Sunday, April 1, 2018

Veteran news anchor Rod Fritz let go at WBZ

WBZ/News Radio 1030 midday news co-anchor Rod Fritz was let go from Iheart Media-owned station late last week.

Highly-regarded radio veteran, Fritz has been working as news anchor/reporter/director in the Boston market since 1976 and had been working at WBZ since November 2007. He had co-anchored WBZ's midday news with another market veteran, Mary Blake, who was also let go recently.

Iheart Meda sent out an internal memo about Frtiz’s departure but would not comment publicly about reasons. After acquiring the news/talk station  last November,  the company let go long-time news director Peter Casey right before Thanksgiving weekend.(BRW 11/22/17).

San Antonio-based iHeartMedia filed for bankruptcy on March 14 in Houston, following two years of litigation and speculation as the nation’s largest owner of radio stations trying to keep its crushing debt under control and creditors at bay.

WBZ runs all-news format blocks from 5am to 8pm on weekdays, 5am to 6pm on Saturdays and 5am-10am, Noon-7pm on Sundays.  WBZ’s weekday midday news block is now being co-anchored Nichole Davis and Tina Gao. Morning(Deb Lawler and Josh Binswanger) and afternoon(Laurie Kirby and Jeff Brown) anchor teams remain intact for now.

In a monthly ratings survey for February, WBZ was ranked as fifth most-listened station in the Boston market for listeners age 6 and over. It averaged about 594,000 listeners a week or about a half of what Boston's number one station, Iheart-owned Top 40 WXKS/Kiss 108, gets(1.2 million).

IheartMedia moved WBZ to its popular IheartRadio digital platform when it took over the station last November. Since December WBZ has been simulcast on the HD2 subchannel of WXKS/Kiss 108.

BRW Notebook :

FCC silences longtime Boston radio pirate :  The FCC reported last week that it seized transmission equipment from two pirate radio stations in Boston on March 26. According to court documents, the seizures involved an illegal broadcaster that identified as “Big City” on various FM channels from Dorchester (with a studio in Roxbury) and pirate “B87.7 FM,” which operated on 87.7 FM from Dorchester. Both unlicensed stations had been issued multiple warnings but continued to operate. Pursuant to federal forfeiture statutes, authorities seized equipment operated by each radio station. FCC actions came in the wake of complaints to the agency — including one from a licensed broadcaster — about interference.

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