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Boston Radio Watch 05-15-1998

* WNFT shows some Touch, drops WAAF simulcast...

You say you never heard of WNFT-AM 1150? Well, you're not alone. Most
Boston radio listeners haven't, which is one reason probably no
one in this town noticed a new format that came into town this week.
A 24-hour satellite Urban AC format called The Touch has replaced the
rocking sound of Worcester's WAAF 107.3FM which AM 1150 was simulcasting
since last June.

AM 1150 frequency has an interesting history in the Boston market. For the most
of the 80's and 90's the station was under the ownership of New Jersey-based
Greater Media Corporation which currently happens to own five FM's in Boston --
WMJX-FM(Magic 106.7), WSJZ-FM(Smooth Jazz 96.9), WBOS-FM, WKLB-FM(Country 99.5)
and WROR-FM. After years of trying to find the right sound
for AM 1150 --  golden oldies under historic Boston call letters
WMEX ,a business news station, a leased ethnic block programming, 
a children's radio network(KidStar) which ended up filing for Chapter 11,
and simulcast of Magic 106.7. Greater Media finally gave up on WNFT-AM
last May when it sold the station to Boston-based American Radio Systems
for $4.5 million.

Local ARS management was in the process of deciding on a permanent format
for AM 1150 when the news of CBS buying ARS put any planned programming
changes on hold. Earlier this winter CBS placed WNFT into a trust
along with some other ARS stations in other markets indicating that it
wouldn't be keeping AM 1150 here. The little WNFT continued on with
WAAF's simulcast until this week when CBS pulled the plug and picked up
ABC Radio's syndicated The Touch, a mix of current and gold R&B hits.
WNFT now promotes itself as 'Boston's best variety of today's hits and
oldies -- The Touch 1150'. 

It's still not clear what CBS plans to do with WNFT-AM. The station
does not have any ratings which in turn means it has zero cash flow.
Its only real value is a 5,000 watt transmitter located in Lexington.
This week's programming change on AM 1150 probably means that the station
is close to being sold.  Or, it's a sign that CBS is preparing to sell
off WAAF-FM which it was ordered to do by federal regulators as a condition
for the approval ARS-CBS merger.

Meanwhile, WAAF is in the process of upgrading its transmitter which should
boost its power from 18,000 watts to 20,000 watts and give Worcester-licensed
station a much better coverage over most parts of metro Boston.

* WADN-AM gets a new owner...

Down the dial at AM 1120, there was also a change but not on the air.
Concord's WADN AM 1120, the station which took about 10 years and $1 million 
to build was sold by its present owner Ned Crecelius to a local group known as
Money Matters Radio for nearly half a million dollars. 

When it went on the air on August 28th, 1989, WADN-AM was
the first station in the metro Boston market to be built from the ground
up as an AM stereo facility.  It was also the only commercial station in
the nation devoted to contemporary folk and acoustic music. For much
of young existence, the station which was simply known as "Walden Radio".
Last year it began a gradual shift toward more financial business news/talk
programming during its weekday schedule and with some various music programming
filling the airwaves on weekends.

WADN -AM transmits at 5,000 watts in the daytime and 1,000 watts at night,
and it can be heard along the Route 2 corridor from Fitchburg to Boston
from sunrise to sunset, and then mostly in Middlesex County at night. It's
expected that financial news/talk format will remain on AM 1120 when the
sale is completed.

* The new WFNX morning voice sounds familiar..

Part of WFNX-FM's ad for its new morning host in radio trade magazines and on
its website read like this : "Not interested in standard, normal or Wacky/Zany.
Need innovator that will challenge an audience as much as they challenge
themselves." It took WFNX-101.7FM about 5 months to find the new morning
personality it was looking for and the voice is certainly very familiar to
many regular WFNX listeners. Neal Robert, 34, who worked 9 years(1986-1995)
at WFNX, last seven as an afternoon drive-time DJ, is coming back to Lynn's
alternative rock station to take over the morning show. Robert jumped to
crosstown rival WBCN 104.1FM in September 1995 where he was the top weekend
and fill-in man until last week when Phoenix Media Group romanced him back
to 101.7FM.

WFNX-FM lost its popular longtime morning DJ Tom A. Irwin(Tai) exactly
a year ago this week when he gave rock for talk and moved to WRKO-AM 680
where he's now hosting a late night talkshow(10am-1am). Last August, former
PD Bill Glasser picked evening jock Angie C. to take over the AM-drive.
Then this January new programming boss Daniel "Cruze" Behring flipflopped
Angie C. and overnighter Chris Kennedy as the station began searching
for its new morning voice.

It will feel like Robert never left the station when he gets back
on the air at WFNX -- he'll be joined on the morning show by another
longtime WFNX veteran news director Henry Santoro. And the crossovers
with midday host Julie Kramer will seem like deja vu from the days
when she followed Robert with an evening show on WFNX.

* News Briefs :

- - Adult rocker WBOS 92.9FM and Program Director Jim Herron parted ways
  after 6 years. The station which was acquired by Greater Media group
  last year has been heavily promoting itself as 'Quality Rock' and spending
  lot of money on TV spots over the past few months. But just-released
  winter ratings remained flat. Prior to coming to WBOS in April 1992,
  programmed stations in San Diego, San Jose, Washington DC and Chicago markets,
  as well as running his own radio consulting business(Herron Media Group).

  Greater Media's programming honcho Don Kelley who normally oversees
  WMJX-FM(Magic 106.7) operations and programming has been named WBOS'
  interim program director. 

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End of boston-radio-interest-digest V2 #70