Thursday, June 25, 2015

WRKO revamps its line-up to replace Rush

As been reported here previously, big changes are coming to Boston's heritage talk station WRKO 680 starting Monday(6/29). The talk station will change its branding, morning drive and late midday show as it says the final goodbye to the Rush Limbaugh Show after a 19-year association tomorrow(6/26). 

Earlier this morning, WRKO officially announced that a veteran Boston TV anchorwoman Kim Carrigan will preside over "The Boston.Com Morning Show"(6am-10am), She'll will be joined in-studio by former WEEI sports flasher Jon Meterparel and producer Dave Cullinane. Carrigan-led morning show will be a joint news and content venture with Boston Globe's news gathering and will involve contribution from its writers and columnists.

Carrigan had served as TV news anchor at 7NBC from 1994-2001, CBS4 from 2001 to 2004 and Fox25 from 2004 to 2012. She made a switch to radio in September 2012 as co-host of syndicated Financial Exchange heard on WRKO from 10 to Noon. She was hired by WRKO to host the new show in April of this year. For Meterparel, this is a return to the old stomping grounds at Entercom Boston where he had spent 12 years as the sports flasher on Dennis and Callahan morning drive show on WEEI 93.7. He left WEEI in October 2012 to pursue professional sports play-by-play opportunities. 

And for those who still prefer their talk slightly more to the right, Jeff Kuhner, who has been hosting the Kuhner Report on WRKO since November 2012(BRW 11/1/12) will now shift to Rush Limbaugh's former slot - Noon-3pm. He's also planning to take the show into a national syndication this fall. 

Limbaugh, of course, will be headlining the new all-syndicated line-up on Clear Channel/Iheart Media's Talk 1430 which also debuts on Monday(BRW 6/15).

In addition, as part of WRKO's transformation, the station will now be branding itself as "The Voice of Boston".

BRW Notebook :

Going once, going twice : Daly XXL Comunications has signed an asset purchase agreement to acquire talker WMEX 1510 in Quincy and filed an application for license transfer with the Federal Communication Commission. The sale price is listed at $175,000. Daly XXL was formed by  Mary Catherine and Henry Remmer of Wilmington, NC and her brother Bryan Berner of Brooklyn NY. Berner also serves as General Manager and host at WMEX. FCC approval is expected by the end of summer.

Award time : For the 3rd straight year, WGBH 89.7 scooped up major radio hardware at the annual New York Festivals International Radio Programs & Promos Awards...It was quite a Monday night in New York City for this Boston's fastest rising radio star Loren Raye who won a prestigious Gracie Award in the Outstanding Morning/Afternoon Drive Personality category. Raye is the co-host of TJ Morning Show on WODS/AMP 103.3. The Gracies are presented by the AWM (American Women In Media) Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AWM which supports educational programs, charitable activities, public service campaigns and scholarships to benefit the public and women in the media. The Gracie Awards, established in 1975, honor programming and individuals of the highest caliber in all facets of radio, television, cable and web-based media, including news, drama, comedy, public service, documentary and sports.

Monday, June 22, 2015

WROR shakes up daytime line-up

Greater Media Boston unveiled a new weekday lineup on 105.7 WROR/"Boston's Greatest Hits". Beginning today,  Julie Devereaux moves from afternoon drive to midday to take over 10am-2pm slot which has been jockless since early 2009. In addition, radio veteran Jay Beau Jones who has been heard on weekends and as fill-in on the station becomes new afternoon drive personality from 2pm to 7pm. Deveraux has been at WROR for the past 15 years holding down various on-air roles including afternoons and nights during her tenure.(BRW 5/26/09). Jones served as program director for Mix 104.1 and Oldies 103.3 from February 2008 to October 2011.(BRW 10/10/2011)

WROR which has ranked as the #1 station in the Boston market for the past four consecutive months continues to be anchored by Boston's heritage morning team "Loren and Wally"(from 5:30am-10am).  Loren and Wally have been on 105.7 for remarkable run of 34 years.

BRW Notebook :

Names and voices : WRKO 680 will finally announce its new post-Rush Limbaugh era line-up later this week. Among the changes that will take place starting on Monday, June 29, will be the new morning drive show anchored by former TV personality Kim Carrigan and former WEEI morning sports flasher Jon Meterparel who left the sprots talker in October 2012 with a plan to purse high profile play-by-play sports career which hasn't quite panned out. In addition. The new morning program will be a news content-sharing venture with which is the arm of John Henry's Boston Globe Media. To make room, Jeff Kuhner will move into Rush Limbaugh's Noon to 3pm slot.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Rush finds a new radio home in Boston, lands on a small AM outlet

Conservative talk radio has been a mainstay of the AM dial for years, and that course will continue with Rush Limbaugh's upcoming station switch in Boston on June 29th.

With Entercom-owned WRKO 680 ending its longtime association with Rush Limbaugh(BRW 5/23), it has been announced that he will be shifting to a low-powered AM 1430 which is currently all-Spanish music Mia 1430 andd is owned by IheartMedia/Clear Channel, the same parent company as Limbaugh's syndicator Premiere Networks. The station will become Talk 1430 on 6/29. Here's the official release from Iheart Media with regards to the launch of a new syndicated talk format on AM 1430 which will be a mix of Fox Sports shows(1am to 9am) and conservative political talk(9am-1am). Rush Limbaugh will be the anchor of the new Talk 1430 when makes its debut in two weeks(June 29th) :

 All-New Programming Lineup Launches with
America’s No. 1 Talk Radio Personality Rush Limbaugh

Boston, Mass. – June 15, 2015 – iHeartMedia Boston announced today the launch of TALK 1430 WKOX, effective June 29, 2015. WKOX will feature an all-new programming lineup of America’s top talk radio personalities, including Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Mark Levin, with FOX Sports Radio programming during overnights.  The new format will debut at noon on June 29 with The Rush Limbaugh Show, the most-listened-to Talk radio program in the U.S.
Below is WKOX’s new weekday programming schedule:
·         FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North – 6 - 9 a.m.
·         The Glenn Beck Program – 9 - noon
·         The Rush Limbaugh Show – noon - 3 p.m.
·         The Sean Hannity Show – 3 - 6 p.m.
·         America Now – 6 - 9 p.m.
·         The Mark Levin Show – 9 p.m. - midnight
·         Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis – midnight - 1 a.m.
·         The Jason Smith Show – 1 - 2 a.m.
·         The Ben Maller Show – 2 - 6 a.m.

“We are excited to bring this powerful lineup of Talk show hosts to our cluster here in Boston,” said Alan Chartrand, Market President, iHeartMedia Boston. “We are confident that the biggest names in the talk radio format will serve our listeners and advertisers well.” 

“We are proud to have the best talkers in the business back home at iHeartMedia Boston,” said Dylan Sprague, Senior Vice President Programming, iHeartMedia Boston.  

iHeartMedia Boston has a strong cross-platform presence and TALK 1430 WKOX joins a number of iconic brands and franchises — both broadcast and digital — including 94.5 WJMN-FM, 101.7 WBWL-FM, 101.7 WXKS-HD, Kiss 108/WXKS-FM, 1200 WXKS-AM and 1430 WKOX-AM — and produces legendary marquee events including Kiss 108's Jingle Ball, JAM'N 94.5's Summer Jam, Kiss 108’s KISS Concert and JAM’N 94.5’s Monster Jam.  iHeartMedia is a leading media outlet in the Boston market and its programming and content are available across multiple platforms, including its broadcast stations; online via its branded digital sites; mobile; and social, with nationwide listening through iHeartRadio, the all-in-one streaming music and live radio service with its more than 600 million downloads, nearly 80 million social media followers and 87 million digital uniques across the Network.

Fans can also list to TALK 1430 WKOX on the stations website as well as on and the iHeartRadio mobile app.

About iHeartMedia Boston:
iHeartMedia Boston owns and operates WXKS-FM, WJMN-FM, WBWL-FM, WKOX-AM and WXKS-AM.  With 245 million monthly listeners in the U.S., 87 million monthly digital uniques and 196 million monthly consumers of its Total Traffic and Weather Network, iHeartMedia has the largest reach of any radio or television outlet in America. It serves over 150 markets through 858 owned radio stations, and the company’s radio stations and content can be heard on AM/FM, HD digital radio, satellite radio, on the Internet at and on the company’s radio station websites, on the iHeartRadio mobile app, in enhanced auto dashes, on tablets and smartphones, and on gaming consoles. iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia’s digital radio platform, is the No. 1 all-in-one digital audio service with over 600 million downloads; it reached its first 20 million registered users faster than any digital service in Internet history and reached 70 million users faster than any other radio or digital music service and even faster than Facebook.  The company’s operations include radio broadcasting, online, mobile, digital and social media, live concerts and events, syndication, music research services and independent media representation.

# # #

This would be the second attempt in the past 5 years by Iheart/Clear Channel to launch an all- conservative outlet in Boston. From March 2010 to August 2012, Limbaugh anchored an all-conservative line-up on Talk 1200(BRW 8/13/12).

AM 1430 operates a 5,000-watt signal during daylight hours and only 1,000 watts at night. It was well known corny, lounge-era, easy-listening station WXKS 1430 from 1979 to 2004.

BRW Notebook :

Names and Voices : Boston media personality Michele McPhee who began hosting a new afternoon show on WMEX 1510 on June 2nd had a bit of a run-in with the law in the early morning hours of last Thursday after being pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. The recently hired WMEX afternoon host now stands accused of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, resisting arrest and assault and battery on a police officer.(Detailed police report is here)  After her appearance at South Boston Municipal court on Thursday morning, McPhee was back on the air on Friday not commenting on the situation per advice of her attorney. She will return to court for a pre-trial hearing on August 4th. As the result of the arrest, her license has been revoked. McPhee has a four-page driving history with numerous violations including several speeding stops.

Classic Hits is the word : Boston's classic hits station WROR 105.7 was #1 station in the city for the fourth consecutive month in May. WROR's surge this year is representative of a national story where the format has been seeing major audience increases in many markets. The classic hits trend began last year according to trade publication Inside Radio.

Adult hit radio battle in the works? : Things may be getting hot between two adult contemporary hits stations in town. CBS Radio's WBMX/Mix 104.1 which features a "Hot AC" format with personality-driven morning and afternoon drive shows and a playlist from the 90's to today, has been gaining steadily in the ratings over the past year. The station came in 4th in the most May book in the all-important 25-54 demographic overtaking long-time AC leader WMJX/Magic 106.7 which was tied for 5th with WKLB/Country 102.5 and rocker WAAF 107.3/WKAF 97.7. This set up an interesting summer battle between Mix and Magic. And speaking of Magic, the station recently launched a new TV campaign and on-air tagging as "Variety Radio" emphasizing today's contemporary hitmakers like Maroon 5 and Kelly Clarkson.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Radio Disney is selling its Boston station

Salem Media Group is buying Boston's WMKI 1260 for $500,000 from Radio Disney. In an application filed Friday with the Federal Communications Commission, Radio Disney sought to assign the 5,000-watt station to California-based Salem, which also owns WEZE/The Word 590, WROL 950/The Spirit and WWDJ/Radio Luz 1150 in the Boston market. Salem Boston's operations are based in Quincy.

Last August, Radio Disney said it would sell WMKI and 22 other stations out of 24 in its broadcast network(BRW 8/18/14). It retained a station in Los Angeles. WMKI's local staffers were all let go last September and the station has been running in the automated mode since then. Ironically, Salem owned AM 1260 from 1978 until 1997 when it sold it for $5 million. The station converted to the outgoing Radio Disney format on November 21, 1997.

Salem owns about a 100 stations around the country. It's widely expected that the latest Salem's local addition will result  in another news/talk station in Boston and possibly become Rush Limbaugh's new local affiliate after he ends his run on WRKO 680 on July 3rd. Another Quincy-based station, WMEX 1510, which relaunched its new talk lineup this past Tuesday, declined to carry Rush locally. However, as of this week, WMEX's midday 12-3pm slot is still airing tape-delayed Glenn Beck show. Utica-based host Bill Keeler was supposed to do have a new show in that time slot but is yet to debut.

Salem's radio portfolio currently includes its “The Answer” conservative talk brand which is carried on about two dozen of its stations. The national lineup  includes several Salem Radio Network hosts, including Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt all of whom were previously heard locally on Salem's AM 1150(currently Radio Luz 1150) signal from 2003 to 2008.

Monday, June 1, 2015

WMEX tries to reboot its talk format with two familiar local voices

WMEX 1510, the 'other' AM talk station in town is re-launching tomorrow with a lineup featuring two former FM Talk personalities and hoping to give the struggling talk format some jolt with ex-WTKK weekend host Joe "This Guy From Boston" Ligotti in the morning drive(6am-10am) and, as tipped first in this space, former WTKK night-time host Michele McPhee going up against Howie Carr on WRKO 680 from 3pm to 6pm. Carr was heard in the afternoons on WMEX up until two and half months ago when he returned to his old home at WRKO(BRW 3/9).

There aren't many new ideas for Boston's ailing AM dial, where audiences are growing older and smaller and where with one or two exceptions stations are renting out their airtime to foreign-language broadcasters, religious groups or the infomercial industry.

AM radio, the birthplace of the medium, was the core of the business until FM radio became standard equipment in cars in the late 1970s. Since then, the superior sound quality of FM and the dominance of music as the primary entertainment format in commercial radio have steadily diminished AM's attraction.

The only exception on AM dial in Boston is WBZ 1030, an all-news station by day and a talk station by night. WBZ is the only AM outlet to show up regularly in the Top 5 of Nielsen Audio's ratings. But though WBZ has completely cornered the market on news/talk format when CBS station shifted away from music/information/talk back in 1991, the full-time talk radio genre has really struggled mightily in this town in recent years. Even when FM talker WTKK 96.9 dropped out of the game two years ago, WRKO 680 had failed to capitalize and didn't see any significant gains in its listenership right after its 13-year talk rival turned into a hip-hop station.(BRW 1/2/13).

The new management group, Daly XXL Communications, which is leasing out Quincy-based WMEX 1510 from its current owner, Blackstrap Broadcasting, is hoping to reverse talk radio's downtrend in Boston. WMEX's new weekday line-up will consist of Ligotti(6am-10am), Boston Herald Radio's Morning Meeting(10am-noon), Utica-based Bill Keeler who will host Noon to 3pm slot from a radio studio 260 miles away, McPhee(3-6pm), Tim Constantine's Capitol Hill Show(6-9pm) and Michael Savage(9-Midnight).

And as for a recent rush of social media speculation about Rush Limbaugh's new Boston home, WMEX's management told the Boston Globe last week that conservative talk radio giant will not be heard there after he ends his run on WRKO on July 3rd. Daly's Catherine Remmer told the Globe that her group declined four offers by Rush's syndicator Premiere to place the show on WMEX. Of course Globe's article also fails to give the other side of the story and neglects to mention that Rush's show costs money, big money(up to $500,000 a year) and that Daly, WMEX's current operators, are technically renters, and not in a position to make that kind of cash commitment considering they don't even own the station. One also wonders what if their current programming effort stumbles, will they still pursue the planned purchase?