, Massachusetts. It is owned by Entercom Communications and it airs a mainstream rock radio format for Greater Boston and Central Massachusetts. The station's studios are located in Boston's Allston district, while its transmitter is on Stiles Hill in Boylston, with a backup in Paxton.
WAAF broadcasts from Stiles Hill in Boylston, with an effective radiated power of 9.6 kW directional (protecting three other FM signals). WAAF used to broadcast from Paxton when it was licensed to Worcester and maintains a backup site there. When WAAF transmitted from the location in Paxton, the station could be heard throughout much of Massachusetts, as well as parts of neighboring states New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Vermont.
In spring and summer of 2006, when WAAF began testing the new transmitter site, the station's signal strength dramatically decreased in most parts of Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont and Western Massachusetts. WAAF was trying to concentrate the signal into its primary sales market, Boston. The new transmitter began operating on program test authority from the FCC, at the WUNI-TV tower on Stiles Hill in Boylston. The first experiment from this transmitter location took place between October 31 and November 22, 2005, but the station had to return to its Paxton site for a couple of months to address alleged multipath issues. (The issues were blamed on a faulty T1 line between their Brighton studios and the transmitter site after extensive testing). WAAF continued to operate from this site, under the original program test authority until May 26, 2011, when the FCC officially issued a license for the site.
On August 21, 2006, Entercom acquired Urban Adult Contemporary outlet WILD-FM (97.7) from Radio One for $30 Million. Hours after that deal was made, Entercom pulled the plug on WILD-FM's format at 7 p.m. that day and began stunting with a computerized countdown to the August 22, 5:30 p.m. start of simulcasting WAAF's format on that signal, beginning with AC/DC's "For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)". The addition of 97.7 gives WAAF improved signal coverage in Boston. On August 30, 2006, 97.7's call sign changed from WILD-FM to WKAF. Despite these changes, WAAF maintains a healthy amount of advertising in Worcester, and is promoted online as a "Worcester/Boston station", though this is presumably to fulfill FCC requirements on cities of license and to not ignore the Worcester area completely. The simulcast ended on January 5, 2017, when Entercom flipped WKAF back to Urban AC.
By 1951, the station was operating under the call letters of WGTR, at 99.1 MHz, owned by Thomas S. Lee Broadcasting, which had also purchased the Shepard stations in the late 1940s. Subsequently, the WGTR call letters, and the station itself, seemed to disappear, and only 580 WTAG, owned by the Worcester Telegram and Gazette newspaper, operated an FM station in Worcester during the remainder of the 1950s. The station which took the call letters of WAAB-FM did not go on the air till the autumn of 1961, operating at 107.3 MHz and owned by Bernard E. Waterman.
WAAF was the first station to launch the long running popular radio show Opie and Anthony in March 1995.
On August 12, 2009, WAAF became the longest-running rock radio station in Boston, when rival station WBCN signed off analog radio to allow WBMX to move from 98.5 to 104.1 FM. The same day, 98.5 became WBZ-FM, "The Sports Hub."
Every November, starting in 1993, WAAF has held its popular annual charity event "Walk and Rock for Change". During this event, the DJs (Greg Hill 1993-2003, LB and Spaz 2004-present) from the station walk across Massachusetts, asking for change from the people as they stop in each town. The station will often air interviews with people as they come across interesting events. Starting in 2003, while this event is proceeding, the DJs at the station will play requested songs, for a price. While the station will play any song requested, obnoxious or unpopular songs, such as the SpongeBob SquarePants theme, will have a higher price than the station's standard fare. In 2009, for the first time in 17 years, the "Walk and Rock for Change" was held in December, one week before Christmas.
The station has released a number of mostly limited edition CDs containing exclusive in-studio performances and various comedy bits from the on-air staff.
WAAF also released Opie and Anthony's Demented World, a CD that highlighted some of Opie and Anthony's most popular bits during their time at WAAF. The CD has not been acknowledged by the station since Opie and Anthony were fired; however, is still acknowledged by Opie and Anthony on their current Sirius XM show.
In 2007, the station was nominated for the Radio & Records magazine Active Rock station of the year in a top 25 market award. Other nominees included WIYY in Baltimore, KBPI in Denver, WRIF in Detroit, WMMR in Philadelphia, and KISW in Seattle.