Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Peter Casey out as WBZ's programming and news chief

WBZ/News Radio 1030's director of news and programming Peter Casey has been let go earlier today according to reliable sources and station's staff memo obtained by Boston Radio Watch. Casey has been programming WBZ's since 1996. He joined WBZ as an assistant news director in 1993. In addition to his 24 years at WBZ, his distinguished news career in the Boston market includes stops at WHDH 850, WLVI-TV56 and WCVB-TV5. 

Under Casey's leadership, WBZ has been consistently ranked as one of the top listened radio stations in the market and one of the most respected news operations in the country. While Casey guided WBZ, the station was recognized with radio industry's top honors - Marconi Awards - in 1998(Major Market Station of the Year), 1999(News/Talk/Sports Station of the Year). 2010(Legendary Station of the Year) and in 2013(News Talk Station of the Year).

While no official word for the split has been given, it's mighty apparent that station's new incoming owner, the financially-troubled Iheart Media, is looking to keep the operational and programming costs down. 

Meanwhile another station longtime vet, assistant director of programming Bill Flaherty, will head the programming on interim basis according to station's staff memo.

Ironically, just two weeks ago, iHeartMedia and the union representing station's union staffers, SAG-AFTRA, had averted a major public relations nightmare in Boston — days before WBZ was set to be formally acquired by iHeart.(the station is currently being operated by Iheart under Local Marketing Agreement while awaiting FCC's license transfer approval which is expected in early January). The company and the union had reportedly reached a tentative agreement for iHeartMedia to accept the union after an initial controversial announcement from iHeart that originally stated the company would not honor the two union contracts in place, adding that WBZ employees would have to re-apply for their current positions.

As the Boston Herald reported on November 9th, the two sides reached an interim agreement on , smoothing over many of the issues that had threatened to derail the sale. The Herald said, “iHeartMedia’s agreement with the union is a major concession from its initial threats to refuse to honor union contracts and force staffers to reapply for their jobs.” The proposed agreement, obtained by the Herald, read, in part, “The Employer agrees to recognize the union as the exclusive bargaining representative for all full-time and regular part-time announcers, producers, editors, writers and production assistants employed by WBZ-AM. The Employer agrees to offer employment to all current union represented employees of WBZ-AM who are listed on the attached exhibit at their current salary or hourly rate of pay.”

SAG-AFTRA released a statement that read, “SAG-AFTRA is pleased to have reached a tentative agreement with iHeart for an interim agreement covering WBZ-AM. SAG-AFTRA members and iHeart management representatives worked hard for this resolution, and we look forward to a good partnership for this New England institution. The tentative agreement will be presented to the full bargaining unit for a ratification vote.”


Chris Tyler returns to Boston to program WZLX

On Tuesday(11/21), HeartMedia Boston announced that Chris Tyler  has been named Program Director of 100.7 WZLX/Boston's Classic Rock. Tyler replaces veteran programmer Mike Thomas who was with WZLX since February 2006 and last week moved with his other role as program director of WBZ 98.5/The Sports Hub which will shortly be owned by Beasley Broadcast Group.

Tyler, a Warwick, RI native,began his radio career interning at WPRO 92.3/PRO-FM in /Providence in 1990 just before becoming an assistant Production Director and on-air personality. In 1996 he would become a part of the programming department at WERZ/Portsmouth, NH, serving as its Music Director. In 1998 he joined Clear Channel(now Iheart) as an overnighter at WJMN/Jamn 94-5 where became music director in 2002  In 2006 he moved down the hall to WXKS/Kiss 108 to become its music director/assistant program director.  In 2008, he was named Program Director overseeing both Kiss and Jamn. In November 2010, he was headed back down 95 to Providence where his career began. This time he was named Operations Manager at Clear Channel Providence overseeing Rock staion WHJY 94.1FM, Hot AC WSNE/Coast 93.3 and Classic Hits WWBB/B101(BRW 11/12/10). But in February 2014 he was on the road leaving New England for Ohio after being named program director of  Iheart's Top 40 WAKS 96.5 KISS-FM, Rock WMMS 100.7 FM in Cleveland.

Dylan Sprague, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia's Boston Region said in a press release : "I am excited to bring Chris back to Boston to program WZLX. His knowledge and experience in the format, exceptional leadership and vision and maybe most importantly, his knowledge of Boston and its legendary radio brands, uniquely qualify him to lead this heritage station and its iconic personalities"


BRW Notebook :

Beasley flips on Christmas music : Before handing over WMJX/Magic 106.7 to Entercom for $12 million check and WBZ 98.5 The SportsHub's FCC license, Beasley Broadcast Group  flipped the annual switch to Christmas music last Friday(11/17) at 5pm, November 17th at 5pm. Until Christmas Day at midnight, Magic will play the best variety of holiday favorites and will continue the station's commercial-free hours at 8:15am and 2:15pm each weekday. In addition, the MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS tradition continues with commercial-free music from 6pm Christmas Eve through 8pm Christmas Day to give listeners the opportunity to enjoy their holiday favorites without interruption as they celebrate with family and friends.

For listeners who miss the best variety of music on MAGIC 106.7, Today's Hits, Yesterday;s Favorites...it will be broadcast on MAGIC 106.7 HD-2, available at www.magic1067.com.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Closing time : Federal regulators clear Entercom-CBS Merger as SportsHub 98.5, WBZ AM, WRKO, WKAF and WZLX find new owners


Earlier this week, The Department of Justice's Antitrust Division has approved the pending merger of Entercom and CBS Radio, leading two big local swap deals involving iHeartMedia and Beasley Broadcast Group., Two CBS Radio Boston stations - classic rock WZLX 100.7 and news/talker WBZ 1030 and two Entercom Boston stations - all-talk WRKO 680 and r&b/soul WKAF 97.7 join iHeart Boston's cluster, which includes Top 40/CHR WXKS/Kiss 108, Top 40/Rhythmic WJMN/Jamn 94-5, WXKS 1200, WKOX/Talk 1430 and country WBWL/101.7 The Bull. Iheart is expected to divest WKOX/Talk 1430 upon acquisition of WRKO, WZLX and WBZ to stay under FCC's  same market limit of 8 stations.



However, the biggest surprise was the swap of two ratings and revenue monsters - Beasley Broadcast Group,and Entercom/CBS Radio will exchange adult contemporary king WMJX /Magic 106.7 plus $12 million in cash for WBZ/98.5 The Sports Hub. Entercom will begin operating Magic 106.7 via LMA upon the completion of its pending merger with CBS Radio which is expected on Friday, November 17th. .  In addition to WBZ 98.5, Beasley owns five other stations in the market alternative rock WBOS/Alt 92.9, classic hits WROR 105.7, WKLB/Country 102.5, WBQT/Hot 96.9, WRCA 1330 and a low-power repeater at 106.1 which is leased by Bloomberg Radio.

BRW Notes :

Annalisa back on the airwaves : Last week, Northeast Broadcasting's  WXRV/92.5 The River) had named former WZLX/WAAF personality Annalisa as the station’s new afternoon drive talent. Annalisa grew up in nearby Medford, MA and did college radio at Bridgewater State’s WBIM. After college, she did middays at WAAF/Boston and later crossed the street to become the first woman to host a rock radio morning show at WZLX. After leaving WZLX in 1993, she briefly part-time at WHJY in Providence before moving out West and working at legendary San Francisco' KFOG, where she did middays and hosted the 10@10 show until departing in April 2016.

WXRV GM Donald St. Sauveur remarked, “Annalisa is such a wonderful talent and a passionate professional. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of the thousands of artists and bands that the River features on a daily basis. She shares stories about the songs that are the soundtrack of our audience’s lives in an irreverent and witty way that’s authentic and approachable. The response from our listeners to Annalisa has been overwhelmingly positive. We’re blessed to have her join our very talented team of on-air hosts.”

Annalisa remarked, “I was raised on Boston radio, was lucky enough to start in Boston radio and am excited to be welcomed back to it at the River. It was important to me that I work at a radio station that respects their listeners, loves the community and loves to share their passion for music. The River stands out as an independent station in a cookie cutter corporate radio world.” Annalisa who's been filling in and working weekends on the Rive since late March succeeds Matt Phipps, who exited in late September.

Night-time is the right time : WKLB/Country 102.5 has hired a new evening host. As of this week, Marissa Lanchak is holding down the night shift.. She succeeds Renee Castle, who left in August(BRW 8/6) and expecting a baby. 

Lanchak most recently did middays at WGNA/Albany, NY until August, when her position was eliminated. She previously spent the better part of a decade as APD/MD/afternoon personality at Albany's Top 40 WFLY/FLY 92.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Confirmed : Entercom and CBS will divest five Boston stations as they are preparing to close on merger

Entercom — which owns five radio stations in Boston is planning to divest two of them. In addition, CBS Radio which owns five FM's and 1 AM locally will be shedding three of them according to an internal CBS Radio memo. Five Boston stations to be sold/traded are :  Entercom's talker WRKO 680 and recently launched R&B WKAF 97.7 along with CBS Radio's WBZ/News Radio 1030, classic rocker WZLX 100.7 and WBZ/98.5 The Sports Hub. 

The news comes after Entercom and CBS Radio today filed an additional amendment with the Securities Exchange Commission to move forward with a merger first announced in early February.  

What the SEC filing also says is that a total of 19 stations will be divested(11 of them are from CBS and 8 are from Entercom). Originally, only 14 stations were going to be divested. Although the SEC amendment doesn't specifically name any of 19 stations in Boston, LA, Sacramento, San Diego and Seattle. But it does say that the Entercom will be adding another 11 stations in three unnamed markets via swaps/trades.

It’s hard to say exactly what’s going to happen in the Boston market after all the sales/trades are completed and who the new owner(s) will be for the five stations mentioned above. But what we do know is the new Entercom-CBS Radio entity will own five stations - WEEI/Sports Radio 93.7, WEEI 850(ESPN Radio), WBMX/Mix 104.1, WODS/AMP 103.3 and WAAF 107.3. . 

Nationally, Entercom is adding CBS Radio’s 100-plus stations in nearly 30 markets.

BRW Notebook :

He shoots, he scores : WBZ 98.5/The Sports Hub announced that Judd Sirott has been named the new radio play-by-play voice for The Boston Bruins. 98.5 The Sports Hub  is the official flagship station of the Boston Bruins and the Boston Bruins Radio Network. Sirott joined analyst Bob Beers in the booth. "We are very excited to have someone with the exceptional reputation and experience that Judd has, join our team at The Sports Hub and call the Boston Bruins games on the radio," said Mike Thomas, Vice President of Programming, CBS RADIO Boston & Vice President, Sports Programming, CBS RADIO.

Sirott, 48, served as the fill-in play-by-play man for Chicago Blackhawks games on WGN 720 for the past 10 years. Sirott replaces Dave Goucher, who left in August to do television play-by-playfor the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.

Friday, September 8, 2017

98.5 The Sports Hub renews broadcast agreement with New England Patriots

CBS Radio and the five-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots jointly announced a five-year contract extension to keep Patriots games on Boston’s WBZ-FM/”98.5 The Sports Hub’. Team President Jonathan Kraft joined last night’s pre-game show to share the news.

Play-by-play voice Bob Socci(BRW 4/24/13) and game analyst Scott Zolak will continue. CBS Radio has served as the flagship radio partner of the Patriots since 1994 when the games aired on WBZ AM 1030, before transitioning to WBCN-FM in 1995.[Ed Note : WBZ 1030 technically served as NE Patriots flagship from 1991/92 to 1994/95 seasons and during that time period the WBZ became a CBS-owned station thru a couple rounds of corporate mergers among Westinghouse, Infinity Broadcasting and CBS Corp]

“Our continued partnership with the New England Patriots underscores CBS RADIO’s leadership in sports radio,” said Andre Fernandez, President and CEO, CBS RADIO. “We have enjoyed an incredible relationship with this storied franchise for over 20 years and are proud to continue our partnership into the future.”

The Sports Hub will broadcast “Patriots Preview” three hours prior to each game, as well as a three-hour post-game show. Both programs will be hosted by Marc Bertrand, co-host of The Sports Hub’s midday show, “Zolak and Bertrand.” Joining Bertrand on both shows will be Boston Globe and Boston.com columnist Chris Gasper and former NFL player Steve DeOssie. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer will also serve as a contributor to the pregame show.

CBS Radio and Entercom are expected to close on their massive merger later this fall and Enterecom would absorb all the broadcast rights currently licensed to the Sports Hub including Patriots, Bruins, Celtics and Revolution. In addition, Entercom already controls Red Sox radio rights thru 2023 season.

While there are still looming questions as to what Boston local sports radio scene is going to look like post-merger, there are some clues emerging as to what the programming management structure will look like when the ink dries on the closing docs.

Earlier in the week, CBS Radio had also announced it has signed veteran programmer Mike Thomas to a multi-year contract extension. Thomas will continue in his multi-platform role as Vice President of Sports Programming for CBS Radio and Vice President of Programming for CBS Radio Boston.
Thomas was originally hired in February 2006 to serve as program director of classic rocker WZLX 100.7. He briefly took over as PD for WBCN in June 2008 and then became PD for upstart WBZ 98.5 Sports Hub in August 2009. In October 20011(BRW 10/13/11), he was named as VP of Programming for CBS' Boston cluster which includes the Sports Hub, WZLX, WBMX/Mix 104.1, WODS AMP 103.3 and WBZ/News Radio 1030. In August 2014(BRW 9/7/14), CBS Radio promoted him to VP of Sports Programming where he and Mark Chernoff currently oversee company's entire portfolio of all-Sports stations and the CBS Sports Radio network.

Thomas is one of many talented CBS Radio programming execs who will play a key role in integrating CBS and Entercom sports brands in the post-merger world. He'll report to former Red Sox chief operating officer Mike Dee who was brought in May to oversee soon-to-be-massive Entercom Sports empire. One of the first orders of business for Thomas and Dee will clearly be to redefine how Boston's sports radio picture will look like going forward. 

BRW Notebook :

A Boston Shutout : Speaking of sports, both Entercom's WEEI 93.7 and CBS Radio's WBZ 98.5 were nominated for this year's Marconi Radio award in the Sports Station of the Year category at the 28th annual NAB Marconi Radio Awards held in Austin this past week,  WEEI had previously won won three -  2006, 2008 and 2012. The SportsHub took the hardware in 2011 and 2014. This year, Dallas' The Ticket 1310/96.7 took home the trophy.

Marconi awards were founded in 1989 and named after inventor and Nobel Prize winner Guglielmo Marconi. The NAB Marconi Radio Awards are given to radio stations and outstanding on-air personalities to recognize excellence in radio.


Reaching out : Sunday, September 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day, and Entercom will broadcast an on-air special, “I’m Listening,” on all of the company’s platforms at 10 a.m EST. The program will serve as a “campaign for mental health awareness and suicide prevention” and include “personal stories from artists and celebrities while offering help and resources to listeners via a live call-in option,” according to a press release.

“I’m Listening” will be led by Entercom Seattle KISW-FM personality BJ Shea, who will be joined by guests including Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Dr. Ursula Whiteside, clinical psychologist and CEO of nowmattersnow.org.

Subjects to be covered during the broadcast include how individuals can become involved in suicide prevention in their local community, how to talk openly to family and friends about mental health and suicide, and how to help a loved one who is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts.

Locally, “I’m Listening” can be heard on Entercom Boston platforms WAAF 107.3, WEEI/Sports Radio 93.7, WRKO 680/"The Voice of Boston", WKAF/New R&B 97.7 and WEEI/ESPN on 850".

Various artists and celebrities committed to ending the stigma of discussing mental health will also make appearances on the program. Some expected guests include the bands Metallica and Alice in Chains and musicians Jack Antonoff (Bleachers), Michael Angelakos (Passion Pit), and Krist Novoselic (Nirvana).

Thursday, August 31, 2017

WBZ fills its morning drive co-anchor role with familiar voice and face

WBZ NewsRadio 1030 AM announced last Thursday(8/23) that veteran television and radio anchor, Josh Binswanger, will be rejoining all-news/talk station as a morning drive anchor beginning in early September. Alongside WBZ's veteran Deb Lawler, Binswanger will deliver the morningâ's news stories, weekdays from 5 AM to 10 AM, on one of the most widely known and top rated all-news stations in the country. He replaces Joe Mathieu who left the station in late April and started as new morning drive anchor at WGBH 89.7 on August 10th.

"This is a homecoming that's a perfect fit for WBZ and for Josh", said Peter Casey, WBZ Director of News & Programming. "He brings a wealth of local knowledge and national news experience, and needs no tutorial on how to pronounce Gloucester or Worcester."

"I look forward to digging into the daily process of providing great journalism on the radio every day," added Binswanger.  "In an era of news anytime anywhere I'm thrilled to be able to be a part of that on WBZ"

Binswanger began his career in broadcasting when he was 14 years old and never looked back. From 1990-1995 he was the host and a producer of WBZ's award winning "Kid Company", a live weekly two-hour radio talk show for children ages 8-15. In 1993, Kid Company won a Peabody Award, one of the highest honors in broadcasting.


Switching careers?

WAAF 107.3's longtime morning voice Greg Hill is thinking about running for the congressional seat being vacated by Niki Tsongas reported The Boston Herald. Hill, of course, is host of  "The Hill-Man Morning Show" on WAAF. Lawrence Army Jr., an attorney who serves as Hill's spokesperson, says Hill is exploring all of his options, including running for the open congressional seat said Army Jr.,. He says through Hill's philanthropic work through the Greg Hill Foundation, which he founded in 2010 to raise money for families hit by tragedies, Public service would be a logical next step for Hill.  Election for Massachusetts 3rd Congressional District seat will be held in November 2018.

Hill is also the founder of the restaurant company, Whole House Group, LLC, which includes Battle Road Brewing Co. in Maynard, 29 Sudbury and the Waltham steakhouse, Flank.

Hill signed a multi-year new contract with Entercom last fall(BRW 11/19/16), however with the parent company mega-merging with CBS Radio later this year, things may get somewhat quite dicey on the radio side. WAAF has been heavily rumored as one of two local Entercom signals to be included in the upcoming divestiture package yet to be approved by Department of Justice's anti-trust division. Stay tuned....


BRW Notebook :

Free stuff :  WXRV 92.5 The River which just celebrated its 22 years  a couple weeks ago is holding its 16th annual River Music Festival at Waterfront Park in Newburyport on Saturday, September 2nd featuring headliner They Might Be Giants. Full schedule and artist line-up for the free event is here.


WBMX/Mix 104.1's last Mix Fest as CBS Radio station has been scheduled for Saturday, September 16th at 2pm. This year, Mix 104.1 welcomes Kelly Clarkson, Blondie, and Andy Grammer to the stage at the DCR Hatch Memorial Shell on Boston's Charles River Esplanade. Gates open at 11am.
Visit Mixfest site for all the details.

Skating to the left : Earlier this month, NHL's new expansion franchise Las Vegas Golden Knights raided key part of the Boston Bruins broadcast presence. After 16-season tenure Dave Goucher has left his post as radio play-by-play voice on WBZ/98.5 The Sports Hub and taking the TV play-by-play role for the Golden Knights. Per press release from the new team, Goucher will be joined by one-time Bruin defenseman Shane Hnidy, who will fill TV analyst role.


Goucher, a Rhode Island native and Boston University grad, called Bruins action from 2000 to 2009 on WBZ 1030 and then from 2009 thru 2016/2017 season on The Sports Hub.  Game analyst Bob Beers will return for his 20th year on the radio beat alongside soon-to-be-named radio voice.

Radio briefs : WBUR 90.9 has opened a news bureau inside the newsroom of the Dorchester Reporter in Boston’s largest and most populous neighborhood.  WBUR reporters will work in conjunction with Dorchester Reporter journalists to tell community-based stories of interest to all WBUR listeners and readers....  On August 15th and 16th, Entercom sports talker WEEI, again teamed up with regional sports cable TV network NESN to hold the 16th annual “WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon” raised more than $4 million to fight cancer.  Since 2002, the annual radio-telethon has raise more than $49 million to benefit the Jimmy Fund....

Police log : Earlier this week, WEEI 93.7's evening personality and Red Sox game host Mike Mutnansky addressed on-air(starting at 16:00 of the audio file) his DUI arrest in Saratoga Springs,NY three weeks ago. Mutnansky faces 3-month suspension of his driver's license. Final decision in his case will be rendered by NY State authorities later in September....Last Wednesday(8/23), former co-host of the Diehards on now defunct WWZN/1510 The Zone, Ryen Rusillo,  was arrested and charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing  in Jackson Hole, WY. Rusillo has been with ESPN Radio since 2008 where he currently hosts a national midday show(1pm-4pm) heard locally on WEEI 850. He's expected to return to air after 2-week suspension on September 5th.

Passings :  Longtime WBZ 1030's radio personality Neil Chayet has died at age 78 on August 11th.
He passed away at his home in Salem after a nine-month battle against prostate cancer. Chayet, the host of local CBS Radio show “Looking at the Law” on WBZ NewsRadio 1030, retired in June due to his illness after 42 years on air and more than 10,000 episodes recorded. The Boston native graduated from Tufts University and Harvard Law School and remained an active alum at both institutions.

The Farm System :  Beasley Media Group, in conjunction with Xperi and Marketron Interactive, have partnered with the National Radio Talent System to unveil the Beasley Radio Talent Institute. The 10-day program will officially debut in the summer of 2018 at Emerson College The Institute is designed as a talent incubator and farm system for aspiring broadcasters.

The National Radio Talent System will be reaching out to broadcasting professionals in Boston and across the State of Massachusetts to teach sessions at the Institute. About the National Radio Talent System. See full press release here.

Convergence : Entercom announced it has been selected as a finalist for the 2017 Acquia Engage Awards in the Media and Entertainment category. The Acquia Engage Awards recognize the amazing sites and digital experiences that organizations are building with the Acquia Platform. The winners will be announced at the Acquia Engage event at Boston's Intercontinental Hotel on October 16-18, 2017. In 2016, Entercom began the process of building a digital platform to provide new websites and functionality for all its radio stations. The result has been a new face of digital for the local brands 0while providing a state of the art content management system.

Old school WRKO : Back in the day, more specifically from 1967 to 1981, talk station WRKO 680 used to be known for its Top 40 hits and music jocks. Earlier this summer, a 50th year anniversary was marked with a reunion of WRKO's Big 68 era.  Event's organizer, Art Vuolo, tells BRW that a 2-DVD set is available to any and all WRKO fans who remember its golden music days :  "The very fact that all five original DJs from 1997 we're still alive and present for the event makes it an incredible slice of broadcasting history. Anyone can see the first few minutes of the memorable radio broadcast that was Saturday night June 3rd by simply going to www.vuolovideo.com.  It's right on the homepage and easy to access. We are donating $5.00 from every order to the Broadcasters Foundation of America, a nonprofit organization which helps broadcasters in need.  If possible, could you please make mention in your next posting about the availability of this double DVD set which commemorates 50 years of WRKO as a Music station"

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


Mathieu back in the morning drive anchor seat


Former WBZ AM/NewsRadio 1030's morning anchor Joe Mathieu will officially start as the new voice of WGBH 89.7’s Morning Edition starting on Thursday, August 10th, WGBH News has announced.


After departing WBZ in late April(BRW 4/25), Mathieu joined WGBH in early June to begin training and reporting for two months ahead of anchoring the program(BRW 5/17). He takes over for Morning Edition host and regional public radio news vet Bob Seay, who will stay on WGBH's morning drive program’s team to focus on producing, reporting and writing.


Mathieu had spent six-plus years at WBZ 1030 where he covered many big local stories and major political races locally and nationally.


Prior to his gig at WBZ, Mathieu was Washington-based program director of P.O.T.U.S., Sirius XM’s news and talk channel devoted to U.S. politics, which he launched in 2007. He has also served as a news anchor and editor for commercial stations in D.C., and was managing editor and anchor for CBS MarketWatch.


WGBH supplements NPR's Morning Edition with its local news reporting and and in-depth story segments. It airs on WGBH 89.7 from 5am to 10am.


WGBH 89.7 is one of two Boston's news and information pubcasters. Like its format counterpart Boston University-owned and operated WBUR 90.9, both stations have enjoyed very strong growth in recent years. Overall, the talk/news/information format has done exceptionally well in the Boston market, with commercial outlet news/talk WBZ 1030 leading the way.   Earlier this week, Nielsen Audio released Boston's July period(June 22 - July 19) numbers. WBZ, WBUR and WGBH were once again among Top 10 most listened to stations in the market among persons ages 6 and up. (Click on the link here and then select BOSTON from a drop-down menu list). One interesting side note/observation from the recent ratings survey, five of Top 10 stations in Boston are now spoken-word formats(sports/talk/news/info).


BRW Notebook :


Moves made and moves to be made : Beasley's WKLB/Country 102.5 promotions director/web content director Dawn Santolucito adds Music Director role which was vacant Ginny Rogers Brophey retired back in May(BRW 5/31), the company announced today. Santolucito has been with the station since December 2009. Previously she was a promotions manager  at WXKS/Kiss 108 from 2001 to 2009 where she worked with WKLB's newly appointed program manager David Corey....Speaking of roles to be filled, WKLB's sister station WBOS/Alt 92.9 is looking for a new afternoon drive personality as mentioned here before,  veteran jock Amy Brooks shifted to middays after syndicated "Dave And Chuck" got installed in the morning in late July. As for two morning guys(and a girl) on the loan from Motown, they are likely serving as placeholders for something bigger and more local once the radioactive dust settles from the massive, very slow-to-close CBS-Entercom merger(BRW 2/2) in late fall...there could be a lot of movement at year-end with formats, personalities and very likely new owners for a couple of Entercom-CBS divested stations.(
Ed. Note : I'm still of the belief that a very popular and well-regarded Boston morning drive show which currently airs on a different station in the market will be in the morning on 92.9 in 2018, but that's just me so don't quote me on the message boards or bitch @ me on Twitter). Former WEEI program director Jason Wolf penned a must-read piece on what to expect after the big deal closes. 


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Bloomberg Radio is bullish on Boston radio

Bloomberg Media announced this week that it has agreed to buy Newburport's 1,000 watt WNBP 1450 and its low wattage FM translator on 106.1 for $1 million from Port Broadcasting. At midnight Tuesday (8/1), Bloomberg Radio began operating the North Shore's AM-FM combo and simulcasting the content already heard on its Boston signals.(Bloomberg entered a 3-year lease with Beasley to program WRCA 106.1/WRCA 1330/WBOS 92.2HD  last month(BRW 7/4)).

Bloomberg tags its new Boston radio set up as 'Bloomberg 106.1' putting emphasis strictly on promoting and marketing the FM signal. The company hopes to make some modifications to Newburyport's 106.1 frequency so that North Shore commuters are are able to have a somewhat uninterrupted reception between their daily ride to and from  Boston.

Al Mayers, the head of  Bloomberg Radio and Television stated in the press release : “We are excited to extend our broadcast footprint in the Boston market.  Programming this station in Newburyport gives us the opportunity to provide timely financial information and world news to our listeners during their commute to and from the North Shore.  Over the next few weeks, technical upgrades will be completed to make the experience even better.”

Mayers is a Melrose native and longtime former WRKO 680 and WHDH 850 program/operations manager who left Boston in 2001 to become the head of Bloomberg's NYC-based radio operations and added TV responsibilities in 2015.

As the sale process moves along, Bloomberg Radio is expected to take complete ownership of WNBP AM and FM from Port Broadcasting pending FCC approval.

BRW Notebook :

Comings and Goings : WRKO 680 quietly transitioned its AM drive show name from "Boston Dot Com Morning Show" to "Boston Morning Show" last month ending two-year content partnership with Boston Globe...After a year and change, WKLB 102.5's night timer Renee Castle spins out of Beasley's country music outlet this week. She's been hosting 7pm-Midnight shift since Feb. 29, 2016. Her social media profile now lists 'Iheart Radio' which might be her next professional stop...Speaking of Iheart Radio and country music, Bull 101.7's afternooner Bradford Colton is adding on to his schedule by signing up to TV work with NBC Boston/WBTS. He served as a special correspondent during WBTS's New Year's launch as Boston's new NBC affiliate. He will now serve as lifestyle and entertainment correspondent for the station. His reporting will be seen on the morning and afternoon newscasts...

Sports Radio Wars : Boston's two top sports radio personalities right now are without any doubt  - WBZ 98.5/SportsHub's afternoon king Michael Felger and WEEI's morning overload Kirk Minihane. Everyone is distant second or even third(Ed. Note : And I mean that with love and respect). This week, Felger got a soft-wash profile by Globe's sports media critic Chad Finn. Meanwhile, Minihane got absolutely skewered by WGBH's round-table discussion panel on the Beat Press.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Motor City's top morning show lands at Alt 92.9

Beasley Media Group's modern rocker WBOS/Alt 92.9 will begin airing Detroit-based "Dave and Chuck the Freak Morning Show' starting Monday, July 24 it was announced today.. The 5:30am-10:30am morning drive show will enter Alt 92.9's lineup starting in a daypart that has been jockless since last November when Jason Rossi was cut loose by new station owners(BRW 11/15/16 - Ed. Note : Rossi has landed as a show producer at WEEI 93.7).

The Dave and Chuck talkshow has been airing on Beasley's WRIR 101.1 since May 2013 and is hosted  by Dave Hunter and Charles Urquhart along with show member Lisa Way.  They all originally began working together in April  2001 on Windsor, Canada’s 89X /CIMX 88.7 FM where they were until November of 2012. The show also features co-host Andy Green, producer James Campbell, and video editor Jason Watson. Currently, it's the #1 morning drive show in the Detroit market.

“We have been eager to expand Dave & Chuck’s content beyond Detroit and I couldn’t be more thrilled that it all starts in Boston,” said Beasley Media Group Executive Vice President of Programming Justin Chase in a press release. “This is a market where their genre of show has been very successful in the past and I’m certain Boston will love D&C."

While not officially billed as a syndication test launch but rather a two-city simulcast(for now), it should be interesting to see if any more stations in Beasley's 15-market portfolio jump on board in coming weeks.

"Dave and Chuck" becomes the third nationally syndicated morning show to be heard on local FM dial. iHeart Media's country WBWL/Bull 101.7 runs Bobby Jones Show and WJMN/Jamn 94-5's carries "The Breakfast Club'. 

WBOS will remain music-focused for the remainder of its broadcast day. Amy Brooks continues as the local afternoon drive host from 3pm to 7pm. [Quick Update : Looks like Amy Brooks got moved up from afternoon drive to middays(10:30-3pm) and Al Beck, overnighter from Dave&Chuck's WRIF 101.1, is now holding down 3-7pm at Alt 92.9 via voice-tracking technology...Stay tuned]


BRW Notebook:

Smaller is better : As mentioned earlier this spring, WBOS/Alt 92.9 had ended its long-running EarthFest and will now focus on smaller station events and concerts. This year as part of the ALT Rocks Boston Concert Series presented by RCN, the station will present the Revivalists in Copley Square Park on Thursday, August 17, 2017 and American Authors  on Thursday, August 31, 2017. Then, on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at the SoWa Open Market it will feature New Politics. Local openers will be announce in the coming weeks.

It's a long way to the top if you want to rock'n'roll : WEEI/Sports Radio 93.7 had a monster spring ratings sruvey and every show on the station did exceptionally well with men 25-54, particularly "Kirk and Callahan" who reclaimed the number one sport from soon-to-be-sister station's "Toucher and Rich" on WBZ/98.5 the Sports Hub....
Speaking of sports radio competition, both WEEI and The Sports Hub are nominated for the best sports talk station in the country in this year's Marconi Awards. WEEI won in 2006, 2008 and 2012.  The SportsHub took the hardware in 2011 and 2014. Full list of 2017 nominees is here. The winners will be announced at National Association of Broadcasters' annual Radio Show which this year is being held in Austin, TX on September 8th.

iHeartMedia's cluster forges its local programming team : iHeartMedia WBWL/Bull 101.7's program director/night host Lance Houston signed a new long-term deal with the station. "I am very lucky to call the best city in America my home and am so thrilled that I get to continue to build the brand alongside the talented team we have here at the Bull," says Houston. He's been at the station for three years(BRW 9/7/14), with previous stops at WPOC/Baltimore and WUBL/Atlanta.

Over at WXKS/Kiss 108, Michael "Mikey V" Vinc has been named station's new Assistant Program Director and Music Director. Mikey V will continue to serve as the station’s nighttime on-air personality. “I look forward to taking on my new role and continuing to work with the extremely talented people at KISS 108,” said Mikey  V. “iHeartMedia Boston is a dream workplace for this kid from Framingham.” Mikey V has entered Kiss 108's line-up back in November 2013(BRW 11/25/13)

Also signed to a new long-term contract with Karim "DJ Pup Dawg" Karmali who will continue as Assistant Program Director and Music Director for WJMN/ JAM’N 94-5 = Boston’s #1 for Hip-Hop and Hits. He will oversee JAM’N 94-5’s on-air content and music programming, as well as continue as host of the station’s evening show/. DJ Pup Dawg has been with the station since 2001 when became producer for "Baltazar and Pebbles" morning show.

“I am JAM'N through and through and thrilled to be with JAM'N 94-5 for the foreseeable future,” said DJ Pup Dawg. “JAM’N is known for playing Boston’s biggest Hip-Hop songs that our listeners want to hear and I can’t wait to continue that tradition with the best team in the business.”

“We’re thrilled for the opportunity to continue to work with Mikey V, Lance and DJ Pup Dawg,” said Dylan Sprague, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia’s Boston Region. “These guys know this city and know these stations. Having these critical programming roles locked in long-term gives us a big competitive advantage as we strategize for our future.” 

In addition, the company also announced that Shaileen Santoro has been named Director of Marketing for the Boston Region, effective immediately. The area includes Kiss 108, JAM’N 94.5, 101.7 The Bull, Talk 1430, and WXKS-AM 1200 - and produces legendary marquee events including the Kiss 108 Jingle Ball, Kiss Concert and JAM’N 94.5’s Summer Jam. 

Santoro replaces longtime local Kiss 108/Jamn 94-5 marketing exec Dennis O’Heron who moved to corporate with iHeart’s National Programming Group as Senior VP for Live Entertainment & Events back in April and is now NYC-based.. O’Heron was the National Event Brand Manager for National Programming in addition to being the VP of Marketing for the iHeartMedia Boston cluster. O’Heron was part of the team that created the initial idea of a multi-band radio show at KISS 108, which eventually led to the inception of the Jingle Ball concerts and many others.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Bloomberg is switching stations in Boston

Bloomberg Media announced yesterday that it will be adding new FM and AM stations in Boston starting today at Noon. The New York-based financial information giant will take over programming on Beasley Media's WRCA 1330, WRCA 106.1 and WBOS 92.2 HD-2. Florida-based Beasley also made the same announcement

For the past fours years, Bloomberg Radio has been airing on IHeart Radio's WXKS 1200 and WJMN 94.5-HD2 (BRW 2/27/13). That arrangement will continue for the next few months as listeners are transitioned over to the new frequencies. 

WXKS 1200 also serves as the Boston affiliate for Umass-Amherst football and a flagship for Harvard football. It hasn't been announced yet if these sports packages will also be moving over to  the new Bloomberg home 1330 AM/106.1FM/92.9 HD2 or stay on the existing AM 1200 frequency.

Beasley which has owned WRCA 1330 locally since 2000, acquired Braintree-based Greater Media and its five local FM's(WBOS 92.9, WKLB 102.5, WMJX 106.7, WROR 105.7 and WBQT 96.9) last July(BRW 7/20/16) and took over the operations in November. WRCA which for many years featured brokered/leased time format underwent a major signal upgrade recently. Last year, the company also acquired a license for 106.1 FM, 100-watt repeater which sits atop of 200 Clarendon office tower(formerly John Hancock Building).  106.1's signal blankets entire downtown Boston including the Financial District. 

When it officially relaunches later today, WRCA 1330/106.1 will continue its run as brokered/leased air time format as it adds Bloomberg as the new program provider.

Bloomberg also announced that tonight's July 4th Boston Pops concert at the Hatch Shell will be simulcast on WRCA 1330/WRCA 106.1FM and WBOS 92.9 HD2 in addition to the outgoing WXKS 1200/94.5-HD2 signals.

Bloomberg tailors much of the weekday programming for the Boston market with dedicated business news anchors in NYC but supplements them with local traffic, sports and weather updates from local Total Traffic Network offices in Medford. In addition, Bloomberg maintains its own Boston news bureau in the heart of the Financial District where bureau chief Tom Moroney and anchor Anne Mostue produce local content and feature programming such as BayState Business Hour.

As for Iheart's WXKS 1200's future format, it's not yet known what its local management's plans are when Bloomberg programming leaves in a few months. One possibility could be simulcasting lower-powered syndicated talk format on WKOX/Talk 1430 where big name national talkers like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin are heard during the day and evening and Fox Sports programming runs overnight and in the morning drive. 1200 used to feature a talk format as mix of local and syndicated shows from 2010 until August 2012 when switched to brief-lived all-comedy format(BRW 8/13/13).

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Boston's once-iconic AM station goes dark

WMEX 1510, a local mainstay on the AM radio dial in Boston for more than eight decades, went off the air at 6pm on Friday(6/30) when current owners,,Daly XXL Communications, LLC, decided to pull the plug after indicating the the station has been sold and the new owner has not decided on the new format.  (As of this writing. the identity of new station owner has not been announced and no transfer of station license application has been filed with the FCC)

From its start in the mid-1930's and for decades to come WMEX had evolved into one of Boston's famed pop music stations. However, by mid 1970's a growing music competition on AM and FM dials forced its sale and a format change. In 1976, WMEX became the first all-talk format station as well as the new flagship for Boston Red Sox broadcasts for the next seven years. In 1978,  the station changed call letters to WITS("Information, Talk and Sports") by the new ownership.   The Red Sox contract called for the station to improve its signal coverage but despite a $1 million investment into a new antenna, a crucial signal problem remained. Coupled with disadvantageous spot on the end of the dial (1510) and AM radio in general is being challenged more and more by FM, the downward turning point for 1510 was well underway.

In the past four decades, the 1510 frequency has been far from a smashing success of its first 40 years.  Regardless of the ownership, call letters or the programming, a continuing problem had been the station's 50,000 watt signal, adequate during daytime hours, but shaky nighttime directional signal left much to be desired  - WMRE(Golden Oldies/"Memory"Big Band/Nostalgia), WSSH(simulcast of soft pop WSSH FM "Wish 99.5"),  WKKU(Country), WNRB(Spanish language religious programming), WWZN(sports talk and Celtics broadcasts under Sporting Radio/Zone 1510), WUFC(Yahoo Sports/Talk format) and last two years as all-talker WMEX. The station was also in Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1986 but never actually signed off the air.
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As for current situation, after leasing out 1510 for about a year(2014-2015), a family-owned Daly XXL finally acquired WMEX from Blackstrap in June 2015 for $175,000. Over the past two years, the all-talk format featured local morning show "Renegade Radio" show with John Pica and station's general manager Bryan Berner, Boston Herald Radio, Joe Shortsleeve, Sandy Shack, Michele McPhee, Tim Constantine, syndicated Michael Savage. Very briefly, WMEX served as the temp home for Howie Carr who was in the midst of negotiating a hard-bargained affiliation deal with WRKO 680 and desperately needed a Boston signal to support his new self-syndication venture. (The WRKO syndication deal was finally struck in March 2015 and Carr immediately returned to AM 680)

It's not clear whether 1510's discontinued signal transmission will be temporary or permanent. The Federal Communications Commission won’t let a station remain silent for longer than one year, or its license gets automatically cancelled.

Stay tuned.

BRW Notebook :

Fireworks : The annual July 4 concert and fireworks event at the Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade produced by The Boston Pops has a brand new media partner starting this year. That means the change in radio signals. Exit CBS/WBZ-TV and WBZ 1030 and enter NewYork-based Bloomberg TV and Radio. Bloomberg will broadcast The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on Bloomberg Television on cable/satellite nationally and internationally. Locally, on radio over WXKS 1200/WJMN 94.5 HD2 will run TV simulcast from 8pm to 11pm. The concert will be also heard on WBBR 1130 in New York/New Jersey/Connecticut areas; WNEW FM 99.1 in the Washington, D.C/ Baltimore areas; 960 AM in San Francisco; SiriusXM Channel 119, on the Bloomberg Radio+ app for iPhone and Android, and on TuneIn. Bloomberg's anchors/personalities Alix Steel, Carol Massar and Matt Miller are the hosts. 

Happy Returns : Couple noteable returns on local dial - after a three year absence, former WEEI nighttime host John Ryder has returned to Red Sox Radio broadcasts on WEEI as weekend and fill-in pre and postgame host earlier June. Ryder is still working with ESPN Radio in CT......Jim Clerkin, who was with WXKS/Kiss 108 from 1999-2015 in various roles including music director, assistant program director and Matt Siegal's morning show executive producer has landed as executive producer at WRKO 680's Boston Dot Com morning show in early June. Clerkin officially replaced Dave Cullinane who exited in late February(BRW 3/1/15).