Jay Severin Exits Tucker Carlson's Show
Boston Host's Sudden MSNBC Departure Fuels Speculation
If you blinked, you've missed Boston radio talk show host Jay Severin's national cable talk stint. And if one source is correct, he may be finished on TV for some time.
What exactly was the real reason for Severin's departure from MSNBC's low-rated "The Situation With Tucker Carlson"?
Last week, The Radio Equalizer began to note a large number of Google search enquiries reaching this site, using "Jay Severin fired", or close variations, with no indications of any emerging news. Who had the early line?
Usually, there's an official version, instead we have conflicting reports. The New York Post paints a dubious picture of Severin-the-tired-commuter, not seeing the ratings-challenged program as worth his commute from Long Island to New Jersey:
JAY Severin has vanished from MSNBC's new "The Situation with Tucker Carlson." Sources say Severin, a conservative who hosts a radio talk show in Boston, didn't enjoy the commute from his home in Sag Harbor to the TV show's studio in New Jersey - especially when he saw how low Carlson's ratings were.
Severin, who has a wife and young daughter, was also promised a state-of-the-art studio where he could do his radio show on the days when he was on TV, but MSNBC didn't deliver. Severin's departure leaves humorless Air America host Rachel Maddow as the breakout star on Carlson's daily panel.
Today, however, TVNewser provides a different take: that network sources say he was in fact fired and will never again be seen on MSNBC.
From their report:
But the suggestion that leaving the Situation was Severin's decision is a "complete absolute lie," an insider tells TVNewser.
In fact, he's been banned from the network: "You won't see him on MSNBC again," the source says. (And based on Severin's actions in Secaucus, "we were shocked to read in Page Six that he has a wife and daughter," the insider adds...)
Who to believe? While sometimes the truth lies somewhere in the middle of such conflicting accounts, we have good reason to wonder about the Post report, given many unanswered questions about Jay Severin:
--- Why does he continue to be evasive about hosting his show from Long Island, New York? His Boston listeners would never accept this if it were to become widely known.
--- What is his political ideology? In his radio bio, it's called "Libertarian/libertine", whatever that means, but I could swear he was touted as the conservative counterpart to fringe extremist Rachel Maddow on "The Situation".
--- While he claims to have a major political campaign consultancy background, details are elusive. His bio does not mention specific candidates or issues, can we have some verified positions and duties? With his home in New York, he certainly isn't a player in New England politics.
--- He claims to be edgy, but his show sounds like more of the same mellow-talk that plagues much of the market (and simply doesn't fit the area).
I don't buy the Post's Page Six line that he was simply tired of the commute, or thought the ratings were too low. Severin's not a major TV personality and needed every minute of this exposure.
Maddow's smart to ride "The Situation" to its inevitable upcoming end, since the TV face time could lead to other opportunities.
Boston's radio community has long been tired of Severin's antics, particularly the Long Island residency. Here, they question his latest flap.
If TV Newser's report is correct, what exactly did happen at MSNBC? It sounds serious and should be investigated further.
Meanwhile, how's he doing in Boston? Severin's critics are sometimes told that his ratings top WRKO's franchise conservative talk host Howie Carr, but the hard copy to back up the claim hasn't emerged, at least not into my in-box.
When Severin's WTKK-FM pumped up the advertising and marketing budget last year, ratings went up substantially, even beating rival WRKO for a brief moment.
But when WRKO responded with a major billboard campaign of its own, it went far higher, while WTKK fell sharply. That's where things stand now, with a hugely important ratings update just days away.
Let's hope somebody at MSNBC is willing to leak the rest of the story. Severin's Boston listeners deserve to know more.