Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Presidential election provides boost to news and talk formats in latest ratings

Local news and talk formatted radio outlets like WBZ 1030, WBUR 90.9 and WGBH 89.7 thrived in one of the most contentious presidential elections in recent history this fall. So it should surprise no one that these outlets were all big winners when November's Nielsen Audio ratings were released yesterday.

The "November" survey period covered the period from October 6 through November. 2, The results for the current December survey period which ends on November 30 will be released on December 20. The December numbers will likely move the numbers for news and talk stations even higher considering it would include totals from the Election week.

But for all the ups among news/talkers and downs among music stations, classic hits rocker WROR 105.7 didn't budge from its top spot. WROR was the highest rated station among all listeners ages 6 and over. The station was still solid with a number five finish in the advertiser-coveted demo of consumers between ages 25 and 54. Patriots football rights holder, WBZ 98.5/The Sports Hub held on to #1 spot among 25-54 group as Tom Brady returned in October after sitting out first four games of the season. The Sports Hub was #3 in the all-age demographic, just barely behind WROR's sister station modern adult contemporary WMJX/Magic 106.7. 

A glut of election news as well as presidential debates coverage propelled news/talker WBZ 1030 to the highest totals since the spring. WBZ-AM came in fourth(up from 5th in October).  Biggest gain, however, was by Bosotn University-owned NPR affiliate WBUR 90.9 which went from 12th to 8th and added on 100,000 listners(430,000 in October and 530,000 in November). WBUR also made some noise among 25-54's where zoomed from 11th to 7th. WBUR's public radio counterpart WGBH 89.7 went from 10th to 9th with a slight audience increase. On a more conservative side of the spectrum, Entercom's talker WRKO 680 finished 15th overall and netted 10,000 more listeners(205,000 vs 215,000) while Rush Limbaugh's affiliate in Boston, Iheart Media's WKOX/Talk 1430 ended 24th with 8,000 more listeners in November(32,000 vs 40,000).

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Wally from "Loren and Wally" calls it a career

After 48 years on the air in New England, a legendary broadcaster will retire on Friday, December 16. Wally Brine, one half of  the comedic radio duo known as "Loren and Wally" will end a 35-year run on the same frequency 105.7, it was announced this morning. (The classic hits station has been known as WROR for the last 20 years but prior to that was adult contemporary WVBF and country music WCLB). Brine and Loren Owens paired up in October 1981 and have been together ever since.
For over three decades, the morning drive pair have been making listeners laugh with their good-natured banter. The men have even created audios and videos, such as their Two Men from Maine series.

Brine, 67, grew up in the industry. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, his dad, the famous Walter L. “Salty” Brine, was in the radio business with a career that included his top-rated WPRO-AM morning show, which lasted over 50 years.

Here's the official WROR press release :

For more information, contact:                                
Ken West, Program Director


BOSTON, MA –November 22, 2016    --  Beasley Media Group, Inc, as subsidiary of Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. has announced  the retirement of Wally Brine.

Oh Boy… This was such a tough decision. We call it a “Show,” but it’s so much more than that. The studio is filled with my friends, my family. Loren Owens and I have been together for 35 years, longer than most marriages. He’s been my friend, my teacher, my advisor, my confidant and my hero. I have been so blessed to have been teamed up with Loren. I will be forever grateful. I just wish there were two of me. One could stay, and the other could sleep in, travel with my wife and stay up late! – Wally

When Wally told me that he had decided to retire, I was flooded with mixed emotions from sadness to happiness! Imagine being able to spend your workday, every day, laughing and having fun with your best friend! Those opportunities only come around every... oh, I don't know... perhaps 35 years. Wally, the ultimate professional, one of a kind, the best! 35 years together and not one argument! I'm happy for Wally because this is what he wants for the next chapter of his life! Love the guy! Always will! -Loren

After 35 years with The Loren & Wally Morning Show, Wally Brine has decided to turn off his microphone and his last day on 105.7 WROR will be Friday, December 16th.

Wally Brine was born into the radio business, as the only child of WPRO’s Salty Brine and his wife Mickey Brine, living in an apartment in the radio transmitter building. Wally got his first part-time radio job in 1968 at WPRO-FM. He attended St. Francis College in Maine, where he worked at WGAN, WLOB and WJBQ-FM in Portland. In 1981, Wally was hired by WVBF in Boston to host afternoons, but was soon teamed up with Loren Owens. The Loren & Wally Morning Show was born and has enjoyed a 35 year run in Boston on WVBF, WCLB and now on 105.7 WROR... Boston's Greatest Hits! Wally has two sons, Salty and Chucky, and is married to Jodi Winchester.

Stay tuned to 105.7 WROR for info on upcoming events to say goodbye and visit to share your well wishes with Wally.

About Beasley Media Group:
Beasley Media Group, Inc. is a subsidiary of Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc., which owns and operates 69 stations (50 FM and 19 AM) in 16 large- and mid-size markets in the United States. Approximately 20.1 million consumers listen to Beasley radio stations weekly over-the-air, online, on smartphones and tablets and engage with the Company’s brands and personalities thorough digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, text , apps and email

BRW Notebook :

Where are they now : Cmulus Media announced that it has named Kevin Graham as Program Director of its Dallas news/talk radio stations WBAP and KLIF.. Graham moves to Dallas from Boston where he was Brand Manager for WEEI 93.7/850 AM and Red Sox Radio Network and Sports Radio Format Captain for Entercom. He was at WEEI for the past three years. His replacement hasn't been announced yet but a number of candidates from the big market sports talk stations are in the running. 

Holiday Week : There are a few Thanksgiving-themed specials this week. WXRV/92.5 The River is running its 18-hour Unplucked acoustic special from 6am to Midnight on Thursday. In addition, The River will once again join WUMB 91.9, WROR 105.7 and WZLX 100.7 in continuing the tradition of playing Arlo Guthrie's 1967 resistance classic on Thanksgiving Day at Noon. If you need something softer and gentler,  WBMX/Mix 104.1 will probably air a few serving of Adam Sandler's 1993 turkey anthem - "The Thanksgiving Song". For the sports fans who are traveling, Westwood One carries all of three NFL Thanksgiving games which once again will be heard locally on WEEI 93.7. Over on 98.5 the SportsHub, the Bruins will have a rare holiday game up in Canada.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Christmas music launches on Magic 106.7
It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas — at least it is on WMJX/Magic 106.7, which  switched from its modern adult-contemporary format to an all-yule playlist at 5pm yesterday(11/18) with Burl Ives' 1965's 2-minute classic "Holly Jolly Christmas"

Early songs on the station's playlist included "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey, "Last Christmas" by Wham!, 'Underneath the Tree" by Kelly Clarkson and "Little Saint Nick" by the Beach Boys.

Once upon a time, it was a race to see and hear which Boston radio station was the first to go all-Christmas, with some jumping as early as Nov. 6. But that competition has cooled off after 2011 when Magic 106.7 became the solo go-to station during annual holiday period. For the past four years Magic has been staying the course and flipping to Christmas tunes on the third Friday in November :

Nov 24, 2003 :  WODS/Oldies 103.3 and WQSX/Star 93.7
Nov 19, 2004 :  WODS/Oldies 103.3
Nov.17, 2005 :  WODS 103.3 and WMJX/Magic 106.7
Nov.15, 2006    WODS 103.3
Nov. 12 2007 :  WODS 103.3 and WROR 105.7
Nov. 6 2008 :    WODS 103.3 and WROR 105.7
Nov. 13 2009 :  WODS 103.3 and WROR 105.7
Nov.  18 2010 : WODS 103.3 and WROR 105.7
Nov.11, 2011 :  WODS 103.3 and WROR 105.7
Dec. 5, 2012 :   WMJX 106.7
Nov. 22, 2013 : WMJX 106.7
Nov. 21, 2014 : WMJX 106.7
Nov. 20,, 2015 :WMJX 106.7
Nov. 18, 2016 : WMJX 106.7

Other major pop stations in the city may throw a Christmas tune or two into their hourly playlist  as we approach Christmas Day but don't expect anyone to come out and challenge WMJX/Magic 106.7's bragging rights as Boston's Christmas Station.

BRW Notebook :

The Hiil-man extends : Entercom Boston announced earlier this week that WAAF 107.3/97.7's veteran morning host Greg Hill has signed a new, long-term contract that will keep him employed at Boston's Rock Station for the balance of his career. After a short lived stint at a local independent music TV station V66, Hill came to WAAF and started as the promotion coordinator in 1986. He became the station's morning host in 1989. The only two other local morning shows have been on the air longer than Hill - Matt Siegel on Kiss 108(January 1981) and Loren Owens and Wally Brine on WROR 105.7(September 1981).

This new agreement ensures Hill, partners Lyndon Byers and Danielle Murr, and producer Rob Stevens will anchor the WAAF personality lineup well into the future. Former Boston Bruin, Byers, has been with the show since 1997. Murr who also signed a new deal last week came on-board in 2005. Stevens replaced longtime producer Spaz in 2014.

Outside of radio business, The Hill-Man, as he’s referred to by his morning show listeners, is a professional restaurateur. Via his Whole House Group, he owns and operates 29 Sudbury, in Sudbury, and Flank, in Waltham and soon-to-open Battle Road Brewery and Restaurant in Maynard. He also owns several locations of the Howl at the Moon night club, including both the Boston and Patriots Place locations.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Morning shakeup at Country 102.5

Beasley's WKLB/Country 102.5 morning host Jeff Miles has departed abruptly after just 8 months. His last day at Country 102.5 turned out to be last Friday(11/11). He joined the station on March from KCYY/San Antonio and had prior stops at WPLJ/New York and WWWQ/Atlanta. No word on what is planned for the new morning show though PM driver Kevin Kennedy was heard filling in on Monday. Also unclear what co-host's Hannah Byrom's new role will be going forward. She joined Miles in mid-April (BRW 4/15). Miles and Byrom were supposed to freshen up station's presentation and brand after management decided to let go veterans John "JW" Willis and Lori Grande back in mid-February(BRW 2/12). Willis was WKLB's morning host since 1997.

The shakeup comes as WKLB and rest of Greater Media's stations in Boston and elsewhere were officially taken over by Florida-based Beasley Broadcasting on November 1st. Greater Media's sale to Beasley was first announced back in July(BRW 7/20).

In the most recent Nielsen Audio survey for October, Country 102.5 ranked 7th with a 4.7 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 808,200 while its direct format competitor WBWL/Bull 101.7 tied for 15th with 2.7 share and 480,700 weekly cume. November survey will be released next Tuesday(11/22).

BRW Notebook :

Staying, Moving and Going :  Continuing with the country music beat, iHeartMedia WBWL/Bull 101.7's PD/afternooner Lance Houston and evening personality Colton Bradford switched dayparts.  Bradford is now hosting 3pm-8pm. Houston is on from 8pm to Midnight. Bradford has been with the Bull since May 2015(BRW 5/14/2015). He will continue to voice-track night shows on Iheart's sister stations in Portsmouth, NH and Springfield, MA. Houston will keep his other role as afternoon driver on Iheart Radio's station in Atlanta.....WAAF 97.7/107.3's Hill-man morning show co-host Danielle Murr was supposed to exit the show after her 11-year run on Friday, November 11. Instead, she signed a new contract and will stick around....Michael Czarnecki has been promoted to Program Director at WRKO 680. He assumes the role after spending the last 15 months as Assistant PD and Operations Manager for the heritage New England News/Talker. Prior to joining WRKO, Czarnecki served as APD for iHeartMedia’s WHYN-FM and WRNX-FM/Springfield, MA He’s also held previous on-air and programming positions in Boston, Hartford, Medford, OR and Manchester, NH...

Veteran Boston broadcaster John Garabedian has announced he will be leaving the nationally syndicated "Open House Party" as host at the end of this year. First launched on KISS 108/Boston in 1987, OHP has since spread to nearly every major market in the U.S. and Canada. Garabedian has just released his memoir, “The Harmony of Parts,” available on Amazon. The show hasn't aired on Kiss 108 since mid 2000's.... Trenni Kusnierek has joined WEEI 93.7 weekend lineup, where she’ll serve as a weekend and substitute host. Kusnierek will also retain her full-time role as a sports anchor and reporter for COMCAST SportsNet/New England, where she’s been seen in the market since 2012. Prior to joining the regional cable network, Kusnierek was a sports reporter and talk show host at Milwaukee stations WTMJ and ESPN 540. She’s also been a reporter and anchor for the MLB Network, the NFL Network and the Big Ten Network...Comedian/blogger Jerry Thornton is expected to leave WEEI 93.7's afternoon "Dale and Holley" show. He's returning to Barstool Sports blog. His role will not be immediately replaced....WBOS/Alt 92.9's jock Jason Rossi, WMJX/Magic 106.7 overnight host Michael Burns and weekend host Tina Gao had exited their respective roles during Beasley's takeover of Greater Media's properties earlier this month...

Traffic Changes Are Coming :  CBS Radio has chosen Radiate Media as its new broadcast content traffic partner, effective April 1, 2017. Radiate Media will supply CBS Radio stations with customized traffic data for its over-the-air stations, operating in 26 markets including Boston. CBS Radio has been using iHeartMedia’s Total Traffic product for the last 10 years. CBS presently owns five stations in the Boston market - WBZ 1030, WZLX 100.7, WBZ 98.5, WBMX 104.1 and WODS/AMP 103.3. On April 1st, 2017, when Radiate Media takes over traffic for all CBS Radio stations nationally and locally, some (but not all) of Total Traffic employees will be hired by Radiate Media, making the transition appear to be seamless for the Boston radio listeners particularly those who get their traffic reports during all-news format on WBZ 1030.

Sunday Morning Blues : Recently, WZLX 100.7 shifted its Sunday morning schedule a bit - after a 14-year run, Sunday Morning Blues is now an hour shorter and airs from 8am to 10am. Larry "Chachi" Loprette's  "Breakfast With the Beatles" got bumped to 7am.

Ho-ho-holy cow … The celebrating of winter holidays on Boston radio will begin around the same time as has been the case for the past three years - 3rd Friday in November. Expect WMJX/Magic 106.7 to flip to its annual Christmas music format later this week(probably somewhere around Friday, November 18).

Taking the lead :  WRKO 680 hosted its third annual Veteran Day Radiothon raising over $ 71,000 for the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).   The Radiothon was held from 6 am to 3 pm  on Friday(11/11) taking donations via phone calls, text messages and online. On-air personalities including Kim Carrigan and Doug “VB” Goudie from The Morning Show, Barry Armstrong from The Financial Exchange show, and Jeff Kuhner from The Kuhner Report show, highlighted inspirational stories from veterans of all ages and the DAV members who assist them. For more information about the Radiothon, photos and interviews from the event, visit

Whatever It Takes : Last month, former Boston Red Sox pitching ace Curt Schilling announced he would begin hosting a weekend radio show on WFEA/Manchester, NH, syndicated via the Howie Carr Radio Network. Schilling had expanded on his media aspirations, signing on to host a daily talk show, Whatever It Takes, for conservative news website The show debuted on October 24th and streams weekdays from 9am-11am (ET).