Sunday, December 28, 2008

Year in Rewind : Change a constant for Boston radio in 2008

Is radio on the cusp of reinventing itself or simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic? Will the radio of the future be AM, FM, low-power, satellite, HD, Internet or mobile device? The rapid pace of change lent a feeling of nostalgia as WBCN and WFNX turned 40 and 25, respectively. And the sense of one era ending was emphasized by semi-retirement of radio icon Dale Dorman in September, exit of radio veterans John Lander, Moe Lauzier and Craig Mustard.

With appreciation to those who made it all possible, here's BRW's year-end salute to the stellar moments on the Boston radio beat in 2008 :

January

Entercom and Nassau Broadcasting officially break up the deal where WEEI’s owner would be taking a 50 percent stake in Nassau's classical outlet WCRB 99.5FM.

Entercom is the last of Boston’s radio owners to sign a multi-year deal with Arbitron to use Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings service which is coming to town in January 2009. CBS, Greater Media, Clear Channel and Nassau have all signed up for PPM.

On January 23rd, Jay Beau Jones is named Program Director of CBS Radio's Hot AC WBMX FM/Mix 98-5 and oldies WODS 103. He replaces Jerry McKenna(Mix) and Pete Falconi(Oldies). He was most recently program director and afternoon radio personality at WXLO 104.5FM in Worcester. He also programmed WXLO's sister station The Pike/WWFX-FM. He begins at WBMX/WODS on February 4th.

Umass-based WUMB 91.9FM is expected to introduce some non-folk programming as a result of a recent grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting reports the Boston Globe.

A format change for WTTT AM 1150. On January 28th, Salem Communication’s 5,000-watt station drops its conservative talk line-up since November 2003. On February 4th, the Spanish-language Christian talk/teaching format called “Radio Luz”(translated from Spanish- “Radio Light”) launches. The station is also the new home to Red Sox baseball broadcasts in Spanish. The station changes its call letters from WTTT to WWDJ in late July.

February

The first of the month brings a format change at Greater Media-owned WBOS 92.9FM. During Friday afternoon rush hour the long-running Adult Album Alternative is replaced with modern rock classics from the 80’s and 90’s. Unofficially, Sting's "Brand New Day" ushers in the new WBOS. The entire WBOS air staff exits the studio with the exception of Dana Marshall who sticks around to program the music but with no live DJ’s.

Chris Tyler is named the new program director for Jamn 94-5 and Kiss 108 taking over from “Cadillac” Jack McCartney who becomes the new programming chief at Clear Channel's co-owned urban WWPR/Power 105 in NYC. Tyler becomes only the fifth person in Kiss 108’s 29-year history to sit in its program director chair joining an impressive list of Sunny Joe White(1979-1990), Steve Rivers(1990-1995), John Ivey(1995-2001), McCartney(2001-2008).

Entercom announces that Dave O’Brien will take on a greater role in the Red Sox broadcasts on WRKO and WEEI during the 2008 season. He’ll call 135 games alongside veteran Joe Castiglione. O’Brien keeps his ESPN-TV’s Wednesday Night baseball commitment which opens the door for WEEI’s midday voice Dale Arnold to call home games with Castiglione while John Rish steps up to the mic on some road games.

Citadel Broadcasting hires former Mix 98-5 program director Jerry McKenna as its new operations manager and program director for three of its Worcester stations - WXLO 104.5FM, WORC-FM/Oldies 98.9 and WWFX/100FM The Pike.

On February 14th, local radio legend Jess Cain, who was the morning voice on the old WHDH AM 850 for nearly 34 years passes away at the age of 81 after a long battle with prostate cancer. Nine months after his passing, Cain is posthumously inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago on November 8th.

As the result of budget cuts at Oldies 103.3, radio veteran JJ Wright moves from overnights to 6-9pm replacing Patrick Callahan who spins out.

On Ferbuary 23rd, WRKO’s weekend fixture Moe Lauzier signs off. He is informed of the decision during what happens to be his last Saturday morning broadcast. He was with WRKO for 24 years. WRKO’s Saturday morning schedule is turned over to the best of Tom Finneran and Howie Carr shows which are followed by infomercial programs.

March

On March 3rd, WEEI AM 850’s afternoon ringmaster Glenn Ordway takes a leave of absence from his show after his wife and newborn daughter suffer serious complications during childbirth. WEEI’s Whiney Awards are moved from March 11 to April 3rd.

With his wife and baby on the mend, Ordway returns to the airwaves on March 19th.

Quite a year for WEEI’s middayer Michael Holley. He gets a new multi-year deal from WEEI in early March, his new book Red Sox Rule is released later that month and he becomes a new dad on November 1st.

March 15, 1968, The Rock of Boston is born on WBCN 104.1FM. The station announces that the River Rave and X-Mas Rave are brought back to celebrate station’s 40th birthday. Not to forget other birthdays on the dial, on March 15, 1983, The True Alternative debuts on then WLYN 101.7FM’s to the sounds of Cure’s “Let Go”. A month later(April 11, 1983) station re-launches with WFNX-FM call letters and a new transmitter.

“Toucher and Rich” get a new 2-year contract extension from WBCN 104.1FM to continue in the afternoons but only to shift to mornings eights months later.

Overnight host Phil Patrone who was with classical WCRB-FM for six years loses his battle with cancer. He was 48.

Entercom Boston announces its plans to syndicate WEEI’s daily shows to the rest of New England. Five months later, syndication becomes reality as stations in NH and Maine pick up WEEI talk programs.

April

WZLX 100.7FM launches 24-hour all-blues stream “Radio Mojo” on its HD-2 sub-channel.
Local veteran radio host and comedian Steve Sweeney debuts his new show on WWZN AM/Zone 1510

Longtime Boston radio veteran Sean Casey retires as program director/morning host at WPLM/Easy 99.1FM. Another radio vet, Frank Mitchell takes over as WPLM’s programmer and morning voice.

David O’Leary returns to Greater Media cluster as production director for WMJX 106.7FM/Magic. After exiting WBOS 92.9FM in 2004, he was working as host at WSNE/Coast 93.3 in the Providence market.

Charles Laquidara, the former WBCN morning man returns to the Rock’s airwaves on April 18th as he guests in WBCN studio with Adam 12 on his visit to Boston.

Never too old for good music. WODS-FM/ Oldies 103.3 announces the line-up for its 20th Summer Concert Series at the Hatch Shell with America and Marty Balin (of Jefferson Airplane/Starship), David Cassidy with 5th Dimension, The Guess Who with John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, Felix Cavaliere's Rascals with The Cowsills and KC & The Sunshine Band.

May

First Saturday in May brings a new “Joe and Huggy Show” to WTKK 96.9FM’s airwaves with the local loudmouth Joe Ligotti and a long time Philadelphia radio personality Lawrence “Huggy” Bergman.

No Dj’s, no problem. Jockless WBOS 92.9FM hosts the 15th annual EarthFest on May 24th as Cake, Cracker and English Beat take the stage at the Hatch Shell. Will there be a SportsFest on 92.9 a year from now?

June

After a 4-year absence, WBCN’s throwback River Rave spectacle returns despite reportedly very sluggish ticket sales with Stone Temple Pilots, Everlast and Filter headlining. Shock jocks Opie and Anthony host WBCN’s event as part of station’s 40th year celebration. Little do they know that they’ll be dumped from station’s mornings just five months later.

Eddie Andelman hosts 19th annual Hot Dog Safari at Suffolk Downs with Zone 1510 carrying the live broadcast.

Very well respected weekend news anchor at WBZ AM 1030, Jim Mitchell, passes away from a sudden heart attack. He was 58.

Celtics win their 17th NBA championship on June 17th on WEEI AM 850 as Cedric Maxwell screams out “I got the ball!” in the middle of Sean Grande’s victory moment which for most radio play-by-play people is once-in-a-lifetime chance to put their voice signature on history. That's a quack-quack moment!

Matt Siegel’s longtime Kiss108 morning sidekick Billy Costa signs a contract extension to stay at the Clear Channel’s local Top 40 institution.

At WFNX 101.7FM, morning show co-host Dustin “Fletcher” Matthews is awarded Assistant Program Director title, Music director and nighttime host Paul Driscoll is named Operations Manager and longtime midday fixture and assistant music director Julie Kramer adds on more responsibilities on the record label relations front.

On June 10, Dave Wellington resigns as WBCN 104.1FM’s program director after nearly four years. Ten days later, he replaced by Mike Thomas who adds WBCN duties to his responsibilities of programming co-owned corporate sibling classic rocker WZLX 100.7FM. Wellington would resurface as program director at Clear Channel’s alternative rock station duopoly in DC/Baltimore in late July.

Another program director spin-off. After just a littlee more than a year on the job, Ron Bowen leaves WXRV 92.5FM/The River in Haverhill. Bowen also steps down as River’s morning voice. Night-timer Rita Carey moves into morning drive shift.

July

After nearly three years with ESPN 890, Mike Felger jumps back to Entercom’s sports kahuna WEEI AM 850 where he was one of the the Big Show regulars from 2000 to 2005. A week after Felger’s departure from ESPN 890, WEEI makes a big splash announcement about the re-launch of WEEI.com site where Felger will be one of the main contributors. As part of his new WEEI tenure, Felger also gets to host WEEI’s Sunday morning football show and becomes primary fill-in for morning and midday shows.

While Felger returned to his former station, another local radio person decided to stay put. After 10 years as Mix 98-5’s music director Mike Mullaney first agreed to return to the station he helped to launch in 1995 – WXRV 92.5FM/The River 92-5 – as its new program director. But he quickly changed his mind and at the end, Mullaney opted to stay at Mix.

WJMN 94.5/Jamn assistant program director/music director and on-air personality GeeSpin(Geoffrey Gamere) leaves the station after 7 years. He is now a new assistant program director/music director at WWPR/Power 105 in NYC.

WRKO’s afternoon drive personality Howie Carr gets the word that he has been elected to Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago. The induction would take place on November 18th. Boston radio legend Jess Cain who passed away in February will be inducted posthumously.

July 29. XM and Sirius become one as two satellite radio companies officially merge.

August

A month after Mike Felger’s departure, ESPN 890 stays in the game and re-launches local programming with “Lew and Mike” jumping to afternoons at 890 from mornings at the Zone 1510. In addition, ESPN 890 introduces a new midday show with Mike Salk and Bob Halloran.

Jackson Blue kisses off nights at Kiss 108 after nearly three years. He is moving on to afternoons at KHKS/Kiss 106.1 in Dallas.

WEEI announces a new regional syndication network of radio stations in NH and Maine which will begin to carry its weekday sports brand effective September 1st.

“Mustard and Johnson” sign off from their longtime Saturday morning spot at WEEI as the station launches a brand new younged-up show with WEEI.com editor Rob Bradford and weekend host Mike Mutansky.

September

On September 12th, radio icon Dale Dorman signs off from mornings at Oldies 103.3. He stays with the station as Saturday morning host. Oldies’ afternoon personality Karen Blake and former Ch.4 sports anchor Bob Lobel team up to take over mornings at Oldies. In November, WODS announces that Blake and longtime Boston radio funnyman Chris Zito would be the new Oldies morning voices.

Kiss 108 adds Ryan Seacrest’s syndicated show to its midday schedule(10am-1pm).
Budget cuts at Metro Traffic means layoffs for longtime traffic and news reporters like Joe Stapleton, Mauzy Stafford, Bob MacNeil and Chris Fama.

WEEI wins its second Marconi Award in three years as the best sports talk station in the major market while its afternoon host Glenn “Big O” Ordway loses out for the third time in the major market personality category. This time the loss it’s more devastating as Big O gets beat by Ryan Seacrest. Yes, Ryan Seacrest.

October

Economic downturn slashes a number of on-air and off-air jobs at local Entercom stations. WRKO AM 680 cuts midday host Reese Hopkins after less than a year. He’s replaced by syndicated talker Laura Ingraham from 10am to Noon. WRKO picks up Ingraham from WTKK where she gets bumped out of the night slot by NYC-based Guardians angel bigmouth Curtis Sliwa. Meanwhile, a week after getting tossed out by WRKO, Hopkins gets arrested and extradited to NYC to face serious charges of sexual assault on a minor.

First it was the River Rave. Now, WBCN resurrects another tradition - X-Mas Rave just in time for holidays as the station concludes its 40th year celebration. On a related note, Angelle Wood is named the new host of WBCN’s Boston Emissions show on Sunday nights.

Paul Kelley steps down as the General Manager of classical WCRB 99.5FM. He takes a general manager job with Saga Communications’ stations in Norfolk, VA.

November

Ready or not, holidays music programming arrives to WODS 103.3FM and WROR 105.7FM on November 6th.

Chris Zito and Karen Blake Show debuts on WODS 103.3FM on November 12th.
CBS Radio Boston continued to shrink its staff. Among those let go, WODS morning news person June Knight, WBZ news anchor Bob McMahon, Bruins broadcast host Allan Segel, WZLX overnight personality Al Cole, WODS veteran jock Mike Finnegan.

December

WBCN drops satellite shock jocks Opie and Anthony from its morning drive. On December 2nd, Toucher and Rich move to mornings from afternoons where they were heard for two an a half years.

Progressive talk radio is back. Kind of. Jeff Santos begins his pay-per-play run on Zone 1510 in the morning drive. SF-based Peter Collins purchases 6-to-9pm evening slot. Santos is planning another show on the Zone which is expected to launch on January 5th.

After two and half years, Phil Redo exits as the market manager for Greater Media Boston stations. He’s replaced by former Entercom Boston chief Tom Baker who relocates back home from Southern California.

Without a question, the dumb turkey move of 2008 belongs to WRKO’s bosses who opted to keep morning disaster Tom Finneran around for one more year.

On December 11th, WEEI’s afternoon king Glenn Ordway ends his last Big Show of 2008 with what appears to be a farewell speech as heads into scheduled holiday break with no new contract. Nice piece of radio drama? Very likely. After all, Ordway had acting aspirations before getting into radio broadcasting. Will he be back on WEEI in ’09? Majority of BRW readers think so.

While the Big O is very likely to be back on Boston airwaves in 2009, the same can’t be said for John Lander who ended his near 13-year morning run on WBMX 98.5FM with an on-air goodbye to his Mix listeners. CBS Radio didn’t give Lander a new deal. Rather, the company is betting that newcomers “Karson and Kennedy” will turn Mix’s morning fortunes around. They debut on January 5th.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!





Boston Radio Watch is going to be taking a little break starting tomorrow. But, it will return later this weekend and...hopefully on the winning note, with the Patriots headed into the playoffs, the Celtics beating the Lakers...again, the Bruins on top of the NHL standings and Tek still catching for the Sox in '09. BRW's special weekend edition will recap Boston radiolandscape in 2008 and gear up for 2009(goodbye diaries, hello PPM's!).

Have a healthy, safe and enjoyable holiday season! Happy Solstice, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy New Year or as my oldest Generation Z-er puts it..Happy Whatever!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Officially in the Mix - Karson and Kennedy take over mornings on WBMX 98.5Fm

CBS Radio Boston made it official late last week that Karson and Kennedy will be the new morning personalities at Mix 98-5 starting January 5th as was first mentioned here a couple weeks ago. Here's the press release announcing their unpcoming debut :

MIX 98-5 ANNOUNCES NEW MORNING SHOW
“KARSON & KENNEDY” To Debut On Monday, January 5, 2009

(Boston, MA)—WBMX-FM/Mix 98-5 announced today that the Karson & Kennedy Show will be joining the station in morning drive beginning on Monday, Jan. 5, 2009 (5:30-9AM). The broadcast can be heard on-air and online at
www.mix985.com. Karson and Kennedy hail from WHBQ-FM in Memphis where they held down the morning post from 2004-08.

The announcement was made by Mark Hannon, Market Manager for CBS RADIO Boston and General Manager of WBMX, as well as WBMX Program Director, Jay Beau Jones.
“We are excited to bring Karson & Kennedy to MIX 98-5,” said Hannon. “Boston has some of the best morning talent in the country and we look forward to area listeners beginning a new tradition of waking up with Karson & Kennedy.”

Jones added, “Of the many shows we considered for mornings at MIX 98-5, Karson & Kennedy stood out as the clear choice for Mix 98-5’s next morning show.”

In their four-year span at WHBQ, Karson & Kennedy catapulted to prominence in the market inheriting 21st place when the station launched and leaving Memphis as one of the city’s most successful morning shows. Karson “With a K,” an avid sports fan and Kennedy, who loves taking in local theatre, are eager to move to Boston and work in a city so steeped in heritage.

“Kennedy and I are extremely proud to assume the reins at MIX 98-5, a hot adult contemporary station that has set the standard for success not only in Boston, but across the country. We can’t wait to get to Boston,” said Karson.

“Boston is a world class city, and we are fortunate that our careers have led us here. We look forward to making many new friends in New England,” commented Kennedy.

WBMX is owned and operated by CBS RADIO, one of the largest major-market radio operators in the United States. A division of CBS Corporation, CBS RADIO operates 140 radio stations, the majority of which are in the nation’s top 50 markets. CBS RADIO also owns and operates WZLX, WBCN, WODS and WBZ-AM 1030 in Boston.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Greater Media brings back Boston radio exec to lead its local stations

After parting ways with Phil Redo last week(BRW 12/8), the Braintree-based Greater Media didn't take long to name a new market manager for its five FM(WROR 105.7, WKLB 102.5FM, WMJX 106.7, WBOS 92.9 and WTKK 96.9) station operation in Dorchester. The company announced this morning that Boston radio veteran Tom Baker will take over as the Boston market chief in mid-January.

Baker, 66, is no a stranger to Boston radio landscape. He oversaw the operations of Entercom Boston's properties(WRKO AM680, WEEI AM 850, WAAF 1073.FM and WQSX 93.7FM(now WMKK) from 1999 to 2005. In the 80's, he also managed WRKO and then-sister WROR 98.5FM(now WBMX) which were owned by RKO General at the time. After he was cut by Entercom in August 2005, he moved to Southern California to oversee Clear Channel's 8-station cluster in Santa Barbara. Earlier this year, he served as interim market manager for Greater Media Detroit cluster.

Greater Media's official press release on Baker's hiring is here.

BRW Notebook :

Follow the money : Today's Boston.com article on the local media recession focuses mostly on the TV end of the business, but does mention local radio. Reportedly, another round of layoffs is about to hit local CBS radio and TV stations later this week(stay tuned). The Globe's article also mentioned Glenn 'Big O' Ordway's contract talks with WEEI-AM 850. For what it's worth, 56% of BRW's readers believe Ordway will be back as the ringmaster of WEEI's afternoon cicrcus come January 5th.

By the numbers : News/Talk is the most popular radio format in the land according to a survey by M Street Publications. The format is on 2,064 stations around the country including Boston's WRKO AM 680, WTKK 96.9FM, WBZ AM 1030 and WBUR 90.9FM and added 40 more stations nationally since November 2007. Meanwhile, Country format which was most popular in 2007, dropped down to 2,024 and lost 30 outlets. Boston has one lone country station - WKLB 102.5FM.

I-pod rocks! : Talk about the influence of new media technology on radio(and not the other way around)?! Stations are now adding "My Playlist" features. WBCN has one with music director Dan O'Brien every night at 8pm. WBOS 92.9FM does "My Playlist" three times a day(9am, 2pm and 9pm) and even a human touch with an announcer boy reading listener's name and town.

Mike lends a helping hand : WMKK-FM/93-7 Mike will air the 3rd annual “Mike FM Request for Help” radiothon to raise funds for Franciscsan Hospial For Children. It will take place on Friday, December 19, 2008, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Throughout that day, Mike FM listeners can call(866-931-MIKE) the station and request a song in exchange for a donation to the hospital. The more obscure the song, the larger the donation required for it to be played. A combination of prominent Bostonians, local celebrities and athletes will act as guests radio DJs all day. Among those slated to appear are Fox 25’s Maria Stephanos and Mark Ockberbloom, comedian Lenny Clarke and several others. Additional celebrities have also donated their time to record promotional spots encouraging listeners to donate this year.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mix to take a gamble on the new morning voices

Afrer deciding on the formats, the second most important decision for any major market station is the morning show. A strong morning show usually drives the rest of the broadcast day and can generate more revenue than rest of the station's dayparts. So when you hear a new, younger and hipper morning voices at Mix 98.5 after the New Year's, the decision to shake up the morning drive at the Hot AC station could be best described as somewhat of a gamble considering that John Lander's unknown and unfamilair replacements are coming up from radio market size #49 to a major Top 10 market battleground like Boston.

The new morning team that Mix will introduce very shortly will be Karson(Tager) and Kennedy(Elsey) who did a very successful morning show at a Top 40 station WHBQ/Q107.5 in Memphis for four years. The morning duo was broken up at the end of April with Tager being sent to the beach and Kennedy given a new partner(Laney). [Ed. Note : Slight correction to yesterday's update, only one half of the current "Kennedy and Laney" from WHBQ/Q107.5FM is coming to Mix in the mornings. That being the lovely Kennedy, of course.]

Mix is looking to boost its numbers in the 25-54 age group, the one most coveted by advertisers, espcailly in the morning where the station badly lags behind the leaders and direct competitors like Matt Siegel on Kiss 108 and soft rock on Magic 106.7FM. If the new younged-up Mix morning show could make a big buzz and make the numbers move up, it would have a big impact on the station's overall revenue, which in this day and age is the most important piece of the puzzle. And if the newcomers don't make a dent in radio icon Matt Siegel's huge numbers, it's back to square one.


Only time and the new Portable People Meters(PPM) will tell...


BRW Notebook :

Happy trails to you : Tom Taylor who publishes a daily radio newsletter for Radio-Info.com had this doubts about Mix' new morning team in this morning's e-mail : "Lander’s replacement will reportedly be a morning show out of Memphis top 40 station WHBQ/107.5 – Kennedy and Laney.” Dunno about that yet..." Ok, Tom, so it will be "Karson and Kennedy", not "Kennedy and Maney". My bad. But, maybe you can invite yourself to a going-away bash Karson is throwing at a local bar next Thursday night, just in case you happen to be travelling thru the Memphis area...

Let the games begin : Contract talks continue between Entercom Boston and Glenn Ordway, the 13-year host of the super popular "Big Show" (weekdays, 2-6 p.m) on SportsRadio WEEI AM 850. Ordway first joined WEEI when it was still an all-news station on the former AM 590 frequency(He and the legendary Johny Most moved from WRKO with the Celtics radio package in 1987). Yesterday(12/11), Ordway did his last show before his scheduled vacation break and the Herald reports there's still no new deal. The current five-year deal expires in 3 weeks.(Ed. Note : I just can't see WEEI without Glenn. Can you? Leave a comment below or answer the poll question). If you need a little reminder, Ordway's last contract talks in 2003 also went down to the wire so this is not a new situation for him and his agent.....While Entercom's financial woes have been well publicized in recent months, the station and its ownership are still heavily funding and throwing money at the WEEI.com project as Adam Reilly reports in the Phoenix this week.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lander Mixes out of mornings

Updated at 2:50pm : Lander's replacement(see below)

CBS Radio Boston's management has been busy rearranging morning drive shows on its local FM stations as of late. As you may have read in this space recently, WODS/Oldies 103.3 installed a new show "Zito and Blake" in November after Boston radio icon Dale Dorman signed off in September. Then last week, WBCN 104.1FM dumped syndicated satellite radio jocks "Opie and Anthony" and replaced them with afternooners "Toucher and Rich". Today, another CBS Radio station, another change in the morning commute shift. John Lander said goodbye to his AM drive audience on WBMX-FM/Mix 98.5 after nearly 13 years on the air in Boston. The rest of the show's support staff of "Lander in The Morning" which included sidekicks Kelly Malone, Alicia Love and weather man Mike Ellis have also been let go according to a number of reliable sources.

Lander joined Mix 98-5 back in February 1996 after working at stations in Houston, Philadelphia and New York City. In somewhat an unpopular move at the time, he replaced local veteran Joe Martelle who was on the air in Boston for 17 years. (Martelle was recovering from a surgery and off the air when he was let go.)

It hasn't been announced yet as to who will anchor WBMX's morning drive. "Lander In the Morning" page on Mix 98.5's website has been removed. The Arbitron's fall ratings survey ended yesterday. The new Portable People Meter technology will be implemented in time for the next survey period in January but won't officially go live until March.

Update : John Lander's replacement at Mix 98.5FM will reportedly be a morning show out of Memphis' Top 40 station WHBQ-FM/107.5FM - "Kennedy and Maney". Welcome to Boston, ya all!

BRW Notebook :

Say it isn't so : The Hall and Oates' tune hasn't been introduced as the new theme music on WRKO's morning show, but it probably will be soon. The Boston Herald has the scoop this morning that Enterom Boston has opted to keep ratings-challenged Tom Finneran in the AM drive slot for another year. The same article says that WRKO's management is looking to land WTKK's current midday personalities Jim Braude and Margery Eagan when their contracts run out next year.

Almost like being there : Kiss 108's annual "Jingle Ball" bash is on tonight at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell. The station is planning to stream the sold-out convert event live beginning at 7pm tonight on its website....Speaking of Kiss, a familiar voice is back in the station's on-air line-up. Deirdre Dagata has taken over the night shift(7pm-12am) after Jackson Blue left a couple months ago. As you recall, she was shifted to weekends after the station replaced in middays with a voicetracked show out of NYC in December 2006.

Money is too tight to mention : The Globe reports that UMass-owned WUMB 91.9FM's annual Folk Festival won't be happening in 2009 due to lack of sponsorship money.

All That Jazz : Jeff Turton, the Sunday morning host of "Jazz Brunch" heard on WFNX 101.7FM's celebrates his silver anniversary at the station this year. Former Boston Globe radio columnist Clea Simon filed this report recently.

Greettings from Toucher and Rich : WBCN 104.1FM's new morning kings "Toucher and Rich" had a brief sit-down with trade publication "Radio OnLine". Here's the link(Ed. Note : These guys are very, very good. I keep going between Howard on XM-S and them every morning now).

Monday, December 8, 2008

Greater Media's market boss Redo leaving the local radio group


After nearly three years guiding five Greater Media-owned local FM stations in the very challenging and radically changed radio world, Phil Redo is departing his position as VP/Market Manager at the Dorchester-based radio cluster. Greater Media's Senior VP of its radio division Rick Feinblatt will be the interim market manager for the Boston stations until permanent replacement is named. (Feinblatt heads Greater Media's 23-station operation in Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, Central NJ and Charlotte, NC.)

Under Redo's tenure, who came from a programming background, Greater Media Boston has seen a mixed bag of results in revenue and ratings perfomance of its five FM stations. Although the sputtering economy has put hurt on radio advertising revenue locally, some of Greater Media's formats like talker WTKK 96.9FM and classic hits WROR 105.7FM didn't turn higher ratings into profits according BIA Financial figures from 2007. On the positive note, WMJX 106.7FM/Magic has remained a steady and solid performer in ratings and revenue in 2007 and continued strong ratings showing this year. In addition, Redo oversaw country WKLB-FM move from 99.5 to a stronger 102.5Fm frequency at the end of 2006. The better signal translated into higher ratings and revenue for WKLB in 2007 according to BIA estimates. And somewhere in the middle is WBOS 92.9FM which remains a work in progress. Earlier this year, the station dropped live DJs and transformed from a very eclectic AAA format to automated mass apeal 80's/90's modern rocker but hasn't made much of a splash with the over-rocked Boston radio audience.

Prior to joining Greater Media Boston in April 2006, Redo was the Vice President of Station Operations and Strategy for New York Public Radio, WNYC-AM and FM. Redo served as the Program Director of Greater Media's WMJX-FM in Boston from 1986-1990, and as an on-air personality for the original WROR back in the early 1980s.

Monday, December 1, 2008

WBCN drops Opie and Anthony

Two and a half years after Opie and Anthony re-entered Boston radio landscape, the syndicated talkers are history here. It may mean that Toucher and Rich could be moving to mornings from anchoring afternoons. Then again, they could stay put in the PM drive. The new WBCN-FM line-up will reportedly be announced later this afternoon during Toucher and Rich show(3-7pm). Update : Toucher and Rich are moving to mornings. Adam 12 stays put in the midday but loses an hour. Hardy returns to his pre-T&R afternoon shift. Music director Dan O'Brien adds a night show. WBCN's weekday line-up as of 12/2/08

Toucher and Rich 6am-10am
Adam 12 10am-3pm
Hardy 3pm-7pm
Dan O'Brien 7pm-Midnight


Opie and Anthony were on vacation last week and were supposed to be back on WBCN today, but listeners found their 6am-9am show missing this morning, replaced by music.The switch comes at the end of the pair's contract, and CBS Radio, WBCN's owner, decided not to renew it. The pair is also being dropped by a CBS station in Cleveland and is now only heard on four terrestrial stations in New York City(K-Rock 92.3), Rochester, Norfolk, VA and Cape Cod. With their terrestrial syndication dwindling, Opie and Anthony are still heard on XM Sirius Radio(Ch.197 and 202).