Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Magic 106.7, WROR to change hands as part of $240 million radio deal

Five Boston radio stations are part of a deal announced Tuesday evening in which Naples, Fla.-based Beasley Broadcast Group Inc. will buy Braintree-based Greater Media Inc. in transaction valued at $240 million.
Beasley gets 21 Greater Media stations including Boston's adult contemporary rock station WMJX 106.7, classic hits WROR 105.7, alternative rocker WBOS/Alt 92.9, country WKLB/New Hit Country 102.5 and rhythmic adult contemporary WBQT/Hot 96.9.

In the most recent Nielsen Audio rankings for June, WROR 105.7 had the largest weekly listenership in Greater Boston, while WMJX/Magic 106.7 was second. WKLB/Country 102.5 ranked 6th, WBQT/Hot 96.9 was 9th and WBOS/Alt 92.9 was 14th.. Magic 106.7 was also #1 station with advertisers' dream demographic - adults 25-54. WBQT/Hot 96-9 ranked second among younger adults 18 to 34.


The deal is expected to close in late fall. The boards of both companies have approved the deal, which remains subject to FCC approval No immediate changes to management, staffing, or format are expected for the five local Boston stations before the deal closes.

Beasley currently owns one station in the Boston market - WRCA 1330 has its studios in Cambridge's Central Square and features paid-time ethnic and religious format. Beasley acquired. WRCA in 2000.

Greater Media's  has owned WMJX since 1981. Over the years the company added four more FM signals and consolidated its local cluster under one roof at its current Dorchester studios in 1998.

Beasley, which was founded in 1961, comes to the deal with 51 stations in 12 markets. It intends to pay $100 million cash for Greater Media, and pay $25 million in stock to Greater Media shareholders. It also will refinance $80 million in Greater Media debt, and sell tower assets it estimates to be worth $20 million. Greater Media investors will received the proceeds of the equipment sale.

Beasley said it has planned to sell stations in Charlotte, where it competes with Greater Media, to meet federal regulatory scrutiny of the deal. It has seven stations in Charlotte, and Greater Media has two. One interesting side note, Beasley's conservative talk station in Charlotte has familiar Boston call letters - WBCN/America's Pulse 1660. 

Beasley had net income of $6.3 million last year on $106 million in revenue, and it said it expects the Greater Media deal to add $141 million in revenue.

It wasn’t immediately clear what would become of Greater Media’s 10 weekly newspapers it owns in New Jersey.

Greater Media was founded in 1956, and it has stations in the Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, New Jersey and Philadelphia markets. Its Boston market is run by Mary Menna.

Once the deal is finalized, Beasley said its shareholders will own 81 percent of the company stock, and Greater Media shareholders the remainder. In addition, Greater Media shareholders will have the right to appoint one member to the Beasley board of directors, which will add a ninth seat, Beasley said.


BRW Notebook :

'GBH joins VuHaus : Boston’s WGBH 89.7 has joined VuHaus and is now live on VuHaus.com. VuHaus, the music discovery video platform for public media, is a growing network of public media organizations who share a common mission to support emerging and local artists, and to introduce their music to new audiences. VuHaus content originates from the country’s most trusted radio tastemakers: WFUV in New York City, KCRW in Los Angeles, KXT in Dallas, WXPN in Philadelphia, KEXP in Seattle, opbmusic in Portland, KTBG The Bridge in Kansas City, KUTX in Austin, Mountain Stage of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, KDHX in St. Louis, and Live From the Fort of Vermont Public Broadcasting

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

WBOS completes its brand change to ALT

As of yesterday(7/12), "Radio 92.9" is out and gone. The station is now known as "Alt 92.9". While the new moniker and on-air elements may or may not make you think this is a brand new station, the transition has been in progress for better part of past two years. As you only read about it here in BRW, the station began tagging itself as "Boston's Alternative" during summer of 2014(BRW 8/18/14). 

As you may or may not recall, back on January 30, 2008, WBOS 92.9 had let go its entire on-air staff and shifted away from its longtime AAA(adult album alternative) format to concentrate on younger and hipper 18-34 demo with an alternative/modern rock alternative currents as well as format's alternative mainstays including Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, Pearl Jam, and the Dave Matthews Band. The station then had also assumed branding "Radio 92.9" which as of yesterday(7/12) is now part of Boston's radio history. While station's playlist is not at all different today, its presentation, however, has been drastically tweaked(and not to my liking) - the station runs about an hour of music followed by a very(long) 9-10 minute ad break(Ed Note : talk about bringing 'blah-blah-blah' back in a big way. I think it's an awful way to pay bills but they don't pay me for my opinions on the matter). 

Although Boston's modern and alternative rock radio scene had its ups and downs for the past three decades, WBOS has been slowly thriving and establishing its place in a rapidly changing media marketplace. While the mission of FM rock and alternative stations like WBOS has changed in recent years -. they were once about music discovery(eg late WBCN(d.2009) and WFNX(d 2012)), that role has fully shifted to diverse online sources, like YouTube and Spotify or even to band sites. However, record companies will tell you that it is still nearly impossible to have a true hit song without FM radio airplay. While there are tons and tons of different music options out there, FM rock radio is still a big part of the game.

WBOS was the 6th most popular station in Boston market among its target demographic - adults 18-34/ - in the month June. The station was behind(in order) - WXKS/Kiss 108, WBQT/Hot 96.9, WODS/Amp 103.3,  WJMN/Jamn 94-5 and WMJX/Magic 106.7.


BRW Notebook :

VB is back in the house : Although WRKO 680's Morning Boston.com show title still says "featuring Kim Carrigan", as of last Tuesday(7/5), Doug 'VB" Goudie is now officially full-time co-host. Yes, you had read it here correctly - Goudie was first offered a contract in late May/early June but declined it. It appears the station upped the offer to VB's satisfaction and the former nighttime host of the raucous "The Pleasure Pit"(on WRKO, circa 2002-2003) is now back at the station as a full time WRKO employee.

Going once, going twice : In a report published last week at Bloomberg.com, reporter Paul Barbagallo suggests that CBS Corp. is planning to file to take its radio division public by the end of July. Bloomberg reports the decision to pursue an IPO was announced in a prospectus for senior notes due in 2020, and says it could indicate the company has as yet been unable to find a buyer willing to pay the “right price.” Company Chairman/CEO Leslie Moonves confirmed plans to sell or spin-off the broadcast radio division earlier this year. Bloomberg Intelligence estimates that CBS Radio, which operates 117 radio station in 26 markets including Boston(WBZ 1030, WBZ 98.5 The SPortsHub, WZLX 100.7, WODS/AMP 103.3, WBMX/Mix 104.1), could be worth around $2.9 billion. As a stand alone company, it's also very likely CBS Radio could be ripe for a friendly or hostile takeover. First, you'd need about $3 billion