curtis.kennington | Flickr | Photo shared under a Creative Commons license
Almost a year after CBS first announced plans to sell or spinoff its radio assets, the company has finally struck a deal. CBS Radio, which owns popular Philadelphia stations like KYW News Radio, classic hits station WOGL 98.1-FM, and sports radio 94WIP, will merge with the mega radio company Entercom.
Entercom’s portfolio of radio stations is so vast that the merger will give the chain a nationwide footprint of 244 stations from Seattle to Miami, in 23 of the country’s top 25 markets. That includes CBS’ current lineup of 117 stations in markets like Atlanta, Baltimore, and Chicago. The two companies only overlapped in seven markets. The deal will make Entercom the second-largest radio station owner in the U.S., behind the popular outlet iHeartMedia.
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Almost two years ago, Boom 107.9 launched in Philadelphia. The station constantly told you it was playing “classic hip-hop and R&B” — and that’s what it gave you. It would play early rap songs from the 1980s, classic R&B/hip-hop jawns from the 1990s, and occasionally throw a newer track in there once in a while.
But in recent months, it’s changed a bit. Once I heard the version of “Fantasy” by Mariah Carey featuring Ol’ Dirty Bastard — which fits the format, but just barely. Newer songs seemed to sneak onto the dial more and more often.
Earlier this week, it officially changed. Boom 107.9 switched spots on the dial with Praise 103.9, the gospel station. And Boom 103.9 is now playing the Urban Hot AC format. It’s now a Power 99 clone. No more throwback hip-hop and R&B. Read more »
Jason Fine — aka “Attorney Big Al” — next to a caricature of himself drawn by Philly artist Hawk Krall.
Boom 107.9’s tagline says it plays throwback hip-hop and R&B. That’s true. But listen to it for a little bit and you’ll also hear some of the same ads constantly. The one that stands out most is for “Attorney Big Al.” Philadelphia, like most cities, has a long history of strange, eye-catching ads for lawyers. There’s Allen Rothenburg, The Injury Lawyer. There’s Rand Spear, The Accident Lawyer. There’s Justin Bieber, Esquire. There’s “VIGILANTE LAWYER,” the mysterious ads that ran in the subway a while back. (Turns out the person’s last name is Vigilante. Here I thought this was a lawyer who worked… outside the law.) Then there’s Attorney Big Al. He’s a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia, and the spokesman on his ad says he’s the best.
But it’s a line late in the ad that makes it so memorable. “Attorney Jason Fine is Big Al,” the spokesman says. What? Why go by Attorney Big Al when your name is Jason Fine? I pondered this question for months. Maybe a year. Then I realized that I’m a journalist and I can just ring up Fine himself and ask him.
Attorney Big Al is essentially a chain of personal injury lawyers. Fine pays the people behind Attorney Big Al to license the name. All calls to 1-800-HURT-123 are routed to the proper lawyer’s office by where the person is calling from. Read more »
iRadioPhilly is a group of Internet radio stations local to the city. The streaming radio site broadcast the pope’s visit and the World Meeting of Families, and has a channel dedicated to Philly artists and talk radio.
It also has one dedicated to pop hits, aimed at women. Five years ago, iRadioPhilly came up with a name for that station. It chose Isis. Whoops. Read more »
All Pope, all the time? Sort of.
Philadelphia’s 1480 AM — which currently broadcasts as WJJZ, the smooth jazz station that first began on 106.1 in 1993 — is becoming Pope Info Radio.
The flip will take place on September 19th, and last until the night of the 27th. But don’t worry too much, listeners: You’ll still get your Kenny G. The switch is being described as a mix of pope news and smooth jazz — with each song being followed by updates and information. The pope news is expected to be a combination of local reports by veteran Philly radio reporter Loraine Ballard Morrill and national news service coverage. Read more »
James Gadsden standing in front of 2400 Bryn Mawr Avenue. Photo | Facebook.
Wynnefield resident Mannwell Glenn was walking his dog down a leafy, generally quiet neighborhood street earlier this week when he noticed something odd: Two men milling about 2400 Bryn Mawr Avenue, the property of the late Kernie Anderson, a veritable giant in the urban radio market who died in December.
Their presence stood out to Glenn, because this section of Wynnefield is a very tight-knit, secure community (Mayor Nutter lives literally around the corner) and as far as the neighbors were aware, no one had access to the house other than Anderson’s daughter and sole heir, Shama Anderson, who still kept tabs on the home and made occasional visits from Harrisburg, where she had relocated. Generally speaking, the house had been vacant since shortly after Anderson’s death, and so the new activity did not go unnoticed.
So, as any good neighbor would do, Glenn started asking questions. Read more »
WXPN promotional image
Apparently, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the “legendary” band The Grateful Dead. (What, you didn’t know?) And to commemorate this sacred occasion, Philadelphia radio station WXPN is offering 24 hours of the Grateful Dead. They’re calling it the Day of the Dead. (Creative!) And they even have a hashtag: #XPNDeadDay. All of which has us ready to puke. Read more »
This week on Fresh Air, Terry Gross interviewed fellow Philadelphian Bradley Cooper about American Sniper and his work in The Elephant Man, which is playing now on Broadway in New York.
The first part of the nearly hourlong chat delves into the much-reported controversy surrounding Sniper, in which Cooper plays a sharp-shooting Navy SEAL sniper during the war in Iraq. Liberals say the film doesn’t do enough to emphasize that that troops should never have been in Iraq in the first place, and that it glorifies a mission gone wrong. Conservatives—like Sarah Palin—say hogwash.
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Mick Foley at Comic Con in October 2014 at The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. | Sam Aronov / Shutterstock.com
Just when you thought Philadelphia’s annual pageant of the grotesque couldn’t get any weirder comes this news: Former world pro wrestling champion Mick Foley will compete at this year’s Wing Bowl.
Foley — who also wrestled as Mankind, Cactus Jack and Dude Love — was best known in wrestling for his battles with The Rock over the WWF Championship, as well as losing two-thirds of his right ear in a match in 1994. He also wrestled in Extreme Championship Wrestling, a popular Philadelphia-based promotion in the 1990s.
This morning on WIP, Foley said he’s no celebrity stunt contestant: He’s in it to win. “I believe, as they say, on any given Sunday in the game of football,” Foley said on the station. “On Wing Bowl, it’s on — on any given day I believe I could stand my ground with the best in the world … I already have a doctor on hand ready to give me the Heimlich maneuver if needed.”
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If you’ve been missing Philly radio personality Casey Reed’s voice on the radio since she retired from 96.5 last March, we’ve got some good news: Starting this week she is stepping in as the official host of Q102‘s Afternoon Drive.
The Philly native, Temple grad and outspoken LGBT rights advocate got her start in local radio a decade ago, interning for Q102‘s Chio in the Morning and eventually becoming host of Midday on 96.5, a position she held for nine years. Since her resignation from that post, she hosted New York City’s 95.5, but now she’s back in Philly where she belongs. “Philly’s my hometown, she says. “So to be able to play great music and talk to listeners here every day on their crazy drive home, it’s one of the most amazing outcomes of my career so far.”
Reed was also named Q102 music director, a job that will have her overseeing music content and working with other departments to “enhance the overall sound of the station.”
You can hear her on Afternoon Drive weekdays from 4 to 8 p.m. on Q102.