Monday, January 30, 2012

Radio chief is set to retire
Long-time Boston radio exec Tom Baker is retiring in upcoming weeks it was announced by Greater Media this morning. He is VP and market manager of Greater Media's Boston-based radio properties, having joined the company three years ago.  Greater Media's Boston cluster includes five FM outlets WBOS 92.9, WKLB/Country 102.5, WMJX/Magic 106.7, WROR 105.7 and WTKK/96.9 Boston Talks.  In addition to his recent Greater Media stint, his long radio management/sales career had a number of local stops. He oversaw the operations of Entercom Boston's properties(WRKO AM680, WEEI AM 850, WAAF 1073.FM and WQSX/Star 93.7 from 1999 to 2005. In the 80's, he also managed WRKO and then-sister station WROR 98.5FM which were owned by RKO General at the time. After he was cut by Entercom in August 2005, he moved to Southern California to oversee Clear Channel's 8-station cluster in Santa Barbara. In early 2008, he served as interim market manager for Greater Media's Detroit market cluster but relocated back to Boston by year's end.

In a separate announcement, the company named radio industry veteran  Rob Williams as its Boston market manager effective next Monday(2/6). Williams has held a number of radio sales and management positions in various markets including Buffalo, NY; Charleston, SC; Hartford-New Haven, CT; Philadelphia, PA; and New York City. Williams became CEO of Internet radio start-up Goom Radio, a service he launched in the U.S. in 2009. He most recently served as CEO of Digital Brand Connections LLC, a company he co-founded.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Radio dial will be spinning with the sound of Super Bowl

If you can't be among 63,000 fans at Lucas Oil Stadium for New England Patriots' seventh trip to the Super Bowl next Sunday night, radio will have you fully covered.

The game itself will be broadcast locally on the team's flagship WBZ 98.5/The Sports Hub which will start its pregame show at 3pm. The kickoff is scheduled around 6:30pm and team's legendary broadcast duo of Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti will work their sixth Patriots' SuperBowl together. As he has done all season long, SportsHub's midday co-host Scott Zolak will serve as a sideline reporter and will also take part in pregame, halftime and postgame programming co-hosted by Gary Tanguay and Andy Gresh.

A new wrinkle to this year's local Super Bowl broadcast coverage will have WEEI 93.7/850 providing national feed of the game via Dial-Global Radio/WestwoodOne Network. In years past, due to league's local blackout restrictions WEEI wouldn't be allowed to run any of the Patriots games broadcast nationally by Westwood One. But that all changed a year ago when NFL and Dial Global Radio signed a brand new deal which now allows local affiliates in team's home markets like WEEI to carry both Conference championship game and the Super Bowl. WEEI will carry network pregame programming beginning at 4pm. The voices of Monday Night Football radio team - Kevin Harlan and Boomer Esiason - will take the air at 5pm. Dial Global's broadcast will also be heard on 600 stations nationally.

All local and national broadcasts of the SuperBowl will be also available on satellite radio's Sirius XM service. Full coverage information is here.

BRW Notebook :

In Memoriam : Former WAAF 107.3 afternoon staffer Frank Pallaria Jr., better known to many of his listeners as Rocko, passed away in Sarasota, Fl on January 19th. He was 46. Pallaria was WAAF's night time host form 1995 to 1998. He was named station's afternoon jock in 1998 after "Opie and Anthony" were fired for their infamous April Fool's stunt involving Mayor Menino. He was with WAAF until September 2002.

Platform takeover : Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will add college radio stations to iHeartRadio, its free, digital radio service beginning next month. At launch, iHeartRadio's College programming will include more than a dozen college stations from 11 states across the country — with additional college radio stations to be added. Boston's Emerson College WERS 88.9 will be the first of the initial college stations to be added. iHeart curently offers 800 broadcast and digital-only radio stations from 150 cities plus the ability to create custom radio stations. iHeartRadio is available to consumers through the Web, mobile devices and autos and is the top free broadcast radio app on the iPhone and Android. 

Earlier this month, Boston-based radio broadcaster Greater Media Inc. announced it will also be moving all of its stations onto Clear Channel's iHeart platform beginning in April. Locally, Greater Media owns five stations(WTKK 96.9, WKLB 102.5, WMJX 106.7, WROR 105.7 and WBOS 92.9).

A little bit slower now, a little bit deepr now : Borrowing a page from public radio's news feature genre, this past week WBZ 1030's has launched "WBZ NewsWatch with Joe Mathieu", a once a month live one-hour, in-studio interview.

Tuning in with the old : Beginning February 1st, WAZN 1470 will introduce syndicated "Music of Your Life" format to its evening, overnight and weekend scheduled. The format 

which features big bands, crooners and mainstream pop stylists geared at music lovers of the 40s, 50s and 60s music which has completely neglected by commercial radio formats here since the old WXKS 1430 ended its 25-year run in October 2004. During weekday mornings and afternoons, WAZN will continue to run Russian-language programming.
Both WEEI 93.7 and WBZ 98.5 will go wall-to-wall by broadcasting all their 6am-6pm local shows from the Super Bowl media center at JW Marriott Hotel in downtown Indianapolis beginning with Media Day on Tuesday, January 31. In addition, there will be some special weekend shows with WEEI personalities broadcasting live 12-3pm on Saturday from the site of Boomer Esisason Foundation event. Over at WBZ 98.5, Felger and Mazz will have a special Sunday pre-pregame show from 12pm-3pm(Bruins' 12:30pm game will shift to sister station WZLX 100.7FM).

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

River cuts its program director

Catie Wilber, program director for adult album alternative WXRV 92.5/The River, was let go this week for financial reasons.

Wilber was with Northeast Broadcasting-owned WXRV for the past 9 years and programming the River for the past two(
BRW 10/24/09). With Wilber's departure, the program director's position at the station has been eliminated. The station will now be programmed by Mike Henry whose Denver-based radio consulting and research firm Paragon Media Strategies who takes credit for developing a number of formats over the past 20 years such as Jammin' Oldies, Rock Alternative, Adult Album Alternative as well as being the mastermind behind the jockless Jack format that swept the country in early 2000's.

Wilber, Boston area native, began her radio career in 1993 as in intern at WFNX 101.7 while attending Emerson College. She joined WXRV in 2002 and was named station's music director in 2006. She was appointed to the role of River's acting program director in October 2009 and named full time program director in June 2010.

BRW Notebook :

Executive turntable : Jimi Carter has left his position as Director of Operation for Quincy-based Salem Radio Boston which includes three religious Boston AM stations - WEZE 590, WROL 950 and WWDJ 1150 - and a Pawtucket business station WBZS 550 all of which are owned by Salem Communications. Carter has been replaced by Tim Szymanski who was General Sales Manager at Santos Media which produces progressive talk format and leases time on another Quincy-based station WWZN 1510/Revolution Boston.

Howie's money : No word where on the dial he may end up later in 2012, but WRKO 680's afternoon ringmaster Howie Carr ended his 2011 in a very generous manner

Holiday tunes : While people are too busy debating whether two weeks before Thanksgiving is way too early to switch to Christmas music, the nonstop holiday format has once again worked its miracles for CBS Boston's classic hits WODS 103.3 in the December Arbitron ratings book released last week.  WODS catapulted from a 8th place in November to No. 3 in December survey(Nov.10th-Dec.7th) among all listeners ages 6 and up. In the coveted  adult 25 to 54 demo, it went from 13th to a tie for 6th. Arbitron's holiday survey which covers Dec.8th thru Jan.4th will be released on Jan.25th and may show even bigger gains for WODS and its rival WROR 105.7 which both switched to holiday tunes back on Nov.11th. WODS stayed on with the Christmas format one extra day this year, thru Dec.26.