In Boston, known for its marathon, the morning radio ratings race has proven to be nearly as exciting. Compared to the best of Boston, hosts need to be faster than the duck boats, easier to follow than the Freedom Trail and able to offer as much variety as Quincy Market...but nowhere as menacing as Fenway's Green Monster.
Based on Nielsen's December 2021 PPM-based weekly cume ranking of persons 6+, Boston's top morning shows and hosts are the focus of this week's edition of Inside Radio's “By The Numbers.” It's worth noting that during December, station cume can be heavily impacted by the all-Christmas music format, with trends not necessarily representative of ratings periods during the rest of the year. Where those numbers differ significantly from November is noted.
Top-ranked is Audacy Adult Contemporary “Magic 106.7” WMJX's “Morning Magic” with co-hosts David O'Leary and Sue Tabb and producer Kendra Petrone. During its annual switch to holiday music, its 356,200 weekly cume (compared to November's 308,000) reached 8% of people in the market. Teamed on Magic since 2013, O'Leary and Tabb are both Beantown radio veterans, on the mic there since 1981 and 1995, respectively.
“We are always trying to meet our listeners where they are – talking about the things that matter to them, exploring topics that are relevant, finding the humor in everyday life and giving them the opportunity to connect and laugh with us,” the team says in a joint statement. “We call our audience our 'Magic family' for a reason: it's both a privilege and responsibility to inform and entertain our listeners, many who count on us each and every morning to provide them with a great start to their day. Our success has not only solidified our commitment to this end but drives each of us to deepen those connections every time we open the mic. The icing on the cake? We have so much fun as a team. So, basically, we have the best job ever!"
In second with a 333,800 cume, reaching close to 8% of the market, is Beasley Media Group Classic Hits WROR's team of Bob Bronson, LBF (Laura Beckham Falcone) and Brian Bell. Bronson, the new kid on the block (ok, Boston reference), has been in ROR's morning air chair since 2019, following a decade co-hosting mornings at iHeartMedia's New York AC powerhouse “Lite FM” WLTW, while Falcone and Bell have been part of Boston radio since 2011 and 1995, respectively.
"We're friends on the air and off," Bronson says, “and you can really hear that. We like each other. It's not an act." Adds Falcone, "We're like the fun table in the cafeteria. We laugh with you, not at you. And people want to hang at the fun table because fun is the best thing to have!" Says Bell, "It's tough out there, between the news and the pandemic. We just want to put listeners in a good mood."
Beasley claims the third-ranked Boston morning show as well with “98.5 The Sports Hub” WBZ-FM's Marconi Award winners Toucher & Rich (Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb), sporting a 281,700 weekly cume. The pair, part of Boston's mornings for 15 years, have been with the Hub right from the start. “We’re grateful to have truly the most loyal listeners in radio who have stuck with us through everything, and we mean everything,” Shertenlieb says. “We have a show staff that is the best in the business, we work for one of the best companies in radio, have bosses that believe in and support us and have syndicators that champion us.” Adds Toucher, “The journey to now has been interesting. We look forward to the next station that changes format to carry our show and whatever other kind of weird stuff that radio has in store in the coming years.”
iHeart stations have the morning drivers in fourth and fifth with “NewsRadio 1030” WBZ-AM's Jeff Brown (263,700 cume, 283,700 in November) and CHR “Kiss 108” WXKS-FM's “Matty in the Morning” (246,000; 268,300 November). Kiss' Matt Siegel, who celebrated the 40th anniversary of “Matty in the Morning” last year, began on Boston radio in 1977 on then-rocker WBCN, while Brown has delivered BZ's morning news since 2019 and has been with the station since 2012.
“WBZ NewsRadio is a Boston news institution, and I’m honored to carry on the tradition,” Brown says. “People listen every morning to be prepared for their day. Of course, we give them the vital local and national news, but they also find out if they need a coat that morning, if they should avoid 93 or the Pike, and we may even make them smile.”
Also, in Nielsen's top 10 are: Beasley “Country 102.5” WKLB's Jonathan Wier and Ayla Brown, and Rhythmic AC “Hot 96.9” WBQT's “The GetUp Crew with Ramiro, Pebbles & Melissa”; Audacy Adult Hits “Big 103” WBGB's Big 103 Mornings; and iHeart Classic Rock WZLX's Karlson, McKenzie and Heather, and Rhythmic CHR “JAM'N 94.5” WJMN's “Ashlee and the New JAM'N Morning Show.”