WLAW went on the air from Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1937. The publishers of the Lawrence Daily Eagle and Evening Tribune newspapers owned the station. It opened a studio on Tremont Street in Boston in the early 1940s.
WLAW-FM signed on in 1947. In 1951, WLAW-AM/FM moved into new studios at the Hotel Bradford in Boston.
In 1953, General Tire, owner of WNAC-AM, bought WLAW, which by that time was broadcasting at 50,000 watts on 680 kHz, the maximum allowed on an AM frequency. It sold the weaker WNAC frequency and moved its call letters to the 680 frequency.
WNAC tried a few different formats in the 1950s and 1960s, including middle-of-the-road music, Top 40 pop and a talk format. In 1967, the owners flipped it to a Top 40 rock stations with new call letters: WRKO. The gambit paid off and WRKO was among Boston’s most-listened-to stations in the 1970s. Known as “The Big 68,” WKRO was home to well-known personalities. Here’s an aircheck from its heyday in 1976:
As music listeners migrated to FM in the late 1970s and early 1980s, WRKO’s audience disappeared. It tried to adapt with a more adult contemporary format, but eventually flipped to the current all-talk format in 1981.
The talk format was a success, attracting high ratings into the early 1990s. After owner RKO General got into trouble with the FCC and lost most of its broadcast licenses, WRKO and sister FM station WROR were sold.
As of 2017, Entercom owns WRKO-AM. The WLAW call letters now belong to a Cumulus Media FM station in Newaygo, Michigan, serving the Muskegon market.
Source: Wikipedia (WRKO)