Friday, July 30, 2010

Dakin exits WFNX for a new gig

WFNX 101.7's program director and morning show co-host Keith Dakin is taking a new job as the operations manager at Cox Media Group’s Stamford/Norwalk, CT market cluster that includes news/talk stations WNLK 1350/WSTC 1400, classic Rock WFOX-FM 95.9/“The Fox” and adult contemporary WCTZ 96.7/ “The Coast”. Dakin, a Londonderry, NH native and Syracuse University alum, joined WFNX in October 2003 as afternoon jock and assistant music director. He was named station's program director in February 2007 after departure of Max Tolkoff. Before coming to WFNX in 2003, Dakin worked for Cox Media Group's alternative rocker WDYL in Richmond, VA, as music director.

BRW Notebook :

'EEI goes 'Droid : The WEEI Sports Radio Network has released WEEI Live, an Android cell phone application, giving listeners access to live and on demand audio, breaking news, stories, video and scores from the WEEI Sports Radio Network. The app is free to download in the Android Market. Earlier this year, the WEEI Live app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch was released.

Changing voices : There's a new voice on Red Sox radio broadcasts in Spanish head on WWZN 1510. Alberto Polanco has joined Oscar Baez on Sox broadcasts. He recently came up from Spanish Beisbol Network's Philadelphia Phillies broadcast crew to fill Sox play-by-play role after Uri Berenguer had left to become a co-host of the new NESN show which debuts next Friday night after Sox-Yankees game. Berenguer was part of Sox' radio broadcasts in Spanish since 2003. Polanco will stay on until the end of the Sox season. Decision on Berenguer's replacement will be made during the off-season.

It's like being there : If you can’t get to Tanglewood this summer, now you can do the next best thing. On Friday, WCRB 99.5/Boston’s All Classical Station, a service of WGBH, launched a new, shareable online widget that streams all performances live from Tanglewood for the 2010 season. Concerts stream live every Friday (8-11pm), Saturday (8-11pm) and Sunday (2-5pm) through August 29, 2010. Additionally, the widget provides all the Tanglewood information you’ll need at a glance: schedule and ticket information, directions, and links to further information about the history of this celebrated venue in Lenox, Massachusetts, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1936.Upcoming stream highlights include John Williams conducting some of the great musical moments in Hollywood history on August 14 and violin sensation Joshua Bell performing pieces from Mendelssohn and Beethoven on August 21. Users will hear 99.5 All Classical host Brian Bell’s survey of the greatest recordings of the Boston Symphony Orchestra when concerts are not being broadcast live. You’ll find the Tanglewood widget in the lower right-hand corner of the web page.

The stars come out to play for 'UMB : University of Massachusetts/Boston's music station WUMB 91.9 is kicking off a 5-year campaign to raise $7 million with a benefit concert on August 11 that will feature Judy Collins, Tom Rush and Kenny White. More details here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's a war of words for WEEI and SportsHub

Nothing gets radio rivals into more of a lather than a good ratings squabble.

Late last week, WEEI 850 released detailed ratings for Arbitron's 3-month spring period(April 1-June 23) to both Boston newspapers(the Herald and the Globe) that showed market's first all-sports station keeping its lead over feisty newcomer Sports Hub 98.5. However, almost immediately, WEEI's numbers triggered a war of words with doubting FM-radio sports rival WBZ-FM.

Yesterday, the Herald's story quoted SportsHub's chief Mike Thomas who challenged WEEI's claim that they are the #1 station in 25-54 Male demographic because its Providence market FM sister station WEEI 103.7 was factored in the spring period totals. This morning, the Herald ran a counter-challenge from Entercom Boston's boss Julie Kahn who stated "We’ve got a whole separate business in Providence. The Providence signal spills over in many parts of the Boston market. We’re not trying to fool anyone.”

Who's right? Who's wrong? Doesn't matter. This is all about the Benjamins.

Aside from typical radio spin and hype being put out on both ends of this ratings argument, it's pretty clear that less than a year old Boston sports radio rivalry is already a pretty intense dog fight for the advertising dollars.

With the football season fast approaching, look for both stations to intensify the competition by increasing their advertising and marketing campaigns and perking up their programming. And they will be doing so at a time when advertising dollars are tighter than in years past.

Boston radio ad revenues declined 19% in 2009(BRW 3/19). It's expected to be better this year but still on the declining end.


BRW Notebook :


Debate time : Three months after its rival WRKO 680 hosted the first radio-only gubernatorial candidates debate back in June, WTKK 96.9 today announced its own hour-long debate between democratic incumbent Gov. Deval Patrick and his challengers - the Republican, Charlie Baker, and the independent, Tim Cahill. WTKK's debate will take place on Thursday September 16 during the last hour(9am-10am) of "Jim and Margery" morning show.

Rocking to satellite radio : Here's an interesting article on why satellite radio has become a major player.

Teflon Don : Three years after his career imploded over racially charged comments he made about the Rutgers women's basketball team, and more than two and a half years after his return to radio, Don Imus is still getting some traction. I-man who celebrated his 70th birthday last Friday no longer creates much controversy, but he continues to attract more serious, high-profile guests, from both the left and the right, than any other radio host according to NY Daily News. And, his syndication now includes 75 stations vs. 60 he had before being fired by CBS Radio. His show is heard on WTKK 96.9 from 5am to 7am weekdays.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Local stations up for top radio awards

Three Boston radio stations are among finalists for the Marconi Awards, generally acknowledged as the industry's highest national honor.

Rock WAAF 107.3 and adult contemporary station WMJX/Magic 106.7 have received "Station of the Year" nominations in their respective format categories. WBZ 1030 has been nominated in the "Legendary Station" category. Winners will be announced on September 30 at the National Association of Broadcasters' convention in Washington DC. Each category has five finalists.

The Marconis are to radio what the Oscars are to film and the Emmys to television, so for a station or personality to win a nomination would be a pretty big deal.

This is the second straight year in a row a Boston station has been nominated in the Legendary Station category. WBZ which has won 3 Marconi's back in the 1990's(Major Market Station of the Year in 1995 and 1998 and News/Talk Station of the Year in 1999) is up against stations in Denver, St.Louis, Washington DC and Salt Lake City. Last year, WMJX/Magic 106.7 lost out to KKOB/Alberquue in the Legendary Station category. Also last year, Kiss 108's morning man Matt Siegel took home his 2nd Marconi for the Major Market Personality of the Year.(BRW 9/24/09)


BRW Notebook :

Station Sales : Framingham's WBIX AM 1060 was sold to Buffalo-based Holy Family Communications last week. Station's outgoing owner Alex Langer will receive $1 million check for the station plus Holy Family will note that the other $500,000 of value of the station is in the form of a donation from Langer. Station's format will switch from current financial news and business talk/infomercials to 24-hour religious programming from Alabama-based EWTN network on November 1st(All Saints Day) it was announced last week. New call letters will be WQOM. Holy Family already operates two stations in upstate New York.

What's behind the initials? National Public Radio(heard locally on WBUR 90.9 and WGBH 89.7) has officially shortened its name to just NPR. Last week, the Washington Post reported that the 30-year old national radio network is now using the abbreviation because "the organization encompasses more than radio now, it also incorporates news and music programming over a variety of digital platforms beyond radio. " CEO Vivian Schiller told the Post the name is "more modern, streamlined."

Names and voices : Ann Wog arrives from WMAL 630 in Baltimore to exec-produce "Jim and Margery" morning show(7am-10am) on WTKK 96.9FM. Prior to her five-year stint at WMAL, she was with Seattle's news/talker KIRO 710...Bradley Jay who exec produces "NightSide with Dan Rea" on WBZ 1030 adds his own weekend show on the station. "Jay Talkin'" is now heard every Sunday night from 10pm to Midnight....Career change for one-time WEE 850's "Big Show" character Pete "The Meat" Sheppard. Boston Sports Media watch reports that Sheppard has apparently found a new calling - a professional poker player...at least for now. As you recall, after 10 years at WEEI , Sheppard was bounced from the station back in January due to budget cuts(BRW 1/20)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Something 4 everyone on the radio dial this holiday weekend

If you just can't deal with massive crowds at the Hatch Shell for Sunday night's July 4th concert by the Boston Pops, you can hear the performance on WBZ 1030 AM and WCRB 99.5FM at 8:30pm. WBZ will also provide the synchronized music soundtrack for the post-concert pyrotechnic display at 10:30pm.

WBZ 1030's coverage will be hosted by Jordan Rich and will kick off at 7pm. On the FM side, the event will be covered by Laura Carlo and Ron Della Chiesa on WCRB 99.5 starting at 6pm. Both stations will be streaming live on their respective websites(www.wbz1030.com and www.wcrb.com). For those few of you with HD receivers, WBZ AM's feed can be heard on WBZ 98.5 HD3 while WCRB's audio is available on WGBH 89.7 HD2.

Elsewhere on the dial this holiday weekend :

-WBOS/MyRadio 92.9 will have "Red, White and Two" weekend playing two songs from the same artists.

-WODS 103.3 lights up Firecracker 300 Friday at 12Noon counting down its Top 300 artists all weekend long.

-WFNX 101.7FM will be playing all those familiar alternative rock songs from Z to A.

-WROR 105.7FM had its listener-voted 4th of July 500 Countdown beginning Friday at 3pm.

-WZLX 100.7FM will feature 4-Play Weekend with four song blocks from classic rock bands and artists.

-"Keep your feet to the ground and reach for the stars" : "American Top 40" with Ryan Seacrest from 8am to noon on WXKS 107.9/Kiss this Sunday will
pay tribute to the show's creator and original host Casey Kasem on the occasion of AT40's 40th anniversary. AT40 is the best known of all the countdown shows. Odds are no matter what your age, you listened to the habit-forming program at some point in your life since it debuted on the July 4 weekend in 1970. Boston's WMEX 1510 AM was one of eight stations in the country that carried the very first show. By the way, the orginal AT40 shows with Casey Kasem can still be heard locally - they air on WODS 103.3 early Monday morning Midnight-3am(right after Sunday's night's Lost 45's with Barry Scott 7pm-Midnight)

-What could be more American than the national pastime on the Fourth of July? WEEI 850 will be swinging for the fences this holiday, with Red Sox hosting the Orioles at 1:35pm(pregame at 12:30) .If you are not into the home team, WEEI will be running ESPN Radio's feed of Sunday Night Baseball with Royals-Angels at 8pm.

BRW Notebook :

MixFest returns : With last summer's head-spinning frequency/format changes out of the way, CBS Radio's WBMX/Mix 104.1 is bringing back its signature station event MixFest. Adult Contemporary radio's darlings the Goo Goo Dolls and American Idol's Season 8 winner Kris Allen headline the August 2nd bill at the Bank of America Pavillion.

People on The Move : Rachel Rose, who most recently served as a music assistant and announcer at Emerson College's WERS 88.9FM has been named music director and afternoon drive host at adult alternative WYMS/88Nine in Milwaukee. She graduates from Boston's Emerson College later this month. Prior to WERS, she worked three years at WNTI-FM/Hackettstown, NJ, where she served as assistant Music Director and midday host.

Looking beyond the numbers : The new WXKS AM/Rush Radio 1200 is not be getting any mega numbers after only four months on air. Not yet at least. The Clear Channel's new talk radio entry which snagged Rush Limbaugh away from WRKO AM 680 back in March now boasts some 108,000 listeners a week based on May ratings. Tthe loss of Rush is only one part of a bigger story - WRKO's year-long audience slide. WRKO has now lost about 200,000 weekly listeners since last summer.

Silver Anniversary : While the babyboomers are getting older(and better) so are their favorite retro radio stations . WZLX 100.7FM's classic rock format is celebrating its 25 years on the air this year. On Sept.23, 1985, WZLX(then called WKKT; WZLX call letters actually arrived about a month later on Oct.29th) switched formats from adult contemporary to classic album-oriented rock and has never looked back. To celebrate its 25th birthday, WZLX is sponsoring a special show by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on August 19th at Comcast Center. More details at www.wzlx.com

New site, new logo : WBZ AM 1030 unveiled its brand new
website earlier today. With a new site comes a new logo which bears a striking resemblance to the logo of sister station WBZ TV4. Can you say synergy?

The River of Hipsters : How do you make your station stick out in the sea of corporate radio? That's
how.