Highlights & History
Founded in 1950, WBUR began broadcasting NPR programming in 1970, offering NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered along with local news programming and establishing its iconic identity as a news and information station. One of the nation’s most successful public radio stations today, WBUR produces national programs On Point, Here & Now, Only A Game and Car Talk, reaching millions of listeners on NPR stations across the United States and online. Located on Commonwealth Avenue at Boston University, WBUR has the largest radio newsroom in New England, dedicated to covering topics that matter in Boston, across Massachusetts and throughout the region.
Through a dynamic exchange of ideas, WBUR serves and engages the local community as a source of news and information, providing insight and cultural context that unites a diverse, complex and changing world.
- Produces and airs more than 30 hours of original programming each week
- Reaches approximately 500,000 listeners weekly
- Generates multimedia content online with live streaming and podcasts — plus text and audio for radio stories — in addition to digital first projects, Cognoscenti (ideas and opinions) and The ARTery (arts and culture).
- Engages thousands of fans on Facebook and Twitter, plus a community of users who share stories and photos via our iPhone application, YouTube and Flickr
History of WBUR
WBUR-FM went on the air at 4 p.m. on March 1, 1950, as a 400-watt non-commercial educational station licensed to Boston University. In its early years, the WBUR staff comprised amateurs, professionals, volunteers and students.
Through the 1960s, more and more radio professionals joined WBUR and gradually transformed the station’s format. By 1971, WBUR had enough full-time employees to qualify for status as a public radio station and applied to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) for certification.
In 1980, the station began to receive programming from NPR via satellite. By 1982, WBUR had established its identity as a news station, with NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered broadcast each weekday and local news programming produced by a staff of young reporters.
These changes coincided with the significant recognition WBUR began to receive at the local and national levels. In 1984, the station won three Associated Press awards for news coverage. In May 1986, WBUR won the 1985 George Foster Peabody Award, the most prestigious national award for broadcasters, for “Liberation Remembered,” a four-part series on the Holocaust. WBUR has won the Peabody Award twice more since then, including an award for Car Talk in 1993.
In March 1999, WBUR-FM was named “News Station of the Year” by the New England Associated Press, an award it has since received three times from both the Regional AP and the Radio Television Digital News Association.
Today, WBUR broadcasts with an effective radiated power of 60,000 watts and the station has continued to grow substantially in size and stature. Two daily programs are broadcast live from our Boston studios and distributed nationwide on NPR member stations: On Point, hosted by Tom Ashbrook (10 a.m. to 12 noon, Monday through Friday; rebroadcast 7 to 9 p.m.), and Here & Now, hosted by Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson (12 noon to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday). In addition to these award-winning programs is another daily offering, Radio Boston, hosted by Meghna Chakrabarti (3 to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday). Two other shows are also broadcast from WBUR studios on a weekly basis: the fêted Car Talk, and public radio’s only sports show, Only A Game, hosted by Bill Littlefield.
Car Talk, distributed by NPR, is heard on more than 350 stations nationwide and is one of NPR’s most popular offerings. NPR assumed national distribution of Only A Game in 1997, of On Point in 2004, and joined WBUR in partnership to produce Here & Now in 2013.
WBUR can also be heard outside Greater Boston on 89.1 FM Brewster, Cape Cod and 92.7 FM, Tisbury, Martha’s Vineyard; as well as live streaming at wbur.org.