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.

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