Friday, January 26, 2018

Boston Sports Radio Stations Won't Stand Pat(s)

While the Patriots are preparing to defend their Super Bowl championship next week, the media battle continues among Boston's two big time sports radio stations. WBZ-FM Sports Hub is sure to benefit in the ratings from having the Patriots broadcasts, along with airing the Celtics and Bruins throughout the week.

With WEEI-FM and its Red Sox coverage in the off-season, WEEI Sports made it a point to make a bigger than usual splash about extending its Patriots related programming even though it does not air the games.

The station announced a multi-year extension of its "Patriots Monday" and "Patriots Friday" programs. QB Tom Brady will continue on the Monday show (presumably whether he retires or not after the big game), which airs during the Kirk & Callahan morning show. Coach Bill Belichick will appear on the Monday afternoon Dale & Holley Show. The Friday show will continue to feature a variety of Patriots players.

Even without the play-by-play, WEEI-FM has done well with their Patriots programming, especially since it was expanded back in 2008. The station and team have partnered on team programming since 1995. As the flagship station, WBZ-FM also has special access to Patriots personnel for its coverage.

Both stations continue to be strong in the overall market ratings as our regular readers know.

Coincidentally, the mid-December to mid-January ratings will be announced shortly after the Super Bowl.

BOSTON: Congratulations to WBZ-TV sports anchor Dan Roche on being named Massachusetts Sportscaster of the Year. Roche, who has been with WBZ-TV since 1999, also won this Award in 2014.

BANGOR: WEZQ 92.9 The Ticket has just taken over Red Sox broadcasts with a new three year deal starting next month with spring training broadcasts. As a result, The Ticket now airs play-by-play for all four major Boston teams, already airing the Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins. This takes the baseball broadcasts away from WZON 620, which had been airing the games in Bangor since 1994. WZON happens to be owned by author Stephen King.

CHICAGO: It's now one month from start of exhibition baseball, and it is now uncertain (as of press time) whether or not the White Sox have a radio station to broadcast their games this season. WLS 890 is owned by Cumulus, which is financially strapped and reportedly doing everything it can to cancel its contract to air both the White Sox and Bulls (NBA) broadcasts.

For this weekend (1/27 and 1/28), WLS has coverage of the White Sox fan fest (SoxFest) on its broadcast schedule. With the team looking at another 90+ loss season, if WLS gets out of the contract it could lead to the team buying time and producing its own broadcasts at least for this season.

There are examples of large market teams being on school or community stations over the years, including the Oakland A's and N.Y. Islanders.

DETROIT: It's nice to see some media attention to this week being what would have been the 100th birthday of Tigers broadcast legend Ernie Harwell.

DAYTON: It's not official yet (as of press time) but it looks like Justin Kinner will officially become host of WING 1410's "Dayton Sports Scene" from 4 to 6 PM on weekdays. Kinner has the difficult task of replacing Mark Neal, who left the station after having hosted the show since 2003.

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