WNEW-FM once defined rock ‘n’ roll. During their free-form glory days, they premiered new music from everyone from the Rolling Stones to the Ramones to the Replacements. John Lennon would stroll by to spin records and the Grateful Dead played card games in the studio. Lagging quality DJs and format changes weakened the station’s influence, but then, in the late-90’s, shock jocks Opie and Anthony basically pulled the plug by broadcasting two listeners having sex in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. But now The New York Times reports that CBS Radio, which owns WNEW and its former frequency in the New York region, 102.7, will begin broadcasting a high-definition signal and Internet stream starting today, based on the station’s rock format.
The HD signal (102.7 HD 2) — high-quality, digital audio broadcast alongside the regular radio signal — and the streaming audio version, on wnew.com, will play a mix of classic 1960s and ’70s music and current rock songs, as well as historic concerts and interviews from its archives, but will not have disc jockeys. Instead, CBS says, listeners will be able to contribute through wnew.com and last.fm, a social-networking Web site owned by the CBS Corporation. WNEW-FM became a rock station in 1967 and switched to a talk format in 1999; the 102.7 FM signal in New York is currently an adult contemporary station, WWFS.