Saturday, July 22, 2017

Motor City's top morning show lands at Alt 92.9

Beasley Media Group's modern rocker WBOS/Alt 92.9 will begin airing Detroit-based "Dave and Chuck the Freak Morning Show' starting Monday, July 24 it was announced today.. The 5:30am-10am morning drive show will enter Alt 92.9's lineup starting in a daypart that has been jockless since last November when Jason Rossi was cut loose by new station owners(BRW 11/15/16 - Ed. Note : Rossi has landed as a show producer at WEEI 93.7).

The Dave and Chuck talkshow has been airing on Beasley's WRIR 101.1 since May 2013 and is hosted  by Dave Hunter and Charles Urquhart along with show member Lisa Way.  They all originally began working together in April  2001 on Windsor, Canada’s 89X /CIMX 88.7 FM where they were until November of 2012. The show also features co-host Andy Green, producer James Campbell, and video editor Jason Watson. Currently, it's the #1 morning drive show in the Detroit market.

“We have been eager to expand Dave & Chuck’s content beyond Detroit and I couldn’t be more thrilled that it all starts in Boston,” said Beasley Media Group Executive Vice President of Programming Justin Chase in a press release. “This is a market where their genre of show has been very successful in the past and I’m certain Boston will love D&C."

While not officially billed as a syndication test launch but rather a two-city simulcast(for now), it should be interesting to see if any more stations in Beasley's 15-market portfolio jump on board in coming weeks.

"Dave and Chuck" becomes the third nationally syndicated morning show to be heard on local FM dial. iHeart Media's country WBWL/Bull 101.7 runs Bobby Jones Show and WJMN/Jamn 94-5's carries "The Breakfast Club'. 

WBOS will remain music-focused for the remainder of its broadcast day. Amy Brooks continues as the local afternoon drive host from 3pm to 7pm.


BRW Notebook:

Smaller is better : As mentioned earlier this spring, WBOS/Alt 92.9 had ended its long-running EarthFest and will now focus on smaller station events and concerts. This year as part of the ALT Rocks Boston Concert Series presented by RCN, the station will present the Revivalists in Copley Square Park on Thursday, August 17, 2017 and American Authors  on Thursday, August 31, 2017. Then, on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at the SoWa Open Market it will feature New Politics. Local openers will be announce in the coming weeks.

It's a long way to the top if you want to rock'n'roll : WEEI/Sports Radio 93.7 had a monster spring ratings sruvey and every show on the station did exceptionally well with men 25-54, particularly "Kirk and Callahan" who reclaimed the number one sport from soon-to-be-sister station's "Toucher and Rich" on WBZ/98.5 the Sports Hub....
Speaking of sports radio competition, both WEEI and The Sports Hub are nominated for the best sports talk station in the country in this year's Marconi Awards. WEEI won in 2006, 2008 and 2012.  The SportsHub took the hardware in 2011 and 2014. Full list of 2017 nominees is here. The winners will be announced at National Association of Broadcasters' annual Radio Show which this year is being held in Austin, TX on September 8th.

iHeartMedia's cluster forges its local programming team : iHeartMedia WBWL/Bull 101.7's program director/night host Lance Houston signed a new long-term deal with the station. "I am very lucky to call the best city in America my home and am so thrilled that I get to continue to build the brand alongside the talented team we have here at the Bull," says Houston. He's been at the station for three years(BRW 9/7/14), with previous stops at WPOC/Baltimore and WUBL/Atlanta.

Over at WXKS/Kiss 108, Michael "Mikey V" Vinc has been named station's new Assistant Program Director and Music Director. Mikey V will continue to serve as the station’s nighttime on-air personality. “I look forward to taking on my new role and continuing to work with the extremely talented people at KISS 108,” said Mikey  V. “iHeartMedia Boston is a dream workplace for this kid from Framingham.” Mikey V has entered Kiss 108's line-up back in November 2013(BRW 11/25/13)

Also signed to a new long-term contract with Karim "DJ Pup Dawg" Karmali who will continue as Assistant Program Director and Music Director for WJMN/ JAM’N 94-5 = Boston’s #1 for Hip-Hop and Hits. He will oversee JAM’N 94-5’s on-air content and music programming, as well as continue as host of the station’s evening show/. DJ Pup Dawg has been with the station since 2001 when became producer for "Baltazar and Pebbles" morning show.

“I am JAM'N through and through and thrilled to be with JAM'N 94-5 for the foreseeable future,” said DJ Pup Dawg. “JAM’N is known for playing Boston’s biggest Hip-Hop songs that our listeners want to hear and I can’t wait to continue that tradition with the best team in the business.”

“We’re thrilled for the opportunity to continue to work with Mikey V, Lance and DJ Pup Dawg,” said Dylan Sprague, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia’s Boston Region. “These guys know this city and know these stations. Having these critical programming roles locked in long-term gives us a big competitive advantage as we strategize for our future.” 

In addition, the company also announced that Shaileen Santoro has been named Director of Marketing for the Boston Region, effective immediately. The area includes Kiss 108, JAM’N 94.5, 101.7 The Bull, Talk 1430, and WXKS-AM 1200 - and produces legendary marquee events including the Kiss 108 Jingle Ball, Kiss Concert and JAM’N 94.5’s Summer Jam. 

Santoro replaces longtime local Kiss 108/Jamn 94-5 marketing exec Dennis O’Heron who moved to corporate with iHeart’s National Programming Group as Senior VP for Live Entertainment & Events back in April and is now NYC-based.. O’Heron was the National Event Brand Manager for National Programming in addition to being the VP of Marketing for the iHeartMedia Boston cluster. O’Heron was part of the team that created the initial idea of a multi-band radio show at KISS 108, which eventually led to the inception of the Jingle Ball concerts and many others.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Bloomberg is switching stations in Boston

Bloomberg Media announced yesterday that it will be adding new FM and AM stations in Boston starting today at Noon. The New York-based financial information giant will take over programming on Beasley Media's WRCA 1330, WRCA 106.1 and WBOS 92.2 HD-2. Florida-based Beasley also made the same announcement

For the past fours years, Bloomberg Radio has been airing on IHeart Radio's WXKS 1200 and WJMN 94.5-HD2 (BRW 2/27/13). That arrangement will continue for the next few months as listeners are transitioned over to the new frequencies. 

WXKS 1200 also serves as the Boston affiliate for Umass-Amherst football and a flagship for Harvard football. It hasn't been announced yet if these sports packages will also be moving over to  the new Bloomberg home 1330 AM/106.1FM/92.9 HD2 or stay on the existing AM 1200 frequency.

Beasley which has owned WRCA 1330 locally since 2000, acquired Braintree-based Greater Media and its five local FM's(WBOS 92.9, WKLB 102.5, WMJX 106.7, WROR 105.7 and WBQT 96.9) last July(BRW 7/20/16) and took over the operations in November. WRCA which for many years featured brokered/leased time format underwent a major signal upgrade recently. Last year, the company also acquired a license for 106.1 FM, 100-watt repeater which sits atop of 200 Clarendon office tower(formerly John Hancock Building).  106.1's signal blankets entire downtown Boston including the Financial District. 

When it officially relaunches later today, WRCA 1330/106.1 will continue its run as brokered/leased air time format as it adds Bloomberg as the new program provider.

Bloomberg also announced that tonight's July 4th Boston Pops concert at the Hatch Shell will be simulcast on WRCA 1330/WRCA 106.1FM and WBOS 92.9 HD2 in addition to the outgoing WXKS 1200/94.5-HD2 signals.

Bloomberg tailors much of the weekday programming for the Boston market with dedicated business news anchors in NYC but supplements them with local traffic, sports and weather updates from local Total Traffic Network offices in Medford. In addition, Bloomberg maintains its own Boston news bureau in the heart of the Financial District where bureau chief Tom Moroney and anchor Anne Mostue produce local content and feature programming such as BayState Business Hour.

As for Iheart's WXKS 1200's future format, it's not yet known what its local management's plans are when Bloomberg programming leaves in a few months. One possibility could be simulcasting lower-powered syndicated talk format on WKOX/Talk 1430 where big name national talkers like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin are heard during the day and evening and Fox Sports programming runs overnight and in the morning drive. 1200 used to feature a talk format as mix of local and syndicated shows from 2010 until August 2012 when switched to brief-lived all-comedy format(BRW 8/13/13).

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Boston's once-iconic AM station goes dark

WMEX 1510, a local mainstay on the AM radio dial in Boston for more than eight decades, went off the air at 6pm on Friday(6/30) when current owners,,Daly XXL Communications, LLC, decided to pull the plug after indicating the the station has been sold and the new owner has not decided on the new format.  (As of this writing. the identity of new station owner has not been announced and no transfer of station license application has been filed with the FCC)

From its start in the mid-1930's and for decades to come WMEX had evolved into one of Boston's famed pop music stations. However, by mid 1970's a growing music competition on AM and FM dials forced its sale and a format change. In 1976, WMEX became the first all-talk format station as well as the new flagship for Boston Red Sox broadcasts for the next seven years. In 1978,  the station changed call letters to WITS("Information, Talk and Sports") by the new ownership.   The Red Sox contract called for the station to improve its signal coverage but despite a $1 million investment into a new antenna, a crucial signal problem remained. Coupled with disadvantageous spot on the end of the dial (1510) and AM radio in general is being challenged more and more by FM, the downward turning point for 1510 was well underway.

In the past four decades, the 1510 frequency has been far from a smashing success of its first 40 years.  Regardless of the ownership, call letters or the programming, a continuing problem had been the station's 50,000 watt signal, adequate during daytime hours, but shaky nighttime directional signal left much to be desired  - WMRE(Golden Oldies/"Memory"Big Band/Nostalgia), WSSH(simulcast of soft pop WSSH FM "Wish 99.5"),  WKKU(Country), WNRB(Spanish language religious programming), WWZN(sports talk and Celtics broadcasts under Sporting Radio/Zone 1510), WUFC(Yahoo Sports/Talk format) and last two years as all-talker WMEX. The station was also in Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1986 but never actually signed off the air.
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As for current situation, after leasing out 1510 for about a year(2014-2015), a family-owned Daly XXL finally acquired WMEX from Blackstrap in June 2015 for $175,000. Over the past two years, the all-talk format featured local morning show "Renegade Radio" show with John Pica and station's general manager Bryan Berner, Boston Herald Radio, Joe Shortsleeve, Sandy Shack, Michele McPhee, Tim Constantine, syndicated Michael Savage. Very briefly, WMEX served as the temp home for Howie Carr who was in the midst of negotiating a hard-bargained affiliation deal with WRKO 680 and desperately needed a Boston signal to support his new self-syndication venture. (The WRKO syndication deal was finally struck in March 2015 and Carr immediately returned to AM 680)

It's not clear whether 1510's discontinued signal transmission will be temporary or permanent. The Federal Communications Commission won’t let a station remain silent for longer than one year, or its license gets automatically cancelled.

Stay tuned.

BRW Notebook :

Fireworks : The annual July 4 concert and fireworks event at the Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade produced by The Boston Pops has a brand new media partner starting this year. That means the change in radio signals. Exit CBS/WBZ-TV and WBZ 1030 and enter NewYork-based Bloomberg TV and Radio. Bloomberg will broadcast The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on Bloomberg Television on cable/satellite nationally and internationally. Locally, on radio over WXKS 1200/WJMN 94.5 HD2 will run TV simulcast from 8pm to 11pm. The concert will be also heard on WBBR 1130 in New York/New Jersey/Connecticut areas; WNEW FM 99.1 in the Washington, D.C/ Baltimore areas; 960 AM in San Francisco; SiriusXM Channel 119, on the Bloomberg Radio+ app for iPhone and Android, and on TuneIn. Bloomberg's anchors/personalities Alix Steel, Carol Massar and Matt Miller are the hosts. 

Happy Returns : Couple noteable returns on local dial - after a three year absence, former WEEI nighttime host John Ryder has returned to Red Sox Radio broadcasts on WEEI as weekend and fill-in pre and postgame host earlier June. Ryder is still working with ESPN Radio in CT......Jim Clerkin, who was with WXKS/Kiss 108 from 1999-2015 in various roles including music director, assistant program director and Matt Siegal's morning show executive producer has landed as executive producer at WRKO 680's Boston Dot Com morning show in early June. Clerkin officially replaced Dave Cullinane who exited in late February(BRW 3/1/15).