24/7 non-commercial radio from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, since 1941.
WBOR is heard throughout the Midcoast area of Maine. (91.1 mHz on the FM dial - view our coverage map) in addition to streaming online worldwide via the following methods:
WBOR is available on any platform that supports the TuneIn Radio app, including most smart TVs/speakers, gaming consoles, and new vehicles. You can also ask Alexa, Siri, or Google to “play WBOR 91.1”
Local Coverage (red, innermost ring): Within this area, you should be able to receive WBOR on almost any radio with moderately good to very good reception. This contour designates WBOR's protected service area as defined by the FCC.Distant Coverage (purple, middle ring): Within this area, WBOR’s signal may be weak unless you have a modern car radio or a good stereo with a good antenna. You may not be able to receive us at all on inexpensive radios with poor antennas.Fringe Coverage (blue, outer ring): WBOR’s signal will be very weak within this area. You may be able to receive us if you have a very good radio and antenna.
WBOR loves to hear from you, whether you are a listener, a performer, or a label representative. Please contact us with any questions or comments you may have.
Caspian Ahlberg '25
Avery Ellis '24
Berenicé Flores '24
Issie Gale '25
Charlie Galicich '24
Charlotte Gehrs '24
Thomas Lang '23
Jickinson Louis '26
Asher Savel '26
Megan Stretch '24
Lauren Traum '24
Send a Message
alternatively, wbor (at) bowdoin.edu
FCC Public File
publicfiles.fcc.gov/fm-profile/wborAny person with disabilities needing assistance with accessing the content of WBOR's online public file, please contact Nate Hintze, Bowdoin College Director of Student Activities, at: (207) 798-4244It is WBOR’s policy to afford equal opportunity in employment. WBOR employs fewer than 5 full-time employees and, under FCC rules, is not required to prepare an annual EEO public file report.
WBOR welcomes music submissions for airplay from artists from all genres, and submitting your album or EP is easy as long as you follow these steps & requirements. (The best way to reach us is by snail mail)
What we accept
Digital music submissions (attach the .mp3 files or include a link to a cloud storage site from which we can download the music)
Mailed CDs and records:
WBOR MUSIC DIRECTORS
6200 COLLEGE STATION
BRUNSWICK ME 04011-8462
What we do not accept
Music through streaming sites unless the site that you send includes a method for downloading your material
DO NOT email us requesting permission to send your release or attempt to deliver your release in person! Bowdoin College buildings have secure & restricted entrances and will not allow non-students/staff to enter WBOR. All physical media submissions must be mailed.WBOR is a noncommercial station and does not accept payment in exchange for airplay, so please do not contact us with pay-for-play inquiries.Please note there is no guarantee that your music will be programmed. Due to the large volume of submissions we receive, we cannot respond to everyone.
Calling all artists, bands, and DJs! We’re looking for artists to:
Performing LIVE (on-air & online)
Perform at station events/concerts
WBOR (91.1 FM) is a noncommercial, community public radio station licensed to Bowdoin College. Our team of over 150 student and community DJs is dedicated to bringing you a diverse mix of music that you won't find anywhere else on the air. Without commercial incentives, our programming has solely reflected the passion and talent of our DJs for the past 80+ years.The station is housed in the basement of the Dudley Coe building, and its 300-watt signal is broadcast from the top of the Coles Tower. WBOR is heard throughout Midcoast Maine and streams online worldwide 24/7.
The history of radio at Bowdoin runs deep. The college has been broadcasting continuously to some capacity since December 1941. Since then, names, faces, and fashion trends may have changed, but our philosophy of providing diverse and unique quality programming to the Midcoast area and the world-at-large has remained. Step back and explore the rich history of radio at Bowdoin!
ALUMNI: much of the station’s history has survived offline, in your hands, and is now scattered all over the world. Please reconnect to help fill in the blanks!
Bowdoin operated a ham radio: “hidden in the subterranean depths of the South end of the Searles Science Building is the one kilowatt [radio] set,” sponsored by the Physics Department.1
In November 1941, radio is birthed at Bowdoin following presidential appointment. Bowdoin President Kenneth Sills formed a committee to coordinate the initiatory steps to bring about an organization of students qualified to carry on in all fields of radio endeavor. “It is hoped that radio broadcasting by Bowdoin may continue after the first series of eight fifteen-minute broadcasts are completed and that radio work may become a regular college activity.”2
At least as far back as December 1941, Bowdoin students and faculty sporadically hosted programs recorded on campus and later broadcasted through Portland’s WCSH, Lewiston’s WCOU, Augusta’s WRDO, and Bangor’s WLBZ. These programs, under the name “Bowdoin-on-the-air” (BOTA), usually consisted of play readings, faculty interviews, and live vocal music from the Bowdoin College Glee Club and the Meddiebempsters.2 In a Bowdoin Orient article commemorating the birth of radio at the college, they note that “Bowdoin-on-the-air by its very definition requires the complete cooperation and above all the intense enthusiasm of the entire college.”3
On December 4th, 1941, Bowdoin formally made the school's inaugural broadcast on WGAN Portland. Dean Paul Nixon opened the program with three songs performed by the Meddiebempsters to follow. The first student “DJ” is Stanley Herrick, '42, who announced the program.
In 1947, due to the popularity of BOTA, President Sills formed a committee to look into the possibility of building an AM radio station on campus. On May 7th, a meeting assembling the Campus Radio Studio Committee announced that The Orient’s office in Moulton Union was considered the best location for a new radio station. The group suggests that AM broadcasting be attained first, but to design the studio so that it can be easily converted FM.4
In March 1948, BOTA formed the Radio Drama Workshop to organize the writing, directing, and production of student radio dramas. Also around this time, the student broadcasters used a former Navy laundry truck to make the commute to WGAN in Portland for broadcasts.
On April 25th, 1948, BOTA broadcasted its first original radio drama, entitled “The Bowdoin Plan,” written by Herbert L. Gould, class of 1950. The Orient lauds it as “the most ambitious thing yet attempted by the radio group.” The production was student-written, student-produced, student-directed, and student-acted. A recording of the play is sent to all New England colleges with radio stations as an example of what a college station can accomplish.
After a $4,000 gift from the Class of 1924 is secured,5 The Orient student newspaper offices on the second floor of Moulton Union (above the Lancaster lounge) are transformed into a radio station on April 28th, 1948. The new space is described as “somewhat handicapped by lack of equipment and proper partitioning.”6
At 10:15 pm on February 16th, 1949, BOTA broadcasts a pre-recorded interview with Red Sox shortstop Johnny Pesky on WGAN.
On March 22nd, 1950, BOTA made the first test of their new AM transmitter. An experimental program of campus news and music is broadcast live at 7:45 pm on 820 AM. Due to the weakness of their AM signal, BOTA continues to broadcast through Portland's WGAN for another year.
Bowdoin-on-the-Air becomes a weekly fixture in WGAN's programming during 1950, airing every Sunday during the spring semester at 1:45 pm. Through a direct phone line, BOTA could broadcast on WGAN live from their new Moulton Union studio. The first live broadcast, a performance of William Butler Yeats’ play, A Pot O’ Broth, is aired on April 16th. The following fall, programming is expanded to half an hour, with an additional “experimental” four-hour evening show featuring news, sports, interviews, dramatic skits, classical “music to study by,” and jazz “music not to study by.”
On March 16, 1951 delegates from BOTA traveled to Northampton, Massachusetts, to attend the Intercollegiate Radio Conference at Smith College. The conference is the first of its kind in the east.
At 7 pm on May 9th, 1951, BOTA began officially broadcasting at 820 AM. In conjunction with the official switch, BOTA changes its name to WBOA (Bowdoin-on-air), their official FCC station name.
In December 1956, WBOA reregistered with the FCC as an FM station (the second radio station in Maine to do so) and was granted the broadcast frequency of 91.1 mHz. With the switch to FM, WBOA changes its name to WBOR (Bowdoin-on-radio).
Most students didn't have FM radios at this time, so station management built and installed dozens of illegal Heathkit FM tuners and miniature AM transmitters in each campus dorm and fraternity house. They transmitted on 640 kHz, which was then a CONELRAD frequency (used to broadcast emergency warning information in the event of a nuclear attack on the US).
On February 20th, 1957, WBOR’s first FM broadcast was heard across campus. Before this, WBOA could only be heard in freshmen dorms within a few hundred feet of the station.
On March 13th, 1960, WBOR records a Pete Seeger concert at Bowdoin’s Pickard Theater. The Smithsonian Institution would later release the entire recording in a two-CD set and on streaming platforms. Read more about this on page 38 of the fall 2009 Bowdoin Magazine, and on the Smithsonian’s Instagram. The Smithsonian also produced a short documentary.
WBOR interviews actress Bette Davis on air (date unknown).
On May 6th, 1964, WBOR recorded a speech given by Martin Luther King at the First Parish Church in Brunswick.
In 1968, WBOR began publishing a weekly music newsletter entitled Turntable Rumble. By spring of 1970, it had disappeared.
On October 5th, 1969, WBOR broadcasts all-day coverage of Vietnam moratorium activities.
Little is known about what happened at the station between 1970-82. If you know anything, drop us a line!
On October 19th, 1982, after a two-year battle with local broadcasters, the FCC gave WBOR approval to increase its signal strength to 300 watts.
During the weekend of October 20th-21st, 1984, WBOR started broadcasting in stereo at the cost of ~$3700.7
A DJ spends a day broadcasting from the Senior Center elevator (now Coles Tower), interviewing patrons. The event is entitled “Schriebers Big Shaft.”
On March 9th, 1984, WBOR hosted a “Breakdance Showdown” between “The Bionic Brothers,” “Breakster's Express,” and “The M.M. Connection.”
Little is known about what happened at the station between 1985-95. If you know anything, drop us a line!
Over the summer of 1995, WBOR moved into a newly renovated space in the basement of the Dudley Coe Health Center, where it has remained.
In October 2000, WBOR began broadcasting worldwide online.
In October 2001, The Bowdoin Orient began a “DJ of the Week” column.
In May 2002, WBOR began continuous summer programming thanks to the help of community members and a few on-campus Bowdoin students.
In February 2003, the station's first website hits the net.
In the spring of 2003, WBOR begins printing an untitled music & arts magazine.
In 2004, after much deliberation, the publication was titled FlipYourShit. FlipYourShit is published regularly until the fall of 2006.
In the fall of 2006, WBOR comes under heavy fire from the FCC when attempting to renew its license due to missing information from quarterly station reports. A “Save WBOR” campaign is mounted, and over 600 letters from students, faculty, alumni, and community members, including Senator Olympia Snowe, are sent to the FCC office to support WBOR, citing its prominent role in the Midcoast Maine community. The FCC is swayed and decides to renew WBOR’s license, letting the station off with a fine.
After the famous “Save WBOR” fall 2006 issue of FlipYourShit, the publication goes on a two-year hiatus.
In the fall of 2008, the WBOR magazine reappeared (with its former title FlipYourShit dropped) to rave reviews. THE ZINE is published twice, rebranding to NOISE in spring 2009. After one issue, the publication disappears.
In the fall of 2009, WBOR receives a feature in the Bowdoin Magazine, on page 34.
In June 2015, WBOR is featured in Bowdoin’s newsletter, with a short video (seen here) produced about the station.
In 2017, it is noted in the college’s Master Planning update that the college plans to demolish Dudley Coe, the station’s home, in late 2024. Read more history outlining the building. As of 2023, it is believed that this may not actually occur until late 2025 or early 2026.
NOISE reappears in the fall of 2018, independent of WBOR. The magazine begins to publish semi-regularly with the help of DJs and station MGMT.
In the fall of 2021, the station’s studio went viral twice in TikTok videos created by a member of management.
In 2022, an op-ed was written in The Bowdoin Orient about the station.
On February 21st, 2023, station management interview Bowdoin College President Clayton Rose. The Meddiebempsters open and close the interview as a special guest.
ALUMNI: are we missing anything?
WBOR has a long history as a major event promoter for the midcoast Maine area and has hosted (and in some cases, broadcasted or recorded) performances of dozens of notable artists throughout the years, including:
The Amazing Rhythm Aces
The Magnetic Fields
The Hold Steady
Broken Social Scene
The Morning Benders
Eli “Paperboy” Reed
Chain Gang of 1974
ALUMNI: are we missing a performance?
Unknown launch date. The first web-captured version by archive.org is of the site on February 13th, 2003.
Version 2 (Circa February 2004)
Version 2.5 (Circa September 2004)
Around the time WBOR faced potential shutdown from the FCC
Version 3 (~October 8th, 2007)
This version brought DJ logging and “now playing” functionality, which came online on/around September 17th, 2008.
Version 3.5 (~June 8th, 2012)
Version 3.75 (~April 4th, 2013)
Version 3.8 (October 28th, 2014)
A new logo is experimented with, amongst other things.
Version 3.99 (March 2023)
Version 4 (June 9th, 2023)
What you are using currently!
1 Bowdoin Orient, “Bowdoin Carries On Amateur Radio Under Paine And Eaton,” Bowdoin Orient, 1942, Vol. LXXI edition.2 Bowdoin Orient, “College To Present Weekly Radio Program Over WGAN,” Bowdoin Orient, November 5, 1941, Vol. LXXI edition.3 Bowdoin Orient, “Bowdoin on the Air,” Bowdoin Orient, November 19, 1941, Vol. LXXI edition.4 Bowdoin Orient, “Plans For First Campus Studio Near Completion,” Bowdoin Orient, May 14, 1947, Vol. LXXVII edition.5 Harvey S. Jackson, “Radio Station Will Soon Be Constructed In Union,” Bowdoin Orient, November 19, 1947, Vol. LXXVII edition.6 Bowdoin Orient, “BOTA Acquires Office in Union,” Bowdoin Orient, April 28, 1948, Vol. LXXVIII edition.7 Philip Stathos, “Polar Bear Radio Goes Stereo,” Bowdoin Orient, November 9, 1984, Vol. CXIV edition.
Notable WBOR Alumni
Are you an alum? Let us know what you've been up to and reconnect with the station by using this form.
Cynthia McFadden '78 — co-anchor for the ABC television network’s Nightline and Primetime Live programs
Daniel B. Spears '81 — Vice President for Industry Relations and licensing at Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI)
Kary Antholis '84 — academy-award winning documentary filmmaker and vice president of HBO
Steve Laffey '84 — mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island, from 2003 to 2007, and Republican Candidate for the 2024 US Presidential Election
Joe Beninati '87 — ESPN and NBCSN sportscaster
Paul D. Miller '92, aka DJ Spooky, that Subliminal Kid — DJ, electronic musician, composer, multimedia artist, author, and professor of music at the European Graduate School
Matt Roberts '93 — Emmy-Winning writer for the 64th Annual Tony Awards, executive producer for The Late Show with David Letterman, head writer for The Late Late Show with James Corden
José Ayerve '96 — singer-songwriter, recording engineer, producer, and the frontman for northeast-based indie rock groups Spouse and Nuclear Waste Management Club
Jennifer C. Lilly '96 — Hollywood editor and production manager known for Eighth Grade (2018), Master of None (2015)
Nathan Michel '97 — composer, electronic musician, and multi-instrumentalist
Michael Merenda '98 — singer-songwriter, member of folk group the Mammals
Hari Kondabolu '04 — stand-up comic, actor, and filmmaker
Mirza Ramic '05 — electronic musician, member of band Arms and Sleepers
Evan Gershkovich '14 — reporter for The Wall Street Journal, detained by Russia for suspected spying in 2023. Named by TIME as part of the 100 most influential people of 2023.
Carl Boisrond '16 — NPR journalist and Kroc Fellow, producer at WNYC
Most positions open at WBOR are as weekly on-air DJs (of which we have 150-200 during the academic year) and contributors to our Zine, FlipYourShit, although there is room for many other informal positions. Any member of Bowdoin College or the local community may contribute to the operations of WBOR, though the station must remain student-run.
What do DJs do?
DJs receive between a half hour to two hours each week, where they are free to broadcast their proposed show live online and over the air. Shows generally consist of some combination of music and talk.
How do I become a DJ?
Interested Bowdoin students, staff, or local community members must complete an application form and undergo DJ training to become a DJ.Even if you have DJ'd at another radio station, we still require that you go through the full training program at WBOR to ensure familiarity with our equipment and our requirements. All DJs are unpaid volunteers; there are no paid positions available at WBOR, nor will there be anytime soon. But the intangible benefits of radio will make it well worth your time: we promise.
Applications for new DJs are generally processed a week or two after each semester’s club fair.Applications for returning DJs are usually due a week before each semester and are processed in time to begin shows on the first day of classes.
How do I become more involved?
Bowdoin students who want to become more involved in the day-to-day operation of the station are encouraged to apply for a management (MGMT) position. MGMT applications are generally processed halfway through each semester.
If you're not looking for the commitment that comes with management, don't fret! You can still get involved - contact us and we can work something out.
As early as 1968, WBOR has published a music and arts magazine (or zine, for short). This zine has taken many forms throughout the decades: in the 60s, as Turntable Rumble, the 00s as FlipYourShit, the '10s as THE ZINE, and then NOISE.
Fall 2023 Edition Out Now
WBOR 91.1 FM is firmly committed to fostering a culture that respects and promotes diversity, inclusion, and equality. We wholeheartedly affirm that we do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.Our station operates on the fundamental principle of providing equal opportunities for everyone involved - from our listeners, staff members, contributors, and guests, to the communities we serve and beyond. This applies to all of our practices, including but not limited to programming, hiring, training, promotions, and broadcasting.WBOR believes in the power of diverse voices to enrich our content and ensure our relevancy in the society we serve. We strive to reflect this belief in all aspects of our operation and will continue to challenge ourselves to uphold these standards. Discrimination, harassment, or prejudice in any form is unequivocally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.Our commitment to non-discrimination is not only a legal obligation but also a key component of our mission to provide a safe, inclusive space where all voices are heard, valued, and respected. It is the sound of diversity, the sound of inclusion - it is the sound of WBOR.
For a station representative who can assist you with a review of the public file, please call 207-798-4244.WBOR is committed to digital accessibility for people with disabilities. We aim to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, and other relevant laws.If you encounter any issues or need assistance, please contact us. We will respond promptly to address your concerns. While we strive for comprehensive accessibility, there may be limitations. If you find an issue, let us know, and we will try to provide an alternative.For optimal user experience, we recommend using the latest versions of Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Edge. Our site is tested in these environments.This statement is reviewed annually and after significant website changes.
Calling all WBOR supporters and lovers of non-commercial radio! Your generous contribution can make a tremendous impact on the day-to-day operations at WBOR, your favorite student-run radio station. We invite you to show your support and help us continue providing captivating content and a platform for student DJs and artists.By clicking the link below, you can make a donation to WBOR. When filling out the “gift information, restrictions, in honor/memory of, etc.” section, we kindly ask you to write “WBOR 91.1 FM.” This will ensure that your donation is directed toward our station. Under designation, choose “Student Life.”
WBOR Alumni – Reconnect!
We love to reconnect with WBOR Alums! Please take a minute to update us on your history with the station!
Frequently Asked Questions
What song is playing?
Check out schedule page!
What is WBOR?
WBOR is owned by Bowdoin College and run by its students. We are the College’s only FCC-licensed, non-commercial educational station. We broadcast from the top of Coles Tower at 91.1 FM. We operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We are Brunswick's only freeform, alternative station.
What does WBOR stand for?
WBOR is our call sign. It is what is assigned to a station when the FCC approves a station’s license. The letter “W” means we are to the east of the Mississippi River, and ‘BOR’ stands for “Bowdoin-On-Radio.”
How can I become a DJ/get involved with WBOR?
Visit this page!
Can I get a tour of the station?
What concerts has WBOR brought to Bowdoin?
You can view a list of highlights here!
Will you play my music?
Here's the deal. WBOR is completely freeform. That means each DJ selects the music played on their show. DJs may play music from their personal collection and from the radio station library. The Music Department conducts minimal oversight of the music that is available for DJ consideration. At any one time, the new rack for college/indie/punkie/alternative/etc. music may contain 600-700 titles. To submit music for be added to our library, view our music submission page.
I am a part of a student band/am a performer, how can I play at WBOR?
Complete our artist inquiry form!
How can I submit a PSA?
Complete our PSA submission form!
Are there paid positions at WBOR?
Can I scrobble WBOR?
Yes! See our how to scrobble page.
Last.fm & Scrobbling WBOR
WBOR is on Last.fm! We do our best to scrobble all songs played on air. Listeners who would like to scrobble the songs played while tuned in should use the Web Scrobbler app and listen to our web stream from our TuneIn radio page.Last.fm is like a digital diary that keeps track of the music you listen to. It logs (aka scrobbles) the songs, artists, and albums you play on your devices. It then uses this information to recommend other music you might like based on your listening habits. It's a way to discover new tunes and see what you've been enjoying over time.WBOR has been scrobbling since 2008.