Tuesday, April 25, 2017

WBZ's all-news anchor is leaving after six years

WBZ/NewsRadio 1030's radio's morning news anchor Joe Mathieu, will anchor his last newscast this Friday, April 28 according to CBS Boston report published this morning.

Prior to joining CBS Radio's news/talker WBZ in May 2011(BRW 4/4/11), Mathieu,42, was a program director and anchor at Sirius XM Satellite Radio in Washington, D.C. Joe created XM’s channel “P.O.T.U.S.” dedicated to covering the presidential election of 2008 and also anchored its daily news and talk program “The Press Pool.” He also anchored special events, from conventions to elections to inaugurations, and managed the channel’s White House coverage.

Mathieu, Emerson College alum, has worked in at WRKO 680 and also for Boch Broadcasting on Cape Cod where he was one of the youngest news directors in the country.

No word on his next stop but it should be announced shortly.

BRW Notebook :

Spinning turntable : Andy Gresh who was a midday host at Boston's Sports Hub 98.5 from 2010 to 2015 and was most recently co-hosting afternoon drive at WTIC 1080 in Hartford, CT, started a brand new gig last week. As of April 17th, Gresh joined Providence's WPRO 630/99.7's local lineup with a brand new 6-9pm show....Meanwhile, Gresh's previous shift in Hartford is being filled in by another Boston talk radio veteran - Todd Feinburg started a new afternoon drive show on WTIC 1080 yesterday...NPR's All Things Considered host Robert Siegel will step down from the position in January after more than 40 years at NPR, the network announced today. Siegel,69, began his career at NPR in 1976 as a newscaster and continued as an editor before going on to open NPR’s London Bureau and serving as chief of NPR News. He became an ATC host in 1987. In Boston, the show airs lives from 4pm to 6pm on WGBH 89.7 and WBUR 90.9....

Tradition ends : One of Boston's signature annual radio events is history - Earthfest which used to rock out the Esplanade every April or May for the past 22 years is no more. WBOS/Alt 92.9 which has been putting one of the largest free radio shows in the country every spring is changing things up a bit :  The station will now put on 3 more smaller free shows this summer at the SoWa Open Market in Boston. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

WKLB sets Jackson Blue as new morning co-host

Beasley Broadcast Group's WKLB/Country 102.5 Boston officially named Jackson Blue to station's morning show where he joins Hannah Byrum. Blue had been moved into the role from Afternoon Drive on WBQT HOT 96.9 last November after Jeff Myles departed rather abruptly(BRW 11/15/16).

Here is the official press release from Beasley Media Group Boston :


Boston, MA – Feb 28, 2017 – WKLB Country 102.5, Boston’s Number One for New Hit Country welcomes Jackson Blue to the Country 102.5 morning show! Jackson is joining Hannah Byrom, and waking- up listeners with Boston’s best country music and fun!

Jackson had been recently promoted from hosting Afternoon Drive on WBQT HOT 96.9 to his new co-host position on WKLB’s Country 102.5 Morning Show.

“It’s been my dream to wake up Boston, a city I’ve loved working in for over a decade,” noted Jackson. “A big thank you goes to our Beasley Boston Market Manager, Mary Menna, Beasley Boston, Director of Programming, Cadillac Jack, and Country 102.5’s Program Director, Mike Brophey for believing in me in this role on one of America’s most successful and respected country brands. My co-host Hannah, Producer Santi, and I are ready to make mornings fun!”

“I’ve had the pleasure of having a ‘front row seat’ to watch Jackson’s growth over the past 15 years, and feel proud to promote such a talented personality from within our Beasley Boston cluster to this key position,” said Cadillac Jack. “Here’s to the success that Jackson and Country 102.5 will undoubtedly enjoy for years to come!”

“We’re so proud to have Jackson Blue on board at Country 102.5,” added Mike Brophey. “Jackson understands Boston and the listeners. He brings his energy and excitement to the show and he is already a part of our community!”

About Beasley Media Group / Boston: Beasley Media Group, Inc., is a subsidiary of Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: BBGI), which is celebrating its 56th year. Pro forma for the completion of announced divestitures, Beasley Broadcast Group owns and operates 63 stations (45 FM and 18 AM) in 15 large- and mid-size markets in the United States. In the Boston radio market, Beasley Media Group owns five FM’s and one AM, including: WBOS 92.9 FM; WBQT 96.9 FM; WKLB 102.5 FM; WROR 105.7; WMJX 106.7 FM; and, WRCA 1330 AM.

New R&B upstart installs weekday line-up

Entercom's new R&B upstart WKAF/The New 97-7, rolled out The Morning Wake Up(6-10am) with KJ and Kesha on Monday, February 6th, featuring KJ Carson and Kesha Monk. For Carson, this means a welcome return to Boston radio after 17 years — he notably did mornings at the late, legendary WILD 1090 back in 2000(as "Kevin Johnson"). His career began in Greensboro, NC and he’s also worked in Charlotte, Kansas City, Atlanta and Washington D.C. Carson said, “I’m very humbled and honored to come back to Boston. I feel like I have been blessed in a way that words cannot describe.”

Kesha Monk has done radio New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. She’s the product of a musical family; both of her parents were professional gospel recording artists and her great uncle was the legendary jazz musician, Thelonious Monk. “I’m looking forward to entertaining, inspiring, uplifting and encouraging our Boston listeners and beyond,” said Monk in a press release.

Nikki Thomas from Entercom's KBLX/R&B 102.9 in the Bay Area is the midday bridge(10am-3pm). Program Director Chris Malone presides over afternoon drive from 3pm to 7pm. Other personalities will be announced soon.

BRW Notebook :

Personnel turntable : With Jackson Blue officially becoming WKLB personality, Reggie Beas continues to hold afternoon drive at WBQT/Hot 96.9 as the station advertising for the position....After a year and half, David Cullinane exited as Executive Producer at WRKO 680's Boston.com Morning Show for another opportunity. The Voice of Boston is searching for his replacement....After a 17-year association with WJMN/Jamn 94-5, night jock Geoff "GeeSpin" Gamere exited last week for opportunity to be announced later. In addition, the Brookline native has been serving as Music Director/Assistant Program Director at Iheart Radio's NYC WPWR/Power 105.1 since summer 2008(BRW 7/16/08). With Geespin exiting, Jamn resets its daily line-up - syndicated The Breakfast Club stays in 5:30am-10a slot, Maverick moves up from afternoons into 10am-2pm midday shift, Ashlee is now the new PM driver from 2-6pm and music director DJ Pup Dawg is takes on evenings(6pm-10pm) ...In early January, Nick Cattles joined Adam Jones Show on the WBZ 98.5/The SportHub's evening program, filling the void left behind by Rich Keefe who left the station to join WEEI’s afternoon "Dale And Holley" in December. Cattles began his radio career in Boston working for the Hub from 2009-2012. He’d been hosting afternoons at ESPN 94.1 in Virginia Beach for the past four and a half years.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Two become one : merger of CBS and Entercom creates a massive local radio ownership presence 

CBS Radio, which has been up for sale for the better part of the past year, will merge into Philadelphia area-based Entercom Communications Corp, it was announced early this morning.

Financial terms of the deal, expected to close in the second half of this year, were not released.
CBS Radio owns 117 radio stations in 26 markets while Entercom, already the fourth-largest U.S. radio company, has 127 stations in 27 markets. There will be some overlap so it will be interesting to see if Entercom sells off some properties in certain markets like Boston.

Five CBS Radio properties in Boston are : WBZ/NewsRadio 1030, WBZ/98.5 "The Sports Hub", WBMX/Mix 104.1, WZLX/100.7 Boston's Classic Rock and WODS/Amp 103.3. CBS Radio's FM stations occupy old TV38 building on Leo Birmingham Parkway in Brighton. WBZ 1030 shares studio space with its TV namesake on Soldiers Field in Allston.

David J. Field, CEO of Entercom, will lead the combined company that will have a nationwide footprint of 244 stations, including 23 of the top 25 U.S. markets, as well as digital and events platforms. Entercom is already the fourth-largest U.S. radio company and will move up to second behind IHeartMedia. 

Entercom owns five stations in the Boston market : WEEI/Sports Radio 93.7, WAAF 107.3, WKAF/The New 97.1, WEEI/ESPN 850, WRKO 680/The Voice of Boston. All stations are inside New Balance's growing Boston Landing development on Guest Street in Brighton.

The combined company will be known as Entercom and will be based in suburban Philadelphia, with a significant ongoing presence in CBS Radio’s headquarters of New York. 

Upon closing, the company’s board of directors will consist of nine members: five current Entercom directors, including Field as chairman, and four directors nominated by CBS Radio. CBS shareholders will control 72 percent of the combined company's shares while Entercom shareholders will control 28 percent.

Revenue for the two companies combined over the past 12 months was about $1.7 billion – which would make it the second-largest radio station owner in the nation after Iheart Media.

CBS Radio owns 117 radio stations in 26 markets while Entercom, already the fourth-largest U.S. radio company, has 127 stations in 27 markets. There will be some overlap so it will be interesting to see if Entercom sells off some properties in certain markets. It's likely that Entercom may need to shed one or two signals in this deal but based on various media reports, there will be no change in the two prized sports radio outlets - 98.5 The Sports Radio and Sports Radio 93.7. Both brands which have developed quite a rivalry over the past 7 years and Entercom brass will continue on with two sports signals in the market. WEEI has a rich 7-year Red Sox extension which begins this season. WBZ is holding onto one of the biggest jewels in local sports - New England Patriots radio rights. WBZ is the flagship for Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins and New England Revolution games.

The sale also includes the national CBS Sports Radio Network operation that has 300 station affiliates around the country. WBZ 98.5 carries CSRN overnights and weekend evenings. WEEI is affilaited with ESPN and NBC Sports Radio. WEEI 850 is leased out to ESPN Radio on 24/7 basis and serves as Boston College sports flagship.

CBS Corp's CEO Less Moonves said the radio division was up for sale early last year but then the company said it would spin it off via an IPO. Those plans were apparently scrapped due to recent talks with Entercom. The merger will be effected through a complex “Reverse Morris Trust” transaction, which is expected to be tax-free to CBS and its stockholders. As part of the transaction, CBS shareholders will have the opportunity to exchange all, some, or none of their CBS shares for CBS Radio shares.

Immediately following the completion of this exchange offer, CBS Radio will merge with an Entercom subsidiary, with the new CBS Radio shareholders receiving Entercom shares in exchange for their CBS Radio shares in the transaction.

BRW Notebook :

Who's on first, what's on second... :  Somewhat related to today's massive story above, Barrett Sports Media along with a panel consisting of 53 radio industry members has posted their top 20 Major Market Morning Shows for 2016. 98.5 The Sport's Hub Boston's Toucher & Rich came in 2nd and WEEI's Kirk & Callahan were 4th. Full list is here.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Boston gets new R&B station

After  ten and half years as the repeater for Entercom Boston’s heritage rocker WAAF 107.3, WKAF 97.7 went its own happy way and became the new  urban adult contemporary outlet branded as “The New 97-7, Boston #1 for R&B”. (WAAF of course remains on 107.3 and can still be heard on WKAF’s HD2 sub channel ).  As for the new kid in town, at 10:50am on Thursday morning(1/5), The New 97-7 launched a 10,000 songs-in-a-row commercial-free two-week stunt with Boston’s own New Edition 1984 smash it “Cool It Now”. The station has a new site at www.977rnb.com.  There will be live DJs in the non-too distant future.

As for programming brain-trust behind Entercom’s new venture, it’s an impressive group which includes established Urban AC programmer Chris Malone who had served as PD and personality at Memphis’ 103.5 WRBO-Classic Hip-Hop and WKIM/98.9 The Vibe.  Malone will serve as New 97-7’s program director, while consultant Jay Dixon, Edison Research’s VP Sean Ross, and Entercom’s Urban AC KBLX-Classic Hip-Hop Q102.1 /San Francisco Director of Programming Operations, Elroy Smith will work together. Smith, of course, rose to national prominence, as a programmer and personality at Boston’s WILD 1090 between 1983 and 1988.

VP/Market Manager Phil Zachary said via press release : “Boston has a higher concentration of African-American consumers than San Francisco or Los Angeles, but no rated Urban signals. The prospect of reaching almost 8% of the population with one radio station in a Top-10 market is almost inconceivable in 2017.”

In the same release, Malone said, “Urban AC is the most listened-to radio format among African-American consumers in Nielsen’s metered markets, so we expect the audience response to be emotional and immediate. Entercom has given us the research, the talent budget and the marketing resources to become an instant contender with Adults 25 to 54.” Malone and Zachary worked together at Curtis Media’s 96.9 WBZJ in Raleigh, NC from 2012 to 2014.
The New 97-7 gives Entercom Boston more of a balance as far its own audience portfolio which seemed more male listener-heavy thanks to sports talker WEEI 93-7 and rocker WAAF 107.3. The station will now try to deliver a slightly more female skewing subset of consumers to national agencies and local advertisers via a new format.

BRW Notebook :

Just in time for big winter storms  : With recent retirement of WBZ/News Radio 1030’s afternoon anchor Diane Stern, the station has promoted veteran anchor Laurie Kirby to afternoon drive. So as of Monday, Jan 9th, WBZ’s anchor pairings will be : 5am-10am Joe Mathieu and Deb Lawlor; 10am-3pm Rod Fritz and Pat Carrol; 3pm-8pm Laurie Kirby and Jeff Brown.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

WAAF sets new line-up in 2017

Entercom’s heritage rocker WAAF 107.3 will be retooling its weekday line-up on Tuesday, January 3rd.

The major change is the return of WAAF former afternoon drive co-host, comedian Matty Blake. Back in the early 2000’s, at the height of so-called ‘guy talk’ format, Blake co-hosted WAAF afternoon drive show with the late Rocko(real name Frank Pallaria Jr)  going up against "Opie and Anthony" on WBCN 104.1 and "Storm and Birdsey" on WFNX 101.7. This time, Blake will pair up with a South Shore native, jack-of all-trades wiseguy Nick Stevens for new a radio comedy/variety show. The station will remain music-centric at nights, overnights and weekends.

In a related move, veteran WAAF personality Mistress Carrie will move from her afternoon slot to the 10am-3pm midday slot show being vacated by Mike Hsu who rejoins Hill-Man Morning Show. Hsu served as HillMan’s news director from 1999 to 2004 before briefly shifting to nights and then to current midday role in 2005 . Carrie, who also serves as WAAF’s music director, has been in WAAF's afternoon drive since 2005. 

In another somewhat related move, after 11-year simulcast of WAAF 107.3, WKAF 97.7 will be returning to its own original programming.  A few days after the new WAAF line-up debuts, 97.7 frequency will peel off from its full-time simulcast of WAAF and introduce a brand new Urban Adult Contemporary format geared toward female listeners. Previously the station aired Urban Top 40 and was known as WBOT/Hot 97-7 and WIDL/Wild 97-7 between 1999 and 2005 when it was owned by Maryland-based Radio One. Entercom purchased WKAF from Radio One in 2005 for $30 million and turned it into WAAF simulcast.

BRW Notebook :

Tradition continues : For the 38th consecutive year legendary Boston radio programmer and DJ, Oedipus, is back to host his Christmas Eve Broadcast. On Saturday, December 24 from 6pm and Midnight, Oedipus, who has never missed a live Christmas eve show(WBCN 104.1 1978 to 2008, WFNX 101.7  from 2009 to 2011, RadioBDC from 2012-2014, WGBH 89,7 from 2015-present) will be on the air at WGBH 89.7(live streaming is at www.wgbh.org). 

Local sports radio is king : Or at least that's what Fall ratings numbers show according to Boston Globe's sports radio media reporter Chad Finn.

Barstools Radio : SiriusXM and Barstool Sports, a comedy, sports and men’s lifestyle brand, have teamed up for a new daily show, hosted by Barstool founder and Boston native Dave Portnoy, that will showcase the site’s “funny, irreverent and unfiltered” approach to covering sports, men’s lifestyle, popular culture and more.

Barstool Radio on SiriusXM will make its debut on the SiriusXM airwaves Jan. 3 and air live every weekday from noon to 2 p.m. on channel 93.

Portnoy and his army of bloggers have built a cult following based on their takes on sports, pop culture, female models, entertainment and current events.

More Rush : Premiere Networks and Cumulus Media has reportedly renewed and extended their affiliation agreement to air the Rush Limbaugh show on 33 Cumulus stations through 2019.

The extension doesn’t really affect Boston area listeners, Limbaugh airs locally from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays on iHeartradio’s WXKS/Talk 1430.

Friday, December 2, 2016

WEEI names new Program Director and makes other off-air and on-air moves

After a six-month search for its next program director, Entercom's WEEI/Sports Radio 93-7 has promoted from its in-house talent pool.  After serving as an assistant program director for past three years under former PD Kevin Graham who left the building over the summer, Joe Zarbano becomes fifth Program Direction in WEEI's 25-year history as Boston's first sports station. According to station's press release, in his new role, Zarbano will assume direct oversight of all audio content for WEEI 93.7, the WEEI Sports Radio Network, the Boston Red Sox Radio Network and ESPN 850. 

In addition, Zarbano handed over his Executive Producer stripes to WEEI's Senior Producer Ben Kichen. He joined the station in 2006 from iHeart Media’s WXKS-AM/Talk 1200 serving for Jeff Katz and Jay Severin’s talk shows and has been lead producer for both the Glenn Ordway and Dale and Holley programs on WEEI. Kichen also produces the Enough About Me podcast with Kirk Minihane as well as hosting Soccercast for WEEI.com

Another WEEI/Entercom Boston vet, Carlson Mozdiez gets newly created  Director of Operations role for Entercom Boston with special emphasis on the company’s digital juggernaut WEEI.com. Mondiez has been serving as Director of Integrated Marketing Strategies for Entercom’s Boston cluster. He joined WEEI in 2002 immediately after graduating from Syracuse University and has held a variety of positions in promotions, marketing and digital operations. 

While 30-somethings take over key positions in WEEI's off-air roles, the on-air product is also getting somewhat younged up. This past summer saw the exit of long-time evening host Mike Adams who has been replaced by Mike Mutnansky. Early fall saw the addition of weekend part-timer Christian Arcand to host  WEEI Late Night(weeknights 10pm-2am). And of course, one of the main characters on the morning show, John Dennis, retired back in August.  WEEI's personnel moves keep on coming - yesterday, WEEI announced the addition of Rich Keefe as a replacement for departed Jerry Thornton on the station's "Dale and Holley" afternoon show. Keefe who spent the past seven years with direct rival WBZ/98.5 the Sports Hub where most recently he was a sports flasher/co-host on Adam Jones' evening show. He will now be the third co-host with Arnold and Holley starting on Monday, December 5th.

BRW Notebook :

Signing off : Earlier this week, WBZ 1030's afternoon drive co-anchor Diane Stern announced her retirement after 33-years with the CBS-owned News/Talker. A Marblehead native and BU alum, Stern joined WBZ back in 1983 following previous stints at with WEEI 590, WITS/WMEX 1510.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Presidential election provides boost to news and talk formats in latest ratings

Local news and talk formatted radio outlets like WBZ 1030, WBUR 90.9 and WGBH 89.7 thrived in one of the most contentious presidential elections in recent history this fall. So it should surprise no one that these outlets were all big winners when November's Nielsen Audio ratings were released yesterday.

The "November" survey period covered the period from October 6 through November. 2, The results for the current December survey period which ends on November 30 will be released on December 20. The December numbers will likely move the numbers for news and talk stations even higher considering it would include totals from the Election week.

But for all the ups among news/talkers and downs among music stations, classic hits rocker WROR 105.7 didn't budge from its top spot. WROR was the highest rated station among all listeners ages 6 and over. The station was still solid with a number five finish in the advertiser-coveted demo of consumers between ages 25 and 54. Patriots football rights holder, WBZ 98.5/The Sports Hub held on to #1 spot among 25-54 group as Tom Brady returned in October after sitting out first four games of the season. The Sports Hub was #3 in the all-age demographic, just barely behind WROR's sister station modern adult contemporary WMJX/Magic 106.7. 

A glut of election news as well as presidential debates coverage propelled news/talker WBZ 1030 to the highest totals since the spring. WBZ-AM came in fourth(up from 5th in October).  Biggest gain, however, was by Bosotn University-owned NPR affiliate WBUR 90.9 which went from 12th to 8th and added on 100,000 listners(430,000 in October and 530,000 in November). WBUR also made some noise among 25-54's where zoomed from 11th to 7th. WBUR's public radio counterpart WGBH 89.7 went from 10th to 9th with a slight audience increase. On a more conservative side of the spectrum, Entercom's talker WRKO 680 finished 15th overall and netted 10,000 more listeners(205,000 vs 215,000) while Rush Limbaugh's affiliate in Boston, Iheart Media's WKOX/Talk 1430 ended 24th with 8,000 more listeners in November(32,000 vs 40,000).

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Wally from "Loren and Wally" calls it a career

After 48 years on the air in New England, a legendary broadcaster will retire on Friday, December 16. Wally Brine, one half of  the comedic radio duo known as "Loren and Wally" will end a 35-year run on the same frequency 105.7, it was announced this morning. (The classic hits station has been known as WROR for the last 20 years but prior to that was adult contemporary WVBF and country music WCLB). Brine and Loren Owens paired up in October 1981 and have been together ever since.
For over three decades, the morning drive pair have been making listeners laugh with their good-natured banter. The men have even created audios and videos, such as their Two Men from Maine series.

Brine, 67, grew up in the industry. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, his dad, the famous Walter L. “Salty” Brine, was in the radio business with a career that included his top-rated WPRO-AM morning show, which lasted over 50 years.

Here's the official WROR press release :

For more information, contact:                                
Ken West, Program Director
617-822-6424 kwest@wror.com


BOSTON, MA –November 22, 2016    --  Beasley Media Group, Inc, as subsidiary of Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. has announced  the retirement of Wally Brine.

Oh Boy… This was such a tough decision. We call it a “Show,” but it’s so much more than that. The studio is filled with my friends, my family. Loren Owens and I have been together for 35 years, longer than most marriages. He’s been my friend, my teacher, my advisor, my confidant and my hero. I have been so blessed to have been teamed up with Loren. I will be forever grateful. I just wish there were two of me. One could stay, and the other could sleep in, travel with my wife and stay up late! – Wally

When Wally told me that he had decided to retire, I was flooded with mixed emotions from sadness to happiness! Imagine being able to spend your workday, every day, laughing and having fun with your best friend! Those opportunities only come around every... oh, I don't know... perhaps 35 years. Wally, the ultimate professional, one of a kind, the best! 35 years together and not one argument! I'm happy for Wally because this is what he wants for the next chapter of his life! Love the guy! Always will! -Loren

After 35 years with The Loren & Wally Morning Show, Wally Brine has decided to turn off his microphone and his last day on 105.7 WROR will be Friday, December 16th.

Wally Brine was born into the radio business, as the only child of WPRO’s Salty Brine and his wife Mickey Brine, living in an apartment in the radio transmitter building. Wally got his first part-time radio job in 1968 at WPRO-FM. He attended St. Francis College in Maine, where he worked at WGAN, WLOB and WJBQ-FM in Portland. In 1981, Wally was hired by WVBF in Boston to host afternoons, but was soon teamed up with Loren Owens. The Loren & Wally Morning Show was born and has enjoyed a 35 year run in Boston on WVBF, WCLB and now on 105.7 WROR... Boston's Greatest Hits! Wally has two sons, Salty and Chucky, and is married to Jodi Winchester.

Stay tuned to 105.7 WROR for info on upcoming events to say goodbye and visit wror.com/wally to share your well wishes with Wally.

About Beasley Media Group:
Beasley Media Group, Inc. is a subsidiary of Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc., which owns and operates 69 stations (50 FM and 19 AM) in 16 large- and mid-size markets in the United States. Approximately 20.1 million consumers listen to Beasley radio stations weekly over-the-air, online, on smartphones and tablets and engage with the Company’s brands and personalities thorough digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, text , apps and email

BRW Notebook :

Where are they now : Cmulus Media announced that it has named Kevin Graham as Program Director of its Dallas news/talk radio stations WBAP and KLIF.. Graham moves to Dallas from Boston where he was Brand Manager for WEEI 93.7/850 AM and Red Sox Radio Network and Sports Radio Format Captain for Entercom. He was at WEEI for the past three years. His replacement hasn't been announced yet but a number of candidates from the big market sports talk stations are in the running. 

Holiday Week : There are a few Thanksgiving-themed specials this week. WXRV/92.5 The River is running its 18-hour Unplucked acoustic special from 6am to Midnight on Thursday. In addition, The River will once again join WUMB 91.9, WROR 105.7 and WZLX 100.7 in continuing the tradition of playing Arlo Guthrie's 1967 resistance classic on Thanksgiving Day at Noon. If you need something softer and gentler,  WBMX/Mix 104.1 will probably air a few serving of Adam Sandler's 1993 turkey anthem - "The Thanksgiving Song". For the sports fans who are traveling, Westwood One carries all of three NFL Thanksgiving games which once again will be heard locally on WEEI 93.7. Over on 98.5 the SportsHub, the Bruins will have a rare holiday game up in Canada.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Christmas music launches on Magic 106.7
It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas — at least it is on WMJX/Magic 106.7, which  switched from its modern adult-contemporary format to an all-yule playlist at 5pm yesterday(11/18) with Burl Ives' 1965's 2-minute classic "Holly Jolly Christmas"

Early songs on the station's playlist included "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey, "Last Christmas" by Wham!, 'Underneath the Tree" by Kelly Clarkson and "Little Saint Nick" by the Beach Boys.

Once upon a time, it was a race to see and hear which Boston radio station was the first to go all-Christmas, with some jumping as early as Nov. 6. But that competition has cooled off after 2011 when Magic 106.7 became the solo go-to station during annual holiday period. For the past four years Magic has been staying the course and flipping to Christmas tunes on the third Friday in November :

Nov 24, 2003 :  WODS/Oldies 103.3 and WQSX/Star 93.7
Nov 19, 2004 :  WODS/Oldies 103.3
Nov.17, 2005 :  WODS 103.3 and WMJX/Magic 106.7
Nov.15, 2006    WODS 103.3
Nov. 12 2007 :  WODS 103.3 and WROR 105.7
Nov. 6 2008 :    WODS 103.3 and WROR 105.7
Nov. 13 2009 :  WODS 103.3 and WROR 105.7
Nov.  18 2010 : WODS 103.3 and WROR 105.7
Nov.11, 2011 :  WODS 103.3 and WROR 105.7
Dec. 5, 2012 :   WMJX 106.7
Nov. 22, 2013 : WMJX 106.7
Nov. 21, 2014 : WMJX 106.7
Nov. 20,, 2015 :WMJX 106.7
Nov. 18, 2016 : WMJX 106.7

Other major pop stations in the city may throw a Christmas tune or two into their hourly playlist  as we approach Christmas Day but don't expect anyone to come out and challenge WMJX/Magic 106.7's bragging rights as Boston's Christmas Station.

BRW Notebook :

The Hiil-man extends : Entercom Boston announced earlier this week that WAAF 107.3/97.7's veteran morning host Greg Hill has signed a new, long-term contract that will keep him employed at Boston's Rock Station for the balance of his career. After a short lived stint at a local independent music TV station V66, Hill came to WAAF and started as the promotion coordinator in 1986. He became the station's morning host in 1989. The only two other local morning shows have been on the air longer than Hill - Matt Siegel on Kiss 108(January 1981) and Loren Owens and Wally Brine on WROR 105.7(September 1981).

This new agreement ensures Hill, partners Lyndon Byers and Danielle Murr, and producer Rob Stevens will anchor the WAAF personality lineup well into the future. Former Boston Bruin, Byers, has been with the show since 1997. Murr who also signed a new deal last week came on-board in 2005. Stevens replaced longtime producer Spaz in 2014.

Outside of radio business, The Hill-Man, as he’s referred to by his morning show listeners, is a professional restaurateur. Via his Whole House Group, he owns and operates 29 Sudbury, in Sudbury, and Flank, in Waltham and soon-to-open Battle Road Brewery and Restaurant in Maynard. He also owns several locations of the Howl at the Moon night club, including both the Boston and Patriots Place locations.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Morning shakeup at Country 102.5

Beasley's WKLB/Country 102.5 morning host Jeff Miles has departed abruptly after just 8 months. His last day at Country 102.5 turned out to be last Friday(11/11). He joined the station on March from KCYY/San Antonio and had prior stops at WPLJ/New York and WWWQ/Atlanta. No word on what is planned for the new morning show though PM driver Kevin Kennedy was heard filling in on Monday. Also unclear what co-host's Hannah Byrom's new role will be going forward. She joined Miles in mid-April (BRW 4/15). Miles and Byrom were supposed to freshen up station's presentation and brand after management decided to let go veterans John "JW" Willis and Lori Grande back in mid-February(BRW 2/12). Willis was WKLB's morning host since 1997.

The shakeup comes as WKLB and rest of Greater Media's stations in Boston and elsewhere were officially taken over by Florida-based Beasley Broadcasting on November 1st. Greater Media's sale to Beasley was first announced back in July(BRW 7/20).

In the most recent Nielsen Audio survey for October, Country 102.5 ranked 7th with a 4.7 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 808,200 while its direct format competitor WBWL/Bull 101.7 tied for 15th with 2.7 share and 480,700 weekly cume. November survey will be released next Tuesday(11/22).

BRW Notebook :

Staying, Moving and Going :  Continuing with the country music beat, iHeartMedia WBWL/Bull 101.7's PD/afternooner Lance Houston and evening personality Colton Bradford switched dayparts.  Bradford is now hosting 3pm-8pm. Houston is on from 8pm to Midnight. Bradford has been with the Bull since May 2015(BRW 5/14/2015). He will continue to voice-track night shows on Iheart's sister stations in Portsmouth, NH and Springfield, MA. Houston will keep his other role as afternoon driver on Iheart Radio's station in Atlanta.....WAAF 97.7/107.3's Hill-man morning show co-host Danielle Murr was supposed to exit the show after her 11-year run on Friday, November 11. Instead, she signed a new contract and will stick around....Michael Czarnecki has been promoted to Program Director at WRKO 680. He assumes the role after spending the last 15 months as Assistant PD and Operations Manager for the heritage New England News/Talker. Prior to joining WRKO, Czarnecki served as APD for iHeartMedia’s WHYN-FM and WRNX-FM/Springfield, MA He’s also held previous on-air and programming positions in Boston, Hartford, Medford, OR and Manchester, NH...

Veteran Boston broadcaster John Garabedian has announced he will be leaving the nationally syndicated "Open House Party" as host at the end of this year. First launched on KISS 108/Boston in 1987, OHP has since spread to nearly every major market in the U.S. and Canada. Garabedian has just released his memoir, “The Harmony of Parts,” available on Amazon. The show hasn't aired on Kiss 108 since mid 2000's.... Trenni Kusnierek has joined WEEI 93.7 weekend lineup, where she’ll serve as a weekend and substitute host. Kusnierek will also retain her full-time role as a sports anchor and reporter for COMCAST SportsNet/New England, where she’s been seen in the market since 2012. Prior to joining the regional cable network, Kusnierek was a sports reporter and talk show host at Milwaukee stations WTMJ and ESPN 540. She’s also been a reporter and anchor for the MLB Network, the NFL Network and the Big Ten Network...Comedian/blogger Jerry Thornton is expected to leave WEEI 93.7's afternoon "Dale and Holley" show. He's returning to Barstool Sports blog. His role will not be immediately replaced....WBOS/Alt 92.9's jock Jason Rossi, WMJX/Magic 106.7 overnight host Michael Burns and weekend host Tina Gao had exited their respective roles during Beasley's takeover of Greater Media's properties earlier this month...

Traffic Changes Are Coming :  CBS Radio has chosen Radiate Media as its new broadcast content traffic partner, effective April 1, 2017. Radiate Media will supply CBS Radio stations with customized traffic data for its over-the-air stations, operating in 26 markets including Boston. CBS Radio has been using iHeartMedia’s Total Traffic product for the last 10 years. CBS presently owns five stations in the Boston market - WBZ 1030, WZLX 100.7, WBZ 98.5, WBMX 104.1 and WODS/AMP 103.3. On April 1st, 2017, when Radiate Media takes over traffic for all CBS Radio stations nationally and locally, some (but not all) of Total Traffic employees will be hired by Radiate Media, making the transition appear to be seamless for the Boston radio listeners particularly those who get their traffic reports during all-news format on WBZ 1030.

Sunday Morning Blues : Recently, WZLX 100.7 shifted its Sunday morning schedule a bit - after a 14-year run, Sunday Morning Blues is now an hour shorter and airs from 8am to 10am. Larry "Chachi" Loprette's  "Breakfast With the Beatles" got bumped to 7am.

Ho-ho-holy cow … The celebrating of winter holidays on Boston radio will begin around the same time as has been the case for the past three years - 3rd Friday in November. Expect WMJX/Magic 106.7 to flip to its annual Christmas music format later this week(probably somewhere around Friday, November 18).

Taking the lead :  WRKO 680 hosted its third annual Veteran Day Radiothon raising over $ 71,000 for the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).   The Radiothon was held from 6 am to 3 pm  on Friday(11/11) taking donations via phone calls, text messages and online. On-air personalities including Kim Carrigan and Doug “VB” Goudie from The Boston.com Morning Show, Barry Armstrong from The Financial Exchange show, and Jeff Kuhner from The Kuhner Report show, highlighted inspirational stories from veterans of all ages and the DAV members who assist them. For more information about the Radiothon, photos and interviews from the event, visit www.WRKO.com/radiothon

Whatever It Takes : Last month, former Boston Red Sox pitching ace Curt Schilling announced he would begin hosting a weekend radio show on WFEA/Manchester, NH, syndicated via the Howie Carr Radio Network. Schilling had expanded on his media aspirations, signing on to host a daily talk show, Whatever It Takes, for conservative news website Breitbart.com. The show debuted on October 24th and streams weekdays from 9am-11am (ET).