Saturday, March 18, 2006


FLASH: Sox look to move to WBOS

Wow....Who saw this coming?

Sox look to move broadcasts to WBOS
Team in talks to buy 25% stake in station

Well, everyone knew that Greater Media will have to spin off one of their properties after they acquire 102.5 (currently WCRB).

The rub is that there's actually no easy answer as to which station they should spin. 99.5 WKLB is GM's sole non-Pru signal, so it's an obvious target. However, it's signal in Boston is "not bad", and it consistently gets good ratings (usually ~4.0).

For that matter, so does WCRB...they have consistently gotten 3.5 to 4.0 in the 12+. Granted, 12+ doesn't mean much, but it's still a decent bellweather of overall health.

92.9 WBOS has a powerful signal from the Pru, but it gets terrible ratings (lucky to crack 1.0) and has for years as it jumps from format to format.

But of course, ratings don't tell ALL the story...what really tells the story is billing; how much money is really coming in through the door. WBOS consistently bills very well; I'm told it's second in the GM group only to WMJX, which is a top ratings-getter.

I don't know what WKLB or WCRB bills, but I wouldn't be surprised if WKLB does "decent" because it's serving a strong niche market, but a market that will never be "huge" or considered "insanely valuable". WCRB is an equally tough guess...they probably do well enough since they've established themselves as a perfect "at work, in the background" station. But that's only going to get you so far with advertisers...especially since with classical there's less time to cram more commercials in. Hell, WCRB used to run fundraisers (I dunno if they have recently) although they did well in them, the fact that they had to run them is telling.

FWIW, my personal take is that WBOS is the worst kind of bad idea for the Sox; it's an idea that "makes sense". It's a strong downtown (and Fenway area) signal, it's got weak ratings, and GM has to get rid of a signal in a few months no matter what. Plus there's a significant push from MLB to move games to FM signals based on the success of NFL games on FM.

Probably is, it makes money, and its current music format is incompatible with Sox games; the games take up 2.5-4 hours per day, six days a week, for seven or eight months every year...PLUS at least 2 to 4 hours of pre- and post-game analysis and callers. WEEI has done well creating an entire station brand around the games, and it'd be a tremendous waste to not do it that way. But any new venture that's not WEEI will be in direct competition with an established brand that listeners love (WEEI has huge billing and huge ratings)...that's an awkward situation for a least a few years and results in a lot of annoyed fans. Bad mojo all around.

What I'd personally like to see is some situation where ultimately Entercom owns 92.9 - even if it has to sell 850AM to do it. Maybe if the Sox buy 92.9, and then turn around and sell it to WEEI with some sort of special deal about the games where both the Sox and Entercom get enough money to be happy. Entercom would probably have to sell 850AM to raise enough for the down payment, but it could work.

WEEI is a great station and a great match for the Sox games. They know their stuff forwards and backwards when it comes to running a successful sports radio format. Why mess with that?
++WEEI is a great station and a great match for the Sox games. They know their stuff forwards and backwards when it comes to running a successful sports radio format. Why mess with that?++

Why? Could it

Considering how many other decisions the Sox have made that seem to revolve around the almighty buck. Stadium, Roster, etc.

WEEI does not have an interest in helping WEEI....they have an interest in making more profits for the Sox.

It's one big arithmetic formula.

If the WBOS deal makes them more money....that's the one that makes sense.

If Boston finds a way to make it into the postseason this year, it will be one of the greatest stories in the past 25 years in baseball.This Red Sox team has been ravaged by injuries, yet they continue to keep pace with both the Yankees and the Rays.
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