Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Up in the Air : Celtics searching for a new radio home on the dial

The off-season has produced major personnel changes for the Boston Celtics, but as the October training camp quickly approaches, team’s brass now finds itself in the middle of an off-court switch of radio signals. The Celtics are in search of a new home on the dial after they were unable to reach a new agreement with Entercom Boston which had aired their games on WRKO 680(2005-06, 2006-07) and WEEI 850/93.7(2007-2013) for the past 8 seasons. Entercom Boston’s VP and Market Manager Jeff Brown confirmed to the Boston Globe that WEEI will not be back as C's flagship for 2013-2014 season.

The Celtics who lost two of their star players – Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce – and popular coach Doc Rivers during the bleak off-season are not expected to contend for an NBA title for at least the next 3-4 years as the franchise rebuilds. The radio industry is already struggling with declining advertising revenues and declining local sports broadcast rights fees. Put two and two together, the Celtics exit from WEEI was no major surprise, at least in this corner.  That doesn't mean the C’s won't have radio options to pick from as they are seeking a new radio partner with the first pre-season game scheduled for October 7th.

Considering the state of the economy in general, and the radio business in particular, the Celtics will be lucky to get any kind of revenue-sharing arrangement with a new outlet. More likely, the Celtics like a growing number of other professional franchises have been doing more and more as of late, will end up taking their radio broadcast rights in-house. That would mean paying a station for air time, promotion and broadcast production while selling advertising themselves.

The Celtics have two major obstacles going against them – a) the historic franchise has just begun its dreaded rebuild process. The on-court product is going to be woeful this year and for the next few seasons. b) mediocre team is going to hurt the club’s ability to attract media sponsors which in turn may force them to make a deal with a station that has less than ideal signal coverage. 

The team was in a similar situation back in 2001 when it chose to move their games from then-an-established-sports-powerhouse WEEI 850 to an upstart sports competitor Zone 1510. That proved to be a disastrous move by the Celtics’ former ownership as 1510’s weak signal greatly limited team’s audience and greatly hurt general public's interest in the team. In addition, 1510’s former owner lost a huge amount of money and finally opted out of the 5-year/$10million contract before the 2005-06 season. Celtics then moved their games over to WRKO 680. Two years later, the games shifted from WRKO to sister station WEEI 850. 

Stay tuned…

BRW Notebook :

New Boss for the Same Ole "Brand" : Entercom Boston has announced that it has hired Kevin Graham to lead WEEI 93.7 as its new Brand Manager. That's a more encompassing title for the Program Director role. Essentially, Graham replaces Jason Wolfe and will not just lead WEEI 93.7, but will "direct the entire WEEI ecosystem including on-air, online, mobile, play-by-play of the Red Sox and the WEEI Regional Sports Network." according to the press release. He starts in early September, coming from Cumulus Media's "1320 K-Fan" in Salt Lake City, where he's been Program Director and afternoon co-host. One of the original architects of the sports talk format at KFNZ-AM, Graham has built successful sports stations in Columbus, Pittsburgh, New York, and Detroit, as well as Salt Lake City. He returned to "K-Fan" in 2012 to re-launch the station. Graham also has extensive experience in the digital sports arena assisting in building ArizonaSports.com in Phoenix and as the founder and editor of SportsMashup.com.

How does he do that? : You know his voice from any of the thousands of comedy bits and hundreds of ads he has produced at WEEI over the past 15 years. The multi-talented WEEI's creative services director Pete Gustin was diagnosed with macular degeneration when he was eight years old and is now legally blind. But what not many knew is in this video  which Gustin released earlier this week where he shows off what does so well with the help of technology. Just amazing stuff.

New schedule : Earlier this week, Emerson College’s WERS 88.9 made a bigger step toward being market's full-time AAA(adult album alternative) formatted station. The new schedule now extends station’s AAA sound to 20 hours a day on weekdays and 6 hours a day on weekends. The change is never going to make everyone happy especially fans of the two long-running weekday shows - Rockers(roots and reggae) and 88.9 At Night(Hip-Hop) which were cancelled. Also, the following weekend shows were cut –the Coffee House(folk,acoustic,Americana) and Revolutions(EDM, electronica). For the fans of R&B, soul and slow jamz there’s some good news – formerly a weekend show The Secret Spot expands to 7 days a week now airing from 10pm to 2am weekdays.

Revisiting the March on Washington : 50 years after the live radio transmission of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, WGBH will devote special programming to commemorate the historic event.


Mixing it up  : You know the summer's over when "Hot AC" WBMX/Mix 104.1 announces the performing acts for its annual MIXFest show. As was the case in previous two years, Mix 104.1's event will once again be held at the DCR Hatch Shell in Boston. 90's crooners the Backstreet Boys and pop pianist Gavin DeGraw will join the headliners Of Monsters and Men on Saturday, September 14th at 4pm. The event is free. All details are here.

MixFest, originally tagged as FallFest, has been held every year since 1993 with the exception of 2001 when it was cancelled due to the tragedies on 9/11, and again in 2009 when the station switched frequencies from 98.5 to 104.1.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Stunner : Longtime WEEI and WRKO programmer Jason Wolfe is out

WEEI 93.7 and WRKO 680's longtime VP of Programming Jason Wolfe is out of a job according to the company and his Facebook/Twitter postings. The Lexington native, Wolfe, started at WEEI as a show producer when the station launched in September 1991. He was named station's assistant program director in 1995 and two years later became its program director. In February 2006, he was named sister station WRKO 680's program director and later that year he was named VP of Programming and Operations of both stations.

Entercom-owned WEEI which has enjoyed a virtual sports radio monopoly in Boston market between 1991 and 2009 has has been overtaken in recent years in the ratings war by rival sports talker CBS Radio's WBZ 98.5 The Sports Hub. Some of the questionable personnel moves at WEEI in the past 3-4 years involved dismissal of popular afternoon Big Show's sidekick/sports flasher Pete Sheppard in January 2010, breaking up the strong midday pairing of Dale Arnold and Michael Holley in February 2011, departure of morning drive fixture sports flasher Jon Meterparel in October 2012 and,finally, axing of WEEI's brand superstar afternoon ringmaster Glenn "Big O" Ordway this past February.

As for Wolfe's replacement, Boston Globe's sports media critic Chad Finn is reporting that a new manager will be named shortly.

Here's Entercom Boston's press release regarding Wolfe's immediate departure :


For Immediate Release                                                                                 Contact:         Kevin Geary
August 15, 2013                                                                                             Office:            (610) 822-0856
                                                                                                                        kgeary@Entercom.com


Entercom Boston Announces that Vice President of Programming for WEEI and WRKO, 
Jason Wolfe, is Leaving
BOSTON, MA – Entercom Boston announced today that Jason Wolfe, Vice President of Programming and Operations at WEEI & WRKO, is leaving the company. Entercom Boston also stated that they would make an announcement about Wolfe’s replacement shortly.

“Jason Wolfe has defined sports talk radio, not only in Boston, but around the country as well. There are very few people who have influenced an industry like Jason has,” said Jeff Brown, VP/Market Manager at Entercom Boston. “From his work with the Jimmy Fund and the Red Sox's historic championship run to WRKO's engagement with politics, Jason’s behind-the-scenes work has made an impact few people will ever understand. We thank Jason for all his hard work, dedication to Entercom, and his commitment to the Boston community.”

“Being involved in the growth of WEEI has been a tremendous honor. WEEI went from a single radio station, to a regional sports network, added a world class digital platform because the demand for our content is so strong; and today, is one of the biggest radio brands in any format, anywhere in the country. We were #1 for six straight years through the fall of 2008. We’ve won four Marconi Awards and have given back so much to the community, helping to raise millions and millions of dollars for charity, including over $31 million for the Jimmy Fund. I couldn't be more proud to have played a role in all of the station's success,” said outgoing WEEI & WRKO Vice President of Programming and Operations, Jason Wolfe. 

“I am thankful to everyone at Entercom for all they’ve done to support me, and I wish them all the best in the future. It's now time for me to move on and begin the next chapter of my career,” added Wolfe.


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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

O'Leary named morning Magic's new co-host

It's the O'Show. Boston area radio veteran David O'Leary has been named as the new morning drive co-host at WMJX/Magic 106.7. O'Leary, who has been working in local radio since early 1980's, is taking over for Mike Addams who retired in late June.(BRW 6/17) He'll join co-host Candy O'Terry starting on Monday, August 19th. O'Terry moved from afternoons into the new morning drive co-host role back in March(BRW 3/7).

Over the past 30 years, the Natick natve, O'Leary, has worked in variety of on-air and off-air roles at WGTR 1060, WBCN 104.1,WAAF 107.3, WXKS/Kiss 108, WBOS 92.9 and Magic 106.7 in Boston as well as in WSNE/Coast 93.3 in Providence. In mid-1980's, he also briefly worked as afternoon drive VJ on a music TV station V66 in Framingham.

David O’Leary Named New Co-Host of MAGIC 106.7 in Boston

Greater Media announces veteran radio broadcaster David O’Leary has been named as the new co-host of Morning MAGIC on 106.7/WMJX-FM in Boston. He will begin his new position on Monday, August 19th.

The radio and television veteran has been charming Boston-area listeners with his personal style and affable manner for over 25 years. A native of Natick, O’Leary joined Greater Media in 1997 as the morning drive host on WBOS, 92.9FM. He joined the MAGIC 106.7 air staff in 2004, before going on to become Production Director of the station in 2007. In addition to hearing him on the radio, you’ve also seen him on WGBH/Channel 2, and as an afternoon VJ on Boston’s Music Video TV, V-66.

“Several good candidates surfaced during our extensive talent search, and after careful consideration, David O’Leary stood out as the natural choice to best help propel Magic’s morning show into the future,” said Greater Media Boston Director of Programming Cadillac Jack. “David’s experience, warmth, and great judgment with respect to content are just some of the reasons I’m thrilled to once again promote from within our valuable roster of “A” talent here at Greater Media Boston. The combination of David and Candy promises to be an exciting new chapter for Morning Magic!”
 
“I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the Magic air staff,” said O’Leary. “This station, in this city, working with a team I know and respect… It’s a dream come true!”

Monday, August 12, 2013

Maverik named new afternoon host at Jamn 94-5

Clear Channel Boston has named Kahleil "Maverik" Blair as its new afternoon drive host(2pm-7pm) on WJMN/Jamn 94-5 effective immediately. He has been with Jamn since he started as an intern on Ramiro and Pebbles Show in 2004. As mentioned in last week's update(BRW 8/9), he replaces Bobby Blaze.

Here's the official press release from Clear Channel Boston on Maverik taking over afternoon drive at Jamn :


JAM’N 94.5 NAMES MAVERIK NEW AFTERNOON DRIVE HOST

 

Boston, Mass. – August 12, 2013 –WJMN-FM JAM’N 94.5 announced today that Maverik has been named its new afternoon drive host of, effective immediately. 

 

Maverik joined JAM’ 94.5FM in 2004 as a fill in on-air personality on and quickly became a marquee name hosting every air shift imaginable.  He started his career as an intern with JAM’N morning show host Ramiro while majoring in Communications at Boston College.  Along the way, he became a highly sought after rapper performing at events all over New England and opened for some of the biggest names in entertainment including Lil Wayne, Shaggy, Beenie Man and more.  Maverik is extremely philanthropic in the Boston area serving The Jackie Robinson Foundation Alumni Association, Chung Changing Lives, Floating Foundation and a perennial supporter of the Boston’s Walk for Hunger.

 

“Maverick has been a rising star on the JAM'N team for a while now and I am thrilled to have him on every afternoon!” said Dylan Sprague, Vice President of Programming, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Boston. “Mav has been a secret weapon for us in the streets and his relentless work in the community and positive energy will no doubt carry over into his radio show.”

 

“I'd like to thank everyone who has believed in me and anyone who ever gave me a chance.  I can't wait to show everyone what great things we're doing in the city of Boston,” said Maverick.  “For someone like me who grew up listening to JAM'N this is the realization of a childhood dream. I look forward to building on a tradition of radio excellence."

 

Fans can listen to JAMN 94.5 on the station’s website, www.jamn945.com, as well as on iHeartRadio.com and the iHeartRadio mobile app, Clear Channel’s best-in-class customizable digital listening service, that delivers everything listeners want in one free, fully-integrated service: instant access to more than 1,500 of the nation’s most popular live broadcast and digital-only radio stations from 150 cities, plus user-created Custom Stations inspired by favorite artists and songs.

 

About Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Boston:

Clear Channel Boston owns and operates WXKS-FM, WXKS-AM, WKOX-AM, WJMN-FM,WEDX-FMand is part of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  With 243 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 markets through 840 owned radio stations, and the company’s radio stations and content can be heard on AM/FM, HD digital radio, satellite radio, on the Internet at iHeartRadio.com and on the company’s radio station websites, on the iHeartRadio mobile app, in enhanced auto dashes, on iPads and smartphones, and used via navigation systems.  iHeartRadio, Clear Channel's digital radio platform, is the No. 1 all-in-one digital audio service with 210 million downloads; it reached 20 million registered users faster than any digital service in Internet history. 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.

 

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Friday, August 9, 2013

Country station makes its first trip to the top of the list

Yeehaw! WKLB/Country 102.5  kicked the dust off its boots and moseyed into a first-place in Boston radio ratings, a first ever for the country music station in this market.

With country music the most popular format in the nation, Country 102.5  jumped over the perennial favorite WXKS/Kiss 108 which has been holding on to the overall audience throne(listeners ages 12 and up) since 2008. Among that group, WKLB had an 8 percent share, a full percentage point higher than in June.

Country already dominates national radio, according to Arbitron ratings, with about 2,900 stations playing it, but the format in Boston has always been is a a bit of juggernaut of its own up until it landed on a much stronger signal in mid-2000's. On December 1, 2006, WKLB's parent company Greater Media swapped FM frequencies with classical WCRB which moved to 99.5FM. 

The listening audience for country keeps getting bigger and younger thanks to crossover acts like super popular Taylor Swift and shows like "The Voice" and "American Idol." Fans want to see their favorites - Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Zac Brown and Brad Paisley - play prime concert venues once reserved for Springsteen and the Stones. All of the above mentioned artists have already performed or will perform at the Comcast Center in Mansfield or Gillette Stadium in Foxboro this summer. Chesney has already sold out Gillette eight times before. He'll do it two more times later this month.

Country music format has always been a favorite of the 25 to 54 crowd, Arbitron's 2013 "Radio Today" report said in May, but it's now the most popular format for 18- to 24-year-olds and the second-most-popular choice for teens. In Boston, during July survey(June 21-July 18) among listeners 25-54 and 18-34, Kiss 108 held on to #1 position, however Country 102.5 was sitting pretty at #2 and knocking on the door.

Here are the rankings for Boston stations among the 4,012,500 Boston listeners ages 12 and up, Monday through Sunday from 6 a.m. to midnight. Numbers represent the share of the listening audience.

BRW Notebook :

Ins and outs :  As of August 1st, Boston market veteran George Knight is now heard on Emerson College's WERS 88.9. Knight was with Greater Media's cluster(WBOS 92.9, weekends/fill-ins at WKLB 102.5 and Magic 106.7) for the past 20 years and is best known for his eclectic Sunday Morning Over Easy show which ran on Radio 92.9 from 1997 to 2013. Since early 2011, Knight was also working at UMass/Boston's WUMB 91.9 in various on-air roles....Bobby Blaze is out as the afternoon drive-time personality at WJMN/Jamn 94-5.  The slot is being filled by weekend jock Maverik for now...Jamn's crosstown rival, WBQT/Hot 96-9 has added a couple of familiar voices to its weekend roster. Deirdre Dagata and Corey "DJ Hustle Simmons" Hill now do their thing Saturdays(2-7pm, 7pm-Midnight) and Sundays(10-3pm, 3-8pm), respectively....Speaking of Jamn 94-5 and Hot 96.9, Boston Business Journal tells the rhythmic tale of the tape after a 7-month head-to-head battle.

All Sales are Final : Boston University entered into the agreement to sell WBUR 1240 in Yarmouth to Alex Langer, which plans to change the station from a simulcast of its WBUR 90.9 to a Portuguese-language format to serve local Portuguese and Brazilian communities. The deal is pending FCC approval, and the sale price was not released.

WBUR 1240 was the first station on Cape Cod and has been transmitting since 1940. WBUR bought the signal in 1997.

Six months ago, WBUR bought WMVY 92.7, known as mvyradio, from Aritaur Communications. WBUR changed the call sign to WBUA and changed the format from music to news(BRW 2/7). The station reaches up to 60,000 listeners with a 3,000-watt signal. The market includes Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and coastal towns including New Bedford, Fall River, Falmouth and Westport.

“In February, when WBUR began simulcasting on 92.7 WBUA in Martha’s Vineyard, we recognized that our 1240-AM signal was redundant in its coverage,” said WBUR General Manager Charlie Kravetz in a press release.

For the past two decades, Langer has dabbled in buying and selling small, local AM properties. He already owns and operates Portuguese-language WSRO 650 in Marlborough. In addition to acquiring 1240 on the Cape, he's also in process of adding 1410 in Boston. All three AM stations(650, 1240 and 1410) will all have Portuguese-language 24/7 format.

Sign up : The Federal Communications Commission has launched the first application process for small community radio stations in more than a decade. Non-profit groups, schools and Indian tribes can apply for these low-power FM stations online at fcc.gov and applications are due during a two-week window Oct. 15 to 29.

New voice : Arun Rath will become the new host of the NPR newsmagazine "Weekend All Things Considered" beginning in late September, when the Saturday and Sunday edition moves its broadcast to the West Coast.

Rath has had a career in public media as a reporter, producer and editor, most recently as a senior reporter for the PBS series "Frontline" and "The World" on WGBH-TV, Boston. He has also worked for several NPR and public radio programs.

He began his journalism career as an NPR intern at "Talk of the Nation," eventually joining the staff and becoming the show's director.

In Boston, "Weekend All Things Considered" currently airs on WBUR 90.9(Sat and Sun, 5pm-6pm) and WGBH 89.7(Sun, 5pm-6pm).