Boston.com is getting into the radio business. The website will announce Monday a plan to launch a live streaming radio station featuring alternative music and well-known personalities from WFNX-FM. (The longtime alternative music station, 101.7 on the radio dial and owned by Phoenix Media/Communications Group, is being sold to Clear Channel Communications.)
The Boston.com station will have a presence on the website’s homepage, according to Lisa DeSisto, general manager of Boston.com and chief advertising officer for The Boston Globe, and it will feature a variety of live programming: music, commentary, contests, interviews, and exclusive online content.
“Boston.com has been at the forefront of multimedia for some time now, producing award-winning videos, live video programming, interactive content, and more,” DeSisto said. “We’ve long thought radio would be a natural extension for us, and we’re fortunate to launch with such an incredible team.”
That team includes several former employees of WFNX, which will cease broadcasting July 23. Joining Boston.com effective Monday will be DJs Henry Santoro, Julie Kramer, Adam 12, former WFNX program director Paul Driscoll, as well as the station’s former sales rep Johnny L Lavasseur and operations and promotions director Mike Snow.
Virtually all of WFNX’s staff was let go immediately after the station’s sale to Clear Channel was announced in May. In recent days, Santoro and Kramer had started using the cryptic #soon on their Twitter feeds, signaling something was afoot.
The launch date of the Boston.com station and the programming schedule will be announced later this summer, said DeSisto, who formerly worked at the Phoenix. Chris Mayer, publisher of the Globe and president of the New England Media Group, said the station is an extension of what Boston.com already seeks to do.
“It’s another way to engage readers or viewers who come to Boston.com looking for all things Boston,” Mayer said. “As a media company, our strategy is to offer products consistent with our brand that deliver value to advertisers and to our audience.”
He and DeSisto said that radio has the potential to generate new revenue from sources such as beer and liquor advertisers. “We are very focused on growing the business and finding ways to engage people,” said Mayer. “You don’t stand still, not in this day and age.”