Sunday, June 28, 2009

Radio can't get enough of Michael Jackson

Whenever a high-profile musician passes away, radio stations are always quick to jump on the wagon and increase that artist's airplay. Such is the case with Michael Jackson. To put it all in perspective, this time last weekend, outside of some retro specialty shows like "Lost 45's" or "Back to the 80's Friday Night", a Boston radio area listener would have been hard-pressed to find his name on any local FM station's regular playlist.

Within hours of his sudden death this past week, terrestrial radio stations here and everywhere in the world began to play his music including a lot of songs they haven't spun in years. Case in point, locally. Jamn 94-5 which normally plays today's Top40 hip-hop artists devoted its entire morning show on Friday paying tribute to Jackson. Throughout the show Ramiro and Pebbles took phone calls and requests from listeners. There was an overwhelming response from the public. There was even a six-minute phone interview with the Ruth Pointer of the legenadry R&B group the Pointer Sister.

With on-air tributes all over the dial. radio listeners been struck once again by how unique, how innovative, how just plain incredible he was through out his '80s heyday. Barry Scott of the long-running Lost 45's on Oldies 103.3 plans to focus on Jackson during tonight's show(7pm-Midnight). Scott tells BRW : "From the radio show that never stopped playing Michael, even when it wasn't cool to do so: Michael Jackson salute, "The Lost 45s" way--with rarities and Top 40 hits no one thinks to play, coming this Sunday, June 28th from 7 to Midnight Eastern on Oldies 103.3 and We also have rare TV & movie moments with the King Of Pop, as well as Farrah and Ed McMahon spotlights as well.”

Free on-line radio stations like and already broke every kind of web listening traffic record in the past couple days.

On the satellite radio, Sirius XM has launched The Michael Jackson Tribute Channel early Satruday morning which will run thru Monday night. The channel is devoted to paying homage to the King of Pop is airing right now on Sirius 51 and XM 62.

BRW Notebook :

Park your car and leave it there : Retesting of elderly drivers has been a pretty controversial topic on talk radio in Boston and across the country for the past two decades. Now, with Massachusetts lawmakers taking on this issue, local talk radio is also getting into the act. Here's WTKK's press release :
Boston, MA (6/26/2009): Boston’s Talk Evolution, 96.9 FM-WTKK today launched an online petition for listeners and Massachusetts residents to support bill S. 1929, the Act to Promote Safe Driving. The legislation would require that individuals renewing their license pass a vision and road test every five years after their 85th birthday.

An increasing number of deadly and high profile accidents involving senior drivers has drawn attention to the need to ensure that licenses are only renewed for those capable of driving safely.

“We are encouraging anybody who cares about the safety of our senior citizens to show their support for the safe driving act,” says WTKK Program Director, Grace Blazer. “After collecting signatures of support, we’ll present them to Senator Brian A. Joyce, who’s proposed this is important legislation.”

Adults 18 and older who live in Massachusetts can visit to sign the petition and see where their state senator stands on the issue.

For more information, please contact Grace Blazer , Program Director, at 617-822-6820 or

More talk on FM? : Blogger Kirk Tanter thinks more music FM stations should switch to a talk format.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Boston radio mourns Michael Jackson

The King of Pop's reign came to an abrupt end Thursday with news that Michael Jackson died after suffering a cardiac arrest. He was 50.The musical legend was best known for his album's Thriller (1982), Bad (1987) and his role in the child pop music group the Jackson Five.

A number of Boston stations are paying on-air tribute to Jackson's music tonight. Two of Boston's Top 40 stations - Kiss 108(WXKS-FM) and its sibling Jamn 94-5(WJMN-FM) are running non-stop with Jackson's biggest hits of the 80's and 90's. On Kiss 108, afternooner Romeo is sharing his memories and taking calls from listeners. Over on Jamn 94-5, morning team of Ramiro and Pebbles, joined by their show's members Pup Dawg and Melissa, has taken over the night-time airwaves by playing Jackson's music which probably hasn't been heard on the station since it was known as WZOU. On Mix 98-5(WBMX), night jock Lady D is mixing Jackson's music with station's regular Hot AC playlist. Meanwhile, on Oldies 103.3(WODS) which normally runs syndicated Tom Kent at night, the morning team of Chris Zito and Karen Blake came on at 6:30pm and are going wall-to-wall with Jackson's library covering the early days of Jackson 5 to his biggest hits from the 80's.

WHRB 95.3FM, Harvard University’s student-run FM radio station, will also be playing Michael Jackson all night as it pays tribute to the legendary musician. The all-Jackson marathon on WHRB 95.3FM will be played in its original form - on vinyl.

Mix 98-5's long-running "Back to the 80's Friday Night" show is planning a Michael Jackson tribute tomorrow night(7pm-Midnight).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Bald Truth gets a weekend slot on WTKK

Michael Smerconish, a Philadelphia lawyer turned radio talk show host, is going to be heard on the Boston's FM talker beginning this weekend. Last month, WTKK piped in Smerconish's nationally syndicated show(airing on tape-delay) as a filler for its afternoon host Jay Severin who served out a month-long suspension. For now, WTKK will run a weekend edition of Smerconish' daily show with a three-hour 'best-of' feed which will air on Sundays from Noon to 3pm.

Smerconish is also a best-selling author, columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and a Philadelphia Daily News and MSNBC contributor. In the past, he has guest-hosted for Bill O'Reilly's radio and cable shows, Chris Matthews on MSNBC's Hardball, and on Glenn Beck's radio and TV programs.

Here's WTKK's official release :

Boston’s Talk Evolution 96.9 FM, WTKK Adds Michael Smerconish to Weekend Lineup

Smerconish’s Weekend Show Premieres this Sunday on 96.9 FM
Boston, MA (June 18, 2009): Boston’s Talk Evolution, 96.9 FM WTKK, announced today The “Best of” Michael Smerconish Program, will be added to the station's weekend lineup beginning on Sunday June 21, from 12:00pm – 3:00pm.

More than just politics, Smerconish covers everything from government to pop culture: all-things-Obama, dating, marriage, kids, wine, and a little more politics of course!

“Bostonians and New Englanders will get to meet an issue to issue guy," said WTKK Program Director Grace Blazer. "Michael Smerconish is a smart guy with a smart show and makes sense for WTKK’s weekend lineup. We will continue to expose our listeners and advertisers to special hosts and special shows to compete for their all too precious weekend time.”

Michael A. Smerconish is a Philadelphia lawyer-turned-political commentator. At age 29, he served as the presidential appointee under George H. W. Bush as Regional Administrator in the Department of Housing and Urban Development. A true independent, Smerconish endorsed Senator Barack Obama in the 2008 National Election Campaign. Already a national media figure, Smerconish has guest hosted for Bill O’Reilly on The Radio Factor and for Glenn Beck. He has also appeared as a frequent guest on the NBC Today Show, The Early Show on CBS, Real Time with Bill Maher, The View, The Colbert Report, and Hardball with Chris Matthews.

He is the author of three books, including and writes weekly columns for both the Philadelphia Daily News and Philadelphia Inquirer. Smerconish has been named to Talkers Magazine’s annual Heavy Hundred most important talk show hosts in America, News/Talk All Star Player (R&R 2006),nominated Best Local Talk Host in America (R&R 2003), was awarded Best Talk Show and Best Evening Program ( Philadelphia Achievement in Radio Awards),
and Best Radio Talk Host ( Philadelphia Magazine, 2004). He lives in Philadelphia .

WTKK’S new Sunday lineup is Garden Guys 6-9am, The Money Show 9am-Noon, Michael Smerconish Noon-3pm, Jimmy Myers 3-6pm, The Prime Time Car Hour 6-7pm, The Sports Huddle with Eddie Andelman 7-10pm.

For more information, please contact Grace Blazer, Program Director, at 617-822-6820 or

WTKK-FM is owned by Greater Boston Radio, Inc., a subsidiary of Greater Media, Inc., the parent company of 23 AM and FM radio stations in the Boston , Charlotte , Detroit , New Jersey and Philadelphia markets. Greater Media also owns a group of weekly newspapers in central New Jersey and several telecommunications towers located throughout the United States .

BRW Notebook :

Revolution in process : Jeff Santos who currently programs the new "Revolution Radio" format on WWZN AM 1510/The Zone had a sitdown with the Patriot Ledger earlier this week. Santos hopes to expand the progressive talk programming on Revolution 1510 which currently airs from 6am to 7pm, Monday thru Friday to a full 24/7 format.

Radio lift anyone? : (Ed. Note : Please try not to laugh out loud while reading this item).

WRKO AM 680 will debut “Changing Your Life”, an hour-long show dedicated to the science of cosmetic surgery and how it is changing lives. The program will air every Saturday from Noon to 1pm and will be hosted by Board Certified, Harvard trained Dr. Joseph Russo.

“Cosmetic surgery is obviously a hot topic these days, for both men and women,” said Entercom New England Vice President of AM Programming Jason Wolfe in a press release. “But because it’s changing and growing so rapidly, it can be confusing and intimidating. The aim of this show is to answer people’s questions and provide expert knowledge. Dr. Russo is both engaging and personable, and we’re thrilled to welcome him onto the airwaves.”

Added Dr. Russo in the press release: "I am thrilled to be associated with a radio station that has the power and presence of WRKO and I am grateful for this opportunity. I look forward to answering listener's questions about plastic surgery, educating and empowering them to change their lives."

Find Your DJ Update : Boston veteran Top 40 jock Deirdre Dagata who got spun off her night shift at Kiss 108 in late April(BRW 4/29) and replaced by voicetracking out of Dallas, has recently landed a regular Saturday shift(3-8pm) at Mix 98.5FM.

What's in the logo? : Speaking of Kiss 108 and Mix 98-5, did anyone notice that a newly redesigned Kiss logo has changed from the long-used blue color scheme to darker pink similar to lighter pink used by Mix 98-5? (Ed. Note : I know, I know it's useless minutia, but I am just sayin'.)

Don't call it a comeback...just yet : A left-coast media observer expects to hear Howard Stern back on terrestrial radio sometime in 2010.(Ed. Note : Howard on the terrestrial radio would be a great thing for the radio industry as a whole. Will it happen? If the money talks, Howard returns.)

Building A Mystery : Barry Scott who has interviewed more than 650 artists on his "Lost 45's" over the years will feature a reclusive 'mystery guest' on his July 5th show(from 7pm-12am on WODS 103.3FM/Oldies). Can you guess who it is?(Ed. Note : I see glittery shirts...I hear "Sweet Caroline" sing-along at this year's July 4th concert at the Shell...darn, I still can't solve this one, I guess I will have to tune in).

Who's on first, what's on know what is on third : All you need to know about just-released May ratings for the Boston market is : retro hits radio is still huge - four stations all battling for the same 25-54 demographic and all with very decent numbers(WROR 105.7FM is 5th, WODS 103.3FM/Oldies is 8th, WZLX 100.7FM is 9th and WMKK 93.7FM/MikeFM is 11th); in the modern/alternative rock arena - WBOS-FM/Radio 92.9 is still ahead of the pack which includes WAAF 107.3FM, WBCN 104.1FM and WFNX 101.7FM; and Jay Severin's month-long suspension actually helped WRKO AM 680 and hurt WTKK 96.9FM.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Jamn's Ramiro adds Red Sox TV duties

Starting with tomorrow night's Red Sox-Yankees game, WJMN/Jam 94-5's morning drive co-host Ramiro Torres becomes a new member of NESN's postgame show it was announced today. The Everett native who's been part of the top-rated "Ramiro and Pebbles" morning drive show on Boston's Top 40 hip-hop station since October 2001 is going to contribute with a post-game fan commentary segment on the team-owned regional TV sports channel. Here's the official press release :



Torres recently signs on with NESN as on air contributor of the feedback segment and reading listener comments and emails during post game show.
Boston, Massachusetts - June 11, 2009 – Ramiro Torres will join Jim Rice and Tom Caron delivering post game coverage on Granite City Electric Red Sox Final Post Game Show. The show delivers more feedback from the Red Sox locker room and a look ahead at the next day’s match-ups.

“I can’t wait to get started. I have been a red sox fan my whole life and to be a part of this show is a dream come true”, says Torres on joining Granite City Electric Red Sox Final Post Game Show. Ramiro Torres will be making his first appearance on the show Thursday, June 11th, after the Red Sox/Yankees game at 7:10 PM.

Currently, Torres is the host of the Ramiro and Pebbles Morning Show at the #1 hip hop station in Boston, Jamn 94.5 at Clear Channel Communications. Torres is also host of the Weekend Top 30 Countdown, a nationally syndicated weekend countdown show.
Alongside radio, Ramiro has made numerous Television appearances and is currently a co-host on
Community Auditions; a New England based Television Talent Show which has garnered more Emmy nominations than any other program in New England history.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Howie Nation picks its president

Earlier today during his afternoon drive show on WRKO AM 680, Radio Hall of Famer and Boston's talk radio institution Howie Carr announced the first-ever President of Howie Nation. Carr's frequent guest and fill-in, retired US Army Col. David Hunt edged out Fox25's news anchor Maria Stephanos in the final round of voting conducted on
Here is the official release from WRKO :

BOSTON, MA (June 9, 2009) – After months of intense campaigning and online voting, the first-ever President of Howie Nation has been confirmed. Colonel David Hunt, a conservative military man and counter terrorism expert, inched out his competitors – Fox 25 News Anchor Maria Stephanos and Officer Mark of New Hampshire – to earn the honor. He was selected by WRKO listeners who have been voting online at for the past several weeks. The news was announced by Carr during his show, The Howie Carr Show, at 6:00 PM this evening.

Official duties as President include filling in for Howie on the air and attending ribbon cuttings and other ceremonial events in Howie’s place. Additionally, President Hunt will keep WRKO listeners up-to-date on the state of Howie Nation through monthly emails, blogs, and on-air addresses.

Hunt is already familiar to many, as he regularly fills in for Howie and is a contributor to Fox News. His background includes over 29 years of military experience, including extensive operational experience in special operations, counter terrorism and intelligence operations. Most recently, Hunt served as tactical adviser in Bosnia where he facilitated all national intelligence matters for the Commander in Chief. Prior to that, he served as counter terrorism coordinator to the Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea. He has also served as a security adviser for the FBI, as well as state and local police officials. A graduate of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, Hunt holds a Master's degree in English from Norwich University.

“A hearty congratulations and thanks to all of our candidates for a hard fought campaign,” said Entercom New England Vice President of AM Programming Jason Wolfe. “We're confident that President Hunt will do Howie and the station proud by carrying out his duties with the requisite balance of pride, wit, self deprecation and good humor.”

Entercom is one of the nation’s largest radio broadcasters with operations, pro forma for pending acquisitions, in Boston, Seattle, Denver, Sacramento, Cincinnati, Portland, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Austin, Norfolk, Buffalo, New Orleans, Providence, Memphis, Greensboro, Rochester, Greenville/Spartanburg, Madison, Wichita, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Springfield and Gainesville/Ocala.

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