Schechter, however, is utterly convinced that negligent corporate oversight is to blame. Under the ownership of Hemisphere Broadcasting and then CBS, he contends, “The station’s legacy and importance — the reason it built a national reputation and worldwide respect — was deliberately buried by the need to meet quarterly revenue projections and serve its corporate masters by competing with commercial drek. The jockocracy took over long ago with all the Patriot worship. . . . The news was downgraded and just about disappeared, public service was derided. . . . It’s all part of the implosion of media in our time.”

Wherever you lay the blame for WBCN’s demise, there may yet be a silver lining. Before news of CBS’s plans broke, says Schechter, he’d been invited by former WBCN DJ Sam Kopper to contribute to a new, free-form WBCN substation slated for broadcast on HD2. It’s possible, then, that the new, Internet-and-HD-based WBCN will actually be truer in spirit to the station’s origins than the soon-to-be-defunct FM station was.

Spokespeople for WBCN and CBS Communications didn’t return the Phoenix’s calls by press time, however, so the format of WBCN’s new Internet/HD operation remains unclear. So, too, does the fate of the station’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble and River Rave, both of which have long been landmark events on the Boston-music scene. For now, only two things are certain. The already-crowded Boston sports-media marketplace is gaining yet another player. And yet another iconic Boston institution is biting the dust.

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