Monday, December 28, 2009
Public radio station WGBH 89.7FM which has shifted most of its schedule the mix of news-and-talk and public affairs programming on December 1st will soon be trying to distinguish itself from its local public radio competitor WBUR 90.9FM by devoting two hours each weekday afternoon to live, locally-produced programming. The station is launching "The Emily Rooney Show"(Noon-1pm) and "The Callie Crossley Show"(1pm-2pm) on Monday, January 11th, it was announced today.
WGBH 89.7FM's two new local shows will counter two NPR shows - "Here and Now" with Robin Young(Noon-1pm) and "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross(Mon-Thur 1-2pm) and a local show "Radio Boston"(Fri,1-2pm) on WBUR 90.9FM. WGBH also offers "Fresh Air" from 2pm to 3pm.
Rooney and Crossley already work together on WGBH-TV's "Beat the Press", a round table media discussion show which airs every Friday evening. "Beat the Press" also re-airs on WGBH 89.7FM on Saturdays at 2pm.
Here are press releases from WGBH :
WGBH Radio launches The Emily Rooney Show on January 11, 2010
Award-winning journalist Rooney anchors WGBH’s local mid-day programming
WGBH Radio announced today that The Emily Rooney Show, hosted by award-winning journalist Emily Rooney, will launch at noon on Monday, January 11, 2010 on 89.7, Boston’s NPR Station for News and Culture. The hour-long program anchors WGBH’s commitment to in-depth local coverage and will feature diverse topics of interest and importance in the region.Airing Monday through Friday, Rooney will examine local news and public affairs in a spirited daily forum. The program will engage people on the issues of the day, ranging anywhere from politics and the law to science and technology. A signature segment of the hour, called “What are YOU Hearing?”, will feature experts with unique insight into a specific issue.“The Emily Rooney Show will focus on what’s happening today that affects the greater New England area,” says Rooney. “I have a large cadre of contributors that I’ll discuss the issues of the day with, and we’ll step into areas that are both national and international. But we always will turn it back to a local focus.”
WGBH Radio launches The Callie Crossley Show on January 11, 2010
Veteran journalist Crossley central to WGBH’s local mid-day programming
WGBH Radio announced today that The Callie Crossley Show, hosted by award-winning journalist Callie Crossley, will launch at 1pm on Monday, January 11, 2010 on 89.7, Boston’s NPR Station for News and Culture. The hour-long program, central to WGBH’s commitment to in-depth local coverage, will feature diverse topics of interest and importance in the region.Airing Monday through Friday, Crossley will offer a daily discussion of current events, local happenings, arts and culture, and water cooler buzz. From the boardroom to the bus top, Crossley will examine stories of interests from Boston and New England. In turn, she will invite the community to weigh in on a wide range of topics, providing a forum for listeners to tap into the talk of your town.“I look forward to being part of this new chapter for WGBH, exploring stories of the region and using the tremendous resources we have here to provide another way for people to expand their knowledge.”
BRW Notebook :
Year-end honors : Radio/music industry publication F.M.Q.B.(Friday Morning Quarterback) picked Mix 104.1FM's "Karson and Kennedy" as the best morning show from all the AC/Hot AC stations around country.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
2009 was a year of great change in Boston radio. The combination of declining advertising dollars and introduction of Arbitron’s Portable People Meters to measure the listening audience put in motion a couple of major moves that really shook up the Boston market.
First up, CBS Radio’s decision to ditch the 41-year heritage of WBCN 104.1FM’s rock format. Not only was this was the story of the year by miles and miles, it was without any question the mother of all Boston radio happenings over the past decade :
WBCN’s format and call letters faded way from the Boston dial in the early hours of August 12th as sister station WBMX/Mix shifted from 98.5FM to 104.1FM frequency and became Mix 104.1FM. A day later, a brand new FM all-sports station – 98.5FM the SportsHub/WBZ-FM – was officially launched becoming a legitimate competitor to the dominant WEEI AM 850(BRW 8/12).
There were more upheavals throughout the year that deserve a special mention here but nothing on the scale of WBCN's exit. Not even close. :
-Just two weeks after SportsHub 98-5 became Boston’s first FM sports talker, Entercom announced that after two and half years of airing most of Red Sox games on its news/talker WRKO AM 680, entire Sox schedule would now be heard exclusively on one signal - Boston’s dominant sports radio powerhouse WEEI AM 850.
-In May(BRW 5/14), Goldman Sachs took control of classical WCRB 99.5FM after its owner Nassau Broadcasting swapped its huge debt in exchange for equity in the station. With Goldman Sachs in the ownership role, it was pretty clear WCRB would be sold off in the near future. And so in late September, Nassau announced that it was selling WCRB to WGBH Foundation for $14 million.(BRW 9/21). The deal closed in late November and on December 1st WCRB 99.5FM re-launched as a non-commercial, public radio station run by WGBH. With WCRB in the fold, WGBH 89.7FM eliminated classical, folk and blues from its schedule as it shifted its focus toward more news, information and public affairs programming as it now directly competes against Boston University’s WBUR 90.9FM.
-After four years, ESPN Radio dropped its partnership with WAMG AM 890. ESPN 890 went dark on September 14th but would eventually return to air in early December featuring Latin music programming. WAMG’s owner Waller Sutton is still looking for someone to buy its AM signal.
-Early October raised some eyebrows as Greater Media’s talker WTKK 96.9FM(BRW 10/2) announced that it was cutting down its longtime syndicated personality Don Imus to just one live hour a day. Imus has been heard on the station since its launch in 1999. The FM talk station shifted midday “Eagan and Braude” into the morning drive.
Here is a month-by-month rundown of changes in front and behind the mic in Boston radio in 2009 :.
January : The year starts with the debut of "Karson and Kennedy" who introduced themselves to WBMX/Mix audience on Jan. 5th. Mix's new morning show replaces veteran John Lander whose contract wasn't renewed at the end of 2008. Lander was with Mix for nearly 13 years...WBZ AM 1030’s longtime sports director/anchor Gil Santos retired in late January(1/30) after 38 years of service. He was replaced by Walt Perkins. Santos remains the voice of New England Patriots football….Greater Media’s WBOS 92.9FM’s program director Dana Marshall was let go due to budget cuts after a year on the job. She was replaced by Ken West who also holds down program director position at classic hits WROR 105.7FM. As part of the same layoff waye, WROR 105.7FM’s overnight personality and longtime Boston radio veteran Albert O and evening personality Julie Deveraux were let go. Deveraux would be re-hired to co-host WROR’s afternoon drive four months later…Some good news in January included WEEI's afternoon king Glenn Ordway getting a new 5-year deal...WTKK’s “Eagan and Braude” also got re-signed to a longterm deal....Veteran radio programmer Beau Raines returned to Boston to program and host morning drive at the River 92-5.
February : WODS 103.3FM and WBZ AM 1030’s general manager Ted Jordan retires after 34 years with CBS/Westinghouse radio groups. At WBZ, he was replaced by CBS Radio Boston market boss Mark Hannon who also oversees Mix 104.1 and Sports Hub 98.5. Barbara Jean Scannel added WODS 103.3 to her WZLX 100.7FM duties...Entercom Boston announced addition of 96.3FM as the new Cape Cod affiliate to WEEI Radio Network starting on April 1st.
March : One of the true Boston radio greats Larry Glick passed away at age of 87 in Florida. Glick retired from Boston radio in 1992…Syndicated radio columnist Paul Harvey dies at age of 90..Arbitron’s Portable People Meter system goes live in the Boston market…Imus broadcasts his 10th “Kiss Me, I’m Imus” show from Boston’s Wilbur Theater but his dustup with afternoon talker Jay Severin overshadows the entire station’s event
April : Opening day at Fenway Park wasn’t a very happy event for WAAF 107.3FM’s evening man Bob Hannah whose shift would now be handled without a DJ.…WBCN’s 31st and last “Rock 'N’ Roll Rumble” takes place….Perhaps a sign of things to come – WBCN’s morning crew from “Toucher and Rich” and station’s weekend personality Amy Brooks pull off one of the best April Fool’s stunts in recent memory as WBCN turns into Power 104 and format changes from Rock to Top 40…WTKK’s afternoon host Jay Severin is suspended for his swine flu remarks…Local veteran Top40 personality Deirdre Dagata is cut by Kiss 108. Her replacement is a voice-tracked show from Dallas. Dagata would join Mix 98-5 as a weekend/fill-in in May.
May : WROR 105.7FM launched a new afternoon drive show with station’s former evening personality Julie Deveraux and Tom Doyle from morning’s “Loren and Wally” show…WFNX 101.7FM cancels long-running “Jazz Brunch” with Jeff Turton…Kiss 108’s morning virtuoso Matt Siegel adds a Providence affiliate. He’s now heard on Coast 93.3 in the Ocean State….After being cut in late 2008, freelancer Tom Cuddy returns to afternoon sports anchoring at WBZ AM 1030…Progressive talk line-up dubbed ”Revolution Radio” debuts on WWZN AM 1510 as format's producer Jeff Santos inks a 1-year lease with the Quincy-based station.
June : Aside from Jay Severin returning to WTKK after a month-long suspension and the King of Pop departing, a pretty low-key month unless you consider Col. David Hunt being voted the President of Howie Carr Nation a big news story.
July : Shocker! On July 14th CBS Radio announces that after 41 years the Rock of Boston will be no more as of August 11. Also in the same announcement, SportsHub 98-5 would launch on August 13th and go head-to-head with WEEI AM 850.
August : Mix 98.5 moves into a brand new studio at the old TV38 building with its CBS Radio bretheren...George Taylor Morris former WZLX, WBOS and WCOZ personality/programmer passes away at age of 62…After a decade of feuding, WEEI and Boston Globe finally make peace as the newspaper’s sports writers will now be allowed to take part in station’s daily shows…August 8th, WBCN starts its own 4-day wake to remember its glorious 41-year run...A few minutes after midnight on August 12th WBCN 104.1FM fades away to the sounds of Pink Floyd’s “Shine Your Crazy Diamond". A couple hours later WBMX moves from 98.5FM into the vacant 104.1FM frequency…August 13th, 1pm, another bit of history takes place as 98-5 The SportsHub/WBZ-FM is officially launched with the debut of “Felger and Massorratti” and the first Patriots preseason game follows them…WEEI becomes a fulltime Red Sox flagship as WRKO becomes a fulltime talk station again.
September : Kiss 108’s morning man Matt Siegel wins his 2nd Marconi Award in the Major Market Personality of the Year…WXKS AM 1430 separates from the “Rumba 1200” simulcast with WKOX AM 1200 and becomes “Mia 1430”…September 7th, WTKK 96.9FM celebrates its 10th anniversary…September 21, WGBH announces that it is saving classical music format by buying WCRB 99.5FM from Nassau Broadcasting…September 14th, ESPN 890/WAMG AM goes silent..Boston Bruins broadcasting icon Fred Cusick passes away at age 90.
October : WTKK shakes up its line-up by cutting Don Imus down to one live hour on weekday morning(6am-7am). Eagan and Braude(7-10am) are now the station's new morning drive show. Also, WTKK lays off news director Ed Cherubino and assistant program director Eric Caldwell in a major in-house overhaul…Mike Tierney is named the VP of Broadcast Operations at WFNX 101.7FM…After only 9 months on the job, Beau Raines is out as River 92-5’s program director and morning host.
November : After a 4-year break, ESPN Radio returns to WEEI AM 850. As the result of the sports radio affiliation change at WEEI, Fox Sports Radio shifts over to SportsHub 98.5. No surprise : WODS 103.3FM and WROR 105.7FM both flip to all Christmas music formats on November 13th…FCC approves WCRB sale to WGBH…
December : WCRB 99.5FM and WGBH 89.7 FM launch their new line-ups…Veteran Top 40 personality Diana “Lady D” Steele exits her evening sift Mix 104.1FM after a 4-year run. Her contract wasn’t renewed…Former WBCN program director Oedipus hosts the 31st edition of his Christmas Eve show on a longtime bitter rival WFNX 101.7FM.
Friday, December 18, 2009
After more than 58 years on local radio, the live Friday afternoon broadcasts of the Boston Symphony Orchestra performances from Symphony Hall will not be heard on WCRB 99.5FM. it was officially announced this morning. WCRB 99.5FM was acquired by WGBH on December 1st. As part of the new collaboration agreement between BSO and WGBH, the Saturday evening live BSO broadcasts on WCRB will continue with an expanded schedule. The BSO which does not get licensing fees from its live local radio broadcasts will also be adding more of its content to WCRB's line-up.
Here's official WGBH Radio's release on BSO broadcast changes :
WGBH Radio expands collaboration with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on99.5 All Classical
WGBH’s recent acquisition of WCRB 99.5 All Classical enables the public broadcaster to air a greatly enhanced schedule of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s many offerings, including Saturday evening concerts and specials 52 weeks of the year, all 25 Tanglewood concerts throughout the summer, and the entire Boston Pops spring season.
“Preserving a full-time classical music service for the region was very important to us, and we’ve begun to realize its promise with this robust new collaboration with the Boston Symphony Orchestra,” said Marita Rivero, WGBH vice president of Television and Radio. “We are pleased to now broadcast much, much more of the BSO’s repertoire on our new 99.5 All Classical station.” The new lineup adds up to an increase of 140 percent more BSO than previously broadcast by WGBH.
With the additions, WGBH will forego the Friday afternoon concerts, which generally duplicate the Saturday evening performances. “While our decision to discontinue the BSO’s Friday afternoon concerts was a difficult one, we wanted to focus our resources on additional performances that would not otherwise be heard. We recognize there are listeners accustomed to the Friday broadcast, and hope they now will enjoy those same concerts on Saturday evenings, which will be available on 99.5 All Classical,” Rivero said.
The BSO’s Holiday Pops on 99.5 All Classical is underway this month and can be heard on December 19 at 8pm and December 24 at 7pm. The concerts feature 99.5’s on-air host Laura Carlo reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” with Keith Lockhart conducting the Boston Pops and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.
Beginning in January, 99.5 All Classical will air BSO concerts or specials every Saturday evening at a new time – 7pm. The live concert season kicks off on Saturday, January 9th with a broadcast of acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma with Ton Koopman, the Dutch early music specialist, for the Haydn C major Concerto. On January 30th, James Levine returns, conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra for the first time in more than four months.
For more information on 99.5 All Classical, visit 995allclassical.org.
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster, producing such award-winning PBS series as Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Curious George, and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2/HD and 44, and digital channels World and Create. Local TV productions that focus on the region’s diverse community include Greater Boston, Basic Black, and María Hinojosa: One-on-One. WGBH Radio serves listeners from Cape Cod to New Hampshire with WGBH 89.7, Boston’s NPR Station for News and Culture; 99.5 All Classical; WCAI for the Cape and Islands; WNCK on Nantucket; and the All-Classical WGBH HD channel. WGBH also produces the national radio news program The World. WGBH is a leading producer of online content and a pioneer in developing educational multimedia and new technologies that make media accessible for people with disabilities. Find more information at www.wgbh.org.
BRW Notebook :
Two is better than one? : The Globe takes a look at the new WBUR-WGBH tussle for public radio's news and information slice of the Boston radio audience. With so much focus on WGBH's turning to more news/information, even WBUR 90.9FM examines its new competitor via this report.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
92.5 the River’s Program Director Catie Wilber said, “We'll be digging into the River Music Hall archives and unearthing Christmas gems from countless River artists, for a relaxing Christmas day soundtrack.”
92.5 The River is Boston’s Independent Radio station, unfettered by the chains of big corporate radio and serving savvy listeners with great music on-air and online. The River is home of the historic “River Musical Hall”, home to live performances since 1947. Music Hall alums include Coldplay, Jack Johnson, The Fray, David Crosby & Graham Nash, Barenaked Ladies, Paula Cole, David Gray, Ben Harper, Matchbox 20, and countless more.
-WTKK 96.9FM is hosting a radiothon for the Fisher House Boston on Monday, December 21 from 10:00am to 6:00pm as well as an online auction which is now underway through Monday, December 21. The radiothon host, Michael Graham, will be joined by former governor Mitt Romney, actor and comedian Mike O’Malley, Fox25 personality Doug "VB" Goudie, senator John McCain, retired marine and blogger Michael Yon, Boston Pops Orchestra conductor Keith Lockhart, and Lt Col (Ret) Ralph Peters.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Even after he stepped down as WBCN's program director in June 2004, Oedipus(real name : Edward Hyson) continued to come back to the Rock every Christmas Eve to host his annual holiday show. It's a tradition he he started back when he was working as station's nigh-time jock in 1978. When he moved into WBCN's PD chair in 1981, he decided that the only person who should work on Christmas Eve should be the boss. And so for over 30 years, believe or not, Oedipus never missed a Christmas Eve show. However, with WBCN's demise this past August, it seemed very likely that Oedipus' streak would be coming to an end later this month.
Well, enter WBCN's former, longtime bitter rival WFNX 101.7FM to keep things going. As mentioned in the Boston Phoenix yesterday and officially announced today, Oedipus will host his Christmas Eve show on WFNX 101.7FM this December 24 from 6pm to Midnight. Tradition continues.
Here's official WFNX release :
WFNX Will Be Home For Oedipus’ Legendary Christmas Eve Show
Boston’s WFNX-FM will broadcast this year’s edition of the long-running Christmas Eve show hosted by legendary radio personality and programmer Oedipus. The show will again feature music from Oedipus’ carefully cultivated collection of holiday music, along with other exclusive Christmas-themed surprises from the show’s host, its listeners, and even the occasional world famous rock star. For over thirty years, it had been a fixture on the station’s now-defunct former rival WBCN.
“Christmas came early for me this year,” Oedipus said. “A Boston tradition lives on – Christmas music heard nowhere else – most appropriately on Boston ’s heritage alternative radio station, WFNX.”
WFNX vice-president of broadcast operations Mike Tierney said, “As one of Oedipus’ many friends and admirers, I was always aware of his Christmas Eve show and its loyal following. But until I started here this fall, I had no clue how much passion there was. Music lovers of all ages have been coming out of the woodwork, literally begging us to put it on WFNX. By the time Oedipus reached out to me, I couldn’t tell whether he was pitching me or if I should be pitching him.”
The Oedipus Christmas Eve show will air without commercial interruption on Thursday, December 24th, from 6pm until midnight. WFNX can be heard at 101.7 FM in Greater Boston, at 92.1 in New Hampshire , and streaming worldwide at http://www.wfnx.com/.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
93-7 Mike FM, the station that constantly plugs its slogan - 'We Play Everything' - may really have to prove it all tomorrow(12/11) as it holds its 4th annual radiothon to raise funds for Franciscan Children's Hospital. Listeners will be able to call in between 7am and 7pm to request any song they want to hear in exchange for a donation. Here's the official release :
93-7 MIKE FM PRESENTS THE MIKE FM REQUEST FOR HELP TO BENEFIT FRANCISCAN HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN BROUGHT TO YOU BY SBLI
Mike FM listeners to call in with song requests in exchange for donations to the hospital
Boston, MA (December 8, 2009) - 93-7 Mike FM is proud to announce that they are once again teaming up with the Franciscan Hospital for Children to present the 4th annual Mike FM Request for Help radiothon to help raise money for the hospital. It will take place on Friday, December 11, 2009 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
93-7 Mike FM will be encouraging their listeners to call in and donate money in exchange for a song request. The bigger the donation one makes will determine how obscure the song request can be. A combination of prominent Bostonians and athletes will donate an hour of their time to volunteer their time as guest DJ’s throughout the radiothon. They will be on air to speak about the fundraiser and encourage 93-7 Mike FM listeners to pledge money. Among those slated to appear are Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa from the Boston Herald’s Inside Track; WCVB’s Janet Wu, Kelly Tuthill and Randy Price; former Celtics great JoJo White; former Patriot Joe Andruzzi; WBZ-TV anchors Jack Williams and Lisa Hughes; Fox 25’s Maria Stephanos and Mark Ockerbloom; and others.
"The Request for Help is such an important and meaningful event to all of us at the station,” said Bill Alfano, Director of Marketing for Entercom Boston. “Over the years, we’ve had the privilege of spending a lot of time at the hospital and visited with many of the patients, so we feel a very personal relationship to Franciscan’s. The staff provides amazing care and compassion for children and their families. I encourage everyone to donate this year, all donations are greatly appreciated. Every dollar counts.”
"Franciscan Hospital for Children is extremely grateful for the generosity shown by Mike FM and its listeners every year," said Franciscan Hospital for Children Chief Development Officer Steven Snyder. "The Request for Help has a major impact on the hospital, our programs and, most importantly, our children. We'd like to extend thanks to everyone helping to make this year's radiothon a success."
Those looking to call the Mike FM Request for Help hotline and make a donation can call 866-931-MIKE (6453) anytime between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday. Donations will also be accepted online at www.937mikefm.com.
93-7 Mike FM will also host its Annual Mascot Musical Chairs Pizza Party for patients at the hospital on Wednesday of this week. Mascots from the local pro teams will join a festive holiday pizza party featuring dancing, entertainment provided by The Boston Party Professionals, food and a hilarious musical chairs competition among the mascots.
93-7 MIKE-FM is Entercom Boston LLC’s Variety Hits radio station. Entercom Communications is one of the nation's top five largest radio broadcasters with stations in 19 markets including Boston, Providence, Indianapolis, Seattle, Denver, Portland, Sacramento, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Norfolk, New Orleans, Memphis, Buffalo, Greensboro, Rochester, Greenville/Spartanburg, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Wichita, Madison and Gainesville/Ocala.
Franciscan Hospital for Children, located in Boston’s neighborhood of Brighton, is the leading pediatric rehabilitation center in New England. The hospital offers medical, behavioral and educational services for children with complex issues requiring interdisciplinary care. For more information on the hospital visit www.franciscanhospital.org.
BRW Notebook :
Lady D spinning out : One of Boston's most recognizable radio names and voices belongs to veteran on-air jock Lady D. Unfortunately, after four years of working nights(7pm-Midnight) at WBMX-FM/Mix104.1 Lady D will sign off tonight. She started out as an intern under the legendary Sunny Jo White at Kiss 108 back in 1981 and has been heard at WXKS/Kiss 108, WZOU 94.5Fm, Jamn 94-5 and Star 93-7 over the years. No word on her replacement.
WBUR tweaks weekend schedule : With WGBH 89.7FM heavily expanding its public radio news focus last week, incumbent NPR News station WBUR 90.9FM adjusted its weekend programming.
How it all began : A really cool article in Mass High Tech this week on the history of how WCRB's classical sound was born .
Round 3 : More on the SportsHub and WEEI's November ratings from the Herald. As pointed it out here previously, SportsHub is a great addition to the Boston sports market and is here to stay for good but WEEI is still the station to beat.
Back on the air : WEEI's former competitor ESPN AM 890 signed off on September 14. After two and a half months of being off the air, the station powered back on last Thursday(12/3) as a new Latin music outlet reports Northeast Radio Watch.
Stern's next stop? : The king of satellite radio Howard Stern says he does not think he will re-sign with satcaster XM Sirius when his contract expires at end of 2010; Sirius Chief Exec Mel Karmazin says company wants to keep Stern on air on terms that are in best interests of shareholders; Sirius does not need Stern in way it did when joined company five years ago according to Tuesday's Wall Street Journal report. And for those who missed Stern's little nutty on the air yesterday morning, NY's Newsday has a mini-recap right here.(Ed. Note : How many Boston stations could use Stern right about now? Probably more than five.).
Thursday, December 3, 2009
There were no major changes at the top of the monthly Arbitron radio ratings that came out today, with Top 40 music station WXKS-FM/Kiss 108 maintaining its reign as the most popular station in the Boston market.
Rounding out the top 5 in the survey period that ran from October 15 to November 11 were, in order, adult-contemporary WMJX-FM/Magic 106.7, news/talker WBZ AM/NewsRadio 1030, hip-hop station WJMN-FM/Jamn 94-5 and classic rocker WZLX 100.7/"Boston's Classic Rock".
You can check the complete radio station standings here.
The third round of new Boston sports radio rivalry didn't really rock the boat. With the Red Sox' quick playoff exit(on October 11), WEEI AM/SportsRadio 850 clearly took a big hit in the overall listening as the station tumbled from 5th to 10th but it kept its lead over the newcomer WBZ-FM/98.5 the SportsHub which finished 15th (down from 14th). More importantly, in their target demo - 25-54 year old men - WEEI AM 850 remained the#1 choice while SportsHub dropped to 8th(from 3rd in October). And according to Arbitron representative, in the afternoon drive the Big Show held on to 2nd place(with WZLX's Chuck Nowlin in 1st) while Felger and Massarotti on the SportsHub dropped from 3rd to 8th. Things were a little closer in the AM drive where "Toucher and Rich" were holding steady in 5th(tied with Kiss 108's Matt Siegel) while "Dennis and Callahan" slipped to 2nd(from 1st).
On the issue-oriented talk front, there's still plenty of room for improvement. WTKK 96.9FM's changes to its morning drive didn't have the instant impact. As you recall, on October 5th, the FM talk station cut syndicated talk personality Imus down to an hour(6am-7am) and moved midday duo "Eagan and Braude" into 7am-10am.(BRW 10/2). Under the new schedule, WTKK finished 17th in the 6am-10am morning drive block among listeners 25-54. WRKO AM 680's "Finneran and Feinburg"(5:30am-9am) and first hour of Laura Ingraham's show(9am-10am) were good enough for 13th place.
BRW Notebook :
C's voice reaches a milestone : Boston Celtics' radio play-by-play voice Sean Grande calls his 1,000th NBA game tonight in San Antonio as the C's visit the Spurs(heard on WEEI AM 850). Here's WEEI's press release.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
In less than a month, a new year will arrive, along with a new decade.
While the big debate of how to refer to years starting in the second decade of the 21st century(eg,''twenty ten'' vs. ''two thousand ten'') is now underway, one Boston station will be gauging the musical sound of the first ten years of 2000's. On Friday, December 19th, WFNX 101.7FM will present its listener-voted Top 101 countdown of alternative albums released between 2000 and 2009. Here's WFNX's press release :
As the clock ticks down on the rock era’s sixth decade, Boston ’s WFNX-FM is enlisting its listeners to select the best alternative rock albums released since 2000.
Listeners have already cast tens of thousands of votes at www.wfnx.com, using the website’s “album generator.” The animated application pits some four hundred of the decade’s albums in competition, and keeps a running tally of votes cast and percentages of head-to-head “battles” won by each album.
After two weeks of voting, Radiohead’s In Rainbows topped the listeners’ list, followed closely by albums from Arcade Fire, Spoon, The Strokes, The White Stripes, Vampire Weekend, Franz Ferdinand, Modest Mouse, MGMT, The Shins, Queens of the Stone Age, Interpol, and The Killers. Voting will remain open until Monday, December 14 at midnight.
WFNX will count down the listeners’ final Top 101 beginning Friday, December 19, at 2pm, with repeats to air continuously that weekend.
The broadcasts will feature exclusive commentary from artists who made this decade’s music, including members of Passion Pit, Weezer, Sonic Youth, Phoenix , Taking Back Sunday, Metric, Vampire Weekend, Spoon, and The Strokes. Footage from the interviews is posted on the station’s website.
WFNX can be heard on 101.7 FM in Greater Boston, 92.1 FM in New Hampshire , and streaming live over the station’s website.
The FNX Radio Network is part of a consortium of three alternative radio stations owned by the privately held Phoenix Media / Communications Group. WFNX-FM (101.7FNX)/ Boston , MA ; WFEX-FM (92.1FNX) / Manchester , NH and WPHX-FM (92.1FNX) / Portsmouth , NH form the network. FNX Radio also owns WPHX-AM (ESPN1220) in Sanford , ME an ESPN affilia ted sports station. Its parent company, The Phoenix Media/Communications Group also owns and operates the Boston Phoenix newspaper along with other New England newspapers, magazines and specialty publications such as the Portland Phoenix and Providence Phoenix newspapers and Stuff at Night magazine.
Monday, November 30, 2009
WGBH officials know that when their FM station launches its new brand schedule with more focus on in-depth news and analysis tomorrow morning(12/1), some people in the region will not be happy. But in the statement released this morning WGBH president Jon Abbott is confident the new mix on 89.7FM will ultimately develop a better connection to the local community it serves.
With the acquisition of WCRB 99.5FM, as of tomorrow, WGBH 89.7 will be converted to all news and information from 5am to 8pm weekdays. The new weekend schedule will also ve devoted to news and public affairs programming. Jazz programming will be retained between 8pm and 5am weekdays.
One of the highlights of WGBH's new offerings will be a brand new two-hour local talk show planned for January launch. It will be hosted by creator and host of WGBH-TV's "Greater Boston" and "Beat The Bress" Emily Rooney(1st hour) and veteran journalist Callie Crossley(2nd hour).
WGBH's management also sees the new format as more of a complement to Boston University's WBUR 90.9FM which has had a very successful run as an NPR-affiliated news station.“We’re developing our schedule as a complement to the fine work done by WBUR and others, to give audiences greater access to stories with insight into the events of the day", commented by WGBH's general manager John Voci in the press release.
Here's WGBH's release on the new schedule which is still work in progress :
New schedule for 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s NPR Station debuts December 1
Veteran Journalists Emily Rooney, Callie Crossley to host talk shows
Local in-depth news, analysis and discussion will form the core of the new lineup on WGBH Radio as the Boston public media producer introduces a new schedule on Tuesday, December 1.
Alongside its international news production The World, and signature programs from National Public Radio, the new 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s NPR Station will focus on stories that provide context for the issues facing Boston and the New England region. And starting in January, the centerpiece of the new lineup will be two distinct hours of local, mid-day discussion with award-winning journalists Emily Rooney and Callie Crossley.
The changes are possible because of WGBH’s acquisition of All Classical 99.5, where it will shift its schedule of classical music, preserving a full-time classical service for Boston.
“We’re excited to have this opportunity to draw on WGBH’s considerable journalistic resources in both radio and television to provide a new definition of local public service broadcasting,” said WGBH president Jon Abbott. “Developing meaningful ways to keep our community connected to the issues that matter, and reflecting on what we value individually and collectively, is a core strength of public radio.”
The schedule, which will continue to evolve over time, will include local feature and enterprise reporting with a ‘focus team’ of reporters investigating the stories behind the headlines. First up will be a ten-part series on special education, and the issues involved for families and schools.
Another regular feature will be science segments drawn from the WGBH-produced PBS series Nova; and local perspective on national and international topics featured on The World and WGBH’s co-production The Takeaway.
The mid-day programs, still in development, will provide a lively forum Monday through Friday for discussing diverse topics of greatest interest and importance in the region. The first hour will be hosted by Emily Rooney, the award-winning host, executive editor and creator of WGBH’s Greater Boston and Beat the Press. The second hour will be hosted by Callie Crossley, a veteran journalist and award-winning documentary filmmaker who is a regular panelist with WGBH TV’s Basic Black, and a commentator on Greater Boston’s popular Beat the Press program. They each will engage listeners with their distinct points of view and understanding of local issues.
“There are thousands of people around the Boston area eager to hear what someone else knows,” says Rooney. “That’s why a signature segment of the hour will be ‘What Are YOU Hearing,’ some fun and lively analysis within the program.”
“As a new voice to 89.7 I hope to bring a fresh perspective, and invite listeners into the kind of thoughtful, robust discussion that is the hallmark of public radio,” said Crossley. “I look forward to being part of this new chapter for WGBH, exploring the stories of Boston and New England.”
Other programs planned for the new schedule include a weekly presentation of Beat the Press each Saturday afternoon; additional weekday broadcasts of The Takeaway; presentation of the PBS staple The NewsHour Monday through Friday; Bob Edwards Weekend, featuring in-depth interviews with newsmakers by the former NPR host; The Diane Rehm Show, offering listeners thoughtful and lively conversations on an array of topics; Fresh Air with Terry Gross, a magazine of contemporary arts and issues; and Says You! the Boston-based fun and witty word game.The programs will be punctuated by brief musical interludes throughout the day, showcasing a spectrum of local musicians and creating a signature sound for the new lineup.
“Boston audiences have a great appetite for high quality journalism, trusted news reporting and thoughtful perspective on local issues,” said WGBH Radio General Manager John Voci. “We’re developing our schedule as a complement to the fine work done by WBUR and others, to give audiences greater access to stories with insight into the events of the day.”
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster, producing such award-winning PBS series as Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Curious George, and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2/HD and 44, and digital channels World and Create. Local TV productions that focus on the region’s diverse community include Greater Boston, Basic Black, and María Hinojosa: One-on-One. WGBH Radio serves listeners from Cape Cod to New Hampshire with WGBH 89.7, Boston’s NPR Station; WCRB 99.5 All Classical; WCAI for the Cape and Islands; WNCK on Nantucket; and the All-Classical WGBH HD channel. WGBH also produces the national radio news program The World. WGBH is a leading producer of online content and a pioneer in developing educational multimedia and new technologies that make media accessible for people with disabilities. Find more information at www.wgbh.org.
Emily RooneyHost, Greater Boston and Beat The PressEmily
Rooney is the host, executive editor and creator of WGBH’s Greater Boston and Beat the Press. Since Greater Boston’s inception in 1997, Emily has brought her journalistic credentials and deep knowledge of media, politics, and culture to the program and has earned numerous awards, including the National Press Club's prestigious Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism, a series of New England Emmy Awards, and Associated Press recognition for Best News/Talk Show. She was recently inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame, which honors the Bay State’s legends of radio and television Before coming to WGBH, Emily was director of political coverage and special events at Fox Network in New York from 1994 to 1997. Prior to that, she was executive producer of ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. Emily also worked at WCVB-TV in Boston from 1979 to 1993, where she served as news director for three years and as assistant news director before that.
Callie Crossley draws on her rich experience as an award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker to offer commentary on the media for WGBH’s Beat the Press, National Public Radio, and other outlets. Producer of the Academy Award-nominated hour of the acclaimed documentary series Eyes on the Prize, Callie has won nearly every top film and broadcast journalism prize, including a national Emmy, a Peabody, an Edward R. Murrow, and the Alfred I. Dupont-Columbia award (Gold Baton). A former producer for ABC's 20/20, she is currently Program Manager for the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard and a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, guest lecturing at colleges and universities about media, politics, and the intersection of race, gender and media. Callie also serves as a judge for several major journalism awards and is a wine enthusiast and commentator who writes the blog The Crushed Grape Report.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Come December 1st, there will be some noticeable changes on Boston's lone 24/7 classical music outlet WCRB 99.5FM as the station joins WGBH's public broadcasting family. Pledge drives and underwriting announcements will replace commercials. WCRB will re-brand itself from "Boston's Classical Station" to "99.5 All Classical". Because of the fact that there won't be commercials means WCRB's presentation and sound will change somewhat allowing the station to play longer movements from symphonies. Many of WCRB's current on-air and off-air staffers at longtime Waltham's South Street location will not be following the station to its new studios at WGBH facilities at Brighton Landing. WCRB's morning voice for the past 12 years, Lauro Carlo , is one of the few who are moving to Brighton studios. WGBH's current classical music hosts Clay Fuller, Ray Brown, Brian McCreath and Suzanne Bona will come on-board at the re-launched WCRB.
The change follows a deal between Nassau Broadcasting and WGBH Educational Foundation, which was announced in late September(BRW 9/21).As part of the transaction, WGBH is purchasing the FCC broadcast license for 99.5FM, all related transmitting equipment and WCRB's call letters and Web site from Nassau for $14 million. FCC approved the deal last Friday(BRW 11/14).
WGBH has released WCRB's new schedule :
5:00am-9:00am Classical music with Laura Carlo - includes leading stories and weather from the WGBH newsroom
9:00am-2:00pm Classical music with Cathy Fuller -includes 1:00-2:00pm “In Performance” (daily spotlight on WGBH live recordings)
2:00pm-6:00pm Classical music with Ray Brown - includes leading stories and weather from the WGBH newsroom6:00pm-5:00am Classical music
Thursdays: 7:00-8:00pm performances from WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio
7:00am-11:00am Classical music with Brian McCreath - includes ‘Kid’s Classical Hour’(9-10am)
11:00am-12:00pm From the Top (featuring the nation’s best young classical musicians)
12:00pm-7:00am Classical music
8pm The Boston Symphony Orchestra
7:00am-11:00am Classical music with Brian McCreath
11:00am-2:00pm Sunday Baroque with Suzanne Bona
2:00pm-5:00pm The BSO on Record, and Sunday Concerts, including Tanglewood
5:00pm-6:00pm From the Top
6:00pm-8:00pm Classical music
8:00pm-9:00pm The Bach Hour, produced and hosted by Brian McCreath
9:00pm-5:00am Classical music
BRW Notebook :
What's New in the Hub : Channel 5's nightly news magazine "Chronicle" profiled the new Sports Hub 98-5 as part of its "What's New?" program this week. You can watch the segment right here.
WTKK resets Saturday schedule : WTKK 96.9FM is pulling "The Money Show" with Rick Schaffer and Susan Kaplan out of its Saturday line-up(1-4pm) to make room for WPHT AM/Philly's "The Big Money Show" beginning Thanksgiving Day weekend. The Money Show will still be heard in its Sunday's 9am-Noon slot. WTKK's new Saturday line-up announced today looks like this :
Hire it Done with Adam Helfman 6-8am
The Big Money Show 8-10am,
Mel Robbins 10am-1pm
Joe and Huggy 1-4pm
The Phantom Gourmet 4-7pm
Jay Severin Rewind 7-10pm
John Batchelor 10-1am
Quinn exits 'UMB : After 22 years at WUMB 91.9FM and nearly 20 years as the station's Program Director, good guy Brian Quinn was laid off last Tuesday(11/10) due to budget cutbacks. Quinn told BRW : "I would like to stay in the biz, but now looking for anything, it's a new start right?" Brian's e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
Wanting to be heard : In the wake of WGBH 89.7FM's decision to cancel weekend speciality music programming - "Folk on WGBH" and "Blues on WGBH" - a grassroots effort to reinstate these shows has begun. Folk and Blues shows have aired on WGBH for the past 31 years. You can read more about the effort to bring them back on the facebook page here.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Since plating its antenna on the Great Blue Hills in Milton and going on the air on October 6, 1951, Boston's public broadcaster WGBH 89.7FM, has built its strong identity around news and music programming, much of it is jazz and classical. But come Tuesday, December 1, WGBH's format will undergo a major conversion to mostly-news, information and talk as the 58-year old public broadcasting's institution will shed its long-running image as the "NPR, Arts and Culture Station".
Yesterday, Federal Communications Commision officially green-lighted WGBH Educational Foundation's $14-million acquisition of WCRB 99.5FM from financially-troubled Nassau Broadcasting. The deal closing is expected later this month. As mentioned here previously, WGBH will shift all of its classical music offerings and programming from 89.7FM to WCRB 99.5FM beginning December 1st. WCRB 99.5FM will also become a non-commercial signal adopting public radio's revenue model based on listener donations and corporate underwriting(BRW 9/29). Also as expected when the WCRB deal was first announced eight weeks ago(BRW 9/21), WGBH will eliminate much of its music programming to make room for news and talk programming. Unfortunately for the fans of weekend blues and folk block programming such long-running music shows as “Folk on WGBH’’ and “Blues on WGBH" will be gone after Thanksgiving. As of now, the only music holdovers on WGBH 89.7FM's new schedule will be the weeknight "Jazz with Eric in Evening"(Mon-Thur) and "Jazz from Studio 4"(Fri), a weekend Celtic music show "Celtic Sojourn" and a nationally syndicated music/variety show "Prairie Home Companion".Stay tuned to this space for the upcoming details on WGBH 89.7FM's new news/information line-up as soon as they're released.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Beginning a little after noon, two Boston classic hits stations - WODS 103.3FM and WROR 105.7FM - are once again hoping to spin the soundtracks of the Christmas season - from classic carols to sappy-soft ballads - into ratings gold. Adopting a format that has proven popular nationally and locally, these two stations are playing all Christmas tunes, all the time.
Just a few years ago, it was all but taboo to go full-on holiday tunes before Thanksgiving Day weekend but stations here and around the country have been 'moving up' the holiday tune format earlier and earlier every year. The conventional wisdom among radio broadcasters was listeners would get sick of it and ratings would suffer. That wisdom looked more like wisdumb since WODS 103.3 begun converting to all-Christmas every November since 2003.
WODS 103.3FM has been switching to 100% Christmas songs for seven straight years. This is WROR's third straight year doing the seasonal format switch. Both stations have seen dividends from playing holiday tunes. Even though both classic hits stations will return to their regular playlists after midnight on Christmas Day, they've been seeing a sort of 'halo effect' in that some of these ratings are retained into the New Year. In addition when you have large number of retail businesses turned into holiday music formats, it amounts to a free marketing campaign for these stations, even though it is not reflected in the ratings.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
WEEI-AM, a.k.a. Sports Radio 850, was the first all-sports station in Boston in 1991 and has dominated all pretenders since then, first on 890(WBPS), then on 1510(WNBR/WWZN) and most recently on 890(WAMG).
But, finally, WEEI is facing a serious challenge as WBZ 98.5FM, a.k.a. 98-5 The SportsHub, is closing the gap between the two all-sports stations. In the just-released October ratings book, Sports Hub experienced a ratings surge to bring it within striking distance of WEEI after just two months on the air.
Overall, WEEI registered a 5.3 rating (up from 5.2 in September) finishing in 5th place while WBZ-FM was in 14th with a 3.6 (up from a 2.5) among all listeners 6 years old and up Monday-Sunday, from 6 a.m. to midnight from September 17 to October 14. According to Arbitron's spokesperson, in its target demo category of men 25-54, WEEI-AM was once again ranked first but WBZ-FM has jumped to 3rd place. Despite still trailing in the overall numbers, WBZ-FM's management probably didn't count on such a quick growth in such a short period of time when the station launched in mid-August. According to Arbitron's overall numbers, WBZ-FM's audience grew from 488,000 in September to 780,000 in October.
The latest Arbitron numbers show Boston listeners, have noticed the SportsHub on the dial which maybe not so good news for a number of non-sports formats on FM.
While WEEI's "Dennis and Callahan" still ranked solid #1 among men 25-54, not-limitted-to-sports "Toucher and Rich" moved from 8th to 7th. But the afternoon drive may be the real story of WBZ-FM's October surge - "Felger and Massarrotti" jumped from 10th to 4th while WEEI's "Big Show" was in 2nd.
All of which begs the question: Could WEEI be feeling the heat? Maybe. Maybe not. No matter how you look at it or which side you're on, WEEI is still the top dog in this fight with an extremely-branded name in this town. Bottom line - WEEI is not going away.
But what WBZ-FM has proven so far, and what has been known all along, is this : there's more than enough of a sports radio market in Boston for both of WEEI and WBZ-FM to exist in and fight over. In many ways, both sports radio products are very different and obviously appeal to different segments of a large sports and non-sports radio base. While WBZ-FM hasn't really marketed itself very heavily thru TV, print or billboards, these latest ratings are showing that listeners are definitely aware of the new sports talk brand out there.
BRW Notebook :
Hey, what you said? : Of course, no matter how you look at this story in the Herald, it seems like Imus and WTKK relationship has seen its better days. Although middayer Michael Graham was calling into Imus the other morning, it was more of a courtesy check-in than anything else.
This and that : Familiar voice is back on WTKK 96.9FM's airwaves. Former CNBC business reporter Ron Insana is providing four daily business updates on FM Talker. Insana used to have a syndicated weekend show which used to air on WTKK on Saturdays....Jeff Santos' brainchild "Revolution Boston" has expanded again on WWZN AM 1510 this week. The station has added syndicated progressive talkers Mike Malloy(9-12a), Norman Goldman(Midnight-3am) and Leslie Marshall(3am-5am) to its roster. Since early May, in addition to Santos' morning drive show(7am-10am), the station has been running Stephanie Miller(10am-12pm), Ed Schultz(12-3pm) and Thom Hartmann(3p-6pm). Santos signed a one-year time lease with WWZN in late April to run progressive talk radio format in the Boston market.