Tuesday, September 8, 2009

WTKK celebrates 10 years as Boston's FM talker

September 7th marked the 10th anniversary of Braintree-based Greater Media's crowning big idea: the conversion of smooth jazz WSJZ 96.9FM into Boston's first all-talk FM radio station - WTKK 96.9FM. The FM talk format has survived and to some extent established itself as a big player in Boston radio, despite some spasms of change, unwanted publicity and programming setbacks that included sudden departures and eventual returns of morning man Don Imus and afternooner Jay Severin, botched attempt to land Howie Carr from rival WRKO AM 680 as well as the change of program directors.

When the FM talk format signed on September 7th, 1999, the station still had WSJZ call letters with the line-up that featured smooth jazz after 6pm for the first week or two(Don Imus 5:30-10am, Stacy Taylor 10am-2pm and Jay Severin 2-6pm). Today's line-up includes Don Imus(6-9am), Michael Graham(9am-Noon), Margery Eagan and Jim Braude(Noon-3pm), Jay Severin(3pm-7pm), Michelle McPhee(7pm-10pm), Curtis Sliwa(10pm-1am) and Phil Hendrie(1am-5am).

Greater Media's press release on WTKK's 10th anniversary is here(Ed. Note : Surprisingly, the release has no mention of former PD Paula O'Connor who guided WTKK from September 1999 to May 2007).

BRW Notebook :

Rookie of the year : Brand new sports talker SportsHub 98.5's night guy Damon Amendolara is getitng some good early grades and praise. And, deservedly so. As mentioned here before, this draft pick has really worked out well.

New Latin format enters : After nearly three years of simulcasting WKOX AM 1200/Rumba 1200, sister station WXKS AM 1430 had adopted a new format last week. WXKS AM is still featuring Latin music but under the new programming handle - "Mia 1430". The two-station Rumba simulcast had become unnecessary after WKOX launched its new 50,000 signal in early spring(BRW 4/21). With WKOX's 50,000 signal overlapping WXKS AM 1430's area of coverage, the stations owner Clear Channel opted to pull Rumbas off AM 1430 and added one of its "Premium Choice" Spanish-language formats called "Mia" which is geared toward a younger audience. Reportedly, the advertisers who buy time on Rumba also get to have their spots heard on Mia.

What's the frequency, dude? : Thursday's(9/10) release of August ratings(7/23-8/19) will be more important for the 'other' rock stations(WFNX, WAAF, WBOS, WXRV,etc) than for the two sparring sports stations. Arbitron's 4-week monthly ratings report includes a full week(8/13-8/19) *without* WBCN 104.1FM. Where did the Rock's audience go? Your guess is as good as The Boston Radio Examiner's which has WFNX 101.7FM looking to capitalize on WBCN's demise and making its claim for The Rock of Boston throne. And, in the name of shameless self-promotion and just in time to welcome back 250,000 college kids from NY, NJ and CT, WFNX is making its Disorientation 2009 a free event this year.
As for WEEI and SportsHub's friendly pillow fight(Ed. Note : Still can't get over WEEI and SportsHub on-air personalities civily debating each other on Comcast Sports New England's TV set every weeknight. Is this really an old-fashioned radio war?! Please.), a full month of ratings will be a true indicator of SportsHub's initial impact.


raccoonradio said...

I have, on tape, the first couple minutes of Stacy Taylor. I think he suggested listeners who were mad at the format switch should stand outside their studios with signs, and it was important the frequency and calls be mentioned on those signs so they could get publicity

raccoonradio said...

2 minutes of the debut , where Taylor urges a protest. "do we have a way to e-mail or something like that? We don't know. We're clueless..."