Thursday, September 22, 2011

SportsHub 98.5's Felger and Mazz to simulcast on Comcast SportsNet New England

Comcast SportsNet New England will bring WBZ 98.5/The SportsHub's "Felger and Mazz" show to television later this fall.

The program, hosted by Michael Felger and Tony Massaroitt, will be simulcast on CSN NE every weekday from 2 to 6pm. The show has been on air since SportsHub 98.5 launched on August 14, 2009.

SportsHub's rival WEEI 93.7/850 began simulcasting its morning show "Dennis and Callahan" on New England Sports Network(NESN) last November(BRW 10/19/10)

Here is CBS Boston and CSNNE joint press release issued this afternoon :

98.5 THE SPORTS HUB’S NO. 1- RATED FELGER & MASSAROTTI SHOW TO BE SIMULCAST ON COMCAST SPORTSNET BEGINNING THIS FALL

Live Broadcast Strengthens Comcast SportsNet’s Position and Broadens the Show’s Reach into Four Million New England Households

Burlington & Brighton, MA - September 22, 2011 - Comcast SportsNet and 98.5 The Sports Hub today announced an agreement to air a live simulcast of Boston’s leading all-sports radio station’s popular Felger & Massarotti Show on Comcast SportsNet beginning this fall. Felger & Massarotti currently can be heard weekdays from 2:00-6:00PM on-air, online at www.cbsboston.com, and via the Radio.com app for a variety of mobile devices. To coincide with the show’s television debut, Felger & Massarotti will broadcast from a newly renovated set at 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Brighton studios.

Hosted by Comcast SportsNet personality Michael Felger and veteran Boston baseball writer and columnist Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Felger & Massarotti Show is the No. 1-rated afternoon drive program in Boston with Men 25-54 and Men 18-49.

“Felger, Mazz, and the Sports Hub have taken over Boston radio with a rocket launch to the top of the ratings. Adding Felger's acerbic nature for four more hours to our line-up and Mazz's credentials are huge pluses for Comcast SportsNet as we continue to build out our programming which features local, entertaining sports programming from 6 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.,” said Bill Bridgen, Comcast SportsNet Executive Vice President and General Manager. “The Sports Hub’s growth mirrors our own dramatic evolution which began with the launch of Chevrolet SportsNet Central and has continued with the addition of a host of new programming including Quick Slants, The Baseball Show and more.”

“98.5 The Sports Hub has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the Boston sports landscape, and the Felger & Massarotti Show has been an integral part of that success,” said Mark Hannon, Senior Vice President/Market Manager, CBS RADIO Boston. “Partnering with Comcast SportsNet on this simulcast allows us to extend our brand further, while also making the Felger & Massarotti show available on CSN to over four million households in New England.”

Felger also hosts Sports Sunday and co-hosts Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight on Comcast SportsNet. The Boston University grad is the hottest personality in Boston sports and his willingness to take on owners, coaches, players, and fans with his unique brand of biting commentary has set him apart in the Boston sports media market.

Massarotti, a Waltham native and Tufts University graduate, is the author of four books and a long-time baseball writer and columnist for a range of Boston news outlets, including the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and Boston.com. Massarotti adds balance to the program with a perspective that only a pragmatic, life-long Bostonian can have.

“Tony and I are thrilled to broadcast our show on Comcast Sports Net, expanding our audience even further,” said Felger. “CSN understands the need for personality and strong opinions, which is right up our alley.”

Added Massarotti, “Simulcasting the show adds an entirely new dimension to the experience we provide our fans. And for many of Comcast SportsNet’s viewers we will be a welcome addition to their afternoon entertainment.”

Comcast SportsNet’s simulcast of the Felger & Mazz show will be presented by Nissan.

98.5 The Sports Hub, the 2011 NAB Marconi Radio Award “Sports Station of the Year,” 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.

Comcast SportsNet reaches more than 4 million households in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Comcast SportsNet’s programming includes the Boston Celtics, SportsNet Central, New England Revolution, Connecticut Sun, Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight, Celtics Now, Sports Sunday, Quick Slants, The Baseball Show and New England Tailgate. Comcast SportsNet’s partnership with the 17-time NBA Champion Boston Celtics is the longest team-regional sports network relationship in New England and the fourth longest in professional sports. Comcast SportsNet New England is owned and managed by Comcast Sports Group. Visit www.csnne.com for more information.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

98.5 The SportsHub scores a big hit at the Marconis

WBZ-FM/98.5 the SportsHub has been named by the National Association of Broadcasters' Marconi Radio Awards as the "Sports Station of the Year." The announcement came at last night's annual NAB Radio Convention in Chicago.

The NAB awards are given annually for excellence in American radio in the name of Guglielmo Marconi, who invented the wireless telegraph near the end of the 19th century. Ironically, it was a sporting event that first brought worldwide attention to Marconi's invention. In 1899, to cover a yacht race, the Kingstown Regatta, an Irish newspaper, the Dublin Daily Express, had Marconi send bulletins from the scene of the race. By the time the reporters who had been on boats watching the event got back to land with their stories, the Dublin Express had already printed the results.

Here is a press release from CBS Radio Boston :

For Immediate Release                                                                    
                                                                       
98.5 THE SPORTS HUB WINS NAB MARCONI AWARD
NAMED SPORTS STATION OF THE YEAR

Boston, Ma – September 16 – 98.5 The Sports Hub (WBZ-FM) was named Sports Station of the Year at the 2011 National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) Marconi Radio Awards.  The awards were announced last night at the annual NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show held during the Radio Show in Chicago , IL .

"Winning the Marconi Award for Sports Station of the Year is an honor and a testament to all of the hard work and commitment that the employees of 98.5 the Sports Hub put in everyday,” said Mark Hannon, Senior Vice President/Market Manager, CBS Radio Boston.  “More importantly though, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Boston radio listeners and sports fans who have embraced 98.5 The Sports Hub since we launched 2 years ago, and it's because of their overwhelming support that we find ourselves receiving this national recognition."

98.5 The Sports Hub is the flagship station of the New England Patriots and the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.  Program Director, Mike Thomas, accepted the award for Sports Station of The Year.  For more about 98.5 The Sports Hub, visit http://boston.cbslocal.com.

The 2011 Marconi Awards, named after Nobel Prize winner Guglielmo Marconi, have recognized radio stations and on-air personalities for their excellence in radio broadcasting for the past 23 years.  Marconi finalists were chosen by broadcasters and winners were named by the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Selection Academy

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 Boston ’s WBZ-AM, WBMX, WODS, and WZLX.

BRW Notebook :

No change in rank : Ratings research firm Arbitron has concluded its annual update of market ranks for fall 2011 based on updated total population estimates. While there are a few changes to the top 10 markets, as (Philadelphia moves up to market No. 7, with Washington, D.C., now market No. 8. Atlanta falls to market No. 9), Boston's ranking stays at No. 10 The top 10 markets are now: 1.New York, 2.Los Angeles, 3.Chicago, 4.San Francisco, 5.Dallas-Ft. Worth, 6.Houston-Galveston, 7.Philadelphia, 8.Washington, D.C., 9.Atlanta, 10.Boston.

These total population estimates are based on 2010 census data, updated and projected to Jan. 1, 2012.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

In the beginning...

WBZ 1030 is as integral a part of Boston and local radio industry in 2011 as it was when it first captured the imagination of the public in the early 1920's.   WBZ was the country's first commercially licensed radio station, aired its first broadcast on September 19, 1921 from East Springfield. 

WBZ will be celebrating its 90th anniversary on Monday(9/19) with commemorative programming which includes a series of 15 vignettes and a special 1-hour retrospective airing on Monday night at 8pm during Dan Rea's "Night Side"program which will be co-hosted by Rea, morning anchor Joe Mathieu and retired morning news mainstay Gary LaPierre.

The station's first broadcast from Boston was in 1924, from its studio at the Hotel Brunswick. Regularly scheduled daytime programming began in 1927 with news, concerts, lecturers and sports. During its first two decades, WBZ boasted several firsts: first to broadcast the first Boston Bruins (1924) and the Boston Marathon (1931). It was also the first to have a staff meteorologist (1933); to warn listeners of an approaching hurricane (1938); and to win the annual Peabody award for news commentary (1947). The station moved to its present dial location (1030-AM) in 1941 and to its present offices on Soldiers Field Road in 1948.

WBZ is one of Boston's top-rated station today, as it has been for the better part of its ratings history. For advertisers, WBZ still delivers not only consistent ratings but an association with the tradition of radio and an exceptionally strong affinity between the station and its listeners.

Here's CBS Radio Boston's official release :

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WBZ NEWSRADIO 1030 CELEBRATES ITS 90th ANNIVERSARY
On Monday, September 19, 2011, the Nation’s First Commercially Licensed Radio Station Marks 90 Years of Journalism Excellence,
Unparalleled News Coverage, Compelling Talk Programming,
and Comprehensive Community Service   

Boston, MA – September 14, 2011 –   On Monday, September 19, 2011, WBZ NewsRadio 1030 will celebrate its 90th anniversary of radio broadcasting to New England and its place as the first commercially licensed radio station in the country.  For the timeline of WBZ NewsRadio’s distinguished history, click here:  http://boston.cbslocal.com/2010/03/14/a-look-back-on-the-history-of-wbz-radio/.

“For nine decades WBZ NewsRadio has led the way in reporting historic news events on both a national and local stage, and the station has offered a forum for the community to discuss the news of the day and evaluate what it means to them,” said Mark Hannon, Senior Vice President/Market Manager, CBS Radio Boston.  “We are extremely proud of the staff’s reporting and programming over the years, as well as the station’s community outreach, and we look forward to being a positive influence in the market for many years to come.”

To commemorate this special anniversary, WBZ NewsRadio 1030 will air a series of fifteen retrospective vignettes chronicling the station’s remarkable evolution and historic moments.  The vignettes are anchored by WBZ NewsRadio 1030 morning anchor Joe Mathieu and WBZ Hall-of-Fame anchor Gary LaPierre.  The vignettes will feature highlights of WBZ’s history including the 1929 first broadcast the inauguration of Massachusetts Governor Frank G. Allen.  Also featured, in 1932 a lion was brought in to the studios to roar on cue since tape hadn’t been invented yet, and “King Leo” ran amok destroying equipment and injuring people; and in 1976 veteran traffic reporter Joe Green saved the life of a local college student kayaking on the Merrimack by using the ‘BZ copter…to mention just a few historic moments.

Then on Monday, September 19 th on the 90th anniversary, WBZ NewsRadio 1030 will host a Hall-of-Fame induction ceremony honoring a WBZ NewsRadio 1030 legend.  And that evening at 8PM on “NightSide with Dan Rea” (M-F, 8P-12M), Dan will be joined by Joe Mathieu and Gary LaPierre for a special hour looking back over WBZ NewsRadio’s nine decade history.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030 is owned by CBS RADIO, a division of CBS Corporation.


BRW Notebook :

Around the dial : Mike 93.7 sang its last song(Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird") at 5:51am this past Monday as the station went from playing musical hits to talking about sports as it converted into WEEI's brand new Boston FM outlet. A couple of casualties in the wake of Mike's departure were station's assistant program director Mike Morgan who came on board in January 2008 as well as commercial production manager/assistant imaging director Merilee Kelly who was with Entercom Boston cluster for the past five years. 

A Feast By the River : Modern Acoustic Magazine recently published a feature story on WXRV 92.5/The River's "Brunch by The River" show hosted by station's midday personality Lisa Garvey. The show airs live on Sundays from 9am to 1pm on 92.5FM and on-line at www.wxrv.com

Honoring the past :  As mentioned in this space previously, the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame's annual Gala Awards Ceremony and Luncheon hosted by WBZ 1030’s Jordan Rich, inducting fifteen of Massachusetts’ most popular and respected radio and television broadcasters into the Hall of Fame is being held today(9/15) from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM at the Marriott Quincy.  This year’s Honorees will include pioneer sports/talk radio host Eddie Andelman, 32-year WBZ TV News veteran Charles Austin, Emmy award-winning news reporter, commentator and humorist Dick Flavin, 35-year WCVB TV news anchor Natalie Jacobson, visionary TV and radio executive Paul LaCamera, Tom & Ray Magliozzi, aka Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers of Car Talk on WBUR), popular long-time producer and broadcaster Ken Meyer and former co-anchor of Chronicle and news anchor, Mary Richardson. Also honored will be several deceased members of the broadcast media:  early TV newsman Jack Chase, TV and radio columnist Anthony LaCamera, pioneering talk show host from the ‘40s and ‘50s Sherm Feller, the first female announcer in Massachusetts radio history Eunice Randall Thompson, founder of WNAC (today WRKO) and the Yankee Network John Shepard III and Boston Red Sox long-time sportscaster Ned Martin.

Honoring the present :  In addition to WBZ's big 9-0 on Monday,  some other notable Boston radio anniversaries to mention. WZLX 100.7's afternoon host Chuck Nowlin celebrated his 20-year at the classic rock station last month. He currently has the longest-running afternoon drive show on Boston airwaves...Loren Owens and Wally Brine, Jr., better known as 'Loren and Wally', are celebrating their 30 years as the morning duo dating back to September 1991 when WROR 105.7 was the old WVBF 105.7. And, speaking of WROR 105.7, the station celebrated the 15th year of its classic hits format which launched on Sep.5th,1996...WEEI's 20th birthday present included the much-overdue addition of a Boston FM signal earlier this week. Boston's first all-sports format debuted on September 3, 1991 replacing all-news on WEEI 590...

Honoring the best : Also tonight in Chicago we'll find out the winners of National Association of Broadcasters' 2011 Marconi Awards. As mentioned here(BRW 7/19), there are 2 Boston entries among this year's national finalists : WBZ/98.5 the SportsHub has been nominated in the Sports Station of the Year category while WEEI Sports Radio 93.7(and 850)'s morning team "Dennis and Callahan" has been nominated in the Major Market Personality of the Year. The list of all the finalists and categories is here.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Stations to air special 9/11 tribute programming


Boston radio stations will observe the 10th anniversary of 9/11 in the next few days.

WRKO AM 680 will provide local coverage with afternoon host Howie Carr broadcasting his show from Ground Zero on Friday(9/9). On Sunday(9/11), morning co-host Todd Feinburg will host 8am-12pm show from Ground Zero which will be followed by Avi Nelson(12-3pm) and Kevin Whalen(3pm-6pm). At 6pm, ABC Radio will take over with its live coverage including airing of "Concert of Hope" at 8pm from at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

WTKK 96.9 has Doug Meehan saluting the first responders on his show(10am-12pm) on Friday and syndicated Michael Smerconish paying a special tribute on his national show airing from Noon to 3pm. Throughout the weekend, WTKK will run pretaped special tributes - Saturday morning(6am-8am), Sunday afternoon(2-4pm) and night(7pm-9pm).

Also on Sunday, GBH's WGBH 89.7 and WCRB 99.5 will devote their entire day of programming to live music, conversation and reflection to the memory of 9/11 events. WCRB 99.5's full schedule of their extensive 9/11 programming can be found here. WGBH will air the special edition of NPR's Weekend Edition from 6am to Noon which will be followed by special 1-hour editions of its two local public affairs shows - "The Emily Rooney Show"(12-1pm) and "The Callie Crossley Show"(1pm-2pm). Then at 2pm WGBH 89.7 will join WCRB 99.5 for a special events programming simulcast(see link above).

Other stations have set up special tribute sections on their websites - WBZ 1030WXKS/Talk 1200  and WBUR 90.9 - and will also provide special news/talk coverage throughout the 9/11 remembrance weekend.


BRW Notebook :

Double play : As mentioned in this space(BRW 9/7), come Monday(9/12) morning at 6am WEEI will dramatically improve its reception by launching an FM simulcast on 93.7 as it will respond to the success of the two-year old WBZ/98.5 The SportsHub, Boston's first FM sports talker.

93.7FM's signal provides better fidelity and reception in some areas for a broader reach, particularly in wide parts of MetroWest where AM 850's signal has been spotty in the evenings.

The end result of Thursday morning's announcement is all four major Boston sports teams will now be on FM in Boston Metro - Red Sox and Celtics on 93.7 while Patriots and Bruins on 98.5. While it's clear that Entercom hopes WEEI's AM-FM simulcast will stem the station's overall ratings slide in key male demographics as it battles CBS Radio's SportsHub, they also are looking to grow by attracting new FM listeners who don't tune in to AM band.

 
In the bigger Boston radio picture, Monday morning's format switch may be viewed as a little disappointing because Boston area advertisers and listeners will have fewer options now - it's one less music station with a different format.

WMKK call letters will be replaced by WEEI-FM which are currently residing on WEEI's Providence FM affiliate 103.7. The Providence station will then become WVEI  and Springfield's 105.5 affiliate will then have WWEI call letters.

Around the dial : Just in time for all the 250,000 college kids who are back in town, arrives WBMX/Mix 104.1's annual MixFest show next Saturday, September, 17 at 2pm at the DCR Hatch Shell. This year's station concert is free to the public and will have an all-star line-up of artists :  Billboard Music Award winning band Lifehouse will be headlining.  Other special guests include; Grammy Award winning artist Michelle Branch, season-one winner of The Voice, Javier Colon, wildly successful band, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, as well as other surprise acts.....Dustin "Fletcher" Matthews who was doing morning drive at WFNX 101.7 for the past 4 1/2 years(originally as part of the "SandBox" then briefly paired up with Keith Dakin and more recently with news vet Henry Santoro) has left the modern rock station at the end of summer to take a position as the program director over at WRXL/102.1 The X in Richmond, VA. Fletcher has been replaced by weekend jock Steve "D-Tension" Perez on an interim basis until a new permanent co-host is named...WAAF 107.3's afternoon host Mistress Carrie is spending this week in Afghanistan to  commemorate the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. She is embedded with members of the Mass. Army National Guard.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Boston's sports radio is set to quake : 93.7 to become WEEI's simulcast come Monday

Althought the official announcement will be made later on Thursday morning, the big buzz about Boston getting a second major FM sports radio outlet has been building since the first FM sports talker - WBZ 98.5/The Sports Hub came on the air two years ago. Aftetr the newcomer the SportsHub overtook WEEI in the ratings in all major key male listener target demographics a few months, the rumors began flying that Entercom might opt to simulcast its 20-year old sports talk WEEI AM 850 on one of its two FM outlets to better position itself in the sports radio batte and reverse the trend of losing its ratings and revenue to an FM sports competitor. The most likely candidates to provide that spot were variety WMKK 93.7/MikeFM  or rocker WAAF 107.3FM(also on WKAF 97.7FM). Both stations don't bring anywhere close to WEEI's revenue.

At 8am on Thursday, WEEI is going to officially announce that it will simulcast WEEI's programming on 93.7FM in Boston. The current MikeFM programming on 93.7FM which has been on the air since 2005 will end.

Now with the news this week that the SportsHub once again won the latest July ratings survey, WEEI's management is reacting fast and furious. Entercom hopes by putting its sports product on an FM outlet it would put WEEI on the equal footing with the SportsHub by being able to draw listeners from a yonger and wider male audience that strictly listens to radio on FM for music or sports.