Wednesday, March 1, 2017

WKLB sets Jackson Blue as new morning co-host

Beasley Broadcast Group's WKLB/Country 102.5 Boston officially named Jackson Blue to station's morning show where he joins Hannah Byrum. Blue had been moved into the role from Afternoon Drive on WBQT HOT 96.9 last November after Jeff Myles departed rather abruptly(BRW 11/15/16).

Here is the official press release from Beasley Media Group Boston :

NEW MORNING STAR RISING IN BOSTON! JACKSON BLUE PROMOTED TO CO-HOST BOSTON’s COUNTRY 102.5

Boston, MA – Feb 28, 2017 – WKLB Country 102.5, Boston’s Number One for New Hit Country welcomes Jackson Blue to the Country 102.5 morning show! Jackson is joining Hannah Byrom, and waking- up listeners with Boston’s best country music and fun!

Jackson had been recently promoted from hosting Afternoon Drive on WBQT HOT 96.9 to his new co-host position on WKLB’s Country 102.5 Morning Show.

“It’s been my dream to wake up Boston, a city I’ve loved working in for over a decade,” noted Jackson. “A big thank you goes to our Beasley Boston Market Manager, Mary Menna, Beasley Boston, Director of Programming, Cadillac Jack, and Country 102.5’s Program Director, Mike Brophey for believing in me in this role on one of America’s most successful and respected country brands. My co-host Hannah, Producer Santi, and I are ready to make mornings fun!”

“I’ve had the pleasure of having a ‘front row seat’ to watch Jackson’s growth over the past 15 years, and feel proud to promote such a talented personality from within our Beasley Boston cluster to this key position,” said Cadillac Jack. “Here’s to the success that Jackson and Country 102.5 will undoubtedly enjoy for years to come!”

“We’re so proud to have Jackson Blue on board at Country 102.5,” added Mike Brophey. “Jackson understands Boston and the listeners. He brings his energy and excitement to the show and he is already a part of our community!”

About Beasley Media Group / Boston: Beasley Media Group, Inc., is a subsidiary of Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: BBGI), which is celebrating its 56th year. Pro forma for the completion of announced divestitures, Beasley Broadcast Group owns and operates 63 stations (45 FM and 18 AM) in 15 large- and mid-size markets in the United States. In the Boston radio market, Beasley Media Group owns five FM’s and one AM, including: WBOS 92.9 FM; WBQT 96.9 FM; WKLB 102.5 FM; WROR 105.7; WMJX 106.7 FM; and, WRCA 1330 AM.


New R&B upstart installs weekday line-up

Entercom's new R&B upstart WKAF/The New 97-7, rolled out The Morning Wake Up(6-10am) with KJ and Kesha on Monday, February 6th, featuring KJ Carson and Kesha Monk. For Carson, this means a welcome return to Boston radio after 17 years — he notably did mornings at the late, legendary WILD 1090 back in 2000(as "Kevin Johnson"). His career began in Greensboro, NC and he’s also worked in Charlotte, Kansas City, Atlanta and Washington D.C. Carson said, “I’m very humbled and honored to come back to Boston. I feel like I have been blessed in a way that words cannot describe.”

Kesha Monk has done radio New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. She’s the product of a musical family; both of her parents were professional gospel recording artists and her great uncle was the legendary jazz musician, Thelonious Monk. “I’m looking forward to entertaining, inspiring, uplifting and encouraging our Boston listeners and beyond,” said Monk in a press release.

Nikki Thomas from Entercom's KBLX/R&B 102.9 in the Bay Area is the midday bridge(10am-3pm). Program Director Chris Malone presides over afternoon drive from 3pm to 7pm. Other personalities will be announced soon.


BRW Notebook :

Personnel turntable : With Jackson Blue officially becoming WKLB personality, Reggie Beas continues to hold afternoon drive at WBQT/Hot 96.9 as the station advertising for the position....After a year and half, David Cullinane exited as Executive Producer at WRKO 680's Boston.com Morning Show for another opportunity. The Voice of Boston is searching for his replacement....After a 17-year association with WJMN/Jamn 94-5, night jock Geoff "GeeSpin" Gamere exited last week for opportunity to be announced later. In addition, the Brookline native has been serving as Music Director/Assistant Program Director at Iheart Radio's NYC WPWR/Power 105.1 since summer 2008(BRW 7/16/08). With Geespin exiting, Jamn resets its daily line-up - syndicated The Breakfast Club stays in 5:30am-10a slot, Maverick moves up from afternoons into 10am-2pm midday shift, Ashlee is now the new PM driver from 2-6pm and music director DJ Pup Dawg is takes on evenings(6pm-10pm) ...In early January, Nick Cattles joined Adam Jones Show on the WBZ 98.5/The SportHub's evening program, filling the void left behind by Rich Keefe who left the station to join WEEI’s afternoon "Dale And Holley" in December. Cattles began his radio career in Boston working for the Hub from 2009-2012. He’d been hosting afternoons at ESPN 94.1 in Virginia Beach for the past four and a half years.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Two become one : merger of CBS and Entercom creates a massive local radio ownership presence 

CBS Radio, which has been up for sale for the better part of the past year, will merge into Philadelphia area-based Entercom Communications Corp, it was announced early this morning.



Financial terms of the deal, expected to close in the second half of this year, were not released.
CBS Radio owns 117 radio stations in 26 markets while Entercom, already the fourth-largest U.S. radio company, has 127 stations in 27 markets. There will be some overlap so it will be interesting to see if Entercom sells off some properties in certain markets like Boston.

Five CBS Radio properties in Boston are : WBZ/NewsRadio 1030, WBZ/98.5 "The Sports Hub", WBMX/Mix 104.1, WZLX/100.7 Boston's Classic Rock and WODS/Amp 103.3. CBS Radio's FM stations occupy old TV38 building on Leo Birmingham Parkway in Brighton. WBZ 1030 shares studio space with its TV namesake on Soldiers Field in Allston.

David J. Field, CEO of Entercom, will lead the combined company that will have a nationwide footprint of 244 stations, including 23 of the top 25 U.S. markets, as well as digital and events platforms. Entercom is already the fourth-largest U.S. radio company and will move up to second behind IHeartMedia. 

Entercom owns five stations in the Boston market : WEEI/Sports Radio 93.7, WAAF 107.3, WKAF/The New 97.1, WEEI/ESPN 850, WRKO 680/The Voice of Boston. All stations are inside New Balance's growing Boston Landing development on Guest Street in Brighton.

The combined company will be known as Entercom and will be based in suburban Philadelphia, with a significant ongoing presence in CBS Radio’s headquarters of New York. 

Upon closing, the company’s board of directors will consist of nine members: five current Entercom directors, including Field as chairman, and four directors nominated by CBS Radio. CBS shareholders will control 72 percent of the combined company's shares while Entercom shareholders will control 28 percent.

Revenue for the two companies combined over the past 12 months was about $1.7 billion – which would make it the second-largest radio station owner in the nation after Iheart Media.

CBS Radio owns 117 radio stations in 26 markets while Entercom, already the fourth-largest U.S. radio company, has 127 stations in 27 markets. There will be some overlap so it will be interesting to see if Entercom sells off some properties in certain markets. It's likely that Entercom may need to shed one or two signals in this deal but based on various media reports, there will be no change in the two prized sports radio outlets - 98.5 The Sports Radio and Sports Radio 93.7. Both brands which have developed quite a rivalry over the past 7 years and Entercom brass will continue on with two sports signals in the market. WEEI has a rich 7-year Red Sox extension which begins this season. WBZ is holding onto one of the biggest jewels in local sports - New England Patriots radio rights. WBZ is the flagship for Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins and New England Revolution games.

The sale also includes the national CBS Sports Radio Network operation that has 300 station affiliates around the country. WBZ 98.5 carries CSRN overnights and weekend evenings. WEEI is affilaited with ESPN and NBC Sports Radio. WEEI 850 is leased out to ESPN Radio on 24/7 basis and serves as Boston College sports flagship.

CBS Corp's CEO Less Moonves said the radio division was up for sale early last year but then the company said it would spin it off via an IPO. Those plans were apparently scrapped due to recent talks with Entercom. The merger will be effected through a complex “Reverse Morris Trust” transaction, which is expected to be tax-free to CBS and its stockholders. As part of the transaction, CBS shareholders will have the opportunity to exchange all, some, or none of their CBS shares for CBS Radio shares.

Immediately following the completion of this exchange offer, CBS Radio will merge with an Entercom subsidiary, with the new CBS Radio shareholders receiving Entercom shares in exchange for their CBS Radio shares in the transaction.

BRW Notebook :

Who's on first, what's on second... :  Somewhat related to today's massive story above, Barrett Sports Media along with a panel consisting of 53 radio industry members has posted their top 20 Major Market Morning Shows for 2016. 98.5 The Sport's Hub Boston's Toucher & Rich came in 2nd and WEEI's Kirk & Callahan were 4th. Full list is here.

Friday, January 6, 2017





Boston gets new R&B station


After  ten and half years as the repeater for Entercom Boston’s heritage rocker WAAF 107.3, WKAF 97.7 went its own happy way and became the new  urban adult contemporary outlet branded as “The New 97-7, Boston #1 for R&B”. (WAAF of course remains on 107.3 and can still be heard on WKAF’s HD2 sub channel ).  As for the new kid in town, at 10:50am on Thursday morning(1/5), The New 97-7 launched a 10,000 songs-in-a-row commercial-free two-week stunt with Boston’s own New Edition 1984 smash it “Cool It Now”. The station has a new site at www.977rnb.com.  There will be live DJs in the non-too distant future.

As for programming brain-trust behind Entercom’s new venture, it’s an impressive group which includes established Urban AC programmer Chris Malone who had served as PD and personality at Memphis’ 103.5 WRBO-Classic Hip-Hop and WKIM/98.9 The Vibe.  Malone will serve as New 97-7’s program director, while consultant Jay Dixon, Edison Research’s VP Sean Ross, and Entercom’s Urban AC KBLX-Classic Hip-Hop Q102.1 /San Francisco Director of Programming Operations, Elroy Smith will work together. Smith, of course, rose to national prominence, as a programmer and personality at Boston’s WILD 1090 between 1983 and 1988.

VP/Market Manager Phil Zachary said via press release : “Boston has a higher concentration of African-American consumers than San Francisco or Los Angeles, but no rated Urban signals. The prospect of reaching almost 8% of the population with one radio station in a Top-10 market is almost inconceivable in 2017.”

In the same release, Malone said, “Urban AC is the most listened-to radio format among African-American consumers in Nielsen’s metered markets, so we expect the audience response to be emotional and immediate. Entercom has given us the research, the talent budget and the marketing resources to become an instant contender with Adults 25 to 54.” Malone and Zachary worked together at Curtis Media’s 96.9 WBZJ in Raleigh, NC from 2012 to 2014.
The New 97-7 gives Entercom Boston more of a balance as far its own audience portfolio which seemed more male listener-heavy thanks to sports talker WEEI 93-7 and rocker WAAF 107.3. The station will now try to deliver a slightly more female skewing subset of consumers to national agencies and local advertisers via a new format.

BRW Notebook :

Just in time for big winter storms  : With recent retirement of WBZ/News Radio 1030’s afternoon anchor Diane Stern, the station has promoted veteran anchor Laurie Kirby to afternoon drive. So as of Monday, Jan 9th, WBZ’s anchor pairings will be : 5am-10am Joe Mathieu and Deb Lawlor; 10am-3pm Rod Fritz and Pat Carrol; 3pm-8pm Laurie Kirby and Jeff Brown.