Segments in this Video

Boston Common (03:26)


In 1968, large numbers of Hippies gathered in the field, causing conflict in the community. Council members and businessmen expressed their frustrations.

Boston Tea Party (05:57)

Ray Riepen opened the first rock club on the East Coast in 1968. It became renowned for booking famous musical acts.

Radio Senza Coglionis (10:42)

At the time, rock and roll was only on A.M. radio, with several songs played on repeat. Riepen had an idea for a station with limited commercial and album cuts. T. Mitchell Hastings owned bankrupt classical radio stations. Riepen took overnight programming and recruited college radio announcers.

WBCN Live Broadcast (11:30)

March 15, 1968 was the first broadcast with disc jockey Mississippi Harold Wilson. DJ's could bring their own records and play deep cuts and varied genres. At 2:00 AM, Peter Wolf and Big Charles would DJ. By May 1st, the format was broadcasting 24 hours.

American Revolution (06:17)

Big political events such as war, assignations, and nominations impacted the climate of the generational divide between a traditional establishment and the hippy culture.

Jock Revolution (07:18)

WBCN moved to a new studio. Boston was in the grips of counterculture and songs were delivering political messages like in Buffalo Springfield's "Somethings Happening Here". As DJs played unedited tracks, letters were written to the FFC.

Student Protests (10:30)

In April 1969, a student activist organization took over Harvard's University Hall, protesting the Reserve Officer Training Corps program; students were arrested. On October 16th, a skywriter put a peace sign in the sky over the Boston Commons anti-war demonstration for WBCN.

WBCN: No Ugly Ads (07:55)

The listener line allowed people to ask anything while the popular cat and dog report helped listeners find lost pets. Musical acts stopped in for on-air interviews and to play music. The station had unique and entertaining ads, resulting in many imitators.

WBCN News Dissector (11:32)

The station received pressure from the FCC to provide news. The station added news at 2:00 PM from Danny Schechter, combining hard news, parodies, and interactions with authorities.

Commitment to Diversity (12:12)

Sexist PSAs for Project Place resulted in Rochelle Ruthchild from Bread and Roses for Women's Liberation having an hour of airtime as well as the station's first female DJs. The Lavender Hour was a gay radio program from John Scagliotti and Andy Kopkind.

Politics on the Air (07:47)

An anti-war protest at Kent State University led to the deaths of four people, causing student protests at other colleges. An anti-war protest at Kent State University led to the deaths of four people, causing student protests at other colleges. WBCN broadcasted stolen FBI memos on air. Watergate was the news theme for months.

Power of Media (10:06)

WBCN broadcasted live from locations like Jazz Workshop and Paul's Mall, run by Fred Taylor. In 1973, Bruce Springsteen played live on the radio for the first time. Patti Smith blurted out obscenities in her on-air performance.

Alternative Becomes Commercialized (08:35)

Tension grew as WBCN made money and moved to the top of the Prudential Tower; it began taking national advertising. The radical radio was now standardizing.

Credits: WBCN and The American Revolution (02:10)

Credits: WBCN and The American Revolution

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WBCN and The American Revolution

3-Year Streaming Price: $339.90



The amazing untold story of the radical underground radio station WBCN-FM set against the profound social, political and cultural changes of the late-1960s and early-70s, using the actual sights, sounds and stories of those who connected through the station, exploding music and countercultural scenes, militant anti-war and civil rights protests and emerging women’s and LGBTQ-liberation movements.

Length: 118 minutes

Item#: BVL276977

Copyright date: ©2021

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video, Dealer and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.