Posted In: Boston
WMKK “Mike FM” has been off the air since 2011 when Entercom dropped the format to make way for WEEI sports radio on FM. With the numbers that Entercom is getting with its existing properties in the market, could they consider switching WODS or possibly WWBX to a variety hits or similar programming? The format would not directly compete with any of Entercom’s other properties any more than WMJX competes with WWBX. Prior to dropping Mike FM, it was getting some decent numbers, so there may be some room for the format to get some of the market share from WROR and WZLX.
They needed to put WEEI on FM.Sports bills well.CBS started Sports Hub in 09 and 2 yrs later Entercom killed off Mike to put SportsRadio on a powerful FM outlet. 98.5 was killing them in the ratings and EEI was stuck on Ancient Modulation.
Yup. Mike FM only went away because Entercom had to protect WEEI in every way possible.
Recorded in Ultra Stereo, the ultimately superior cousin to Normal Stereo!
In order it was Eagle, Star, Mike. I recall the stunt to begin Star was playing Prince’s 1999 over and over. At a certain time, after he sang,”Mommy…why does everybody have a bomb?” they had the sound effect of a bomb, announced the new format and played You Dropped a Bomb on Me
(March of 1999) “WEGQ began stunting with a loop of Prince’s “1999”. At 3 p.m. the following day, the station flipped to rhythmic adult contemporary as WQSX, “Star 93.7”. The first song on “Star” was “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” by The Gap Band.The format consisted of ’70s and ’80s-soul music, dance music and rhythmic hit music”
By April of 2005 they went into Mike with adult hits and the rumor was that had they not gone “we play anything” another station in town like WODS could have done “Jack” or whatever.
Sept of 2011, Mike became WEEI-FM. The change had been announced in advance. I was on Cape Cod for a relative’s wedding and remember 0n that Sunday it was the 10th anniversary of 9/11, with somber ceremonies in NY. Mike debuted in morning drive on Monday Sept 12, 2011.
As a low budget operation running a juke box it may have done OK and it had its fans but they needed to put WEEI on FM, and should have done so earlier. As I’ve said, in 2009 CBS announced the Sports Hub’s debut well in advance and Entercom could have put WEEI on FM even before Sports Hub debuted to steal their thunder. Maybe they thought Sports Hub wouldn’t amount to much so they could just stay as is.
They were wrong.
>>>>As I’ve said, in 2009 CBS announced the Sports Hub’s debut well in advance and Entercom could have put WEEI on FM even before Sports Hub debuted to steal their thunder. Maybe they thought Sports Hub wouldn’t amount to much so they could just stay as is.They were wrong.<<<<
Great point. Interesting chronology. Entercom had advance knowledge that Sports Hub was going all-in with the clout, resources, and broadcast rights to–at very least–be very competitive. No one was blindsided. Entercom, you are right, made a colossal miscalculation in assessing the strength of this well telegraphed coming competitor. They didn’t fix the cracks in their tiring, but still successful shows, they didn’t pre-emptively hook up with FM BEFORE 98.5 which they could have, and they operated with the attitude “no need to fix until its broken”. Its one of the biggest mis-steps in local radio the past 20 years. Ultimately, it cost a lot of people their jobs–from management to on-air.
I concur that putting WEEI on FM was more important than keeping Mike. Beyond that, though, I’m not too sure that a new Variety Hits station would take that much audience from WROR. Indeed, some of the best examples of current markets where both Classic Hits and Variety Hits do well are actually ones where one company programs both formats–e.g., L.A. (Entercom’s KRTH and KCBS-FM), Dallas/Fort Worth (Entercom’s KLUV and KJKK), Seattle (iHeart’s KJR-FM and KJAQ), and Cleveland (iHeart’s WMJI and WHLK).
A weaker signal but iHR tried variety hits with The Harbor (WHBA) on 101.7. They bought the previous WFNX from the Boston Phoenix and began a we play anything type format in July of 2012. The following December it shifted to elec. dance music as Evolution 101.7. Maybe the variety hits was a placeholder format for the time being. Ultimately they decided to do a me-too approach by doing country, once WKLB started to really do well. Beasley could have done variety hits with WBOS but instead are doing “me too” in going after iHeart’s WZLX.
At the time of Sports Hub’s debut Ent/WEEI had both the Red Sox and the Celtics. Later they gave up on the C’s who signed with 98.5.
I think it was in July of 2009 that the news of the Sports Hub’s debut came out (the change was around Aug 12 of that year). So they knew of it a month in advance, at least. A North East Radio Watch column about a week after the announced changes said that WEEI already had a 15 year head start on sports and still had 2 of the city’s teams and “familiar voices”.
>>As for all the rumors about WEEI seeking an FM presence in Boston, for now, they’re just rumors. With only three FM properties in the Boston market – the WAAF/WKAF simulcast, which stands to benefit from competitor WBCN’s demise, and the highly profitable and inexpensively-run WMKK (93.7 Mike FM) – there’s no obvious spot for a WEEI-FM…unless Entercom revives the never-consummated deal to acquire WCRB (99.5 Lowell) from Nassau.
So Entercom could have gone for a move to FM at that time but held back.
Note that Mike was said to be “highly profitable”. No jocks to pay, maybe a few promo people…running very familiar music (at the end in 2011 “we play anything” turned into more like WROR is doing, classic hits, with fewer “oh wows”. The last song was Free Bird.
My recollection of Mike FM was that is had inferior audio quality – no presence, no punch – probably low bandwidth; most of the tunes got cut off before they were finished; and usually the shorter version of a song was played. Apologies to those of you who miss it, but I did not think it was a good listenable product. It was probably run off of some cheap server in a closet at Entercom.
Its weird WEEI-FM ( 103.7) was on in Providence before Boston ( 93.7 the main Market ) .
Not weird when you consider all the “SportsRadio WEEI Network” affiliates that have/had similar call letters that allude to WEEI in some way.
And lest we forget the original WEEI-FM on 103.3 FM back in the day…
Recorded in Ultra Stereo, the ultimately superior cousin to Normal Stereo!Would have been interesting if Entercom had been successful in acquiring the old WCRB when it was on 102.5 in 2006. They wanted to put WAAF there, but Greater Media got that signal and spun off 99.5. If Entercom owned 102.5, WEEI Sports Radio could have ended up there and the WMKK format would have survived on 93.7.
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