WEBN

WEBN

Infobox_Radio_station
name = WEBN


city = Cincinnati, Ohio
area = Cincinnati, Ohio
branding = 102.7 WEBN
slogan = The Lunatic Fringe of American F.M.
airdate =
frequency = 102.7 (MHz)
format = Rock
erp = 16,000 watts
haat = 264 meters
class = B
facility_id = 29734
callsign_meaning =
owner = Clear Channel Communications
webcast = [http://www.webn.com/pages/streaming.html Listen Live]
website = [http://www.webn.com/ www.webn.com]

WEBN (102.7 FM) is an American radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio. The station plays a rock format, and pioneered the concept of "album-oriented rock" or AOR. WEBN would be, were it not for a pronounced decline since being acquired by a firm in San Antonio, the longest running album oriented rock formatted station in the United States, first airing this format in 1967. The station is owned and operated by Clear Channel Communications. It broadcasts with an effective radiated power of 16,000 watts. Its transmitter is located in Cincinnati.

With an HD Radio capable receiver, WEBN-HD2, a digital sub channel of WEBN, plays New Alternative music. The HD1 channel is the analog channel converted into a digital format.

WEBN is known for its irreverent attitude, with such shows as "The Dawn Patrol," "Lunchmania," "Big Hair Wednesday," "Bubba the Love Sponge" and "The Rubber Room". The station plays a mix of old and new rock, focusing on the more hard and metal rock than many "oldies" stations.

Beginning with the 2008 regular season, WEBN has become the FM flagship station of the Cincinnati Bengals [http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=PluckPersona&U=5c49394b12564ab6832411d82ad3a991&plckPersonaPage=BlogViewPost&plckUserId=5c49394b12564ab6832411d82ad3a991&plckPostId=Blog%3a5c49394b12564ab6832411d82ad3a991Post%3ae4ab1a44-c285-4f71-9ce6-1ec629fd6186&plckController=PersonaBlog&plckScript=personaScript&plckElementId=personaDest]

History

Launch of WEBN

When it initially went on the air in the late 1960s, it was owned by Frank Wood, Sr., a Cincinnati attorney. The music was mostly classical and jazz. However, in the early morning hours between Saturday and Sunday, it also broadcast a program hosted by Frank's son Frank Jr. ("Bo" Wood - or known by his air-name, Michael Xanadu), called "The Jelly Pudding Show", featuring album cuts (other than the recognised hit songs or radio edits) by both popular and somewhat obscure artists. The program and its music proved to be so popular that the station eventually made this "album-oriented" rock the bulk of its programming, much to the chagrin of the older Wood.

However, it honored its roots as a classical music station by broadcasting classical music on Sunday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon, with Frank Wood, Sr., as the host, until he retired from the air on June 30, 1985. This proved to be one of the station's most popular programs. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the program was Frank's weekly tradition of always playing a very long work, which he preceded by announcing that the length of the work would give him enough time to eat a pie from Graeter's, a popular Cincinnati ice cream parlor that specializes in ice cream pies, confectionaries, and other baked goods.

In its early days, WEBN broadcast from an old house in Cincinnati's west-side Price Hill neighborhood, referred to on-air as "Price's Mountain." Anyone, at anytime, 24 hours a day, could visit the station and walk right into the studio/home and watch on-air personalities broadcast their programs. Visitors were separated from station personnel by plexiglass panels, but could walk through the premises, nonetheless. The house wasn't hard to spot - it had what appeared to be a stuffed dog sitting in an old barbershop chair on the front porch. An early voice at the station was Robin Wood, daughter of Frank Wood. In 1973, the station moved to the east-side's Hyde Park Square, referred to on air as "Hyde's Meadow." In 1988, the station moved to the neighborhood of Mount Adams (this time calling it "Frog's Mountain), joining with several other stations purchased in recent years by their corporate parent, Jacor Communications. In 1999, Jacor was purchased by Clear Channel. Finally in 2004, all Cincinnati Clear Channel stations moved to the northern neighborhood of Kenwood. WEBN continued to call its location "Frog's Mountain."

Early pranks

During its early years, its irreverent attitude extended to its newscasts as well, which blended almost seamlessly into the music. For example, a late afternoon newscast led off with the "Big Bozo Birthday Book" of notable individuals born on that day. Likewise, every April Fool's Day, the station featured the broadcast of a mythical April Fool's Day parade as if one were marching by. Among the marchers was the band from "Our Lady of Perpetual Motion." The station featured commercials that sounded authentic, but the products being promoted were clearly fictitious, such as the "Indianapolis Academy of the French Accent." The broadcast was so realistic, some listeners actually drove to the Hyde Park neighborhood where the parade was supposedly being held (in order to watch the parade) only to find there was no actual parade. Programming also extended to carrying syndicated shows like the "National Lampoon Radio Hour" and "Doctor Demento".

Early advertising

The attitude also extended to actual advertising, led by production directors, Jay Gilbert, and then Tom Sandman. Ad time on WEBN was extremely desirable to local merchants, but the station wasn't about to permit the staid and often amateurish production values that often permeated American radio. The majority of local spots were WEBN-produced, and bore the same outrageous wit and audacity that the station was known for. (Schoenling Breweries' beloved "Little Kings" cream ale was pushed with a long-running series titled "Biggest is Not Always Best".) And, as they had already promoted non-existent events, the station foisted products by "Brute-Force Cybernetics", a conglomerate that developed such products such as "Negative-Calorie Cookies" (eating them actually burned calories), "Stereo-Vision" TVs (a television mounted on a short track that bounced back and forth so quickly as to simulate 3D), and "Portable Holes" (Peel it off its backing sheet, place on wall, make your stash, then remove).

Other spots were for the "White Rose and Lilac Virginity Restoration Clinic", "Tree Frog Beer" ('it doesn't taste like much but it gets you there faster'), and a spoof on the Rambo movies entitled "Sambo: Real Blood Part Fo" featuring a black super-hero driving a rescue Cadillac and yelling "Hey, Chin Ho, Ronnie Reagan says you can kiss his white a..." before a jet fly-over drowns out the last word. A cross-over between these spots and reality occurred in 1972, when Hudepohl Beer allowed some of its product for the Cincinnati area to be wrapped in faux labels for "WEBN Tree-Frog Beer". (The Frog, and his sidekick Tyrone, soon became universal symbols for the station. The station markets tee-shirts and sweatshirts with the station's frog mascot - with a July-August version just before the annual fireworks, and in November-December with a holiday version). The tag line for Brute-Force Cybernetics was "We create a need, then fill it." The station began referring to itself as "The Lunatic Fringe of American FM".

Commentaries

In the late 1970s, the station featured commentaries by then-Cincinnati Council Member (and eventually Mayor) Jerry Springer under the banner "The Springer Memorandum", whose popularity helped launch his broadcasting career. But not all politics was serious. WEBN promoted its own fictitious candidate and mascot, Frog, for Cincinnati City Council and for President. To everyone's surprise, except those at the station itself, Frog actually received write-in votes on Election Day.

Local artists

WEBN was always passionate about promoting local artists, allowing the young local kids that were to form the national country-rock band Pure Prairie League to record the first demo of their hit "Amie" in their studios. Also, the concept of national artists (who happened to be in town for shows) performing live in the radio studio began at WEBN.

Fireworks show

WEBN also presents an annual fireworks display, a spectacular exhibition on the Riverfront, on Labor Day weekend in conjunction with Cincinnati Bell and Rozzi's Famous Fireworks. The seventeen year agreement with Toyota came to an end in 2007. The show is set to music broadcast by the station. The first WEBN fireworks show happened in 1977 as a one-time celebration of the station's tenth birthday, but it was so well-received that it has been repeated every year since. The event routinely draws over 500,000 people to the Cincinnati Riverfront.

The event has been broadcast live on local TV stations since 1984 when WXIX-TV aired the fireworks. In 2008, the show will be broadcast in high definition for the first time on WLWT-TV.

Controversy

In years past, before being acquired by Clear Channel, WEBN's on-air antics and several of its billboard and TV ad campaigns have drawn organized protests and calls for advertiser boycotts. WEBN was also one of the few radio stations in America that would play most songs uncensored. This ended abruptly after the Janet Jackson "Nipplegate" incident at the Super Bowl resulted in much tighter restrictions and threats of higher fines from the Federal Communications Commission.

External links

* [http://www.webn.com/ Station website]
* Ken Glidwell (MR.K) Tribute Page http://www.myspace.com/ken_glidewell_tribute
*cite news|url=http://www.cincypost.com/2002/aug/30/webm083002.html|title='EBN: 35 years of rockin'|author=Rick Bird|first=Rick|last=Bird|work=The Cincinnati Post|publisher=E. W. Scripps Company|date=2002-08-30|archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20050526003720/http://www.cincypost.com/2002/aug/30/webm083002.html|archivedate=2005-05-26
*FMQ|WEBN
*FML|WEBN
*FMARB|WEBN


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