The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

30 November 2005

Seattle, Boston Changes Drive Internet Searches

GOOGLE MADNESS

Seattle, Boston Listeners Have Questions



For weeks, the Radio Equalizer has been flooded with readers wondering why former WTKK-FM/Boston host and MSNBC panelist Jay Severin (real name: Jimmy Severino) has vanished from local airwaves.

Google searches have been directed toward some very old Equalizer posts on the subject, so it's time to update the situation.

Severin signed a deal with Infinity Broadcasting, which competes with Boston's WTKK, to host a new show that will be heard in several cities.

So far, however, there's no known Hub outlet for his program.

In St. Louis, KMOX has announced they'll run the Severin's show in the evenings.

From the Post-Dispatch:


No more Mr. Nice Guy. Longtime ratings leader KMOX-AM (1120) has signed hothead Jay Severin to host a new syndicated show called "Jay Severin Has Issues." The program will air from 8-10 p.m. weeknights starting Jan. 3.

Severin's style - controversial and occasionally coarse - will contrast with genial tone of most KMOX personalities. Severin caused distress among his Boston listeners when he reportedly remarked that the best way to deal with Muslims in the United States is to kill them.

"He will be controversial," says KMOX general manager Dave Ervin. "He is a radical independent who does not represent Republicans or Democrats. You never know where he is going to stand on an issue."

KMOX listeners got a taste of Severin last week when he filled in for morning personality Charlie Brennan. Severin told listeners, "I'm not a Rush Limbaugh clone. I'm an environmentalist, I'm reluctantly pro-choice and I'm certainly against staying in Iraq."

Severin also said, "I don't believe George Bush lied about WMDs. I do believe George Bush needs someone to help him tie his shoes in the morning."

Severin recently hosted a popular afternoon show on FM talker WTKK in Boston and briefly appeared on "The Situation with Tucker Carlson" on MSNBC. Two months ago, the Boston Globe called Severin out on his claim that he won a Pulitzer Prize for excellence in online journalism. The award does not exist.

Severin's show will originate from his home in Sag Harbor, N.Y., and air in St. Louis, Washington, Philadelphia and Dallas.


While management might consider Severin's positions "unpredictable", it might more reasonable to call the sum total of his stances an ideological mess. Perhaps they think it's an easier sell to advertisers if there isn't a "conservative" or "liberal" label attached to him.

And, it's correct to say there have been serious integrity issues that he seemingly brought upon himself.

In addition to the Pulitzer flap, he gave listeners the impression he lived in Boston, when he actually resides in Sag Harbor, New York. As a result, it's a surprise Infinity was interested, especially after a tremendous amount of Beantown bad press that proved to be accurate.

Boston radio insiders discuss the issue here. In addition, STLMedia is another great resource on midwestern radio.


In Seattle, major changes hit today, as ratings-challenged "hot talk" station KQBZ 100.7 "The Buzz" was "blown up" to make way for a second area country station. One Buzz program, hosted by Boston native BJ Shea, will move to sister station KISW and take over mornings upon Howard Stern's upcoming departure.

By this evening, hundreds of curious Google searchers had arrived here looking for information.

It's not yet clear what will happen to some of the other Buzz shows, including syndicated host Tom Leykis, who at one point nearly dominated Seattle talk radio. In addition, there's as yet no word on the Robin and Maynard morning show's fate.

Longtime country leader KMPS-FM, which often ranks number one in area ratings, will face a new threat that could prove damaging.

Look here for the latest from Radio & Records and here for a discussion.

UPDATE: Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Bill Virgin with the full story. Leykis is also headed to KISW-FM for a tape-delayed 10pm-2am slot.

UPDATE: Scratch that? Leykis is telling fans this:

Talk about a BUZZ KILL!!! Our Seattle home has been BLOWN UP!!! Be sure to check back frequently for news. We thank you for over a decade of support and encourage you to voice your opinion to Entercom Seattle at (206) 285-7625.


Planning Christmas, or other shopping today? Why not support the Radio Equalizer at the same time? Your Amazon orders that originate with clicks here, regardless of your final selections, help to support this work. Thanks again!

8 Comments:

  • "In addition to the Pulitzer flap, he gave listeners the impression he lived in Boston, when he actually resides in Sag Harbor, New York."

    That's not quite as bad as O'Lielly's lying claims to be a recipient of the Peabody and having been raised in Levittown.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 30 November, 2005 19:22  

  • conservative WTKK ratings:

    4.1 - Fall 04
    3.8 - Winter 05
    3.6 - Spring 05
    3.1 - Summer 05
    2.8 - Fall 05 pt1

    hehe

    By Blogger Mr. Kite, at 30 November, 2005 22:24  

  • Small note: While Severin wasn't exactly up front about his NY roots, he wasn't exactly attempting to pass himself off as truly Bostonian, either. He rarely discussed local issues, spoke quite freely about not being able to see the Red Sox, and even discussed his situation during that power outage in 2003 in NYC.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 01 December, 2005 00:41  

  • Perhaps they think it's an easier sell to advertisers if there isn't a "conservative" or "liberal" label attached to him.
    Are you kidding? Not only is he a self-described conservative (or sometimes libertarian), he was a GOP strategist, is pro-death penalty, pro-limited gov't, anti-gay marriage, etc., etc. You may not like him Brian, but his views do fall into your side's camp.

    By Blogger Justin, at 01 December, 2005 13:01  

  • Justin, he now describes himself as a "libertarian/libertine".

    We've debated that before.

    I stand by the statement- proclaiming talk show hosts as "independents" is a phony way of trying to placate radio station sales departments. It's almost never true.

    In Severin's case, his recent positions are a mess. The Post Dispatch story cited provides some excellent examples.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 01 December, 2005 13:08  

  • Severin's all over the map on issues, trying to please all sides simultaneously, which means he whizzes off both sides simultaneously. You can't be all things to all people, as they'll all windup hating something about you. You have to pick a position on one side and stick with it.

    Severin's grating style leaves an unpleasant taste on most palates.

    His time on the radiowave, like TV, are numbered.

    By Blogger Phantom_Driver, USNR, Ret., at 01 December, 2005 16:42  

  • Jay Severin did very well in the Boston radio market, as I predicted he would at the outset back five years or so. I knew there was a large group of listeners who would listen to him rather than the gluttony gags, the Maine asshole humor, the animal destruction jokes, the wizard of 'ahs, the submit references, and the plain and simple "fart jokes" that are and were part of the Howie Carrr show and were referenced by a WTKK spot that I helped write by way of emails to the producer of Severin.

    Jay began to lose audience when he couldn't make a patriotic claim to leave Iraq without insulting patriotic Americans. His specialty is to discuss politics and the human condition by observing and verbalizing the nuance of the various arguments and views. In some ways, he could do that well in the beginning when his stop sets and spots were few and far between, but when his show sold well the added spots broke up the train of thought of the audience.

    He may take a "libertine" view of the world for radio reasons I suspect, but he is truly a conservative in the way he conducts his life. He is not however, a BushBot or rah-rah supporter of the GOP either, but he is indeed a detractor of the Democrat party and the Democrats who make up the senior elected officials in government, whether it be state of Federal.

    Fundamentally, Jay knows the difference between the politician and the policy that promotes national interests and those that do not, that is, he can verbalize why conservatism is good and liberalism (he equates that to communism) is bad. That is all one needs to know to know Severin.

    By Blogger DeanW, at 27 December, 2005 15:54  

  • Jay Severin did very well in the Boston radio market, as I predicted he would at the outset back five years or so. I knew there was a large group of listeners who would listen to him rather than the gluttony gags, the Maine asshole humor, the animal destruction jokes, the wizard of 'ahs, the submit references, and the plain and simple "fart jokes" that are and were part of the Howie Carrr show and were referenced by a WTKK spot that I helped write by way of emails to the producer of Severin.

    Jay began to lose audience when he couldn't make a patriotic claim to leave Iraq without insulting patriotic Americans. His specialty is to discuss politics and the human condition by observing and verbalizing the nuance of the various arguments and views. In some ways, he could do that well in the beginning when his stop sets and spots were few and far between, but when his show sold well the added spots broke up the train of thought of the audience.

    He may take a "libertine" view of the world for radio reasons I suspect, but he is truly a conservative in the way he conducts his life. He is not however, a BushBot or rah-rah supporter of the GOP either, but he is indeed a detractor of the Democrat party and the Democrats who make up the senior elected officials in government, whether it be state of Federal.

    Fundamentally, Jay knows the difference between the politician and the policy that promotes national interests and those that do not, that is, he can verbalize why conservatism is good and liberalism (he equates that to communism) is bad. That is all one needs to know to know Severin.

    By Blogger DeanW, at 27 December, 2005 15:55  

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