Thursday, September 26, 2013


SportsHub adds more play-by-play action with acquiring Celtics radio rights



The game of musical sports teams takes another turn for two radio rivals - WBZ/98.5 The SportsHub and WEEI/Sports Radio 93.7.

More important, we may not know for several months whether the latest shuffle will benefit current leader SportsHub 98.5 and extend its lead over the long-established WEEI or close the gap between the two stations in the lucrative sports-radio market. The SportsHub is betting a fair amount of CBS Radio's money that it will be with the former.


Earlier this evening, CBS Radio Boston and NBA's Boston Celtics finally announced that the city's historic basketball franchise will move its games to 98.5 The SportsHub starting this season. The station already serves as the home of NHL's Boston Bruins, NFL's New England Patriots and MLS' New England Revolution. In the event of game time conflicts with the Bruins or the Patriots, about two dozen Celtics games will be heard on classic rocker WZLX 100.7. 

Entercom's WEEI which decided not to bring back the rebuilding Celtics last month(BRW 8/21) still has the biggest sports ticket in the market - the Boston Red Sox - locked up for three more seasons. WEEI obviously felt comfortable enough to pass on the C's rights while seeing bigger potential of generating stronger ratings and larger revenue from running talk shows at night instead of basketball games. WEEI is also tightly aligned with the Patriots via team-licensed access to content programming on Mondays, Fridays and GameDay during NFL season. Plus, WEEI is the local home of the biggest sports brand in America - NFL. WEEI has local radio rights to NFL's MNF, TNF, SNF and all playoffs thru Super Bowl.

As for the new home of the Green, like most major sports radio operators, CBS sees carrying the play-by-play of a popular team as a way to get a station on the Celtics fans' radar and build on thru exposure and brand awareness as the Celtics flagship.

From a radio observer's view this raises the question of which is more desirable for a radio station: a team that's better and has more fans(right now, Patriots and Bruins) or a rebuilding team with more history and tradition(Celtics).

Other questions: What will be the impact on WEEI's ratings without winter team's play-by-play? Will SportsHub's ratings dip if the Celtics have, as widely expected, a very mediocre season?

Stay tuned.

BRW Notebook :

TOP DOGS:  Speaking of local CBS stations, WBZ 1030 was named News/Talk Station of the Year and WZLX 1007 was cited as Rock Station of the Year at last week's prestigious Marconi Awards from the National Association of Broadcasters which were held in Orlando. This is WBZ's fifth Marconi award.

Who killed WBCN? : WZLX 100.7's music director, midday personality and host of Sunday Morning Blues, Carter Alan is the author of a new book, "Radio Free Boston," that details the rise and fall of longtime dominant, WBCN. "As it turns out, radio ratings king Howard Stern was the man who killed WBCN," according to The Boston Herald. “Howard Stern made a lot of money for a lot of stations and gave ’BCN huge ratings,” Alan said. “But ultimately, the addition of Stern in the morning created a schizophrenic station. People tuned in in the morning to hear Howard, then they were gone ... BCN became the Howard Stern Station, a music station, then a football station and it was very difficult to determine what ’BCN was.” Alan adds: “Not only did we introduce a new kind of radio, we were like the Facebook or the Internet of the times,” Alan said. “If you wanted to find out what was happening, you wanted to be with it, you’d go to ’BCN ... When Stern eventually left CBS to go to satellite radio, ’BCN’s fate was sealed. Alan, who worked at 'BCN for19 years before going to sister station WZLX in 1998.

Monday, September 16, 2013

WROR's Loren and Wally Inducted into Mass Broadcaster's Hall of Fame



Greater Media's Classic Hits WROR 105.7's morning hosts Loren and Wally have been inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcaster's Hall of Fame, a commemoration of their 32 years together and of their contributions to the city of Boston. The organization chooses a select few of the industry's most noteworthy members each year as inductees, specifically those who have made major contributions to Massachusetts broadcasting and broadcasting in general. "Loren and Wally have a natural gift for radio. When you listen to their show, you feel like you're sitting and having coffee with your best friends who you've known forever," said Program Director Ken West in a press release. "You have to really like the people you work with to wake up at three o'clock in the morning -- especially after thirty plus years -- and Loren and Wally's constant enthusiasm and encouragement has played a big part in the continuing success of the entire station."

Greater Media Boston signed another renewal with Loren and Wally in March(BRW 3/16), and recently opened a new morning show studio for them. "I'm thrilled to continue Greater Media's relationship with Loren and Wally," says Greater Media Chairman/CEO Peter Smyth in a press release. "Their longevity and success as a radio show duo demonstrates their continuing passion and dedication to WROR, Greater Media, the city of Boston and, above all-their listeners. I'm honored to have them as integral members of the Greater Media family and am excited to see where the next thirty years takes them."


As 1510 turns to Yahoo, Pete Sheppard departs, the Press Box debuts and Anthony Pepe goes national

Change has been the operative word around Quincy's WUFC/1510. Afternoon driver Pete Sheppard punched out permanently out of the 3pm-6pm slot right before the long Labor Day weekend. Sheppard's co-host Darwin Zook took the main hosting duties with a re-dubbed program "Afternoon PressBox" as of September 9th. Speaking of Sheppard, he's now headed to Lowell's WCAP 980 to host Monday thru Wednesday, 11am-Noon Show starting next week(9/23). He will also host a weekly football post-game show beginning this Sunday, September 22nd after Patriots-Bucs game.
 

As part of a bigger imaging/programming change, 1510 is now officially new home of Yahoo Sports Radio as it quickly sheds of its NBC Sports Radio ties(BRW 8/31/12). As part of the transition, the station and the network both announced a new show hosted by Anthony Pepe to air weekdays from 10am-12noon starting Monday, September 16. Pepe will be joined by Boston sports journalists Bob Ryan and Ron Borges who will serve as regular call-in contributors. 1510 Yahoo Sports Radio will also be home of YSR's national network shows starting today.

Pepe has worked in sports radio both on and off the air, including marketing positions at WEEI and currently as general manager at WUFC. "Anthony is an exceptional host, and the contributions from Ryan and Borges provide compelling insights," says YSR/Gow Broadcasting CEO David Gow. "Personally, I will be tuned into this show. Pepe and Borges have been hosting a weekly boxing show on the network, and we were delighted to secure this opportunity to increase their presence with a nationally syndication on Yahoo! Sports Radio." Pepe adds, "I am honored to host a show on Yahoo! Sports Radio, and to work with guys like Ron Borges and Bob Ryan. I am really excited about what we will create together." 

Report has the Celtics landing on the Sports Hub

A published report by Comcast Sports Net New England indicates that the Boston Celtics' radio broadcasts are headed to CBS Radio's WBZ 98.5/The SportsHub. Almost a month ago, the Celtics parted ways with flagship station Entercom-owned WEEI 93.7(BRW 8/21). If the C's indeed land on 98.5, the switch also presents some scheduling issues for CBS Radio. About 30% of C's game would have direct conflicts with Boston Bruins and Patriots at the SportsHub which would require bumping them to one of the clustermates(most likely WBZ 1030).

With the official announcement from Celtics and CBS still pending, the team and the new flagship won't have much time to arrange a network of affiliates. However, Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell are expected to return as Celtics radio callers as they are club's employees, not radio station's.

BRW Notebook :

Football season : WAAF 107.3/97.7's "Hill-Man Morning Show" once again features on-air interviews with several core New England Patriots players on Fridays as part of its fall football programming lineup. The "Hill-Man Huddle" features interviews every Friday during the regular Patriots football season, which kicked off September 8 in Buffalo, New York, against the Bills. Pats wide receiver Julian Edelman, left tackle Nate Solder, defensive back Devin McCourty, left guard Logan Mankins and linebacker Jerod Mayo will each call into the station at different times between 5:30 and 10am to offer their insights into that weekend's upcoming game....WEEI 93.7 is back this year offering Patriots Monday and Patriots Friday, along with NFL Sunday with Dale Arnold, Chris Price and Matt Chatham (and weekly call-ins from Tom E Curran.) and The Real Postgame Show with Butch Stearns, Steve DeOssie and Fred Smerlas. In addition, WEEI 93.7 FM has added ESPN’s Monday Night Football play-by-play man Mike Tirico as the regular Thursday afternoon guest on "Salk and Holley". WEEI is also the home of NFL's Sunday Night Football and all playoff games....Big change in the Patriots radio booth on WBZ 98.5 this season - Bob Socci has made his preseason and regular  season debut as the new radio voice of the Patriots, joining analyst and SportsHub's midday voice Scott Zolak. Socci replaced the legendary Gil Santos, who retired following the AFC Championship game in January after 36 seasons as the Patriots announcer, the last 22 consecutively. In other football coverage news, CBS football analyst Boomer Esiason shifted over from Dennis&Callahan at 93.7 to Toucher&Rich at 98.5. He was a regular Monday morning guest at WEEI for 12 seasons.

Around the Dial :  "The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong" on WRKO 680 has added former local TV news anchor Kim Carrigan as co-host. Said WRKO Program Director Bill Cooksey in a press release, "Kim is easily one of the most recognized personalities in Boston; with her charm, wit and intelligence she makes a great program even better." The show has been renamed "The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong and Kim Carrigan.". Carrigan started her career as a News Anchor, Reporter and Producer in St. Louis, Missouri, before having successful news anchor stints at WHDH-TV, WBZ-TV and WFXT-TV in Boston. An Emmy award winning television news anchor, Carrigan has been recognized with numerous other awards....In other WRKO news, Michael Savage is back in the station's night-time line-up as of last week. The Savage Nation is now airing from 10pm to 1am as of last Monday(9/9). As you recall, Savage left his former syndicator TRN a year ago after winning a legal battle(BRW 9/28/12). With WRKO's return, Savage replaced TRN's Jerry Doyle Show in the station's line-up.