Thursday, February 22, 2018

January numbers are here....

Entercom and Beasley had four of the top five stations Boston’s January(4-31) Nielsen Audio ratings released yesterday. Leading the pack was Iheart Media’s WXKS/Kiss 108 with a 7.3 share, followed by Beasley’s 98.5 The Sports Hub at 7.1 and WROR 105.7 at 6.7, Entercom’s WEEI/SportsRadio 93.7 and WMJX/Magic 106.7 tying for 4th at 5.4.

Rounding out the Top 10 were News/Talk WBZ/News Radio 1030 at 5.2, pubcasters WBUR 90.9 and WGBH 89.7 and Beasley’s WKLB/Country 102.5  tying for 7th place with impressive 4.9, and Iheart’s recently acquired classic rocker WZLX 100.7 rebounding nicely from a soft Holiday survey with a 4.6.

Five of Boston’s top 10 stations in January were spoken word formats (2 sports stations and 3 stations with news/talk/info format). While Top 10’s total share of music formats slightly favored music formats – 28.9 vs 27.5 – there’s no denying that spoken word stations with very strong digital and podcast presence are carving out a very loyal audience across all platforms.

In the overall ratings for listeners 6 years old and up, WXKS 107.9/Kiss 108 had the highest number of listeners in the morning drive where Matt Siegel’s show finished first. In the midday time slot, the winner was WROR 105.7 where Julie Deveraux hosts 10am-2pm shift and afternoon drive belonged to “Felger and Mazz Show” on Beasley’s sports talker WBZ 98.5 had an outstanding month with the Patriots driving to the Super Bowl.

Here are top 25 stations in the Boston market from January 4 to January 31.

Rank Station Owner Format Dec-2017 Holiday 2017 Jan-2018
1 WXKS/Kiss 108 Iheart Merdia Top 40/CHR 7.2 6.4 7.3
2 WBZ/98.5 The SportsHub Beasley Broadcast Group Sports 5.4 5.9 7.1
3 WROR 105.7/Boston's Greatest Hits Beasley Broadcast Group Classic Hits 5.7 5.5 6.7
4 tie WEEI/Sports Radio 93.7 Entercom Sports 4.1 4.0 5.4
4-tie WMJX/Magic 106.7 Entercom Adult Conterporary 8.8 13.6 5.4
6 WBZ/NewsRadio 1030 Iheart Merdia News/Talk/Info 5.0 4.9 5.2
7-tie WBUR 90.9/Boston's NPR NewsStation Boston University News/Talk/Info 4.9 4.2 4.9
7-tie WGBH 89.7/Boston Public Radio GBH Educational Foundation News/Talk/Info 4.5 4.2 4.9
7-tie WKLB/Country 102.5 Beasley Broadcast Group Country 4.4 4.5 4.9
10 WZLX 100.7/Boston's Classic Rock Iheart Merdia Classic Rock 4.3 3.4 4.6
11 WWBX/Mix 104.1 Entercom "Hot" Adult Contermporary 3.3 2.8 3.2
12 WBQT/Hot 96.9 Beasley Broadcast Group Rhythmic AC 3.2 2.9 3.1
13 WRKO 680/The Voice of Boston Iheart Merdia News/Talk/Info 3.1 2.5 2.9
14 WKAF 97.7/Boston's #1 for R&B Entercom Urban AC 2.4 1.8 2.6
15 WJMN/Jamn 94-5 Iheart Merdia Top 40/Rhythmic 2.5 2.3 2.4
16 WODS/AMP 103.3 Entercom Top 40/CHR 3.2 2.6 2.2
17-tie WBWL/101.7 the Bull Iheart Merdia New Country 2.2 1.9 2.1
17-tie WXRV/92.5 The River Northeast Broadcasting AAA 1.9 1.6 2.1
19 WBOS/Alt 92.9 Beasley Broadcast Group Alternative Rock 1.6 1.8 1.8
20 WAAF 107.3/The Only Station That Really Rocks Entercom Mainstream Rock 1.4 1.2 1.6
21 WXLO 104.5 Cumulus "Hot" Adult Contermporary 1.2 1.2 1.3
22 WCRB/99.5 Classical Radio Boston GBH Educational Foundation Classical 2.1 1.9 1.2
23 WERS 88.9/Boston's Music Discovery Station Emerson College Variety/Block Programming 0.9 0.7 0.9
24-tie WCTK/Cat Country 98.1 Hall Communications Country 0.9 0.7 0.8
24-tie WUMB 91.9 Umass Boston AAA 0.5 0.7 0.8

BRW Notebook :

Reimer's re-entry : WEEI's hosts are hinting that suspended host and writer Alex Reimer might be returning in some shape or form this Friday(2/23).  Reimer was suspended by Entercom from his WEEI's on-line and on-air duties nearly a month ago.

The boys of summer are back : The mild February weather is bringing with it 31 Red Sox spring training games starting this weekend. Starting Friday(2/23), WEEI/"ESPN on 850" will air 28 games while only 3 are slated for WEEI 93.7. Joe Castiglione, 71, is back for 36th season in the Red Sox booth while on-air partner Tim Neverett, 52, is starting his 3rd. Full WEEI 850/93.7 schedule is here.

New time, new station : With all the recent ownership changes, the long-running "Breakfast with the Bealtes" hosted by Larry "Cha-Chi" Loprete has recently left  Iheart's WZLX 100.7 and as of mid-February is now heard on Saturdays on WUMB 91.9 from 6am to 8am. This Saturday's show will be celebrating George Harrison's 75th birthday....In other WUMB news, former River 92.5 part-timer Michelle Briand is WUMB's new night host(7-11pm)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The day when WEEI got silenced

On Friday, February 16, Entercom's WEEI 93.7 pulled all of its local programming from 6am to 6pm in order to accommodate an all-day sensitivity training for station's full-time personnel. That came in the wake of recent controversies which included indefinite suspension of nightime host Alex Reimer who was suspended just before the Super Bowl after he called  Tom Brady's daughter an "annoying little pissant.' Then on February 9th, midday host Christian Fauria was suspended five days for using a racist impression of Don Yee, Brady's agent. Lee is of Chinese descent. Fauria has returned to air this week but Reimer's future at the station should be answered pretty soon. (Ed. Note : Note that Reimer attended last Friday's sensitivity training so all signs point to him returning shortly)

The station filled 12 hours of programming with nationally-syndicated NBC Sports Radio's programming which typically airs on WEEI from 2am to 5am weeknights.

WBUR axes Ashbrook

Tom Ashbrook, the longtime host of NPR’s syndicated radio show On Point(heard locally from 10am to Noon), was fired by WBUR 90.9 on February 14. An internal review by Boston University, the station’s operator, confirmed claims made late last year that he had created an abusive work environment. Ashbrook, who has hosted the daily two-hour morning news and analysis program for 16 years, had been on leave since the allegations emerged on December 9(BRW 12/24/17).

Boston University, which owns and operates the NPR-affiliated station, said a law firm and a consulting firm conducted a pair of investigations into Ashbrook's alleged conduct. Officials said that the investigations involved interviews with employees, managers and Ashbrook himself.

The law firm's review, in particular, determined that Ashbrook's conduct was not sexual in nature and did not constitute sexual harassment under BU's policy, WBUR said.

"Both reports also stated that WBUR management was aware of Mr. Ashbrook’s behavior and repeatedly talked with him about it, but was unsuccessful in changing his behavior," the radio station wrote in a statement.

“On Point employees expressed enormous pride in the program and they recognized that along with everyone else, Mr. Ashbrook was under a great deal of pressure to make sure that the two-hour daily program was perfect. But the employees also described ways in which Mr. Ashbrook consistently overstepped reasonable lines and created a dysfunctional workplace in the process," said Gary Nicksa, BU senior vice president for operations.

“I recognize that we must do better in the future,” said Charlie Kravetz, general manager of WBUR. “Despite the high-pressure nature of so much of our work, we must all be committed to a positive, respectful, and compassionate work environment in every corner of WBUR. We welcome the University’s support and Longpoint’s continuing efforts.”

"On Point" can be heard on more than 290 NPR affiliates across the country, WBUR said. The program will keep using rotating fill-ins until permanent replacement is found.

BRW Notebook :

Free agent signings At year's start, Beasley Broadcast Group announced that Mike Felger, co-host of the afternoon drive's "Felger and Mazz Show" on WBZ/ 98.5 The Sports Hub, has signed a multi-year contract extension. 

"We are thrilled to have Mike continue entertaining Boston's loyal and dedicated sports fans", said company Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Brian Beasley.

“Mike Felger is a Boston institution,” said Beasley Media Group Boston Vice
President and Market Manager Mary Menna. “He is a lightning rod who will
be lighting up Boston radio for years to come!”

Felger, a graduate of Boston University, began his career in the Boston 0sports media in 1989 as an intern at the Boston Herald, where he ended up working for 19 years, ultimately covering the Bruins and Patriots and serving as the paper’s lead football columnist. From there Felger branched out to
broadcast media, hosting the afternoon drive program on ESPN Radio Boston and, from 2007 to present, serving as an anchor at NBC Sports Boston. He joined the Sports Hub at its launch in 2009. 2018 will mark Felger’s 30th year covering sports in Boston in some form

"I couldn't be happier to continue what we started here almost nine years ago and keep it going with Beasley Media Group," said Felger.

On January 24, The New England Patriots and Entercom have announced a multi-year partnership extension. The agreement includes broadcasting rights of "Patriots Monday" and "Patriots Friday" headlined by five-time Super Bowl champion and four-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady, as well as the Patriots' five-time Super Bowl champion Head Coach Bill Belichick on WEEI Sports Radio Network. "Entercom is enthusiastic of and committed to its role as the nation's premiere sports audio producer," said Chris Oliviero, Executive Vice President of Programming, Entercom. "Continuing this winning combination of WEEI and the Patriots, one of Entercom's over 40 professional team partnerships, is a strong sign of that commitment and passion to our listeners."

WEEI-Patriots' previous 3-year deal ended with the unhappy conclusion of 2018 season.

Radio sales :  Last month, Salem Communications has agreed to sell WBIX 1260 to International Church of the Grace of God, Inc., a Florida-based nonprofit religious broadcaster, for $685,000. Salem had purchased the former Radio Disney station in June 2015 for $500,000(BRW 6/6). For the past two and half years the stations known as the Buzz was programming primarily Salem's national talk network lineup and some locally produced shows on weekends. On January 8th, new owners, began programming local shows out of its Somerville studios. The new station is now known as "Nossa Radio USA" and features Portuguese language programming geared toward local Brazilian community.

Meanwhile, Salem moved some of Salem's talkers like Dennis Prager(12-2pm) and Hugh Hewitt(9pm-Midnight) to WROL 950/100.3. In addition, the station now features a local afternoon drive show called The Answer hosted by former WTKK 96.9 personality Joe Ligotti and local media personality Christ Palermo. Once the sale of WBIX is finalized, Salem will still own religious “WEZE 590/The Word,  WROL 950/100.3/The Spirit and Spanish religious WWDJ 1150/ Radio Luz.