Originally the station targeted the Worcester, Massachusetts market, but by the mid-1980s, WAAF had begun to direct most of its attention to the Boston radio market.
WAAF currently broadcasts from Stiles Hill in Boylston, Massachusetts with an effective radiated power of 9.6 kW directional (protecting three other FM signals) WAAF used to broadcast out of Paxton, Massachusetts on 107.3 FM and maintains a backup site there. They simulcast on 97.7 FM, which is licensed to Brockton, Massachusetts (where their signal can be better heard in parts of Boston). When they transmitted from the location in Paxton, the central part of Massachusetts, WAAF could be heard throughout much of Massachusetts, as well as parts of neighboring U.S. states New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, Maine and eastern New York.
In spring and summer of 2006, they began testing the new transmitter site, the station's signal strength dramatically decreased in most parts of Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont and Western Massachusetts. WAAF was trying to concentrate the signal into its primary sales market, Boston. The new transmitter began operating on program test authority from the FCC, at the WUNI-TV tower on Stiles Hill in Boylston, Massachusetts. The first experiment from this transmitter location took place between October 31 and November 22, 2005 but the station had to resort back to Paxton for a couple of months to address alleged multipath issues. (The issues being blamed on a faulty T1 line between their Brighton studios and the transmitter site after extensive testing). WAAF continued to operate from this site, under the original program test authority until May 26, 2011, when the FCC officially issued a license for the site.
On August 21, 2006, Entercom acquired Urban Contemporary outlet WILD-FM (97.7) from Radio One for $30 Million. Hours after that deal was made Entercom pulled the plug on WILD-FM's format at 7pm (EDT) and replaced it with a computerized voice countdown "T Minus  Hours,  Minutes,  Seconds and counting", also adding little funny snippets every few seconds leading up to the August 22, 5:30 PM start of simulcasting WAAF's format on that signal, beginning with AC/DC's "For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)". The addition of 97.7 now gives WAAF improved signal coverage in parts of Boston. On August 30, 2006, 97.7's call sign offifically changed from WILD-FM to WKAF.
By 1951, the station was operating under the call letters of WGTR, at 99.1 MHz, owned by Thomas S. Lee Broadcasting, which had also purchased the Shepard stations in the late 1940s. Subsequently, the WGTR call letters, and the station itself, seemed to disappear, and only WTAG, owned by the Worcester Telegram and Gazette newspaper, operated an FM station in Worcester during the remainder of the 1950s. The station which took the call letters of WAAB-FM did not go on the air till the autumn of 1961, operating at 107.3 MHz and owned by Bernard E. Waterman.
On August 12, 2009, WAAF became the longest-running rock radio station in Boston, when rival station WBCN signed off analog radio to allow WBMX to move from 98.5 to 104.1 FM. The same day, 98.5 became WBZ-FM, "The Sports Hub."
Current on-air personalities
Programming on WAAF is mostly locally produced. Weekdays include The Hill-Man Morning Show. Host: Greg Hill, Sports Director: Lyndon Byers aka LB, News Director: Danielle Murr, and Producer Rob "The Reverend" Stevens. Mike Hsu has hosted mid-days since November 2005 and was the weeknight evening host from January 2004-November 2005. Hsu also served as news anchor for The Hill-Man Morning Show from the late 1990s-January 2004. Mistress Carrie, the "Purple Haired Bitch of Boston", has been the host of WAAF's afternoon drive slot from November 2005–Present. Carrie started out as an intern for The Hill-Man Morning Show in 1991 then worked part-time and with the promotions department until 1998 when she became the weeknight evening host until moving to mid-days in 2001-November 2005. Carrie became WAAF's music director in 2001–present. During the week of September 8, 2006, Mistress Carrie went over to Iraq to visit U.S. Forces from the New England area. Carrie broadcast live for those back home as a reporter for WAAF. On April 5, 2007, Mistress Carrie was awarded the Commander's Award for Public Service.
Bay State Rock (started in 1981 by then Music Director Russ Mottla, now programmed and hosted by Carmelita and Dave Crespo) on Sunday nights from 11 PM to 1 AM.
Weekend DJs have returned with long term DJs Mike Brangiforte and David "Doug Dave" Breen. Other notable weekenders include Jim Ryan, Jay Coffey, Mike Logan, and Keith Rice.
Notable former on-air personalities
- Bob Rivers (Co-Host of top rated morning drive time show 'Bob and Zip' 1982-1988)
- Peter "Zip" Zipfel (Co-Host of top rated morning drive time show 'Bob and Zip' 1982-1988 and later 'Drew and Zip' morning show Feb.-July 1989)
- Gregg "Opie" Hughes (Co-Host of WAAF's afternoon drive show 'Opie and Anthony' with Anthony Cumia 1995-1998)
- Anthony Cumia (Co-Host of WAAF's afternoon drive show 'Opie and Anthony' with Gregg "Opie" Hughes 1995-1998)
- Liz Wilde, a.k.a. "The Cream Cheese Bitch" (1990–1995)
- Mike Wild, Overnights from the late 1980s to circa 1995 (No relation to Liz Wilde) and later hosting "WAAF's Saturday Night Hairball."
- John Osterlind (Host of the "Ozone". Evenings 1992-1995 Mid-Day Afternoons 1995-2001)
- Rocko (Evenings 1995-1998, Co-Host of afternoon drive time shows 'Rocko and Birdsey' 1998-2001 and 'Rocko and Matty' 2001-2002. Rocko died on 1-19-2012 of complications from diabetes)
- Tom Birdsey (Co-Host of afternoon drive time show 'Rocko and Birdsey' 1998-2001)
- Matty Blake (Co-Host of afternoon drive time show 'Rocko and Matty' 2001-2002)
- Drew Lane (1987-1989 Co-Host of morning drive time shows 'Drew and Karen' Feb. 1988-Feb. 1989 and later 'Drew and Zip' Feb.-July 1989)
- Ruby Cheeks (Co-Host of morning drive time show 'Ruby Cheeks and the Hillman' with Greg Hill Nov. 1989 - March 1990)
- "Billboard" Bill Wightman (1990–1992)
- E.J. Crummy (Morning Drive 1980-1982)
- Harvey Warfield a.k.a. "The Commander Of The Rock N' Roll Air Force" (Evening then Afternoon Host 1979 - 1983)
- Jeremy Savage a.k.a. "The Master Blaster" (Afternoon Host 1977 - 1981)
- Paul Marshall a.k.a. "Neanderpaul" (2004–2005)
- John Clark Late Night Host (1978–1980)
- Jeff Berlin (fill in, afternoon, then night host (1978–1984)
- Chris Engal (Morning news director for the Hill-Man Morning show (1992-1999)
- Chuck Nowlin (1984–1988, Host of afternoon drive time show)
- Mark Razz (1991–1993, Music Director, Mid-Day Afternoons), now Music Director, Afternoons at WXTU/Philadelphia
- T.C.McGuire (1988–1989)
- Karen Grace (1981–1985)
- Kid Mitchell (1989–1990)
- Steven Craig Brown (1984-1986 with Bob & Zip Show))
- Annalisa (1984–1989)
- Russ Mottla (1984–1987)
- Anita West (1986–1988)
- Dave Bernstein(1980–1983)
- Mark Fox (1989–1995)
- Ilyse Gottlieb (1977–1978)
- David "Doug Dave" Breen (1996–present and still occasionally does fill ins)
- Mike Brangiforte (199?-2001, 2009-2012 and still occasionally does fill ins)
- Matt Leonard (2004-2014) now Production Director and Afternoons at WHEB
- Gomez (2005-2012)
- Kevin Redding (Former host of 'Saturday Night Hairball' from December 2004 until April 2005)
- George Osborne (Original host of 'Saturday Night Hairball' from ? until December 2004)
- Tom Doyle (Host of Morning drive time show 1977 - 1979)
- Patty Geier(Co-Host of morning drive with Tom Doyle through the mid to late 1970s)
- Ian O'Malley (Late 1980s)
- Rick O'B (mid-1980s)
- Bob Hannah (2003–2012)
- Steve Minichiello - Beatles Forever (1980–1982)
- Bob Sawyer (early 1970s)
- Michael Gray (1971–1976)
- Chris Caine (1973–1976)
- Russ Dana (1975–1976)
- Paul Lemieux (1975–1981)
- Joe Biedryski (1970s)
- Jim Taylor (1973–1974)
- Mike Raymond (1975)
- Lee Arnold (1978–1979 - Program Director and Mid Day Personality)
Current on-air shows
The Hill-Man Morning Show
"The Hill-Man Morning Show", led by host Greg Hill, is WAAF's most popular current program as well as one of its longest running.
The program has spawned a Calendar and DVD set, branded Mantown, in which local women are featured. Women appear on the show to interview for a position in the calendar, and are asked a standard set of questions about their anatomy, their sexual preferences, and their sexual history.
In the past, women were often asked to fake an orgasm on the air, for the listeners to vote on.
Lyndon 'LB' Byers, a former Boston Bruins player, joined the show a few years later as their Sports Director and additional Co-Host.
Anthony Parziale, aka Spaz, became the show's Producer in 2001. Anthony gained his nickname of Spaz after the other members of the show noticed how odd his personality is. Anthony's sudden outbursts of rage when he would mess up on the show did not help much in fueling his co-worker's produced nickname. Though through Anthony's outbursts he slowly became a recognizable voice for the listeners and started talking more and more on-air. In late December 2007 it was announced that Spaz would be stepping down from producing the show and stepping up to the microphone as the show's newest personality. On December 13, 2013, Anthony Parziale left the show to focus on his trash/junk removal company. His replacement and the current Producer of the show, is Rob Stevens, AKA Boston Rob AKA The Reverend, who had ten years on morning radio in San Diego as a Co- Host, and Stunt man, before joining The Hillman Show. In San Diego he quickly rose to popularity for his hilarious musical parodies and extreme stunts, and sardonic rants about featured topics. One of his stunts, involving Star Wars fans that had been waiting in line to see the newest prequels for over 24 hours, recorded him filling the eager viewers in on industry spoilers. A small riot ensued and radio stunt security had to be completely revamped because of it. He has been hailed as one of the most talented comedians in radio. As a Producer for the Hillman Show, he isn't featured on air as often as the other co-hosts.
Danielle Murr, current News Director, got her position on the show after doing such a good job of filling in for (then News/Traffic Director) Major Dick for a week back in late 2005.
Former intern turned assistant producer "Super Producer" Dave would become the new producer for the show starting January 1, 2008. However, due to budget cuts and the unstable economy, Dave was let go in October, 2008.
The show has also featured a number of assistant producers; Demick ("Vice President of Audio Services") who left in 2011, as well as Big Red, and Jack, who both left in 2012. Current assistant producers are Omar, Carl and Josh Dolan. The show also features such contributing regulars as Faxboy, Fryeboy, Mike the Can Man, Derek the Steelers Fan, My Nuts Guy, Wacky Horn Guy, Cam Neely Guy and others.
Past shows and personalities
Opie and Anthony
On March 27, 1995, shock jocksOpie and Anthony came to WAAF from Long Island rock station WBAB. For three years they powered the afternoon drive shift. When they were at WBAB they were not technically a pair. Opie was doing nights(7-12am) and Anthony would come in and perform comedy songs with his brother Joe. It was not until they got to WAAF (hired by Ron Valeri WAAF program director who heard them in N.Y.) that they became "Opie and Anthony". Throughout their time at WAAF Opie and Anthony became number one in afternoons. They were a part of a number of the early "Real Rock TV episodes. Anthony would parody Howard Stern, and they would perform ridiculous bits (The most popular was the Tickle Me Elmo episodes performed back in 1997 when the doll was popular. They put it in a wood chipper and hung the parts from the WAAF rock van while at a toy drive event in Natick, MA.) The duo released a comedy CD entitled Demented World, composed of clips and bits from their show. They came up with a promotion called W.O.W.(Whip em' Out Wednesday) were women are encouraged to flash their breast at drivers that display the word WOW on their car. Their show was the cause of a lot of controversy, resulting in a number of suspensions. They were ultimately fired from WAAF for an April Fool's prank which stated that Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino died in a car crash while in Florida. People close to Menino were not sure whether the story was true, causing Menino to demand for Opie and Anthony's termination.
After Menino forced O&A off of WAAF, Opie and Anthony went to WNEW in New York City, were they gained popularity, reached number one, received syndication to over 30 cities nationwide. They developed a talk format that has made their show top rated and amongst the best in the country. They hired stand up comic Jim Norton to be their third mic. At WNEW Opie and Anthony developed one of the greatest radio wars of all time, squaring off against Howard Stern. On August 15, 2002 the Opie and Anthony show was canceled. Although their show was canceled they were not actually fired. Infinity paid them for two years, until their contracts were up. In that time Opie and Anthony were not allowed to broadcast a show.
On October 4, 2004 Opie and Anthony started on XM satellite radio and remained on Sirius/XM until Cumia's 2014 firing.
Opie and Anthony appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and other television shows.
John Osterlind doubled as the music director for the station and the popular midday DJ for many years. Nicknamed "Ozone", Osterlind combined a detailed, knowledgeable banter about current musical trends with such popular segments as one in which he invited listeners to call in daily with midget sightings in the greater Boston area. Osterlind left WAAF in May 2001 to host a radio call-in show with former congressman, Peter Blute, on WRKO AM 680 in Boston, Massachusetts. After being fired from WRKO in August 2003, Osterlind moved to Miami Beach where he owned and operated a rock bar/restaurant, Scrap Bar and Smoke House until 2008. After a 5 year break from radio he now hosts a weekday evening talk show on WRNO-FM 99.5 in New Orleans.
Promotions and community events
Walk and Rock for Change
Every November, starting in 1993, WAAF has held its popular annual charity event "Walk and Rock for Change". During this event, the DJs (Greg Hill 1993-2003, LB and Spaz 2004–present) from the station walk across Massachusetts, asking for change from the people as they stop in each town. The station will often air interviews with people as they come across interesting events. Starting in 2003, while this event is proceeding, the DJs at the station will play requested songs, for a price. While the station will play any song requested, obnoxious or unpopular songs, such as the SpongeBob SquarePants theme, will have a higher price than the station's standard fare. In 2009, for the first time in 17 years, the "Walk and Rock for Change" was held in December, one week before Christmas.
The station has released a number of mostly limited edition CDs containing exclusive in-studio performances and various comedy bits from the on-air staff.
- Unusual Suspects: WAAF Exclusive Live Studio Recordings, November 19, 1996
- Royal Flush: Live On-Air, November 25, 1997
- Bootleg Live On-Air, March 23, 1999
- WAAF Survive This, October 30, 2000
- Prez Dispenser, (during Bill Clinton's administration)
WAAF also released Opie and Anthony's Demented World, a CD that highlighted some of Opie and Anthony's most popular bits during their time at WAAF. The CD has not been acknowledged by the station since Opie and Anthony were fired; however, is still acknowledged by Opie and Anthony on their current Sirius XM show.
In 2007, the station was nominated for the Radio & Records magazine Active Rock station of the year in a top 25 market award. Other nominees included WIYY in Baltimore, KBPI in Denver, WRIF in Detroit, WMMR in Philadelphia, and KISW in Seattle.