WODS (103.3 MHz) - known on-air as 103.3 AMP Radio - is a commercial FM radio station in Boston, Massachusetts. WODS airs a Top 40 (CHR) radio format, and is owned by Entercom. Its studios and offices are located on Leo M. Birmingham Parkwary in Brighton.
|Broadcast area||Greater Boston|
|Branding||103.3 AMP Radio|
HD2: Channel Q
HD3: The Cove
|Slogan||New Hit Music, WAY Fewer Commercials|
|Frequency||103.3 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||July 1948 (as WEEI-FM)|
|Format||FM/HD1: Top 40 (CHR)|
HD2: LGBTQ Dance/EDM
HD3: Soft AC
|HAAT||351 meters (1,152 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||W OlDieS (former branding for oldies format)|
|Former callsigns||WEEI-FM (1948–1983)|
(Entercom License, LLC)
|Sister stations||WAAF, WEEI, WEEI-FM, WMJX, WWBX|
HD2: Listen Live
WODS's transmitter is off Chestnut Street in Newton, near the Charles River. It has an effective radiated power (ERP) of 8,700 watts, from a tower at 351 meters (1152 ft) in height above average terrain (HAAT). WODS broadcasts in the HD Radio format, using its HD2 subchannel to carry "Channel Q," Entercom's Talk/EDM service for the LGBTQ community. The HD3 subchannel airs soft adult contemporary music, known as "The Cove."
The station signed on the air in July 1948 as WEEI-FM, under the ownership of CBS. In its early years, it mainly simulcast co-owned WEEI (590 AM, now WEZE), carrying its schedule of CBS dramas, comedies, news and sports. As network programming moved from radio to TV in the 1950s, WEEI-AM-FM switched to a full service middle of the road format of popular adult music, news, talk and sports. In the 1960s, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began pressuring AM-FM station combos to end their simulcasts and try new programming on the FM station.
Beginning in 1965, WEEI-FM began carrying "The Young Sound", an easy listening format focusing on instrumental versions of recent pop tunes, which aired on many of CBS's FM owned-and-operated stations. By 1969, "The Young Sound" had evolved to a Top 40/AOR hybrid format. The station was primarily automated. Announcements were voice tracked on WEEI-FM by Dick Provost.
In late 1972, WEEI-FM flipped to an adult contemporary format. The station evolved into its famous "Soft Rock" format in 1977, which remained in place until 1983. During the Soft Rock years, WEEI-FM's playlist was limited to the softer hits of rock-oriented artists. Artists heard only on Top 40 stations were not aired. By 1981, all of the other owned-and-operated CBS FM radio stations were carrying the "Hot Hits" format, supervised by programmer Mike Joseph, except for WCBS-FM in New York City. Unlike its sister stations, though, WEEI-FM played hits from the past several years as well as the hits of the current day.
HitRadio 103, Power 103, and Q-103Edit
On March 9, 1983, at Midnight, WEEI-FM changed its call sign to WHTT, and rebranded, first as "HitRadio 103", and then "Power 103". (After CBS sold 590 WEEI, WEEI-FM became the call letters of Lawrence-licensed 93.7, initially as a simulcast of Sports Radio 850 WEEI.) WHTT, for a time in the mid-1980s, was one of Boston's most popular stations, but its stay at the top of the Arbitron ratings was not to last.
WHTT continued with a Top 40 format until 7 p.m. on July 7, 1986. At that point, ratings were decent, but it was involved in a three-way Top 40 battle with WXKS-FM and WZOU. Top 40 formats are generally hard to sell unless ratings are quite high. CBS decided that Boston could not support three viable Top 40 stations; as a result, WHTT launched an adult rock format known as Boston's Quality Rock playing a blend of softer Album Rock cuts, some pop songs and some eclectic smooth jazz. The station's call sign changed to WMRQ, branded on-air as "Q-103". The air staff stayed on from WHTT initially, though most gradually left over the next year. WMRQ's ratings went downhill fast.
On October 7, 1987, the station switched to an oldies format, playing the Top 40 hits from 1955 to 1969, and was branded as "Oldies 103". The first song under the new format was "Fun Fun Fun" by The Beach Boys. The station had a deep playlist, playing a larger number of songs than most oldies stations. The station's call letters were soon changed to WODS to reflect the oldies format. WMRQ's air staff stayed with the station despite the format change, and a few people continued at the station until the final day in 2012. By 1989, WODS was also playing a limited amount of music from the early 1970s, mixed with the 1950s and 1960s.
As time went on, Oldies 103 added more 1970s music but continued to focus on the 1960s and still played a number of pre-1964 oldies. In the late 1990s, the station rebranded as "Oldies 103.3," as more radio dials became digital. In 2001, WODS began to move away from 1950s music. The station added more late 1970s songs and a few 1980s hits. In 2001, "Little Walter's Time Machine" was replaced with the Boston-based syndicated show "The Lost 45s" was added to the Sunday night line-up, after long runs at WZLX (1985-1992) and WBMX (1993-1999). It brought more music from the 1970s and 1980s to the playlist, and the program's host Barry Scott stayed with the station until WODS's final day, when he became the first to be hired away by long-time rival WROR-FM. In 2002, WODS eliminated most of the pre-64 oldies and by 2005, WODS was half 1964-1969 and half 1970-1979 with a few pre-1964 oldies and 1980s' songs mixed in.
In 2005, there were rumors CBS was planning to switch one of its Boston FM stations to Adult Hits as "Jack FM" which had been successful in a number of other radio markets. WODS, WZLX and what was then Mix 98.5, were all considered candidates. WODS seemed the most likely, as CBS flipped, or were in the process of flipping, similar Oldies stations in Chicago, Baltimore, and New York to Jack. Had WQSX (now WEEI-FM) not switched to Adult Hits as "93.7 Mike FM" on April 14, WODS might have made the move to 103.3 Jack FM.
Prior to the 1990s, WODS only played moderate amounts of Christmas music during the holiday season and did not go wall to wall, even on Christmas Day. Beginning in the early 1990s, the station began wall to wall Christmas music on Christmas Eve and continued until Christmas evening. Beginning in 2003, WODS played holiday music from a week before Thanksgiving until Christmas Day. However, in 2007, it started its Christmas music on Monday November 12; and in 2008, it commenced on Thursday, November 6 - the earliest it has ever been. This tradition was continued in 2009 with Christmas music playing on Friday, November 13, and it started on Thursday, November 18 in 2010. In 2011, Christmas music began on Friday, November 11.
WODS added HD Radio operations in 2006. 103.3 HD1 carried the standard analog radio format, 103.3 HD2 carried a "soft rock" format known as "The Cove," and 103.3 HD3 carried a simulcast of WBZ. After the sign on of "98.5 The Sports Hub" on August 13, 2009, the simulcast moved to the HD3 channel of 98.5, while 103.3 HD3 flipped to Christian rock, branded as "Mercy Rock: The Christian Rock of Boston."
In 2007, WODS added Casey Kasem's American Top 40: The '70s Saturdays nights at 11 p.m. and The Wolfman Jack Show Sunday nights at 11. In October 2008, WODS switched nights for the two shows and added a second airing of "AT40:70s" on Sunday mornings at 10. The 2-hour version (second and third hours) played in the morning and the entire 3-hour version played at night. In 2009, the morning broadcast was dropped with AT40: 70s airing only Sundays at midnight.
In 2008, WODS added Tom Kent's nationally syndicated show weeknights from 7-10 p.m. As a result, the Top 20 Countdown, a Thursday night staple on WODS for many years, was moved to Saturdays from 7-9 a.m. with Patrick Callahan as host as of October 4. The Top 20 Countdown was originally known as the Thursday Night Countdown, with hosts including Sandy Benson, Patrick Callahan and J.J. Wright. Tom Kent's syndicated show only lasted a few months and was replaced with local programming again.
In October 2009, WODS changed its station branding from "Oldies 103.3" to "103.3 WODS". At that point, WODS began focusing on hits from 1970 to 1984, with only a few 1960s songs per hour. The station also played an occasional 1990s song as well. However, this adjustment did more to hurt than help in the ratings.
Over the years, WODS produced numerous free summer concerts starting at the steps of Boston City Hall Plaza in 1988 before moving to the larger Hatch Memorial Shell in May 1996. Acts who have performed as part of the concert series include Chubby Checker (August 11, 1990), Paul Revere & the Raiders (August 4, 1990), The Monkees, Peter Cetera, Bobby Vee (July 7, 1990), Gary Puckett & The Union Gap (July 14, 1990), The Cadillacs & The Chiffons] (both July 21, 1990), The Jive Five & The Del-Vikings (both July 28, 1990), and dozens more. The final concert lineup during the summer of 2012 included Jefferson Starship, Burton Cummings (of The Guess Who) and Rick Springfield.
Notable WODS on-air personalitiesEdit
"103.3 AMP Radio" (2012–present)Edit
On June 27, 2012, CBS announced that the station would flip back to Top 40 as "103.3 AMP Radio" the following day at Noon. Within hours of the announcement, the air staff was laid off and the station began to run jockless, with recorded liners thanking loyal listeners of WODS and advising them that "Boston's Greatest Hits" would move to its HD2 subchannel. One of the now-unemployed DJs, Paula Street (who had been with WODS since February 1988), confirmed on the Radio-Info Boston message board  that a goodbye show for the format would happen before the flip at Noon. The last show of the Breakfast Club with John Laurenti and Karen Blake took place on that day by ending their show with "I Got a Woman" by Ray Charles. Jay Gordon then played his last song, "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis Presley. Barry Scott of The Lost 45s then played his last song, "Seasons in the Sun" by Terry Jacks. Paula Street and J.J. Wright then played their last song, Fun Fun Fun by The Beach Boys (the station's first song as WODS) at 11:20AM. Then, the station played the following songs, with no DJs:
- Chairman of the Board - "Give Me Just A Little More Time"
- Bon Jovi - "Livin' On A Prayer"
- David Bowie - "Changes"
- Donovan - "Sunshine Superman"
- The Beatles - "P.S. I Love You"
- Donna Summer - "Last Dance" - the last song on WODS
Like most of the CBS Radio owned and operated Top 40 stations, WODS' music direction tends to favor Rhythmic and Dance Pop hits, but unlike the others, WODS places less emphasis on Hip-Hop tracks and recurrents. This choice of direction puts WODS in a unique position, as it takes on iHeartMedia's Mainstream Top 40 WXKS-FM and Rhythmic contemporary WJMN, thus reigniting a Top 40 war between the three stations for the first time since 1986.
After a few months of being jockless, WODS added a full-time air staff.
Because WODS no longer plays Christmas music during the holiday season, 103.3 HD3 flipped from Christian rock to Christmas music on October 19, 2012, in order to capture that previous audience. The "Mercy Rock" format moved to WBMX-HD3, with the "New Sky Radio" talk format switching to a new WBMX-HD4 channel. On January 23, 2013, 103.3 HD3 flipped to "The Cove", returning the previous soft AC format heard on 103.3-HD2.
On February 2, 2017, CBS Radio announced it would merge with Entercom (which locally owns WEEI, WEEI-FM, WRKO, WKAF and WAAF). WODS, WBMX, WEEI-AM-FM and WAAF were retained by Entercom, while sister stations WBZ and WZLX, as well as WKAF and WRKO, were spun off to iHeartMedia (WBZ-FM was then traded to Beasley Broadcast Group in exchange for WMJX). The merger was approved on November 9, 2017, and was consummated on the 17th.
On February 26, 2019, it was reported that Entercom was flipping HD channels in six markets, including WODS HD2's Oldies/Classic hits format, to its "Channel Q" a talk and dance music format, aimed at the LGBTQ community. 
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1949 (PDF). 1949. p. 306. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1950 page 166
- WEEI-FM Becomes WHTT
- WHTT Becomes WMRQ
- "CBS blows up Boston's classic hits WODS, to create CHR '103.3 Amp'" from Radio-Info (June 27, 2012)
- TJ Taormina Grabs Mornings At Boston's 103.3 Amp Radio
- CBS Radio to Merge with Entercom
- Entercom Swaps 98.5 the Sports Hub to Beasley for Magic 106.7
- "Entercom Receives FCC Approval for Merger with CBS Radio". Entercom. November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- Venta, Lance (November 17, 2017). "Entercom Completes CBS Radio Merger". Radio Insight. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- George, Peter (in part). "WODS(FM)". The Boston Radio Dial. The Archives at BostonRadio.org. Retrieved 2006-02-20.