Friday, January 05, 2007

There's Bad News and Good News in Boston

It’s good news and bad news for liberal talk radio listeners in Boston. The bad news is that last week Clear Channel dropped lib talk from their badly engineered duo of AM stations WXKS and WKOX and started broadcasting a Spanish language format called the Rumba. The move replaced Al Franken, Randi Rhodes, Ed Schultz, and Stephanie Miller with salsa, meringue, bachata and reggaeton music.

The good news for lib talk fans in Beantown is that WTKK the third ranked talker in market has upgraded a popular one PM hour show hosted by the liberal pairing of Margery Eagen and Jim Braude to a three hour slot from noon to 3 PM. The loser in this equation is centrist talker and sometime guest on MSNBC’s Hardball, Mike Barnicle, who gets cut from three hours to one hour and Bill O’Reilly, who get bumped to evenings. Rumor has it that O’Reilly is really pissed off.

Meanwhile on Boston’s number two news/talk station --WRKO, it appears that the station will be filling the AM slot, formally hosted by right wing wacko John Depetro, with former speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Tom Finneran—who happens to be a Democrat.

In a separate move, moderate conservative talker Todd Feinburg has been bumped from his nighttime slot and replaced by two far right syndicated talkers – Michael Savage and Jerry Doyle. This move appears to be more a matter of money than politics.

Liberals in Boston should be very pleased with the elevation of Eagen and Braude. The pair has been on the air together for more than 7 years. Eagan is a Boston Herald columnist and Braude is a New England Cable News host. They are funny, definitely left of center and very locally focused. According to the Boston Herald, WRKO was trying to woo the popular duo away, before WTKK made them an offer that they couldn't refuse.

One person, who is not happy with the changes in Boston, is conservative talk radio blogger Brian MaloneyThe Radioequalizer. Maloney posted a scathing critique on his blog today accusing WTKK management of making a "self destructive kick."

"If former House of Representatives Speaker Tom Finneran is in fact hired to take over morning drive at the station, despite having no experience holding down a daily talk show, expect WRKO's remaining listeners to take a hike." Maloney blogged.

The whole shake-up at WRKO, probably wouldn’t have happened, if popular morning drive host John DePetro didn’t lose his cool one morning by calling Grace Ross, a gubernatorial candidate a "fat lesbian." DePetro’s politically incorrect comment cost him his job and opened the door for Finneran.

It is expected that Massachusetts’ newly elected Governor, Deval Patrick will be a frequent guest on Finneran’s morning show. Ironically, Patrick has frequently clashed with the mostly conservative talk radio hosts in the Boston market.

Meanwhile, the movement to reactivate a lib talk station in Boston is gathering steam. I just checked the petition and noticed that almost 1,000 people have signed it. There is also a website titled "Looking for Boston’s Progressive Talk?" and Yahoo message board called "Saving Progressive Radio in Boston."

Clear Channel management might be enjoying "the Rumba" right now, but as the pro-lib talk movement heats up in Boston, they may be forced to do the Madison Shuffle.


Anonymous said...

I don't think you have the facts straight. Isn't the new WTKK schedule Imus until 9am, Barnicle until 10am, Graham 10a-noon, Eagan Braude to 3pm and Severin to 7pm? Graham moves from nights to mid-morning, Eagan and Braude pick up two hours and O'Reilly moves to 7pm.

Which means O'Reilly loses, Barnicle loses but Eagan, Braude and Graham all win. Right?

barooosk said...

Thanks for the correction. I checked it out and you are right. I've deleted reference to Michael Graham in my article...barooosk