Friday, April 23, 2010

Kiss 108 tops in March ratings

There's just no stopping WXKS 107.9/Kiss 108. Boston's Top 40 bastion was the dominant radio signal in the March(4-31) survey, according to Arbitron ratings
released Thursday. With more than 1.5 million people tuning in for at least five minutes every week, Kiss 108 was tops with the general audience(age 6 and over) and its uber-popular morning man Matty Siegel had the most popular show in 25-54 and 18-34 races.

Since early 1979, Kiss has owned the top 40 position in the market. It still does, although it shares a portion of its listenership and the format's artists with a sister FM, rhythmic top 40 WJMN/Jamn' 94.5.

Last month, Kiss 108 ruled Boston radio with a commanding 9.0% of the audience as station unveiled(on March 17) the line-up and for its biggest promotional event of the year - the annual all-day mega Kiss Concert which will be held on May 22nd at Comcast Center in Mansfield. The battle for No.2 spot had news/talker WBZ AM 1030 in that spot with 6.7 share followed by adult contemporary WMJX/Magic 106.7 with 6.0.

The early results in the much anticipated
face-off between Boton's two public radio giants has WBUR 90.9 holding a substantial lead over WGBH 89.7. But there are signs that WGBH is growing slowly thanks to some audience sharing with WBUR. While it's way too early to tell whether WGBH's all-news/talk format will be successful enough to make any kind of a major impact, one thing is clear - WBUR has conditioned an entire generation of Boston radio listeners to consume their news on noncommercial FM band and it is certainly conceivable that some of these listeners may be responding to having another choice(in WGBH) on the dial.

BRW Notebook :

In memory : WZLX 100.7 and WODS 103.3 radio personality Brett Richards(real name - Brett Rushon)
passed away last weekend. Members of Boston radio community set up a Facebook page dedicated to his memory.

Recyling radio : WBOS/Radio 92.9 announced the GenXer-flavored line-up for its 17th annual EarthFest. Collective Soul, Gin Blossoms, Crash Kings and Marcy Playground will take to the stage at the DCR Memorial Hatch Shell on Saturday, May 22, 2010. You can find more information at

Friday, April 16, 2010

WRKO suspends Carr

WRKO 680 AM's talk show host Howie Carr has been suspended for a week effective today. The Boston Globe which broke the story tonight reports that Carr is being benched for speaking badly on air about WRKO and its owner Entercom.

Carr has been an unhappy employee since his attempts to leave WRKO for a rival station WTKK 96.9 back in the summer of 2007. WRKO matched WTKK's offer, a reported $7 million over five years, citing a clause in his contract that gave that right Following setbacks in his legal fight to jump to WTKK, Carr was forced by courts to return WRKO.

When he returned to his highly rated afternoon drive program in November 2007, Carr told listeners the contract dispute had been worked out to the "mutual satisfaction" of the parties involved.

However, for the past two and half years, Carr has been often heard taking on-air shots at WRKO and its parent owner Entercom. The Globe report cites sources that say Carr's been growing increasingly unhappy with the most recent developments involving WRKO's programming decisions. The station lost Rush Limbaugh's show to new conservative talker WXKS AM 1200/Rush Radio in early March.

WBZ is running in format with this year's Marathon coverage

WBZ-AM 1030 will again be the only Hub radio station to devote its resources and airtime to cover 114th running of the Boston Marathon on Patriots Day(4/19). For the second year in a row, there won't be any extended wall-to-wall coverage as the news talk station will once again plans to stay in format with its normal all-news block programming. Station's veteran news reporter Carl Stevens will be covering all the marathon activities in Hopkinton during Monday's morning drive and for the start of the race in wheelchair(9:22am), women's(9:32am) and men's(10am) divisions. But the station's morning news team will not be on site and anchor from WBZ's Brighton studios. Mark Katic will be doing midday sports and will update the race in sports at 15 and 45 minutes past each hour. Reporter Doug Cope will be at the finish line at the Pru covering top finishers in all the main divisions.

BRW Notebook :

Recycling alt-rock for the EarthFest : The 17th annual WBOS/My Radio 92.9's EarthFest is set for Saturday, May 22nd at the Hatch Shell. EarthFest's music lineup won't be officially announced until next Thursday(April 22nd) which just happens to be Earth Day's 40th anniversary. But the main headline act has already announced its appearance at one the biggest radio-sponsored shows in the country. Via its website, Gin Blossoms, are scheduled to play MyRadio 92.9's Earth Fest. The Tempe, Ariz-based quintet playing Tom Petty- and R.E.M.-influenced rockbecame a part of the alternative rock nation crossing into mainstream in 1990's. The band's radio-friendly singles were a staple of the alt-rock radio format("Hey Jealousy", "Till I Hear It From You", "Follow You Down" and "Found About You") and even landed them in the WBCN's Rirver Rave line-up back in 1996. Gin Blossoms along with the rest of the alt-rock phenomenon faded rather quickly and quietly(they broke up in 1997). But as the years pile up, so does the nostalgia, and now there seems to be enough audience demand for unadventurous '90s bands that stations like WBOS/MyRadio 92.9's are popping up all over the place. WBOS' two year-old retro 90's alt rock format could be termed a (moderate) success story.(The ratings for the 3rd week of March put WBOS in sixth place among 18-34 listeners).

I swear, you don't look a day over 69 : One of the more ecletic stations in the Boston market - WHRB 95.3FM - is celebrating its 70th birthday this week. Storeis from Harvard Crimson and Camridger Chronicle.

The numbers game : The Boston Globe's Chad Finn breaks down the latest numbers for Boston's two sports talkers. As Finn points out, after eight months of going head-to-head, some conclusions can be drawn - WEEI 850 is still a force to reckon with among older male sports listening crowd but WBZ-FM/98.5 SportsHub has become the choice for younger FM-only sports listeners...Speaking of the other numbers of interest from the same survey, in the talk battle - WTKK 96.9's new morning team of Jim Braude and Margery Eagan hasn't exactly done much to get a major bounce when the station cut Imus down to almost nothing back in October. Among 25-54 demographic set, WTKK finished 16th and WRKO was 17th during 3rd week of March. WTKK and WRKO morning shows were separated by just two tenth of a point...In the morning news battle, WBZ AM 1030 ruled in 2nd place(just two tenths of a point behind Matty in the Morning), WBUR 90.9FM was solid in 7th place and newcomer WGBH 89.7FM was in 18th. Full March radio ratings for the Boston market will come out next Thursday(April 22nd).

New voices : Angela Anderson is the new morning news anchor at Rush Radio 1200. She joined Jeff Katz's morning drive show on April 5th. Anderson most recently served as program and news director at WGIR AM in Manchester, NH where she worked for the past five years....Kevin Cronin has been named new program director and afternoon personality at Plymouth's WPLM 99.1FM. Scott Gibbons moved from afternoons to morning drive. Cronin returns to WPLM where he worked as Production/Operations Manager from 1999 to 2005. Most recently, he worked as program director at WARK AM/FM in Hagerstown, Md.

Frontier Talk : For the second straight year, local sports journalist and sports personality Danny Picard has been named to TALKERS Magazine's "Frontier Fifty: Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters" for his sports-talk webcast - I'm Just Sayin' on BlogTalkRadio. Picard who also works as a blogger for Comcast SportsNet New England produces upto five original on-line radio shows a week.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Who's on first?!

Play ball!

The major league baseball season began this past Sunday night and radio stations are filling their rosters with baseball-themed programming.

Leading off is the Red Sox game coverage. WEEI 850 is back for a full season as the sole flagship station of the Sox and will broadcast every pitch of every regular and post season game. Last August(BRW 8/25/08), WEEI regained primary flagship status from sister-station WRKO AM 680 which aired majority of games for two and half seasons. No changes in the Sox radio booth as team's iconic voice Joe Castiglione is back to call his 28th Red Sox season. Dave O'Brien is back for his 4th. And, Jon Rish will once again handle all the pregame, post game and rain-delay shows on WEEI's Sox radio network. As was the case in the past few seasons, Rish will step in for O'Brien whenever the latter will be busy with calling Wednesday night baseball games for ESPN-TV. One noticeable change is in the length of Sox radio network's pregame show - it has been expanded to one hour(from 40 minutes). Also, not very good news for Sox radio listeners in the Metrowest and the 495 corridor who had relied on WCRN 830's solid 50,000 watt signal to subsitute for inadequate WEEI 850's(and previously WRKO 680) night coverage in the western 'burbs. WCRN has apparently decided against paying the hefty Sox affiliation fee this season.

In addition, the "Baseball Show", a live TV/radio simulcast is back for the second year on WEEI(and Comcast Sports Net) every Saturday from 9am to Noon co-hosted by CSNNE's Greg Dickerson and WEEI's Lou Merloni.

With WEEI returning as a part-time ESPN Radio affiliate last October, four-letter sports network's "Sunday Night Baseball" is also back after four years at now-defunct ESPN 890.

Red Sox games haven't been heard on AM 1510 frequency since the 1982 season when the station was known as WITS/"Information, Talk, Sports" and served as team's flagship. This year, the Sox games are back on the same frequency but in Spanish. As mentioned in this space last week(BRW 3/31), WWZN AM 1510 has signed a 3-year deal to carry SBN"s production of Sox games in Spanish. All games will have a 30 minute pregame show and will have Uri Berenguer and Juan Oscar Baez behind the mic.

WEEI's clustermate WAAF 107.3 will have Sox skipper Terry Francona on every Wednesday at 1pm, the active rock station announced today. Francona will continue his Wednesday appearances on WEEI's "Dale and Holley" earlier in the day.

Starting this week, SportsHub 98.5/WBZ-FM rolled out a new weekday program specifically covering baseball news. The Baseball Reporters is being hosted by Tony Massarotti and will run from 6 to 7pm unless pre-empted by Bruins' pre-game show. The show will include a panel of baseball writers and reporters. WBZ-TV Sportscaster Dan Roche will be a regular contributor. The show will also include interviews with players and management. “THE BASEBALL REPORTERS will feature all the latest baseball news from some of the most respected reporters in the business, said Mike Thomas, 98.5 The Sports Hub Program Director in a press release. "There is no better host then Tony Massarotti, an authority on everything baseball.”

Batting cleanup in the radio lineup is WBUR 90.9FM's "Only a Game". At 7am and 6 pm every Saturday, Bill Littlefield hosts an hour of offbeat sports stories often complemented by large amount of baseball chatter during the season.

BRW Notebook :

Summer in the city : WODS 103.3 announced its free summer concert series at the Hatch Shell. Only 3 shows this year : War(June 19th), Eddie Money with special guest John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band(July 17) and Peter Cetera with special guests Ernie Boch Jr. and Automatics(July 31st).

Left in the dark : The Herald's gossip column "Inside Track" dissects the midday switch at 98.5 the SportsHub where after just seven months Gary Tanguay has been replaced by Andy Gresh as of this week.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

SportsHub rearranges line-up as baseball season starts

Hoping to sharpen its midday talk programming, WBZ-FM/98.5 The SportsHub is shaking up its midday programming. This is the first major personnel change at the upstart sports talker since its launch almost seven months ago.

Andy Gresh who joined the station in early January(BRW 1/7) in the weekend and fill-in host capacity will replace Gary Tanguay and re-join his one-time co-host Scott Zolak for the new midday show starting Monday(4/5). From 2004 to 2008, Gresh and Zolak were paired up at now-defunct Score 790 in the Providence market. Both are also part of the Patriots pre and post-game programming at the SportsHub. The big question now is what happens to Tanguay's other job - host of the Patriots Radio Network - a role he has held for the past six seasons.

In the other SportsHub news, with the start of the Red Sox season the station is adding a new pregame "The Baseball Writers" show from 6 to 7pm. It will be hosted by afternoon drive co-host Tony Massarotti. The D.A. Show will slide down to 7pm-Midnight slot.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

SportsHub's "Toucher and Rich" get their contract extended

98.5 the SportsHub/WBZ-FM hosts Fred Toettcher and Rich Shertenlieb (known of course as Toucher and Rich) have been given a multi-year contract extension. The pair started in June 2006 at now-defunct WBCN 104.1FM by hosting an afternoon drive-time show. They switched to mornings at WBCN in December 2008 and then shifted over to the 98.5 SportsHub when the new sports talker launched in August 2009. The pair also announced on the air that show's original member Chris "Crash" Clark will no longer be part of the program. Clark's last day is tomorow(4/2).

Here's the official release from CBS Radio Boston :



Boston--- Toucher and Rich, morning drive personalities on 98.5 The Sports Hub (WBZ-FM) announced on their program today that they have signed a multi-year deal to remain on The Sports Hub. The Toucher and Rich show is broadcast weekday mornings from 6:00am-10:00am on 98.5 The Sports Hub and online at
Toucher and Rich are celebrating five years waking up Boston listeners in June 2010.

"Now I can buy a house. It’s the American Dream!" exclaimed Fred Toucher.

“We are thrilled to remain in Boston as the anchor morning show on 98.5 The Sports Hub, hopefully now we can get some free Bruins tickets” said Rich Shertenlieb“Toucher and Rich have done an amazing job of building a loyal Boston audience over the last 4 years, and they have also played an integral part in launching 98.5 The Sports Hub. This extension will allow them to further soldify their place in the Boston radio landscape. Said Mark Hannon SVP 98.5 The Sports Hub

“Since launching 98.5 The Sports Hub last August, Toucher & Rich have done a great job of bringing their listeners from WBCN over to The Sports Hub and at the same time they are attracting new sports radio fans. Stated Mike Thomas 98.5 The Sports Hub Program Director. They are creative and entertaining day in and day out and glad they are doing to be with us for years to come”

Toucher and Rich make many appearances every year interacting with listeners at station events. They also spearhead many charity events such as The Boston Bruins Cuts For Cause and the Miracle League Of Massachusetts.

98.5 The Sports Hub is owned and operated by CBS RADIO, one of the largest major-market radio operators in the United States. A division of CBS Corporation, CBS RADIO operates 130 radio stations, the majority of which are in the nation’s top 50 markets. CBS RADIO also owns and operates WZLX-FM, WODS-FM, WBMX-FM, and WBZ-AM in Boston.