Friday, September 28, 2012

Savage's departure has WRKO mulling over the night-time programming options

Nationally syndicated talker Michael Savage has left his longtime syndication company Talk Radio Network after winning a nearly 2-year legal battle against the company. The fight started back in December 2010 when Savage sued TRN claiming he did not wish to renew his deal and planned to take an offer from Courtside Entertainment.  At the time, TRN's CEO Mark Masters issued a statement saying that Savage’s contract was crystal clear and it would keep the controversial host with the network for the foreseeable future.

Yesterday, the arbitrator ruled in favor of Savage, giving him a chance to pursue opportunities with other networks and syndicators. Savage posted a brief note on his website late on Thursday but gave no sign of any imminent new deal, saying only that he would likely be off the air for “some time.”

In a statement to the Associated Press, Savage’s attorney Dan Horowitz said that the host had tried for two years to get out of his contract, which was 10 years old and prevented Savage from changing syndicators.  He added that Savage, who has  spent over $900,000 on the case, won over $1 million and the right to all archived tapes of his show.

Locally, WRKO 680 which has featured Savage in its evening schedule since November 2002 is now in the process of exploring its programming options. The station had re-affiliated itself with Clear Channel's syndication arm Premiere Network back in August as it brought Rush Limbaugh and the overnight Coast-to-Coast show back into its line-up. WRKO is also affiliated with another big national syndicator - Cumulus Radio. WRKO will fill tonight's(9/28) evening schedule with Cumulus' national talker Mark Levin. It hasn't been announced yet how WRKO plans to program the 7-10pm slot on full-time basis. Its options include : a) inserting one of Cumulus Radio's(Mark Levin) or Premiere Networks' shows(Sean Hannity), b) take a new show with yet to be named host from TRN which debuts Monday(10/1 -or- c) use a) or b) as temporary band-aids until Savage returns to the airwaves via a new syndicator at a later point.

Stay tuned.

BRW Notebook:

Severin 3.0 :  Starting Monday(10/1), The Blaze Radio Network will become the new home for former WTKK and Talk 1200  host Jay Severin. The on-line network, a joint venture between Glenn Beck and Clear Channel Media, will be available on Clear Channel's digital iHeartRadio service as well Blaze's own Iphone and Ipad apps.. Severin's show will be heard from 2pm to 5pm.

After a 12-year run at WTKK 96.9, Severin joined Talk 1200 last August(BRW 8/16/11). But, when Clear Channel flipped Talk 1200 to Matty's Comedy 1200 in early August Severn found himself off the air(BRW 8/6).

Blaze's lineup will also include a simulcast of Beck’s nationally syndicated radio show(9-12pm), a re-launched show hosted by Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray(12-2pm) as well as audio simulcasts of TheBlaze TV shows with Glenn Beck(5-6pm).  RadioAnimal, LLC consultant Dom Theodore will serve as the network’s program director.  

TheBlaze chief content officer Joel Cheatwood stated in a press release : “We are excited to continue making TheBlaze a destination for news, information and entertainment programming across multiple platforms.  Jay is an incredible talent and is the perfect host to launch The Blaze Network.”
For media history buffs, in mid-90's(1993-97), Cheatwood served as TV news director at Boston's Channel 7 where installed the current tabloid news format and oversaw station's affiliation change from then-low-rated CBS to highly-rated NBC in 1995.

The independents : The Herald's music writer Jed Gottlieb takes a look at Boston radio's independent station situation after pretty big changes to the local radio landscape over this past summer. His focus is primarily on WXRV/The River 92.5 and Emerson College's WERS 88.9.

The spinning door :  Entercom's rocker WAAF 107.3/97.7 which did away with all the live weekend DJ's over the summer, faced another budget ax earlier this week. The Herald has the big scoop behind the exit of the longtime morning show co-host/voice artist Kevin Barbare. He has been part of the "Hill-Man Morning Show" since 1993 and was working without a contract since early August.  The station did re-up its Gregg Hill to a new long-term deal in late June and recently converted Total Traffic Network's reporter/sidekick Danielle Murr to a full time role on the show.

Locker room update : As WEEI gets ready to break away from simulcasting on AM dial as it continues to build on its local brand on the much more profitable FM pastures, the station took home another Marconi Award for the best sports talker in the country at the NAB's Radio Show in Dallas last week. Boston Globe's Chad Finn notes the Marconi award(WEEI's 2nd in 4 years) as well details some of the arrangements and programming options for the new 'ESPN on 850' format which debuts next Friday(10/5).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Entercom splits WEEI's doublecast

Confirming last month's media report, Entercom Boston and ESPN Radio today announced that starting on Friday, October 5, WEEI will split its AM/FM simulcast and begin broadcasting ESPN Radio on AM 850 with WEEI continuing solo on 93.7FM. Full press release of today's announcement is available here.

Starting October 5th, Boston market will be served by 4 sports stations. Two local on FM - WEEI/SportsRadio 93.7 and WBZ/the SportsHub 98.5. And two national sports webs - ESPN on AM 850 and NBC Sports Radio on AM 1510. 


For Immediate Release                                                                                    
Wednesday, Sept. 18
Entercom and ESPN Radio Join Forces to Launch “ESPN on WEEI” 850 AM
WEEI to provide the best in local and national sports talk and play-by-play

BOSTON, MAEntercom Boston and ESPN Radio today announced that starting on Friday, October 5, WEEI will split its AM/FM simulcast and begin broadcasting ESPN Radio on 850 AM. “ESPN on WEEI” will air ESPN’s entire national lineup, including the entire upcoming Major League Baseball postseason schedule, the NBA, and college football and college basketball. ESPN Radio on 850 AM will debut with Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, of “Mike and Mike in the Morning,” broadcasting live from Foxboro’s Gillette Stadium beginning at 6 a.m. ET on October 5. 

WEEI’s legendary local lineup of “Dennis and Callahan,” “Mut and Merloni,” “The Big Show with Glenn Ordway and Michal Holley,” and “Planet Mikey with Mike Adams” will now be broadcast solely on the 93.7 FM frequency. In addition, 93.7 FM will be the exclusive home of Red Sox baseball, Celtics basketball, Patriots’ Monday and Friday, NFL football and the NFL playoffs.

As part of this expanded partnership, listeners will be able to access 93.7 WEEI’s live audio stream through the popular ESPNBoston.com website. At the same time, ESPNBoston.com’s video channel will now power WEEI.com’s video player with the most up-to-date ESPN video content.

“Since 1991, WEEI has been the gold standard in sports radio. This strategic alliance with ESPN allows WEEI to deliver to the most passionate sports fans in America the very best in local sports talk and play-by-play on WEEI FM and the very best in national sports talk and play-by-play with ESPN on WEEI AM,” said Jeff Brown, Entercom Vice President and Market Manager. “WEEI 850 AM is a proven sports brand. Joining forces with ESPN provides advertisers an additional touch point to connect with a highly valuable and sought after consumer.”

“We’re pleased to team with Boston’s preeminent sports radio outlet and one of the nation’s best radio broadcasting companies in Entercom to bring the number one national network into New England,” said Traug Keller, ESPN Senior Vice President, Production Business Divisions. “This move coupled with the existing presence of ESPNBoston.com provides Boston’s passionate fans the best of ESPN’s national and local coverage and analysis.”

“We are excited to be expanding our partnership with ESPN in such a meaningful way,” said Entercom President and CEO David Field. “Combining Boston’s leading sports station, WEEI-FM, and the new ESPN on WEEI 850 AM, together with our ability to cross promote content through our existing mobile and digital platforms, gives passionate Boston sports fans the very best in local and national sports content.” 

Beginning Friday, October 5, the new ESPN on WEEI 850 AM ESPN lineup will be:

6 a.m. to 10 a.m.                      “Mike & Mike in the Morning”
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.                     “The Herd with Colin Cowherd”
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.                       “The Scott Van Pelt Show with Ryen Russillo”
4 p.m. to 7 p.m.                       “ESPN Today”
7 p.m. to 10 p.m.                     “Hill and Schlereth” / ESPN Play-by-Play
10 p.m. to 12 a.m.                   “SportsCenter Tonight”
12 a.m. to 6 a.m.                      “SportsCenter All Night”

Monday, September 17, 2012

Matt Siegel inducted into the Hall

Marconi award-winning radio personality and the host of the top-rated "Matty in the Morning" show in Boston, Matt Siegel,  was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame last Thursday with 13 other radio and television broadcasters. Siegel, 61, has been hosting morning drive on Kiss 108 since 1981. Last summer, he signed a 5-year extension to keep hosting his morning show at Kiss 108 thru 2016.(BRW 7/14/11)

The Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame is located at Massasoit Community College in Brockton.

Here's the official press release from Kiss 108 on Siegel's induction :


MATT SIEGEL INDUCTED INTO MASSACHUSETTS BROADCASTERS HALL OF FAME
 
Boston, Mass. – September 14, 2012 – WXKS-FM KISS 108 announced today that Matt Siegelhas been inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.  Siegel was officially inducted on Thursday, September 13, 2012 at the Hall of Fame's sixth annual Awards Luncheon and Induction Ceremony at the Quincy Marriott. 

Siegel, the longtime host of Matty in the Morning,has had a major presence in broadcasting since he began his career in Boston in 1977at the legendary WBCN, where he served as mid-day host.  He then became the host of WCVB-TV’s Five All Night, Live All Night,alate night TV talk show and later moved to Los Angeles, working for Warner Brothers Records and also as a voice over talent.  Siegel has been on-air at KISS 108 for more than 32 years and has become the dominate ratings force in the mornings.

“It is a great honor to be included into the same company of radio legends as Dave Maynard, Jess Cain and Charles Laquidara,” said Siegel.  “Being inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame, ranks right up there with winning my two Marconi Awards.”

“Matty has been number one at KISS 108 since Jimmy Carter was President,” said Mary Menna President and Market Manager Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Boston. “We are all so proud of his many accomplishments and also now the recognition amongst his peers.”

“Matt's accomplishments speak for themselves - countless #1 books, Marconi Awards - and now a permanent place among Massachusetts' broadcasting legends,” said Dylan Sprague, Operations Manager Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Boston.   “We're proud of all his accomplishments through his long career here at Kiss 108.  And glad there isn't a "retirement" requirement for being enshrined in this hall of fame - we know Matty has a lot of years left waking up Boston on Kiss!"

The Massachusetts Broadcaster Hall of Fame is an incorporated 501(c)3 organization with nineteen-member Board of Directors, consisting of primarily of broadcaster and other media partners. For more information on the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame visit: massbroadcasterhof.org.

About Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Boston:
Clear Channel Boston owns and operates JAMN 94.5; Kiss 108 FM; Mia; 1200 WXKS and is part of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.   With 239 million monthly listeners in the U.S., Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has the largest reach of any radio or television outlet in America. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment serves 150 cities through 850 owned radio stations. The company’s radio stations and content can be heard on AM/FM stations, HD digital radio channels, Sirius/XM satellite, on the Internet at iHeartRadio.com and on the company’s radio station websites, on the iHeartRadiomobile application on iPads and smartphones, and used via navigation systems from TomTom, Garmin and others.  The company’s operations include radio broadcasting, online and mobile services and products, live concerts and events, syndication, music research services and independent media representation.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is a division of CC Media Holdings, Inc. (OTCBB: CCMO), a leading global media and entertainment company. More information on the company can be found at clearchannel.com, clearchanneloutdoor.com and ccmediaholdings.com.

Monday, September 10, 2012

New program director at AMP 103.3

The new contemporary hit Top 40 signal WODS/AMP 103.3 which debuted in late June(BRW 6/27) will have a program director, it was announced earlier this morning. Dan Mason Jr., who has been programming a Top40 powerhouse KDND 107.9/The End in the Sacramento market for the past six years, will take over Amp 103.3's programming duties in November.

Dan Mason CBS RADIO Boston.JPGHere is the official press release from CBS Radio Boston :


103.3 AMP RADIO NAMES DAN MASON PROGRAM DIRECTOR
OF BOSTON ’S NEWEST HIT MUSIC STATION

BOSTON, MA – September 10, 2012 -  Dan Mason has been named Program Director of Boston’s newest contemporary hit radio station 103.3 AMP Radio (WODS-FM), it was announced today by Mark Hannon, Senior Vice President/Market Manager for CBS RADIO Boston.

Mason brings fourteen years of top radio management experience to 103.3 AMP Radio.  For the last six years, he has programmed Entercom’s Top 40 KDND The End in Sacramento , CA .  In the August ratings period that just concluded, Mason led The End to #1 ratings positions with Persons 12+, as well as with Women 18-49, Adults 25-54, and Women 25-54.  In addition to The End, Mason oversaw the launch of Sacramento ’s Star 106.5, an adult contemporary station, this past December.  Prior to his stint in Sacramento , Mason worked for Clear Channel in Miami , FL and Cleveland , OH .  In Cleveland , he launched Top 40 WAKS 96.5 KISS FM in 1999.

“We are very fortunate to have someone with Dan’s background working with our team here in Boston ,” said Hannon.  “He has shown tremendous energy and drive in an effort to deliver the best programming to Top 40 music fans.  I know Dan and the talented staff at AMP Radio will build the station into a powerhouse in the years to come.”

“I am thrilled for this new opportunity and the chance to work with the dynamic team in Boston to further grow 103.3 AMP Radio into the city’s next great radio brand,” added Mason.  “And I am especially eager to return to a place where I spent many fond years attending Emerson College .  Boston has always been an area I consider to be ‘home.’”

After concluding his position at The End and Star and moving across country from Sacramento to Boston , Mason will join AMP Radio in November.

103.3 AMP Radio 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 127 radio stations, the majority of which are in the nation’s top 50 markets.  CBS RADIO also owns and operates WBZ-AM NewsRadio 1030, WBZ-FM 98.5 The Sports Hub, WBMX-FM MIX 104.1, and WZLX-FM 100.7 Classic Rock in Boston .

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

WTKK rolls out more news and information updates to reflect its new branding



WTKK 96.9 today officially unveiled its new direction and branding. As mentioned in the previous update(BRW 8/31), the station has remade itself into "News Talk 96.9" ditching the previous "96.9 Boston Talks" tag. The station's talk show line-up hasn't changed but via the addition of a new partnership with Clear Channel's Total Traffic Network, the station is beefing up its traffic/weather update cycles(every 15 minutes) and airing local news updates at the top and bottom of each hour on 24/7 basis.

Here's the official press release from News Talk 96.9 :

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE:  September 4, 2012

For more information, please contact: 
Grace Blazer – Program Director
617-822-6820

News Talk 96.9 FM-WTKK Launches 24 Hour News Center
Traffic & Weather Every 15 Minutes

Boston, MA (September 4, 2012):  News Talk 96.9 FM, WTKK, announced today it will provide listeners in the Boston Metropolitan area with consistent ‘live and local’ news, traffic, and weather reports around the clock on-air, online and on their mobile devices.   Through a partnership with Total Traffic, Greater Media Boston’s News Talk 96.9 FM-WTKK will deliver newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour 24 hours a day and traffic and weather reports every 15 minutes.  In addition, WTKK will refer to itself as NEWS TALK 96.9 both on air and online to more accurately reflect its product.

“We are proud to be the only FM radio station with a 24 hour live and local staff of newscasters delivering timely, local and breaking news, accurate traffic reporting, and dependable weather forecasts,” says Program Director Grace Blazer.  The addition of services to our already strong talk lineup makes News Talk 96.9 FM unique within the Boston market and also presents immediate opportunities for our advertisers.” 

“An amazing amount of news is generated daily in Boston and New England,” said Chris Berry, Vice President of Total News Source.  We are very pleased to be working around the clock with the team at News Talk 96.9 to assist in gathering and delivering news and information.”

News Talk 96.9’s weekday lineup includes New England Cable News 4:30-7am; The Jim & Margery Show, 7-10am; Doug Meehan 10am-Noon (M-Th); Michael Smerconish, Noon-3pm; Michael Graham 3-7pm; and The Phantom Gourmet with the Andelmans, 10am to 1pm (Fri). 

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

WTKK-FM is owned by Greater Boston Radio, Inc., a subsidiary of Greater Media, Inc., the parent company of 22 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 as well as several telecommunications towers located throughout the United States.
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