Wednesday, April 13, 2011

WTKK to air NECN content in the early morning drive

New England Cable News and WTKK 96.9 have reached an agreement that involves simulcasting regional news network's programming on the radio station from 4:30am to 6am every weekday starting next Monday(4/18).

The agreement helps Newton-based, Comcast-owned NECN build its reach beyond TV through while providing additional news content for WTKK which will carry NECN's "First Thing in the Morning" and "NECN Morning" leading into the 6am start of WTKK's "Jim and Margery Show," featuring Jim Braude and Margery Eagan. NECN's morning news is anchored by Kristy Lee and Erick Weber, and features Meteorologist Danielle Niles.

In other WTKK news, the station has made a change in its overnight programming - replacing nationally syndicated veteran Phil Hendrie with a brand news syndicated show hosted by David Stein, formerly with Sporting News Radio(2006-2011).  Stein's show will air from 1am to 4:30am.

BRW Notebooks :

Magic's Exceptional Women awards  Soft rocker WMJX/Magic 106.7 has announced this year’s honorees for the 14th Annual Exceptional Women’s Awards this week. This year's recipients include Grammy Award winner Patti LaBelle and former WBZ-TV arts reporter Joyce Kulhawik.The awards, which will be presented on Friday, May 6th at the Westin Waterfront Hotel recognize and honor local women for their contributions in business, community service, performing arts, and other fields

Spanning the dial to bring you the constant variety of sports talk  :  With the thrill of victory, WBZ 98.5 The Sports Hub has announced that it has signed its afternoon co-hosts Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti to three-year contract extensions. Via a press release. CBS Radio Boston's  market manager Mark Hannon says, “In the last 18 months, Mike and Tony have built a very compelling show that speaks to an enormously devoted and passionate listener following. We are thrilled they will be part of 98.5 The Sports Hub for years to come".

And the human drama of sports radio competition : As of yesterday, WEEI 850 has added Mike Adams to ''The Big Show with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley.'' Adams who has been hosting the weeknight "Planet Mikey" for the past five years will now handle sportsflashing duties on the Big Show. Adams will continue to work his night show.

He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich....:  Colin Hay of Men At Work will be the Special Guest at 92.5 The River's Earth Day Concert on the Rose Kennedy Greenway Friday April 22nd(EARTH DAY) from Noon to 3pm. Colin Hay will be performing with the BoDeans and Entrain for this free outdoor concert, to ring Spring in the City of Boston

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

WTKK 96.9 severs ties with Severin

Conservative talk-show host Jay Severin, 60, was released from his contract at WTKK 96.9 earlier today, a week after talking on the air about hiring “mostly attractive young women” as interns and sleeping with nearly all of them during a show where topic that dealt with sexual harassment lawsuits.

WTKK's owner, Greater Media, issued a statement that it has ended its relationship with Severin but it's not yet clear whether his contract was terminated by mutual agreement.

Boston, MA (April 6, 2011): "Greater Media today ended its relationship with Jay Severin. Our company has always encouraged a free and open dialogue on a variety of issues and topics, and we will continue to be guided by that principle. But we also demand that our on-air talent maintain an appropriate level of civility, and adhere to a standard that respects our listeners and the public at large.

Jay Severin has been an important part of what we have accomplished with 96.9 WTKK-FM since its inception in 2000 and for that we are grateful and wish him well in future endeavors. Unfortunately, it had become clear at several points in the past two years that Jay was either unwilling or unable to maintain our standards on the air. It's for that reason we have made the decision to end our relationship.

In the interim, Michael Bower will be assuming the on-air duties from 2 to 6 p.m. each day on WTKK while we review our long-term programming plans for that time slot."

Heidi Raphael
Vice President of Corporate Communication
Greater Media, Inc.

Severin, a native New Yorker, began his tenure at WTKK in 1999 as its afternoon drive-time host but actually broadcasting from his home studio in Sag Harbor on Long Island. In late 2005, Severin left WTKK  as he launched a nationally syndicated evening show which WTKK eventually picked up. In November 2005, he was replaced in the afternoons by station's current midday host Michael Graham.  After his syndicated show floundered, he was back as WTKK's local afternoon host in October 2006 with a new, fat 7-year deal in-hand and also changing his home base from Sag Harbor to Manchester-By-Sea.(With his return to WTKK and move to Massachusetts, Severin even boasted on the air that he was able to vote in 2006 gubernatorial election).

(Ed. Note : Many questioned whether Severin's WTKK ratings would ever match the height of the popularity he enjoyed before abandoning his "Best and Brightest" in 2005 to go for a fatter paycheck in national syndication and then returning to a non-forgiving radio playground . Looking back at the past five years, the answer now is a definite no - his pre-2005 numbers never came back. Sure, some in the local media would foolishly argue that the new technology to measure radio listening - Portable People Meters - arrived to Boston in early 2009 didn't help WTKK's cause but the fact(not opinion) is that Severin's numbers were already wearing out way, way before PPM's got to Boston so the whole argument is nothing but a case of uneducated media BS.

Greater Media's patience with Severin's under-performance began to run out and perhaps the most telling point came on April 30, 2009 when he was suspended indefinitely after making offensive remarks about illegal aliens and the swine flu. He was back on the air a month later but things would never get back to normal between him and management. To make matters worse, in the past two years things have not improved in the ratings department and it was down to one final option and one option only.)

Monday, April 4, 2011

WBZ 1030 names new morning news co-anchor

CBS Radio Boston's news/talker WBZ 1030 has named a replacement for Ed Walsh who retired four months ago(BRW 11/4/10), it was announced this afternoon. Joe Mathieu will take over morning drive co-anchor duties in early May according station's program director Peter Casey who made the announcement via the following press release :
New England Native Returns to Anchor Mornings on WBZ-AM
Boston, MA – April 4, 2011 - WBZ NewsRadio 1030 is pleased to announce veteran radio news anchor, Joe Mathieu, will return to his professional home town and assume the morning radio news anchor duties at the top-rated, award-winning WBZ NewsRadio 1030 beginning in early May (Monday-Friday 5:00 a.m to 10:00 a.m.), it was announced today by Peter Casey, WBZ NewsRadio News & Programming Director.  WBZ programming can be heard on-air and online at

With more than 20 years of radio news experience, Mathieu joins WBZ from Sirius XM in Washington, D.C. where he spent four years as Program Director of P.O.T.U.S., Sirius XM’s news and talk channel dedicated to covering the politics of the United States.  In fact, it was Mathieu who developed and launched the popular P.O.T.U.S. channel in 2007.  Mathieu’s radio news career in the nation’s capital began in 1998, working as a news anchor and editor at Metro Networks, and delivering morning news on stations including DC101 and WASH-FM.  He spent seven years as managing editor and anchor at the CBS MarketWatch Radio Network, providing updates and analysis on the economy and financial markets to stations including WBZ NewsRadio 1030 in Boston, 1010WINS in New York, WBBM in Chicago, and WTOP in Washington.

Before Washington, D.C., Mathieu worked as both an anchor and reporter in several markets throughout the country including here in Boston where he spent time at WRKO as part of that station's '96 New Hampshire Primary coverage team.  Mathieu was also one of the youngest news directors in the country while working at the Boch Broadcasting radio group in Hyannis, Mass.  He was the morning drive news anchor on Boch stations including WXTK and WCOD, covering news stories central to the Cape and Islands region and the state of Massachusetts.

Upon being named WBZ’s morning anchor Mathieu said, “I couldn't be more thrilled to accept the morning anchor position at WBZ NewsRadio.  Having grown-up listening to Gary LaPierre every morning and later delivering business reports on the station, I have long considered WBZ to be the gold standard in radio news.  I'm excited to bring my wife and daughter back home, set my alarm clock, and play such an important role in the local community.”

“I’ve known Joe for more than a decade and watched him grow as a broadcaster and journalist,” said Casey.  “The time is right to bring him home to New England and WBZ where he’ll bring his Washington experience in covering news from the national perspective and combine that with his knowledge of Boston and New England.”

Mathieu is a 1996 graduate of Emerson College with a degree in mass communications/radio broadcasting.  He is a graduate of the Pomfret School in Pomfret, Conn.  His extended family lives in Massachusetts and Connecticut.  Mathieu will settle in the Boston area bringing his wife, Slone, and their daughter, Bella.   

Mathieu replaces Ed Walsh who retired in November.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030 is owned by CBS RADIO, a division of CBS Corporation.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Red Sox' play-by-play voice Dave O'Brien gets a contract extension

A busy off-season for the Red Sox on and off the field.

Yesterday, less than 24 hours before the 2011 season opener in Arlington, TX, the team and its flagship WEEI 850 announced they they signed one of its two play-by-play voices - Dave O'Brien - to a multi-year extension. O'Brien is returning for his 5th season alongside veteran Joe Castiglione who is back for his 29th. O'Brien will continue with his ESPN's Wednesday Night baseball call. Jon Rish or Dale Arnold will continue to sub for him on Wednesdays.

Here's WEEI's press release :

WEEI Re-Signs Red Sox Play-By-Play Announcer Dave O’Brien to New Multi-Year Extension

March 31, 2011 (Boston, MA)--Dave O’Brien, one of the most accomplished and versatile play by play broadcasters in the country, has agreed to a new multi-year contract with the WEEI Sports Radio Network to continue as one of the radio voices for the Boston Red Sox. O’Brien is now in his 5th season of calling Red Sox Baseball alongside Joe Castiglione.

O’Brien, a native of Quincy, MA, has built a national reputation as one of the country’s preeminent sportscasters. In addition to his role with the Red Sox, he serves as play-by-play announcer for ESPN’s Wednesday Night Baseball. At ESPN he has also broadcast NBA basketball, NCAA men’s and women’s college basketball, and MLS Soccer. In 2006, he was the voice of the 2006 World Cup Soccer Tournament televised by ABC.

Prior to joining ESPN, he was the voice of the Florida Marlins from the team’s inaugural year in 1993 through 2001. From 2003-2005, O’Brien was the television voice of the New York Mets on WPIX-TV. He has also done play-by-play for the Atlanta Braves and called college football and basketball games for the University of Georgia and the University of Miami.

O’Brien says, "To be a Red Sox voice is a special honor for me, as a local guy. To know I'll be calling the Sox for years to come, with a great partner, makes it even sweeter. I'm delighted."

WEEI Vice President of Programming, Jason Wolfe, is thrilled to have O’Brien as part of the Red Sox radio team. “I’ve known Dave for more than 20 years and he is, without a doubt, one of the very best play by play broadcasters in America today. He’s done a phenomenal job for us since he was hired in 2007 and I’m extremely pleased that he’ll be with us for the foreseeable future.”


BRW Notebook :

The Story of Boston Radio : Donna Halper, author, educator, media historian and radio consultant, has a brand new book out called “Boston Radio, 1920-2010,” . She was guest on WBUR 90.9's "Radio Boston" earlier this week to talk about Boston radio thru the years. Here's the clip. Halper attended Northeastern University in Boston, where she was the first woman announcer in the school's history, broadcasting a nightly show on the campus radio station in 1968. She has more than 23 years as a radio programming and management consultant experience in markets of all sizes -- both college and commercial stations -- all over North America. She has hired and trained staffs, worked with and developed talent, helped to choose or improve formats, conducted music and market research, and helped her client stations to get better ratings. Prior to becoming a consultant, Halper spent 13 years as an announcer, music director and assistant program director in 4 major markets. In addition to a long career in both radio and print, Halper is well-known for discovering the rock group Rush, who dedicated their first two albums to her.

Ad It Up : Tempting as it is to gauge radio stations by ratings, the real internal measure of success is ad revenue. So let's look at the just-released 2010 radio revenue estimates from Virginia-based BIA Financial via the Boston Herald.(Ed. Note :  Unlike past years, I am not able to provide the full 'revenue' list this year due to the fact that BIA is now asking unreasnable amount of cash for what pretty much is a guess-stimates and not the actual figures. I say good luck to them in finding suckers). Okay, not much has changed at the very top, where CBS Radio's news/talker WBZ 1030 is No. 1 in ad revenue, with $28 million. Sports talker WEEI 850 is another perennial winner, is second at $24.25 million while ratings powerhouse Top40 hit machine WXKS/Kiss 108 came in 3rd with $24 million.

The Fest is yet to come :  Once again the annual Kiss Concert to be held on Saturday, May 21st at the 19,900 capacity Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA will have no shortage of star power. WXKS/Kiss 108,  “Boston’s Hit Music Station” announced some of the line-up last week which includes Flo Rida, One Republic, Far East Movement, Taio Cruz, Mike Posner, Tinie Tempah, Big Time Rush and The Ready Set. More performers will be announced in the next two weeks. As you guessed it, the even is already sold out.