Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Zito tapped as co-host for Oldies' morning show

Boston morning drive radio listeners will have a new choice on their dial tomorrow morning. Well, the AM drive team on Oldies 103.3 may be new, but the voices will sound quite familiar to those who spun around Boston's FM band over the past 25 years.

Tomorrow at 6am, WODS 103.3FM will officailly launch its brand new morning show with
Karen Blake and Chris Zito, CBS Radio-owned station announced today. At the end of September, Blake took over the morning slot from the Boston radio icon Dale Dorman who semi-retired after a 40-year run on Boston radio(BRW 9/14). She was briefly paired with former Ch.4 sportscaster Bob Lobel who served as gues host for three weeks(BRW 9/19). Meanwhile, Dorman is still heard on Oldies every Satruday morning(9am-Noon).

As hinted earlier(BRW 9/25), WODS tapping veteran stand-up comic and radio host Chris Zito as the new morning co-host wasn't a huge surprise. Prior to WODS, Zito spent five years working on a popular morning drive show at Worcester 's WXLO 104.5FM. WODS' current PD Jay Beau Jones who was WXLO's PD up until this past February originally hired Zito to do mornings there. In the early 90's, Zito worked mornings with JR Edwards at WJMN/WZOU 94.5 where Blake hosted afternoon drive around the same time. Both of them then ended up at Greater Media's country station WCLB 105.7FM(now WROR) where Zito was exec-producing "Loren and Wally" in the AM and Blake handled PM drive from 1994 to 1996. After WCLB stint, Zito moved to Detroit for five years where he joined his former WZOU/WJMN morning man JR at Planet 96.3 In 2001, he returned to Boston and worked as a writer on Steve Sweeney’s morning show "Sweeney's Neighborhood" on WZLX from 2001 to 2003.

Zito's track record as a stand-up comedian is as long as his radio career. He'll continue doing his stand up routine at
Dick Doherty's Comedy Vault in Boston every Thursday night.

BRW Notebook :

Signature call still gets plenty of play :
Dan Davis' radio description of Doug Flutie's "Hail Mary" pass to Gerard Phelan against Miami Hurricanes at the Orange Bowl in November 1984 accompanies many video clips of that play and is still in big deamnd commercially reports the Herald. Davis called every game Flutie played at Boston College on radio, including "The Miracle in Miami" game on WRKO. Davis has been with ESPN Radio in Bristol, CT since leaving WRKO in 1992.

Going national : As tipped in this space last month(BRW 10/2), NYC-based talker and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa who landed the 10pm-1am slot on WTKK 96.9FM’s line-up on
October 1st had plans to go national and now he isl. Sliwa’s employer, Citadel Broadcasting, is launching his night show(9pm-1am) in syndication after a month-long test run in Boston. The new national show is expected to have 20 stations by December 1. Sliwa has already been added on Citadel’s KABC AM 790 in LA and next week WMAL AM 630 in Baltimore/Washington DC will pick up his new syndication effort. He’s expected to leave his current midday shift(10am-Noon) at his NYC flagship talker WABC AM 770 reports the Daily News. There are whispers out of the Big Apple that Imus’ right-hand man producer Bernie McGuirk will move into Sliwa’s old slot on WABC but that's unconfirmed.

The world is full of skeptics :....especially when it comes to HD Radio. Another less than than enthusiastic article on HD Radio, this time in
last week's Wall Street Journal. While there's nothing new in it, the fact that the same questions are still being raised about HD's viability suggests that terrestrial radio's answer to I-technology and satellite radio is far from turning a corner in gaining market acceptance. The article's title - Weak Signals: Can HD Radio Find Listeners? - says it all.

Change they'll try : This brings us to another topic on new technology - PPM (short for Portable People Meter) radio's new ratings measuring system, which begins in Boston on January 8th. Some 2,000 local radioheads who've been recruited by Arbitron over the past couple of months and representing the area's 3.8 million listeners will begin wearing beeperlike monitors(PPMs) to track what stations they are tuned to.

After the current fall ratings survey period for the Boston radio market ends on December 10th, Arbitron's new portable meters will completely replace the crude system radio stations have used since the days before Elvis had his first hit(~1965). For decades, paid listeners have kept diaries about what stations they tuned into throughout the day, and Arbitron has ranked the stations from those. But broadcasters and advertisers have long disputed the accuracy of the diary-driven ratings. Consider: Diaries are virtually impossible to keep if you are driving and flipping through channels every time you hear something you don't like. How would you recollect all the button punching at the end of a day, or week, when you sit down to fill out the diary? That won't be a problem with the new electronic meters, which will constantly track subsonic encoded signals from each station. A common complaint about the diary system was that many people voted for their favorite stations without listening to them as much as they claimed. And, stations will no longer have to constantly remind listeners what they are listening to as they often do right now so to make sure the call letters track with the diary keepers.

Not that the meter method is without some major flaws especially when it comes to tracking younger listeners who just won't wear them all the time for whatever reason. Also, how do you track office workers wearing headsets while listening an on-line station at work?

Will see. Arbitron will now provide monthly reports. The first two months under the new PPM system - January and February - won't count as Arbitron will use them to work any bugs or glitches until it goes live in March. And, stations won't be able to use the data for these two months to sell advertising time. March is when it all starts for real in Boston radioland. Here's Arbitron's
PPM schedule for the Boston radio market.

Roll over and beg : Sirius and XM program offerings become one tomorrow (11/12). The two satellite radio services are merging into one set of channels to be offered to all subscribers of both former rivals. Announcements have been airing on the satellite stations telling listeners where to tune for their favorites as of Nov. 12. Channels from the two sets which are duplications will see only one survive in the new combined offering. But there are many questions surrounding the financial future of the new merged satellite entity which
just announced...gulp..a $5 billion loss.[Ed. Note : With Sirius XM heavily bleeding cash these days, wouldn't it make sense to sell Howard Stern's morning show to terrestrial radio syndication ala Opie and Anthony deal with CBS? Could be a win-win for both sides. Sirius XM could make some extra cash on a side and terrestrial radio could bring back some listeners who never returned after Howard walked over to satellite radio.]

Drive-by whiner of the week : Patrick O'Keefe of Boston Sports Media Examiner has
apparently found a couple of things wrong with Felgie, Gino and Gil.[Ed. Note : Just goes to show you that a Boston sports fan with an opinion will forever be one unsatisfied customer. :-]

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