By SCOTT FYBUSH
If you've been reading NorthEast Radio Watch all along (especially our detailed analysis of Howie Carr's future on Monday), you know changes are coming in a big way to the Boston talk scene. Now we have a much better sense of what's about to happen - and how quickly it's all coming together.
After more than 20 years at WRKO (and a few years before that at WHDH until its programming was merged into WRKO), Howie Carr finally caught that car he's been chasing all that time: he's now a former WRKO employee. The no-surprise-at-all announcement came on Wednesday, with no word being offered up about who'll fill Carr's afternoon time slot. (Guest hosts have been in place all this week, as they were for most of last week after the auto accident that ended Carr's WRKO run a few days earlier than planned.)
So is it just coincidence that a former WRKO talker also came on the market Wednesday? Doug Goudie was "Virgin Boy" as a producer/sidekick for Carr back in the day, and "VB" as the personable co-host of WFXT (Channel 25)'s morning news. And no sooner had Cox Media Group taken over from Fox Television Stations as WFXT's owner than word came out that VB was off the lineup at Fox 25. Coincidence? It might be - but Goudie's sudden availability may be the best news out there for WRKO as it tries to figure out what's next.
Carr, for his part, wasted no time finding a new Boston outlet. If he was unhappy with the night signal of WRKO all those years, he's going to be even more miserable after dark on WUFC (1510), which is expected to announce today that it's picking up Carr's new syndicated show alongside the other Boston Herald Radio content it now carries. And that's not the only announcement coming from 1510: back at the end of October, it quietly applied to change calls to WMEX, a heritage callsign it could start using as early as today.
Can a revived WMEX break through the static to get any traction in a radio market that's quickly migrating from AM to FM? The WMEX calls were last heard in the market around the turn of the millennium on a quickly-forgotten talk incarnation of Natick's 1060 - and they were last on 1510 in 1976. Even a teenager who rocked out to "X-15" then (and didn't leave Boston somewhere along the way) is already out of the 25-54 sales demo at this point, so it's hard to imagine that "WMEX" on 1510 is going to bring much of a heritage factor to the table aside from whatever diehard audience follows Carr up the dial. Even that's a little doubtful; remember what happened when Clear Channel's WXKS (1200) tried to pull the Rush Limbaugh audience over from WRKO a few years back?
More on the Carr/WMEX saga in Monday's NERW - where we'll also dig into the on-again, off-again saga of New York's WJLP-TV (Channel 3, maybe) which returned to the air Wednesday afternoon with a temporary FCC order allowing the use of its desired virtual channel 3.10, as well as the new country station in Ottawa, a big iHeart management change in upstate New York and much, much more. You can't afford not to be a subscriber!
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