By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Herald radio?

Let’s say Pat Purcell sells Community Newspaper Co. and keeps the Boston Herald. According to Steve Bailey’s sources, the deal for CNC plus The Patriot Ledger of Quincy and The Enterprise of Brockton could bring $370 million to $400 million. That’s a lot of money.

Now, Purcell doesn’t own The Ledger or The Enterprise. But I’m guessing that most of that money would go to Purcell, given that CNC comprises about 100 papers in communities that are, for the most part, more affluent than those served by The Ledger or The Enterprise. So it sounds like Purcell stands to make a very nice profit, given that he paid a reported $150 million for CNC about five years ago.

So what’s next? Keep an eye on this column by Greg Gatlin, which appeared in the Herald on Thursday. In it, Gatlin calls for a loosening of FCC regulations that currently prohibit one person or corporation from owning a radio or TV station and a daily newspaper in the same market. Such a loosening almost happened two years ago, but Congress and the courts put the kibbosh on the FCC’s deregulatory frenzy. Now that the furor has died down, the FCC might try again.

At one time Purcell was talking about some sort of deal with Brad Bleidt, the former owner of WBIX Radio (AM 1060), now playing keyboards in a prison rock band. And certainly it doesn’t hurt the Herald that many of its marquee personalities are on the radio: Gerry Callahan, Steve Buckley, Mike Felger, Margery Eagan, Howie Carr, Cosmo Macero and the Tracksters. (Am I missing anyone?) At the same time, though, it must gall Purcell that he has no control over any of this.

This is the kind of synergy that could work. I doubt too many folks who read Purcell’s Wellesley Townsman want the neighbors to notice that they’ve got a Herald on their front doorstep. On the other hand, an aggressive urban tabloid and an in-your-face radio operation make perfect sense. And Purcell may soon have the money to make it happen.

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A huge change at the Phoenix


“Little People,” big review


  1. mark

    Dan, BIX is 1060 on your AM dial.

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Whoops! Fixed. Thanks.

  3. Aaron Read

    Well, if the Red Sox do end up moving the games to WBOS 92.9FM after this season, I think it’s a safe bet that WEEI 850AM will be having an identity crisis of sorts. A major shift at WEEI likely would have some impact at fellow Entercom station WRKO 680AM, which currently has at least one big Heraldite (Howie) and ideologically lines up with a lot of what the Herald prints.

  4. Anonymous

    Herald Radio. Heaven help us. How much more right wing hatred do we really need on the air?

  5. Anonymous

    Dan, think big synergy. How about Channel 7 owners Sunbeam Television taking over the Herald? They even have the call letters for it – WHDH was the TV/radio voice of the old Boston Herald. The TV station kept the original Herald afloat for years. Wouldn’t it be ironic if history repeated itself with a different WHDH and a different Boston Herald?Mark L.

  6. Anonymous

    I was told by a Herald reporter that they are being pushed to get on air as much as possible. I think is definitely part of Purcell’s strategy.I don’t know how a shakeup a weei has any relation to WRKO. That station needs a rehab regardless of WEEI’s status.

  7. Man Smacked by a Frying Pan

    Anon 10:42 – the relation between a WEEI shakeup and WRKO is two-fold. First, they’re both owned by the same company (Entercom), so success or failure at one has a direct impact on how much Entercom can afford to spend on the other. Second, there’s roughly a zero-sum game in listnership for conservative talk radio in Boston…and there’s three outlets competing for it: WRKO, WTKK and (yes) WEEI. Just listen to Dennis & Callahan for a week and tell me they’re not conservative radio! 🙂 Anyways, a shift in any one means change for the other two…good or bad depends on what they do to adapt to that change.And newspaper-radio synergy is all around…look at the Phoenix and WFNX! Although I understand that exactly which media is supporting the other has been an open debate on that one…but I have hopes that their new downtown signal should help things out quite a bit.Something I’ve often wondered about…I’ll bet a suitor could approach all the colleges with radio stations (not the stations themselves) and offer enough money on an annual basis to get a network of stations going that’d cover all of Greater Boston well enough….and “enough money” would be noticeably cheaper than trying to buy (or rent) a central signal outright. The students would scream bloody murder, of course, but when has that ever really stopped a college? :-)A good test case would be the Providence Bruins; I understand this year they cobbled together a network of Rhode Island stations across many smaller signals: WARL, WQRI, WNRI, WKIV (aka WBLQ) and WAKX. I wonder how that worked out…

  8. amusedbutinformedobserver

    1. Purcell doesn’t have the money to spend on a radio station that can make moneyp and he doesn’t have the radio expertise to so make a lesser signal pay off, nor the abilty to corral his ego to let someone else who knows what they’re doing callthe shots. Radio is out,and if it isn’t it will be a failure.2. Selling the bh-herald is now, and always has been, a real estate deal. That’s why the Herald isn’t going with the other properties. Think the lines about Pucell family keeping the real estate weren’t a floated trial balloon? The herald will go when a real estate deal is done. Bet on it.

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