Thursday, August 18, 2016

John Dennis to transition out of WEEI's morning drive

Earlier tonight, WEEI/SportsRadio 93.7 announced that long-time morning personality John Dennis will step away immediately from his full-time co-hosting role to address health concerns. Dennis planned on retiring next September when his current 3-year contract is up. Along with partner Gerry Callahan, Dennis has been part of the highly-rated "Dennis & Callahan Show" since 1997 first as a midday show and then replacing Don Imus in AM Drive in 1999.. On advice from his doctors Dennis will reduce his workload, but will continue to serve the station in a “moderated” capacity. “John is a Boston radio icon and will remain an important part of the WEEI family going forward,” said Entercom/Boston VP/Market Manager Phil Zachary. “To that end, we have been working with John to define a new role for his considerable talents. Most importantly, John will continue his compassionate work with our annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, and he’ll appear in our live broadcasts from Fenway Park, August 29th and 30th.” Following that event the morning show will move forward with Gerry Callahan and Kirk Minihane, who’s been part of the morning show since 2013. 

WEEI is also searching to replace departed program director Kevin Graham. Whoever replaces Graham will likely pick Dennis' successor in AM drive. 

Full WEEI statement regarding Dennis' reduced role at the station(it's also posted on WEEI's website) :

BOSTON, MA – Sports Radio WEEI announced today that long-time morning personality John Dennis will step away immediately from his full-time co-hosting role to address health concerns. Along with partner Gerry Callahan, Dennis has been part of the highly-rated Dennis & Callahan Show since 1997. He made the decision on advice from his doctors that he reduce his workload but will continue in a moderated capacity with the station.

Entercom Boston VP/Market Manager Phil Zachary said “John is a Boston radio icon and will remain an important part of the WEEI family going forward. To that end, we have been working with John to define a new role for his considerable talents.” In his new capacity, Dennis will work with station advertisers, act as an ambassador to sponsors and community organizations, and occasionally host WEEI programs. “Most important to him,” said Zachary, “is that John will continue his compassionate work with our annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon and will appear in our live broadcasts from Fenway Park, August 29 and 30.” After that, the WEEI morning show will move forward with Gerry Callahan and Kirk Minihane, who’s been part of the Dennis & Callahan program since 2013.

Dennis said he and Zachary had been discussing a new role with WEEI that would allow him to follow his doctor’s orders but remain involved with the radio station. He said he’s excited about (what he calls) “this next chapter of my broadcast incarnation,” stating further “I’m glad, first and foremost, for my initial duties back to host the most favored two days of my entire year, the Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon.” Dennis went on to say, “Pardon the cliché, but like most morning radio people, I’m really looking forward to finally sleeping in.”


BRW Notebook :

ALT 92.9 names new MD : Monday(8/15), Greater Media Boston announced that John Mullett has been promoted to Music Director at ALT 92.9 in Boston. He will begin his new position immediately. Mullett joined WBOS-FM in 2013, where he most recently served as the Marketing Director at the station. Prior to coming to Greater Media Boston, he worked at WXRV-FM/92.5 The River and The Point in Burlington Vermont. Mullett replaced WBOS' longtimer Paul Jarvis who moved for a new opportunity in Vermont back in May(BRW 5/12).

Toucher and Rich turn 10 : Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb, aka "Toucher & Rich" of WBZ 98.5/Sports Hub celebrated their 10th anniversary in the Boston market before a sold-out live audience at Wilbur Theater this week. There to wish them well in person or by video were Boston Celtics player Brian Scalabrine, plus video greets from Bob Saget, actor Mark Wahlberg, Jimmy Kimmel, Dicky Barrett of Mighty Mighty Bostones, comedian Robert Kelly, WFAN/NY'S Boomer Esaison and many more. Comedian Bill Burr made an appearance and Rob Gronkowski, wandered onto the screen to personally congratulate the show.

Cleaning out my mailbox : Westwood One has signed Michael Savage to a renewal deal that the company describes as "multi-year," with other terms undisclosed. Savage said in a release, "My deal with Westwood One caps my winning the National Radio Hall of Fame nomination. My show is famous for my 'News, views, and reviews,' and we will take it to new levels come January 2017. We will be doing a three-dimensional show – on broadcast stations, as a live stream and with special segments created only for subscribers." Savage can be currently heard locally from 10pm to 1 a.m. on WMEX 1510......Renée Montagne, NPR "Morning Edition" co-host, has announced that she will be "stepping back" from hosting to concentrate on long-form reporting for the network as special correspondent. The change, according to a published report, will take place after November's election.
Montagne, co-host of the show since 2004, will continue to be based at NPR WEST in Culver City, Calif., and will be heard on "Morning Edition" and other news magazines. Steve Inskeep and David Greene continue as co-hosts of "Morning Edition.". NPR's Morning Edition airs locally on WBUR 90.9 and WGBH 89.7........iHeartmedia has announced the lineup for the 2016 iHeartmedia Music Festival, taking place Sept. 23 and 24 at Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena. This year, the lineup will feature performances by U2, Sting, Drake, Britney Spears, Sam Hunt, Twenty One Pilots, Billy Idol, Florida Georgia Line, Onerepublic, Sia, Cage the Elephant, Zedd, Tears for Fears, Ariana Grande, Pitbull and Usher. Each night, the festival will broadcast live for fans via iHeartmedia radio stations throughout the country across 150 markets including WXKS/Kiss 108 in Boston The CW Network will also live-stream both nights of the festival via cwtv.com and the CW app, and then broadcast a two-night television special on Oct. 6 and 7 from 8 to 10 p.m.........Rush Limbaugh has a new contract with iHeartmedia and Premiere Networks. Terms of the new deal were undisclosed beyond a release calling the renewal a "long-term, multi-platform agreement." "I'm thrilled to be continuing," said Limbaugh in statement. "And I really want to be on the air if the Russians find Hillary's emails." Locally, Limbaugh can be heard on WKOX/Talk 1430 from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays........Voting results for the 2016 National Radio Hall Of Fame's 24 nominations in six categories are in. Four of those categories were decided by a voting participant panel of 400 industry professionals. The other two categories, music format on-air personality and spoken word on-air personality, were voted on by the public.  The 2016 inductees are: Eric & Kathy (Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart), WTMX-FM (101.9), Chicago, active local/regional, 10+ years; Jeff & Jer (Jeff Detrow and Jerry Cesak), KYXY-FM (96.5), San Diego, longstanding local/regional, 20+ years; Steve Harvey, The Steve Harvey Morning Show; syndicated by Premiere Networks, active network/syndication, 10+ years; Delilah, syndicated by Premiere Networks, longstanding network/syndication, 20+ years; Bob Kingsley, Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40; syndicated by Westwood One, music format on-air personality; and Michael Savage, The Savage Nation; syndicated by Westwood One, spoken word on-air personality. Additionally, the nominating committee voted to induct four individuals for their contribution to the industry. Those inductees are: George G. Beasley, chairman/CEO/founder of Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc.; Kidd Kraddick, the late national on-air personality; Tony Roberts, former sportscaster and play-by-play announcer for Notre Dame Football; and Neil Rogers, the late Southern Florida on-air personality.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Magic 106.7, WROR to change hands as part of $240 million radio deal

Five Boston radio stations are part of a deal announced Tuesday evening in which Naples, Fla.-based Beasley Broadcast Group Inc. will buy Braintree-based Greater Media Inc. in transaction valued at $240 million.
Beasley gets 21 Greater Media stations including Boston's adult contemporary rock station WMJX 106.7, classic hits WROR 105.7, alternative rocker WBOS/Alt 92.9, country WKLB/New Hit Country 102.5 and rhythmic adult contemporary WBQT/Hot 96.9.

In the most recent Nielsen Audio rankings for June, WROR 105.7 had the largest weekly listenership in Greater Boston, while WMJX/Magic 106.7 was second. WKLB/Country 102.5 ranked 6th, WBQT/Hot 96.9 was 9th and WBOS/Alt 92.9 was 14th.. Magic 106.7 was also #1 station with advertisers' dream demographic - adults 25-54. WBQT/Hot 96-9 ranked second among younger adults 18 to 34.


The deal is expected to close in late fall. The boards of both companies have approved the deal, which remains subject to FCC approval No immediate changes to management, staffing, or format are expected for the five local Boston stations before the deal closes.

Beasley currently owns one station in the Boston market - WRCA 1330 has its studios in Cambridge's Central Square and features paid-time ethnic and religious format. Beasley acquired. WRCA in 2000.

Greater Media's  has owned WMJX since 1981. Over the years the company added four more FM signals and consolidated its local cluster under one roof at its current Dorchester studios in 1998.

Beasley, which was founded in 1961, comes to the deal with 51 stations in 12 markets. It intends to pay $100 million cash for Greater Media, and pay $25 million in stock to Greater Media shareholders. It also will refinance $80 million in Greater Media debt, and sell tower assets it estimates to be worth $20 million. Greater Media investors will received the proceeds of the equipment sale.

Beasley said it has planned to sell stations in Charlotte, where it competes with Greater Media, to meet federal regulatory scrutiny of the deal. It has seven stations in Charlotte, and Greater Media has two. One interesting side note, Beasley's conservative talk station in Charlotte has familiar Boston call letters - WBCN/America's Pulse 1660. 

Beasley had net income of $6.3 million last year on $106 million in revenue, and it said it expects the Greater Media deal to add $141 million in revenue.

It wasn’t immediately clear what would become of Greater Media’s 10 weekly newspapers it owns in New Jersey.

Greater Media was founded in 1956, and it has stations in the Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, New Jersey and Philadelphia markets. Its Boston market is run by Mary Menna.

Once the deal is finalized, Beasley said its shareholders will own 81 percent of the company stock, and Greater Media shareholders the remainder. In addition, Greater Media shareholders will have the right to appoint one member to the Beasley board of directors, which will add a ninth seat, Beasley said.


BRW Notebook :

'GBH joins VuHaus : Boston’s WGBH 89.7 has joined VuHaus and is now live on VuHaus.com. VuHaus, the music discovery video platform for public media, is a growing network of public media organizations who share a common mission to support emerging and local artists, and to introduce their music to new audiences. VuHaus content originates from the country’s most trusted radio tastemakers: WFUV in New York City, KCRW in Los Angeles, KXT in Dallas, WXPN in Philadelphia, KEXP in Seattle, opbmusic in Portland, KTBG The Bridge in Kansas City, KUTX in Austin, Mountain Stage of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, KDHX in St. Louis, and Live From the Fort of Vermont Public Broadcasting

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

WBOS completes its brand change to ALT

As of yesterday(7/12), "Radio 92.9" is out and gone. The station is now known as "Alt 92.9". While the new moniker and on-air elements may or may not make you think this is a brand new station, the transition has been in progress for better part of past two years. As you only read about it here in BRW, the station began tagging itself as "Boston's Alternative" during summer of 2014(BRW 8/18/14). 

As you may or may not recall, back on January 30, 2008, WBOS 92.9 had let go its entire on-air staff and shifted away from its longtime AAA(adult album alternative) format to concentrate on younger and hipper 18-34 demo with an alternative/modern rock alternative currents as well as format's alternative mainstays including Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, Pearl Jam, and the Dave Matthews Band. The station then had also assumed branding "Radio 92.9" which as of yesterday(7/12) is now part of Boston's radio history. While station's playlist is not at all different today, its presentation, however, has been drastically tweaked(and not to my liking) - the station runs about an hour of music followed by a very(long) 9-10 minute ad break(Ed Note : talk about bringing 'blah-blah-blah' back in a big way. I think it's an awful way to pay bills but they don't pay me for my opinions on the matter). 

Although Boston's modern and alternative rock radio scene had its ups and downs for the past three decades, WBOS has been slowly thriving and establishing its place in a rapidly changing media marketplace. While the mission of FM rock and alternative stations like WBOS has changed in recent years -. they were once about music discovery(eg late WBCN(d.2009) and WFNX(d 2012)), that role has fully shifted to diverse online sources, like YouTube and Spotify or even to band sites. However, record companies will tell you that it is still nearly impossible to have a true hit song without FM radio airplay. While there are tons and tons of different music options out there, FM rock radio is still a big part of the game.

WBOS was the 6th most popular station in Boston market among its target demographic - adults 18-34/ - in the month June. The station was behind(in order) - WXKS/Kiss 108, WBQT/Hot 96.9, WODS/Amp 103.3,  WJMN/Jamn 94-5 and WMJX/Magic 106.7.


BRW Notebook :

VB is back in the house : Although WRKO 680's Morning Boston.com show title still says "featuring Kim Carrigan", as of last Tuesday(7/5), Doug 'VB" Goudie is now officially full-time co-host. Yes, you had read it here correctly - Goudie was first offered a contract in late May/early June but declined it. It appears the station upped the offer to VB's satisfaction and the former nighttime host of the raucous "The Pleasure Pit"(on WRKO, circa 2002-2003) is now back at the station as a full time WRKO employee.

Going once, going twice : In a report published last week at Bloomberg.com, reporter Paul Barbagallo suggests that CBS Corp. is planning to file to take its radio division public by the end of July. Bloomberg reports the decision to pursue an IPO was announced in a prospectus for senior notes due in 2020, and says it could indicate the company has as yet been unable to find a buyer willing to pay the “right price.” Company Chairman/CEO Leslie Moonves confirmed plans to sell or spin-off the broadcast radio division earlier this year. Bloomberg Intelligence estimates that CBS Radio, which operates 117 radio station in 26 markets including Boston(WBZ 1030, WBZ 98.5 The SPortsHub, WZLX 100.7, WODS/AMP 103.3, WBMX/Mix 104.1), could be worth around $2.9 billion. As a stand alone company, it's also very likely CBS Radio could be ripe for a friendly or hostile takeover. First, you'd need about $3 billion 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Pop Mix enters July 4th radio picture 

Every year the Boston Pops' July 4th concert and fireworks show brings out a half-million people to the Charles River Esplanade. For those who can't be there in person or prefer for a more intimate setting of their own home, local TV and radio had always provided complete and extensive coverage of the concert and the fireworks.

The set-up will not be any different this year but there will definitely be a noticeable change in participants both on the Hatch Shell stage and over the air. Goodbye, middle of the road headliners like the Beach Boy, Susan Tedeschi and Neil Diamond and hello, the young Top 40 chart toppers like Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato. CBS TV network which came on board in 2003 and left in 2012 after a 10-year run and sliding national TV ratings is back again this year with big(yuuuge) hopes that millennial music entertainers will deliver the goods with the (young/younger) national audience which is what advertisers always look for.

Locally, WBZ 1030 will air the concert as it has done for the past 13 years with retiring weekend overnighter Jordan Rich co-hosting station's pre-show with morning drive anchor Joe Mathieu from 7pm to 8:30pm. On the FM side however, a pretty noticeable change in tradition this year. Classical WCRB 99.5 has quietly exited the stage to the left after 36 years of being a major part of July 4th festivities at the Hatch Shell. This year, WBZ 1030's corporate sister station WBMX/Mix 104.1 and its powerful transmitter atop of the Pru will deliver the strong FM coverage to the entire Boston metro area. Say adios to Laura Carlo and Ron Della Chiesa and bring on Mix's personalities Kennedy and Salt from station's morning show and the afternoon crew of Gregg Daniels and "Fast" Freddy Murphy who will broadcast from the Esplanade starting at 2pm. Mix will also air the concert and the fireworks.

BRW Notebook

Spin-outs : Last Monday(6/20), Mike Adams, host of WEEI 93.7's Planet Mikey show, has left the building after a 10-year run. With Red Sox baseball pre-empting Adams’ show for the next few months, no announcement about who will assume his former hours is expected for awhile but the word is WEEI looking for someone young(under 35), cheap, hardworking and talented. Adams whose bio is still on WEEI's website might be retained as a weekend host or a fill-in....Speaking of WEEI, Mikey Adams is not the only one spinning out. After three years as program director Kevin Graham has decided to move on to his next assignment. Darryl Parks, a longtime talk radio consultant out of Cincinnati area might be a favorite on a short list of candidates..Over at sister station, WRKO 680, Howie Carr's lapboy Doug "VB" Goudie was offered a deal to co-host a year-old Boston.com's morning show with Kim Carrigan but declined the offer. The station seems to be moving toward WEEI.com-er Mike "Trags" Petraglia to fill that spot...As already mentioned in the headline update above, Jordan Rich is calling it quits as WBZs weekend overnight host this coming weekend. The news/talk station has also lost its midday traffic voice Rich Kirkland who has retired after 35 years in Boston radio. Technically, Kirkand was outsourced from Total Traffic Network but has been a very long and comforting presence on WBZ's traffic beat...In addition, WBZ 1030's general assignment reporter Karen Twomey has left the station after nearly 11 years for a big paying gig at AT&T.

Back at work : Kendra Petrone was named as the new Morning Show Producer/Social Content Creator for Greater Media WMJX/Magic 106.7, She previously spent nine years as Executive Producer for Matt Siegel on WXKS/Kiss 108 until last July...Frankie Vinci who got bounced off Jamn 94-5 in mid-May in favor of syndicated the Breakfast Club(BRW 5/12) has returned to the West Coast where he's now an afternoon drive host at new Jamn 95-7. Meanwhile his former Jamn 94-5 morning sidekick Ashlee Feldman has been relegated to 10am-Noon shift at Medford's Jamn....

More work : The TJ Show on Amp 103.3 has expanded by another hour. It's now heard from 6 to 10pm.

This and that : Speaking of sports radio Nielsen reports Sports/Talk radio continued to add-on to its April gains, with the format safely sliding into another uptrend in May. Nielsen Audio’s May PPM results show the ‘All Sports’ format has seen some strong springtime audience gains in key demographics. Persons 6+ jumped from a 4.5% share in April to a 4.9% share in May, with Sports/Talk’s share among those oft talked about 18-34 millennial’s also showing growth, from 3.2% in April to 3.6% in May results. Adults 25-54 also moved up half a point to hit a 5.5% share for Sports radio in May. “Thanks to post-season basketball, hockey and the start of baseball season, there are lots of reasons for sports fans to tune into Sports/Talk radio in the month of May,” said the ratings giant in a statement detailing May format trends....Don't quote me, but you may/more likely than not witness some major ownership changes on the Boston dial in the next few months :  1) Debt-ridden Iheart Media which owns WXKS/Kiss 108,  WJMN/Jamn 94-5, WKOX/Bloomberg 1200 and WXKS/Talk 1430 is slowly but surely moving towards bankruptcy proceeding. It's not a matter of if, it's only a matter of when Iheart files for Ch.11. These four local Iheart stations will be on the block at some point but who will buy them is anyone's guess..... 2) CBS Radio may not be spinning out into its separate company after all as I mentioned here previously. The way things are looking now(today), company's 93-year old chairman Sumner Redstone is in failing health and his daughter Shari Redstone is trying consolidate her power as she has recently fired five directors on the board at Viacom and CBS. Next step is very likely a merger of the two companies and the eventual sale to the highest bidder. Locally, CBS owns WBZ 1030, WBZ 98.5 the SportsHub, WZLX 100.7, WBMX 104.1 and AMP 103.3/WODS plus two TV stations. The CBS transaction may take months due to the whole power struggle that is taking place at CBS/Viacom right now but Redstone's daughter has already expressed no interest in running CBS/Viacom after she assumes full control.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Jamn 94-5 says goodbye to Frankie & Ashlee and joins the Breakfast Club

IheartMedia's WJMN/Jamn 94-5 announced today that top-rated nationally syndicated morning show, The Breakfast Club, will be heard in Boston weekdays from 5:30-10:00 a.m., effective Thursday, May 12. The arrival of the new morning drive show means that after 9 1/2 months, "The Jamn Morning Show with Frankie and Ashlee" has ended(BRW7/22/15).

The Breakfast Club originates from Jamn's sister station WPWR/Power 105.1/New York City and stars Charlamagne Tha God, former co-host of The Wendy Williams Experience and current host of MTV2’s Guy Code; Angela Yee, one of the stars of the VH1 reality show The Gossip Game, and correspondent for MTV2’s Sucker Free; and DJ Envy, legendary DJ, mixtape master, and host of MTV2’s Sucker Free and Week in Jams. Each morning, fans of The Breakfast Club tune in to hear DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God’s unrivaled interviews and conversations with celebrities and hip-hop artists, entertainment news, fresh music mixes, along with their signature blend of honesty and humor.

Launched in December 2010, The Breakfast Club was named the No. 1 radio program in the nation by “The Source” magazine. It’s also widely regarded as one of the most informative and entertaining morning shows today. The show began national syndication in 2013 and is currently syndicated in 60 markets.


Here is the official press release from Iheart Media Boston :

THE BREAKFAST CLUB LAUNCHES ON JAM'N 94.5 IN BOSTON

Morning Show Featuring DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God Debuts May 12

Boston – May 12, 2016 – JAM'N 94.5, Boston's #1 for Hip-Hop and Hits, announced today that top-rated morning show, The Breakfast Club, will be heard weekdays from 5:30-10:00 a.m., effective May 12, 2016.

The Breakfast Club stars Charlamagne Tha God, current host of MTV2’s Uncommon Sense & Guy Code; Angela Yee, creator and host of Angela Yee’s Lip Service; and DJ Envy, legendary, mixtape master, and world renowned DJ.  Each morning, fans of The Breakfast Club tune in to hear DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God’s unrivaled interviews and conversations with celebrities,  hip-hop artists and newsmakers such as Kanye West, Hillary Clinton,  Jay Z, and Kevin Hart, plus entertainment news and fresh music mixes, along with their signature blend of honesty and humor.  Launched in December 2010, The Breakfast Club was named the No. 1 radio program in the nation by “The Source” magazine.  It’s also widely regarded as one of the most informative and entertaining morning shows today. 

The Breakfast Club is an exciting, entertaining show that not only just reports on pop culture, but also drives the culture and conversation on air, online and socially.  They are the perfect complement to JAM’N’s iconic brand,” said Thea Mitchem, iHeartMedia Executive Vice President of Programming Northeast Division.

“I have been involved with JAM’N since its launch in 1993, and putting The Breakfast Club on the air is the biggest move the station has made since signing on,” said Alan Chartrand, Region President, iHeartMedia Boston.  “We couldn’t be more excited to have them on our team and about the future of JAM’N 94.5.”

“We are excited to bring The Breakfast Club to Boston on JAM’N 94.5,” said Dylan Sprague, Senior Vice President of Programming, iHeartMedia Boston.  “DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God are incredible talents and have unparalleled access to every artist that matters in the Hip Hop World.”

The Breakfast Club is heard on nearly 60 stations nationwide including New York, Houston, Atlanta, Miami, Detriot and just added Boston.  Fans can listen to JAM'N, via the station's website JAMN945.com, as well as on iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia's all-in-one digital radio service. 

iHeartMedia is a leading media outlet in the Boston market.  Its radio brands and content are available across multiple platforms, including its broadcast stations; online via its branded digital sites; mobile; and social, with nationwide listening through iHeartRadio, the all-in-one streaming music and live radio service – with its more than 800 million downloads, 80 million registered users and more than 75 million social media followers across the Network.

About iHeartMedia:
With over a quarter of a billion monthly listeners in the U.S. and over 85 million social followers, iHeartMedia has the largest reach of any radio or television outlet in America. It serves over 150 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 and smartphones, and on gaming consoles.

iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia’s digital radio platform, is the No. 1 all-in-one digital audio service with over 900 million downloads; it reached its first 20 million registered users faster than any digital service in Internet history and reached 85 million registered users faster than any other radio or digital music service and even faster than Facebook.  The company’s operations include radio broadcasting, online, mobile, digital and social media, live concerts and events, syndication, music research services and independent media representation. iHeartMedia is a division of iHeartMedia, Inc. (OTCBB: IHRT). Visit 
iHeartMedia.com for more company information



Red Sox to play ball with WEEI for seven more years

As been reported for months, WEEI 93.7 and the Boston Red Sox have officially renewed their partnership on April 28, formalizing a long anticipated new deal that will keep the team’s games on the Entercom Sports/Talker through at least 2023. Red Sox baseball has aired on WEEI since 1995.

Entercom CEO, David Field, praised the new deal as a win for both organizations and Red Sox fans everywhere.

Field went on to say, “Red Sox fans across the country will continue to hear outstanding Sox play-by-play broadcasts and 24/7 team coverage on WEEI and WEEI.com, the home of Red Sox baseball.” The WEEI Shaw’s Red Sox Radio Network is presently heard throughout New England on 55 AM and FM radio affiliates. Red Sox Hall of Fame announcer Joe Castiglione (shown) is celebrating his 33rd year in the booth and is the lead voice on broadcasts. He is joined this season by New England native and former Pittsburgh Pirates voice, Tim Neverett.


BRW Notes :

Spinning out on the dial : After nearly 11 years at Greater Media's alternative rocker WBOS 92.9, Paul Jarvis exited his roles as Assistant Program Director, Music Director and morning drive host earlier this month. Jarvis returned his native Vermont to become market to become operations manager for Vox AM/FM Inc which owns fours stations in the Burlington market. Jarvis will also serve as program director for one of Vox's stations....After 10 months with Boston.com Morning Show on WRKO 680, Jon Meterparel has exited. On-air auditions are being held for the vacant co-host role...After 3 1/2 years as the afternoon drive host/music director/assistant program director at WODS/AMP Radio 103.3 Joe Breezy(David Ambrecht) will say goodbye to his audience on June 15. Breezy and his fiancé, meteorologist Danielle Vollmar from WCVB are moving to Nashvile market where Vollmar will become chief meteorologist at a local ABC affil on July 5. The happy couple is getting married on June 24th.

Transitioning : Scott Eck, the longtime helicopter traffic reporter for CBS-owned WBZ/News Radio 1030, has revealed himself as transgender last week. "My new name is Kristen Eck," she said, "and my new identity is female." Eck, 45, has identified privately as a woman for 20 years. She has been undergoing hormone therapy and hopes to have sex reassignment surgery next year.

WBZ news and programming director Peter Casey said the station supports Eck's decision.

"Just as we welcomed Scott Eck to WBZ 19 years ago, we also welcome Kristen Eck with the same enthusiasm, support and encouragement as we would any new voice on the radio station,” he said. More on Eck in Jessica Heskam's story in the Boston Herald.

Friday, April 15, 2016

WKLB's new Country Morning welcomes a new co-host


Hanna Byrom is the latest new hire at WKLB 102.5.


Hannah Byrom will join  WKLB/Country 102.5 in the morning drive starting Monday, April 18. She'll co-host "Country Morning with Jeff Miles", who joined the country station in March.

Byrom's resume includes time at Top 40 KBFF/Portland, OR; co-host of Westwood One's syndicated Top 40 "Zach Sang and the Gang," and on air at Top 40 stations WPST/Trenton and WPLJ/New York. 

"I am excited that we are building a great new Country morning show for Bostonians to wake up to that will be fresh and local," says Greater Media's VP/Market Manager Mary Menna. 


Kevin Kennedy
Byrom joins Jeff Miles, Renee Castle and Kevin Kennedy who are all younger, hipper jocks that got hired in the past year to young up WKLB's on and off air image.
Jeff Miles
Renee Castle

BRW Notebook :

And they're off.. : WBZ/NewsRadio 1030 will have live, wire-to-wire coverage of 120th Boston Marathon on Monday(4/18). The coverage will be hosted by Joe Mathieu, Tom Cuddy and Sharon Barbano, along with a team of reporters along the course. Coverage kicks off at 9:15 a.m. Streaming will be available at boston.cbslocal.com.

Matty Being Matty :  Boston radio legend Matt Siegel who celebrated his 35th anniversary as host of KISS 108’s “Matty in the Morning” in January recently sat down with WEEI's Kirk Minihane from "Dennis and Callahan" morning show to record an episode for zany "Enough About Me" podcast. You can listen to Siegel's interview here.

Video Killed The Radio Star...: When asked during a radio interview earlier about his recent comments that CBS will sell/spin-off its owned and operated radio stations, CBS Corporation Chairman, President and CEO Les Moonves told San Diego Sports/Talker and ‘Mighty 1090 AM’ morning host Dan Sileo, “As the world has progressed and as we’ve moved into much more digital and much more streaming, it is a world for us that is keyed on video. Radio is still a wonderful, wonderful business, so our intent is to spin-off radio so it is its own stand alone company, which will fit better than being a big part of conglomerate like ours’ that is keyed more on television. By no means do we think that radio’s not a great business. It’s a slower growth business, but we have 117 radio stations that we think will be a great stand-alone company.” Acknowledging Sileo’s assertion that CBS was actually built on radio from its earliest days, Moonves added, “By no means are we deserting the radio business. But video right now, is where CBS is heading with the CBS Television Network, Showtime and what we are doing digitally. Radio became a different sort of business that really doesn’t fit where we are going. As a stand-alone, high cash, relatively low-growth business it will do really, really well, and it will do better as a stand alone than as part of the other divisions of CBS.” Listen here (around 6:17 mark).

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Reports : The framework of the Red Sox' new radio deal with WEEI is done

According to two reports in the Boston Herald, Entercom's WEEI 93.7 and the Red Sox are about to extend their relationship with a new longterm deal. And, according to sources in Gayle Fee's article, the new deal would keep the team’s games on the 25-year sports talker for another seven to eight years. Sources in Fee's article also say that rival station 98.5 The Sports Hub, which is owned by CBS, was in the mix for the team’s radio rights, but when CBS announced their intentions to get out of the radio business, that sealed the deal.


Fee’s report says that the deal is expected to be less than the previous 10-year, $200 million deal between Entercom and the Red Sox. The feeling is that the new deal will be in the neighborhood of $15 million to $16 million a year for seven or eight years, but that has yet to be confirmed by either party.

In addition, trade publication Inside Radio is reporting that much-anticipated WEEI-Red Sox announcement may be dropping as early as next week according to Entercom Boston president Phil Zachary. Perhaps to coincide with the start of the new season or home opener.


Former WEEI's programming guru Wolfe to head Carr's radio network 

Boston Talk radio legend Howie Carr has tapped industry veteran Jason Wolfe to fill the newly created role of Network Manager for The Howie Carr Radio Network. Wolfe will be in charge of building and expanding the reach and brand of Carr’s daily show (syndicated regionally to 27 stations across New England, including Boston's WRKO 680), in addition to managing day-to-day operations of the network and assisting in developing new marketing and business partnerships. Wolfe, who had a lengthy run as VP/Programming and Operations for News/Talker WRKO and Sports/Talk clustermate WEEI, will also continue to serve as Chief Media and Marketing Strategist for The Financial Exchange Radio Network, whose flagship daily business radio show hosted by Barry Armstrong also airs on WRKO from 10am-Noon.

Official Howie Carr Radio Network press release below :

Media Contact
Kathy Carr 781-249-0102

JASON WOLFE NAMED NETWORK MANAGER OF THE HOWIE CARR RADIO NETWORK

Former WRKO & WEEI VP to oversee day-to-day operations of the growing regional network

Boston, Mass. – (March 30th, 2016) Jason Wolfe has joined The Howie Carr Radio Network in the newly created position of Network Manager. The announcement was made by President and CEO Howie Carr and is effective immediately.

In his role, Wolfe will be in charge of building and expanding the reach and brand of The Howie Carr Show, in addition to managing the day-to-day operation of the network, which will include helping to develop new marketing and business partnerships.

Wolfe, who served as Vice President of Programming and Operations for WRKO and WEEI in Boston from 2006 to 2013, will continue in his role as Chief Media and Marketing Strategist for The Financial Exchange Radio Network.

“I’m very excited to be able to work with Howie in a more formal capacity again,” said Jason Wolfe. “He is a truly great talk show host, which is why he’s in the Radio Hall of Fame. I’m looking forward to helping him continue to build, what is, already, an incredibly strong regional network.”

Carr, who is also a columnist for the Boston Herald, has written two New York Times bestsellers. He won a National Magazine Award for Boston Magazine and is a contributor to Newsmax TV.

“Jason has been working with us for several months and has been doing a great job in getting the show noticed by numerous new markets,” said Carr. “I know that he will build on that success in his new role as our Network Manager.”

The Howie Carr Show airs on 27 stations across New England, including WRKO AM 680 in Boston, WXTK FM 95.1 Cape Cod, WCRN AM 830 Worcester, WHYN AM 560 Springfield, WGAN AM 560/FM 105.5 Portland, ME, WVOM FM 103.9 Bangor, WFEA AM 1370

Manchester, NH, WNNH FM 99.1 Concord, NH, WPOP AM 1410 Hartford, CT, and WVMT AM 620 Burlington, VT


BRW Notebook :
n 1973, Howard Stern worked as a DJ for WTBU on a show called the King Schmaltz Bagel Hour. WTBU claims the title as the first station to fire Stern, after he ran a segment titled “Making the Bishop Blush.”
The country shuffle : Texas native Jeff Miles has joined Greater Media's WKLB/Country102.5  as the new morning man effective March 7. He succeeds John "JW" Willis and Lori Grande, who exited in February after more than a decade (). Miles was most recently working mornings at KCYY/Y100 in San Antonio. "Jeff Miles brings some great experiences and successes with him," says PD Mike Brophey. Adds Miles, "It feels like I'm joining a great family more than anything else!" Miles' past stops include Hot AC WPLJ/New York and Top 40 WWWQ/Atlanta, among others....Another WKLB newcomer is Renee Castle who is the new evening(7pm-Midnight) jock. Most recently the California native was a part-timer with WKDF in Nashville. Castle started as an actor, then producer for Hell's KitchenBlind Date and other reality TV shows. Her background also includes Westwood One and Top 40 WJXA/Nashville. "Renee brings an enthusiasm and excitement for radio and Boston that is contagious,” says PD Mike Brophey. "Her entertainment experience is awesome and we are elated to have her on our team."...Speaking of the Country format, WKLB's rival WBWL 101.7 The Bull is adding more duties to its staffers - afternoon driver and station's program director Lance Houston has been promoted to Country format captain for the region, which includes Springfield, Portsmouth, Manchester, Providence and Cape Cod markets in addition to Boston. He also adds PD duties for the company's WTBU/95.3 The Bull in Portsmouth, NH. Also, Bull 101.7's night personality Colton Bradford adds the same shift on Bull 95.3 in Portsmouth and the company's WRNX/Kix 100.9 in Springfield.

Some changes may be on the way shortly : CBS Corporation plans to sell or spin off(IPO) its radio assets in the coming year. Leslie Moonves, CBS chairman-CEO, confirmed the news during CBS' "Investor Day" presentation in Manhattan on March 15th.  Moonves said "CBS would explore a variety of alternatives for the group including a sale, swap or spinoff of the group, just as CBS spun off its outdoor advertising group in 2014."


CBS owns 117 stations in 26 markets, including WBZ/NewsRadio 1030, WBZ 98.5 The SportsHub, WZLX 100.7, WBMX/Mix 104.1 and  and WODS/AMP 103.3 in Boston

Think twice if you want to become a radio pirate when you grow up : And, The Federal Communications Commission has issued an Enforcement Advisory, writing, "Perpetrators of pirate radio stations, which by definition do not obtain FCC licenses or comply with commission rules and requirements, are in violation of federal law and FCC rules. This prohibition does not discriminate by size of operations, applying equally to the rebellious high school kid operating a radio station from his bedroom as it does to slick and sophisticated high-powered illegal broadcast operations."


The advisory notes, "Such illegal activity threatens the livelihood and sustainability of existing radio broadcasters and the health and safety of the listening public."

No listener left behind : Nielsen has launched Nielsen Digital Audio Ratings to measure over-the-air radio listening across mobile apps and Web players, regardless of ad model and device — smartphones, tablets and computers.

The service, which collects data on more than 2,500 station streams across 48 markets including Boston, measures the extension of broadcast radio to streaming environments.

At first, it will report the listening of digital streams of AM/FM radio stations and e-radio stations in those markets.

Measurements for custom-curated and on-demand audio, including podcasts, are currently in development.

Down but not out : All programming at Boston University WTBU 640 is currently suspended due to a massive fire which ripped thru station's Comm Ave. studios on March 25th. The award-winning college radaio station plans to post DJ podcasts for the time being. WTBU is also collecting station memories and posting them on its Facebook page. WTBU is also the place where legendary American radio host Howard Stern got his start. In 1973, as a BU sophomore,  Stern realized his long-held dream of getting behind an actual mic and racked up many firsts.. At WTBU, Stern and three friends form a comedy troupe came up with a show called "The Radio Schmaltz Bagel Hour".

Friday, February 12, 2016

Country 102.5 shakes things up again
A year after making changes to its veteran afternoon drive and evening line-up(BRW 3/26/15), Greater Media's WKLB/Country 102-5 continues to tinker with its on-air sound and staff. The biggest change to-date took place yesterday(2/11): Veteran hosts JW(John Willis) and Lori Grande are done after a 13-year run as station's morning team. Willis began his tenure  with Greater Media as a night jock at the old WBCS 96.9 in 1994. In 1996, Greater Media acquired rival WKLB 105.7 and merged formats/staffs on 96.9 frequency. In 1999, WKLB call letters/format moved to 99.5 frequency to make room for an FM talk station(WTKK). In 2006, Greater Media bought Charles River Broadcasting's 102.5 frequency and moved WKLB there.

Willis became WKLB's morning host in 1997. Lori Grande joined him in November 2002 after returning to Boston market with her ex-husband Sean Grande of Boston Celtics radio fame.

In June 2014, Iheart Media/Clear Channel debuted WBWL/Bull 101.7 on the old WFNX frequency. The new station has been leaning younger and taking some listeners away from WKLB.


Greater Media announced that a new morning show on 102.5 will debut shortly. According to Greater Media's market manager Mary Menna, Grande will stay on as a traffic reporter for the station and employed by Total Traffic Network which provides traffic reports for many Boston TV and radio stations.


BRW Notebook :

Sports games : Barrett's Sports Media has revealed its 'America’s Top 20 local sports morning shows' for 2015. Blogger Jason Barrett says although this is an inexact science and the results are subjective, he tried to create a formula that made sense. Whether it worked or not is in the eye of the beholder, but says he's comfortable with the way it turned out.

In total, 35 radio executives took part in determining these results. (Barrett not included). Each member of the executive committee was given 35 shows to choose from, and asked to select their Top 20 in exact order. Boston's WBZ/98.5 The Sport Hub's Toucher came in 2nd place and WEEI/Sports Radio 93.7's Dennis and Callahan were ranked 5th. Complete list is here.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Once again Christmas music brings big ratings to Magic 106.7

For the  fourth year, it was Merry Christmas for WMJX/Magic 106.7 as the Holiday ratings showed another win for the perennial top station in the market, according to Nielsen Audio.

WMJX, which went with a Christmas music format from November 20 to Christmas Day(BRW 11/21/15), was rewarded big time.

Greater Media's adult contemporary outlet for 11 months of the year proved that the holiday hits are a winning combination. Magic 106.7 scored a huge 14.8 for the Holiday period from December 3 to December 30, while Patriots-powered WBZ/98.5 The Sports Hub well-distanced at 5.9. (For some comparison, in the December ratings book, WMJX 106.5 beat WBZ 98.5, 8.0 to 6.7). Following that, much of the survey was without change in the rankings. WXKS/Kiss 108 kept hold of number three, dropping to 5.8(from 6.6). WMJX/Magic 106.7's sister station classic hits WROR 105.7 also slipped .7(to 6.2). WBZ/NewsRadio 1030 stayed put at number 5 with a 5.5.

Perhaps, listeners are the Grinch when it comes to country music. WKLB 102.5 had a 1.7 setback to stand at 3.3  in 8th place and IHeart Media's WBWL/The Bull 101.7 dropped from 1.8 to 1.3 in 21st place. 
  
Surprisingly, WBZ/The SportsHub 98.5, despite the Patriots’ playoff run, actually lost listeners. It went from 6.7 to 5.9. Rival WEEI 93.7 also went .8 in negative territory, but finished the period in 6th place at a 4.7.

Nielsen Audio's 2015 Holiday Survey(Dec.3-Dec.30) rankings in the Boston market :
Rank Station Format Owner/LMA Nov 2015 Dec 2015 Holiday 2015 Cume
1 WMJX/Magic 106.7 Adult Contemporary Greater Media, Inc. 8.0 8.0 14.8 2,022,900
2 WBZ/98.5 The Sports Hub Sports CBS Radio, Inc. 6.7 6.7 5.9 908,600
3 WXKS/Kiss 108 CHR/Top 40 iHeartMedia, Inc. 6.1 6.6 5.8 1,286,500
4 WROR 105.7 Classic Hits Greater Media, Inc. 7.0 6.2 5.5 981,700
5 WBZ/NewsRadio 1030 News/Talk CBS Radio, Inc. 5.4 5.7 5.5 704,100
6 WEEI/Sports Radio 93.7 Sports Entercom 5.5 5.5 4.7 575,600
7 WBUR 90.9 News/Talk Boston University 3.9 4.4 4.1 433,100
8 WKLB/New Hit Country 102.5 Country Greater Media, Inc. 5.1 5.0 3.3 687,900
9 WODS/AMP Radio 103.3 CHR CBS Radio, Inc. 3.1 3.4 3.3 802,000
10 WBQT/Hot 96.9 Rhythmic AC Greater Media, Inc. 3.5 3.3 3.3 633,800
11 WZLX/Boston's Classic Rock 100.7 Classic Rock CBS Radio, Inc. 3.9 3.6 3.2 652,800
12 WGBH/Boston Public Radio 89.7 News/Talk WGBH Educational Foundation 2.2 2.5 2.9 342,600
13 WBMX/Mix 104.1 Hot AC CBS Radio, Inc. 3.6 3.5 2.7 788,000
14 WBOS/Radio 92.9 Modern Rock Greater Media, Inc. 2.7 2.6 2.5 647,000
15 WRKO 680/The Voice of Boston Talk Entercom 2.5 2.6 2.4 204,100
16 WAAF 107.3/WKAF 97.7/Boston's Rock Station Rock Entercom 2.6 2.4 2.4 479,700
17 WJMN/Jamn 94.5 Top 40 Rhythmic-CHR iHeartMedia, Inc. 2.8 2.6 2.2 666,600
18 WXRV/92.5 The River Adult Alternative Northeast Broadcasting Company, Inc. 2.2 1.9 1.8 401,100
19 WCRB/Classical 99.5 Classical WGBH Educational Foundation 1.9 1.8 1.6 218,100
20 WXLO 104.5 Hot AC Cumulus Media, Inc. 1.9 1.9 1.5 379,300
21 WBWL/101.7 The Bull Country iHeartMedia, Inc. 2.3 1.8 1.3 375,800
22 WCTK-FM Country Hall Communications, Inc. 1.0 0.9 0.7 149,700
23 WERS 88.9 Variety Emerson College 0.6 0.5 0.6 165,900
25 WKOX/Talk 1430 Talk iHeartMedia, Inc. 0.4 0.4 0.3 48,700
26 WEEI/ESPN 850 Sports Entercom 0.4 0.3 0.2 71,800
27 WUMB 91.9 Folk University of Massachusetts 0.1 0.2 0.2 58,100
28 WWFX 100.1/The Pike Classic Hits Cumulus Media, Inc. 0.1 0.1 0.1 28,900
29 WXKS/Bloomberg 1200 Business News iHeartMedia, Inc. 0.0 0.1 0.1 29,600


BRW Notebook :

Shortsleeve and Mac : WMEX 1510 debuts a new weekday midday show from 10am to Noon starting Monday, February 1st. Former WBZ-TV reporter Joe Shortsleeve and local political strategist Diane McNamara join the local talk line-up in Quincy.