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"It's got a beat you can fly to: Logan Radio"


 
Friday, December 15, 2006

It's got a beat you can fly to: Logan Radio
By Peter J. Howe
The Boston (MA) Globe


WBOS was already taken. So they're settling for Logan Radio.

That's the name of a "virtual radio station" being launched this month at
Logan International Airport.

Instead of banal Muzak periodically interrupted by squawky Transportation
Security Administration warnings, Logan will offer a studio-produced
combination of adult-contemporary music and professionally narrated
advertisements and public-service announcements.

Boston radio legend Rich Balsbaugh's Pyramid Radio Inc. -- Balsbaugh also
owns and operates WXKS Kiss 108 FM -- is producing the audio feed. Pyramid
and business partners are helping fund more than $100,000 worth of airport
public-address-system upgrades to ensure Logan Radio comes across in high
fidelity.

Logan Radio will start to go live in Terminal A, home of Delta Air Lines
Inc., and the international Terminal E this month. Service in terminals B
and C, home to the other major US airlines, will follow next month once
technology upgrades are completed, said a Logan spokesman, Phil Orlandella.

The Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs Logan, will get 60 percent of
ad sales that project leader Airport Marketing Income LLC generates on the
station, which could be hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.

But besides the income stream, Massport's acting aviation director and Logan
chief, Edward C. Freni , said the upside for Logan's 60,000 daily passengers
is "high-quality entertainment and important travel information. Our
customers will recognize it as more in the genre of a traditional format
than what they currently experience at airports."

Jeff Eischen, Airport Marketing executive vice president, makes even more
exuberant promises. "It's better than what I was listening to in the car
today," Eischen said. Depending on the hour of day and the mix of business
travelers and families, Pyramid can shift the mix of music toward cool jazz,
soft rock, or family-oriented formats.

Eischen's company hopes to expand the concept to airports across the
country. For advertisers, airport radio may be a way to reach wealthy,
highly mobile people who tune out most conventional radio and TV.

At Logan, the system will supplant existing public-address-system coverage,
officials said. But it won't extend beyond security checkpoints, where the
CNN Airport Channel is broadcast on ceiling-mounted sets.

"It sounds like a cool idea," said Alan Gold , marketing vice president of
Burlington telecommunications consultant Avotus Corp., who travels out of
Logan almost every week. "I like it. I completely applaud a more
professional background sound so it's less grating."

Gold added, though, that he's not sure how much of his attention the system
will command. "The only time I really notice what's on the airport P A now
is when I've heard, for the 14th time, the Boston Pops "Sleigh Bell" song,
and I want to throw something at the ceiling."

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