Friday, September 8, 2017

98.5 The Sports Hub renews broadcast agreement with New England Patriots

CBS Radio and the five-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots jointly announced a five-year contract extension to keep Patriots games on Boston’s WBZ-FM/”98.5 The Sports Hub’. Team President Jonathan Kraft joined last night’s pre-game show to share the news.

Play-by-play voice Bob Socci(BRW 4/24/13) and game analyst Scott Zolak will continue. CBS Radio has served as the flagship radio partner of the Patriots since 1994 when the games aired on WBZ AM 1030, before transitioning to WBCN-FM in 1995.[Ed Note : WBZ 1030 technically served as NE Patriots flagship from 1991/92 to 1994/95 seasons and during that time period the WBZ became a CBS-owned station thru a couple rounds of corporate mergers among Westinghouse, Infinity Broadcasting and CBS Corp]

“Our continued partnership with the New England Patriots underscores CBS RADIO’s leadership in sports radio,” said Andre Fernandez, President and CEO, CBS RADIO. “We have enjoyed an incredible relationship with this storied franchise for over 20 years and are proud to continue our partnership into the future.”

The Sports Hub will broadcast “Patriots Preview” three hours prior to each game, as well as a three-hour post-game show. Both programs will be hosted by Marc Bertrand, co-host of The Sports Hub’s midday show, “Zolak and Bertrand.” Joining Bertrand on both shows will be Boston Globe and columnist Chris Gasper and former NFL player Steve DeOssie. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer will also serve as a contributor to the pregame show.

CBS Radio and Entercom are expected to close on their massive merger later this fall and Enterecom would absorb all the broadcast rights currently licensed to the Sports Hub including Patriots, Bruins, Celtics and Revolution. In addition, Entercom already controls Red Sox radio rights thru 2023 season.

While there are still looming questions as to what Boston local sports radio scene is going to look like post-merger, there are some clues emerging as to what the programming management structure will look like when the ink dries on the closing docs.

Earlier in the week, CBS Radio had also announced it has signed veteran programmer Mike Thomas to a multi-year contract extension. Thomas will continue in his multi-platform role as Vice President of Sports Programming for CBS Radio and Vice President of Programming for CBS Radio Boston.
Thomas was originally hired in February 2006 to serve as program director of classic rocker WZLX 100.7. He briefly took over as PD for WBCN in June 2008 and then became PD for upstart WBZ 98.5 Sports Hub in August 2009. In October 20011(BRW 10/13/11), he was named as VP of Programming for CBS' Boston cluster which includes the Sports Hub, WZLX, WBMX/Mix 104.1, WODS AMP 103.3 and WBZ/News Radio 1030. In August 2014(BRW 9/7/14), CBS Radio promoted him to VP of Sports Programming where he and Mark Chernoff currently oversee company's entire portfolio of all-Sports stations and the CBS Sports Radio network.

Thomas is one of many talented CBS Radio programming execs who will play a key role in integrating CBS and Entercom sports brands in the post-merger world. He'll report to former Red Sox chief operating officer Mike Dee who was brought in May to oversee soon-to-be-massive Entercom Sports empire. One of the first orders of business for Thomas and Dee will clearly be to redefine how Boston's sports radio picture will look like going forward. 

BRW Notebook :

A Boston Shutout : Speaking of sports, both Entercom's WEEI 93.7 and CBS Radio's WBZ 98.5 were nominated for this year's Marconi Radio award in the Sports Station of the Year category at the 28th annual NAB Marconi Radio Awards held in Austin this past week,  WEEI had previously won won three -  2006, 2008 and 2012. The SportsHub took the hardware in 2011 and 2014. This year, Dallas' The Ticket 1310/96.7 took home the trophy.

Marconi awards were founded in 1989 and named after inventor and Nobel Prize winner Guglielmo Marconi. The NAB Marconi Radio Awards are given to radio stations and outstanding on-air personalities to recognize excellence in radio.

Reaching out : Sunday, September 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day, and Entercom will broadcast an on-air special, “I’m Listening,” on all of the company’s platforms at 10 a.m EST. The program will serve as a “campaign for mental health awareness and suicide prevention” and include “personal stories from artists and celebrities while offering help and resources to listeners via a live call-in option,” according to a press release.

“I’m Listening” will be led by Entercom Seattle KISW-FM personality BJ Shea, who will be joined by guests including Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Dr. Ursula Whiteside, clinical psychologist and CEO of

Subjects to be covered during the broadcast include how individuals can become involved in suicide prevention in their local community, how to talk openly to family and friends about mental health and suicide, and how to help a loved one who is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts.

Locally, “I’m Listening” can be heard on Entercom Boston platforms WAAF 107.3, WEEI/Sports Radio 93.7, WRKO 680/"The Voice of Boston", WKAF/New R&B 97.7 and WEEI/ESPN on 850".

Various artists and celebrities committed to ending the stigma of discussing mental health will also make appearances on the program. Some expected guests include the bands Metallica and Alice in Chains and musicians Jack Antonoff (Bleachers), Michael Angelakos (Passion Pit), and Krist Novoselic (Nirvana).

Thursday, August 31, 2017

WBZ fills its morning drive co-anchor role with familiar voice and face

WBZ NewsRadio 1030 AM announced last Thursday(8/23) that veteran television and radio anchor, Josh Binswanger, will be rejoining all-news/talk station as a morning drive anchor beginning in early September. Alongside WBZ's veteran Deb Lawler, Binswanger will deliver the morningâ's news stories, weekdays from 5 AM to 10 AM, on one of the most widely known and top rated all-news stations in the country. He replaces Joe Mathieu who left the station in late April and started as new morning drive anchor at WGBH 89.7 on August 10th.

"This is a homecoming that's a perfect fit for WBZ and for Josh", said Peter Casey, WBZ Director of News & Programming. "He brings a wealth of local knowledge and national news experience, and needs no tutorial on how to pronounce Gloucester or Worcester."

"I look forward to digging into the daily process of providing great journalism on the radio every day," added Binswanger.  "In an era of news anytime anywhere I'm thrilled to be able to be a part of that on WBZ"

Binswanger began his career in broadcasting when he was 14 years old and never looked back. From 1990-1995 he was the host and a producer of WBZ's award winning "Kid Company", a live weekly two-hour radio talk show for children ages 8-15. In 1993, Kid Company won a Peabody Award, one of the highest honors in broadcasting.

Switching careers?

WAAF 107.3's longtime morning voice Greg Hill is thinking about running for the congressional seat being vacated by Niki Tsongas reported The Boston Herald. Hill, of course, is host of  "The Hill-Man Morning Show" on WAAF. Lawrence Army Jr., an attorney who serves as Hill's spokesperson, says Hill is exploring all of his options, including running for the open congressional seat said Army Jr.,. He says through Hill's philanthropic work through the Greg Hill Foundation, which he founded in 2010 to raise money for families hit by tragedies, Public service would be a logical next step for Hill.  Election for Massachusetts 3rd Congressional District seat will be held in November 2018.

Hill is also the founder of the restaurant company, Whole House Group, LLC, which includes Battle Road Brewing Co. in Maynard, 29 Sudbury and the Waltham steakhouse, Flank.

Hill signed a multi-year new contract with Entercom last fall(BRW 11/19/16), however with the parent company mega-merging with CBS Radio later this year, things may get somewhat quite dicey on the radio side. WAAF has been heavily rumored as one of two local Entercom signals to be included in the upcoming divestiture package yet to be approved by Department of Justice's anti-trust division. Stay tuned....

BRW Notebook :

Free stuff :  WXRV 92.5 The River which just celebrated its 22 years  a couple weeks ago is holding its 16th annual River Music Festival at Waterfront Park in Newburyport on Saturday, September 2nd featuring headliner They Might Be Giants. Full schedule and artist line-up for the free event is here.

WBMX/Mix 104.1's last Mix Fest as CBS Radio station has been scheduled for Saturday, September 16th at 2pm. This year, Mix 104.1 welcomes Kelly Clarkson, Blondie, and Andy Grammer to the stage at the DCR Hatch Memorial Shell on Boston's Charles River Esplanade. Gates open at 11am.
Visit Mixfest site for all the details.

Skating to the left : Earlier this month, NHL's new expansion franchise Las Vegas Golden Knights raided key part of the Boston Bruins broadcast presence. After 16-season tenure Dave Goucher has left his post as radio play-by-play voice on WBZ/98.5 The Sports Hub and taking the TV play-by-play role for the Golden Knights. Per press release from the new team, Goucher will be joined by one-time Bruin defenseman Shane Hnidy, who will fill TV analyst role.

Goucher, a Rhode Island native and Boston University grad, called Bruins action from 2000 to 2009 on WBZ 1030 and then from 2009 thru 2016/2017 season on The Sports Hub.  Game analyst Bob Beers will return for his 20th year on the radio beat alongside soon-to-be-named radio voice.

Radio briefs : WBUR 90.9 has opened a news bureau inside the newsroom of the Dorchester Reporter in Boston’s largest and most populous neighborhood.  WBUR reporters will work in conjunction with Dorchester Reporter journalists to tell community-based stories of interest to all WBUR listeners and readers....  On August 15th and 16th, Entercom sports talker WEEI, again teamed up with regional sports cable TV network NESN to hold the 16th annual “WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon” raised more than $4 million to fight cancer.  Since 2002, the annual radio-telethon has raise more than $49 million to benefit the Jimmy Fund....

Police log : Earlier this week, WEEI 93.7's evening personality and Red Sox game host Mike Mutnansky addressed on-air(starting at 16:00 of the audio file) his DUI arrest in Saratoga Springs,NY three weeks ago. Mutnansky faces 3-month suspension of his driver's license. Final decision in his case will be rendered by NY State authorities later in September....Last Wednesday(8/23), former co-host of the Diehards on now defunct WWZN/1510 The Zone, Ryen Rusillo,  was arrested and charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing  in Jackson Hole, WY. Rusillo has been with ESPN Radio since 2008 where he currently hosts a national midday show(1pm-4pm) heard locally on WEEI 850. He's expected to return to air after 2-week suspension on September 5th.

Passings :  Longtime WBZ 1030's radio personality Neil Chayet has died at age 78 on August 11th.
He passed away at his home in Salem after a nine-month battle against prostate cancer. Chayet, the host of local CBS Radio show “Looking at the Law” on WBZ NewsRadio 1030, retired in June due to his illness after 42 years on air and more than 10,000 episodes recorded. The Boston native graduated from Tufts University and Harvard Law School and remained an active alum at both institutions.

The Farm System :  Beasley Media Group, in conjunction with Xperi and Marketron Interactive, have partnered with the National Radio Talent System to unveil the Beasley Radio Talent Institute. The 10-day program will officially debut in the summer of 2018 at Emerson College The Institute is designed as a talent incubator and farm system for aspiring broadcasters.

The National Radio Talent System will be reaching out to broadcasting professionals in Boston and across the State of Massachusetts to teach sessions at the Institute. About the National Radio Talent System. See full press release here.

Convergence : Entercom announced it has been selected as a finalist for the 2017 Acquia Engage Awards in the Media and Entertainment category. The Acquia Engage Awards recognize the amazing sites and digital experiences that organizations are building with the Acquia Platform. The winners will be announced at the Acquia Engage event at Boston's Intercontinental Hotel on October 16-18, 2017. In 2016, Entercom began the process of building a digital platform to provide new websites and functionality for all its radio stations. The result has been a new face of digital for the local brands 0while providing a state of the art content management system.

Old school WRKO : Back in the day, more specifically from 1967 to 1981, talk station WRKO 680 used to be known for its Top 40 hits and music jocks. Earlier this summer, a 50th year anniversary was marked with a reunion of WRKO's Big 68 era.  Event's organizer, Art Vuolo, tells BRW that a 2-DVD set is available to any and all WRKO fans who remember its golden music days :  "The very fact that all five original DJs from 1997 we're still alive and present for the event makes it an incredible slice of broadcasting history. Anyone can see the first few minutes of the memorable radio broadcast that was Saturday night June 3rd by simply going to  It's right on the homepage and easy to access. We are donating $5.00 from every order to the Broadcasters Foundation of America, a nonprofit organization which helps broadcasters in need.  If possible, could you please make mention in your next posting about the availability of this double DVD set which commemorates 50 years of WRKO as a Music station"

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Mathieu back in the morning drive anchor seat

Former WBZ AM/NewsRadio 1030's morning anchor Joe Mathieu will officially start as the new voice of WGBH 89.7’s Morning Edition starting on Thursday, August 10th, WGBH News has announced.

After departing WBZ in late April(BRW 4/25), Mathieu joined WGBH in early June to begin training and reporting for two months ahead of anchoring the program(BRW 5/17). He takes over for Morning Edition host and regional public radio news vet Bob Seay, who will stay on WGBH's morning drive program’s team to focus on producing, reporting and writing.

Mathieu had spent six-plus years at WBZ 1030 where he covered many big local stories and major political races locally and nationally.

Prior to his gig at WBZ, Mathieu was Washington-based program director of P.O.T.U.S., Sirius XM’s news and talk channel devoted to U.S. politics, which he launched in 2007. He has also served as a news anchor and editor for commercial stations in D.C., and was managing editor and anchor for CBS MarketWatch.

WGBH supplements NPR's Morning Edition with its local news reporting and and in-depth story segments. It airs on WGBH 89.7 from 5am to 10am.

WGBH 89.7 is one of two Boston's news and information pubcasters. Like its format counterpart Boston University-owned and operated WBUR 90.9, both stations have enjoyed very strong growth in recent years. Overall, the talk/news/information format has done exceptionally well in the Boston market, with commercial outlet news/talk WBZ 1030 leading the way.   Earlier this week, Nielsen Audio released Boston's July period(June 22 - July 19) numbers. WBZ, WBUR and WGBH were once again among Top 10 most listened to stations in the market among persons ages 6 and up. (Click on the link here and then select BOSTON from a drop-down menu list). One interesting side note/observation from the recent ratings survey, five of Top 10 stations in Boston are now spoken-word formats(sports/talk/news/info).

BRW Notebook :

Moves made and moves to be made : Beasley's WKLB/Country 102.5 promotions director/web content director Dawn Santolucito adds Music Director role which was vacant Ginny Rogers Brophey retired back in May(BRW 5/31), the company announced today. Santolucito has been with the station since December 2009. Previously she was a promotions manager  at WXKS/Kiss 108 from 2001 to 2009 where she worked with WKLB's newly appointed program manager David Corey....Speaking of roles to be filled, WKLB's sister station WBOS/Alt 92.9 is looking for a new afternoon drive personality as mentioned here before,  veteran jock Amy Brooks shifted to middays after syndicated "Dave And Chuck" got installed in the morning in late July. As for two morning guys(and a girl) on the loan from Motown, they are likely serving as placeholders for something bigger and more local once the radioactive dust settles from the massive, very slow-to-close CBS-Entercom merger(BRW 2/2) in late fall...there could be a lot of movement at year-end with formats, personalities and very likely new owners for a couple of Entercom-CBS divested stations.(
Ed. Note : I'm still of the belief that a very popular and well-regarded Boston morning drive show which currently airs on a different station in the market will be in the morning on 92.9 in 2018, but that's just me so don't quote me on the message boards or bitch @ me on Twitter). Former WEEI program director Jason Wolf penned a must-read piece on what to expect after the big deal closes. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Bloomberg Radio is bullish on Boston radio

Bloomberg Media announced this week that it has agreed to buy Newburport's 1,000 watt WNBP 1450 and its low wattage FM translator on 106.1 for $1 million from Port Broadcasting. At midnight Tuesday (8/1), Bloomberg Radio began operating the North Shore's AM-FM combo and simulcasting the content already heard on its Boston signals.(Bloomberg entered a 3-year lease with Beasley to program WRCA 106.1/WRCA 1330/WBOS 92.2HD  last month(BRW 7/4)).

Bloomberg tags its new Boston radio set up as 'Bloomberg 106.1' putting emphasis strictly on promoting and marketing the FM signal. The company hopes to make some modifications to Newburyport's 106.1 frequency so that North Shore commuters are are able to have a somewhat uninterrupted reception between their daily ride to and from  Boston.

Al Mayers, the head of  Bloomberg Radio and Television stated in the press release : “We are excited to extend our broadcast footprint in the Boston market.  Programming this station in Newburyport gives us the opportunity to provide timely financial information and world news to our listeners during their commute to and from the North Shore.  Over the next few weeks, technical upgrades will be completed to make the experience even better.”

Mayers is a Melrose native and longtime former WRKO 680 and WHDH 850 program/operations manager who left Boston in 2001 to become the head of Bloomberg's NYC-based radio operations and added TV responsibilities in 2015.

As the sale process moves along, Bloomberg Radio is expected to take complete ownership of WNBP AM and FM from Port Broadcasting pending FCC approval.

BRW Notebook :

Comings and Goings : WRKO 680 quietly transitioned its AM drive show name from "Boston Dot Com Morning Show" to "Boston Morning Show" last month ending two-year content partnership with Boston Globe...After a year and change, WKLB 102.5's night timer Renee Castle spins out of Beasley's country music outlet this week. She's been hosting 7pm-Midnight shift since Feb. 29, 2016. Her social media profile now lists 'Iheart Radio' which might be her next professional stop...Speaking of Iheart Radio and country music, Bull 101.7's afternooner Bradford Colton is adding on to his schedule by signing up to TV work with NBC Boston/WBTS. He served as a special correspondent during WBTS's New Year's launch as Boston's new NBC affiliate. He will now serve as lifestyle and entertainment correspondent for the station. His reporting will be seen on the morning and afternoon newscasts...

Sports Radio Wars : Boston's two top sports radio personalities right now are without any doubt  - WBZ 98.5/SportsHub's afternoon king Michael Felger and WEEI's morning overload Kirk Minihane. Everyone is distant second or even third(Ed. Note : And I mean that with love and respect). This week, Felger got a soft-wash profile by Globe's sports media critic Chad Finn. Meanwhile, Minihane got absolutely skewered by WGBH's round-table discussion panel on the Beat Press.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Motor City's top morning show lands at Alt 92.9

Beasley Media Group's modern rocker WBOS/Alt 92.9 will begin airing Detroit-based "Dave and Chuck the Freak Morning Show' starting Monday, July 24 it was announced today.. The 5:30am-10:30am morning drive show will enter Alt 92.9's lineup starting in a daypart that has been jockless since last November when Jason Rossi was cut loose by new station owners(BRW 11/15/16 - Ed. Note : Rossi has landed as a show producer at WEEI 93.7).

The Dave and Chuck talkshow has been airing on Beasley's WRIR 101.1 since May 2013 and is hosted  by Dave Hunter and Charles Urquhart along with show member Lisa Way.  They all originally began working together in April  2001 on Windsor, Canada’s 89X /CIMX 88.7 FM where they were until November of 2012. The show also features co-host Andy Green, producer James Campbell, and video editor Jason Watson. Currently, it's the #1 morning drive show in the Detroit market.

“We have been eager to expand Dave & Chuck’s content beyond Detroit and I couldn’t be more thrilled that it all starts in Boston,” said Beasley Media Group Executive Vice President of Programming Justin Chase in a press release. “This is a market where their genre of show has been very successful in the past and I’m certain Boston will love D&C."

While not officially billed as a syndication test launch but rather a two-city simulcast(for now), it should be interesting to see if any more stations in Beasley's 15-market portfolio jump on board in coming weeks.

"Dave and Chuck" becomes the third nationally syndicated morning show to be heard on local FM dial. iHeart Media's country WBWL/Bull 101.7 runs Bobby Jones Show and WJMN/Jamn 94-5's carries "The Breakfast Club'. 

WBOS will remain music-focused for the remainder of its broadcast day. Amy Brooks continues as the local afternoon drive host from 3pm to 7pm. [Quick Update : Looks like Amy Brooks got moved up from afternoon drive to middays(10:30-3pm) and Al Beck, overnighter from Dave&Chuck's WRIF 101.1, is now holding down 3-7pm at Alt 92.9 via voice-tracking technology...Stay tuned]

BRW Notebook:

Smaller is better : As mentioned earlier this spring, WBOS/Alt 92.9 had ended its long-running EarthFest and will now focus on smaller station events and concerts. This year as part of the ALT Rocks Boston Concert Series presented by RCN, the station will present the Revivalists in Copley Square Park on Thursday, August 17, 2017 and American Authors  on Thursday, August 31, 2017. Then, on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at the SoWa Open Market it will feature New Politics. Local openers will be announce in the coming weeks.

It's a long way to the top if you want to rock'n'roll : WEEI/Sports Radio 93.7 had a monster spring ratings sruvey and every show on the station did exceptionally well with men 25-54, particularly "Kirk and Callahan" who reclaimed the number one sport from soon-to-be-sister station's "Toucher and Rich" on WBZ/98.5 the Sports Hub....
Speaking of sports radio competition, both WEEI and The Sports Hub are nominated for the best sports talk station in the country in this year's Marconi Awards. WEEI won in 2006, 2008 and 2012.  The SportsHub took the hardware in 2011 and 2014. Full list of 2017 nominees is here. The winners will be announced at National Association of Broadcasters' annual Radio Show which this year is being held in Austin, TX on September 8th.

iHeartMedia's cluster forges its local programming team : iHeartMedia WBWL/Bull 101.7's program director/night host Lance Houston signed a new long-term deal with the station. "I am very lucky to call the best city in America my home and am so thrilled that I get to continue to build the brand alongside the talented team we have here at the Bull," says Houston. He's been at the station for three years(BRW 9/7/14), with previous stops at WPOC/Baltimore and WUBL/Atlanta.

Over at WXKS/Kiss 108, Michael "Mikey V" Vinc has been named station's new Assistant Program Director and Music Director. Mikey V will continue to serve as the station’s nighttime on-air personality. “I look forward to taking on my new role and continuing to work with the extremely talented people at KISS 108,” said Mikey  V. “iHeartMedia Boston is a dream workplace for this kid from Framingham.” Mikey V has entered Kiss 108's line-up back in November 2013(BRW 11/25/13)

Also signed to a new long-term contract with Karim "DJ Pup Dawg" Karmali who will continue as Assistant Program Director and Music Director for WJMN/ JAM’N 94-5 = Boston’s #1 for Hip-Hop and Hits. He will oversee JAM’N 94-5’s on-air content and music programming, as well as continue as host of the station’s evening show/. DJ Pup Dawg has been with the station since 2001 when became producer for "Baltazar and Pebbles" morning show.

“I am JAM'N through and through and thrilled to be with JAM'N 94-5 for the foreseeable future,” said DJ Pup Dawg. “JAM’N is known for playing Boston’s biggest Hip-Hop songs that our listeners want to hear and I can’t wait to continue that tradition with the best team in the business.”

“We’re thrilled for the opportunity to continue to work with Mikey V, Lance and DJ Pup Dawg,” said Dylan Sprague, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia’s Boston Region. “These guys know this city and know these stations. Having these critical programming roles locked in long-term gives us a big competitive advantage as we strategize for our future.” 

In addition, the company also announced that Shaileen Santoro has been named Director of Marketing for the Boston Region, effective immediately. The area includes Kiss 108, JAM’N 94.5, 101.7 The Bull, Talk 1430, and WXKS-AM 1200 - and produces legendary marquee events including the Kiss 108 Jingle Ball, Kiss Concert and JAM’N 94.5’s Summer Jam. 

Santoro replaces longtime local Kiss 108/Jamn 94-5 marketing exec Dennis O’Heron who moved to corporate with iHeart’s National Programming Group as Senior VP for Live Entertainment & Events back in April and is now NYC-based.. O’Heron was the National Event Brand Manager for National Programming in addition to being the VP of Marketing for the iHeartMedia Boston cluster. O’Heron was part of the team that created the initial idea of a multi-band radio show at KISS 108, which eventually led to the inception of the Jingle Ball concerts and many others.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Bloomberg is switching stations in Boston

Bloomberg Media announced yesterday that it will be adding new FM and AM stations in Boston starting today at Noon. The New York-based financial information giant will take over programming on Beasley Media's WRCA 1330, WRCA 106.1 and WBOS 92.2 HD-2. Florida-based Beasley also made the same announcement

For the past fours years, Bloomberg Radio has been airing on IHeart Radio's WXKS 1200 and WJMN 94.5-HD2 (BRW 2/27/13). That arrangement will continue for the next few months as listeners are transitioned over to the new frequencies. 

WXKS 1200 also serves as the Boston affiliate for Umass-Amherst football and a flagship for Harvard football. It hasn't been announced yet if these sports packages will also be moving over to  the new Bloomberg home 1330 AM/106.1FM/92.9 HD2 or stay on the existing AM 1200 frequency.

Beasley which has owned WRCA 1330 locally since 2000, acquired Braintree-based Greater Media and its five local FM's(WBOS 92.9, WKLB 102.5, WMJX 106.7, WROR 105.7 and WBQT 96.9) last July(BRW 7/20/16) and took over the operations in November. WRCA which for many years featured brokered/leased time format underwent a major signal upgrade recently. Last year, the company also acquired a license for 106.1 FM, 100-watt repeater which sits atop of 200 Clarendon office tower(formerly John Hancock Building).  106.1's signal blankets entire downtown Boston including the Financial District. 

When it officially relaunches later today, WRCA 1330/106.1 will continue its run as brokered/leased air time format as it adds Bloomberg as the new program provider.

Bloomberg also announced that tonight's July 4th Boston Pops concert at the Hatch Shell will be simulcast on WRCA 1330/WRCA 106.1FM and WBOS 92.9 HD2 in addition to the outgoing WXKS 1200/94.5-HD2 signals.

Bloomberg tailors much of the weekday programming for the Boston market with dedicated business news anchors in NYC but supplements them with local traffic, sports and weather updates from local Total Traffic Network offices in Medford. In addition, Bloomberg maintains its own Boston news bureau in the heart of the Financial District where bureau chief Tom Moroney and anchor Anne Mostue produce local content and feature programming such as BayState Business Hour.

As for Iheart's WXKS 1200's future format, it's not yet known what its local management's plans are when Bloomberg programming leaves in a few months. One possibility could be simulcasting lower-powered syndicated talk format on WKOX/Talk 1430 where big name national talkers like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin are heard during the day and evening and Fox Sports programming runs overnight and in the morning drive. 1200 used to feature a talk format as mix of local and syndicated shows from 2010 until August 2012 when switched to brief-lived all-comedy format(BRW 8/13/13).

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Boston's once-iconic AM station goes dark

WMEX 1510, a local mainstay on the AM radio dial in Boston for more than eight decades, went off the air at 6pm on Friday(6/30) when current owners,,Daly XXL Communications, LLC, decided to pull the plug after indicating the the station has been sold and the new owner has not decided on the new format.  (As of this writing. the identity of new station owner has not been announced and no transfer of station license application has been filed with the FCC)

From its start in the mid-1930's and for decades to come WMEX had evolved into one of Boston's famed pop music stations. However, by mid 1970's a growing music competition on AM and FM dials forced its sale and a format change. In 1976, WMEX became the first all-talk format station as well as the new flagship for Boston Red Sox broadcasts for the next seven years. In 1978,  the station changed call letters to WITS("Information, Talk and Sports") by the new ownership.   The Red Sox contract called for the station to improve its signal coverage but despite a $1 million investment into a new antenna, a crucial signal problem remained. Coupled with disadvantageous spot on the end of the dial (1510) and AM radio in general is being challenged more and more by FM, the downward turning point for 1510 was well underway.

In the past four decades, the 1510 frequency has been far from a smashing success of its first 40 years.  Regardless of the ownership, call letters or the programming, a continuing problem had been the station's 50,000 watt signal, adequate during daytime hours, but shaky nighttime directional signal left much to be desired  - WMRE(Golden Oldies/"Memory"Big Band/Nostalgia), WSSH(simulcast of soft pop WSSH FM "Wish 99.5"),  WKKU(Country), WNRB(Spanish language religious programming), WWZN(sports talk and Celtics broadcasts under Sporting Radio/Zone 1510), WUFC(Yahoo Sports/Talk format) and last two years as all-talker WMEX. The station was also in Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1986 but never actually signed off the air.
As for current situation, after leasing out 1510 for about a year(2014-2015), a family-owned Daly XXL finally acquired WMEX from Blackstrap in June 2015 for $175,000. Over the past two years, the all-talk format featured local morning show "Renegade Radio" show with John Pica and station's general manager Bryan Berner, Boston Herald Radio, Joe Shortsleeve, Sandy Shack, Michele McPhee, Tim Constantine, syndicated Michael Savage. Very briefly, WMEX served as the temp home for Howie Carr who was in the midst of negotiating a hard-bargained affiliation deal with WRKO 680 and desperately needed a Boston signal to support his new self-syndication venture. (The WRKO syndication deal was finally struck in March 2015 and Carr immediately returned to AM 680)

It's not clear whether 1510's discontinued signal transmission will be temporary or permanent. The Federal Communications Commission won’t let a station remain silent for longer than one year, or its license gets automatically cancelled.

Stay tuned.

BRW Notebook :

Fireworks : The annual July 4 concert and fireworks event at the Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade produced by The Boston Pops has a brand new media partner starting this year. That means the change in radio signals. Exit CBS/WBZ-TV and WBZ 1030 and enter NewYork-based Bloomberg TV and Radio. Bloomberg will broadcast The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on Bloomberg Television on cable/satellite nationally and internationally. Locally, on radio over WXKS 1200/WJMN 94.5 HD2 will run TV simulcast from 8pm to 11pm. The concert will be also heard on WBBR 1130 in New York/New Jersey/Connecticut areas; WNEW FM 99.1 in the Washington, D.C/ Baltimore areas; 960 AM in San Francisco; SiriusXM Channel 119, on the Bloomberg Radio+ app for iPhone and Android, and on TuneIn. Bloomberg's anchors/personalities Alix Steel, Carol Massar and Matt Miller are the hosts. 

Happy Returns : Couple noteable returns on local dial - after a three year absence, former WEEI nighttime host John Ryder has returned to Red Sox Radio broadcasts on WEEI as weekend and fill-in pre and postgame host earlier June. Ryder is still working with ESPN Radio in CT......Jim Clerkin, who was with WXKS/Kiss 108 from 1999-2015 in various roles including music director, assistant program director and Matt Siegal's morning show executive producer has landed as executive producer at WRKO 680's Boston Dot Com morning show in early June. Clerkin officially replaced Dave Cullinane who exited in late February(BRW 3/1/15).

Monday, June 26, 2017

Bruins extend radio partnership with 98.5 The Sports Hub

Boston Bruins radio broadcasts are staying put.

CBS Radio Boston and 98.5 The SportsHub have reached an agreement that will keep the Bruins on WBZ 98.5 and its extended radio network.

The multi-year contract was announced by the club late last week.

WBZ-FM radio has served as the flagship radio station for the Bruins since 2009-2010 season. Terms of the extension were not disclosed.

The radio team of play-by-play announcer Dave Goucher and analyst Bob Beers will return for their 17th season for the Bruins. Beers has served as team's analyst since 1997-1998 when he was paired up with Bob Neumeier on CBS Radio's WBZ 1030 which was team's flagship station from 1995 until 2009 when the games shifted to then an upstart FM sports station. 

As part of the agreement, WBZ 98.5 will continue to program two-hour  "Hockey Show" on Saturday mornings and produce 30-minute pre and post-game shows.

The Boston Globe's sports media writer Chad Finn reported in his Friday column that Entercom's WEEI 93-7 was aggressively pursuing Bruins radio rights even with  the announcement of CBS Radio-Entercom merger announced in back early February(BRW 2/2/17). Now that the two sports stations are set to co-exist under one ownership(the merger is expected to be finalized in the fall), the battle for local sports radio rights will unlikely have any significant implications on the competitive edge for the two sports stations.

BRW Notebook :

"Looking at the Law" signs off : Attorney Neil Chayet, host of “Looking at the Law” features on WBZ 1030, has retired after a 42-year broadcast career. Chayet, 78, also announced that he is fighting an aggressive prostate cancer and being treated at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"Kid" David Corey returns to Boston to program WKLB as longtime PD Mike Brophey retires

Beasley Media Group has made a major change at its Boston country station WKLB 102.5 today. Boston radio veteran David Corey has officially been named as WKLB's new program director effective May 31. He replaces another veteran Mike Brophey who is retiring.  Brophey first arrived to Boston in 1996 to program  new WKLB 96.9 when Greater Media merged two country formats on 96.9 and 105.7. In addition, Brophey's wife Ginny Rogers Brophey who has been assistant program director/music director since Greater Media launched WBCS 96.9 back in 1993 is also stepping down.

As for Corey, his Boston radio career took off at the young age of 17 at WXKS-FM (Kiss 108) where he worked his way up the ranks starting as intern
"Kid David" Corey(L) with late
Donna Summer(C) and 
music director Jerry McKenna(R) at 
Kiss Concert in May 1990
to night personality "Kid David"(taking over 10pm-2am shift from Lisa Traxxler in late 1994) to eventually serving as Assistant Program Director /Music Director from 1995 until 2006.

Corey was let go from Kiss 108 in June 2006 to due budget cuts at Clear Channel(now Iheart Media). In November 2006, he landed as program director at Canada's biggest Top 40 station CHUM 104.5 in Toronto thru corporate ranks at CHUM's owner Bell Media. In early May, Corey submitted his resignation from Bell Media without divulging his next career stop.

"I am excited to have the opportunity to return home to Boston to work at WKLB-FM," said Corey. "It's an amazing station with an incredible history in Country radio. I look forward to working with Justin Chase, Mary Menna, Cadillac Jack and the entire team at the station."

"David possesses the unique combination of being an excellent strategist and talent developer, as well as a battle-tested winner," added Director of Programming Cadillac Jack. "He's a one of a kind competitor that we are fortunate to add to our Beasley Media Boston team of programmers/"

[Ed. Note : What does return of Corey mean to WKLB in the short term? The station just rebranded itself as "New 102.5", dropping the old standby "Country 102.5. Also, with Corey having extensive Top 40 background, is Beasley thinking of jumping into the ring with Iheart's giant Kiss 108 and CBS Radio's feisty Amp 103.3? Stay tuned.]

BRW Notebook :

Radio gets real : Condolences to AMP 103.3's morning co-host TJ Taormina and his wife Jess' loss of their baby in the 9th month of her pregnancy two week ago. After returning to work last Monday(5/22), he told listeners on  AMP's  morning show, "Last week you may have noticed we were in replays for the majority of the week. Unfortunately, I have some very sad news to share. While wife Jess who was nearly 9-mos. pregnant, we lost our baby." Hear their story right here.

Sheppard returns : Celebrating his 29th year in broadcasting, former WEEI personality Pete Sheppard starts a new chapter of his storied sports radio career in Fort Myers/Naples radio market. Press release is right here.

WAAF new syndicated show : Entercom's is launching 'The Men’s Room' nationally on June 5, 2017 with eight big market stations on board including its own WAAF 107.3 in Boston where the show will air in the 7pm-11pm slot. The show is based at its Entercom flagship station 99.9 KISW-FM, The Rock of Seattle where it air live from 2-6 pm PT. Westwood One is spearheading syndication and ad sales in a joint partnership with Entercom.

Maximum exit : Michele McPhee is set to depart talker WMEX 1510's this Friday(6/2) after exactly two years in the afternoon drive. No word on what and who will follow her in the 3pm-6pm but rumors about the format and the station's future are endless.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Joe Mathieu jumps to WGBH 89.7 to anchor local segments of NPR's "Morning Edition" 

Former WBZ 1030's morning anchor Joe Mathieu will shortly have a brand new home on the local radio dial. After a six-year morning drive run at CBS Radio's news/talker, he is slated to become the new local voice for WGBH’s Morning Edition starting in August, the station announced in its press release this week. Mathieu left WBZ 1030 on April 28th(BRW 4/25).

Mathieu will join WGBH in June to begin training and reporting two months ahead of anchoring the program. He takes over for veteran host Bob Seay, who had hosted the local news segments of Morning Edition since October 2010(BRW 10/05/10). Seay will stay on the program’s team to focus on reporting and writing. 

WGBH shifted to its current public affairs/news/talk format in late 2009. Since then it's been branding itself as "Boston Public Radio"and placed all its classical music programming on its sister station WCRB 99.5 and drastically cut jazz programming down to three weekend nights. It expanded news staff and added a popular local midday talk duo of Jim Braude and Margery Eagan(11am-2pm) back in January 2013. The pair came over from the now defunct WTKK 96.9 which is now rhythmic/hip-hop WBQT/Hot 96-9.

Ratings-wise, in recent moths WGBH has bridged the audience gap with Boston Univeristy's WBUR 90.9 which brands itself "Boston's NPR News station". According to just released Nielsen Audio's ratings for April(March 30-April 26), WBUR was the 8th most listened station in Boston with a 4.3 share(down from 4.6) while WGBH came in 10th with a 4.0(up from 3.8 in March). Obviously, by snapping a high profile news voice like Mathieu from a top commercial outlet, WGBH is betting heavy on its future as market's top news and content provider as #1 pubcaster in the city. Whether hipper, younger Mathieu helps to move the needle is still to be seen. In his last month at WBZ, the station finished third with an impressive 5.7 share and roughly 714,000 weekly listeners. In addition, WGBH is also younging up its AM drive - Mathieu is about 30 years younger than Seay which is about 100 in radio years.

Both stations run NPR's Morning Edition - WGBH from 5am to 10am and WBUR from 5am to 9am. WBUR's Morning Edition segments are anchored by Bob Oakes who has been its local host there since 1992 and like Mathieu came from the commercial all-news format(the now-defunct WEEI 590)

Mathieu had spent six years at WBZ, where he covered every major political race and the New Hampshire Primary. He was a regular guest on WBZ-TV4 with Jon Keller, and recently started a Facebook Live broadcast, engaging with his followers each morning before his shift.

Prior to his role at WBZ, Mathieu was Washington-based program director of P.O.T.U.S., Sirius XM’s news and talk channel devoted to U.S. politics, which he launched in 2007. He has also served as a news anchor and editor for commercial stations in D.C., and was managing editor and anchor for CBS MarketWatch.

BRW Notebook : 

Ashbrook on the mend : The host of WBUR-produced "On The Point", Tom Ashbrook, will be on medical leave for the next few weeks. Ashbrook had successfully underwent a vascular surgery this week. Previously, he underwent successful heart bypass in 2007. On The Point's regular fill-in Jane Clayson will be subbing for Ashbrook on NPR's program until he returns.

Laquidara is on the ballot : Voting for the 2017 National Radio Hall of Fame Inductees began this week. The 24 nominations in six categories were determined by the organization’s Nominating Committee. Four of those categories will be voted on by a voting participant panel comprised of nearly 1,000 industry professionals. Former longtime WBCN 104.1 and WZLX 100.7's morning personality Charles Laquidara, 78, has been nominated in "Active Local/Regional(10 years or more)". Inductees will be announced June 26.  The induction ceremony will be held Nov. 2 at the Museum of Broadcast and Communications in downtown Chicago.  Laquidara was inducted into Massachusetts Hall of Fame in 2009, right after his former station WBCN 104.1 permanently signed off in August 2009. Laquidara was featured in 2015 documentary "I Am What I Play".

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Another former Jamn refugee lands at Hot 96-9

It's been like a non-stop reunion of former Jamn personalities and staffers at rhythmic/hip-hop WBQT/Hot 96-9. Program director "Cadillac" Jack McCarthy, music director/mix coordinator Roy Barboza and on-air jocks Pebbles, Melissa, Ramiro, Deirdre Dagata have all joined Jamn's rival since its format launch in January 2013. And, starting this afternoon another very familiar voice/name will be a part of Hot's weekday line-up - veteran DJ Bobby Blaze has been named station's new afternoon drive(3pm-7pm) jock. Blaze held the same shift at Jamn from March 2003 until August 2013(BRW 8/9/13) when he was let go due to budget cutbacks. He officially takes over from Jackson Blue who was named Country 102.5's permanent morning co-host last month.(BRW 3/1).  Full release on Bobby Blaze's hiring is here.

WBQT/Hot 96.9's line-up now looks like this :

• Mornings (6-10a): The GetUp Crew with Ramiro, Pebbles, Melissa & Wiggy 
• Middays (10a-3p): Deirdre Dagata 
• Afternoons (3-7p): Bobby Blaze 
• Mixes (9a, 12p and 4:15p): DJ Roy Barboza 
• Weekends: Reggie Beas 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

WBZ's all-news anchor is leaving after six years

WBZ/NewsRadio 1030's radio's morning news anchor Joe Mathieu, will anchor his last newscast this Friday, April 28 according to CBS Boston report published this morning.

Prior to joining CBS Radio's news/talker WBZ in May 2011(BRW 4/4/11), Mathieu,42, was a program director and anchor at Sirius XM Satellite Radio in Washington, D.C. Joe created XM’s channel “P.O.T.U.S.” dedicated to covering the presidential election of 2008 and also anchored its daily news and talk program “The Press Pool.” He also anchored special events, from conventions to elections to inaugurations, and managed the channel’s White House coverage.

Mathieu, Emerson College alum, has worked in at WRKO 680 and also for Boch Broadcasting on Cape Cod where he was one of the youngest news directors in the country.

No word on his next stop but it should be announced shortly.

BRW Notebook :

Happy Thoughts :  Sending good vibes to Boston rock radio vet and current WBOS/Alt 92.9 afternoon drive DJ Amy Brooks received a kidney transplant at MGH today. Her story is here.

Spinning turntable : Andy Gresh who was a midday host at Boston's Sports Hub 98.5 from 2010 to 2015 and was most recently co-hosting afternoon drive at WTIC 1080 in Hartford, CT, started a brand new gig last week. As of April 17th, Gresh joined Providence's WPRO 630/99.7's local lineup with a brand new 6-9pm show....Meanwhile, Gresh's previous shift in Hartford is being filled in by another Boston talk radio veteran - Todd Feinburg started a new afternoon drive show on WTIC 1080 yesterday...NPR's All Things Considered host Robert Siegel will step down from the position in January after more than 40 years at NPR, the network announced today. Siegel,69, began his career at NPR in 1976 as a newscaster and continued as an editor before going on to open NPR’s London Bureau and serving as chief of NPR News. He became an ATC host in 1987. In Boston, the show airs lives from 4pm to 6pm on WGBH 89.7 and WBUR 90.9....

Tradition ends : One of Boston's signature annual radio events is history - Earthfest which used to rock out the Esplanade every April or May for the past 22 years is no more. WBOS/Alt 92.9 which has been putting one of the largest free radio shows in the country every spring is changing things up a bit :  The station will now put on 3 more smaller free shows this summer at the SoWa Open Market in Boston. 

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 :


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 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  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.