Friday, March 16, 2012

Observing St.Patrick's Day on the dial

St. Patrick's Day festivities will get extensive radio treatment this weekend, including WTKK 96.9(via New England Cable News feed) broadcasting live the annual holiday breakfast political hijinks direct from Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Southie, beginning at 10am on Sunday(3/18) thru its conclusion around 12:30pm.

WROL 950's Irish Hit Parade and St. Patrick's Day are virtually synonymous to regular listeners of this Irish program, aired every Saturday on WROL for the past 42 years. Originally debuted before St. Patrick's Day in 1970 as a 1-hour program of Irish music, the live show now airs from 10am until the station powers down from daytime 5,000 watts to 90 watts at sunset.  Tomorrow's special St.Patrick's Day show will air from 10am-7pm with Paul Sullivan(10am-1pm), Matt O'Donnell(1pm-4pm) and Bill Bailey(4pm-7pm). In addition, WROL has a Sunday afternoon show "Feast of Irish Music" with host Seamus Mulligan which can be heard from 1-5pm.

St. Patrick's Day will not go unnoticed on other stations, either.

Tomorrow(3/17), WGBH 89.7 will have a special "A Celtic Sojourn" from 3 to 6pm with its host Brian O'Donovan. He also programs WGBH's on-line Celtic music stream available here.

WUMB 91.9 will have its long-running "Celtic Twlight" with host Gail Gilmore from 4pm to 8pm. Like her counterpart at WGBH, Gilmore also hosts her station's 24/7 on-line all-Celtic music channel "Celtic Journey" which can be heard on WUMB's website.

And finally, for those handful with HD radio receivers, WTKK 96.9 operates its 24-hour HD2 channel "Irish 96.9". You can also hear it on-line

BRW Notebook :

Radio switcheroo : As mentioned here in last weekend's update, WXRV/River 92.5 shook up its on-air line-up pulling veteran midday jock Lisa Garvey off the air with an hour left in her show last Friday afternoon. Garvey whose popular Sunday morning show "Brunch By The River" was also axed, went on Kiss 108's Matty In the Morning show this past week to tell her side of the story

In other River news, the station has named Dana Marshall as the new host of the "Brunch by the River" starting this Sunday(3/18). The show will now air from 9 to Noon. If the host's name sounds familiar it's because she originally created the program back in 2004 during her 6-year(2000-2006) tenure at WXRV. Marshall originally joined WXRV in December 2000 as its music director/morning co-host. In June 2004, she was named River's program director, a role she held until she left the station in late October 2006. She joined WBOS 92.9 in January 2007 as its music director/midday personality. She became WBOS' PD when the station changed to the current retro-alternative format in January 2008 but was let go a year later due to budget cuts. Most recently, she's been serving as public relations director for New England Folk Music Association in Cambridge.

As for the new River on-air line-up, it now includes former WBOS 92.9 personalities Carolyn Morrell in the midday slot(10am-3pm) and Matt Phipps(3pm-7pm). Morrell joined the AAA(adult album alternative) station as a part-timer/weekend host last July(BRW 7/8/11). Phipps came on board in recent weeks. His most recent assignment was as assistant director of operations/traffic reporter at Metro Networks which had a large reduction in force last October(BRW 10/2611). Phipps was one of many Metro Traffic staffers who was let go as new corporate owner Clear Channel streamlined its local traffic service operations.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sheppard signs back on at WEEI this weekend

It's back to square one for Pete Sheppard as he is returning to WEEI 93.7/850, where he first developed his 'voice of the fan' persona 15 years ago. Sheppard made the announcement himself on the Big Show this past week.

Starting this weekend, he'll have a new part-time role in station's line-up. His first show back is Sunday(3/12) which will air from Noon to 3pm.

Sheppard first joined the station as a part-timer back in 1994 before being named as a co-host/sports flasher on WEEI's "Big Show" in 1999.  His contract wasn't renewed in early 2010 due to corporate budget cuts.(BRW 1/20/10). Sheppard also served as host of station's "Real Postgame" show during New Engaldn Patriots season. After Sheppard's departure from WEEI, this role was handled by Butch Stearns for the past two seasons. The sports flasher role on the "Big Show" is currently handled by Mike Adams, the host of nighttime "Planet Mikey" show.

It's not yet clear what WEEI's management may have in store with Sheppard's return and recent contract extension for longtime veteran Dale Arnold, but for now WEEI's weekend shifts will have a very familiar sound to them according to published reports.

BRW Notebook :

Radio spin-outs : WXRV/River 92.5's longtime midday host(10am-3pm) Lisa Garvey was let go this week. Garvey, a veteran local radio jock, also hosted eclectic "Brunch by the River"(9am-1pm) on Sundays. Garvey's departure follows retirement of veteran afternoon drive personality Bob Stuart last June and budget axing of program director Katie Wilber in early January.

In Memoriam : An innovative and influential Top40 radio programmer Steve Rivers passed away at the age 58 earlier this week. Some may recall Rivers being involved in one of the most electric local Top 40 turf wars in the history of Boston radio. 

Way before current WJMN/Jamn 94.5 was playing hip-hop, it was known as WZOU and had a similar Top40 playlist as its current-day sister station WXKS/Kiss 108.  In early 1990, Steve Rivers was hired as WZOU's program director. As soon as he arrived in Boston from LA, Rivers he took a direct aim at Kiss 108 - he had a plane fly over Kiss108's annual all-day concert at Great Woods Center(now Comcast Center), urging listeners to turn to a "real" station on the way home and listen to WZOU. His tactics seemed to work. WZOU made a huge leap in the ratings while Kiss 108's numbers slid.

After a year of chipping away at Kiss 108's ratings lead, then-station's owner Richie Balsbaugh was so impressed that he grabbed Rivers away to program Kiss in early 1991. That meant legendary Boston radio personality/programmer Sunny Joe White was out of a job at Kiss 108, but as the battle of the Top 40 stations rolled on, White went to work at WZOU a few months later.

In a matter of months, Rivers had Kiss 108 back on top and never looking back. With Kiss regaining local Top40 supremacy under Rivers, things eventually led to WZOU changing formats and getting new call letters(WJMN) and, of course, sale to Kiss 108's parent company Pyramid Broadcasting.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Magic shake-up leaves longtime programmer out

Magic 106.7/WMJX which has been consistently rated at the top of Boston's ratings pile for over two decades announced the departure of its longtime program director Don Kelly. Earlier this morning, Greater Media Boston's recently-hired market manager Rob Williams released a statement regarding non-renewal of Kelly's contract :
Boston, MA (March 5, 2012): Greater Media Boston announced today it will not be renewing the contract of WMJX-FM Program Director, Don Kelley. 
“We are grateful to Don for his many contributions to MAGIC 106.7 over the years, and we wish him the best,” said Rob Williams, Market Manager of Greater Media Boston.
The programming responsibilities will be handled by the station's team, led by Buzz Knight, Greater Media Vice President of Program Development, until a permanent replacement is announced.
Kelly joined Magic as its programmer in late 1989 and quickly transformed it into one of city's top-rated signals among advertiser-coveted 25-54 audience. In January ratings, Magic 106.7 was ranked second behind Kiss 108 in the 25-54 demo. Under Kelly's direction, Magic 106.7 earned a 2010 Marconi Award for the best adult contemporary station in the country(BRW  10/1/10).  

Speculating on Kelly's next stop, it's possible he may get some consideration for the still vacant program director role at CBS Radio's classic hits WODS 103.3 or/and "Hot" adult contemporary WBMX/Mix 104.1 which lost its program director Jay Beau Jones back in mid-October(BRW 10/10/11).

BRW Notebook :

Dale sticks with 'EEI : Dale Arnold who has been with WEEI 850/93.7 since the all-sports format launched back in September 1991 is staying put according to a published report by Boston Globe's sports media reporter Chad Finn. Although WEEI hasn't yet made it official, Arnold will have an expanded weekend host role on WEEI network and weekday fill-in duties according to Finn's follow-up report.

Rockin' and Promotin' : Rocker WAAF 107.3/97.7 announced last week the promotion of Patrick Heenehan to its Promotion Director effective March 12, 2012. In his new position, Heenehan will assist in overseeing all marketing, events, media and business development efforts for WAAF. Heenehan joined Entercom Boston in October of 2010 and was quickly promoted to the role of WEEI/WRKO Promotion Coordinator.