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Radio Tracks

Change is in air for local stations

Email|Print| Text size + By Clea Simon
Globe Correspondent / February 7, 2008

The radio version of musical chairs continues this week as another new program director takes over two Boston stations.

Clear Channel Boston stations "Jam'n" WJMN-FM (94.5) and "Kiss" WXKS-FM (107.9) have a new program director, with former assistant program director/music director Chris Tyler replacing "Cadillac" Jack McCartney. Tyler came to the stations in 1998 as a weekend DJ for WJMN.

Last week, McCartney, PD of WJMN since 1994 and WXKS since 2001, was named the new PD of Clear Channel New York station WWPR and also operations manager of the Boston stations.

This shift follows last week's naming of Jay Beau Jones as PD of WODS-FM (103.3) and WBMX-FM (98.5). On Friday, following the format shift of WBOS-FM (92.9), Dana Marshall was named PD of that station.

And WBOS wasn't the only station changing formats last week. On Jan. 28, conservative talk station WTTT-AM (1150) switched to become "Radio Luz," replacing talk hosts like Sean Hannity with Spanish-language Christian music. Management at Salem Communications, the station's California-based owners, refused comment. Perhaps the motivation was obvious. According to 2006 numbers from the BIA Financial Network, the most recent available, WTTT had earned significantly less than Salem's other Boston-area stations: $200,000 as opposed to $2.8 million earned by WEZE-AM (590) and $1.3 million by WROL-AM (950), both Christian talk.

Spinning the dial
"Mountain Stage" and "Afropop Worldwide" will continue to air on UMass-Boston folk station WUMB-FM (91.9). Although WUMB management told the Globe earlier that the fees charged by Public Radio International, the distributor of these shows, had become prohibitive, the station and PRI have since reached an agreement, according to WUMB general manager Pat Monteith.

Greater Media president and CEO Peter Smyth will feel the heat on April 2, when he will be roasted in New York City at the 22d annual Bayliss Foundation Radio Roast, a black-tie event to benefit the Bayliss Radio Scholarship Fund.

Is the new WBOS playing the format known as "classic alternative"? Industry insider Scott Fybush, editor of the industry news website North East Radio Watch, has commented on the similarity between the new Radio 92.9 and Clear Channel station WRFF in Philadelphia, noting that both play the same mix of alternative hits by Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

But Buzz Knight, vice president of program development for the station's parent company, Greater Media, says no. "It's certainly an integral part" of the new station, Knight says, "but there's also a strong contemporary piece."

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