Saturday, August 23, 2008

Alleged (Or Confirmed) Arbitron cheating means trouble for former WRKO host

The issue of listener affiliation has created a huge ratings controversy by a former WRKO AM midday host John DePetro.

Since February 2007, he has been hosting morning show on Providence's WPRO AM 630. Prior to landing at WPRO, DePetro was hosting the 9-Noon slot on WRKO from August 2004 to November 2006. He was fired by WRKO for referring to a Green Party gubernotorial candidate Grace Ross as a "fat lesbian" on his show.

A program/news director at a rival Providence news/talk station WHJJ AM 920 demanded that Arbitron recall the market's spring book because, he claimed that a diary keeper from one specific address(DePetro's home address) failed to acknowledge a direct affiliation with another radio station(WPRO) in town.

WHJJ's Bill George insisted that one specific household have filled out six diaries and returned them to Arbitron representing extraordinary and somewhat unrealistic listening preferences(109 out of possible 120 hours) accoring to
the Providence Journal report. Although George did not name names attached to a questionable media-related address, it was widely assumed that he was referring to WPRO's DePetro who zoomed from 9th to 4th in a single ratings survey period. Providence radio market's spring book results were released in early August. WHJJ's George was taken aback by WPRO's meteoric climb and tipped off Arbitron. Incidentally, DePetro worked fro 5 1/2 years at WHJJ prior to joining WRKO in 2006.

Arbitron proceeded to reissue the spring ratings book for Providence on August 11th after it discovered evidence of cheating. The six diaries in question were disqualified because they were filled out by resident(s) of the household in which one of the occupants worked at an area radio station(WPRO). Arbitron would not reveal the identities of the diary keepers or the station where they worked. WPRO was not penalized in the reissued book.

On Thursday(8/21), DePetro, who is still on the air WPRO AM 630, publicly aknowledged the ratings impropriety but claimed that it was his wife Kristen who lied about their media affiliation in the screening phone call and also claimed to be a six-person household to secure extra diaries. DePetro claimed no knowledge of his wife's ratings scam.

Although Arbitron's written diary system has had its critics over the years, many observers believe it's still a much more reliable recordkeeping method compared to soon-arriving Personal People Meter which carries a number of fatal flaws as it has already proved in initial market rollouts. PPM's are expected to roll into Boston with Spring 2009 survey. PPM's record every radio signal they pick up thus presenting a major problem of measuring the exposure as opposed to actual listening.

BRW Notebook :

Pumping Iron with Jimmy Myers : WTKK 96.9 FM Jimmy Myers will talk to former Boston firefighter Albert Arroyo – the Boston firefighter who went out on disability last April, but competed in a bodybuilding competition in May. Arroyo’s attorney, Neil Osborne, will also be live in the studio for the interview with Myers. The interview is scheduled for the 4pm hour on Myers' Sunday(8/24) show(3-7pm). On Thursday, Boston Fire Department officials denied Arroyo’s reinstatement after they determined the new test results produced regarding Arroyo’s disabling back injury were too subjective and not doctor certified. Arroyo is expected to give his side of the story and what his future might hold.

Convention coverage : WTKK 96.9FM's Democratic convention coverage begins from Denver August 25 - 29th with Michael Graham(9-Noon) and with "Jim and Margery"(12-3pm) broadcasting live from Denver. On Monday, September 1st - 5th Michael Graham and Jim Braude will head to Minneapolis to provide coverage of the Republican National Convention.

Getting the MoJo working : The Globe reports that WZLX 100.7FM's HD-2 24-hour all-blues channel "MoJo Radio" will be available on-line by end of September. WZLX's blues station has been on the air for the past four months and is programmed by WZLX's music director/midday personality Carter Alan who also hosts the station's "Sunday Morning Blues" program (9am-Noon).

Kissing Off : WXKS 107.9FM/Kiss 108's evening host Jackson Blue is leaving the Medford-based Top 40 powerhouse after three years. His next stop is afternoon drive at sister-stations KHKS-FM/Kiss 106.1 in Dallas. No word yet on who will fill nights(7-Midnight) at Kiss 108.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

WEEI expands its brand to Maine and NH radio markets

Entercom Boston announced this afternoon that WEEI AM 850's popular sports talk shows will soon be heard on stations in Maine and New Hampshire. In addition to Boston's AM 850 flagship, WEEI programming already airs on Entercom-owned radio stations in Providence(103.7FM), Springfield(105.5FM) and Worcester(AM 1440). Here's the official release announcing beginning of a 5-year syndication agreement via the new affiliates in Bangor and Portland, Maine and Keene, NH effective September 1 :

WEEI Sports Radio Network Expands to Portland , Bangor & Keene
Entercom’s leading sports station heads north – will now be heard on nine stations in New England

Boston, Mass. (August 20, 2008) -- Entercom New England today announced a significant expansion into Maine and New Hampshire, with four new FM stations and one new AM station slated to begin syndication of WEEI Sports Radio. On September 1, 2008, 910 AM/97.1 FM out of Bangor, 95.5/95.9 out of Portland and on or about September 15, 2008, 93.5 out of Keene, New Hampshire will all carry WEEI sports talk programming on a full-time basis.

WEEI Sports Radio is the nation’s leading sports talk radio station. Entercom has successfully extended the WEEI brand to three markets on its wholly owned stations: WEEI-FM in Providence , WVEI-FM in Springfield , MA , and WVEI-AM in Worcester , MA .

These agreements with Atlantic Coast Radio, Blueberry Broadcasting, and Great Eastern Radio will further extend WEEI’s programming to parts of northern New England , a decision that Entercom has been actively involved in making over the past year. The WEEI Sports Radio Network is also the radio home of the Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox Wednesday Night Baseball, Patriots Monday, Patriots Friday and Patriots Saturday Rewind.

Entercom’s Vice President of AM Programming Jason Wolfe said: “We could not be more pleased with our new partnership with these stations, but the big winners today are thousands of listeners across northern New England, who can now access our product through these new local affiliates and, of course, online at We are excited about their active participation in our programming.”

Entercom New England Vice President of Sales, Jim Rushton added, “The expansion of the WEEI Network fits into our overall business strategy to mirror the New England marketing footprint of the Boston Professional Sports Teams and enhance the promotional platform of the burgeoning Adding these WEEI Network stations will allow advertisers to reach consumers in 12 of the 17 rated Arbitron Radio Markets in New England (nearly 8 of the 12 million total consumers), and beyond with This is phase II of our WEEI Network expansion (WEEI wholly owned properties was phase I) and we will be adding additional stations during phase III and phase IV in the near future.”

“We are extremely excited about bringing the WEEI Sports Radio Network brand to greater Bangor,” said Bruce A. Biette, Vice President/Chief Operating Officer of Blueberry Broadcasting, parent company of 910 AM./97.1 FM. “This area has a deep sports heritage ranging from the University of Maine programs to an extremely active local high school sports scene. They are very passionate about their New England sports teams as well and when it comes to sports, nobody does it better than WEEI.”

Said Jon Van Hoogenstyn, General Manager of Atlantic Coast Radio which owns 95.5/95.9 FM: "Atlantic Coast Radio, Portland , Maine 's only locally owned and operated radio group, proudly announces an unprecedented partnership with Entercom. With the introduction of WEEI on September lst, Atlantic Coast Radio will be going all sports. Portland 's top ranked sports station THE BIG JAB, partners with Boston and New England 's sports powerhouse, WEEI.”

Van Hoogenstyn continued: “The BIG JAB gets bigger, moving up to 96.3 FM. WEEI gets great Portland coverage on FM's 95.5 and 95.9. The Portland sports radio listener now will get all the sports he needs, including Red Sox, Celtics, and WEEI and BIG JAB personalities, side by side on the dial."

“As twenty year station owners in northern New England, we are thrilled to be able to partner with Entercom to be the first company to bring the WEEI Brand to New Hampshire on our WEEY-FM in Keene . We've watched the successful rollout of WEEI Boston into Western Massachusetts and Rhode Island . We look forward to proving that New Hampshire listeners have even more passion for Sports Talk and WEEI than our Downcountry neighbors!!” said Jeff Shapiro, President/CEO Great Eastern Radio, LLC.

The Sports Radio WEEI Radio Network comprised of (3) AM and (6) FM signals (as of 9/1/08) covers 12 of the 17 Rated Arbitron Radio Markets throughout New England with unique and singular content that is compelling to each Radio Market. In addition, the Sports Radio WEEI Radio Network delivers a geographic area comprising of nearly 8 million measured consumers 12+.

Market Rank Metro Market 12+ Population WEEI Affiliate Location
10 Boston , MA 3,874,600 WEEI-850 AM Boston
39 Providence , RI 1,376,500 WEEI-103.7 FM Providence
50 Hartford , CT 1,048,200
86 Springfield , MA 528,500 WVEI-105.5 FM Springfield
112 Worcester , MA 418,300 WVEI-1440 AM Worcester
116 Portsmouth / Dover , NH 413,900 WEEI-850 AM Boston
137 Burlington-Plattsburgh , VT / NY 319,100
167 Portland , ME 238,700 WPEI / WTEI-95.9 / 95.5 FM Portland
177 New London , CT 224,900 WEEI-103.7 FM Providence
178 New Bedford - Fall River , MA 222,000 WEEI-103.7 FM Providence
181 Lebanon - Rutland - WRJ , NH /VT 214,800
190 Manchester , NH 199,800 WEEI-850 AM Boston
191 Cape Cod , MA 199,100 WEEI-850 AM / 103.7FM Bos. / Pro.
220 Bangor , ME 163,300 WABI-910 AM / 97.1 FM Bangor
268 Montpelier - Barre - St Jhnsbry , VT 109,900
270 Augusta - Waterville , ME 106,800
282 Lewiston - Auburn , ME 93,200 WPEI / WTEI-95.9 / 95.5 FM Portland
n/a Keene , NH n/a WEEY-93.5 FM Keene
Source: Arbitron Data 12+ Metro Market Rank 8/2008

Station List

WEEI Affiliate Location
WEEI-850 AM Boston
WEEI-103.7 FM Providence
WVEI-105.5 FM Springfield
WVEI-1440 AM Worcester
WTEI-95.5 / WPEI 95.9 FM Portland
WABI-910 AM / 97.1 FM Bangor
WEEY-93.5 FM Keene
BRW Notebook :
What's up, Dawg? : Karim Karamali who goes by "DJ Pup Dawg" on the air has been named WJMN/Jamn 94-5's new music director. Dawg has been at Jamn for five years serving as part of "Ramiro & Pebbles" morning show. He replaces GeeSpin(Geoffrey Gamere) who left Jamn in mid-July to work as MD/assistant program director at NYC's Power 105.5.
Patriot Games : Patriot Games Radio, a Boston-based Internet Radio program announced plans to cover the upcoming Democratic and Republican national political conventions. Coverage for both conventions will air live from Jamaica Plain's renown Doyle's Cafe from 8pm to 10pm each night. First up are the Democrats starting on Monday(8/25). The Republicans get underway on Sep. 1 :
Patriot Games Radio is a Boston-based public affairs program airing live on the BlogTalkRadio network.The host, Stephanie M. Davis (a.k.a. Boston Patriot), interviews civic, political, and business thoughtleaders throughout the state and country. Past guests include Ambassador John Bolton, Frances Rice,Grover Norquist, George Mitrovitch, Barbara Anderson, and Jeff Beatty.The show's New Media format ( includes a blog, a chat room, livephone call-in lines, and an archived Podcast of each segment. In keeping with its Citizen Journalism roots,the show will be broadcast live from historic Doyle's Cafe, in the heart of Boston's Jamaica Plainneighborhood. In keeping with its Main Street Media mission, the show has joined forces with a nationalnetwork of credentialed bloggers, vloggers, and radio hosts to provide up to date coverage of conventiondevelopments.BlogTalkRadio has been featured on ABC News, The Washington Post, Portfolio, Talkers Magazine, andThe Street.Com. In July, BlogTalkRadio announced a $4.2 million dollar capital infusion from the KraftGroup, owner of the New England Patriots. The citizen broadcasting network can be found at

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Jimmy Fund radio/telethon sets a new record

Two-day WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon set a record for the annual event, raising a record $4.8 million as of midnight last night. Here's WEEI's press release issued this morning :

WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon raises a record $4.8 million to help strike out cancer

BOSTON – (August 16, 2008) The 7th annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon reached new heights with people from all 50 states and around the world calling in on Aug. 14 and 15 to support the fight against cancer. As of midnight on Aug. 15, a record $4,839,016 was raised for pediatric and adult cancer research and care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston .

“The Radio-Telethon is an annual reminder that cancer touches just about everyone,” says Jimmy Fund Chairman and 1967 Red Sox second baseman Mike Andrews. “We are so thankful for all of the contributions. With the help of WEEI and NESN and all of its viewers and listeners, the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber are working towards conquering cancer for good.”

The two-day, 36-hour Radio-Telethon broadcast on WEEI 850-AM Sports Radio and New England Sports Network (NESN) live from Fenway Park featured compelling patient stories, expert information from Dana-Farber researchers and doctors, celebrity guests, sports panels, and emotional ceremonies.

The Radio-Telethon has earned a reputation for being a signature event in which celebrities are eager to participate. Both Donald Trump and Curt Schilling called in with a gift of $50,000. Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig contributed $40,000 on behalf of MLB, and Bruins owner Charlie Jacobs gave $25,000. Comedian Mike O’Malley gave $10,000 and Red Sox manager Terry Francona stopped by in person with a check for $5,000. Author Harlan Coben challenged listeners to be the first to make a gift of $10,000 and be named in his next book. One listener who wants to stay anonymous took him up on his offer.

Other celebrity supporters and callers included Ben Affleck, John Krasinski, Tony Danza, Kevin Nealon, Steven Wright, Keith Lockhart, John O’Hurley, John Ratzenberger, Dane Cook, Stephen King, James Denton, and George Stephanopoulos.

The Radio-Telethon wasn’t just for callers. Hundreds of sports enthusiasts had the opportunity to enjoy two unique luncheons at Fenway Park . On Thursday, WEEI’s John Dennis and NESN’s Tom Caron hosted Trophy Talk with Boston Celtic Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Bruins legend Ray Bourque, and Sox pitcher Curt Schilling. On Friday, Red Sox announcers Joe Castiglione of WEEI and NESN’s Don Orsillo moderated Sit Down with the Sox with Jon Lester, Dustin Pedroia and Jed Lowrie. Plus, an authentic 2007 Red Sox World Series ring went for $90,961 to an anonymous donor in a special auction to support the Jimmy Fund.

The Jimmy Fund has been an official charity of the Boston Red Sox since 1953. As one way to pay tribute to the organization, the Sox create an emotional pre-game ceremony, which also helps encourage Red Sox fans to support the annual Radio-Telethon. On Thursday, as the Sox prepared to take on the Texas Rangers, Dave McGillivray, Boston Marathon Race Director, ran into Fenway Park and around the bases with Jimmy Fund patient Jordan Leandre to finish up a 54 mile run that day, collecting contributions for the Jimmy Fund along the way. This run was to not only mark his 54th birthday, but the 30th anniversary of his cross country run to support the Jimmy Fund. 8-year-old Leandre is in remission from acute anaplastic large cell lymphoma. He is often remembered as the boy in the body cast who was wheeled out by David Ortiz to sing the national anthem many years ago, and at the 2007 Radio-Telethon, Leandre amazed the crowd by running around the bases during pre-game ceremonies. Singer and actress Jo Jo Levesque of Foxboro sang the national anthem and comedian Bill Cosby threw out the first pitch on Thursday..

Friday’s game was cancelled to rain, but it didn’t dampen the Radio-Telethon’s momentum. Sgt. Scott Miller, member of the Massachusetts National Guard from Newton , NH , who served tours in Iraq , Pakistan and Uzbekistan , was supposed to throw out the first pitch. Instead, he was honored for his service and given the World Series Trophy to hold live on TV. While serving in Iraq , Sgt. Miller experienced some health problems and was ultimately diagnosed with an incurable neuroendocrine tumor.

“Our listeners are amazing. After hearing patient stories they don’t hesitate to dig deep into their wallets to support the Jimmy Fund” says Jason Wolfe, VP of AM Programming for Entercom New England. “Dana-Farber doctors are making substantial progress every year and we’re proud to play a role in their continued success.”

NESN is proud to support the great work that is done every day at the Jimmy Fund,” said Sean McGrail, NESN President. “No other event on our broadcast calendar is as important, or has as much of an impact on as many people as this event.”

For more information go to

# # #

Radio-Telethon history
The Jimmy Fund is celebrating 60 years this year. Back in 1948, members of the Boston Braves visited the hospital bedside of a 12-year-old boy with cancer, dubbed “Jimmy” to protect his identity. The visit was broadcast nationally on radio and people gave generously to help children like him battling the disease. That broadcast along with player appearances and radio appeals during Braves games, helped build a state-of-the-art hospital for cancer research and patient care.

When the Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1953, owner Lou Perini made sure the new Red Sox owner, Thomas Yawkey, would continue the Braves’ work with the Jimmy Fund, as the charity had been named. On April 10, 1953, Yawkey announced that the Red Sox would adopt the Jimmy Fund as its official charity.
Today, the Jimmy Fund continues to be an official charity of the Boston Red Sox, and the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon continues the appeal to the public on radio and television to contribute to cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

BRW Notebook :

Making news again : Former WRKO midday personality John DePetro who's no stranger to controversy doing morning made some buzz last week. DePetro is currently doing morning drive at WPRO AM 630 in Providence. The station dropped five spots in the morning ratings, after Arbitron recalled its spring ratings report after complaints of "tainted" ratings diaries, and reissued the numbers, reports Providence Business News.

Let's make a deal : The talks are currently underway between Opie & Anthony and Sirius XM Radio Inc. over the duo's contract renewal, reported trade publication FMQB recently. Mel Karmazin, the CEO of the new merged XM-Sirius publicly stated that he wants O&A to stay on. Another piece of the puzzle is their presence on terrestrial radio. If the new deal is made, will they be satellite-exclusive or keep syndicating to terrestrial radio? They're currently under one-year syndication contract with CBS which includes their AM drive show on WBCN 104.1FM locally. Their one-year contract with CBS expires next spring. Interesting sidenote : Opie and Anthony were on vacation this week. Instead running their "Worst Of" segment WBCN chose to run music as weekend DJ Amy Brooks filled in.

Jury duty : Despite his critics, WRKO's Hall of Famer Howie Carr is still one influential radio personality around these parts. Reportedly, lawyers for an accused cop killer facing a capitol murder trail up in NH are asking prospective jurors if they regularly listen to Carr's show?

View from the other side : BRW's regular contributor Sarkis Chinian his gives summer edition of state of Boston radio (Ed. Note : Standard disclaimer applies as always. Contributors' views don't necessarily represent those of BRW) :

First of all, I am afraid that the Radio Hall of Fame is has become the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where the induction is based on popularity and being the "flavor" of the month will give you legendary status. Does WRKO really need ratings that bad that they pulled a every string to get Howie elected? I do congratulate Howie as he took a page out of Rush's book. He identifed his audience (54+) and played to them with such topics as do you speed and when was the last time you were pulled over? I forgot to mention the plug and plug and constant plugging of his book. I get it he wrote a book. Is this what passes for great radio? I did enjoy Max Robbins when he was on but now all the two of them do is brag about everything. Free food, free sawg, free, free, free. Yuck! I thought the networks were cutting back on the lavish parties yet Max still brags about them. Maybe this is also an oxymoron induction: Jess Cain will be inducted after he passes and he was a legend and always let his work speak for itself but now you have Howie brag and call all sorts of attention to himself.

I saw a piece on Scott's Shots column about Ordway and his new contract that he is seeking. I am wondering if the BIG E(E for Entercom) will allow all that cash to go to one person. There are several confirmed reports that the owner of ENTERCOM is buying all of the stock back and trying to keep BIG E running. WIll Jason and Julie just pony up the cash and give it to Ordway? My guess is no, how can it justify that if the company is awash in red ink and the stock is tanking. I own the stock and hope the BIG E will realize that the merger days of BIG RADIO are over. I am also guessing that Jason and Julie don't care so back up the trucks and here comes the O cash.

My favorite subject! I guess were are official and are merged!! I did hear Mel K on O&A recently talking about the merger. Its very mundane of O&A to talk about their contract as it expires. Anyone with a brain knows that they already have a contract and once again play their fans for dolts to spice up their numbers. I have 4 units and its looks like Hoo Hoo(Howard Stern) will be on for a trial in September. The pricing will be fixed but the fees are bound to increase as this merger continues. Of course you need O&A to build up the numbers as well so they should be in the fold as well. The one issue that I will watch is the repeater issue. XM has to shut 50 of them off as they violated FCC regulations, so I am watching that as well. What am I going to do with 4,000 shares of XM/Sirius stock?

I also continued a radio trial. I tried to listen to terrestial for a week and still could not get through it!! I guess Loren and Wally are the Howie of FM as their demographic is (54+). I think they are just plain safe and vanilla. I still laugh at Jay Sevrin, not at his show but to think someone thought he could do national! I guess he forgot that his game was big time and its not! I did win twice on the Zone 1510's Time Out for Trivia! I was poolside and wanted to try something different.

To sum it up: Regular Radio is just plain awful! This is a medium that cannot spread its wings as its too afraid to piss anyone off as the advertisers will run for someone else.

Monday, August 11, 2008

ESPN 890 offers new line-up following Felger’s exit

890 ESPN is still trying to get to where it's going on the Boston sports radio map. But the road hasn’t been easy so far. 890 ESPN opened for business as a sports-talk station a little more than three years ago, with the formidable task of challenging market’s 17-year institution WEEI AM 850 and becoming a solid alternative to Entercom’s sports radio powerhouse.

Since September 2005, the ESPN Radio affiliate had featured former Boston Herald writer and current Comcast SportsNet personality Michael Felger in its PM drive lineup. But, last month the Charlestown-based sports talker was forced to remold itself as Felger jumped ship to rejoin WEEI as part-time on-air personality and columnist on its soon-to-be relaunched website.(BRW 7/13)

Starting this Thursday(8/14), ESPN 890 will launch a new local lineup. Big change is the addition of
the Mike and Lew Show which shifts over from pay-for-time morning drive at WWZN AM 1510/The Zone to 4-6pm slot at ESPN 890. In addition, ESPN 890’s sports flasher/reporter Mike Salk and WCVB’s weekend sports/news anchor Bob Halloran pair up for a new midday show “Salk and Halloran” from Noon to 2pm.

Here’s the official announcement from ESPN 890 :

Fresh New Voices and Boston Perspectives Highlight Program Change

BOSTON - August 11, 2008 - In a move to expand local programming and help meet Boston's insatiable appetite for local sports talk, 890 ESPN Radio today announced a new afternoon and drive time program line up.

Beginning Thursday, August 14, WCVB-TV 5 news and sports anchor Bob Halloran will team with current 890 sports reporter Mike Salk for "Salk & Halloran" which will run weekdays between noon and 2pm.

A new drive time show, "Lew and Mike," hosted by the sports talk team of Lew and Mike (Lew Goldstein and Mike Vallee) will air between 4pm and 6 pm. The "Lew and Mike Show" had run on AM 1510 The Zone.

"These moves allow us to supplement our local sports talk and Boston sports news which our listeners cannot get enough of," said 890 ESPN program director Len Weiner. "Boston is America's number one sports town and ESPN is America's number one sports brand. We are excited to expand our programming and offer more new local voices along with the resources and great talent at ESPN."

Halloran's entry into the station lineup is a welcome home of sorts. Before joining WCVB's SportsCenter 5, Halloran was at ESPNews where he spent three years as an anchor and writer for He is also the author of "Irish Thunder: The Hard Life and Times of Micky Ward," published by The Lyons Press.

Mike Salk has been 890 ESPN's Red Sox reporter for the past two years, and will continue in that role. He also can be heard on ESPN's national programming.
The "Lew and Mike Show" at AM 1510 meanwhile has earned a significant response and a reputation for edgy sports commentary and news by two local opinionated and enthusiastic sports observers.

"I'm confident that 890's listeners will embrace these new shows. It's a new day for 890 ESPN, and we look forward to perhaps bringing even more local programming to the station." said Weiner.