Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Beasley appoints Weiss as Alt 92.9's new music director

Beasley Media Group today announced that after a 4-month search Joel Weiss has been named Music Director at WBOS/ALT 92.9. He will officially begin his new position on Monday, August 6.

Up until September 2016, the White Plains, NY native, Weiss, had spent more than 13 years as a music director and on-air personality at alternative rocker WSUN/97x and at sister-station adult hits WPOI 101.5/The Point as assistant program director/music director in the Tampa Bay market. In 2017, he was with NYC-based Santori Audio as Director of Music Content and morning. Weiss is an Emerson College graduate who interned at WZLX 100.7 in early 2000's.

“I’m excited to welcome Joel to ALT 92.9, said station Program Director Ken West in Beasley's press release. “He loves music, loves radio, and loves Boston.  His passion and energy for the Alternative format will help push ALT 92.9 to new heights!”

At WBOS, Weiss officially replaces John Mullett who served as station's music director since the format's launch in the summer of 2016(BRW 7/13) until his exit in March. Mullett is now programming WNCS/The Point 104.7 in Montpelier, VT and the 4-station The Point Radio Network.

WBUR installs Chakrabarti and Folkenflik as new On Point hosts

Boston University's pubcaster WBUR 90.9 announced today that Meghna Chakrabarti and David Folkenflik will take over as co-hosts of its weekday talk show On Point, produced at WBUR and distributed by NPR to 271 public radio stations around the country.

Chakrabarti will host the 10am-Noon show Monday through Thursday from WBUR's studios which are located at BU's West Campus. Folkenflik will be the host on Fridays from NPR's bureau in midtown Manhattan. The new hosts will begin Monday, August 20.

They replace Tom Ashbrook who initially suspended last December(BRW 12/24/17) and following a 2-month independent investigation terminated by Boston University  on February 14(BRW 2/17). Right after allegations against Ashbrook first surfaced at the end of 2017, BU had hired two independent firms to run two separate investigations. In both reports.it was concluded that Ashrbook had created an abusive work culture through bullying, verbal assaults and intimidating actions. 

Chakrabarti has hosted WBUR local talk show Radio Boston(Live 3pm-4pm, replayed at 10pm.) since 2010 and has served as permanent fill-in host for the nationally distributed Here and Now for five years. She also hosts Modern Love, a production of WBUR and The New York Times, which she will continue hosting. WBUR will begin search for new Radio Boston host. 

Folkenflik will continue in his role covering the media for NPR.

BRW Notebook :

Sports shorts : Speaking of WBUR, Bill Littlefield who had hosted "Only A Game" program since 1993 is retiring this week. A weekly "Only A Game" is the only national sports program on NPR produced at WBUR. The program has always prided itself on providing in-depth look at the more human side of sports, using long-form narrative and commentary. The show is currently aired on 300 stations.

This Saturday, July 28 marks Littlefield’s final day on the air. Locally, WBUR airs the program twice on Saturdays - 7am and 7pm.

WBUR is currently searching nationwide for the right voice to fill his spot. Upcoming guest hosts will include:

- NPR contributor and The Gist podcast Host Mike Pesca (Saturday, August 4)

- Only a Game Senior Producer Karen Given (Saturday, August 11)


And now for something completely different : Last Friday(7/20), New England Patriots announced that its four preseason games on WBZ/98.5 The SportsHub will be called by WBZ-TV's sports anchor Dan Roche and former Patriot Matt Chatham. Meanwhile, the regular radio team of Bob Socci and Scott Zolak will shift to the TV side(WBZ/CBS4). The Patriots say that Socci and Zolak will be back in the radio booth to call regular season.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Line-up shake-up at WEEI as Big O returns to afternoon drive

Entercom Boston announced line-up changes for WEEI/SportsRadio 93.7, effective Monday August 13. The new line-up is as follows: 5:30 am – 10:00am: “Kirk & Callahan” hosted by Kirk Minihane and Gerry Callahan 10:00 am – 2:00 pm: “Dale &; Keefe” with Dale Arnold and Rich Keefe 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm: “OMF - Ordway, Merloni & Fauria” hosted by Glenn Ordway, Lou Merloni and Christian Fauria 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm: “Mut at Night” with Mike Mutnansky 10:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.: “WEEI Late Night”(rotating hosts including Alex Reimer, Patrick Gilroy, Chris Villani and Ben Maller).

“We are proud to deliver the power of local connection to our listeners and advertisers through an elite roster of talent that provides premier sports audio content in Boston,” said Mark Hannon, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Boston. “This move allows us to return Glenn and Dale to the show times that have been synonymous with their legendary careers in Boston, while also providing Rich, Christian and Lou with new, exciting challenges moving forward.” 

The new lineup is a return to afternoon drive for Glenn Ordway, former host of WEEI’s “The Big Show” from 1995 to 2013. Dale Arnold has been a fixture at WEEI since the station’s inception in 1991, notably hosting “The Dale and Holley Show” from 2005 to 2011. Arnold and Holley were broken up in early 2011 with Holley moving to co-hosting afternoons and Arnold taking on full weekend and primary fill-in role from February 2011 until March 2014.

Since the debut of WBZ 98.5/The SportsHub nine years ago, this is going to be WEEI's yet another version of afternoon drive programming to battle top-rated "Felger and Mazz" which scored another ratings victory in recently completed spring quarter survey.  Ordway has been absent from WEEI's afternoon drive for 2,004 days(or 5 1/2 years). Will his return put a dent in "Felger and Mazz" large numbers? Will see.

Whole lotta shakeups goin' on. WEEI's afternoon programs since August 13, 2009 :

  • Michael Holley joins The Big Show as a regular co-host on February 28th, 2011.
  • Glenn Ordway signs off from WEEI on February 15th, 2013. "Salk and Holley" debuts on March 20,2013
  • Michael Salk quits WEEI on March 12, 2014. "Dale and Holley" are reunited in the afternoons on April 1, 2014. 
  • Rich Keefe leaves WBZ/98.5 the SportsHub to become 3rd co-host on "Dale and Holley" on December 5th, 2016.
  • Michael Holley announces that February 28th, 2018 is his last day at WEEI. He moves to host a nightly show on NBC Sports Boston. WEEI's afternoon drive is redubbed "Dale and Keefe".
  • On July 19th, 2018, Entercom announces that "Dale and Keefe" will move to middays on Monday, August 13 while Glenn Ordway with Lou Merloni and Christian Fauria will take over WEEI's afternoon drive.


SportsHub's midday duo get TV time as "Toucher and Rich" exit NBCSB's simulcast

Beasley Media Group and NBC Sports Boston will team up to launch a simulcast of WBZ-FM/ 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak and Bertrand Midday Show beginning Monday, July 23rd. This will mark the first time the popular radio show will be available to TV audiences, throughout New England and across the country, on NBC Sports Boston. “The Zolak and Bertrand Show” will air weekdays from 10 a.m. until 2p.m. on NBC Sports Boston, nbcsportsboston.com and on the NBC Sports app as well as the 98.5 Sports Hub app and 985thesportshub.com.

Since November 2011(BRW 9/22/11), Felger and Massarotti’s, afternoon show which airs Monday-Friday 2pm-6pm, has been simulcast on NBC Sports Boston. 98.5 The Sports Hub will continue this simulcast as part of the multi-year agreement. This past Monday(7/16), The Sports Hub began broadcasting its weekday shows live from the station’s brand new state of the art studio in Dorchester.

“We are thrilled to extend the Felger and Mazz simulcast partnership with NBC Sports Boston to include our Top rated Midday show so Boston fans can not only hear, but see the fun that this team has together in our new state of the art studios,” said Beasley Media Boston Vice President and Market Manager Mary Menna.

Meanwhile, after 3 years simulcasting on NBCSB(BRW 8/16/15), "Toucher and Rich" ended their run on July 13th. Due to the contract structure on performance incentives in their contracts( the pair apparently didn't receive a pay bump from TV numbers if their radio numbers were a tiny fraction lower so in their case simulcast just didn't make sense).

Iheart Boston recruits news/talk radio vet to lead their local outlets

iHeartMedia Boston has named Rob Sanchez VP/news, talk and sports programming for the region. Sanchez now oversees WBZ/NewsRadio 1030 WBZ, WRKO 680/The Voice of Boston and WXKS 1200/Boston's Conservative Talk. He started on July 1st. Sanchez brings over two-decades of spoken work programming experience to his new role, with previous positions CBS Radio New York and Washington, DC.

“Rob’s passion for news and talk coupled with his creativity and bold thinking make him the perfect choice to lead WBZ NewsRadio 1030, WRKO and Talk 1200 into a new era,” VP/programming Dylan Sprague said in a press release. “We’re thrilled that he’s joining the iHeartMedia Boston team.”


Additionally, WBZ 1030's Assistant Program director, Bill Flaherty has been upped to director of operations for news, talk and sports. Flaherty was named interim Program Director with longtime director of news programming Peter Casey’s exiting in November. He’s been Assistant Director of Programming for WBZ and OM for CBS Traffic Network since December 1987.

With WRKO moving into new studio space at IheartRadio Boston cluster in Medford earlier this week, Sanchez has already planned his first programming change for the Voice of Boston. Starting Monday, July 30th, WRKO will shake up its night line-up. Finance expert David Ramsey(7pm-10pm) is out to make room for the Joe Pags Show which moves from 10pm-1am slot. Former Emerson College professor and talk radio veteran, Mike Siegel, will bring his national show into the late 10pm-1am slot.

On a related note, IheartRadio Boston cluster in Medford had doubled its size at the existing site which saw WRKO 680, WZLX 100.7 and WKAF 97.7 all move into their respective new studios over the past 3 weeks. Last one on the move schedule is WBZ 1030 which is slated to relocate from Brighton to Medford in the fall.

BRW Notebook :

Sports wars : Speaking of Toucher & Rich, they have been named the 2018 Best of Boston “Radio Personalities of The Year” by Boston Magazine. The winners were chosen based on the results of the publication’s 2018 Best of Boston Readers’poll.

In addition, The SportsHub's "Felger and Mazz" have been nominated for Major Market personalities of the year category in 2018 Marconi Awards. The winners in all categories will be announced September 27 at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner and Show, in Orlando. Toucher and Rich won the award two years ago(BRW 9/23/16).  Also, for the second year in a row, The SportsHub will face WEEI in the Sports Station of the Year category. Last year, both stations got shot out and the winner was WXYT 97.1/Detroit. WEEI had won it in 2006, 2008 and 2011. The SportsHub took home the trophy in 2012 and 2016.

In other sports radio news, in late June, Christian Arcand was named as new as cohost/Sports Hub Headlines on The Adam Jones Show(7pm-12pm in spring/summer; 6pm-11pm fall/winter). Nick Cattles left Adam Jones Show in May to return to ESPN Radio 94.1 in Virginia Beach where he spent four years doing afternoon drive before joining The Sports Hub as their weeknight co-host in late January 2017(BRW 3/1/17)....Arcand had joined The Sports Hub in December as a part-time weekend after spending more than three years at WEEI.  Arcand also spent nearly six years as midday co-host at ESPN New Hampshire until the station flipped formats, becoming an oldies station in 2017.

WMEX returns : After a year off the air(BRW 7/2/17), WMEX 1510 has resumed broadcasting on Saturday, June 30 simulcasting its sister station oldies/sports/news WATD 95.5 in Marshfield. WMEX's owner, Ed Perry, (BRW 12/18/17), is in the process of constructing new transmitter which will have 10,000 watt signal during daylight hours and very weak 100watt signal during dark. Station's new tower location is going to be in Quincy. Previously, it had a 50,000 watt transmitter in Waltham. The station is currently operating on a low power but expected to fire up its new transmitter in mid-September. 

Raking in affiliates : The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong and Chuck Zodda is growing again. The popular business radio show heard on WRKO 680 from 10am to Noon added new affiliate WJNO 1290 in West Palm Beach, Florida two weeks ago.  In addition, current affiliates WTAG-AM 580 in Worcester, MA, and WHYN-AM 560 in Springfield MA recently added the second hour of The Financial Exchange to its daily lineup.  The Financial Exchange began as a one hour show in September 2010, on WRKO 680, and has grown to a 14 station network :
  
Massachusetts: WRKO AM 680 in Boston, WBNW AM 1120, serving Boston and Metro West, WXTK FM 95.1 on Cape Cod, WTAG AM 580 in Worcester, WHYN AM 560 in Springfield; Connecticut: WELI AM 960 in New Haven and WPOP 1410 in Hartford; New Hampshire: WGIR AM 610 in Manchester, WQSO FM 96.7 in Portsmouth, WTPL FM 107.7 in Concord, WEMJ 1490 AM in Laconia, WNTK FM 99.7 FM/WUVR AM 1490 in New London, serving Lebanon, Rutland and White River Junction, VT. Rhode Island: WHJJ 920 AM in Providence Florida: WJNO 1290 AM in West Palm Beach

The 89.7 WGBH News Adds : Two experienced journalists have joined the WGBH News team in newly created positions: On May 21st, Mary Blake took on the role of 89.7 night news anchor/reporter, and on June 18th, Saraya Wintersmith joined as full-time Dorchester reporter.


Blake is an award-winning news veteran in the Boston area, known for her work as an anchor at WBZ NewsRadio 1030. She was part of the team that won a Peabody Award for Overall Excellence for coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and the 2012 Associated Press Award for Investigative Reporting. Blake also earned the Achievement in Radio Award for Best Newscaster at WRKO. At WGBH, she hosts All Things Considered on Sundays, on top of helping the nighttime news team prepare lead stories for Morning Edition......
Wintersmith also brings years of experience to WGBH, reporting from the Virginia state house for WCVE in Richmond. Prior to that, she worked at CBS Radio affiliate WNEW as a fill-in reporter and daypart manager. In her new role for WGBH News, Wintersmith works several days a week from the Dorchester Bureau in Field’s Corner.


Thursday, May 3, 2018

iHeart Boston Names Ginny Rogers-Brophey  as New Program Director For 101.7 The Bull

 iHeartMedia Boston announced that former WKLB/Country 102.5's Assistant Program Director and Music Director Ginny Rogers Brophey has been named PD for iHeartMedia's crosstown WBWL/101.7 The Bull. She succeeds Lance Houston, who recently joined Iheart's WEBG/Big 95-5 in Chicago. Houston was programming The Bull since its launch in 2014(BRW 6/13/14).

She will work closely with on-air personalities and sales to oversee the station's on-air content, digital footprint and music programming. She will report to Dylan Sprague, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia Boston.

Brophey left WKLB last spring after 24 years, along with retiring husband and WKLB' program director Mike Brophey (BRW 5/31/17)

IheartMedia Boston's press release below.


IHEARTMEDIA BOSTON NAMES GINNY BROPHEY PROGRAM DIRECTOR FOR 101.7 THE BULL

Boston, MA – May 1, 2018 – iHeartMedia Boston announced today that Ginny “Rogers” Brophey has been named the new Program Director for 101.7 The Bull, Boston's No. 1 for New Hit Country, effective immediately. iHeartMedia Boston has a strong cross-platform presence and includes a number of iconic brand and franchises – both broadcast and digital – encompassing more than 8 stations compromised of music, talk and news formats.

As Program Director, Ginny will be responsible for the day-to-day programming operations of 101.7 The Bull. She will work closely with on-air personalities and sales to oversee the station's on-air content, digital footprint and music programming. She will report to Dylan Sprague, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia Boston.

“If you are doing Country in Boston you better have Ginny on your team,” said Sprague.  “She is a great leader, with years of success under her belt.  She is uniquely connected to the Country music scene in both Nashville and New England, and most importantly, she is a fierce competitor who is eager to win. We can’t wait to see what Ginny and the entire Bull team can do together.”

Brophey is a 34-year radio veteran who has focused on Country radio for the last 24 years. Her background includes serving as an On-air Personality, Music Director, Assistant Program Director and Program Director. Brophey has been honored with four CRB/ Country Aircheck Music Director of the Year awards and has worked at stations that received the CMA award for Major Market Country Station of the Year. Her work in Boston includes producing several Country music shows and developing the Country Music Healing Tour at Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center. Brophey has also served on the St. Jude Radio Advisory Board and on the Beyond Sunday Missions Board of Directors. She is a graduate of Graduate of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York

"I am so excited to get back to work as Program Director of 101.7 The Bull,” said Brophey. “There are so many talented people at iHeartMedia, both nationally and here in Boston, and I can’t wait to tap into their skills as we continue to develop dynamic Country radio in one of the best cities in America.”

iHeartMedia is the leading media outlet in the Boston market with multiple platforms, including its broadcast stations; live events; data; and its digital businesses and platforms, including mobile, social and its own iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia’s free all-in-one digital music, podcasting and live streaming radio service – with more than 1.7 billion app downloads and 110 million registered users.

About iHeartMedia Boston
iHeartMedia Boston owns and operates WXKS-FM, WJMN-FM, WBWL-FM, WZLX-FM, WKAF-FM, WBZ-AM, WRKO-AM and WXKS-AM, and is part of iHeartMedia.
With over a quarter of a billion monthly listeners in the U.S. and over 129 million social followers, iHeartMedia has the largest national reach of any radio or television outlet in America. As the leading audio company in the U.S., iHeartMedia serves over 150 local markets through 849 owned radio stations, and the company’s radio stations and content can be heard on AM/FM, on satellite, at iHeartRadio.com, on the company’s station websites and on iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia’s digital music, podcast, on demand and live streaming radio service, available on over 250 platforms and 2000 devices, including on digital auto dashes, tablets, wearables and smartphones, on virtual assistants, smart speakers, TVs and gaming consoles.

iHeartRadio offers users the country’s top live radio stations, personalized custom artist stations created by just one song or seed artist, on demand features and the top podcasts and personalities. The all-in-one digital service has more than 1.7 billion downloads, 110 million registered users and is the No. 1 commercial radio podcaster in the U.S.

iHeartMedia’s platforms include radio broadcasting, online, mobile, digital, social, podcasts, personalities and influencers, live concerts and events, syndication, music research services and independent media representation. iHeartMedia is a division of iHeartMedia, Inc. (PINK: IHRTQ). Visit iHeartMedia.com for more company information.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Longtime WBZ radio reporter Lana Jones has died

WBZ/News Radio 1030 announced this morning that Lana Jones "died suddenly this morning at UMass Medical Center in Worcester." She was 62. The station did not provide a cause of death.


She is survived by her husband, Steve Jones-D'Agostino who said that Jones became ill on the way home, went straight to bed and passed out on the hallway floor outside the bedroom about 5 a.m. She suffered a heart attack on the way to the hospital, and was pronounced dead at 7:10 a.m. on Wednesday morning.


Jones was working on Tuesday afternoon covering a wake for former colleague, legendary Patriots play-by-play Gil Santos in Bridgewater. 

Warren,OH native, Jones, had worked at WBZ since 1991 and had been a part of the area's radio news scene since 1981 when she joined WAAF 107.3 as news anchor. At WAAF, she also hosted a weekly talk show on local teen issues. From 1983 to 1988, Jones was a news anchor and reporter for WMJX/Magic 106.7. She worked as a reporter for now-defunct WHDH 850 from 1989 to 1991. 
During her tenure, Jones covered many of the city's biggest news events including the Boston Marathon bombing, the Roman Catholic priest abuse scandal, and the death of John F. Kennedy Jr.

Services will be scheduled for Mercadante Funeral Home in Worcester, followed by a "Celebration of Lana's Life" on Sept. 4, which would have been her 35th wedding anniversary.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Gil Santos, longtime radio voice of the New England Patriots passes away

Gil Santos, the New England Patriots’ longtime radio voice, died Thursday on his 80th birthday and 57th wedding anniversary.

Santos had a truly amazing sports radio career in his own hometown market. Santos who had called  three Patriots's Super Bowl wins is the dean of NFL radio play-by-play with calling team's fortunes from 1966 to 1979 and from 1991 to 2012. 

He joined WBZ as fulltime morning sportscaster in 1971, a role that he held for 38 years until his retirement in January 2009(BRW 1/30/09). Santos' great set of pipes served Boston sports fans for unprecedented 46 years. In addition to the Patriots, Santos called Boston College football(radio), Celtics road games(Ch. 56) and Boston Marathon. He worked his final Boston Marathon broadcast in 2009 and was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame later that year. In addition, Santos had done play-by-play for New England Teamen soccer, Providence College basketball, Brown University football, Penn State football, CBS-TV’s NFL football, ABC-TV and Radio football, ABC’s broadcasts of the 1984 Olympics and Big East TV basketball.

Santos started working Patriots’ broadcasts games for WBZ 1030 in 1966 as a color analyst with the late Bob Starr. He took over play-by-play duties when the team moved to Foxborough in 1971. Former Patriots great Gino Cappelletti who joined him on the analysis. Santos called 743 games in 36 seasons/ In 2013, he went into the Patriots Hall of Fame.

WBZ lost the team’s broadcast rights after 1979 season to the now defunct NewsRadio 590(now WEZE). WHDH 850(new WEEI AM) won the rights in 1987 and he held for the next four seasons. WBZ re-acquired Patriots radio rights with the 1991 season and Santos returned to play-by-play. The broadcasts and Santos shifted to FM in 1995 with WBCN 104.1 as the new flagship thru 2008 season. With WBCN signing off  in 2009, the rights landed at then-upstart WBZ 98.5/The Sports Hub that year.

Santos was born in Acushnet and grew up in Fairhaven. He attended Southeastern Massachusetts University, served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and graduated from the New England Broadcast School.

In addition to his son, Santos is survived by wife Roberta, daughter Kathleen and two grandchildren.


BRW Notebook :

Beating the odds : Mary Shertenlieb, the wife of WBZ 98.5/The SportsHub's morning drive co-host Rich Shertenlieb, one-half of the highly popular Toucher & Rich ran in the 2018 Boston Marathon earlier this week. Listeners of the The Sports Hub are keenly aware of her powerful story. How she was diagnosed with leukemia five years ago. How she battled back with the support of Rich, their two boys, Hank and Max, and countless family and friends. Mary is now in remission and ran the Boston Marathon for Dana Farber on Monday, raising over $33,000 in donations. Full story from CBS News.

Pushing the buttons :  Entercom announced that The TJ Show,hosted by TJ Taormina, Loren Raye and Producer Matt Shearer, will remain on WODS/103.3 AMP Radio  through a multi-year contract extension with the show's hosts. TJ and Loren joined 103.3 AMP Radio on April 1, 2013(BRW 2/12/13)...After a three and a half year run with IheartMedia's WBWL/The Bull 101.7, Lance Houston has been promoted to Program Director and Midday Host for company's BIG 95.5 in Chicago earlier this month. In addition to the his programming duties at the Bull in Boston, he also programmed WTBU/Portsmouth where he was instrumental integrating both the iHeartCountry and Bobby Bones brands. As Country Format Captain for the Boston region, Houston also worked closely with the programming team at IheartMedia's WRNX/Springfield. Houston joined the Bull in September 2014(BRW 9/7/14). No replacement for Houston has been named yet.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Veteran news anchor Rod Fritz let go at WBZ

WBZ/News Radio 1030 midday news co-anchor Rod Fritz was let go from Iheart Media-owned station late last week.

Highly-regarded radio veteran, Fritz has been working as news anchor/reporter/director in the Boston market since 1976 and had been working at WBZ since November 2007. He had co-anchored WBZ's midday news with another market veteran, Mary Blake, who was also let go recently.

Iheart Meda sent out an internal memo about Frtiz’s departure but would not comment publicly about reasons. After acquiring the news/talk station  last November,  the company let go long-time news director Peter Casey right before Thanksgiving weekend.(BRW 11/22/17).

San Antonio-based iHeartMedia filed for bankruptcy on March 14 in Houston, following two years of litigation and speculation as the nation’s largest owner of radio stations trying to keep its crushing debt under control and creditors at bay.

WBZ runs all-news format blocks from 5am to 8pm on weekdays, 5am to 6pm on Saturdays and 5am-10am, Noon-7pm on Sundays.  WBZ’s weekday midday news block is now being co-anchored Nichole Davis and Tina Gao. Morning(Deb Lawler and Josh Binswanger) and afternoon(Laurie Kirby and Jeff Brown) anchor teams remain intact for now.

In a monthly ratings survey for February, WBZ was ranked as fifth most-listened station in the Boston market for listeners age 6 and over. It averaged about 594,000 listeners a week or about a half of what Boston's number one station, Iheart-owned Top 40 WXKS/Kiss 108, gets(1.2 million).

IheartMedia moved WBZ to its popular IheartRadio digital platform when it took over the station last November. Since December WBZ has been simulcast on the HD2 subchannel of WXKS/Kiss 108.

BRW Notebook :

FCC silences longtime Boston radio pirate :  The FCC reported last week that it seized transmission equipment from two pirate radio stations in Boston on March 26. According to court documents, the seizures involved an illegal broadcaster that identified as “Big City” on various FM channels from Dorchester (with a studio in Roxbury) and pirate “B87.7 FM,” which operated on 87.7 FM from Dorchester. Both unlicensed stations had been issued multiple warnings but continued to operate. Pursuant to federal forfeiture statutes, authorities seized equipment operated by each radio station. FCC actions came in the wake of complaints to the agency — including one from a licensed broadcaster — about interference.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

IheartMedia Boston keeps Howie Carr Show on WRKO

Earlier today, iHeartMedia Boston had announced a new long-term agreement with the "Howie Carr Show" to remain on WRKO 680, effective immediately. 

Carr started at WRKO in 1989 as the host of a weekly program known as The Governors that featured the late Barbara Anderson and the late Jerry Williams. He started full time as the station's afternoon drive-time host in September 1994.

When Carr's contract with former station owner Entercom ended in November 2014, he launched his own syndication. Initially, Carr and Entercom weren't able to agree on the affiliation agreement so Carr placed his show in the Boston market on now defunct and off-the-air WMEX 1510 in Quincy. In March 2015, he and Entercom finally signed a 3-year affiliation deal.(BRW 3/9/15).

Iheart acquired WRKO from Entercom last fall as part of divestiture spin-off in a CBS Radio acquisition.

"iHeart is the gold standard of talk radio in America," said Carr. "I am so happy to be associated with the best company in the industry."

IHEARTMEDIA BOSTON ANNOUNCES LONG-TERM AGREEMENT WITH THE HOWIE CARR SHOW ON WRKO

Boston, MA – March 27, 2018 – iHeartMedia Boston announced today a new long-term agreement with the Howie Carr Show on WRKO - AM 680, effective immediately.

Howie Carr has been on the air at WRKO for more than 20 years and is a legendary broadcaster, American journalist, author, and conservative talk show host with strong, passionate New England fans. The Howie Carr show broadcasts from 3 – 7 p.m. on weekdays.

"iHeart is the gold standard of talk radio in America,” said Howie Carr. “I am so happy to be associated with the best company in the industry."

“We are so glad to have Howie with our iHeart family here in Boston,” said Alan Chartrand, President iHeartMedia Boston Region. “Howie is a staple in this market and we are excited to have his brand be a part of the iHeartMedia Boston team.”

“Howie Carr is a trusted friend to Boston listeners,” said Dylan Sprague, Senior Vice President of Programing for iHeartMedia’s Boston Region.  “We’re thrilled he will continue on WRKO for many more years to come.”

iHeartMedia is the leading media outlet in the Boston market with multiple platforms, including its broadcast stations; live events; data; and its digital businesses and platforms, including mobile, social and its own iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia’s free all-in-one digital music, podcasting and live streaming radio service – with more than 1.7 billion app downloads and 110 million registered users.

About iHeartMedia Boston
iHeartMedia Boston owns and operates WXKS-FM, WJMN-FM, WBWL-FM, WZLX-FM, WKAF-FM, WBZ-AM, WRKO-AM and WXKS-AM, and is part of iHeartMedia.

With over a quarter of a billion monthly listeners in the U.S. and over 129 million social followers, iHeartMedia has the largest national reach of any radio or television outlet in America. As the leading audio company in the U.S., iHeartMedia serves over 150 local markets through 849 owned radio stations, and the company’s radio stations and content can be heard on AM/FM, on satellite, at iHeartRadio.com, on the company’s station websites and on iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia’s digital music, podcast, on demand and live streaming radio service, available on over 250 platforms and 2000 devices, including on digital auto dashes, tablets, wearables and smartphones, on virtual assistants, smart speakers, TVs and gaming consoles.

iHeartRadio offers users thousands of live radio stations, personalized custom artist stations created by just one song or seed artist, on demand features and the top podcasts and personalities. The all-in-one digital service has more than 1.7 billion downloads, 110 million registered users and is the No. 1 commercial radio podcaster in the U.S.

iHeartMedia’s platforms include radio broadcasting, online, mobile, digital, social, podcasts, personalities and influencers, live concerts and events, syndication, music research services and independent media representation. iHeartMedia is a division of iHeartMedia, Inc. (PINK: IHRTQ). Visit iHeartMedia.com for more company information.

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The Globe spins off RadioBDC; new owners to launch Indie617 on April 2nd

After a 5 1/2 year run Boston Globe's digital music station "RadioBDC"(BRW 8/13/12) is being spun off by the newspaper publisher.  Indie617, a new destination for music discovery and emerging artists, is set to launch next Monday, April 2 at 2pm under new ownership. The brainchild of President/Managing Partner Paul Driscoll and General Sales Manager/Managing Partner John LaVasseur, Indie617 is being spun off from Boston.com’s RadioBDC as an independent entity and company.

After establishing a new template for online rock radio, Boston Globe Media is pleased to facilitate a smooth transition as RadioBDC evolves and branches out into Indie617, powered by a distinguished team of radio personalities, including longtime Boston radio vets Adam 12(afternoon drive) and Julie Kramer(middays).

Those listeners who currently have the RadioBDC app will notice the change in branding shortly after Monday's launch. Driscoll said, “This company marks a new day for Boston in independent media, as Indie617 promises a musical selection that can’t be found anywhere on the dusty FM dial.” 

He added, “Indie617 is our next phase of evolution, a source for new music and emerging artists not heard anywhere else. The sound is one that reflects our Boston base, combining homegrown talent with national artists. While this move forward is exciting for us, we’ll also remember our roots. Boston.com was the perfect home for us as we launched the first digital streaming radio station in Boston. Indie617 carries on that tradition.”

Jane Bowman, VP of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships at Boston Globe Media, remarked, “It’s gratifying to watch what was incubated as part of Boston.com a little over six years ago expand as its own business. I’m proud of what we built together and excited to see where they take it as they spread their wings.”



BRW Notebook :

Moving around : After almost five years at WBOS/Alt 92.9 and for the past year and a half as its music director(BRW 8/18/16), John Mullett, returned to his native Vermont to program WNCS/The Point 104.7 in Montpelier and the 4-station The Point Radio Network...After 10 years at WBZ/NewsRadio 1030 as full-time producer and weekend host, Chris Citorik,is moving over to WBUR 90.9's afternoon drive "Radio Boston" program. At WBZ, Citorik served as Executive Producer for Dan Rea's "Night Side" and hosted Sunday night show called "Up Front". Immigration attorney Marisa DeFranco who has been a guest host/fill-in at WBZ for the past couple of years will take over Sunday night's hosting duties....In early February, Entecom's WMJX/Magic 106.7 left old home in Dorchester and moved into the TV38 building in Brighton that houses its new clustermates WWBX/Mix104.1 and WODS/AMP 103.3. Beasley's sports talker WBZ 98.5/The SportsHub will be ready to leave Brighton and to take over vacated Magic studios in Dorchester by late spring when all the construction is done...Some other aftershocks from last fall Magic-SportsHub swap between Entercom and Beasley : you will notice that Dan O'Brien's is no longer hosting the long-running local version of nationally syndicated "Acoustic Sunrise" on WWBX/Mix 104.1 on Sunday mornings(7am-11am). That's because O'Brien's day job is an executive producer for morning drive's "Toucher and Rich" which airs on Beasley's WBZ/98.5 The SportsHub. WBZ/98.5 competes directly against Mix's sister station WEEI/SportsRadio 93.7.

Public Radio Idol : Boston University's WBUR 90.0 is searching “creative, funny, and engaging person who can entertain a wide audience for a new weekend show". The winner of the "Next Great Show" competition will have a pilot episode of their program produced by WBUR. The contest runs thru April 20 and you can submit your entry here.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

BREAKING : Owner of eight Boston radio stations prepares to file for bankruptcy

Embattled IHeartMedia is circulating documents for a bankruptcy filing that could come as soon as this weekend for the biggest U.S. radio broadcaster and owners of eight Boston stations.

A Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing is all but certain, with iHeart and creditors each swapping proposals in recent weeks for a consensual restructuring. But pressure is mounting on iHeart after it missed a February 1 interest payment, with a 30-day grace period about to run out. On top of that, the broadcaster on Thursday skipped payments on two more sets of bonds. If the company files without a pre-negotiated restructuring plan in place, the bankruptcy could turn into a free-fall, with prolonged, contentious tussling for years over about $20 billion of debt.

Billionaire media mogul John Malone's Liberty Media stepped in with a last-minute offer to senior creditors that would help salvage iHeart by injecting cash and financing a trip through bankruptcy, but the bid wasn't high enough to win over creditors. Still, talks remain fluid and ongoing between the secured creditor group and Liberty Media.

Liberty has already bought a substantial position in iHeart debt and sees potential synergies between iHeart and SiriusXM radio. IHeart runs the biggest land-based radio network with about 850 stations and Sirius has the largest satellite radio platform with nearly 32 million subscribers.

The company's stations in the Boston market are WXKS/Kiss 108, WJMN/Jamn 94-5, WZLX 100.7, WBWL/Bull 101.7, WKAF 97.7, WRKO 680, WBZ/NewsRadio 1030 and WXKS/Talk 1200. WKOX/Rumba 1430 is currently in trust awaiting a sale. (Ed. Note : Some local and regional media watchers reported that Iheart owns 10 stations in Boston which is incorrect and not legal.)

BRW Notebook :

Daze in the Life : On the eve of the 50th WBCN anniversary, its longtime morning host Charles Laquidara will hold a special event to preview his new multimedia memoir called "Daze In the Life". The event will take place at 8pm on Wednesday, March 14 at Paradise Rock Club in Boston. Full details and ticket info are available here. Boston radio icon, Laquidara, signed off his morning show at WZLX 100.7 in August 2000 and retired to Hawaii where he currently lives. WBCN ended its 41-year run in August 2009.


Mutual admiration society : In his recent sitdown with Boston Magazine, legendary Kiss 108 morning man Matt Siegel who turns 68 later this month mentioned that he had quietly renewed his contract. The extension now runs thru 2020. Siegel also happens to be a big fan of WGBH 89.7's midday duo Eagan and Braude who recently celebrated their 5-year anniversary at Boston Public Radio and were also recently featured in the same publication....And speaking of contract extensions, Entercom and WEEI's morning man Kirk Minihane haven't quite worked out a new deal(last one was signed in early 2014).  Kirk and Callahan show was named country's top morning drive sports show of 2017 by trade publication Barrett Sports Media.

Schedule change : Starting Monday(3/5), WRKO 680 will begin airing Joe Pagliarulo's nationally syndicated The Joe Show from 10pm to 1am where it will replace syndicated Jim Bohannon's show. The Weekend Edition of the Joe Pags show will remain on the new Talk 1200.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Michael Holley exits WEEI for exapnded TV role and a teaching job



On Wednesday(2/28), after a 13-year run at WEEI 93.7, afternoon drive co-host Michael Holley announced he is leaving the station for a higher profile role at the regional sports network NBC Sports Boston and a teaching position at Boston University.

Holley, former Boston Globe sports writer,  joined WEEI back in March 2005, made a moving announcement during the final hour of Wednesday's "Dale, Holley with Keefe" show. "I'm nervous," Holley said. "I never imagined making this announcement. Thirteen years ago, I took this job, and that in itself is a blessing. Today is my last day at WEEI."  Holley spent 10 out of 13 years at WEEI his on-air partner Dale Arnold, first as a midday show(2005-2011) and later on afternoon drive program(2014-2018). For three years in between, Holley co-hosted WEEI's afternoon drive with Glenn Ordway(now in middays) from 2011 to 2013 and for a year with a very unpopular Mike Salk who left to return to program his former Seattle station KIRO/ESPN 710 where he's also a morning co-host. 

WEEI VP Mark Bannon said in a statement that Holley chose not to renew his contract after they offered him a multi-year extension. Instead, Bannon said, Holley chose to "expand his role with NBC Sports Boston." where he's been co-hosting "Boston Sports Tonight"(9pm-Midnight). Boston Globe's media writer also reported that Holley will become an instructor at Boston University's College of Communication starting in September.

WEEI's official statement on Holley's departure :


Starting Thursday(3/1) the show has re-branded as The Dale and Keefe Show. The search for the 3rd co-host is now officially on and some of station's current fulltime and part-time personalities(John Tomase, Mike Mutnansky, Trenni Kusnierek) are expected to on-air audition.



iHeart debuts new Talk 1200 in Boston


iHeartMedia Boston announced the debut of the new WXKS/TALK 1200, Boston's Conservative Talk, effective Thursday(3/1). The station launched at 9am on Thursday with The Glenn Beck show. The rest of the day features Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Buck Sexton, Mark Levin. From 1am to 9am, the station features Fox Sports Radio programming including Ben Maller(2am-6am) and Clay Travis(6am-9am). [Ed. Note : This is basically a shift of programming  from another IheartMedia AM signal - WKOX 1430 - which was Talk 1430 since June 2015(BRW 6/29/15). WKOX is currently in a trust and awaiting an ownership change. More on that below]

In March 2010, WXKS 1200 launched a similar format initially branded as Rush Radio 1200(later switching to more generic name Talk 1200) with a mix of local(Jeff Katz, Jay Severin) and nationally syndicated talkers including Rush Limbaugh.(BRW 3/3/10).  After 2 1/2 year run, in August 2012, the station changed formats to a short-lived all-comedy programming. (BRW 8/13/12). 

In February 2013, IheartMedia Boston and Bloomberg Radio signed a 5-year lease to air Bloomberg Boston programming(BRW 2/27/13). However, Bloomberg's new radio strategy involved expansion to FM dial and Beasley's new 106.1 downtown translator sealed a new deal between two companies last July(BRW 7/4/17). Bloomberg is also heard on Beasley's WRCA 1330 and WBOS 92.9's HD2 sub-channel. 

In addition, last August(BRW 8/6/17), Bloomberg plunked down $1 million for a North Shore combo of FM 106.1 translator and a 1,000-watt 1450 AM signal.

Back to Iheart, in addition to moving syndicated talk to Talk 1200, WKOX 1430 was rebranded as Rumba 1430 and features Latin hit music format.  Last fall, WKOX/Rumba 1430 AM was placed into Ocean Station Trust pending a spinoff to a new owner after Iheart acquired divested Entercom-CBS merger stations - WRKO 680, WZLX 100.7, WBZ 1030 and WKAF 97.7.  Per FCC ownership rules, a company can not own more than 8 stations in a single market. Iheart Media already owns WXKS/Kiss 108, WJMN/Jam 94-5, WBWL/101.7 The Bull and WXKS-AM/Talk 1200.

Talk 1200's  is now also simulcast on WJMN 94.5's HD2 sub-channel. 



iHeartMedia Boston Announces the Debut of the
New TALK 1200

 All-New Programming Lineup Launches with
America’s No. 1 Talk Radio Personality Rush Limbaugh

Boston, Mass. – March 1, 2018 – iHeartMedia Boston announced today the debut of the new TALK 1200, Boston’s Conservative Talk, effective immediately. The station will launch at 9 a.m. with The Glenn Beck Program.

TALK 1200 will broadcast premier conservative programming featuring America’s top talk radio personalities including Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Buck Sexton, Mark Levin and more. The station’s programming will simulcast on 94.5 HD2.

“We are excited to have this powerful lineup of conservative talk on a new channel here in Boston,” said Alan Chartrand, President of iHeartMedia’s Boston Region. “We are confident that with the biggest names in the talk radio format, we'll be able to serve our listeners and advertisers well.”

“We are proud to have the best talent in talk radio on TALK 1200,” said Dylan Sprague, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia’s Boston Region. “With a more powerful signal, we can now reach a wider audience.”

Full Programming Lineup:
The Glenn Beck Program                   9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
The Rush Limbaugh Show                  12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
The Sean Hannity Show                      3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
The Buck Sexton Show                        6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
The Mark Levin Show                         9 p.m. – 12 a.m.

iHeartMedia is the leading media outlet in the Boston market with multiple platforms, including its broadcast stations; live events; data; and its digital businesses and platforms, including mobile, social and its own iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia’s free all-in-one digital music, podcasting and live streaming radio service – with more than 1.7 billion app downloads and 110 million registered users.

About iHeartMedia Boston
iHeartMedia Boston owns and operates WXKS-FM, WJMN-FM, WBWL-FM, WZLX-FM, WKAF-FM, WBZ-AM, WRKO-AM and WXKS-AM, and is part of iHeartMedia. With over a quarter of a billion monthly listeners in the U.S. and over 129 million social followers, iHeartMedia has the largest national reach of any radio or television outlet in America. As the leader in multiplatform connections, it also serves over 150 local markets through 858 owned radio stations, and the company’s radio stations and content can be heard on AM/FM, HD digital radio, satellite radio, on the Internet at iHeartRadio.com and on the company’s radio station websites, on the iHeartRadio mobile app, in enhanced auto dashes, on tablets, wearables and smartphones, and on gaming consoles.

iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia’s digital radio platform, is the fastest growing digital audio service in the U.S. and offers users thousands of live radio stations, personalized custom artist stations created by just one song or seed artist and the top podcasts and personalities. With over 1.7 billion downloads, iHeartRadio reached 110 million registered users faster than any other radio or digital music service.

iHeartMedia’s platforms include radio broadcasting, online, mobile, digital and social media, podcasts, personalities and influencers, live concerts and events, syndication, music research services and independent media representation. iHeartMedia is a division of iHeartMedia, Inc. (PINK: IHRT). Visit iHeartMedia.com for more company information.

# # #

CONTACT:
Joe Mazzei 781-396-1430
joemazzei@iheartmedia.com

Thursday, February 22, 2018

January numbers are here....


Entercom and Beasley had four of the top five stations Boston’s January(4-31) Nielsen Audio ratings released yesterday. Leading the pack was Iheart Media’s WXKS/Kiss 108 with a 7.3 share, followed by Beasley’s 98.5 The Sports Hub at 7.1 and WROR 105.7 at 6.7, Entercom’s WEEI/SportsRadio 93.7 and WMJX/Magic 106.7 tying for 4th at 5.4.

Rounding out the Top 10 were News/Talk WBZ/News Radio 1030 at 5.2, pubcasters WBUR 90.9 and WGBH 89.7 and Beasley’s WKLB/Country 102.5  tying for 7th place with impressive 4.9, and Iheart’s recently acquired classic rocker WZLX 100.7 rebounding nicely from a soft Holiday survey with a 4.6.

Five of Boston’s top 10 stations in January were spoken word formats (2 sports stations and 3 stations with news/talk/info format). While Top 10’s total share of music formats slightly favored music formats – 28.9 vs 27.5 – there’s no denying that spoken word stations with very strong digital and podcast presence are carving out a very loyal audience across all platforms.

In the overall ratings for listeners 6 years old and up, WXKS 107.9/Kiss 108 had the highest number of listeners in the morning drive where Matt Siegel’s show finished first. In the midday time slot, the winner was WROR 105.7 where Julie Deveraux hosts 10am-2pm shift and afternoon drive belonged to “Felger and Mazz Show” on Beasley’s sports talker WBZ 98.5 had an outstanding month with the Patriots driving to the Super Bowl.


Here are top 25 stations in the Boston market from January 4 to January 31.

Rank Station Owner Format Dec-2017 Holiday 2017 Jan-2018
1 WXKS/Kiss 108 Iheart Merdia Top 40/CHR 7.2 6.4 7.3
2 WBZ/98.5 The SportsHub Beasley Broadcast Group Sports 5.4 5.9 7.1
3 WROR 105.7/Boston's Greatest Hits Beasley Broadcast Group Classic Hits 5.7 5.5 6.7
4 tie WEEI/Sports Radio 93.7 Entercom Sports 4.1 4.0 5.4
4-tie WMJX/Magic 106.7 Entercom Adult Conterporary 8.8 13.6 5.4
6 WBZ/NewsRadio 1030 Iheart Merdia News/Talk/Info 5.0 4.9 5.2
7-tie WBUR 90.9/Boston's NPR NewsStation Boston University News/Talk/Info 4.9 4.2 4.9
7-tie WGBH 89.7/Boston Public Radio GBH Educational Foundation News/Talk/Info 4.5 4.2 4.9
7-tie WKLB/Country 102.5 Beasley Broadcast Group Country 4.4 4.5 4.9
10 WZLX 100.7/Boston's Classic Rock Iheart Merdia Classic Rock 4.3 3.4 4.6
11 WWBX/Mix 104.1 Entercom "Hot" Adult Contermporary 3.3 2.8 3.2
12 WBQT/Hot 96.9 Beasley Broadcast Group Rhythmic AC 3.2 2.9 3.1
13 WRKO 680/The Voice of Boston Iheart Merdia News/Talk/Info 3.1 2.5 2.9
14 WKAF 97.7/Boston's #1 for R&B Entercom Urban AC 2.4 1.8 2.6
15 WJMN/Jamn 94-5 Iheart Merdia Top 40/Rhythmic 2.5 2.3 2.4
16 WODS/AMP 103.3 Entercom Top 40/CHR 3.2 2.6 2.2
17-tie WBWL/101.7 the Bull Iheart Merdia New Country 2.2 1.9 2.1
17-tie WXRV/92.5 The River Northeast Broadcasting AAA 1.9 1.6 2.1
19 WBOS/Alt 92.9 Beasley Broadcast Group Alternative Rock 1.6 1.8 1.8
20 WAAF 107.3/The Only Station That Really Rocks Entercom Mainstream Rock 1.4 1.2 1.6
21 WXLO 104.5 Cumulus "Hot" Adult Contermporary 1.2 1.2 1.3
22 WCRB/99.5 Classical Radio Boston GBH Educational Foundation Classical 2.1 1.9 1.2
23 WERS 88.9/Boston's Music Discovery Station Emerson College Variety/Block Programming 0.9 0.7 0.9
24-tie WCTK/Cat Country 98.1 Hall Communications Country 0.9 0.7 0.8
24-tie WUMB 91.9 Umass Boston AAA 0.5 0.7 0.8

BRW Notebook :

Reimer's re-entry : WEEI's hosts are hinting that suspended host and writer Alex Reimer might be returning in some shape or form this Friday(2/23).  Reimer was suspended by Entercom from his WEEI's on-line and on-air duties nearly a month ago.

The boys of summer are back : The mild February weather is bringing with it 31 Red Sox spring training games starting this weekend. Starting Friday(2/23), WEEI/"ESPN on 850" will air 28 games while only 3 are slated for WEEI 93.7. Joe Castiglione, 71, is back for 36th season in the Red Sox booth while on-air partner Tim Neverett, 52, is starting his 3rd. Full WEEI 850/93.7 schedule is here.

New time, new station : With all the recent ownership changes, the long-running "Breakfast with the Bealtes" hosted by Larry "Cha-Chi" Loprete has recently left  Iheart's WZLX 100.7 and as of mid-February is now heard on Saturdays on WUMB 91.9 from 6am to 8am. This Saturday's show will be celebrating George Harrison's 75th birthday....In other WUMB news, former River 92.5 part-timer Michelle Briand is WUMB's new night host(7-11pm)