Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas music tops December ratings

Nonstop Christmas music on Magic 106.7/WMJX captured the ears of Boston radio listeners as Greater Media’s adult contemporary station to the top of the latest Nielsen Audio radio ratings.

Figures released last night showed Magic in first place with a 9.1 percent share of all Boston area listeners and a cumulative weekly audience of 1,454,800 for the December survey period which ran from November 6 to December 3. In the previous survey, the station ranked second with a 1,243,600 cume.

Marking its 3rd consecutive year as “Boston’s Christmas Station,” Magic 106.7 flipped the switch on November 21(BRW 11/21). The station is once again expected to finish first in the current “Holiday” survey which is running from December 4 to December 31st.

Following Magic in overall audience were: iHeartMedia’s Top 40 king pin WXKS/Kiss 108 with a 6.4 share, Greater Media’s WKLB/Country 102.5 and Classic hits WROR 105.7 tied for 3rd with 6.0, CBS Radio’s news/talker WBZ/NewsRadio 1030 was 5th with 5.6, sports talker SportsHub 98.5 was 6th with 5.2 and classic rocker WZLX 100.7 came in 7th with 5.1. 8th place went to Boston University’s pubcaster WBUR 90.9 with 4.6. Entercom’s WEEI/Sports 93.7 was 9th with 4.1 and Iheart Media’s Top 40/Rhythmic Jamn 94-5/WJMN rounded up the Top 10 with 3.7 share.

BRW Notebook:

Ins and Outs : Loren and Wally’s longtime sidekick Tom Doyle was let go from their morning show on WROR 105.7 in late November...One local story to keep an ear on in 2015 is WEEI 93.7's afternoon drive situation. There are rumblings that Glenn "Big O" Ordway may return. The latest fall ratings show Sports Hub's Felger and Mazz comfortably in the lead while "Dale and Holley" with recently added Jerry Thornton trailing. Holley's contract expires in February and Arnold is currently working without a contract...The other programming story that involves WEEI is their hefty Red Sox deal.  This winter, the station's ownership has to decide if it will pick up an option to air Sox radio in 2017 and 2018 seasons....Walt Perkins has exited WBZ 1030 as its weekday morning sports anchor, a role he held since February 2009(BRW 2/6/09). Perkins worked at WBZ since 2001. He has been replaced with Adam Kaufman who works weekends at WBZ 98.5 The Sports Hub...While everyone in radio keeps coming and going, WBZ 1030's morning co-anchor Deb Lawler just celebrated her 30th anniversary at the station...After a 2-month family leave, Tom Ashbrook will return to WBUR 90.9's midday On the Point on January 2nd...

And finally, as we wrap up 20th year of Boston Radio Watch, Happy and Healthy 2015 to all of you!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Magic 106.7 turns on Christmas tunes starting today

Katy Perry and Maroon 5, take a break. Johnny Mathis, Alvin and all of your chipmunks: You’re on.

For the third year in a row, WMJX/Magic 106.7 will switch to 24/7 Christmas music this holiday season. The annual all-Christmas format flip will happen during Friday's(11/21) afertnoon drive at 5pm.(No, no somersaults or cartwheels are involved — unless listeners care to partake). 

The station is tentatively scheduled to go its regular adult contemporary programming, midnight on Christmas Day.

And, on a related note, this December about 500 radio stations around the country will switch to playing only Christmas music, nearly double the number from 10 years ago according to a recent NY Times article.

BRW Notebook :

Don't call it a comeback...yet, but...: Technically, Glenn "Big O" Ordway and his Big Show had never left.  Since being dumped by WEEI 93.7 in February 2013, he had re-launched his uber popular daily talk brand via on-line, satellite radio and even added a couple of regional terrestrial outlets(980 AM in Lowell and 1250/900 AM in Manchester NH) in the process. The Herald who had Ordway being wooed back to 'EEI by its market manager earlier this year has another speculation story by its versatile gossip columnist. The Inside Track  reported last weekend that Big O may be destined to land back at WEEI this winter.(Ed. Note : I'm mighty skeptical but then again I never saw someone as inept, plastic and bland as Mike Salk  ever replacing Ordway. So what do I know?! Sure, Dale Arnold working without a contract and Michael Holley's deal expiring in early February sets up a nice comeback story for Big O but let's see what happens.).

Radio Loft : Speaking of comebacks, 80's local TV icon Dana "Movie Loft" Hersey is on the air with a morning show at North Shore 104.9/WBOQ in Beverly. Hersey took over the morning drive duties after Charlie Curtis retired from radio in late summer. This is Hersey's second time around on 104.9. He was part of WBOQ's morning show back in the early 2000's when the station played broadway and showtunes. And, yes, that's also Dana Hersey(with or without that ugly 1980's sweater) voicing new sounders for Howie Carr's self-syndicated radio show which debuted this week to not so warm welcome from local media observers.

Friday, November 14, 2014

WRKO makes it official : Carr has left the parking lot after 20 years in the afternoon drive

Earlier this week, Entercom Boston's management has officially announced what has been known for weeks and months - after 20 years at WRKO 680, Howie Carr will no longer be heard on Boston's Talk Station. As only reported in this space previously, Howie Carr and WRKO couldn't agree on the affiliation deal which would've kept his new syndicated show on the air at 680. Carr wanted a big chunk of cash for affiliation rights and retain all the advertising revenue from the network's commercial breaks. Pardon the French, but WRKO told him to go screw. And, so Carr signed off WRKO last Friday(11/7) for the very last time.(He is on vacation all this week). His name and all the related material will disappear from station's website( over the weekend.

The station hasn't named a full-time replacement yet but will rotate fill-in hosts over the holiday season, typically a very slow time of year for radio programmers and any kind of major personnel moves. Expect a new permanent host to be named after the 1st of the year.

As for Carr, he finally got wish. He wanted out of WRKO for a long, long time and he will now have a full control of the show which will still be regionally syndicated with the hopes of finding more national affiliates. And, yes, he was WRKO's 'bread and butter' for two decades but the radio game has changed a lot in recent years. AM dial where WRKO resides has become irrelevant with many younger listeners(under 59) who are heavily courted by local and national advertisers. Older listeners(ages 59 and over) who make up a big percentage of talk radio audience and AM audience have minimal value in the eyes and ears of advertising executives. While at WRKO, Carr often joked on the air that he couldn't wait to get the hell off AM radio station which required listeners to wrap tinfoil around their antenna to be picked up after dark. With that being said, Carr is no dummy. He still knows where his bread is being buttered - in the AM radio universe. So that's where you'll find him come next Monday(11/17).
More specifically, from 3 to 7 pm on WUFC 1510, which is expected to change its name to legendary WMEX call letters(if you're under 40 you have zero or very little memory of the station that played Top 40 music in the 50's, 60's and 70's on the same 1510 frequency). And if Carr thought WRKO's signal had after-dark issues, wait until December 10 when sunset  in Boston will be at 4:09pm and WUFC's night-time signal points directly at the Atlantic Ocean.

Carr will officially announce his new Boston signal on Saturday via his website( Carr will host the new show out of Money Matters Radio studios in Needham. His longtime WRKO producer Sandy will join him in his new syndicated venture. On his first show on Monday, Carr will also reunite with former WRKO staffer "VB"(Doug Goudie) who was let go by Fox 25 earlier this week. It is also expected that during winter months Carr will be doing more shows out of his home in Florida.

BRW Notebook :

More afternoon changes at WEEI : WEEI 93,7 has announced the addition of Jerry Thornton as on-air host and digital columnist and blogger for the station's popular Web site Thornton had been active on the station as a part-time program host and was a frequent contributor to He'll now play a permanent role as the third member of WEEI's "Dale & Holley" afternoon drive show. Expect more announcements to come regarding that time slot as Arnold is currently working without a contract and Holley's deal ends in February.

Remembering :  Tom Magliozzi, one-half of the "Car Talk" duo, passed away after complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Tom, 77, along with his co-host brother Ray, began the program in 1977 at WBUR-90.9. They took it to the NPR network, and a national audience, a decade later.

The brothers retired from the show in 2012, and reruns of the show have aired on NPR stations since then.

There's money in radio : Two radio personalities have made Forbes' list of the highest-paid entertainers — Howard Stern and Glenn Beck.

Stern tied former "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell at the top of the list with $95 million.

According to Forbes, "Stern makes most of his money from his lucrative contract with SiriusXM, but he gets an estimated $15 million per year from his work as a judge on ['America's Got Talent'].

Stern's contract with Sirius is up in 2015, but the company's CFO says he expects Sirius and Stern will be able to hammer out a new agreement."

Beck was ranked third on Forbes' list with $90 million. "Though it may seem like the right-wing talk show host has faded from the scene, he's actually been as busy as ever at his online site, 'The Blaze,' " says Forbes. In Beck, Boston is currently heard from 10am to Noon on Howie Carr's new home - AM 1510.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Legendary Boston radio personality Dale Dorman passes away

Dale "Uncle Dale" Dorman, a Boston radio legend, passed away last Tuesday at the age of 71 after a long illness, it was announced by his family this morning.

Dorman was best known for over two decades of working afternoons at the Top 40 mega giant Kiss 108 from 1980 to 2003. The Homer,NY native arrived on the Boston radio scene in August 1968 with a morning gig at WRKO 680 which at the time was a Top40 outlet. He worked at WRKO from 1968 to 1978. After WRKO said goodbye to Dorman in 1978, he went to work for WVBF 105.7(now WROR 105.7) where he stayed on for two years. 

After parting ways with 'VBF in June 1980, Dorman was determined to get a job with at-the-time the hottest new station in town – Kiss 108. After few months of try-out's and fill-in's, persistent Dorman finally landed a permanent afternoon shift at Kiss on October 13, 1980. 

In August 2003, after 23 years in the afternoon drive, Dorman’s contract at Kiss didn't get renewed. In September 2003, he quickly landed in the mornings at Oldies 103.3 where he spent five years hosting "The Breakfast Club". However, health probelms forced him to dial back full-time work at WODS in September 2008. For one year he hosted a Saturday morning shift(9am-Noon) on WODS until finally hanging up his microphone for good in September 2009. 

From 1969 to 1991, Dorman also was the voice for the morning and afternoon kids block cartoons(mornings and afternoons), on Channel 56/WLVI and that's how he got to be known "Uncle Dale".

In 1995 Dorman was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the fall of 2010 Dorman was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Kiss 108 will celebrate this year’s holiday season with an iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour

The 11-city 17-day tour, sponsored locally by WXKS/Kiss 108, will once again be coming in Boston's TD Garden at 7 pm on Sunday,December 14. After 11 years at Lowell's Tsongas Arena, the annual holiday showcase has been held at TD Garden since 2012.

With last year's Miley Cyrus' 'virtual' appearance at Boston's Jingle Ball, Kiss 108's Romeo better hope there's no snowstorm in the forecast this time around(BRW 12/19/13).

The tour will also stop in Los Angeles for KIIS 102.7 on Dec. 5; in Minneapolis for KDWB 101.3 on Dec 8; in Philadelphia for WIOQ 102.1 on Dec. 10; in NYC for WHTZ 100.3 on December 12; in Washington, D.C. for WIHT 99.5 on Dec. 15; in Chicago for WKSC 103.5 on Dec. 18; in Atlanta for WWPW 96.1 on Dec. 19; in Miami for WHYI 100.7 on Dec. 21; and in Tampa for WFLZ 93.3 on Dec. 22.

Performers at Kiss 108's TD Garden stop will include 5 Seconds of Summer, Iggy Azalea, Lil Jon, MAGIC!, Calvin Harris, Charli XCX, Jessie J, Rixton, Kiesza, Meghan Trainor, OneRepublic, Shawn Mendes and Nick Jonas.

If you'd like to hear/see a free preview, iHeartMedia will broadcast the NYC's show on all of its Top 40 stations across the country live at 8pm on Dec.12 and stream it live on portal; the NYC show will also be shown as a two-hour nationwide televised special at 8 p.m. Dec. 18 on the CW Network/(CW56 locally).

BRW Notebook :

Howie Carr update : As mentioned here previously, very shortly(like days), WRKO 680's Howie Carr will be a free man after 20 years in the afternoon drive at the Talk Station. Carr is going into regional/national syndication but WRKO 680 is definitely out of the running as his Boston affiliate. As a matter of fact, the station is gearing up for the Life after Howie and will be holding tryouts with potential replacements after he departs and will name a permanent replacement when the new year starts. As for Carr, he may or may not have a new Boston affiliate but Worcester's 830 is putting out a pretty powerful 50,000 watt signal so that may serve as a temporary band-aid for his Boston area listeners. One talk radio insider even wondered if WRKO would try to lure former WTKK personality Michael Graham from Atlanta back to least for a holiday fill-in work in December.

Have another donut, you... : As reported in the Boston Herald, Dunkin Donuts won’t be yanking its advertising from Entercom's WRKO 680 following a rant about the national coffee giant made on the air this by station's morning host Jeff Kuhner.  That's because the chain hasn't advertised on the talk station for the past 10 months. Kuhner described DD's coffee as “mud water” and called its doughnuts “stale.”  The Boston Herald article also mentions the chain won't pull its spots from rocker WAAF 107.3/97.7 following Kuhner's outburst on Tuesday. As you recall, the doughnut maker pulled its advertising from sports sister WEEI 93.7 after its morning co-host Gerry Callahan said some unkind remarks about its products in February. 

What's in the name : In late September, Clear Channel had renamed itself IHeartMedia. The company still includes 859 radio stations in more than 150 markets including Kiss 108, Jamn 94-5, Bloomberg Radio 1200 and Mia 1430 locally. The company also owns Premiere Networks, which syndicates 90 radio programs and services to more than 5,500 radio affiliates; the Total Traffic and Weather Network; 20,000 live music events, and its related companies, including Katz Media Group and Clear Channel Outdoor.

Programming Notes : "Sunday Morning OverEasy" hosted by George Knight, an acoustic show that ran on WBOS 92.9 for the past 13 years signed off in late September. Knight has been hosting mornings at Emerson's WERS 88.9 since August 1, 2013.....However, there are still a couple other pretty good options for acoustic sounds on your Sunday morning including nationally syndicated Acoustic Cafe produced at Ann Arbor, MI and is heard on 85 commercial and non-commercial stations including WXRV 92.5/The River on Sundays(7am-9am) and locally-produced "Acoustic Sunrise" with Dan O'Brien on Mix 104.1(7am-11am).

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Newest Boston country station adds local on-air staff

Boston's new hit country radio station WBWL/101.7 The Bull has added a couple of new local on-air staffers. Clear Channel-owned station has named Lance Houston host The Bull's midday(10am-2pm) shift and oversee its programming.  For the past year and a half, Houston worked as the program director at Clear Channel's country station WPOC in Baltimore. Prior to that, he spent six years as assistant program director and afternoon drive personality at WUBL in Atlanta. Houston began his Country music radio career in 1995 at Clear Channel's WTXT in Tuscaloosa, AL. His past experience includes roles as program director of WBAM in Montgomery, AL and WYGC in Gainesville, FL. “I am excited to be back riding the Bull," said Houston in a press release. “I’m ready to lead the team in Boston into a battle, much like we did successfully in Atlanta. America’s greatest city deserves a young and hip Country station.

In addition to Houston,  Jessica Callahan will join The Bull starting Tuesday, Sept. 9 as afternoon drive(2pm-7pm) host The station has been running commercial-free since its June launch added the syndicated The Bobby Bones Show on August 18th. 

Recently, Callahan has been the midday on-air personality at WXXX, 95 Triple X, in Burlington, Vermont and additionally was voice tracking middays at WHYA, Y101 in Hyannis. She is a native of Marlborough and graduate of Framingham State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. “I am beyond excited to be heading home to Boston and working with the Clear Channel Boston radio team,” said Callahan via press release. “Thank you to Lance Houston and Dylan Sprague for making my radio dream come true, can't wait to crack the mic on Boston's New Hit Country 101.7 The Bulll." Callahan's past stops included  WWRX/New London, CT and WXLO 104.5 in Worcester.

The Bull's evening shift(7pm-12a) is currently voice-tracked by Atlanta-based Scotty K. He works as a morning host at Clear Channel's Power 96.1.

As mentioned here earlier this summer, Clear Channel/Boston has submitted a proposal to the FCC to upgrade Bull's signal by using a non-directional antenna system and downgrading two of its other signals in the region, involving stations in Providence and Cape Cod.  The resulting changes would increase WBWL's coverage in Boston. See the full proposal here.

While the Bull came out of the gate with its horns blazing in July, the just-released August ratings survey shows the station cooled off a bit in its second full month on the air. Greater Media's country authority WKLB 102.5 jumped from 6.0 rating(4th overall) in July to 6.3 in August(3rd overall). 'KLB added 39,000 weekly listeners to 912,400, The Bull's rating stayed the same at 2.6(the station actually drooped from 16th to 18) but added 61,200 listeners to 464,000.

BRW Notebook :

Radio Turntable : Boston Herald’s one-year old digital radio station Boston Herald Radio has expanded onto....terrestrial radio. As of last week, it has begun simulcasting its “Morning Meeting” show with Hilary Chabot and Jaclyn Cashman on WUFC 1510 from 9-10am weekdays. More of Boston Herald Radio's programming is expected to show up on 1510 in coming weeks/months.....Kendall Stewart has moved from WXRV 92.5/The River to Umass-Boston's WUMB 91.5 where she will serve as Assistant Music Director.  At River 92.5 she worked as an assistant program director. Prior to The River, she was music director and promo Director at Emerson College's WERS 88.9.... Former WEEI 93.7 and WRKO 680's VP/Programming and Operations, Jason Wolfe has joined The Financial Exchange Radio Network in Needham as its chief media and marketing strategist. According to Boston Business Journal, Wolfe's new job entails expanding the reach of the company’s flagship show, “The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong and Kim Carrigan,” and developing new business partnerships to generate a wider audience for the show. Wolfe had already been working with Armstrong on a consulting basis for several months. Armstrong will also continue his part-time role as chief content officer for, which features an online radio show hosted by Glenn Ordway...Speaking of Wolfe, it's widely rumored that  his former colleague, WRKO 680's Howie Carr, will end his 20-year afternoon run at the Boston heritage talk station and move over to Armstrong's radio operation where he will base his new syndicated show which expected to launch in early October. Of course, it's very possible that WRKO will still run Carr in a syndicated form as its Boston affiliate if an affiliation deal is struck but don't be surprised if he moves the show to WUFC 1510(with a simulcast on Boston Herald Radio) or WXKS/Bloomberg 1200. WRKO has already placed help-wanted ads in the trade publications in the event Carr doesn't come back to them in syndication...John Dennis and Gerry Callahan, part of the long-running morning show "Dennis and Callahan" on WEEI 93.7, have been extended long-term(3 years) with the sports outlet...WEEI also greatly beefed up its Patriots and NFL coverage this fall....Boston's AMP 103.3 is looking for a new program director. After two years as AMP's PD(BRW 9/10/12), Dan Mason Jr. had left the building for a new job in the Tampa Bay market where he's now Operations Manager for Cox Media Group's WSUN-FM 97X, WPOI-FM HOT 101.5, and 102.5 The Bone WHPT-FM and Director of Branding and Programming for Hot 101.5....Mike Thomas who heads local CBS Radio Boston programming and oversees WBZ/98.5 the SportsHub and WZLX 100.7 has been has named vice president of sports programming at CBS Radio. Thomas joins Mark Chernoff in overseeing CBS Radio's nearly 30 Sports-formatted stations and CBS Sports Radio national network. Thomas has been porogram director for WZLX since 2006 and 98.5 The Sports Hub since 2009.  He will continue to serve as CBS Radio's head of programming in Boston while also guiding the on-air presentation and strategic planning for 98.5 The Sports Hub and 100.7 Classic Rock.

Tradition! : Eddie Andelman, the pioneer of sports talk radio and hot dog aficionado of sorts around these parts, will be inducted into New England Sports Museum on September 17th at 5:30...Andelman,77,  who hasn't technically retired from the business has begun host 1-hour Friday show on Boston Herald Radio last month. "Anything Goes" is heard on Fridays from Noon to 1pm. If you can't listen live, the show's episodes will be archived here.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hot 96-9 shuffles morning and midday line-up as Baltazar exits

Greater Media's Hot 96-9/WBQT is remodeling its new morning show. After a 17-month reunion, "Baltazar and Pebbles" is no more. He is out and she will be a part of the new "Get Up Crew" which debuts tomorrow(8/19), the station announced late this morning. Joining Pebbles on the new show will be middayer Melissa and former NFL tight end Jermaine Wiggins.

As Melissa shifts out of the midday slot, weekend/fill-in veteran jock Deirdre Dagata is now the new 10am-3pm hostess.

If you recall, last March, Greater Media reunited Baltazar with Pebbles in the morning drive at Hot 96-9(BRW 3/1/13) . The duo returned to the Boston airwaves after being apart for 12 past years. They previously hosted mornings on Clear Channel's “Jam’n 94.5”/WJMN, Boston from 1994-2001. Baltazar left his morning position at a Sacramento station to return to Boston last winter. It's not clear whether he'll be sticking around town or heading back to his native West Coast. In addition to his radio career, he runs his own mobile DJ business Baltazar Entertainment.

Boston's Radio Disney station headed for a format change in the fall

By end of next month, Boston area youngsters will no longer have a radio station that caters just to them.

A corporate decision to sell its owned and operated stations is prompting California-based Radio Disney to stop providing 24-hour programming to 23 markets nationwide - including Boston where network's programming has been heard on WMKI 1260 since November 1997.

Radio Disney, launched in 1996, is a 24-hour network features pop music and related content geared toward preteens.

Like the other 22 stations, WMKI is facing a sale and an eventual format change this fall. That's when Walt Disney Co is getting out of the full-time radio station business. However, Disney will retain a sole station in LA market which will keep airing Radio Disney programming.

Radio Disney plans to distribute its content strictly through digital platforms - satellite radio service, digital media players, mobile apps and on-line streaming audio.

BRW Notebook :

Waking up the Bull : Speaking of morning shows, nationally syndicated "Bobby Bones" show out of Nashville is now up and running on the new Bull 101.7 every weekday from 6am-10am.

What's in the name, Shakespeare? : If you haven't been paying close attention, it's been 5 years since WBCN 104.1 left us and it's been two since WFNX 101.7 had met a similar fate in a dark alley in Lynn. But alternative rock genre is not quiet dead on local terrestrial radio. It's just more defined now as WBOS 92.9 has quietly rebranded itself from totally generic "Radio 92.9" to "Boston's Alternative" earlier this summer.

How is that working out for you? : Boston Business Journal is reporting that a new talk format on 1510 seems to be getting some traction... or at least, this month. Station's soon-to-be-new-owner seems to be pretty happy with the new mishmash line-up of national politics and sports.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Clear Channel is all Bull-ish about 101.7's future

Two of Boston market’s biggest radio operators are stepping up the competitive battles between their local clusters.

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment fired a retaliatory salvo on June 13, switching formats on one of its FM signals to country music to compete more directly against Greater Media’s long-time top-rated country station Country 102.5/WKLB-FM.

The move came a year and half after Greater Media made a similar move, launching rhythmic AC Hot 96.9/WBQT(formerly FM Talker WTKK 96.9) to go head-to-head against Clear Channel’s WJMN/Jamn 94-5.

Clear Channel’s latest move happened two months ago, when it switched the 101.7 from electronica/dance format tagged as ‘Evolution 101.7’ to what it’s billing as The Bull 101.7/Boston’s New Hit Country.

Since the switch to country music, The Bull has been promoting its commercial-free playlist thru Labor Day weekend. Apparently, that entry strategy is paying some pretty impressive, early dividends as the station went from #14 to #7 among listeners age 18 to 34 in the just-released Nielsen Audio’s July(June 19-July 16) ratings survey. Among listeners 18-49, The Bull jumped from 20th to 12th place. Overall, the station went from 276,000 listeners per week to 406,000. Not too shabby for a new cowboy/cowgirl in town.

The format switch for 101.7 is emblematic of the well-established tactic in today’s radio chain competition. The goal isn't so much to beat the other guy but to grab enough listeners away from the big kahuna/top dog to lower its ratings — and in the process add a few more listeners to the challenging cluster’s overall complement of stations. The Bull’s early success took away numbers from WKLB 102.5 which fell to #4 in the all-important 25-54 demographic. In turn, that helped Bull’s corporate cousin Kiss 108/WXKS to add to its lead as #1 station in that advertiser-happy listener group.

WKLB, which has been broadcasting its country format since September 1996 has had no direct head-to-head competitor the Boston market for all this time. In the meantime, it remains to be seen whether theory will play out that Bull will take enough audience away from WKLB to knock the Greater Media station off Kiss 108’s tail.

Just to show how intense the competition between these two radio groups is getting, beyond what listeners are hearing on the air, Clear Channel’s latest move also adds a new wrinkle to the new country battle. According to trade site North East Radio Watch, Clear Channel has applied to FCC to make some major engineering changes to its two FM signals in Providence and Falmouth, Mass. This would allow The Bull/WBWL 101.7’s downtown Boston signal to change from directional to non-directional and potentially add more country music listeners on the South Shore.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

WEEI's Minihane gets pulled off the air for a week after Fox pulls its ads from Entercom

Looks like WEEI 93.7's Kirk Minihane's second round of vitriol against FOX Sport's reporter Erin Andrews last Wednesday was enough for Fox Sports president Eric Shanks to pull the plug on all Fox advertising on Entercom's entire national radio station group. Entercom owns 100 stations in 23 markets according to its website. In Boston, it owns five - sports talker WEEI 93.7, ESPN affiliate WEEI 850, news/talker WRKO 680, rockers WAAF 107.3 and WKAF 97.7.

According to, Fox Sports' Shanks informed Entercom President/CEO David Field that all Fox advertising would be pulled from Entercom stations and no Fox Sports personalities would be permitted to be guests on WEEI. 

Fox Sports upper management - many of whom have wanted to go public with their animus over the comments - had reportedly met on Friday afternoon at the company's Los Angeles offices on how to respond to WEEI after Minihane's second set of comments. That response came Friday with Shanks' letter to Field.

While Minihane's idiotic on-air behavior was absolutely unfunny, unnecessary and way out of line, the local and national media which have been covering this story are overreacting and leaving some important facts out of it. For one, some of WEEI's local advertising accounts by far exceed the entire Fox account with Entercom's entire national portfolio.

The media reports have also neglected to mention that with WEEI taking action to suspend Minihane without pay to please Fox execs, it's also very likely that Fox's advertising would eventually return to Entercom stations.(Ed. Note : this is a standard operating procedure with these type of media boycotts. This is how big corporate execs force each other to play nice in a sandbox.).

In addition, the Globe also reported that the simulcast of WEEI 93.7's morning radio show on New England Sports Network(NESN) is coming to an end after 3 1/2 years sometime in September. The simulcast relationship between WEEI’s John Dennis, Gerry Callahan and Kirk Minihane will make way for some cheaper NESN-produced sports content, the Globe had learned. Obviously economics is playing a bigger role in this decision as NESN pays WEEI a fee for the right to simulcast the show from 6am and 9am but media conspiracy theorists would argue that NESN brass may have wanted a greater editorial control over content in the wake of Minihane's outburst which didn't sit well with the Red Sox who own NESN and happen to collect a big chunk of Fox's new 8-year $4 billion TV deal with MLB.

While WEEI's recent criticism of Sox's on-field product and Minihane's comments may not sit too well with Sox brass brass — the owners of NESN — and certainly might have been a factor to kill the radio simulcast, the truth of the matter is that the regional sports network has already lost quarter of its viewers compared to last season according to Sports Business Journal. And soft viwereship levels directly translate into unmet revenue projections.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WEEI's morning co-host issues a public apology 
after making a controversial on-air comment; will not be suspended

WEEI 93.7's Dennis & Callahan Show “third man” Kirk Minihanehas issued a statement saying he’s “very sorry” for his rant on the program Wednesday morning (7/16), in which he called FOX Sports reporter Erin Andrews “a gutless bitch.” The comment came during a discussion of Andrews’ interview with Adam Wainwright in which the National League pitcher said he said he was merely  joking when he’d earlier told reporters he’d tossed an easy pitch to retiring New York Yankees star Derek Jeter during Tuesday night’s MLB All-Star Game (Jeter thumped Wainwright for a double in his first at bat). 

”This morning on the radio I used a series of words to describe Erin Andrews’ work at the All-Star Game,” Minihane posted at “My choice of words was wrong; I was wrong to have used them. To all whom I offended — particularly Ms. Andrews — I apologize. There is no place for what was said. It was immature and completely uncalled for. I am often critical of media members and their work and recognize here that I’ve made the kind of mistake I would call out if it was done by another sportscaster or writer. Again, to all involved, I’m very sorry.” 

Watch the video here.

BRW Notebook :

Sports Update : As we approach WBZ 98.5/The SportsHub's 5th birthday, the station holds a commanding leading of Boston's male 25-54 listening demographic. Boston Globe's sports media writer Chad Finn’s reports on radio ratings from this past spring survey: “The Sports Hub earned a 7.9 share in the men 25-54 demographic for the period of March 27-June 18, edging sister station classic rocker WZLX (7.8), which like the Sports Hub is owned by CBS Radio. WEEI 93.7 tied for fifth with its rock sibling WAAF 107.3/97.7 with a 5.6 share. However, the SportsHub did have a pretty rough going in the last month of the spring survey as its numbers took a massive dip according to the Boston Herald.

Take five : Sean Hannity has returned to the Boston airwaves via WUFC 1510/"Personality Radio" and is now heard from 3pm to 6pm. Hannity has joined a lineup that also includes fellow Premiere Networks syndicated talker Glenn Beck(9-12pm), FOX Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr Sports(12-3pm) and JT The Brick(6-8pm), Westwood One’s Dennis Miller Show(8pm-10pm) and GCN’s InfoWars with Alex Jones(2-6am)....Speaking of talk personalities, current WRKO 680 afternoon host Howie Carr has inked a deal with recently launched Global Media Services, to market Carr’s now regionally syndicated talk show. A National Radio Hall of Fame inductee and a regular columnist for the Boston Herald, Carr is heard weekdays from 3-7pm on WRKO 680 where he’s been part of the lineup for two decades, as well as regionally on a reported 15 affiliate radio stations across New England. “Howie Carr is an icon and legend in New England,” said Global Media Services founder and network/syndication radio veteran Denver-based Tony Garcia. “I look forward to partnering with him to bring his unique views on politics, pop culture and society to the entire nation. The possibilities are endless.” Commenting on the new alliance Carr added, “I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time. It’s exciting to be branching out on my own and expanding the network.” Carr's contract with WRKO ends at the end of the summer and recently he has been looking around for a new regional flagship station which would replace WRKO. That doesn't mean WRKO would totally be out of the picture. It could still carry the show as a Boston affiliate but Carr is determined to own all the rights to the show.... As of late June, Glenn Ordway’s Big Show Unfiltered is now Sirius Channel 220. It started  out on Channel 108 back in the spring. The show remains on XM Channel 206...Former Mix 98-5 morning man John Lander is being inducted into the Texas Broadcasters Hall of Fame in November according to the Houston Chronicle. Prior to arriving in Boston in early 1996(and exiting in December 2008), Lander had a very successful run in the Houston market. At Boston's Mix, Lander was replaced by the current team of Karson and Kennedy who celebrated their 5th anniversary earlier this winter.(BRW 12/11/08).

And the winner is...: The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) have announced the finalists for the 2014 NAB Marconi Radio Awards, honoring radio stations and on-air personalities for excellence in broadcasting. Among the many finalists from the world of radio, WBZ 98.5/The SportsHub is nominated for the Sports Station of Year, WKLB 102.5 is going up for the Country Station of the Year and in the Major Market Personality of The Year, WZLX 100.7's veteran midday host and station's music director Carter Alan is up against SportsHub's funny bastards "Toucher and Rich". The winners will be announced on September 11th during the NAB Marconi Awards 25th Anniversary Dinner & Show, held during this fall’s NAB/RAB Radio Show in Indianapolis. View the complete list of finalists in all categories HERE.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Evolution flips to Country as 101.7 The Bull

Boston hasn't been a two-country station since September 1996 when Greater Media consolidated its WBCS 96.9 and then-newly-acquired rival WKLB 105.7. Over the past 18 years, WKLB/Country 102.5 has had a virtual monopoly on country format in town and is currently one of the top rated stations in the market in some of the key age demographics. 

However, WKLB is about to get some company. Starting at Noon today Clear Channel Boston made yet another flip on the former WFNX 101.7 frequency dumping a year and a half-old dance/EDM format known as "Evolution 101.7"(BRW 12/20/12) to what's known in the industry as the 'bro' country' format "101.7 The Bull". The official format launch will take place during afternoon drive time at 3pm. 

Here's the official press release from Clear Channel Boston on Bull's launch :


Country’s Top On-Air Personality Bobby Bones
Joins Show Lineup

BOSTON – June 13, 2014 – Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Boston announced today the debut of 101.7 The Bull, Boston’s New Hit Country effective immediately.  101.7 The Bull will kick off with commercial-free music for the entire summer featuring the newest hits from Country artists such as Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church and Miranda Lambert.

In addition, 101.7 The Bull will feature award-winning Country morning program The Bobby Bones Showbeginning this summer.  The morning show entertains listeners with a unique mix of pop-culture, news and music and features on-air personalities Bobby Bones, Lunchbox and Amy, with special guest appearances from the biggest names in Country music straight from Nashville.  101.7 The Bull programming will also include local news and events, exclusive album premieres, new song releases and a team of local Boston personalities to be announced soon.

“We are excited to launch 101.7 The Bull, a fresh new take on Country music, for our Boston listeners.  This station is for the new generation of Country music fans and will give our listeners a front-row seat to Country’s biggest artists and concerts,” said Dylan Sprague, Vice President of Programming for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Boston.  “Listeners will also enjoy waking up with the Bobby Bones Show and his unique and entertaining insight on Country music.  No one is closer to the heartbeat of Nashville than Bobby Bones.”

Prior to 101.7 The Bull, the signal aired Electronic Dance Music (EDM) as Evolution 101.7.  Boston’s EDM fans can continue to listen to Evolution 101.7 on the station’s website,, on 107.9 HD2 and oniHeartRadio, Clear Channel's all-in-one digital radio service. 

“Evolution 101.7 attracted a passionate and loyal audience on iHeartRadio in a short period of time, and the number of fans listening digitally continues to grow rapidly,” Sprague continued.  “We’re excited to continue to provide Boston’s EDM fans with the same great programming on Evolution 101.7 through iHeartRadio, featuring local shows from Pete Tong, Sisanie, DJ Costa and DJ Cesar.  Also Evolution Underground, which supports local DJs by letting them take over the station, will continue to air after hours on Saturdays.”

Fans can also listen to 101.7 The Bull on the station's website,, and on iHeartRadio.  iHeartRadio 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.  iHeartRadio also offers listeners a "Perfect For" feature which allows users to choose from thousands of curated stations based on a range of moods and activities.  New - iHeartRadio Talk feature offers on-demand listener-created talk content alongside popular news, celebrity and entertainment “audiosodes.” iHeartRadio Talk also features “Daily Pulse,” a customizable Talk channel featuring the most up-to-date news and culture highlights, to which users can add or remove content that is most important to them.

Follow us on Twitter at

BRW Notebook :

And in other news... : In a move to bolster its local news footprint and audience, Boston’s WGBH 89.7 is adding a third hour to Boston Public Radio, which in April was the top-rated public radio midday show for its noon-2pm time slot.

Starting in September, Boston Public Radio will begin airing at 11am weekdays according to WGBH press release.

Hosted by Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, the show which debuted in February 2013(BRW 2/6/13) has made dramatic audience gains compared to last year. WGBH is now surpassing public radio news competitor WBUR 90.9 in that time period.

To make room for an expanded BPR, The Takeaway will move to an earlier timeslot, airing 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The Diane Rehm Show, which is now airing at that time, will be dropped from the schedule. The Takeaway, a WGBH Radio co-production, originates at WNYC in New York.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

New talk format to debut on 1510 next week

As reported here first(BRW 4/29), Quincy-based 50,000-watt station WUFC 1510 will switch to a variety talk format (under the auspices of New Jersey-based Wallis Communications management) starting at 6am on Monday(6/9). As detailed in the press release below, the format will incorporate politics, news, sports and comedy with its new daily line-up of nationally syndicated show. The station's new website is still being developed and can be found at

Among the highlights of 1510's new venture is the return to Boston of former overnight syndicated sports personality JT The Brick. He had been a longtime fixture on WEEI 93.7/850 and WBZ 98.5/The SportsHub and built a very strong listener following in the Boston market. WEEI picked up NBC Sports Radio for its overnight schedule in January when Fox Sports Radio moved his show to 6pm-10pm ET time slot.

Here's more information on WUFC's new venture :

1510 AM WUFC Adds Bob Levy's Ear's Wide Open and J.T. The Brick To Schedule

1510AM WUFC  announced the addition of comedian The. Rev Bob Levy's New Show Ear's Wide Open to its programming schedule.  The daily comedy and entertainment talk program hosted by the comedian and former Howard Stern personality and co-hosted by comedian Stacey Prussman will be heard Monday - Friday from 9pm - 12am ET.  

The station has also announced the addition of J.T. The Brick to its programming schedule.  The daily sports and entertainment talk program hosted by national talk show host J.T The Brick and co-hosted by Tomm Looney will be heard Monday - Friday from 6pm - 9pm ET.  

On June 9, 2014 1510 AM WUFC, which serves the greater Massachusetts , area as well as parts of New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Maine is flipping formats from Yahoo Sports to News/Talk/Comedy.  The rest of the programming line up includes Wallis Communication's The Dr. K Show (6am--9am)  Premiere Radio’s Glenn Beck (9am-12noon), Fox Sports Radio's Jay Mohr Sports (12pm-3pm), The Genesis Communications Networks "Infowars With Alex Jones"(3pm-6pm).

1510 AM WUFC is programmed and operated by Wallis Communications will operate and manage WUFC under an LMA with current licensee, Blackstrap Broadcasting pending FCC approval of a license transfer.   For additional information, please contact Bryan Berner, COO and General Manager.

BRW Notebook :

Vacation listening : If you happen to be visiting the Cape and the Islands this summer, WMVY Radio Vineyard has returned to the terrestrial air in Martha's Vineyard after listeners contributed $600,000 to support a new signal following the sale of the station's 30 year-old frequency at 92.7 to Boston University back in late 2012(BRW 12/5/12). The new frequency is located at 88.7FM. The station is also heard on a repeater at 96.5FM frequency in Newport, RI area.

River finds a spot on 128 : Haverhill's WXRV/92.5 The River has a new repeater station around the very busy and congested Mass Pike/Rt.9/Rt 128 interchange. A 10-watt transmitter was built in Needham earlier this year and has begun operating over the Memorial Day weekend simulcasting 92.5 River's music programming on 96.5 frequency. 

Executive shuffle : Last week, Entercom Boston's Market Manager Phil Zachary shuffled up his sales leadership team. Melissa Capuano moves from National Sales Manager to the Director Of Sales position. Kelly Sutton is now the sales manager for sports and talk (WEEI 93.7/WEEI 850 and WRKO 680/93.7HD-2). Sutton started with the company in 2002, coming over from CBS Radio. And, Dana Panepinto retains his current title as director of sports sponsorship sales, and adds additional responsibility beyond the company’s Boston Red Sox Radio Network. Zachary said he’s proud to promote from within the organization. “Melissa, Kelly, and Dana share a combined three decades of leadership experience at Entercom Boston. I can think of no finer, nor more deserving, group to steer our revenue-generation efforts in this new era of advertising accountability.” The Entercom Boston cluster consists of: WAAF 107.3/WKAF 97.7, WEEI 93.7, WRKO 680, and ESPN Radio 850....Speaking of Entercom, Zachary and his team will have their  hands full this summer with renegotiating new contracts for WEEI's morning hosts John Dennis and Gerry Callahan and WRKO's afternooner Howie Carr....Over at Greater Media Boston, there were also some shuffles involving some programming and production veteran staffers.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

New midday show, Night Ryder's out as WEEI goes thru yet another personnel shuffle

WEEI 93.7 said Monday it will shuffle its local lineup later this month, pairing former Patriots player Christian Fauria and former Red Sox utility/bench player Lou Merloni with a Pittsburgh sports radio import, Tim Benz, in the midday slot(10am-2pm).

In a domino effect, Merloni's current co-host Mike 'Mut' Mutnasky will shift to Sox pre-game and post-game host role. Station's 16-year vet John Ryder who held that role was dismissed as part of this latest shake-up. Ryder was also host of Celtics pre and post-game coverage when WEEI held team's radio rights. He moved into the Red Sox host role last spring when Jon Rish was forced to quit in a budget squeeze(BRW 4/13/12). Highly-respected Ryder, 39, 1997 Northeastern University grad, started at part-timer at WEEI in 1998 and became a full-timer in 2006.

With Ryder's departure, Mutnansky will shift to nights when the new midday show debuts. For now, weekend/fill-in host Chris Villani will cover nights(10pm-Midnight) and Red Sox host role.

As for WEEI's latest on-air addition, Boston-born, CT-raised, Syracuse University-educated, Tim Benz has been a sports radio/TV personality in the Pittsburgh market since 2001. Prior to his tenure in Steel City, he held sports media jobs in Syracuse, Salt Lake City and Columbus, OH. He and WEEI's current content manager Kevin Graham worked together in Columbus and Pittsburgh in the early 2000's where Graham was Benz's program director at The Fan 1460/Columbus and ESPN 1250/Pittsburgh.

Benz was the morning show co-host at Clear Channel's modern rocker WXDX/105.9 The X for eight years. This past February he left the morning show at the X to take a role as sports director for Clear Channel's Pittsburgh stations. As part of that transition, he began hosting a midday show on The X's sister station WBGG/ESPN 970. 

He has no firm start date at WEEI because as The X is Pittsburgh Penguins' flagship station and the team is currently competing for NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs. Benz' will stay in Pittsburgh until the Penguins' playoff run is completed.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

WUFC will convert to syndicated talk radio format

Going, going, but not quite gone is Yahoo Radio Boston/WUFC 1510 radio will fade away as sports talker at the end of May. It was announced today that the station's current owner Blackstrap Broadcasting has entered into a local marketing agreement with Wallis Communications to manage and operate the station. The current syndicated content from Yahoo Sports Radio will convert to mostly libertarian talk and personality-drive talk on June 1st.

Here's the press release with initial talk line-up and schedule :

Personality Radio Coming to Boston

WUFC 1510 AM is set to be the New Home to Popular Talk Radio Personalities Glenn Beck, Jay Mohr, Alex Jones and Dr. K.

Boston, MA-April 28, 2014: Wallis Communications has announced plans to take over WUFC 1510 AM, a 50,000 watt radio station serving the Boston media market.  When the new station launches on June 1st, WUFC 1510 AM will become home to a mix of libertarian and personality driven radio shows featuring some of the biggest names in the industry like Glenn Beck, Jay Mohr, Alex Jones and The Dr. K Show! The station will also air sports news and games from Boston College and Boston University.

Wallis Communications will operate and manage WUFC under an LMA with current licensee, Blackstrap Broadcasting pending FCC approval of a license transfer.  The station’s 50,000-watt signal will reach listeners as far north as Canada.  Programming will also be heard via a live web stream and on mobile device apps such as Tune In Radio.  The tentative program lineup will feature several widely popular talk shows including The Dr. K Show in the Morning (from 6 am – 9 am), The Glenn Beck Program (9 am – 12 pm), Jay Mohr Program (12 pm – 3 pm) and Info Wars with Alex Jones (Overnight) Additional programming details will be announced before the station debuts in June.

Wallis Communications plans to give talk radio a new twist by challenging the content boundaries and offering a free and open exchange of ideas.  “Where Liberty Has a Voice” will be the station’s new positioning statement with the goal of bringing a fresh and unique perspective to listeners.  Each show will deliver extraordinary content, offering viewpoints on important topics like politics, world affairs and much more.

“We are excited to move into Boston,” said Kevin J. Wallis PhD, CEO of Wallis Communications.  “We have made a huge name for ourselves in the Washington DC market with our takeover of WILC 900 AM”.  Wallis Communications is working toward acquiring additional stations throughout the United States in the coming months.

For more information about WUFC 1510 AM,
Bryan Berner        Station manager    732-693-1396
Lisa Miller            Media contact       201-532-0312


Friday, April 25, 2014

Kiss 108's morning Matty receives a contract extension

Clear Channel Media+Entertainment Boston announced that legendary morning host Matt Siegel has extended his current contract through 2018, effective immediately. Siegel, 64, is the host of the "Matty in the Morning" show on WXKS 107.9/Kiss 108. Siegel has been with Kiss since 1980 and became its morning host in January 1981. 

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) recognized Siegel in 2001 and 2009 with the Marconi Award's Major Market Radio Personality of the Year award.

From station's press release :

"After having both competed against Matty and been on the same team, I know what a great personality and asset Matty is to Kiss 108. He is an unbelievable talent and I am very happy that Matt will continue to entertain Kiss 108 listeners in Boston for many years to come." - CCME Bosotn Market President Alan Chartrand

"Matty has been at the center of Kiss 108's success for more than 30 years and his ability to entertain and connect with Boston radio listeners is unmatched. Mornings in Boston simply wouldn't be the same without Matty on Kiss 108." - Dylan Sprague, Vice President of Programming, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Boston.  

"I am thrilled he is extending his run. Matty is a true Boston radio legend and we are excited to extend our relationship with him," - Tom McConnell, Executive Vice President of Operations, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. 

"My wonderful love story with the city of Boston continues." - Matt Siegel.

BRW Notebook : 

Congratulations to the Winners : In the large-market radio groupingWGBH 89.7/Boston Public Radio WBZ/"NewsRadio 1030" and WBUR 90.9 received honors in the prestigious 2014 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards presented by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). WBZ was also recognized with “Overall Excellence” award.  The regional awards were announced this week by the RTDNA which has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. All award winners are listed here.

Rocking for the Earth :  The 21st annual Radio 92.9 EarthFest will take place at the DCR Hatch Memorial Shell on Saturday, May 17 from 10am - 5pm. The family-friendly event will feature performances from Neon Trees, the Wailers, Smallpools, Morning Parade. More information can be found here.