Sunday, December 24, 2017

Entercom and Beasley complete the Sports Hub and Magic swap

Earlier this week, Beasley Broadcast Group Inc. and Entercom had completed the previously announced asset exchange where the former company received Boston's sports talker WBZ 98.5 The Sports Hub while sending WMJX/Magic 106.7 and $12 million cash to the latter. 

Caroline Beasley, Chief Executive Officer of Beasley Broadcast Group, commented in the issued press release : "The addition of WBZ-FM to our broadcast portfolio highlights Beasley's focus on premium local programming and content and is complementary to our five other radio stations and digital operations in the Boston market -- This transaction further diversifies our Boston market content offerings with marquee sports programming and live game broadcasts of several of the most prominent and competitive professional sports teams in the country."

She added, "We look forward to leveraging our knowledge of the Boston market for the benefit of WBZ-FM listeners while creating an even stronger marketing platform for local area advertisers and businesses"

The SportsHub also launched its brand new website on Monday. The station's streaming is now available on the Iheart Radio platform along with the other Beasley-owned station.

In other local station transaction news, FCC has also approved the transfer of Entercom's divested stations WRKO 680, WBZ 1030, WZLX 100.7 and WKAF 97.7 to Iheart Media. The closing on that transaction is expected next month and iHeartMedia Boston would then own and operation 5 FM and 3 AM local stations : WXKS/Kiss 108, WJMN/Jamn 94-5, WBWL/Bull 101.7, WZLX 100.7, WKAF/New R&B 97-7, WBZ 1030, WXKS 1200 and WRKO 680.

BRW Notebook :

Return Engagement : Legendary Boston radio programmer and DJ is back for the third straight year on WGBH 89.7 with his annual “Christmas Eve With Oedipus” from 6 p.m. to midnight. This past Friday, he sat down with WGBH's morning anchor Joe Mathieu to discuss the 40th edition of the Boston radio classic.

Oedipus started Christimas Eve show when he was working as part-time night DJ at WBCN 104.1 in 1978. When he moved into WBCN's program director chair in 1981, he decided that the only person who should work on Christmas Eve should be the boss.  The show has aired on WBCN 104.1 1978 to 2008, WFNX 101.7  from 2009 to 2011, RadioBDC from 2012-2014 and WGBH 89.7 from 2015 to present.

More on WMEX : As mentioned here earlier this week, Marshfield's WATD owner Ed Perry has acquired the currently-silent WMEX 1510 and hopes to brings it back to the airwaves in 2018. The Herald's business reporter Joe Dwinell had additional details on Perry's plans. Perry will likely be reconfiguring WMEX's signal in the coming months. When the station returns to air, its signal will primarily be aimed at South Shore towns which Perry is hoping to reach.

WBUR's host suspended :  Earlier thsi month, WBUR 90.9's license holder, Boston University,  has hied two firms to investigate allegations that "On Point" host Tom Ashbrook bullied and mistreated some WBUR employees and, in the case of the female complainants, violated the university's sexual misconduct policy. 

Initially, eleven current and former WBUR employees delivered a collection of complaints to WBUR and BU on Dec. 7. The station and university placed Ashbrook on leave the following day, pending a review of the allegations.

On December 19, the station announced that 12 more individuals came forward since the initial complaint was filed.

Ashbrook who has hosted WBUR-produced and NPR-syndicated show commented on the allegations via e-mail.

Monday, December 18, 2017

WMEX 1510 plans to return to airwaves under new local ownership

WMEX 1510, the iconic Boston station that has been off the air since  June 30(BRW 7/2) will change hands in early 2018 and could return to the airwaves in the next few weeks. Local radio broadcaster Ed Perry who owns Marshfield's WATD 95.9, one of the few remaining independent, community- oriented news and music stations in the region, confirmed to BRW that he has bought WMEX at an auction this past weekend.

"Well, we've reached an agreement with the owners of WMEX and I've sent off a check. Of course the deal still has to be approved by the FCC which often takes a bit of time. Anyway, I'm excited about the prospect of helping to revive the station I grew up with and truly loved as a kid in Natick. Should be fun and I'm sure there's a lot of air talent around to fill the frequency with great music and memorable words. As they say..."Stay tuned" !!"

He has not said what kind of radio programming WMEX plans to provide but it will likely be a mix of music and news/talk similar to his long-running WATD 95.9.

BRW Notebook :

What's in the name? : Earlier this month Entercom announced that the WBMX call letters that had been used locally by Mix 104.1(and Mix 98.5 before that) since February 1991 were returned to Chicago market where they resided until 1988. Entercom, which owns Mix 104.1 in Boston, debuted a brand new Classic Hip-Hop station in Windy City on November 17 and WBMX call letters were once synonymous with the format of now defunct Chicago station(on a different frequency). 

Back in Boston, Mix 104.1 now uses "WWBX" as its new call letters. On many commercial radio stations, about the only time one hears actual call letters is at the top of the hour, when the station is required to broadcast a station ID. Most stations here and elsewhere have built or in the process of building an identity and branding around a name and frequency - Mix 104.1, Magic 106.7,  98.5 The Sports Hub, Hot 96.9, Kiss 108, Amp Radio 103.3, Alt 92.9, Jamn 94-5, Bull 101.7, Country 102.5. But some stations in Boston are still very much call letter-driven - WBZ 1030, WEEI 93.7, WRKO 680, WZLX 100.7, WAAF 107.3. 

In the old days, stations wanted listeners to remember their names when they're filling out those all-important Arbitron paper diaries  These days, audience measuring is all done electronically but in the new era of voice-controlled digital speakers like Echo or Alexa, radio station names and call letters still play a very important role.