Kiss 108's Siegel brings his show to the Ocean State
Longtime WXKS 107.9FM/Kiss 108 morning man Matt Siegel is taking his wildly popular AM drive show to Rhode Island airwaves beginning next Monday(5/18). "Matty In The Morning" will be heard on WSNE-FM/Coast 93.3 which serves the Providence market. Coast 93.3, like Kiss 108, is owned by Clear Channel Communications.
Although Kiss 108's signal has a pretty good reach into the Ocean State, the regional syndication move makes more economic sense for Coast 93.3 whose line-up is already loaded with out-of-town personalities like Ryan Seacrest and John Tesh. Both Boston and Providence clusters are also managed by the same general manager, Tom McConnell. Coast's lone local show is hosted by midday DJ Kristen Lessard who was with Boston's WBOS 92.9FM and WROR 105.7FM a few years ago.
Siegel who's been with Kiss 108 since 1981 will keep his show Boston-focused. In 1995, the station's former owner Pyramid Broadcasting tested out the syndication of "Matty In the Morning" but the experiment was very short-lived(4 months) as both the host and three stations involved just couldn't make it work for many reasons.
BRW Notebook :
Looking back : Speaking of Kiss 108 and "Matty in the Morning", it was 30 years ago this past January 15 that WXKS 107.9FM, better known as Kiss 108, broke into the competitive world of Boston radio. The station started out as the disco station(Siegel was often referred to as "Disco Matty" by his competitors back in the day), but after the first couple years it segued to a more of the Top40 sound mxed in with dance and R&B artists. While it wasn't the first station to resurrect Top 40 in the early '80s, it became the primary engine of the format’s resurgence. Without a doubt it was one of the most-copied stations in America for at least first two decades backed up by power personalities who helped to put it all together - Sunny Jo White, Matt Siegel, JJ Wright, Dale Dorman, Ed McMann and "Lady D" Diana Steele. But what may be even more impressive than its acceleration is its cruising power.
Three decades after its launch, Kiss 108 is as strong as ever and has consistently ranked in the city's top four and perpetuating a brand name so powerful that today's pop fans listen in huge numbers to their parents' radio station.
This Sunday(5/17), Kiss 108 will once again be honoring its heritage and history by throwing itself 30th birthday party at the Comcast Center in Mansfield where over 20,000 fans will pack the sold-out all-day music fest featuring today's Top 40 hit makers The Black Eyed Peas, The All-American Rejects, Flo Rida, Ciara, The Veronicas, The White Tie Affair, Sean Kingston and others. The station will be broadcasting from Kiss Concert 2009 all day Sunday as Matt Siegel and his morning show crew and afternoon driver Neil "Romeo" Paris will be providing updates on the festivities.
Living the dream : Quite a night for local sports radio play-by-play teams, Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell will be on working Game 6 as the Celtics try to close out the Magic in Orlando at 7pm as part of WEEI AM 850's big doubleheader as the Sox try to take the rubber game from the Angels at 3:35pm in the first game. Over on WBZ AM 1030, the Bruins will try to make an unimpossible comeback from being down 3-1 against the Hartford(or is it Carolina now?) Hurricanes with Dave Goucher and Bob Beers on the call at 8pm from the Garden.
Radio bailout : Goldman Sachs is now a majority owner of classical WCRB 99.5FM in Waltham as NYC-based investment firm they took 85% equity stake in parent company Nassau Broadcasting late last month. Nassau has been working on restructuring its outstanding debt with Goldman Sachs for the past few months. The end result, Goldman will call the shots as Nassau runs and operates its stations located throughtout New England states and New Jersey. In 2007, Entercom was going to acquire a 50% ownership of WCRB 99.5FM in addition to a bigger proposed deal with Nassau which involved syndicating WEEI on Nassau's stations around New England, but the deal fell apart as the year came to a close.
Boring radio invades : WFNX 101.7FM will change more than its schedule this Sunday morning. After 26 years on the air, Jeff Turton's "Jazz Brunch" bid a fond farewell to Boston airwaves last Sunday. Station didn't officially announce what will air in its place(PD Keith Dakin didn't return BRW's inquiry) but the loss of "Jazz Brunch" denies casual listeners the chance to hear a few minutes of Miles or Dara's African-influenced sounds in the middle of a lazy Sunday morning, and deprives the region's die hard fans, many of whom developed their tastes listening to Turton's show over two decades, opportunities to sample new music from all over the world. More significant, it changes the character of Boston's commercial radio. Even for those who never buy jazz records, jazz programming can be a refuge from the crush of the same of alternative rock, oldies and classic rock, adult contemporary, Top 40 carried on at least 10 other stations. Jazz Brunch was one of the few places on the dial at the time of the week providing important special-interest programming in favor of more radio sameness.
Mix on the Move : More changes ahead. WBMX-FM/Mix 98.5 which got a new morning show earlier this year is also getting a new studio later this year. The Hot AC station which has been housed at 1200 Soldiers Field Road for about 10 years will be joining its sister stations WZLX 100.7FM, WBCN 104.1FM and WODS 103.3FM down the street at 83 Leo Birmingham Parkway. The for-lease sign is already out in front of 1200 Soldiers Field as the construction of the new Mix 98.5 studios in the old TV38 building is now underway. The move is expected to take place in the fall.
Guess who's not coming for dinner : Heading into Day 11 of the suspension, there's still no word from Jay Severin or his employer WTKK 96.9FM. And that media-manufactured Porky Pig flu hysteria that got Severin into this big jam with his radio bosses is not even in the news anymore(The sanitizer is actually back on the shelves at my local CVS. So, I guess the worst is behind us, Matt Lauer? :-).
BRW did hear from one his sponsors - Michael Currier who owns Currier's Leather Furniture - dropped a note at this space this week. Currier says he's standing by Severin and that last week's Globe report on the advertiser pull-out conveniently misquoted him to fit their side of the story : "Globe just goes with throw it against the wall crap. Have another sponsor said the same. Illegal aliens don’t buy product from Jays sponsors greater Boston…..It’s more WTKK after 10 years trying to get out of $1M a year long term deal. Jay has been on the edge and said worse for all 10 years here. We will continue to support Jay and his program. We were grossly misquoted in the Globe...no big surprise there. We told them "we would absolutely be advertising with Jay when he comes back on." I guess they saw fit to conveniently leave that part out. Thank you for your concern."
(ED. Note : As I said from the beginning when this all happened, the bottom line is the bottom line. This is not about free speech, stereotyping or offensive language as being spun in the newsprint, on non-profit media shows and other blogs. When Severin got into trouble in 2004 and actually had an official FCC complaint filed against him and WTKK, Greater Media backed him all the way. Why? Because his ratings were hot and he was making money for his employers. It was love at the cash register. This time around, his ratings are not hot, not even warm(Severin is not even in Top 10) and with the advertising market being what it is, you don't need to be an economics genius to figure out that paying $1million a year plus bonuses just doesn't make sense in this business environment. What happens next? There are only two options to consider : an agreed buyout or one big pay cut. )