Thursday, January 28, 2010

New talk station's domain name serves clues to Rush's new dial position

As noted here first, programming changes are coming to WKOX AM 1200 on April 1st. The station will adopt new call letters - WXKS AM - and change its format from Spanish-language station to a conservative news talk format. But that's not the only thing that may be moving to the right of Boston's AM dial.

A couple days ago, AM 1200's owner Clear Channel Communications, the company that produces and distributes Rush Limbaugh Show, has registered a website - http://www.rushradio1200.com/. This move likely serves as indication that after 15 1/2 years Rush Limbaugh will soon be leaving WRKO AM 680 for the new spot on the Boston dial - AM 1200. In addition. the new talk station is expected run The Glenn Beck Show from 9 am to noon and Sean Hannity from 3pm to 6pm.

With RushRadio1200 branding, the new station will be identified with Limbaugh and his new place on the dial. Clear Channel has implementd similar RushRadio formats in its other markets around the counry including New Orleans, Raleigh and Greensboro, NC.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

WFNX lends its airwaves to help Haiti

This Wednesday morning(1/27), WFNX 101.7FM and Newbury Comics will be raising money for "Partners In Health" to send relief to Haiti. During its Breakfast Show(6-10am) listeners can call in and donate money to help Haiti's earthquake victims. Here's WFNX's press release :

WFNX and Newbury Comics Pitch In For Partners In Health, Haitian Relief Effort

Boston radio station WFNX and retail chain Newbury Comics will join the effort to raise funds and awareness for disaster relief in Haiti , with a “Help For Haiti” radiothon on Wednesday, January 27th. The all-day fundraiser will benefit the Boston-based charity Partners in Health, which has provided medical relief in Haiti for over twenty years.

Beginning at 6 a.m. with the WFNX Breakfast Show, the station’s on-air personalities will encourage listeners to make contributions by calling the studio lines at (781) 595-WFNX. Newbury Comics will contribute up to $10,000 in gift cards as premiums for listeners who donate $25 or more. Listeners will also be able to bid on concert tickets, lift tickets, and a chance to host the WFNX Leftover Lunch, among other items. For a $250 donation, listeners also will be able to hear their favorite song on the radio as an “instant request.” Listeners can also make donations at
www.wfnx.com.

The Breakfast Show will feature interviews by veteran newsman Henry Santoro. Guests will include Partners In Health doctors with recent experience in Haiti , Massachusetts State Representatives Linda Dorcena Forry and Marie St. Fleur, Boston Haitian editor Bill Forry, Boston Phoenix reporter Chris Faraone, Haitian-born local rappers Lecks Get It On, and others. The station’s goals are to give its listeners local perspective on this global disaster and a chance to donate to a charity sending relief directly to Haiti from Boston .

WFNX broadcasts at 101.7 FM in Greater Boston, 92.1 FM in New Hampshire , and streams live worldwide online at
www.wfnx.com.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sheppard exits from WEEI's Big Show after 10 years

A sign of times perhaps but even the most popular stations and its strongest shows are not immune from the prolonged economic downturn that has impacted radio industry harder than any other traditional advertising medium.

Earlier this afternoon, Entercom New England announced that Pete Sheppard, longtime fixture on WEEI AM 850's afternoon "Big Show" has been let go due to budget cuts. Sheppard, a native of Narragansett, RI, graduated from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting in 1987. He then worked at several New England radio station including WXLO 104.5FM in Worcester and WKRI in Providence before making the jump to Boston radio in 1994 when he was hired by Metro Networks. . In 1995, he was named Metro's Sports Director. Sheppard joined WEEI in February of 1995 doing sports flashes on weekends. In 1997, he was given his own talk show with Jon Wallach. Sheppard has been working on “The Big Show” since 1999.

Here's WEEI's press release on elimination of Sheppard's position on the Big Show :

Statement Regarding Pete Sheppard from Entercom New England Vice President and Market Manager Julie Kahn and Vice President of AM Programming Jason Wolfe

“As we continue to operate in challenging economic times, it is with regret that we announce today that we have eliminated Pete Sheppard’s wish Pete the best of luck in his future endeavors and remain extremely grateful for all his contributions over the past decade.”position as sports anchor on the Big Show. We’d like to thank Pete for his outstanding work with WEEI over the last ten years. He played a major role in our growth, and helped “The Big Show” become one of the top radio shows in the country. We wish Pete the best of luck in his future endeavors and remain extremely grateful for all his contributions over the past decade.”

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

WTKK 96.9FM blankets election coverage

Just like its rival WRKO AM 680 which will go all night to bring the results of the special US Senate election, WTKK 96.9FM will be on the air tonight with its local coverage. Here's Boston Talks's release :

96.9 FM – WTKK Talks the Results of the MA Senate Race

Michele McPhee Broadcasts Live from F1 Boston
6 to 10 PM and Hank Morse is “Live and Local” from 10p to 1a


Boston, MA (January 19, 2010): 96.9 FM - Boston Talks will host special and extended “live and local” Election Night coverage tonight from 6pm until 1am. All eyes are on the race between Attorney General Martha Coakley and State Senator Scott Brown for the US Massachusetts Senate seat.

96.9 FM-WTKK’s Michele McPhee will broadcast live from F1 Boston ’s Ascari Restaurant in Braintree tonight from 6p to 10p. She will be joined by 96.9’s Michael Graham and other special guests. Hank Morse will follow Michele from 10p to 1a.

McPhee and Morse will be talking with special guests, taking listener
calls and giving live election updates throughout the night.

96.9 FM-WTKK is Boston and New England ’s “Campaign Connection” and has provided the Commonwealth with thorough political insight and perspective for over a decade.

Monday, January 18, 2010

WRKO talks up its election coverage

WRKO AM 680 just announced plans for its on-air coverage of the special US Senate election for the next three days. Here's the press release :

Boston’s Talk Station WRKO provides wall-to-wall coverage of Tuesday’s historic vote

Boston, MA (January 18, 2010) – WRKO AM 680 will provide comprehensive coverage of Tuesday’s Special Election to fill the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s seat in Congress.

Day-long coverage will begin at 5:30 AM with Tom Finneran and Todd Feinburg kicking off election day with reports from the field and political guests and pundits. They will be followed by Laura Ingraham, providing a national perspective on the race. From 12-3 PM from today through Wednesday of this week, Rush Limbaugh’s show will be replaced by Avi Nelson, who will provide extended local coverage and insight. Howie Carr will take the airwaves at 3 PM with additional guests, voter feedback and predictions. His show will extend an hour on Tuesday, airing until 8 PM when the polls close. Carr will be followed by Nelsen, who will stay on air until election results are final, with special reports from both the Brown and the Coakley Camps.

The station has also inked an exclusive deal with the Associated Press. Throughout the day, it will have access to exclusive AP poll results, videos and other digital content.

Additionally, WRKO roving reporters will be on the streets and at polling stations getting reaction from voters. Soundbites and videos will be aired on WRKO and available at
wrko.com.

Coverage continues on Wednesday with Tom Finneran and Todd Feinburg, whose morning drive show will extend until 11 AM

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Clear Channel is set to launch a news talk AM station

Nine years after acquiring WKOX AM 1200, nation's largest radio company Clear Channel is about to make it a major player on Boston's AM dial. As mentioned here, WKOX's signal was upgraded to 50,000 watts last spring(BRW 4/21/09) and with a new boosted signal Clear Channel will unveil a new talk radio station in Boston on April 1st. In addition to adopting a news/talk format, AM 1200 will have a new set of familiar call letters - WXKS AM - which currently reside on AM 1430.

The new talk format on AM 1200 will feature such nationally syndicated talkers as Glenn Beck(9am-Noon) and Sean Hannity(3pm-6pm) who are distributed by Clear Channel's syndication arm Premire Radio Network. It's expected that the station will feature a local talk show(6am-9am) when all details are announced. Although nothing has been officially confirmed, Rush Limbaugh who is also syndicated by Premiere and heard locally on WRKO AM 680 since August 1994 is widely expected to shift to AM 1200 once his contract with WRKO expires in the spring.

Earlier today, Clear Channel announced that it has hired a veteran Boston radio executive to be part of the new management team at News Talk 1200. Alan Chartrand who has over 20 years of local radio sales work at WJMN 94.5FM(Jamn). WTKK 96.9FM and WMKK 93.7FM(MikeFM) will be News Talk 1200's new general sales manager. Most recently he ran his own company Simply Good Marketing. His new position is effective February 1st.

In a press release, Mary Menna, Director of Sales for Clear Channel Boston and Providence, commented, “Alan brings a great knowledge and passion for talk radio, coupled with his ability to grow revenue, his leadership and his large network of business relationships made him the #1 choice for this newly-created position.”

For the past three years, AM 1200 has featured Latin music format "Rumba 1200" which was launched after Clear Channel pulled the plugged on the progressive talk format in December 2006. Latin music is expected to remain on AM 1430 which is currently known as "Mia 1430".

BRW Notebook :

Keeping pieces in place : While WRKO AM 680 may lose Rush to a new competitor, it just announced that it's keeping its night-time line-up intact for 3 more years as the station's owner Entercom has re-upped Michael Savage(7pm-10pm) and Jerry Doyle(10pm-1am) shows with syndicator Talk Radio Network.

Radio milestones : Magic 106.7FM's program director Don Kelly is celebrating a 20-year anniversary with one of Boston's most popular and successful formats. The station is also celebrating its 28th year on the air this month.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Gresh swings into the SportsHub's line-up

98-5 The Sports Hub has added its Patriots Radio Network's co-host Andy Gresh to its on-air personality roster, it was officially announced earlier this afternoon. In addition to his Patriots radio duties, he'll be hosting a weekend show as well rotate on SportsHub's weekday shows. Gresh who joined Patriots Radio Network's pregame and postgame shows in 2005. He worked at Providence's sports talker WSKO AM-FM/Score 790 from 1997 to 2008. He and SportsHub's midday co-host were paired up at the Score from 2004 to 2008. After WSKO changed formats in 2008, Gresh worked at ESPN Radio followed by a stint at XM Sirius and SNY in NYC.

Here's the official release :

ANDY GRESH TO JOIN 98.5 THE SPORTS HUB

GRESH WILL BROADCAST HIS OWN SHOW ON WEEKENDS AND SERVE AS FULL TIME SWING HOST
Boston---Notable sports broadcaster Andy Gresh will join the air staff at 98.5 The Sports Hub, WBZ-FM effective immediately. Gresh will host his own program on weekends, broadcast on-air and online at www.985thesportshub.com, as well as serve as the full-time swing host for vacationing 98.5 air staff. Gresh currently co-hosts the New England Patriots pre and post game shows on the 98.5 The Sports Hub Patriots Radio Network.

This Saturday, Jan. 9, Gresh’s new program on 98.5 The Sports Hub will air from 4:00– 8:00pm, immediately following the Boston Bruins/New York Rangers game.

Gresh returns to the Boston area after hosting programs on satellite radio, and ESPN Radio. Prior to becoming a national host, Gresh was on-air at The Score in Providence. He also hosted programs on Comcast Sports Net New England, and was the color analyst for The ECAC Football Network.

“I am looking forward to contributing to the success that 98.5 has already achieved since its debut in August,” said Gresh. “I am just flat out looking forward to getting after it.”

“98.5 The Sports Hub is off to great start and to add a personality like Andy Gresh to our team is a victory for us and our listeners,” said Mike Thomas, 98.5 The Sports Hub Program Director. “Andy has been a big part of our Patriots coverage for years and it’s going to be great to have him on The Sports Hub beyond game day.”

98.5 The Sports Hub 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 130 radio stations, the majority of which are in the nation’s top 50 markets. CBS RADIO also owns and operates WZLX-FM, WODS-FM, WBMX-FM, and WBZ-AM in Boston

Monday, January 4, 2010

Changes on the air at WFNX

The first Monday of the new year was a busy one at Lynn's alternative rocker WFNX 101.7FM which dismantled the morning drive "Sandbox" and inserted former WBCN personality into its afternoon drive.

After two and half years AM drive show "Sandbox" is no more as of this morning. Charlie Padgett and "Special" Ed Oliveira were let go this morning. The third co-host of the cancelled show, Dustin "Fletcher" Matthews will now being paired up with program director Keith Daikin and veteran newsman Henry Santoro. In the afternoons, "Big" Jim Murray will vacate the afternoons to make room for former WBCN's midday personality Adam "Adam 12" Chapman. Murray will stay with WFNX in his other role as station's production director. Adam 12 has been working weekends and doing fill-in work at WFNX since WBCN vanished from the airwaves last August. Also, at night, Paul Drsicoll's "Alter Ego" program is now extended by two hours(6pm-Midnight) as syndicated "LoveLine" talk show is dumped.

Here's WFNX's press release :

WFNX Shakes Up On-Air Lineup; Adds Adam 12 for Afternoons

Boston radio station WFNX is starting the New Year with a new on-air lineup, with changes in nearly every part of the day. In separate moves, the station has cancelled the Sandbox morning show and the syndicated program Love Lines that had been airing weeknights from ten to midnight. The station has also signed the respected Boston-area native Adam 12 to do afternoons.

“These moves will allow us to focus on our core audience, which has always been Boston ’s most passionate and knowledgeable fans of music and pop culture,” said Mike Tierney, vice-president of broadcast operations for WFNX and the Phoenix Media Communications Group. “We appreciate the unique talents of everyone involved with the Sandbox and Love Lines, are grateful for their hard work, and wish them success in the future.”

A new morning show will be co-hosted by long-time WFNX personality and program director Keith Dakin and the Sandbox’s Fletcher, with news and current events covered by morning mainstay Henry Santoro.

“This show will evolve organically, with as much listener interaction as we can get at every stage,” Tierney said. “Our only goals at the outset are to give our listeners more of the music-based programming they expect, while also providing a steady stream of original content – such as interviews with artists and other culturally relevant guests, as well as in-studio performances – that they won’t hear anywhere else.”

Adam 12 returns to WFNX, where he started as an intern and part-time disc jockey, after a long and accomplished tenure at the station’s now-defunct competitor WBCN. He takes over on-air for Big Jim Murray, who will focus full-time on off-air duties, including a creative role in the new morning show.

Night-time personality Paul Driscoll will expand his shift to replace Love Lines with music-intensive programming tailored specifically to complement Boston ’s vibrant music scene and nightlife. Julie Kramer’s midday show, including the long-running Leftover Lunch music feature, will not be affected by the changes.

WFNX broadcasts at 101.7 FM in Greater Boston, 92.1 FM in New Hampshire , and streams live worldwide online at
www.wfnx.com.

BRW Notebook :

Going to the candidates debate : With two weeks to go before the special election on Tuesday, January 19th, three candidates vying for late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat will be debating live on WTKK 96.9FM from 9am to 10am on Tuesday, Jan.5th. The audio and video of the commercial-free debate will be streamed live on WTKK's website(http://www.969bostontalks.com/)

Couric returns : The first segment of CBS' Evening News with anchor Katie Couric is now heard on WBZ AM 1030 every weeknight at 6:30pm, it was announced over the weekend. WBZ ran the TV simulcast of Couric's first segment when she first took over the anchor of the Evening News in September 2006 but then dropped it a few weeks later.

Let's talk movies : Longtime local indie-movie operator/owner and film critic Garen Daly is launching a new weekly show devoted to the art of film on Newton's WNTN AM 1550. Starting this Friday(Jan.8th) at 11am, the new Garen Daly Show will debut. It replaces Daly's "Frugal Yankee" program. Daly, has been a fixture in the Boston film scene for decades. He has operated such noteworthy movie houses as the Coolidge Corner Theatre and the Orson Welles Cinemas. He revived the Somerville Theatre and the Dedham Community Theatre. He is an award winning film programmer and still produces the Boston Science Fiction Film Festival, now in its 35th year. Beyond the business side of the films, Garen has been an analyst on NPR, New England Cable News and nearly every radio station in Boston.