Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Christmas music helps to put WODS 103.3 on top

Classic hits WODS 103.3 is whistling a happy tune this week -- the station was No. 1 overall in
just-released Arbitron radio ratings for the first time since signing on in October 1987. Why? Two words: Merry Christmas .

Maybe WODS should start playing Christmas music in October this year. WODS and its rival WROR 105.7 both began their all-Christmas mix a week before Thanksgiving(
BRW 11/18/10) , and it paid off handsomely in the holiday Arbitron ratings, which covered the period from Dec 9 to Jan. 5. WODS jumped to first place from sixth in November, fueled by Christmas tunes starting on November 18. WROR 105.7 also jumped from 10th to 3rd as the result of going all-ho-ho-ho.

As for WODS, the station went back to its regular classic hits blend on December 26. Obviously station management hopes at least some holiday newcomers to 103.3 will stick around for extended doses of the Beach Boys, Elton John, Bee Gees and Motown...and now 80's music, too. Emerging out of 5 1/2 weeks of playing Christmas tunes, WODS expanded its music vault to include some 80's hitmakers such as Van Halen and the Eurythmics but don't expect to hear the likes of Billy Idol or Duran Duran yet. With GenXers beginning to move into the core of the highly-courted 25-54 audience, the infusion of the 80's is a natural transition which begun a year ago with disappearance of longtime 'Oldies' moniker(
BRW 10/2/09). While the babyboomers are slowly aging out of 25-54 target demo, 60's and 70's still dominate WODS' playlist...for now.

BRW Notebook :

Executive turntable : Dylan Sprague has been named the new operations manager for Clear Channel Radio Boston's four stations - WXKS/Kiss 108, WJMN/Jamn 94.5, Rush Radio 1200 and Mia 1430. He arrives after programming Entercom-owned KALC/Alice 105.9 and KQMT/99.1 The Mountain in the Denver market since January 2008. In addition, Sprague has held various on-air and programming roles at top radio stations across the country, including, 97.7 WNCI in Columbus, OH; KJ103 in Oklahoma City; KMXV Mix 93.3 in Kansas City; WWWQ Q100 in Atlanta.....And in other Clear Channel Boston news, as mentioned here first yesterday(and picked up by other national sites without giving BRW any credit, of course :), veteran local talk programmer Paula O'Connor is now in charge of WXKS/Rush Radio 1200, it was officially announced today. O'Connor said in a press release : "I am excited to be getting back into radio. My passions have always revolved around radio, the Boston community, and building brands for both people and businesses. I am blessed to be back programming in the market again and in a city that is rich with ideas, conversations, debate and has a track record of tackling real issues.” Since leaving WTKK 96.9 in May 2007, O'Connor co-founded the marketing company of Simply Good Marketing in Waltham. In addition to her radio career, she served as the Chief of Staff for the State Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as well as the Press Secretary and Deputy Campaign Manager for Malone and Jeghelian.

Take two : Talker WTKK 96.9 like its counterpart WRKO 680 has seen a steady ratings erosion over the past year. Granted, the latest Holiday numbers set all of the market's talk and news stations back during a traditionally slow strech for the format, but the downward trend for WTKK 96.9 and WRKO 680 has been unfolding for quite some time now. Both stations are now trying to do something about it. Earlier this month, WTKK dumped syndicated talker Imus and expanded its local morning show. This week, WTKK's afternooner Jay Severin has been paired up with NYC-based talkshow host/comedian Mike Bower(Bower does the show via an ISDN line from a Manhattan studio). Bower has done fill-ins for Severin in the past year. He has also filled-in(via ISDN hookup) in the 6pm-10pm slot once occupied by Michele McPhee. Could he be in the cards for WTKK on fulltime basis? Perhaps WTKK is using the afternoon show this week to give Bower a promotional push and eventually install him in the evening slot. Meanwhile, WRKO is also not standing still. Last week, Michele McPhee was brought in to replace painfully dull Charley Manning. If McPhee is able to move the ratings meter for WRKO, can she find herself in a bigger timeslot - morning or midday? All these questions will be answered sooner than anyone thinks. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

WBUR Announces New Co-Host for "Radio Boston"

Boston University's WBUR 90.9 announced this morning that Anthony Brooks will be joining Meghna Chakrabarti as the new co-host on station's weekday news magazine "Radio Boston"(3pm-4pm) starting Monday, January 31st. BU's official press release is here. Chakrabarti was named the show's new host last May but recently returned from a 4-month maternity.

New PD for Rush Radio 1200

Former WTKK 96.9 program director Paula O'Connor is landing as a new program director for talker WXKS/Rush Radio 1200 and will also oversee sister station WKOX/Mia 1430. O'Connor was WTKK 96.9's program director since its launch in September 1999 until she was let go in May 2007. Prior to her stint at WTKK 96.9, she spent many years at WRKO 680 as a producer for Boston legendary talkshow hosts David Brudnoy and Jerry Williams at WRKO 680. As for Bill George who has been overseeing Rush Radio 1200 since its launch last March, he'll return to his full time duties at Providence's talker WHJJ 920.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

McPhee signs on at WRKO

The radio dial takes another turn. Talker WRKO 680 which lost Rush Limbaugh to newcomer WXKS/Rush Radio 1200 last March is once again making over its late midday afternoon schedule.

Political consultant Charley Manning who replaced Limbaugh on WRKO just ten months ago(BRW 3/2/10) is out and Michele McPhee, let go by rival talker WTKK 96.9 in mid-November(BRW 11/12/10), is now in. She will join WRKO 680 starting Monday(1/17) from 1pm to 3pm weekdays, it was announced late last week.

Speaking of McPhee's former radio home, WTKK 96.9 still hasn't officially announced her replacement in the 6pm-10pm slot. Depending on the week, WTKK seems to be bouncing between syndicated talkers Todd Schnitt and Mike Smerconish(both airing on tape-delay).

[Ed. Note : While some local media critics had a hard time understanding the switch from Manning to McPhee, WRKO's late day midday makeover makes total sense in this space. McPhee has a built-in recognition factor as she was perhaps the most outspoken and engaging personality on WTKK's roster for 3 1/2 years. With WRKO being mired in the middle of the also-ran pack among area stations, Manning's show just didn't stand out, not to mention it was brutally dull. While McPhee's on-air style could be brash and unpolished sometimes, she will spike the sleepy midday block with some needed energy and should be able to provide good rating bounce as a lead-in for Howie Carr's afternoon show]

BRW Notebook :

Tweet this! : Seems like the whole WEEI 850 - SportsHub 98.5 rivalry is now spilling over onto different platforms outside terrestrial radio. Boston Sports Media's Bruce Allen writes about the sports radio shenanigans taking place on social networking site Twitter.

Holy billboard! : The new 24-hour Catholic station WQOM 1060 has launched a highway billboard campaign in partnership with Clear Channel Outdoor’s Boston division. This campaign featured on three billboards along major highways throughout Greater Boston is helping to introduce The Station of the Cross Catholic Network to tens of thousands of motorists every day. In a press release, WQOM's station manager Maria Bain said "“WQOM will receive outstanding exposure with the bulletins in Boston. It’s a great way for The Catholic Radio Network to broaden our reach as a new station in Boston.” Clear Channel Outdoor's Boston manager Stephen Ross added, "“Outdoor advertising is the most effective way to introduce any new brand to a mass audience. Clear Channel Outdoor is proud to assist WQOM in growing its audience in the Boston radio market.”

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

WTKK drops Imus, expands its local morning show

After 17 and a half years on Boston airwaves, syndicated talk show host Don Imus is going to have to look for another on-air home in town and he's not likely to find one.

Talk radio station WTKK 96.9 announced this morning that will expand its "Jim & Margery" morning show by an hour which in turn will completely eliminate the first hour of Imus' nationally syndicated live program from the station's line-up starting Thursday, Jan.13th. As you recall, 15 months ago WTKK cut Imus' live show from 3 hours down to 1(BRW 10/2/09) as it moved Jim Braude and Margery Eagan from middays to mornings(7am-10am). Even Imus' encore hour which has aired between 5am and 6am will now be replaced by an extra encore hour of overnight host Phil Hendrie who will be heard from 1am to 6am(live from 1am to 4am) on WTKK.

Imus show moved to WTKK 96.9 from sports talker WEEI 850 on August 23, 1999 and at time helped to anchor the launch of a brand new FM talk format which replaced smooth jazz in September 1999. Prior to switching Boston frequencies, Imus aired on WEEI for six years(July 12, 1993 to August 20,1999). At WEEI, he was replaced by the current morning drive "Dennis and Callahan" show. Ironically, Tom Baker who's been managing WTKK 96.9 since December 2008, green lighted the decision to replace Imus with a local show at WEEI in 1999.

BRW Notebook :

Spanning the Globe to bring you the constant variety : Among other programming changes at WTKK this week, the station has added Paris,France-born, Chicago-based talk show host Simon Badinter to the Sunday night 7pm-10pm previously held by retired Eddie Andelman. Chicago Radio and Media website reports that Banditer will host the show on WTKK 96.9 as well as his home station WGN 720 in Windy City.

Not a bad deal : WBMX/Mix 104.1 midday host Erin O'Malley has re-upped for a two-year deal to stay with adult Top40 station. Not part of the new radio deal for O'Malley, who's been working middays at Mix since January 2001, is Valentine's Day wedding on the beach in Mexico. Congrats!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

WFNX names new Program Director

WFNX 101.7, promoted its music director and night host(7p-Midnight) Paul Driscoll to program director, it was announced on Wednesday(1/5). He replaces VP of Broadcast Operations Mike Tierney, who exited in early December after a little over a year with the modern rocker(BRW 11/12). Driscoll has been with WFNX since March 2003.

BRW Notebook :

When things get tough, the tough send out a memo :
The Boston Herald reports that Entercom's CEO David Field has sent a scathing company memo regarding his company's lackluster sales numbers in 2010. Locally, Entercom owns sports talker WEEI 850, news/talker WRKO 680, variety hits WMKK/Mike 93.7 and rock WAAF 107.3/WKAF 97.7.

Matty In the Morning turns 30 :
Signing on as "Kiss 108 Disco" back in January 1979, WXKS 107.9 has seen more than its share of music trends come and go. Despite all the changes in Top 40 music over the past three decades, Matt Siegel, who will celebrate his 30 years in mornings at the station next Wednesday January 12, has managed to stay highly successful and very relevant to his listeners. Siegel's recent ratings among the station's core demographic - women 18-34 and 25-54 - are even higher today than they were at any time of his career. Here's last month's profile in Stuff magazine.

In a class of his own :
When music radio seems too full of bubble gum pop and nothing but repetition, Boston radio listeners might yearn for a more sophisticated sounds. Dick Pleasants has been offering folksy lyrics on for much of his 40-year run in local radio. He's currently heard on WUMB 91.9 every Saturday from 12-2pm. After graduating from Emerson College with a degree in business and industrial communications in the early 70's, Pleasants focused on bringing the sounds of folk to the radio to local airwaves. He spent 25 years(1978-2003) hosting 'Folk Heritage' on WGBH 89.7. During that time he has interviewed a slew of musicians some of whom will gather to honor him at a special concert at Sanders Theater in Cambridge this Friday night(1/7) reports the Herald.

And now for something completely different
: The Big Sauce Radio Show features Boston’s best and brightest rising talent! Each week the internet radio program showcases local comedians, actors & actresses and musicians on their way to fame. Big Sauce is hosted Kayla Avery and Chris Timoney as they stream live every Thursday night from 8pm – 10pm on