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.