Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Build it and they’ll come : WEEI looks to strong on-line presence


WEEI and Entercom Boston made it official yesterday. The local sports radio powerhouse is getting into a somewhat scaled-down version of what we came to know as the print journalism. The new online hybrid at WEEI.com will feature a combination of the current live audio streaming from Entercom’s sports radio leader, and WEEI-branded, exclusive sports content. Up until now, the NESN/Boston Globe-powered boston.com site has been the preferred on-line destination for thousands of hundreds of local sports fans seeking info on breaking sports stories as well as advertisers looking to push their services to the masses. On-line is where the next big influx of population, young and old, has already migrated. Radio broadcasters like any other business providers must adjust and go where they live.

Instead of quoting boston.com for breaking sports stories and sending web traffic to the competition, WEEI.com will now be transforming itself into a one-stop-shop by hoping to retain listeners who are listening to the station’s live stream on-line via home, work or mobile devices. The new on-line plan is a pretty large undertaking requiring almost 24/7 commitment from Entercom to provide exclusive station-branded on-line sports news content. Obviously, by hiring former Herald sports reporters - Rob Bradford, who will work as WEEI.com editor, and Mike Felger - the station is showing its willingness to branch out into an unchartered territory as it seeks to generate additional ad revenues in a sluggish media economy.

On the local level, news stations like WBZ AM 1030 and WBUR 90.9FM have been heavily involved in linking their on-air and on-line products for years. So WEEI is not breaking any ground as far the whole on-line concept is concerned, but it should be interesting to see how it does for the sports-only format as it battles against established destinations like boston.com and to some extent nation's #1 sports site - espn.com.

As for Mike Felger’s re-entry into WEEI’s thunderdome after 3 years with ESPN 890, expect to hear him a lot on weekends during the NFL season. It’s almost a given that he’ll take over as the host of WEEI’s Sunday morning football show and play some part in Patriots Monday on the Big Show where he was a regular for five years(2000-20005).

BRW Notebook :

The Replacements :
Mike Felger has been officially replaced at ESPN 890. The sports talker has re-launched its local afternoon drive show with “PrimeTime Live”(not to be confused with ABC News’ version of its long-running PrimeTime TV newsmagazine) hosted by Kevin Winter and with Adam (Not the Pacman) Jones sliding into the sports flasher role. On the first day of the new show, Winter’s microphone wasn’t working at the start of the show leaving Jones to hold down the fort after delivering his flash at the top of the 3 o'clock hour. When Winter got on the air a couple minutes later he made a wisecrack comment about a mic(as in Mike, get it) not working at the station. Planned or unplanned? (Ed. Note : I am here all afternoon…Try the veal).

Rolodex update : Speaking of former ESPN 890 staffers who moved on to much bigger and better things. Doug Tribou has been named Associate Producer of National Public Radio's weekend sports show, Only A Game with Bill Littlefield. He will also report for the program. Tribou has been a news anchor at Only A Game's flagship station in Boston, WBUR 90.9FM, for more than two years. Only A Game is heard on about 175 stations around the country and airs locally on WBUR 90.9FM Saturdays at 7am and 6pm.
Tribou has also been working as a news/talk/sports radio programming consultant and spent the last year working with Salem Communications' Boston Cluster (WEZE, WTTT, WROL). Prior to joining WBUR 90.9FM/ NPR, Tribou was the first program director ESPN Radio/Boston (WAMG AM 890/WLLH AM 1400) and spent six years as program and news director for news/talk 560 WGAN, hot talk/sports WZAN AM 870, and adult standards The Bay (WBAE/WVAE) in Saga Communications' Portland, ME cluster…..

Spinning off : WJMN 94.5/Jamn assistant program director/music director and on-air personality GeeSpin(also known as Geoffrey Gamere, the son of former Boston TV/radio sports broadcaster Bob Gamere) has left the station after 7 years. The 37-year old Brookline-bred GeeSpin is moving down to the Big Apple starting his new gig at Clear Channel's sister station WWPR-FM/Power 105.1 in New York. He will take over as an Assistant Program Director/Music Director role and will continue to work at WJMN as Mix Show Coordinator and, thru the magic of voice-tracking technology, its overvenight personality. He’ll also be heard on overnights at WWPR where he’ll be working for his old boss, program director“Cadillac” Jack McCartney. McCartney moved to WWPR five months ago after 17 years with Clear Channel Boston’s Kiss 108 and Jamn 94.5(BRW 2/5/08). Jamn is looking for a new music director.

Back to School Time : WFNX 101.7FM’s “Disorientation 2008’ event will be held at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston’s Seaport District on Saturday, September 13th. Starting at 5pm, Does it Offend You Yeah will take the stage followed by Rogue Wave, Alkaline Trio, The Kooks and Flogging Molly. Tickets for all-ages show go on sale this Saturday(7/19) morning and priced at $32.00.

Remembering Tony Snow : Former WRKO AM 680 morning host, Scott Allan Miller remembers former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, who hosted Fox News Radio's Tony Snow Show from 2003-2006. Snow passed away of cancer last Saturday. He was 53. Snow used to appear with Miller every Friday morning on WRKO to promote his FOX News show. He also filled in at WRKO a couple times in the early midday slot(9am-Noon) a few years ago.


Praise time : The host of “Matty in the Morning”, Matt Siegel, was voted the best morning show for the 6th straight year in the Improper Bostonian magazine….WEEI AM 850 and its afternoon drive personality Glenn Ordway have been nominated in the sports station of the year and major market personality of the year categories, respectively, in the upcoming NAB's Marconi Awards. WEEI AM 850 won a Marconi for the best sports station in 2006. Also, this is Ordway’s third Marconi nomination in the past four years. This year he’s up against KIIS-FM/LA personality Ryan Seacrest who's now heard on over 500 radio stations worldwide with his syndicated American Top 40 show, including Kiss 108 locally. Winners in all categories will be announced on September 18th at NAB Radio Show in Austin, TX…Greater Media President & CEO Peter H. Smyth has been ranked 9th among the "40 Most Powerful People in Radio" by Radio Ink Magazine in the July 7th issue. Smyth has consistently been featured on the list for the past seven years. Locally, Greater Media owns WKLB, WROR,WMJX, WTKK and WBOS….Voting for the Museum of Broadcast Communications' Radio Hall of Fame for 2008 closed at midnight yesterday. We should know sometime tomorrow(7/17) whether WRKO’s what seemed like never-ending on-air campaign to get its afternoon man Howie Carr inducted into the Hall has paid off. [Ed. Note : If Carr is inducted, he should definitely mention Mumbles in his acceptance speech. There would be no Howie if we didn't have Mumbles to kick around every week. Thank yous.]