96.9 WTKK Rebrands

96.9 Boston Talks WTKK News Talk Now Greater Media Jim MargeryUpdate 9/3: WTKK has rebranded as “NewsTalk 96.9“. No changes to the programming lineup, although the station is putting extra emphasis on its News coverage. The station is promoting its “24 Hour News Center” with newscasts at the top and bottom of every hour and traffic/weather every 15 minutes.

Original Report 8/16: Following the demise of “Talk 1200” WXKS and the move of Rush Limbaugh back to Entercom’s 680 WRKO, Greater Media could be next to adjust things at one of their Boston Talkers.

Greater Media registered a few domains this week indicating “96.9 Boston Talks” WTKK could be preparing a retooling following the changes on the AM dial in the market. 969Boston.com, 969NewsTalk.com, 969Now.com, NewsTalk969.com, and NewsTalkBoston.com were registered by the company on Monday. We don’t expect anything major to come out of these changes. Probably a lineup change or two at most.

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  1. chet flattery says

    Bad feeling they are just going to pair up with NECN and simulcast more news from them.

  2. The Fat Man says

    The “Now” scares me. The term usually refers to CHR or Hot AC. This market is saturated with those formats. WXKS-FM, WBMX, WODS, WXLO. Rather deal with news from NECN. Or, be different. Put the Irish music on HD-1. Put a new format that people usually don’t hear, like Jazz, the blues, or a Spanish format. Better yet, how about a true urban station similar to the old WILD-FM. Take a bite out of WJMN and their watered down urban format. Just not the same Rhiana, Usher, Justin Timberlake, Lady GaGa, Pitbull crap that is saturated the Boston FM dial for quite some time now. It was all ready over kill when WODS flipped last month.

    1. Bob Nelson says

      Good point..unless the Now means a station to turn to ‘now’ for up to minute news, and talk about it. Brief and catchy–but indeed something you’d associate more with a music format like what you said. Blues (yes!), Irish, Jazz etc.might only have a limited appeal (but would be interesting). Spanish or Urban would serve a fairly big community but the big companies like GM, CC, Entercom have yet to try to do something like that. Mass appeal formats like Amp and Harbor have been what they’re trying instead.

    2. Nathan Obral (@myronfalwell) says

      Up to the present day, WTKK seems intent on staying with the talk format until Howie Carr’s contract with WRKO finally expires. (For those unfamiliar, a major legal war erupted between Greater Media, Carr and Entercom when Carr tried to defect to WTKK outright and has made his constant unhappiness with working at WRKO akin to serving a long-term prison sentence.)

      If WTKK abandons the talk format, they probably saw the handwriting on the wall.; that Carr may never be able to leave WRKO before retiring, or that the talk format won’t be viable when he finally is available in 2015.

      1. The Fat Man says

        He extended his contract with WRKO.

        1. Nathan Obral (@myronfalwell) says

          Last I checked, it was the other way around; that Entercom picked up his existing two-year option in spite of Howie (he even said over the air that he was “hoping to make parole this time”).

          True, it’s possible that Howie and WRKO/Entercom management are all involved in a charade to keep interest in his show alive. If THAT’S the case, then they are all engaging in one of the longest and most spectacular put-ons in radio history.

          1. Nathan Obral (@myronfalwell) says

            ^^ And WTKK would have been one of the biggest victims of said prank when they openly tried to bring Howie aboard in 2007 as their new morning host. With his consent, mind you. They allegedly offered him a five-year deal.

  3. Charles says

    (1) Greater Media doesn’t do R&B. Their corporate culture won’t allow it.

    (2) A Spanish FM in Boston isn’t practical because the Spanish-speaking communities are a good distance from each other.

    1. The Fat Man says

      I have to disagree on point 2. Boston has a big Hispanic population. And let’s get serious. The city of Lawrence is a Mecca for immigrants from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Out of the all good and bad that is said about Lawrence time and time again, one fact is after New York, Lawrence is the most sought place for immigrants from those two locations.

  4. Bob says

    WTKK has made subtle changes to its branding in the past: 969 talk, talk evolution, 969 boston talks, etc. etc.

  5. Bob Nelson says

    I think Graham and E&B have contracts into next year (then again contracts aren’t etched in stone necessarily–though some end due to discharge for cause, as in Severin’s exit–or they can be bought out). I think Carr would be available in late 2014 but again what will the talk radio landscape look like?

    Not that it would happen of course but imagine if Greater sold 96.9 to Ent. so they could put RKO on FM 🙂 Again, far fetched but you never know. A few months ago “FNX getting sold to Clear Channel” would have been laughed off as an April Fools’ joke. For now yes it probably would be a minor lineup tweak and a brand name change, at most. The TKK FB page just changed its photo to an overhead shot of Boston but I don’t know if that’s any indication. They already have Boston in their nickname now and 2 of the domain names include Boston. For now I’d guess talk continues. Does it make them money and what else would they do?

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