Saturday, January 24, 2015

Magic's holiday ratings crush competition

Santa was very, very good to WMJX/Mgaic 106.7 this holiday season. The station's all-Christmas music format once again dominated Nielsen Audio's Holiday 2014 ratings period in Boston averaging a 16.5 share of all audiences 6+. The station was also No. 1 with listeners 25-54 and 18-34.

It was a massive jump for Magic over Holiday 2013 and Holiday 2012, when the station was tops with an 11.8 share both years. (Magic was also No. 1 in the December 2014 book -- as its Christmas format started back in mid-November BRW 11/21/14.)

In fact, Magic's Holiday total tripled the totals of the No.2 station - WXKS 107.9/Kiss 108.  The Top 40 outlet lagged far behind Magic and its nonstop offerings of Brenda Lee, Bing Crosby and Mariah Carey during the survey period from Dec. 4 to Dec.31

Since 2008, Nielsen Audio(formerly Arbitron) has divided the year into 13 four-week ratings periods, one named for each month plus the year-end "holiday" segment. In the Holiday 2014 survey, WMJX not only won the overall crown, but also claimed every chunk of the day that Nielsen Audio measures individually: mornings, mid-days, afternoon drive, evenings, overnights and weekend.

As always in the post-holiday run, the key challenge for WMJX in the current January survey(Jan.1-Jan.28) is getting holiday listeners to stick around after the stockings are stashed and the wreaths recycled. With a broad appeal of Christmas music, WMJX draws away listeners from stations of many other genres, as well as entices non-radio listeners. You could compare the effect of Christmas music listening to the legion of people watching the Super Bowl who pay no or very little attention to the NFL the rest of the year.

BRW Notebook :

My mind on my money and my money on mind : Boston Business Journal's sitdown with Howie Carr who sees big doings in the immediate future for his 2-month old self-syndication effort.

Deflating Seattle rock : Sorry Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, you're not getting any airtime in Boston, for two weeks. But, don't worry, it's not personal - it's sports.

WBOS/Radio 92.9 this week has kicked off a "Seattle Free Zone" campaign", as the Patriots head into the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. But, win or lose, "Boston's Alternative Rock" says those great Seattle bands will return to its airwaves right after the big game.

Talk Radio on TV : CNN host Michael Smerconish's novel "TALK" has been optioned for a television drama by Warner Bros., reports Politico. The site says that the book, the story of a conservative radio talker influencing a presidential election, will be turned into a one-hour drama series, targeted to air before the 2016 election. Smerconish's nationally syndicated show ran locally for three years on defunct Boston FM talker WTKK 96.9(now Hot 96.9).

More digital, please : CBS Radio has launched Play.it, a new podcast network that brings together digital-exclusive programming from major brands and publishers, as well as content from CBS Radio shows on demand.

Play.it offers more than 300 podcasts, including its local market stations personalities from WBZ 98.5/The Sports Hub, WBZ/News Radio 1030 and WODS/Amp 103.3 CBS Radio personalities such as WFAN-AM (660) and FM's (101.9); as well as content from leading news, lifestyle, sports and media brands including 48 Hours,60 Minutes, CBS Sports Radio, Vox, Deadspin, Simon & Schuster and Foursquare, among others.

Podcasts are available to stream or download at Play.it and on mobile devices.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sports Hub, WEEI position themselves for the battle ahead

The times they keep on changing in the local sports radio world. Just when you thought the game of musical chairs may slow down or stop, a domino falls and more moves result.

CBS Radio’s 98.5 The Sports Hub which hasn't had any major line-up changes since D.A. left the new national sports radio network in early 2013 and was replaced by Adam Jones in the evenings. That streak is about to be snapped after the Super Bowl next month. Boston Globe's sports media writer Chad Finn reports that the Sports Hub will juggle a couple of heavyweights - Andy Gresh who has been with the station since January 2010 and a midday co-host since April 2010 will be departing the station and Marc "Beetle" Bertrand, the sports flasher and the third wheel on "Felger and Massarorotti will take Gresh's seat next to Scott Zolak from 10am-2pm("Beetle and Zo"?). Moreover, the Sports Hub will also have a brand new crew on the Patriots Radio Network pre and postgame shows next season, Finn reports. Gresh who has been on the game broadcasts since 2005 and longtime local TV/radio sports personality Gary Tanguay who has been the host since 2004 season will not return for 2015-2016 campaign. 

As for Sports Hub's most popular show, the afternoon duo of Michael Felger and Tony Massoratti just signed up for a few more years to stay at the station, it was announced on Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, WEEI is also solidifying its afternoon line-up by making an official announcement that after 11 months back on the air, the station has inked Dale Arnold as the permanent afternoon host alongside Michael Holley and Jerry Thornton. It's widely expected that WEEI will also re-up Holley after two hosts happily re-united last spring(BRW 4/2/14). The two were midday co-hosts for six years(March 2005 to February 2011) before being replaced by "Mutt and Merloni"(BRW 2/25/11). After the 2011 break-up, Arnold was shifted to weekends and fill-in duty while Holley was paired up with Glenn Ordway and subsequently with Mike Salk.

BRW Notebook :

RIP, Bob Wilson :
Boston Herald's columnist Joe Fitzgerald reported today that earlier this week one of the greatest sports play by play voices of all time and true Boston sports radio icon, Bob Wilson, has passed away after a long battle with lung cancer.


If you were a Bruins fan back in the 1970's, that booming voice that filled the airways on a winter's night was the Bruins. Driving anywhere in New England or up and down the East Coast most nights, searching for the game on the car radio meant tuning until Wilson's voice filled the car. Then you knew you had the Bruins.

Wilson, who was associated with  NHL's Boston Bruins for 28 seasons(25 as the play-by-play voice and 3 as the color analyst) was honored by the club in March 2011 when the home radio broadcast booth at TD Garden was named "Bob Wilson Radio Booth." The Bruins also installed a silver microphone encased in a black and gold frame on the TD Garden’s level 9 facade beneath the home radio broadcast booth.

Wilson quietly retired on January 5, 1995 as the NHL was in a midst of a labor dispute between club owners and players' union. Wilson's contract with rights holder American Radio Systems was suspended without pay which was one of the factors in his decision to call it quits. When the 1995 season finally got underway 15 days later, Wilson was replaced on the play-by-play call by Dale Arnold.

Wilson began his career with the Bruins in 1964 on the old WHDH 850, first handling team's color commentary chores and then moving onto broadcast play-by-play 3 years later. After 5 years with WHDH he left Boston for a two-year stint in St. Louis. He returned as the Bruins' play-by-play announcer on WBZ 1030 in 1971 and held the post for the next 23 seasons as the team went thru four different radio flagships(WBZ 1030, WITS 1510, WPLM 99.1 and WEEI 590),


Wilson, who was inducted into NHL's Hall of Fam in 1987, was 85.

Spinning in and out : Speaking of reunions, a couple of veteran Boston radio personalities seem to be reuniting every five years or so. Karen Blake and Ralphie Marino were co-hosts of a popular morning show on Star 93.7 from 2001 to 2005 before the station changed formats(to Mike-FM) in April 2005. They reunited again at Oldies 103.3 back in October 2010 for a brief 4-month stint as Marino was between radio gigs(BRW 3/4/11). The station eventually flipped from Oldies to current Top 40 sound in June 2012. Hopefully,the third time's a charm as the pair will be back together on Cape Cod's 99.9 The Q starting Monday(1/19)....As for Blake and Marino's former home in Boston, AMP 103.3's night-time jock Dustin "Slater" Carlson will soon be exiting the Top 40 station after two years(BRW 2/5/13). He will stay on until his replacement is found....

New year, new line-up : The new home of Howie Carr on the dial, WMEX 1510 started a year with a line-up change. The station debuted "Boston Herald Drive" from 7am-9am hosted by Boston Herald's commentator/analyst Adriana Cohen and Boston Herald Radio's program director Tom Shattuck. The Dr.K Show moved to an expanded 12-3pm slot displacing syndicated Dennis Miller. The rest of the line-up stays the same for now with the exception of 10pm-Midnight slot where NYC-based comedian Bob Levy has done his last show on the station last night.

Meanwhile at Carr's old house, WRKO 680, the station took a bit of a hit, if you can even call it that, in December(technically November) ratings but it remains to be seen what kind of impact, if any, he makes on WMEX 1510's numbers in the winter months. At WRKO, station's management seems to be content on running Mike Savage-clone, Seattle-based Mike Siegel as Carr's replacement for now. And, Siegel seems to be connecting just fine with Boston listeners.

Programming Reminder : With the Patriots back in the AFC Championship game for the 4th straight year, WEEI 93.7 will once again be able to air the game(via Westwood One) this Sunday night at 6:40pm. The local play-by-play with Bob Socci and Scott Zolak will be on WBZ 98.5, of course. Both stations will also run its local post-game shows late into the night.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas music tops December ratings

Nonstop Christmas music on Magic 106.7/WMJX captured the ears of Boston radio listeners as Greater Media’s adult contemporary station to the top of the latest Nielsen Audio radio ratings.

Figures released last night showed Magic in first place with a 9.1 percent share of all Boston area listeners and a cumulative weekly audience of 1,454,800 for the December survey period which ran from November 6 to December 3. In the previous survey, the station ranked second with a 1,243,600 cume.

Marking its 3rd consecutive year as “Boston’s Christmas Station,” Magic 106.7 flipped the switch on November 21(BRW 11/21). The station is once again expected to finish first in the current “Holiday” survey which is running from December 4 to December 31st.

Following Magic in overall audience were: iHeartMedia’s Top 40 king pin WXKS/Kiss 108 with a 6.4 share, Greater Media’s WKLB/Country 102.5 and Classic hits WROR 105.7 tied for 3rd with 6.0, CBS Radio’s news/talker WBZ/NewsRadio 1030 was 5th with 5.6, sports talker SportsHub 98.5 was 6th with 5.2 and classic rocker WZLX 100.7 came in 7th with 5.1. 8th place went to Boston University’s pubcaster WBUR 90.9 with 4.6. Entercom’s WEEI/Sports 93.7 was 9th with 4.1 and Iheart Media’s Top 40/Rhythmic Jamn 94-5/WJMN rounded up the Top 10 with 3.7 share.

BRW Notebook:

Ins and Outs : Loren and Wally’s longtime sidekick Tom Doyle was let go from their morning show on WROR 105.7 in late November...One local story to keep an ear on in 2015 is WEEI 93.7's afternoon drive situation. There are rumblings that Glenn "Big O" Ordway may return. The latest fall ratings show Sports Hub's Felger and Mazz comfortably in the lead while "Dale and Holley" with recently added Jerry Thornton trailing. Holley's contract expires in February and Arnold is currently working without a contract...The other programming story that involves WEEI is their hefty Red Sox deal.  This winter, the station's ownership has to decide if it will pick up an option to air Sox radio in 2017 and 2018 seasons....Walt Perkins has exited WBZ 1030 as its weekday morning sports anchor, a role he held since February 2009(BRW 2/6/09). Perkins worked at WBZ since 2001. He has been replaced with Adam Kaufman who works weekends at WBZ 98.5 The Sports Hub...While everyone in radio keeps coming and going, WBZ 1030's morning co-anchor Deb Lawler just celebrated her 30th anniversary at the station...After a 2-month family leave, Tom Ashbrook will return to WBUR 90.9's midday On the Point on January 2nd...

And finally, as we wrap up 20th year of Boston Radio Watch, Happy and Healthy 2015 to all of you!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Magic 106.7 turns on Christmas tunes starting today



Katy Perry and Maroon 5, take a break. Johnny Mathis, Alvin and all of your chipmunks: You’re on.

For the third year in a row, WMJX/Magic 106.7 will switch to 24/7 Christmas music this holiday season. The annual all-Christmas format flip will happen during Friday's(11/21) afertnoon drive at 5pm.(No, no somersaults or cartwheels are involved — unless listeners care to partake). 

The station is tentatively scheduled to go its regular adult contemporary programming, midnight on Christmas Day.

And, on a related note, this December about 500 radio stations around the country will switch to playing only Christmas music, nearly double the number from 10 years ago according to a recent NY Times article.


BRW Notebook :

Don't call it a comeback...yet, but...: Technically, Glenn "Big O" Ordway and his Big Show had never left.  Since being dumped by WEEI 93.7 in February 2013, he had re-launched his uber popular daily talk brand via on-line, satellite radio and even added a couple of regional terrestrial outlets(980 AM in Lowell and 1250/900 AM in Manchester NH) in the process. The Herald who had Ordway being wooed back to 'EEI by its market manager earlier this year has another speculation story by its versatile gossip columnist. The Inside Track  reported last weekend that Big O may be destined to land back at WEEI this winter.(Ed. Note : I'm mighty skeptical but then again I never saw someone as inept, plastic and bland as Mike Salk  ever replacing Ordway. So what do I know?! Sure, Dale Arnold working without a contract and Michael Holley's deal expiring in early February sets up a nice comeback story for Big O but let's see what happens.).

Radio Loft : Speaking of comebacks, 80's local TV icon Dana "Movie Loft" Hersey is on the air with a morning show at North Shore 104.9/WBOQ in Beverly. Hersey took over the morning drive duties after Charlie Curtis retired from radio in late summer. This is Hersey's second time around on 104.9. He was part of WBOQ's morning show back in the early 2000's when the station played broadway and showtunes. And, yes, that's also Dana Hersey(with or without that ugly 1980's sweater) voicing new sounders for Howie Carr's self-syndicated radio show which debuted this week to not so warm welcome from local media observers.

Friday, November 14, 2014

WRKO makes it official : Carr has left the parking lot after 20 years in the afternoon drive

Earlier this week, Entercom Boston's management has officially announced what has been known for weeks and months - after 20 years at WRKO 680, Howie Carr will no longer be heard on Boston's Talk Station. As only reported in this space previously, Howie Carr and WRKO couldn't agree on the affiliation deal which would've kept his new syndicated show on the air at 680. Carr wanted a big chunk of cash for affiliation rights and retain all the advertising revenue from the network's commercial breaks. Pardon the French, but WRKO told him to go screw. And, so Carr signed off WRKO last Friday(11/7) for the very last time.(He is on vacation all this week). His name and all the related material will disappear from station's website(www.wrko.com) over the weekend.

The station hasn't named a full-time replacement yet but will rotate fill-in hosts over the holiday season, typically a very slow time of year for radio programmers and any kind of major personnel moves. Expect a new permanent host to be named after the 1st of the year.

As for Carr, he finally got wish. He wanted out of WRKO for a long, long time and he will now have a full control of the show which will still be regionally syndicated with the hopes of finding more national affiliates. And, yes, he was WRKO's 'bread and butter' for two decades but the radio game has changed a lot in recent years. AM dial where WRKO resides has become irrelevant with many younger listeners(under 59) who are heavily courted by local and national advertisers. Older listeners(ages 59 and over) who make up a big percentage of talk radio audience and AM audience have minimal value in the eyes and ears of advertising executives. While at WRKO, Carr often joked on the air that he couldn't wait to get the hell off AM radio station which required listeners to wrap tinfoil around their antenna to be picked up after dark. With that being said, Carr is no dummy. He still knows where his bread is being buttered - in the AM radio universe. So that's where you'll find him come next Monday(11/17).
More specifically, from 3 to 7 pm on WUFC 1510, which is expected to change its name to legendary WMEX call letters(if you're under 40 you have zero or very little memory of the station that played Top 40 music in the 50's, 60's and 70's on the same 1510 frequency). And if Carr thought WRKO's signal had after-dark issues, wait until December 10 when sunset  in Boston will be at 4:09pm and WUFC's night-time signal points directly at the Atlantic Ocean.

Carr will officially announce his new Boston signal on Saturday via his website(www.howiecarrshow.com). Carr will host the new show out of Money Matters Radio studios in Needham. His longtime WRKO producer Sandy will join him in his new syndicated venture. On his first show on Monday, Carr will also reunite with former WRKO staffer "VB"(Doug Goudie) who was let go by Fox 25 earlier this week. It is also expected that during winter months Carr will be doing more shows out of his home in Florida.

BRW Notebook :

More afternoon changes at WEEI : WEEI 93,7 has announced the addition of Jerry Thornton as on-air host and digital columnist and blogger for the station's popular Web site weei.com. Thornton had been active on the station as a part-time program host and was a frequent contributor to BarstoolSports.com. He'll now play a permanent role as the third member of WEEI's "Dale & Holley" afternoon drive show. Expect more announcements to come regarding that time slot as Arnold is currently working without a contract and Holley's deal ends in February.

Remembering :  Tom Magliozzi, one-half of the "Car Talk" duo, passed away after complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Tom, 77, along with his co-host brother Ray, began the program in 1977 at WBUR-90.9. They took it to the NPR network, and a national audience, a decade later.

The brothers retired from the show in 2012, and reruns of the show have aired on NPR stations since then.


There's money in radio : Two radio personalities have made Forbes' list of the highest-paid entertainers — Howard Stern and Glenn Beck.


Stern tied former "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell at the top of the list with $95 million.

According to Forbes, "Stern makes most of his money from his lucrative contract with SiriusXM, but he gets an estimated $15 million per year from his work as a judge on ['America's Got Talent'].

Stern's contract with Sirius is up in 2015, but the company's CFO says he expects Sirius and Stern will be able to hammer out a new agreement."

Beck was ranked third on Forbes' list with $90 million. "Though it may seem like the right-wing talk show host has faded from the scene, he's actually been as busy as ever at his online site, 'The Blaze,' " says Forbes. In Beck, Boston is currently heard from 10am to Noon on Howie Carr's new home - AM 1510.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Legendary Boston radio personality Dale Dorman passes away

Dale "Uncle Dale" Dorman, a Boston radio legend, passed away last Tuesday at the age of 71 after a long illness, it was announced by his family this morning.

Dorman was best known for over two decades of working afternoons at the Top 40 mega giant Kiss 108 from 1980 to 2003. The Homer,NY native arrived on the Boston radio scene in August 1968 with a morning gig at WRKO 680 which at the time was a Top40 outlet. He worked at WRKO from 1968 to 1978. After WRKO said goodbye to Dorman in 1978, he went to work for WVBF 105.7(now WROR 105.7) where he stayed on for two years. 

After parting ways with 'VBF in June 1980, Dorman was determined to get a job with at-the-time the hottest new station in town – Kiss 108. After few months of try-out's and fill-in's, persistent Dorman finally landed a permanent afternoon shift at Kiss on October 13, 1980. 

In August 2003, after 23 years in the afternoon drive, Dorman’s contract at Kiss didn't get renewed. In September 2003, he quickly landed in the mornings at Oldies 103.3 where he spent five years hosting "The Breakfast Club". However, health probelms forced him to dial back full-time work at WODS in September 2008. For one year he hosted a Saturday morning shift(9am-Noon) on WODS until finally hanging up his microphone for good in September 2009. 

From 1969 to 1991, Dorman also was the voice for the morning and afternoon kids block cartoons(mornings and afternoons), on Channel 56/WLVI and that's how he got to be known "Uncle Dale".

In 1995 Dorman was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the fall of 2010 Dorman was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Kiss 108 will celebrate this year’s holiday season with an iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour

The 11-city 17-day tour, sponsored locally by WXKS/Kiss 108, will once again be coming in Boston's TD Garden at 7 pm on Sunday,December 14. After 11 years at Lowell's Tsongas Arena, the annual holiday showcase has been held at TD Garden since 2012.

With last year's Miley Cyrus' 'virtual' appearance at Boston's Jingle Ball, Kiss 108's Romeo better hope there's no snowstorm in the forecast this time around(BRW 12/19/13).

The tour will also stop in Los Angeles for KIIS 102.7 on Dec. 5; in Minneapolis for KDWB 101.3 on Dec 8; in Philadelphia for WIOQ 102.1 on Dec. 10; in NYC for WHTZ 100.3 on December 12; in Washington, D.C. for WIHT 99.5 on Dec. 15; in Chicago for WKSC 103.5 on Dec. 18; in Atlanta for WWPW 96.1 on Dec. 19; in Miami for WHYI 100.7 on Dec. 21; and in Tampa for WFLZ 93.3 on Dec. 22.

Performers at Kiss 108's TD Garden stop will include 5 Seconds of Summer, Iggy Azalea, Lil Jon, MAGIC!, Calvin Harris, Charli XCX, Jessie J, Rixton, Kiesza, Meghan Trainor, OneRepublic, Shawn Mendes and Nick Jonas.

If you'd like to hear/see a free preview, iHeartMedia will broadcast the NYC's show on all of its Top 40 stations across the country live at 8pm on Dec.12 and stream it live on yahoo.com/iheartradio portal; the NYC show will also be shown as a two-hour nationwide televised special at 8 p.m. Dec. 18 on the CW Network/(CW56 locally).


BRW Notebook :

Howie Carr update : As mentioned here previously, very shortly(like days), WRKO 680's Howie Carr will be a free man after 20 years in the afternoon drive at the Talk Station. Carr is going into regional/national syndication but WRKO 680 is definitely out of the running as his Boston affiliate. As a matter of fact, the station is gearing up for the Life after Howie and will be holding tryouts with potential replacements after he departs and will name a permanent replacement when the new year starts. As for Carr, he may or may not have a new Boston affiliate but Worcester's 830 is putting out a pretty powerful 50,000 watt signal so that may serve as a temporary band-aid for his Boston area listeners. One talk radio insider even wondered if WRKO would try to lure former WTKK personality Michael Graham from Atlanta back to Boston...at least for a holiday fill-in work in December.

Have another donut, you... : As reported in the Boston Herald, Dunkin Donuts won’t be yanking its advertising from Entercom's WRKO 680 following a rant about the national coffee giant made on the air this by station's morning host Jeff Kuhner.  That's because the chain hasn't advertised on the talk station for the past 10 months. Kuhner described DD's coffee as “mud water” and called its doughnuts “stale.”  The Boston Herald article also mentions the chain won't pull its spots from rocker WAAF 107.3/97.7 following Kuhner's outburst on Tuesday. As you recall, the doughnut maker pulled its advertising from sports sister WEEI 93.7 after its morning co-host Gerry Callahan said some unkind remarks about its products in February. 

What's in the name : In late September, Clear Channel had renamed itself IHeartMedia. The company still includes 859 radio stations in more than 150 markets including Kiss 108, Jamn 94-5, Bloomberg Radio 1200 and Mia 1430 locally. The company also owns Premiere Networks, which syndicates 90 radio programs and services to more than 5,500 radio affiliates; the Total Traffic and Weather Network; 20,000 live music events, and its related companies, including Katz Media Group and Clear Channel Outdoor.


Programming Notes : "Sunday Morning OverEasy" hosted by George Knight, an acoustic show that ran on WBOS 92.9 for the past 13 years signed off in late September. Knight has been hosting mornings at Emerson's WERS 88.9 since August 1, 2013.....However, there are still a couple other pretty good options for acoustic sounds on your Sunday morning including nationally syndicated Acoustic Cafe produced at Ann Arbor, MI and is heard on 85 commercial and non-commercial stations including WXRV 92.5/The River on Sundays(7am-9am) and locally-produced "Acoustic Sunrise" with Dan O'Brien on Mix 104.1(7am-11am).

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Newest Boston country station adds local on-air staff

Boston's new hit country radio station WBWL/101.7 The Bull has added a couple of new local on-air staffers. Clear Channel-owned station has named Lance Houston host The Bull's midday(10am-2pm) shift and oversee its programming.  For the past year and a half, Houston worked as the program director at Clear Channel's country station WPOC in Baltimore. Prior to that, he spent six years as assistant program director and afternoon drive personality at WUBL in Atlanta. Houston began his Country music radio career in 1995 at Clear Channel's WTXT in Tuscaloosa, AL. His past experience includes roles as program director of WBAM in Montgomery, AL and WYGC in Gainesville, FL. “I am excited to be back riding the Bull," said Houston in a press release. “I’m ready to lead the team in Boston into a battle, much like we did successfully in Atlanta. America’s greatest city deserves a young and hip Country station.

In addition to Houston,  Jessica Callahan will join The Bull starting Tuesday, Sept. 9 as afternoon drive(2pm-7pm) host The station has been running commercial-free since its June launch added the syndicated The Bobby Bones Show on August 18th. 

Recently, Callahan has been the midday on-air personality at WXXX, 95 Triple X, in Burlington, Vermont and additionally was voice tracking middays at WHYA, Y101 in Hyannis. She is a native of Marlborough and graduate of Framingham State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. “I am beyond excited to be heading home to Boston and working with the Clear Channel Boston radio team,” said Callahan via press release. “Thank you to Lance Houston and Dylan Sprague for making my radio dream come true, can't wait to crack the mic on Boston's New Hit Country 101.7 The Bulll." Callahan's past stops included  WWRX/New London, CT and WXLO 104.5 in Worcester.

The Bull's evening shift(7pm-12a) is currently voice-tracked by Atlanta-based Scotty K. He works as a morning host at Clear Channel's Power 96.1.

As mentioned here earlier this summer, Clear Channel/Boston has submitted a proposal to the FCC to upgrade Bull's signal by using a non-directional antenna system and downgrading two of its other signals in the region, involving stations in Providence and Cape Cod.  The resulting changes would increase WBWL's coverage in Boston. See the full proposal here.

While the Bull came out of the gate with its horns blazing in July, the just-released August ratings survey shows the station cooled off a bit in its second full month on the air. Greater Media's country authority WKLB 102.5 jumped from 6.0 rating(4th overall) in July to 6.3 in August(3rd overall). 'KLB added 39,000 weekly listeners to 912,400, The Bull's rating stayed the same at 2.6(the station actually drooped from 16th to 18) but added 61,200 listeners to 464,000.


BRW Notebook :

Radio Turntable : Boston Herald’s one-year old digital radio station Boston Herald Radio has expanded onto....terrestrial radio. As of last week, it has begun simulcasting its “Morning Meeting” show with Hilary Chabot and Jaclyn Cashman on WUFC 1510 from 9-10am weekdays. More of Boston Herald Radio's programming is expected to show up on 1510 in coming weeks/months.....Kendall Stewart has moved from WXRV 92.5/The River to Umass-Boston's WUMB 91.5 where she will serve as Assistant Music Director.  At River 92.5 she worked as an assistant program director. Prior to The River, she was music director and promo Director at Emerson College's WERS 88.9.... Former WEEI 93.7 and WRKO 680's VP/Programming and Operations, Jason Wolfe has joined The Financial Exchange Radio Network in Needham as its chief media and marketing strategist. According to Boston Business Journal, Wolfe's new job entails expanding the reach of the company’s flagship show, “The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong and Kim Carrigan,” and developing new business partnerships to generate a wider audience for the show. Wolfe had already been working with Armstrong on a consulting basis for several months. Armstrong will also continue his part-time role as chief content officer for Sportstalkboston.com, which features an online radio show hosted by Glenn Ordway...Speaking of Wolfe, it's widely rumored that  his former colleague, WRKO 680's Howie Carr, will end his 20-year afternoon run at the Boston heritage talk station and move over to Armstrong's radio operation where he will base his new syndicated show which expected to launch in early October. Of course, it's very possible that WRKO will still run Carr in a syndicated form as its Boston affiliate if an affiliation deal is struck but don't be surprised if he moves the show to WUFC 1510(with a simulcast on Boston Herald Radio) or WXKS/Bloomberg 1200. WRKO has already placed help-wanted ads in the trade publications in the event Carr doesn't come back to them in syndication...John Dennis and Gerry Callahan, part of the long-running morning show "Dennis and Callahan" on WEEI 93.7, have been extended long-term(3 years) with the sports outlet...WEEI also greatly beefed up its Patriots and NFL coverage this fall....Boston's AMP 103.3 is looking for a new program director. After two years as AMP's PD(BRW 9/10/12), Dan Mason Jr. had left the building for a new job in the Tampa Bay market where he's now Operations Manager for Cox Media Group's WSUN-FM 97X, WPOI-FM HOT 101.5, and 102.5 The Bone WHPT-FM and Director of Branding and Programming for Hot 101.5....Mike Thomas who heads local CBS Radio Boston programming and oversees WBZ/98.5 the SportsHub and WZLX 100.7 has been has named vice president of sports programming at CBS Radio. Thomas joins Mark Chernoff in overseeing CBS Radio's nearly 30 Sports-formatted stations and CBS Sports Radio national network. Thomas has been porogram director for WZLX since 2006 and 98.5 The Sports Hub since 2009.  He will continue to serve as CBS Radio's head of programming in Boston while also guiding the on-air presentation and strategic planning for 98.5 The Sports Hub and 100.7 Classic Rock.

Tradition! : Eddie Andelman, the pioneer of sports talk radio and hot dog aficionado of sorts around these parts, will be inducted into New England Sports Museum on September 17th at 5:30...Andelman,77,  who hasn't technically retired from the business has begun host 1-hour Friday show on Boston Herald Radio last month. "Anything Goes" is heard on Fridays from Noon to 1pm. If you can't listen live, the show's episodes will be archived here.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hot 96-9 shuffles morning and midday line-up as Baltazar exits

Greater Media's Hot 96-9/WBQT is remodeling its new morning show. After a 17-month reunion, "Baltazar and Pebbles" is no more. He is out and she will be a part of the new "Get Up Crew" which debuts tomorrow(8/19), the station announced late this morning. Joining Pebbles on the new show will be middayer Melissa and former NFL tight end Jermaine Wiggins.

As Melissa shifts out of the midday slot, weekend/fill-in veteran jock Deirdre Dagata is now the new 10am-3pm hostess.

If you recall, last March, Greater Media reunited Baltazar with Pebbles in the morning drive at Hot 96-9(BRW 3/1/13) . The duo returned to the Boston airwaves after being apart for 12 past years. They previously hosted mornings on Clear Channel's “Jam’n 94.5”/WJMN, Boston from 1994-2001. Baltazar left his morning position at a Sacramento station to return to Boston last winter. It's not clear whether he'll be sticking around town or heading back to his native West Coast. In addition to his radio career, he runs his own mobile DJ business Baltazar Entertainment.


Boston's Radio Disney station headed for a format change in the fall

By end of next month, Boston area youngsters will no longer have a radio station that caters just to them.

A corporate decision to sell its owned and operated stations is prompting California-based Radio Disney to stop providing 24-hour programming to 23 markets nationwide - including Boston where network's programming has been heard on WMKI 1260 since November 1997.

Radio Disney, launched in 1996, is a 24-hour network features pop music and related content geared toward preteens.

Like the other 22 stations, WMKI is facing a sale and an eventual format change this fall. That's when Walt Disney Co is getting out of the full-time radio station business. However, Disney will retain a sole station in LA market which will keep airing Radio Disney programming.

Radio Disney plans to distribute its content strictly through digital platforms - satellite radio service, digital media players, mobile apps and on-line streaming audio.

BRW Notebook :

Waking up the Bull : Speaking of morning shows, nationally syndicated "Bobby Bones" show out of Nashville is now up and running on the new Bull 101.7 every weekday from 6am-10am.

What's in the name, Shakespeare? : If you haven't been paying close attention, it's been 5 years since WBCN 104.1 left us and it's been two since WFNX 101.7 had met a similar fate in a dark alley in Lynn. But alternative rock genre is not quiet dead on local terrestrial radio. It's just more defined now as WBOS 92.9 has quietly rebranded itself from totally generic "Radio 92.9" to "Boston's Alternative" earlier this summer.

How is that working out for you? : Boston Business Journal is reporting that a new talk format on 1510 seems to be getting some traction... or at least, this month. Station's soon-to-be-new-owner seems to be pretty happy with the new mishmash line-up of national politics and sports.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Clear Channel is all Bull-ish about 101.7's future

Two of Boston market’s biggest radio operators are stepping up the competitive battles between their local clusters.

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment fired a retaliatory salvo on June 13, switching formats on one of its FM signals to country music to compete more directly against Greater Media’s long-time top-rated country station Country 102.5/WKLB-FM.

The move came a year and half after Greater Media made a similar move, launching rhythmic AC Hot 96.9/WBQT(formerly FM Talker WTKK 96.9) to go head-to-head against Clear Channel’s WJMN/Jamn 94-5.

Clear Channel’s latest move happened two months ago, when it switched the 101.7 from electronica/dance format tagged as ‘Evolution 101.7’ to what it’s billing as The Bull 101.7/Boston’s New Hit Country.

Since the switch to country music, The Bull has been promoting its commercial-free playlist thru Labor Day weekend. Apparently, that entry strategy is paying some pretty impressive, early dividends as the station went from #14 to #7 among listeners age 18 to 34 in the just-released Nielsen Audio’s July(June 19-July 16) ratings survey. Among listeners 18-49, The Bull jumped from 20th to 12th place. Overall, the station went from 276,000 listeners per week to 406,000. Not too shabby for a new cowboy/cowgirl in town.

The format switch for 101.7 is emblematic of the well-established tactic in today’s radio chain competition. The goal isn't so much to beat the other guy but to grab enough listeners away from the big kahuna/top dog to lower its ratings — and in the process add a few more listeners to the challenging cluster’s overall complement of stations. The Bull’s early success took away numbers from WKLB 102.5 which fell to #4 in the all-important 25-54 demographic. In turn, that helped Bull’s corporate cousin Kiss 108/WXKS to add to its lead as #1 station in that advertiser-happy listener group.

WKLB, which has been broadcasting its country format since September 1996 has had no direct head-to-head competitor the Boston market for all this time. In the meantime, it remains to be seen whether theory will play out that Bull will take enough audience away from WKLB to knock the Greater Media station off Kiss 108’s tail.

Just to show how intense the competition between these two radio groups is getting, beyond what listeners are hearing on the air, Clear Channel’s latest move also adds a new wrinkle to the new country battle. According to trade site North East Radio Watch, Clear Channel has applied to FCC to make some major engineering changes to its two FM signals in Providence and Falmouth, Mass. This would allow The Bull/WBWL 101.7’s downtown Boston signal to change from directional to non-directional and potentially add more country music listeners on the South Shore.