Why Do We Ring Those Bells On Ocean 104.7?

maritime adventure

Ever listen to Ocean 104.7 and hear the bells ringing and wonder what they signify? Ever wonder why we ring them or how it all started? Well here are the answers your questions – and we’ll chime in with little history lesson too!

On WOCN FM we ring the ships bells every hour on the hour much like they do on a regular ship. But on a real ship, the bells would ring every half hour. This tradition started so that the ship’s crew would know the time and when their shift was up. However the system was never just one lowly bell strike every half hour. How the bell system actually worked was that starting at 12:30 the ship’s bell would ring the bell once, then at 1:00 it would ring the bell twice, then at 1:30 it would ring it three times, and so on until it reached eight bell strikes at 4. Then the pattern would start over; at 4:30 it would ring once, at 5:00 twice, and 5:30 three times etc.

Here at WOCN however, our pattern works a little differently since we only ring the bells every hour as opposed to every half hour. Here’s how we do it:

– First off, we have a two-ring bell which counts as one bell strike. Four rings is a two-bell strike and so on until we reach eight bells.
— At 1 o’clock, 5 o’clock and 9 o’clock we strike the bell once.
— At 2 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 10 o’clock we strike the bell twice.
— At 3 o’clock, 7 o’clock and 11 o’clock we strike the bell three times.
— At 4 o’clock, 8 o’clock and 12 o’clock we strike the bell four times.

The bell tradition started on 99.9 WQRC back in the ’80s, prior to the dawn of the Karen & Ralphie show. As 99.9 The Q evolved and became our fresh mix station, we moved the bells to Ocean 104.7 and ring them as an homage to the history of sailing on Cape Cod.

BTW, in addition to ringing the bells every hour, on New Year’s Day we ring the bells eight times to reflect on the past year and another eight times to ring (pun intended) in the New Year.

— By Kaitlyn Holzworth